Guadalajara is Mexico's second largest city and is located in the central region of the country. Nicknamed "The Pearl of the West", this magnificent city has deep colonial roots, particularly evidenced by the city center's cross layout. Here, the city's main cathedral sits center with four surrounding plazas. In the afternoon, street performers and food vendors emerge around the main plaza, Plaza Tapatia, to entertain and entice tourists and locals alike. This neighborhood is also known as Centro Historico, the Historic Center, and is peppered with stunning colonial architecture that now houses museums, hotels, bars, and government offices.
To experience more modern and fashionable restaurants, coffeehouses, and nightclubs, head a few blocks west of Centro Historico to the Zona Minerva district. This vibrant neighborhood is arguably the beating pulse of Guadalajara. You'll enjoy some of the region's trendiest restaurants, bars, art galleries, and historic relics. Or, if you love folk-art shopping and want to experience more local Guadalajara, head to the more mellow suburbs of Tlaquepaque and Tonala.
Guadalajara has long served as one of Mexico's strongest cultural hubs, having absorbed, adapted, and contributed to the many traditions originating from neighboring towns and regions. In fact, many of Mexico's most well-known symbols and cultural icons can be traced back to Guadalajara and its surroundings. This includes the broad sombrero, tequila, the Mexican Hat Dance, rodeos, and mariachi music. Every year, the city hosts an international Mariachi festival in September.
The city's outstanding cuisine is also a much talked about phenomenon amongst travelers. Enjoy streetside tacos and chili-soaked pork sandwiches before a full dinner in one of the city's famous sit-down restaurants. Or, if you want to create your own meal of locally sourced produce, head down to the city's Libertad Market, the biggest public market in the entirety of the Western Hemisphere. Not only will you find fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats here, but spend an afternoon combing the booths for beautiful artisan products such as homemade pottery, leather goods, furniture from locally-sourced wood, and so much more.
When to visit
The climate of this region is mild all year long. Enjoy winter lows of around 68 degrees Fahrenheit and summer highs around 92 degrees. However, to beat the rainy season, the best time to go is during October and November. But to get the best deals, visit between March and June.
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