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Known as the land of tequila and mariachi, Guadalajara is a beautiful city located in the center of western Mexico. With streets and monuments filled with history stretching back almost 500 years, you could spend a lifetime uncovering its treasures – though if one day is all you have, then read on for our comprehensive guide to exploring the city.
If you arrive in the city early in the morning, either at the airport or the bus station, the best option is to go to Tlaquepaque, one of the municipalities that make up the metropolitan area of Guadalajara.
Start the day at Los Mitotes de María with a café de olla – a traditional mix of coffee and cinnamon served in a clay cup – and a proper Mexican breakfast of eggs, beans and chilaquiles, a dish prepared with corn tortillas and tomato sauce.
Suitably fortified, take a walk around the pedestrian area of Tlaquepaque where you will find incredible traditional and modern art galleries.
With just a few hours to explore the all sights on foot, hop on/off city bus tours are a great way to see the majority of buildings and major landmarks in Guadalajara – try the Tapatío Tour that shares its name with the city’s inhabitants.
Head to the city center for a visit to the Instituto Cultural Cabañas, a beautiful building listed as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO – the mural paintings of José Clemente Orozco are unmissable.
Just a few steps away is the Mercado Libertad, better known as Mercado San Juan de Dios and said to be one of the largest markets in Latin America. Wares on offer include everything imaginable, from small souvenirs to typical charro costumes.
Factor in a food stop here to try some of Guadalajara’s most typical offerings – take a seat at San Pascual Bailón in the classic equipales (lined leather chairs) and enjoy delicious dishes. Don’t forget to try jericalla, the traditional flan dessert of the city.
Continue walking to Plaza Tapatía, the first square of the city, and take in the city’s most emblematic buildings such as the Teatro Degollado, the Government Palace and the Cathedral of Guadalajara.
Now that the sun has set, it’s time to enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Guadalajara. Start with a drink at La Fuente Cantina, one of the oldest and most traditional bars of the city, and continue the evening in any one of the Chapultepec area’s bars and restaurants, set in a relaxed and cosmopolitan atmosphere.
On the return journey to the airport or bus station, be sure to return to Tlaquepaque to take in the famous Parián, a building surrounded by traditional canteens where raising a glass of tequila, or, if you prefer, cazuela (a drink prepared with lemon juice, orange and grapefruit) is a fitting toast to bid farewell to the city.