33 Things Nobody Tells You About Visiting Guadalajara Mexico (2023)

Visiting Guadalajara Mexico Is Worth It

Guadalajara, Mexico – the land of mariachis, tequila and traditional ‘Mexican’ flair.

Guadalajara is often perceived in two ways:

  1. An industrial and tech-centered city with limited tourist attractions.
  2. A religiously conservative place characterized by folkloric Mexican images.

After spending two weeks on the ground, we discovered that it is not either of these things. Guadalajara is a wonderfully vibrant and diverse destination. It’s not a city that immediately jumps out at you with its wow factor. Like a fine tequila, it’s best to take in slowly and appreciate its complex flavors.

We found that visiting Guadalajara was the most rewarding after learning about it and peeling back the façade.

Are you ready to explore massive local markets, stylish neighborhoods and delicious local foods? All while interacting with some of the friendliest locals we’ve met throughout our Mexico travels. Well, we have you covered! Here are 33 useful, not at all useful, and slightly amusing things nobody tells you about visiting Guadalajara, Mexico!


Estimated reading time: 27 minutes

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Things Nobody Tells You About Visiting Guadalajara Mexico
Table Of Contents
  1. 1. Guadalajara Is Mexico's Second City
  2. 2. Mexico's Most Folkloric Characteristics Originate From Here
  3. 3. Jalisco Is The Land Of Sombrero Wearing Charros
  5. 5. The Famous Plaza De Los Mariachis Feels Neglected
  6. 6. Go Here Instead To Experience Unmissable Mariachi Shows
  7. 7. Getting To Guadalajara Mexico Is Easier Than Ever!
  8. 8. No Need To Negotiate A Taxi, Use A Ride-Hailing App Instead!
  9. 9. Guadalajara, Mexico Loves Itself Some Traffic
  10. 10. You Can Move Around Using The City's Subway System
  11. 11. Times Are Changing In Guadalajara, Mexico
  12. 12. Colonia Americana Is The Coolest Place In Town
  13. 13. Tlaquepaque Is An Absolutely Must Visit!
  14. 14. Visiting Guadalajara Is Generally Safe, But Be Smart!
  15. 15. East Side Versus West Side
  16. 16. Know Your Chances Of Getting Scammed In Guadalajara, MX!
  17. 17. Don't Drink The Water In Guadalajara, MX
  18. 18. One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor!
  19. 19. Hit La Ruta Del Tequila To Explore Jalisco's Boozy Heritage
  20. 20. Indulge In Guadalajara Mexico's Delicious Foods
  21. 21. Head To Mexico's Largest Indoor Market To Eat Like A King!
  22. 22. You Can Get 3 Peso ($0.15) Tacos At Mercado San Juan De Dios
  23. 23. Eat A Drowned Sandwich In Guadalajara Mexico!
  24. 24. You Have To Eat At The Fastest Restaurant In The World!
  25. 25. Pay A Visit To The Infamous Hospicio Cabañas
  26. 26. Cheer On Mexico's Most Beloved Soccer Team
  27. 27. You'll Want To Scream Your Brain Out At Lucha Libre!
  28. 28. Head To Lake Chapala For A Change Of Pace
  29. 29. Guadalajara Has Incredible Weather… Most Of The Time
  30. 30. Visit On Valentine's Day To Experience Guadalajara's Best Party
  31. 31. Return To Guadalajara In October To Keep The Party Going!
  32. 32. Make The Most Of Your Guadalajara Visit
  33. 33. Is Guadalajara, Mexico Worth Visiting!

33 Things Nobody Tells You About Visiting Guadalajara, Mexico?

1. Guadalajara Is Mexico’s Second City

GDL MX Skyline
Image source: Canva

With nearly 4 million people residing in the metropolitan area, Guadalajara is the second most populated city in the country. Behind only Mexico City. It is also the capital city of the state of Jalisco.

This regional capital doesn’t overwhelm you with its size or insane crowds of people. And you won’t feel like a lost puppy when setting out to explore. There’s not the same sensory overload that you can expect in Mexico City. But you can expect to find plenty of awesome things to do in this underrated city!

So while visiting Guadalajara is not an essential part of most travelers’ Mexico itineraries, it does pack plenty of punch when it comes to having an abundance of incredible ways to spend a vacation! Let’s explore more of this area’s one-of-a-kind culture in the next thing on this list.

WOTW Tip: locals in Guadalajara are known as tapatíos. If you keep reading this post, you will basically be a tapatío by the end of it. And yes, tapatío is also the name of one of the most delicious and well-known Mexican hot sauces. It was created in California by people from Guadalajara.

2. Mexico’s Most Folkloric Characteristics Originate From Here

Jarabe Tapatío
Image source: Canva

Close your eyes and think about Mexico. What do you imagine?

Is it people sipping tequila in smokey cantinas while mariachi bands serenade the patrons? Or is it traditional dances and colorful costumes like those shown in the picture above?

Well, the images of Mexico portrayed in pop culture are often cultural elements originating from the state of Jalisco.

Mexican national dance, the Jarabe Tapatío, tequila, mariachi, and the infamous charrería (Mexico’s national sport) all hail from the state of Jalisco. Some on the internet even claim that Jalisco is the country’s most ‘Mexican’ state.

Obviously that statement is silly and does a disservice to Mexico’s beautiful diversity. Everywhere in Mexico is equally ‘Mexican.’ But we mention this to give you an idea of some of the characteristics that define this area.

More on Mexico’s national sport and local cowboys on the next in this list of things nobody tells you about visiting Guadalajara, MX!

3. Jalisco Is The Land Of Sombrero Wearing Charros

Jalsico charros
Get your charro outfit in Guadalajara, Mexico!

Let me clarify by saying that sombrero literally means ‘hat’ in Spanish. And we Americans have taken that word and used it to refer to those oversized Mexican hats that we’re all familiar with.

But those big fancy hats go by a specific name in this area – sombrero de charro. And charros are the gentlemen cowboys that hail from Jalísco.

While we don’t endorse rodeos, it’s impossible to talk about Guadalajara, Mexico without talking about charro culture.

Rodeos in Guadalajara are called charrerías, which are recognized by UNESCO as ‘intangible cultural heritage.’ All that to say that cowboy culture still runs strong in this city. Even the region’s famous mariachis are influenced by the rural charro lifestyle.

Speaking of which, now time to talk about a piece of Jalisco heritage that we absolutely adore…


Mariachis in Tlaquepaque Guadalajara

The state of Jalisco is known as the birthplace of Mexico’s iconic mariachi bands. While the exact origins can be argued, there is little debate that folksy mariachi music did originate somewhere in this area.

We really like mariachis. In fact, I couldn’t stop signing Vicente Fernandez’s song about Guadalajara the entire two weeks we were in town. Listen To Vicente Fernandez’s beautiful ode to Guadalajara here.

Listening to a mariachi band playing Mexican classics while visiting Guadalara is a must! But where does one go to enjoy these dapperly-dressed muchachos singing their hearts out? Great question. You can find the answer in the next few things on this list!

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5. The Famous Plaza De Los Mariachis Feels Neglected

Plaza de los Mariachis (Mariachi Plaza) is one of the most famous places in Guadalajara. Known for being a place to listen to music while enjoying a few drinks on the square. Unfortunately, the glory days of the Plaza de los Mariachis are long gone.

Some of the most iconic venues have been removed from the area. And the mariachi bands that used to spend their nights performing for the crowds or waiting to get hired for private parties are gone. What is left is a neglected part of town that is not where you want to be after dark.

So while you may be able to catch the odd group performing in Mariachi Plaza, there are better places to listen to mariachis while visiting Guadalajara, Mexico.

6. Go Here Instead To Experience Unmissable Mariachi Shows

Guadalajara Mexico Mariachi band
Image source: Canva

Contrary to what we believed before our Guadalajara visit, mariachi bands do not roam every corner of the city 24/7. They do pop up in surprising places, like wandering through the crowded market (more on that later). But otherwise, it does take a bit of effort to enjoy Jalisco’s iconic music.

Here of some of the best places to listen to mariachi while visiting Guadalajara, Mexico:

  • Casa Bariachi: the premier dinner-and-a-show experience. Casa Bariachi is a large, festive venue near the trendy Colonia Americana neighborhood.
  • El Parian de Tlaquepaque: outdoor dining hall in the Tlaquepaque neighborhood with an open courtyard hosting roaming mariachis. You can hire them to serenade your table or watch them perform for others. Open until 3 am on the weekends!
  • El Alazan y el Rosillo: a traditional and very local Guadalajara BBQ spot with roaming mariachi bands. Located on the outskirts of the city.

Now you have a taste of some of Guadalajara, Mexico’s defining qualities. You’re on your way to becoming an honorary tapatío! But let’s back up a bit and talk logistics.

7. Getting To Guadalajara Mexico Is Easier Than Ever!

Image source: Canva

There are a bunch of US cities with direct flights to Guadalajara, Mexico. And the city’s Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla International Airport is being renovated and expanded to cater even more incoming travelers.

Here’s a quick list of US airports with direct flights to Guadalajara: New York, LA, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas and even more places that you can find here.

For our European friends, there are also direct flights from Madrid, Spain. But you would likely connect through one of the major US airports or Mexico City to get here.

Of course, you can also get to Guadalajara from other popular destinations in Mexico by bus. Here are some of the most popular routes:

In summary, getting there is pretty easy!

WOTW Tip: the Guadalajara Airport is modern and comfortable. They even have a Krispy Kreme!

8. No Need To Negotiate A Taxi, Use A Ride-Hailing App Instead!

The historic centro district of Guadalajara is very walkable. But there will be times when you need to find a convenient way to move around and explore other neighborhoods and attractions. After all, this is quite the sprawling metropolis.

Thankfully, Uber and Didi are available to take you where you need to go. The rates are affordable (cheaper than taxis), and there were enough drivers that we never had to wait more than 8 minutes to get picked up!

We paid between $2.00 – $3.50 US for short trips around the city and about $7 – $8 US for 25 minutes rides across town. Not too bad!

WOTW Tip: it takes about 30 minutes to get from Guadalajara airport to the city center. Our trip from the airport cost $13.75 US (260 MXP), and we waited about 5 minutes for the car to arrive. Also, taking Uber from the Guadalajara airport is perfectly legal.

9. Guadalajara, Mexico Loves Itself Some Traffic

It may be considered light by Mexican standards, but we were impressed by the traffic around town. Especially in Centro Guadalajara.

What we thought would be short Uber rides between Guadalajara’s neighborhoods became slow and tedious crawls through congested streets. Keep in mind that it may take longer than you expect to get around the city. Add in some buffer time for if you are driving to get to dinner reservations or appointments.

On the other hand, you may just want to skip the streets all together and use the following mode of transportation for getting around Guadalajara, Mexico!

10. You Can Move Around Using The City’s Subway System

Guadalajara San Juan de Dios Subway station

The city’s metro system is a clean, safe and efficient way to move around. It’s not the most extensive metro system out there, but it’s sufficient for most people visiting Guadalajara.

The metro has several stops in the heart of the historic Centro area. And it can also bring you to popular neighborhoods like Zapopan and Tlaquepaque. You can view the map and additional details of Guadalajara’s metro here.

Uber is cheap enough that you won’t break the bank using it to get around Guadalajara. But check out the metro if you are trying to stretch your travel budget!

Okay, we’re done talking about logistics… Let’s keep going with more fun facts about this amazing destination.

11. Times Are Changing In Guadalajara, Mexico

Centro Guadalajara Sculpture
‘Your mind should always be open to new ideas’

Mexico is known as a very traditional Catholic country. And Guadalajara has the reputation of being a particularly conservative city within this already conservative country.

That said, the notion of Guadalajara, Mexico being old-fashioned and traditional is not the reality on the ground. Sure, there is a boatload of churches. And many of the citizens are extremely Catholic. But the city is also filled with students and creatives that give Guadalajara a more alternative spirit.

Guadalajara is not quite as eccentric as Mexico City, but labeling it as conservative misses the mark. It is also known as being LGBTQ+ friendly, and we saw plenty of same-sex couples enjoying the city freely. In fact, a Pride Parade is hosted here every year. Look at Guadalajara changing the narrative about being an overly traditional city!

Curious to see what visiting Guadalajara is like? Check out our vlog!

12. Colonia Americana Is The Coolest Place In Town

For those of you that like to hit the town and get a little funky, let us direct you to the Colonia Americana neighborhood.

Colonia Americana is known as the city’s trendy neighborhood. It’s where you can find Guadalajara’s best nightlife. You can find everything from stylish restaurants, funky cocktail bars, craft-beer breweries, and whatever else you need to have an exciting night out in Guadalajara!

In fact, it was named ‘the coolest neighborhood in the world’ by TimeOut magazine. It’s crazy because precisely 4 months ago, before visiting Guadalajara, we were in the second coolest neighborhood in the world. That time while visiting beautiful Lisbon, Portugal!

We can’t really say that either of these places deserves to be at the top of the list. But we’re also not that cool!

WOTW TIP: the Colonia Americana neighborhood is pretty spread out. Some areas felt more residential, with a similar vibe to the mansions found in Merida, Mexico. And some areas are more commercial. But Avenida Chapultepec is the best starting point to go to to start exploring all the trendy spots.

13. Tlaquepaque Is An Absolutely Must Visit!

Visiting Tlaquepaque Near Guadalajara Mexico

Ready for a fun fact? The name Tlaquepaque comes from the indigenous Nahuatl (Aztec) language meaning ‘the best of everything.’ Cool!

Earlier in this post, we referred to Tlaquepaque as a neighborhood. But it is technically a separate city from Guadalajara. And it is one of Mexico’s Pueblos Magicos. But for practical purposes, it feels like a neighborhood.

Anyways, this little town on the outskirts of Guadalajara is amazing! We visited Tlaquepaque on a Saturday, and the streets surrounded by colorful colonial buildings were bustling with so much energy!

Tlaquepaque has beautiful art galleries, tons of food carts, cool street art and so much more to keep you entertained for a half-a-day. It is also home to El Parian de Tlaquepaque, which we mentioned earlier as one of the best places in town to listen to mariachis!

WOTW Tip: Tlaquepaque is connected to Centro Guadalajara by public transportation, and it’s only about a 20-minute Uber from Centro.

14. Visiting Guadalajara Is Generally Safe, But Be Smart!

DIY Food Tour Guadalajara Mexico

Few major cities in the world are 100% safe. And Guadalajara, Mexico is no exception.

This is a place where things can happen. But we always felt perfectly safe, even when walking around with our travel equipment. There is also a significant police presence downtown which helps keep away the common criminals. Stay smart, and you should have nothing to worry about.

Phone snatching and theft of valuable jewelry do happen. Also, don’t walk between neighborhoods at night. The streets are often dark and empty, and it’s best to avoid wandering around in unfamiliar places.

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15. East Side Versus West Side

The east vs. west-side rivalry is still going strong in Guadalajara, Mexico.

A class divide exists between the affluent west and more humble east sides of the city. In fact, we learned from our walking-tour guide that one of the first questions tapatíos will ask other locals is what side of town they live in.

And to touch on safety in Guadalajara one more time – there are a few neighborhoods on the city’s east side where you don’t want to find yourself. Colonia Jalisco and Santa Fe are best avoided due to gang activity.

Hope these last two things on this list of things nobody tells you about visiting Guadalajara don’t put you off. The city is mostly very safe, and the people are extremely welcoming!

16. Know Your Chances Of Getting Scammed In Guadalajara, MX!

With a new friend in Guadalajara Mexico

Your chance of getting scammed if this chaotic metropolis is pretty low! There you have it 🙂

We never felt like we were getting ripped off when shopping at the local markets, street food stalls, or anywhere else in Guadalajara. And that’s something that we can’t say for any of the other places in Mexico that we have visited for an extended period.

The tapatíos we interacted with were all so kind and honest! Are we saying that scams never happen in this city? No, we can’t guarantee those things. But our personal experience was extremely positive. That’s one of the benefits of exploring places that aren’t super touristy.

17. Don’t Drink The Water In Guadalajara, MX

Don’t drink the water in Guadalajara. It’s not safe for human consumption. This statement goes for basically all destinations in Mexico.

But not to worry. There is an abundance of delicious beverages to consume in this city! Including Guadalajara’s most famous contribution to the global beverage scene…

18. One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor!

Aimara drinking a Cantarito while visiting Guadalajara Mexico

The state of Jalisco is the tequila capital of the world!

Your journey to becoming an tapatío would not be complete without tasting some of this region’s sweet nectar. Though we advise that you forget what we wrote in the title. You shouldn’t be throwing back shots of Jose Cuervo during your visit (no judging from us).

But you should consider sipping some fine local tequilas while visiting Guadalajara, Mexico. Check out these perfect bars and cantinas for enjoying Mexico’s iconic beverages:

  • Cantina La Fuente: a welcoming bar with real cantina vibes. There is live music, and the locals love to sing along! This place used to be popular with journalists eavesdropping on members of the local government! A cantina with a story!
  • La Cantina Ocidental: an easygoing locals bar with tequila, cocktails and a good assortment of food. Bonus points for the upstairs patio!
  • De La O Cantina: don’t let the ‘cantina’ in the name fool you. This watering hole is certainly on the trendier side! Expect a more upscale environment with craft cocktails and high-quality tequilas. Salud!

WOTW Tip: Aimara is drinking a Cazuela, or Cantarito. It is Guadalajara’s favorite tequila cocktail. It is concocted with lime and grapefruit juice, chili powder, tequila, and – wait for it… Squirt!

19. Hit La Ruta Del Tequila To Explore Jalisco’s Boozy Heritage

Jalisco Mexico Blue Agave
Image source: Canva

Quick note for non-Spanish speakers – La Ruta del Tequila roughly translates to ‘Tequila Trail.’ And hitting this trail to explore the surrounding villages and tequila distilleries is one of the best day trips from Guadalajara. Did you know that there is an actual town called Tequila? And it’s one of Mexico’s Pueblos Magicos!

This Tequila Trail tour from Guadalajara has over 300 5-star reviews!

Exploring the Ruta del Tequila is a journey into the history and traditions behind Jalísco’s most beloved alcoholic beverage. The trail passes through endless fields of blue agave and quaint villages. And you’ll get to taste some of the world’s finest tequila. What’s not to love about that?!?

20. Indulge In Guadalajara Mexico’s Delicious Foods

One of the best things about traveling throughout Mexico is eating all the fantastic and diverse local foods!

We have been blown away by the foods in the Yucatan Peninsula and the iconic dishes served in Oaxaca. Thankfully Guadalajara’s local foods added to the list of awesome places to indulge in Mexican cuisine.

Here is a short list of some of the most iconic foods to try while visiting Guadalajara, Mexico:

  • Tacos dorados: typical hard tacos from the region where the tortilla is dipped into barbacoa beef juices before being fried on a hot plate. Think of an authentic version of ‘Old El Paso Taco Shells.’ This is the first time we’ve seen these ‘real’ hard tacos 🙂
  • Birría: heavily-seasoned and slow-cooked goat stew.
  • Pozole Rojo: a stew originating from prehispanic times. Filled with a mountain of roasted pork and hominy (giant corn kernels).
  • Carne en su jugo: a cowboy dish with sautéed beef, beans and bacon soaked in a beefy broth. Not healthy, but very delicious!
  • Torta ahogada: a pork-stuffed baguette drenched in a tomato-based sauce.

Do these Guadalajara foods all sound amazing? Are you curious where to try them all? Just keep on reading!

21. Head To Mexico’s Largest Indoor Market To Eat Like A King!

Mercado San Juan de Dios is the biggest indoor market in Latin America! This sprawling market is one of the essential things to do in Guadalajara, Mexico.

We’re telling you, this place is a feast for the senses! It is a chaotic assortment of all types of local foods, drinks, fresh produce, witchcraft supplies (yep!) and even roaming musicians. Mercado San Juan de Dios is easily one of our favorite markets that we’ve visited in Mexico.

Wondering what’s the best thing to do inside Mercado San Juan de Dios? Eat yummy local foods! Fun fact: this market has an entire section dedicated to Japanese ramen and sushi. Pretty weird!

But if you’re feeling adventurous, you can start with the next thing on this list of things nobody tells you about visiting Guadalajara!

WOTW Tip: are cheap eats not really your thing? Head to La Chata de Guadalajara for a more upscale but still entirely local dining experience! There is usually a line out the door. But trust us, it’s worth the wait!

22. You Can Get 3 Peso ($0.15) Tacos At Mercado San Juan De Dios

Cheapest tacos in Guadalajara Mexico
‘Delicious head tacos.’

Newsflash to all the shoestring travelers out there: Guadalajara’s cheapest tacos can be found at Mercado San Juan de Díos! The only catch is that they are tacos de cabeza – or beef-head tacos. Needless to say, this affordable street food may not be for everyone.

But it gets even stranger… we asked our tour guide what parts of the head are included. And he had no clue! There are different tacos with beef, tongue and lips, so he didn’t think those were included. But he did mention that they were pretty tasty! Consider tacos de cabeza a delicious snack filled with mystery meat. Yummy!

23. Eat A Drowned Sandwich In Guadalajara Mexico!

Image source: Canva

Guadalajara’s most famous food is the ‘drowned sandwich,’ aka la torta ahogada. What the heck is a torta ahogada?!? Well, it’s basically a pork-filled baguette topped with a tomato-based sauce. But there’s more to it…

Here’s a short version of the legend behind this popular Guadalajara food: the local population fell in love with baguettes during a period of French occupation. But when the French left, the Mexicans could only reproduce a harder and denser version of the baguette.

One day, a hungry man dropped his baguette in a simmering tomato sauce. And the tomatoey sauce turned out to be the perfect remedy to the otherwise too-hard Mexican baguette.

WOTW Tip: the torta ahogada is served at room temperature, and the tomato sauce delivered on the side is cold. We expected a hot dish and found the coldish sandwich quite strange. But it was still tasty!

24. You Have To Eat At The Fastest Restaurant In The World!

Carne en su jugo in Guadalajara Mexico

We got served our meal in 30 seconds, flat! What?!?

And this wasn’t at some fast-food spot. We had a proper meal of the local favorite, carne en su jugo. The server literally sprinted to our table after the order came in. He was moving so fast that he actually slid to a stop as we just looked up with bewildered looks on our faces.

The place to experience this is Karne Garibaldi, a Guadalajara institution. And even though they are famous for mind-bendingly fast service, the food absolutely does not disappoint! The carne en su jugo is a delicious meal of tender beef cooked in its own juices, accompanied with beans and perfectly crispy bacon. Eating here is legitimately one of the best things to do in Guadalajara!

Now that your belly is full, it’s time to continue exploring the incredible things to do in Guadalajara.

Next stop is the most famous museum in town!

25. Pay A Visit To The Infamous Hospicio Cabañas

Hospicio Cabañas in Guadalara Mexico

In the middle of the historic Centro neighborhood sits Hospicio Cabañas, one of the largest orphanages and hospital complexes built in the Americas. During the 19th century, every orphan was given the founding priest’s last name, thus making Ruiz de Cabañas the most common last name in Guadalajara. How about that for a fun fact!

Today the space of this UNESCO world heritage site has been converted into an art museum with rotating exhibitions and dramatic murals by José Clemente Orozco. Some consider José Clemente Orozco the most important mural painter of the 20th century. And seeing his work with your own eyes will leave you in awe!

WOTW Tip: Hospicio Cabañas is free for anyone to enter on Tuesdays. The museum also provides guided tours, which could help in interpreting what the hell he was trying to convey in these murals.

26. Cheer On Mexico’s Most Beloved Soccer Team

Ready to officially be baptized and reborn as an honorary tapatío? The final step is cheering on this soccer-mad country’s favorite team!

The local team, Chivas de Guadalajara, is beloved in their city, and watching a game with the passionate home crowd is a great way to soak in the energy of one of the tapatío’s favorite past times.

Also, their mascot is a goat! What more do you need to know?

Attending a match is safe for tourists. Chivas Guadalajara even has a shiny and comfortable new stadium that will host matches for the 2026 World Cup. You can tour the stadium and experience a game with this unique Airbnb experience!

27. You’ll Want To Scream Your Brain Out At Lucha Libre!

Lucha Libre
Image source: Canva

Mexico and wrestling go together like, the US and wrestling… ?

The young rowdy residents love to get the adrenaline pumping by cheering on their favorite performers and heckling their opponents. Known locally as lucha libre, witnessing this spectacle of acrobatic wrestlers flying around the rings is one of the most unique things to do while visiting Guadalajara.

Ready for the craziest local experience in town? Check out this popular Lucha Libre experience in Guadalajara!

28. Head To Lake Chapala For A Change Of Pace

Lake Chapala Ajiijic
Image source: Canva

After a couple of days exploring Guadalajara’s hectic city center, it might be time to slow things down a bit. The good news is that the surrounding area has some hidden gems perfect for winding down!

About an hour south of Guadalajara lies Lake Chapala and the Pueblo Magico Ajiijic.

Lake Chapala is Mexico’s largest lake. And Ajiijic is a colorful bohemian town popular with artists and creative types (especially expats). The area is also known for its hot springs, and the relaxed surroundings can be a welcome change for those visiting Guadalajara for a more extended stay.

WOTW Tip: there are buses from Guadalajara to Ajiijic from the Central Vieja station or the main bus terminal in Zapopan. The last bus from Ajiijic back to the city reportedly leaves around 7:30 pm.

29. Guadalajara Has Incredible Weather… Most Of The Time

Aimara in front of Guadalajara Cathedral
Aimara in front of Guadalajara Cathedral.

We barely even saw a cloud while visiting Guadalajara in early February. Pleasant day-time temperatures hovered around 80 F (27 C), while evenings brought a refreshingly cool change. And temperatures doesn’t change considerably for most of the year.

That said, the city does experience two distinct seasons: wet and dry. The wet season runs from May to October, while the dry season lasts from November to April. Our visit didn’t overlap with the rainy season, but apparently, the heavens can open up and drop buckets during this period. Streets can get flooded, and Guadalajara’s painful traffic conditions can get even worse.

But the weather isn’t the only thing to consider when discussing the best time to visit Guadalajara. Keep reading to learn about the city’s biggest celebrations!

WOTW Tip: note that the daily high temperatures regularly get around 90 F between March and June. Consider checking out more refreshing destinations in Mexico, like Cozumel and Bacalar, if visiting during this period.

30. Visit On Valentine’s Day To Experience Guadalajara’s Best Party

GDLUZ Guadalajara

Yes, Mexicans are very romantic and lovey-dovey. But the epic party we’re about to talk about has nothing to do with chocolate hearts and cupid. Guadalajara, Mexico was founded on Valentine’s Day! And they throw a huge party commemorating this historic day.

The giant fiesta, known as GDLUZ, is a multi-day extravaganza with light shows, family-friendly attractions, and multiple concert stages set up around Guadalajara’s historic Centro neighborhood hosting different musical acts that keep the party rocking.

We were lucky enough to experience GDLUZ during our visit. Seeing the entire city enjoying the festivities and celebrating beautiful Guadalajara’s birthday was absolutely incredible!

31. Return To Guadalajara In October To Keep The Party Going!

Every October, the city of Guadalajara decides that it’s time for a month-long party. That’s right, for non-stop entertainment and fiestas for an entire month! It’s fair to conclude that tapatíos love to have a good time. In case there was ever any doubt!

Visiting Guadalajara during Fiestas de Octubre (admittedly not the most original name) is an excellent option for anyone that wants to see how the locals get down. This cultural festival is complete with immersive light shows, carnival rides, lucha libre wrestling matches, and concert performances out the wazoo!

Hundreds of thousands of people attended this epic party. Needless to say, book your accommodation well in advance!

WOTW Tip: Guadalajara also hosts an International Film Festival in early June.

32. Make The Most Of Your Guadalajara Visit

There are a ton of incredible things to do in Guadalajara, Mexico! Be sure to allow enough time to experience all the best things the city has to offer.

We recommend visiting Guadalajara for at least two full days to explore the main attractions around the city center. But 4 – 5 days is ideal to really get a feel for the city. This will allow enough time to eat all of the city’s most delicious foods, experience the mariachis, and even make a day trip to Tequila or the hot springs!

Now there’s one more important thing to mention in the list of things nobody tells you about this city…

33. Is Guadalajara, Mexico Worth Visiting!

Cheers to visiting Guadalajara Mexico

Our 2-week Guadalajara visit came on the heels of an unforgettable 4 weeks exploring Oaxaca City. And we honestly thought there was no way we could fall in love with both of these very distinct cities. But it happened!

So, yes – Guadalajara is 100% worth visiting!

We couldn’t have been happier chatting with the outgoing tapatíos, eating delicious regional foods, and enjoying the city’s incredible sights. This also felt like an authentic and hectic Mexican city. It is not overly polished, and we appreciated the less touristy vibes.

To put it simply, Guadalajara is 100% worth visiting!

Thanks for reading!


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What nobody tells you about visiting Guadalajara

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