The purple jewel-toned jacaranda trees were bursting all over the city making it look like a water coloring painting you might find at one of the Mexican markets. It was early spring in Guadalajara and a perfect time to visit.
Historically known for tequila and mariachi music, Guadalajara is Mexico’s second largest city. But today, it’s so much more than that. Trendy restaurants and shops line the streets in walkable and charming districts like Colonia Americana and Colonia Lafayette. Mod, boutique hotels like Love It Hotel and Casa Fayette welcome travelers with well-designed spaces and poolside cocktails.
Guadalajara is still a big, chaotic city, but you can definitely find pockets of calm. It’s what I love about cities — they offer a taste of all sides.
In the center, take time to explore the tremendous Instituto Cultural de Cabañas, a Unesco World Heritage Site, with its rotating exhibits and beautiful,modernist murals by José Clemente Orozco. The bursting Mercado Libertad is a huge market downtown with not only produce and food, but also crafts, jewelry, shoes, belts, lucha libre masks, and some random mystical potions.
The Food of Guadalajara
For me, as always, a standout in Guadalajara is the food. From delicious street food like the torta ahogada (drowned sandwich) and tacos al pastor to modern fusion food at places like Anita Li and Hueso, Guadalajara is poised to be a great foodie destination in Mexico.
For a taste of more culture and some shopping, spend an afternoon in nearby Tlaquepaque, which is just south of Guadalajara proper. Stroll the sun-kissed cobblestone streets, ducking in and out of the many cute shops for handicrafts and galleries like that of famous Mexican artist and sculptor, Sergio Bustamante.
See a Lucha Libre Show
For a fun night, head to a Lucha Libre show, the infamous professional wrestling known for its colorful masks, high-flying moves, and cheesy, telenovela-style plot lines.
Sometimes the crowd is even more entertaining than the luchadores themselves with their screams and chants. Sunday nights are a bit tamer as family nights or you can go on Tuesday night for all the crazy. Tickets are about $10 for a night of matches at Arena Coliseo.
Ride the Tequila Express
Taking a ride on a tequila train is one of the most fun and unique things to do here. We rode the Jose Cuervo Tequila Express to the town of tequila, the home of Jose Cuervo. With tastings, food, and views along the way, it’s an entertaining experience and you’ll learn more about tequila than you ever thought.
Video: What to do in Guadalajara
Guadalajara is a city for all the senses — the color, the music, the flavors, and the warm air on your skin. Enjoy the sights and sounds in this video on what to do in Guadalajara:
Disclosure: I was a guest of Visit Guadalajara. As always all opinions are my own.