Top 5 Things to Do on a Weekend Trip to Guadalajara, Mexico - Intentional Travelers
Top 5 Places to Visit in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico | Intentional Travelers

16 Aug Top 5 Things to Do on a Weekend Trip to Guadalajara, Mexico

When searching for the best places to visit and things to do in a new city, we’re partial to the recommendations of Peace Corps Volunteers. That’s why we’re pleased to bring you today’s guest post about Guadalajara from Autumn Salamack, an environment volunteer for Peace Corps in Mexico.

In 2015, Autumn had a transformative moment during a social justice training when this question came up: how can you really understand different cultures and perspectives when you’ve spent the majority of your life surrounded by people who look and think like you? We love her response: “I decided it was time to take a risk, see a new part of the world, learn a new language and jump in feet first on a cultural adventure with the Peace Corps.”

She’s been living and serving in Mexico for about a year and a half now. We’re excited to share this guest post of top things to do in Guadalajara from her travels.

Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico, and the birthplace for tequila and mariachi music.  The city has a cosmopolitan vibe with food and residents from all over the world.

You could spend a week or more in the city and surrounding areas to learn how tequila is made, purchase hand-painted pottery in Tonalá, or go kayaking on Lake Chapala, the largest freshwater lake in Mexico.  However, if you’ve only got a few days in the city, here are your top tips to get a heaping spoonful of the flavor of Guadalajara.

Guadalajara Museums

There are several museums in the historic center of Guadalajara (known as el Centro) that are worthy of a visit.  At the top of the list is the Hospicio Cabañas, a UNESCO World Heritage site that houses murals by José Clemente Orozco and changing art exhibits.  Plan 1-2 hours to explore the museum before heading out the front door to purchase some tasty ice cream and visit a large promenade with fountains, sculptures, the famous Silver District and the San Juan de Dios Mercado.

Make sure you also visit el Museo de las Artes Universidad.  This museum houses the most wonderful sculpture of a giant, wispy human head ever created.

Outdoor Art in Guadalajara

Guadalajara is home to a vibrant art scene, especially in el Centro where you can find interactive art pieces, bronze statues, the iconic “Guadalajara” welcome signs, and great street art around every corner.

Elegant, carved kiosks populate many public plazas and historic buildings, showcasing art from years past.  Check out the Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres, el Teatro Degollado, el Palacio de Govierno, the Catedral Metropolitana and the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Zapopan for some architectural delights.

Take time stroll in el Centro and the surrounding residential neighborhoods, as you never know what great art you’ll find!

Chapultepec Avenue

I discovered Chapultepec Avenue on my first trip to Guadalajara and felt like I had entered a super-cool, slightly European zone.

This is the hippest neighborhood in Guadalajara with a bountiful collection of different restaurants, cafes and bars to keep you well-fed and hydrated at any hour of the day.  However, the best part of Chapultepec Avenue is the pedestrian mall that runs down the middle of the street with fountains, sculptures, benches and trees that provide much needed shade.

If you’re lucky, you’ll visit on a day when local artisans are selling local coffee, hand-made jewelry, clothing and art at prices that can’t be beat.

Note: on Sundays, the avenue is closed to cars making it a haven for runners, cyclists and skateboarders.

Tlaquepaque

Located a quick 15-minute Uber or bus ride from the heart of el Centro, Tlaquepaque offers quaint, high-end shopping and restaurant options in a beautiful setting.

Tlaquepaque is a shopper’s paradise where you can find hand-made artisan goods at all price ranges.  I found a great woven tunic for 100 pesos and an intricately beaded clutch for 120 pesos.

Head for Calle Independencia, which is closed to cars, and take advantage of the live music and drink specials at local restaurants before heading back into the heart of the city.

One of the world’s best Airbnb apartments is in Guadalajara!

Looking for a super modern apartment with sweeping views of Guadalajara and a central location for hitting up el Centro and Chapultepec Avenue?  Then this “Spectacular New Apartment in Circulo Francés” is the one for you!

This is the best Airbnb I have ever stayed at, and the in-house washing machine and dryer were heaven-sent after a week traveling on the road.  The apartment includes a huge balcony (perfect for watching the sunset), a full kitchen, recycling bins, high-end furniture straight from the showroom, two bathrooms and a huge, comfortable bed.

Perhaps the best part? It’s quiet, which is something to treasure in the second largest city in Mexico.

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