The Most Impressive Buildings to Visit in Guadalajara

Los Arcos de Guadalajara
Los Arcos de Guadalajara | © Luis Camargo / Flickr
Pablo Mares

Guadalajara has grown rapidly in recent years. Some houses have been demolished to make way for new apartment towers everywhere. But among these new buildings there are some period buildings that remain. What follows are the architectural wonders of the city that mustn’t be missed.

1. Instituto Cultural Cabañas


Hospicio Cabañas
© arturo.e.delarosa / Flickr
This building has witnessed the history of Guadalajara. It was a hospice and military barracks during independence and the Mexican revolution, but today the building operates as a museum. The interior is adorned with the murals of José Clemente Orozco, one of the main exponents of Mexican muralism. It is named after Bishop Juan Cruz Ruiz de Cabañas y Crespo, who began its construction in 1796. It is an example of Mexican neoclassical architecture and features 23 courtyards, and 72 corridors connecting to 126 rooms. The building was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. The site is open to visitors from Tuesday through Sunday from 10AM to 6PM.

2. Teatro Degollado


Teatro Degollado
© Andres Alvarado / Flickr
This theater is the most prominent house of the arts in the state of Jalisco, with regular theatrical and artistic performances. The building was designed and conceived by the architect Jacobo Gálvez, who began construction in 1856. Ten years later, the building was inaugurated on September 13, 1866. The building’s design is very Italian in style. At present, the venue is the home of the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra, and shows related to theater, opera, and dance, as well as artistic and cultural festivals.

3. Museo de las Artes


This building was formerly home to the University of Guadalajara, but is today a museum of contemporary art. At one point it was the seat of the general rectory of the University. There are also presentations of books or special events. In its dome is painted El Hombre Pentafásico, another masterpiece of Orozco, the favorite muralista of Jalisco. The Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10AM to 6PM.

4. Biblioteca Pública del Estado de Jalisco Juan José Arreola


This building – newly constructed in 2012 and surrounded by a controversy over its contemporary design – is now undoubtedly a privileged space for literature. This building preserves the books of the first library founded in 1861. At the moment the library is in charge of the University of Guadalajara. The library is open from Monday to Friday from 8AM to 8PM, Saturdays and Sundays from 9AM to 5PM.

5. Catedral de Guadalajara


Guadalajara cathedral by night
© Thomassin Mickael / Flickr
Guadalajara Cathedral is one of the most emblematic buildings in the city. Its history goes back to the Spanish colony, and the structure has undergone a lot of modifications to become what you see today. Its current towers were completed in 1854; they are made of very light rock material to withstand earthquake damage.

6. Templo de la Luz del Mundo


This place is the congregation center of the Church of the Light of the World, which in its annual ceremony brings together thousands of people from dozens of countries around the world. It is a kind of Vatican for parishioners. The place where it is located has a circular design with the temple in the center. It took nine years to build. At night, when illuminated, this imposing building can be seen from different parts of the city.

7. Casa ITESO Clavigero

Museum, Art Gallery

A work of the renowned Guadalajaran architect Luis Barragán, Casa ITESCO Clavigero was built in 1929 for his friend and one-time presidential candidate Efraín González Luna. In 2006 the building was declared by the National Institute of Fine Arts, INBA as an Artistic Monument of the Nation. It is currently a café, museum, and auditorium where events take place of the Jesuit University – which operates the establishment.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article