Explore Guadalajara, Mexico

What to see in Guadalajara, Mexico

Centro Historico Sights

Degollado Theater

Guadalajara Cathedral Construction started in the 1560’s and took about 50 years to complete. The current towers were replaced on 1854 by architect Manuel Gomez Ibarra after an earthquake destroyed the originals in 1818. While visiting the Cathedral a must see is the mural “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin” by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. The cathedrals architecture is an eclectic mix of gothic, neoclassical and palladian architecture.

Plaza of the Crosses. Four Plazas shaped like a cross with the Cathedral at the center. Any of these offer a nice spot to walk through or rest in for a few minutes. Most have plenty of food vendors nearby.

Plaza Guadalajara west of (in front of) the cathedral has a circular fountain and an outdoor restaurant, under the fountain there is an underground comercial centre which offers all kinds of goods for sale including fruit, beverages and even jewellery.

Plaza de Armas south of the cathedral it offers one of the best views of the cathedral and the Palacio de Gobierno (Governor’s Office). It features a French Ironwork bandstand bought by former mexican president Porfirio Diaz during 1885 and four States on the corners of the place symbolizing the Four Seasons. The bandstand serves as the performing arena for marching bands but due to its recent use for all kinds of political (soap-box) manifestations it’s guarded by the police 24/7.

Plaza de la Liberación east of (behind) the cathedral it features two large cup-shaped fountains and a gigantic sculpture of Miguel Hidalgo, the man who signed the Mexican Declaration of Independence in the current Palacio de Gobierno. It also serves as an atrium for the oldest surviving theatre in the city: “Teatro Degollado”, and it’s the usual spot for massive free concerts.

Rotonda de los Jalicienses Ilustres north of the cathedral it serves as a mausoleum for important men and women born in Jalisco, it’s bright and busy atmosphere of the park around it contrasts with the serious aspect of the Mausoleum itself. On the southern side (across the street from the cathedral) is the bus stop for the previously mentioned TuriBus.

Palacio de Gobierno (Governor’s Office)(east of the cathedral) This is the historical center of the government of the State of Jalisco. Today it is mostly visited for the murals painted there by José Clemente Orozco. The most famous of these is a huge portrait of Miguel Hidalgo in the vault of the old chambers of the state council.

Museo Regional de Guadalajara 60 Liceo St. Pleasant museum to spend a few hours in, especially on a hot day when you need some time out of the sun. It features a Mammoth skeleton found on the nearby Chapala Lake.

Mercado Corona Avenida Hidalgo just steps from Plaza Guadalajara is a tourist oriented market that was completely rebuilt after a 2014 fire and reopened in 2016. It features a variety of foods and souvenir items, and the top floor has a wide selection of medicinal herbs and natural health products.

Mercado Libertad, known by locals as Mercado San Juan de Dios because of the river that used to pass through the area, a very busy multi-storey enclosed market, with hundreds of vendors it is the largest in Latinamerica. The market also houses a very popular and very good food court featuring everything from seafood to local favorites like birria (goat stew) and pozole (hominy and pork stew). Great place to get souvenirs. Unfortunately it isn’t the safest place in Mexico, so make sure to always keep a look out for the purse snatchers and also make sure to go before the late afternoon.

Instituto Cultutal Cabañas, further east from Plaza de la Liberación, it is a cultural and art center where the fresco paintings of Jose Clemente Orozco are exhibited and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. Free in Tuesdays.

Plaza de los Mariachis in a small triangular plaza in Guadalajara where you will find several mariachis band who will offer their services for a small fee. This is where the famous “Mexican Hat Dance” (Jarabe Tapatío) was born. Mariachis will serenade you while you eat at one of the small cafes or restaurants at a regular charge per song.

El Panteon de Belen (Belen Cemetery) is an old cemetery that dates back to 1786. It has been converted into a museum that is full of folklore and is full of interesting haunted cemetery stories. There is also a night tour that many people are afraid to take.

Sights on the West side of downtown – Minerva – Chapultepec

Templo Expiatorio, Madero at Diaz de Leon – A finely detailed neo-gothic cathedral built over decades starting in the late 19th century. There is a mechanical clock in the bell tower that features a procession of the 12 Apostles at 9am, 12 noon and 6 pm. The interior of the church features fine collection stained glass windows. You’ll also find a lot of food stalls, vendors and live performances at the plaza Expiatorio every Sunday afternoon (it starts at around 6 pm). The surroundings also feature a lot of bars and restaurants.

University of Guadalajara Arts Museum (Museo de las Artes or MUSA), Avenida Juárez 975 at Enrique Díaz de León (Metro Juárez) – An art museum featuring changing multiple art exhibitions belonging to the University of Guadalajara. In the auditorium inside the museum you can admire 2 murals of José Clemente Orozco. A guided tour can be arranged. Opens Tuesdays to Sundays 10am-6pm. free entrance.

Arcos Vallarta, Vallarta at Glorieta Minerva – A Romanesque double arch which once signaled the western edge of the city. There are nice views to be had from the top and interesting murals to view on the way up. The municipal government announced plans to open a restaurant at the top but nothing has been done about it so far. It still is a beautiful sight from the outside and at night it is illuminated in different color themes.

Glorieta Minerva This glorieta (traffic circle) showcases a giant statue of the Roman goddess Minerva (one of the most important symbols of Guadalajara), surrounded by a fountain. It’s sometimes shut down to traffic and opened to pedestrians when there’s a major city celebration — such as when the Chivas football team wins a major game.

Glorieta Chapalita, Guadalajara at Av. Las Rosas – Lovely neighborhood gathering place. On Sundays, local artists show off their creations while local residents show off dogs. Big celebrations here on national holidays.

Niños Héroes Monument to six teenage military cadets who died defending Mexico City‘s military academy from U.S. forces during the Mexican–American War.

Avenida Chapultepec is a wide, pedestrian-friendly boulevard running north of the Niños Héroes monument. The centre of Guadalajara’s trendy Colonia Americana, the street is lined with trees, fountains, cafes, bars, and shops. The wide pedestrian boulevard in the middle of the street hosts the famous “tianguis” (flea market) every afternoon and evening along with musicians and dancers. On Sunday mornings and afternoons, the street is closed to traffic to host hundreds of people on foot and bicycle.

Sights on the edge of downtown

Barranca de Oblatos, Northern terminus of Calz Independencia Norte. This is the forested gorge of the Río Lerma-Santiago. There are two locations with fine vistas of the gorge. At the Northern end of Calz Independencia is the Parque Mirador which not only offers vistas of the gorge, but hiking opportunities as well. Also the Guadalajara Zoo, East of Calz Independencia just past the Periférico, has wonderful vistas of gorge. You can reach both via Macrobus (stops Mirador and Zoológico) which runs along Calz Independencia.

Zoológico – Guadalajara Zoo. The Guadalajara zoo is a modern zoological park worth visiting both for its collection of animals, its safari ride, and its views of the Barranca de Oblatos. Highlights include a safari ride, reptile house, nocturnal environment exhibit, a tropical forest simulated environment, and more.

Alcalde Park (Parque Alcalde), Jesús García Street between Santa Mónica and Mariano de la Bárcena (Metro Mezquitán) – A well maintained urban park close to downtown featuring an artificial lake with paddleboats, ziplines, play areas, bike path, green areas, and picnic areas. No pets. Open daily 7am-7pm. free entrance, nominal fee for paddleboat rentals and zipline.

Acuario Michín, Mariano de la Bárcena 990 (Metro Mezquitán) – A modern aquarium right next to the Alcalde Park (no access from the park). Features marine species from around Mexico and the world. A highlight is a shark tank at the end of the tour. Opens Mondays to Fridays 8am-8pm, Saturdays and Sundays 9am to 8pm. The ticket office closes at 6pm.

Parque Agua Azul, East of Calz Independencia about 1.5 km South of the Centro. Open air concerts, a butterfly enclosure, an aviary and plenty of green to enjoy. This is a good place to take a break from the often dry, dusty and crowded environment of the city. The park houses a museum of paleontology and there is a museum of regional archeology just across Calz Independencia. The 1.5 km from the centro to the park is quite walkable, but it is also accessible via Macrobus along the Calz Independencia (stop Agua Azul).

Parque Mirador has beautiful views of Sierra Madre. It has pretty gardens and benches are scattered around the park which lets you sit and enjoy the different views the park has to offer.

El Parque Colomos has two beautiful gardens, Japanese and Cacti. This park is family friendly since it has goldfish ponds and that allows children to feed the fish. The park also offers horseback riding right in front of the entrance. This park is a beautiful place to take wedding pictures in or a special event.