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For many years, Guadalajara was called The City of Roses, for the hundreds of rose bushes in the streets – it was a reference to the beauty, romanticism, and the good weather that the city possesses. Over the years, the city grew and became a commercial and industrial center, and the flowers disappeared. But now it is blooming again with new artists and projects that are bringing the life back to the second biggest and most important city in Mexico.
One characteristic of a great city is its level of spontaneity. Go out for a walk and expect everything. Guadalajara is a place where you can look for a normal dinner and get an extraordinary buffet, search for a regular coffee and find and incredible library with a coffee shop owned by the grandson of one of the most important painters in Mexico, or ask for a book and suddenly be talking with the author. Where a rainy day ends with an incredible shimmering sunset. These kinds of things make this city a great place for those willing to have that experience.
Guadalajara made a huge leap in the ’60s, when it reached one million inhabitants. Since then, like many other cities, it has been designed for cars. But recently, the people have again taken to the streets. Every Sunday, thousands of cyclists, skaters, runners, and regular citizens take a walk along the main avenues of the metropolis. Along the sidewalks, there are cultural and social activities. It has given the people a fresh perspective of the public spaces, and coffee shops, bookshops, restaurants, and new galleries have emerged.
A great art gallery whose reputation continues to grow is the Museo Raúl Anguiano (MURA), a venue where local and international artists exhibit their work. Open for the past 15 years, this is the newest museum in the city, and on its walls great masterpieces have been exhibited.
Each May, the streets and the downtown area become the art galleries and the stage for many cultural events in the Festival Cultural de Mayo (May Cultural Festival) where the musicians, painters, and artists of an invited country of honor can show their talents to the people of Guadalajara, and the city can breathe new air.
Of course, the cinema plays an important role in the life of Guadalajara. For the past 32 years, the Guadalajara International Film Festival has been a window for artists to share their filmmaking talents with the city. Many actors, directors, and cinematographers gather elbow to elbow in the armchairs of the Auditorio Telmex or the Teatro Diana.
Undoubtedly, the most important cultural event of the year in Guadalajara is the International Book Fair. 800,000 visitors get a ticket to enter into a sea of books and magazines, where they can attend conferences and talks with the writers and many other personalities. And every night for ten days in November, there is a free music concert. If you love books, art, and music, this is the perfect moment to visit Guadalajara.