Guadalajara is a Mexican destination like no other. As the capital of Jalisco – the state which gifted mariachi, tortas ahogadas and tequila to the world, lest we forget – Guadalajara boasts a big-city feel and small-town charm, and is chock full of unique sights and sounds that more than justify paying it a visit. So skip the coastal classics, make room in your Mexico itinerary, and pay a visit to the top 15 attractions in Guadalajara.
For nature fans in Guadalajara who want to escape the city for a few hours and enjoy a day out in the countryside, the official Protected Area of Barranca de Huentitán is the ideal getaway spot. Situated on the outskirts of the city, if you love hiking, extreme sports or just great views, you should make time in your itinerary for a visit. And, if you’re feeling extra-prepared, take a picnic or pack a disposable barbecue to make the most of the afternoon… but take your rubbish with you when you leave!
Surrounded on all sides by well-manicured grass on which you can enjoy a moment of relaxation in the heart of Guadalajara’s historic centre, the Rotunda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres (“illustrious Jaliscienses”) is a monument constructed in 1952 which pays tribute to the most famous sons and daughters of the state of Jalisco. Take in the busts of Dr. Atl, muralist Jose Clemente Orozco, Irene Robledo G., and even Pedro Moreno, or just see which names you recognise.
Chapu to the locals, and Chapultepec to the guidebooks, this avenue slices through Guadalajara, providing a dividing line between the Obrera and Americana neighborhoods. It is known for its great cafés during the day, great restaurants for the evening, and even better nightlife after dark. If you go to Guadalajara without going out on Chapu, have you really been to Guadalajara? (No.) If you’re not much of a party person, you can head there for the weekly Saturday tianguis (market) and pick up some souvenirs instead.
Constructed in the mid-20th century, this neoclassical edifice is a must-visit for anyone finding themselves in the historic centre of Guadalajara, especially if you’re interested in the art, culture, and history of the city and state. As well as housing many archeological finds and rooms dedicated to discussing the typical crafts of Jalisco (tequila-making, anyone?), there are a number of impressive Orozco murals for you to snap a few photos of, and a pleasant courtyard in which to take a break.
The Natural Adventure amusement park makes for the ideal afternoon out if you’re travelling to Guadalajara with kids. With paintball, climbing walls, and go-karts, among other attractions, you’ll surely be able to find something to keep everyone amused all day long.
The Panteón de Belén was originally built and expanded upon to provide a final resting place for the sheer volume of Jaliscienses who were dying from cholera, and once housed the homages to famous Jaliscienses which can now be found at the aforementioned Rotunda de los Jalisicenses Ilustres. Nowadays, it is simply one of Guadalajara’s spookiest attractions, and is well known for hosting guided nighttime tours complete with ghost stories and tall tales.