Tlaquepaque (Tla-keh-pa-keh), a municipality of Guadalajara, has always enjoyed popularity not least due to its reputation as an important pottery town which makes and sells beautiful, hand-painted, distinctive artesanías. Given its proximity to Guadalajara, this quaint little municipality makes for the perfect day trip during your stay in the Jalisco capital. Read our guide to find out more.
See mariachi at El Parián
Watching the mariachi playing at El Parían is one of the unmissable Tlaquepaque experiences in which you must partake. Mariachi is the famed Mexican folk music that originated in the state of Jalisco and is a must-see during any visit to this country. El Parían is a cluster of restaurants circled around a central bandstand, upon which the traditionally dressed mariachis play guitar and violin, sing, and generally put on an impressive spectacle. If culture is what you’re looking for, then you can’t go wrong here. Order pozole, a cazuela of tequila and citrus juices, and enjoy.
Obviously, given its status as one of the most important pottery producing towns in the whole of Mexico, there is an abundance of stores and workshops in which to ogle artesanías. We recommend checking out Cantú, which is located centrally and just round the corner from the Ceramic Museum. Open from Monday to Saturday, this quaint little store has been in Tlaquepaque for over 20 years. Their tiles are stunning and made in the traditional method, meaning they’re as authentic and high quality as ever. Even if you don’t want to buy in bulk, swing by and admire the beautiful patterned tiles and mosaics.
Cantú, Francisco de Miranda 60, Tlaquepaque, Mexico, +52 33 3635 5981
Buy tequila at Nuestros Dulces
If tiles aren’t your bag, why not stop by Nuestros Dulces and pick up a souvenir equally as evocative of Mexico: tequila. This store has one of the widest selections of tequila you could wish for outside of, well, Tequila itself. With two branches in Tlaquepaque, there’s no excuse for not at least paying a visit. They have a selection of over 1000 tequilas from a variety of different brands, meaning that there is something for everyone – from tequila connoisseurs to newbies. For the kids, they also have an impressive range of traditional Mexican sweets.
Juárez 154-A, Tlaquepaque, Mexico, +52 33 3659 9528
Independencia 131-B, Tlaquepaque, Mexico, +52 33 3659 9528
Shop for pottery
Artesanías are everywhere in Tlaquepaque and make excellent souvenirs to decorate your home or as Mexican gifts for friends and family. You cannot leave Tlaquepaque without having bought some of the pottery for which it is so known. A good place to start is the Mercado de Artesanías, which despite not offering the lowest prices, will allow you to get a feel for the type of souvenir you’re searching for. Afterwards, head further afield to make the purchases.
Explore the bars and nightlife
Tlaquepaque is as equally worth visiting in the evening as in the day time, with great night life and bar options to take advantage of. Either stay there into the evening before going out or pop back to your hotel and change. A taxi between Tlaquepaque and Guadalajara should set you back 100-150 pesos (between $6 and $9 US), so there’s no excuse not to make the journey. You can take your pick from any of the bars that line the Hidalgo or Juárez, as all are good options and usually have great drinks deals, but we recommend checking out TlaquePulque for their selection of affordable pulques and cheap beers, as well as an interesting Oaxacan-Japanese fusion menu.
Independencia 336, Tlaquepaque, Mexico, +52 33 1732 016
Take part in a food tour
If TlaquePulque’s fusion menu didn’t take your fancy, then how about checking out a food tour of Tlaquepaque? With Mexican Food Tours, you can enjoy an informative day-long food and art tour of this quaint town. You will be introduced to birría, tortas ahogadas, tejuino, chile en nogada, and even tequila, as well as the art history of Tlaquepaque. The price of $50 US dollars per adult and $25 per child includes all the tastings and enough food for lunch, and the tours run Tue-Sun year round, come rain or shine. If this seems too costly, you can always lead by example and check out their tasting locations yourself.
Tours depart from Juárez 145 int. 11, Plaza de Artesanías, Tlaquepaque, Mexico
Explore the center
The center of Tlaquepaque is excellent for pedestrians and has some beautiful and colorful architecture. Enjoy the brightly painted buildings and the two imposing churches that can be found here: San Pedro and El Santuario de Nuestra Senora de la Soledad. Just strolling around the central streets of this municipality will really make you feel like you’re in traditional Mexico, a feeling that is often lost in the bigger cities such as Guadalajara and Mexico City. If you’re looking for a place to sit down and collect your thoughts, head to El Jardín Hidalgo and admire the larger-than-life statue of the eponymous Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla.
Check out some art
Tlaquepaque is replete with art, which is evident to anyone who visits. Statues line the central avenues and art museums abound. Check out Pantaleón Panduro for ever-changing exhibitions which showcase local talent and the pottery for which this neighborhood is known. If pottery is what you’re after, then the Museo Regional de la Cerámica, situated in an old colonial house, is the obvious choice. We also recommend paying a visit to Galería Alejandro Calvillo if you want to snap up some one-of-a-kind and excellent works of art, including some by local artist Cesar Plascencia. Finally, the art gallery of Sergio Bustamente is unmissable; pick up some exquisite jewelry and wonder at his easily recognizable bronze statues.
Pantaleón Panduro, Prisciliano Sanchez 191, Tlaquepaque, Mexico, +52 33 3639 5646
Sergio Bustamente, Independencia 238, Tlaquepaque, Mexico, +52 33 3639 1272
Galería Alejandro Calvillo, Cruz Verde 37, Tlaquepaque, Mexico, +52 33 1814 1024
Take a nighttime tour of El Refugio
For something a little out of the ordinary and for the Spanish speakers amongst you, take part in a nighttime tour of the Centro Cultural El Refugio. Tours run year round, every Wednesday evening at 10pm and cost 80 pesos (about $5 US) per person. If you plan on bringing children, make sure they’re 12 years of age or older, or they won’t be admitted. The tours explore the spookiest legends of the area and the building. Even the most skeptical will leave as believers.
Buy tickets from Pantaleón Panduro, Prisciliano Sanchez 191, Tlaquepaque, Mexico, or call +52 33 3562 7036 for more information.
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