Guadalajara Travel Guide

Mexico  #13 in Best Places to Visit in Mexico
Credit

Courtesy of camaralenta/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Best Things To Do in Guadalajara

You could fill a visit to Guadalajara simply by visiting its countless plazas, which are shadowed by grand architecture and peppered with colorful vendors hawking their wares. But along with touring historic buildings, such as the Guadalajara Cathedral and the Instituto Cultural de Cabanas, visitors can take a picturesque walk through the Parque Agua Azul or embark on a safari through the expansive Guadalajara Zoo. Perusing the goods at the enormous San Juan de Dios Market is another must-do.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated May 2, 2017

  • #1
    Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres
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    #1 in Guadalajara
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres, or Rotunda of the Illustrious Jaliscans, is a circle of 17 Doric columns and a monument to the region's favorite writers and revolutionaries. In fact, bronze statues of teacher Irene Robledo García, artist José Clemente Orozco and 20-some others ring the rotunda. Some of their ashes are even tucked into the monument. 

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  • #2
    Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento
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    #2 in Guadalajara
    Churches/Religious Sites, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento is a Gothic church that first opened its doors in 1897. It's defined by large stone pillars and equally enormous stained-glass windows. If you're passing by at 9 a.m., noon and 6 p.m., you'll witness 12 apostles process out through a door in the clock tower – just like clockwork. 

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  • #3
    Guadalajara Cathedral
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    #3 in Guadalajara
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Guadalajara's cathedral is one of the region's most iconic landmarks. Begun in 1558 and finally completed in 1618, it didn't get its signature neo-Gothic towers until the 19th century after an earthquake damaged the structure. Aside from its fusion of architectural styles, some of the treasures housed inside include richly adorned vaults, one of the largest organs in Mexico and stained-glass windows imported from France.

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  • #4
    Instituto Cultural de Cabanas
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    #4 in Guadalajara
    Historic Homes/Mansions, Museums, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Historic Homes/Mansions, Museums, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Instituto Cultural de Cabanas is an architectural gem – done up in neoclassical style – that has earned the coveted UNESCO World Heritage site designation. The massive complex, which used to shelter orphans, the elderly and individuals with disabilities, houses everything from several resplendent courtyards to modernist murals by famed artist José Clemente Orozco, as well as works by a handful of other Mexican artists.

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  • #5
    San Juan de Dios Market
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    #5 in Guadalajara
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Tapatíos (Guadalajara natives) like to say that their San Juan de Dios Market – also called Mercado Libertad – is the world's largest indoor market, but whether that's true or not, the Mercado's modern building is filled with traditional treasures that are worth a perusal. Handfuls of stalls hawk everything from Paracho guitars to leather goods to scrumptious foods like gorditas and candy.

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  • #6
    Guadalajara Zoo
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    #6 in Guadalajara
    Tours, Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Tours, Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Guadalajara Zoo contains the usual suspects – rhinos, giraffes, monkeys and more – but what's unique is that many of the enclosures don't have barriers separating the visitors and the more than 4,000 animals that call the zoo home. This means that giraffes can eat right from visitors' hands and that monkeys can climb all over patrons. The zoo also boasts an aquarium, an area devoted to Australian animals and a herpetarium, among other attractions. What's more, travelers can board a safari truck to see the zoo's collection of African animals or hop on its chair lift, which gives you a bird's-eye view of the zoo's flora and fauna.

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  • #7
    Parque Agua Azul
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    #7 in Guadalajara
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    This park's green space is consistently enjoyed by kids on the playgrounds, families watching performances at the outdoor concert stage called la concha (the shell) and recreational footballers playing pick-up games. There's also an aviary and a butterfly enclosure, jogging trails, as well as a separate greenhouse for orchids. 

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  • #8
    Tequila Express
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    #8 in Guadalajara
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The travel, tour and tastings are all included on the Tequila Express, a train that transports visitors from Guadalajara through the rolling landscape of agave fields to the Casa Herradura Distillery in the nearby city of Tequila. The family-owned enterprise also offers mariachi entertainment and a buffet lunch. 

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Explore More of Guadalajara

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