Guadalajara has long had a reputation as one of Latin America’s most gay-friendly cities, and is often known as the “San Francisco of Mexico.” Although there are new fashionable gay venues opening in other parts of the city, the corner of Prisciliano Sánchez and Ocampo in the city center is still the vibrant focal point of Guadalajara’s gay community. Guadalajara’s lively gay village has at least a dozen venues aimed at LGBT clientele. So whether it’s dancing or a quiet coffee that you’re looking for, this is the place for you.
In recent years, Guadalajara’s more upmarket Chapultepec Avenue has come to rival its traditional “gay village.” But the area centered around Prisciliano Sánchez is still the LGBT center of the city, attracting a diverse crowd that is truly loyal to the gay-friendly establishments that have long defined the area. In the day and you’ll find a range of interesting restaurants and coffee shops, and when night falls, locals will hit the bars and discos.
The legendary Caudillos Disco Bar is at the very heart of the neighborhood. Known as the “Gay Cathedral” of Guadalajara, the two-story nightclub is one of the city’s liveliest venues and is open 365 days a year. Part of what makes the nightclub unique is the fact that people from all different walks of life come together here to mingle and have a good time.
Located in a gutted-out colonial mansion, Caudillos has multiple bars, live performances, and a guaranteed carnival-esque atmosphere. Inside, you’ll find plenty of images of Francisco Villa, the Mexican revolutionary leader that Caudillos has reinvented as a gay icon for the 21st century. The venue is spectacularly lit and has regular two-for-one drinks deals. Whether you are rocking up in a group or heading out on your own, you are sure to end up on the dance floor by the end of the night in Caudillos.
Just a few blocks away is California’s Bar, one of Guadalajara’s trendiest nightlife institutions. Also located in an imposing mansion, this heaving nightclub has an elaborately lit interior, an impressive selection of drinks and a fun, friendly crowd. The music is typically reggaeton or house, and the club has a newer, more commercial vibe than Caudillos. The retro nights held on the first Wednesday of each month are a favorite for locals, with a DJ playing ’70s and ’80s classics from both Mexico and abroad. If there’s a downside to the venue, it is its popularity—on weekends it can fill up quickly, with long lines at the bar.
California’s Bar, 8 de Julio 42, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, +521 33 1089 1796
For a more chilled-out vibe, head to La Prisciliana, a stylish venue situated in another old colonial house. With its deep red walls and black-and-white prints of movie stars from the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, the bar has an atmospheric, vintage vibe. Patrons can sit inside or pull up a chair in the patio which overlooks the street below. The bar offers coffee and a selection of cocktails, with an atmosphere that allows for laid-back conversation, which is something of a rarity in noisy Guadalajara. With friendly staff and inexpensive drinks, the venue is the perfect place to start the night or take a break from the commotion of busier, louder venues.
La Prisciliana, Calle Prisciliano Sánchez 394, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, +521 33 3613 6041
One of the city’s most-loved taco spots, Tacos Gay, is situated right in the center of Guadalajara’s gay village. The taco restaurant employs LGBT staff and is a very popular spot for a post-club snack. A great place to visit if you still haven’t tried Mexico’s famous tacos al pastor (tacos made with spit-grilled meat). Try out the traditional sauces, but take care—some are super spicy.
Tacos Gay, Prisciliano Sánchez 391-A, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, +521 331 675 0181
The Casa Alebrijes Hotel is a boutique hotel situated in a beautiful 19th-century hacienda-style home. The establishment is aimed at LGBT guests and has a traditional but very comfortable feel. The rooms are elegant but reasonably priced and the hotel ticks the boxes when it comes to wifi and free parking. Casa Alebrijes also offers a free continental breakfast, and its bilingual staff are particularly helpful and friendly. One of the hotel’s most pleasant features is the beautiful fountain located in the garden patio.
Casa Alebrijes Hotel, Calle Libertad 1016, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, +521 33 3614 5232