20 Things To Do In Guadalajara

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Guadalajara is a beautiful city in Mexico, where tradition meets innovation. This charming city is vibrant and never boring. It is the second-largest city in Mexico and is located in the state of Jalisco, home of Mariachi and tequila. Guadalajara is a city that blends the traditions of old Mexico with hip trends. We live in this constant duality of calm and excitement, traditional and modern, quiet and loud. Because this city is still expanding, you can always find new things to do in Guadalajara. 

I’ve lived in Guadalajara my whole life, and I still haven’t explored all of the nooks and crannies this city offers. I could spend an entire day only talking about the variety of fantastic cuisine you can find here or the vast quantity of bars that offer specialty drinks. My love for this city grows every day. So, whether you visit for a few days or plan to stay a couple of weeks, I’m sure Guadalajara will have something for you.

Guadalajara, Mexico

Things To Do In Guadalajara

1- Walk Around Colonia Americana

best things to do in guadalajara historic centre
Wandering around the historic centre is one of the top things to do in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Colonia Americana is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Guadalajara and is packed with hotels and restaurants housed in beautifully renovated buildings that date back to 1915.

This beautiful central area is where you can walk for hours as it’s filled with cafés, restaurants, bars and antique shops.

Walk through Lopez Cotilla street or Avenue La Paz and get lost in the area.

This is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in the city.

You will be transported into another era with French-style mansions and vintage architecture.

2- Go Bar Hopping

things to do in guadalajara 2012
Looking for cool things to do in Guadalajara? Check these out the bars and nightclubs.

You can find the newest and trendiest bars in Guadalajara in this area, all within walking distance.

For specialty drinks, go to Matilde Mi Amor. Want a tropical Mexican bar? De la O Cantina is the place for you. For a casual bar with excellent tequila, head to Peter Brown.

I recommend hiring an experienced tour guide to show you around for a great time, especially at night.

Guadalajara isn’t a dangerous city but it pays to be cautious and go with someone who knows the area, especially at night.

3- Visit Guadalajara’s Zoo

Going to the zoo may not appeal to everyone, but hear me out.

This zoo started operating in 1988, has around 360 different species of animals and is considered the most important zoo in Latin America as it’s dedicated to the conservation and research of animals.

If you travel with children or you are just an animal lover, you must visit this zoo.

It has different activities like a safari where you can see cageless animals and feed giraffes, go swimming with manatees or walk through a squirrel monkey exhibit.

This zoo has a special place in my heart, I’ve been visiting since I was a kid, and it’s the best feeling to see it grow and only get better and better.

So if you have the opportunity, say hi to all the animals that live there.

Tickets start from $70 pesos for children, and $110 pesos for adults.

Guadalajara Zoo is at C. P.º del Zoológico 600, Huentitán El Alto, 44390 Guadalajara, Jal.

4- Visit An Art Museum

things to do in guadalajara jalisco
Things to do in Guadalajara range from historic to modern in this sprawling city.

Guadalajara has several art museums that exhibit Latin American artists, most of which are free.

My favourite is MUSA, the Museum of the Arts of the University of Guadalajara near Chapultepec, Colonia Americana and other sightseeing attractions like Government Palace.

Another favourite is MAZ, the Museum of Art of Zapopan in the Zapopan neighbourhood in Guadalajara, which has excellent restaurants.

MUSA is at Av Juárez 975, Col Americana, Centro, 44100 Guadalajara, Jal.
MAZ is at Prol. 20 De Noviembre 166, Zapopan, 45100 Zapopan, Jal.

5- Visit Art Galleries

things to do in guadalajara mexico
Exploring the Cabanas Cultural Institute is another of the top things to do in Guadalajara for history and culture.

Explore the different art galleries and support local artists if you enjoy art.

Many cafés allow budding painters to exhibit their projects, and you can take a break while you enjoy art.

Café Benito is a popular place downtown where you can go to enjoy the art gallery, grab a snack or a drink or attend an event.

Cafe Benito is at Av Juárez 451, Centro, 44100 Guadalajara, Jal.

6- Enjoy Via RecreActiva On Sundays

best things to do in guadalajara
One of the things to do in Guadalajara that history lovers will really enjoy is to visit the Cathedral.

Via RecreActiva is a project that promotes the use of bicycles in the city and every Sunday, they close major streets through the city, so you can walk, take a bike, skate or run.

It is a great way to explore the city like a local, especially if you’re travelling with kids.

You can find different activities for all the family in Chapultepec or the Metropolitan Park.

Start your morning early and walk through La Via, have some breakfast in Chapultepec and explore the city on foot.

7- Shop And Eat In Tlaquepaque

things to do in guadalajara Horse drawn carriages
If learning about a place’s history gets you excited, then a fun thing to do in Guadalajara is to explore the city in a horse-drawn carriage.

Tlaquepaque isn’t technically in Guadalajara as it is another city, about 30-minutes from downtown.

If you want to experience a more traditional and vibrant Mexico, you must visit Tlaquepaque.

It’s a world full of artists, pottery, colours, traditional candy and food, all wrapped in an eclectic vibe.

Walk around the shops and art galleries of Jardin Hidalgo, visit traditional candy stores and the pottery museum, or book a guided tour in El Refugio.

There are tons of traditional Mexican restaurants and El Parian is a large patio where you can listen to Mariachi and drink tequila.

Jardin Hidalgo is at Guillermo Prieto S/N, Centro, 45500 San Pedro Tlaquepaque, Jal., Mexico.

8- Drink Guadalajara’s Craft Beer

Craft beer has become popular in Mexico in the last few years. In Guadalajara, there are several excellent local breweries where you can taste their newest creations.

The oldest and most famous is Cerveza Minerva, where you can book a brewery tour, taste a sample and relax in the taproom after the tour.

Cerveza Loba, Cerveza Zorra and Santa Sabina are all located around the same area, and you can enjoy food and beer in their tap rooms.

My favourite is Cerveza Fortuna, located in the city’s outskirts and open on weekends. It has a beautiful garden and they brew an excellent beer.

  • Cerveza Minerva is at Calle Lat. Periferico Sur 4250, Los Periodistas, 45070 Zapopan, Jal.
  • Cerveza Loba is at C. Gregorio Dávila 76, Col Americana, Villaseñor, 44100 Guadalajara, Jal.
  • Cerveza Zorra is at Diag. Golfo de Cortés 4140, Monraz, 44670 Guadalajara, Jal.
  • Cerveza Santa Sabina is at Calle Vidrio 1888, Col Americana, Americana, 44160 Guadalajara, Jal.
  • Cerveza Fortuna is at Carretera Guadalajara-Nogales No. 4380 Anexo a, La Primavera, 45011 Zapopan, Jal.

9- Eat Tortas Ahogadas

things to do in guadalajara tortas ahogadas
Eating tortas ahogadas is one of the delicious things to do in Guadalajara.

In Guadalajara, we love to slather anything and everything in salsa.

We can’t eat without pouring salsa on top of our food, whether it’s tacos, quesadillas, tamales or eggs.

Try tortas ahogadas, a local pork meat sandwich drenched in tomato salsa. You can get different types of meat but pork is the most traditional choice.

Take a bolillo, similar to a baguette, and stuff it with pork, cover it with some tomato salsa, add some lime and pickled onions, and you get a torta ahogada.

Most people don’t enjoy it the first time they try it, but the locals love it. We eat it at brunch time, usually hungover, with some agua fresca or coca-cola.

It’s the perfect cure after a night of partying.

You can try it in different spots throughout the city, and there are vegan options near the downtown area.

10- Watch The Luchas Pro Wrestling

Luchas is a tradition that happens every Tuesday night.

You can see traditional Mexican pro wrestling and have the time of your life.

An easy way to enjoy a match is by booking a tour that will pick you up and drop you off at the Arena Coliseo; some tours even take you to a traditional local bar and include sightseeing.

It is a fun activity for everyone and something you’ll be talking about for months.

Calle Federico Medrano, C. Analco 67, Centro, 44100 Guadalajara, Jal.

11- Take A Train To Tequila

things to do in guadalajara mexico tequila
Going on a day trip to Tequila is one of the fun things to do from Guadalajara.

If you love tequila or just want to experience something truly Mexican, this tour is a must.

Tequila José Cuervo is one of the most traditional distilleries in Jalisco and offers a day tour to the town of Tequila.

It is a beautiful experience, about two hours from Guadalajara, where you get to taste tequila straight from the distillery, visit the fields full of agaves and take a tequila tasting class.

12- Stay In Chapala

Chapala is a town about 40 minutes from Guadalajara, with the biggest lake in Mexico.

What I love about Chapala, besides the weather, are the hot springs.

Book a night in a hot spring hotel as most have spas and views of the lake.

Support the local artists downtown, enjoy some traditional ice cream and drink a giant michelada or book a boat tour around the lake. At least that’s what I do on Sundays.

If you are travelling with kids, spend the day in a waterpark.

13- Eat As Much As You Can

best things to do in guadalajara mex
Eating delicious food is one of the fun things to do in Guadalajara. Quesadillas, anyone?

Guadalajara is the pickiest city in the country, and that’s why only the best restaurants survive here.

You’ll find fantastic food, excellent service and very cool decorations. Although you can find a range of cuisine, I recommend Mexican or Mexican Fusion.

Tipping is expected and around 10 to 15% of the total bill is normal. But, if you have a terrible experience, it’s illegal in Mexico for the restaurant to force you to tip.

My favourites are A Mordidas, Food Tour GDL and JH Food.

14- Enjoy The Nightlife

top things to do in guadalajara at night
There are lots of cool things to do in Guadalajara at night and the city is relatively safe.

Guadalajara’s party areas are Chapultepec, Andares, which is a classy mall with bars and clubs, or the downtown area.

Andares is a bit more expensive, and you need to dress up, while Chapultepec and Colonia Americana have more of a relaxed vibe in the speakeasy bars and clubs.

The downtown area has alternative and underground spots that are more relaxed and cheaper.

There are plenty of LGBTQ+ friendly clubs and bars in Chapultepec and the downtown area too.

Any of the three areas are great options for a great night out and most clubs have a cover fee of between $50 to $250 pesos.

If you are travelling in a group of women, it’s best to stick together throughout the night, especially during the ride back to your hotel.

I’ve gone clubbing lots of times and nothing bad has ever happened, but it’s better be safe than sorry. If you’re travelling alone, I’d recommend going on a group bar hopping tour.

15- Eat At A Birria At Las Nueve Esquinas

cool things to do in guadalajara jericalla dessert
Eating local food like jericalla dessert is one of the cool things to do in Guadalajara.

Las Nueve Esquinas is a small plaza near downtown with traditional houses where nine streets meet.

This spot is famous for its traditional birria restaurants, with many options.

Some days you can enjoy Mariachi while eating, and if you visit in April, you can buy seasonal pitayas (a dragonfruit that grows exclusively in Jalisco).

Zona Centro, 44100 Guadalajara, Jalisco

16- Visit The Acuario Michin

Visiting the aquarium is a great option if you love the ocean, and it’s a beautiful spot where you can see marine life like axolotls, sharks and sea snakes.

There’s an outdoor space with a petting zoo and a food court.

Book a close encounter with sharks for an extra fee if you feel adventurous. This is an excellent option if you are travelling with kids.

Acuario Michin is at C. Mariano Bárcena 990, Zona Centro, 44200 Guadalajara, Jal. 

17- Go Shopping In Tonalá

fun things to do in guadalajara sombrero hats
Guadalajara is a city full of culture and the region is home to Mariachi. So, another thing to do in Guadalajara is to enjoy local culture.

Tonalá is where you can shop for handicrafts and on Thursdays and Sundays, the handicraft market has a huge selection at affordable prices.

Wear walking shoes and have enough water and sunscreen to last a few hours.

If you can’t go on market days, don’t worry, you’ll still find a great selection and prices in the stores.

Tonalá is about 30 minutes from Guadalajara, and just like Tlaquepaque, it isn’t really in Guadalajara but a city of its own.

Tonalá is at Calle 16 de Septiembre 276-298, Tonalá Centro, 45400 Tonalá, Jal. 

18- Go Shopping In A Mall

weird things to do in guadalajara cemetery man and woman with painted faces
Looking for weird things to do in Guadalajara? You’ll find plenty of customs and festivals in this colourful city.

In Guadalajara, there are around 10 huge malls in the city as locals really love to shop.

To experience a bit of local life, go to a mall, walk around the shops, or catch a movie.

Plaza del Sol is the oldest mall in Latin America, built in 1969, and is a fun place with fountains and playgrounds.

Andares is an uptown mall with luxury brands and an excellent dining selection. You can shop, drink cocktails or have dinner in one of the many restaurants.

It has a small lake with koi fish and a playground for the kids. Sometimes, there’s live music but the mall can be packed on the weekends, so avoid the crowds and go on a weekday.

Plaza del Sol is at Av. Adolfo López Mateos Sur 2375, Cd del Sol, 45050 Zapopan, Jal.
Andares is at Blvrd Puerta de Hierro 4965, Puerta de Hierro, 44100 Guadalajara, Jal.

19- See A Show At Teatro Degollado

things to do in guadalajara in november
Another top thing to do in Guadalajara is to visit the Teatro Degollado to see a show and admire its ornate architecture.

Degollado Theatre is a beautiful building near the cathedral that offers various shows weekly.

The architecture and the design of this theatre are exquisite and classical. The ceiling inside the theatre has a fantastic painting worth seeing.

Most events are on the weekend and you can book tickets online.

Teatro Degollado is at C. Degollado s/n, Zona Centro, 44100 Guadalajara, Jal.

20- Picnic At Parque Metropolitano

things to do in guadalajara la minerva
The statue of the Roman Goddess Minerva is a Guadalajara landmark.

Guadalajara’s Metropolitan Park is a beautiful park where you can enjoy different outdoor activities.

Relax near the lake, rent a bike, exercise in the park, or even make some carne asada.

A great way to enjoy the park-like a local is to bring your own food and have a picnic but alcohol is prohibited.

You’ll find local shops where you can buy snacks, water, ice cream and even some toys.

Visit on Sundays with La Via, and some weekends you’ll find live music, dance classes or different activities.

Entry is free but you’ll most likely pay about five pesos to use the restrooms.

Parque Metropolitano is at Av. Ludwig Van Beethoven 58000, La Estancia, 45020 Zapopan, Jal.

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Carla is a Mexican with a passion for travel, food and beer. Currently living in Guadalajara and studying for a Beer Sommelier certificate, she passes her time reading, exploring the city and planning for beer festival trips. She has travelled from a young age to places like Manhattan, Vancouver, Tokyo, across Europe and through Mexico. She enjoys planning trips, travelling and, most importantly, the stories, knowledge and experiences gained from her travels.