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Things to do in Guadalajara

Palacio de Gobierno Palacio de Gobierno Guadalajara, Mexico
The Government Palace or Palacio de Gobierno is one of the best attractions in the city with beautiful wall murals by one of the nation's finest artists, Jose Clemente Orozco. The structure itself was completed in 1774, and is the historical site where Padre Miguel Hidalgo abolished slavery in the country. The palace shouldn't be too difficult to find since it is guarded all day, at every entrance to help preserve the beauty and condition of this marvelous piece of history. There is a gorgeous large inner court with numerous columns and arches, as can be seen in the image to the right, all built in the colonial Mexican style. The central court is open and uncovered to allow light to filter into the inner rooms, as well as modify the already splendor of the courtyard and numerous plants and trees located here. There are tours available with many guides speaking in English if you prefer that to Spanish and questions are encouraged and enjoyed; showing these people that you are interested in their history and relics. Over the main stairway there is a huge and marvelous mural, over 1300 feet long in which Padre Miguel Hidalgo is carrying a fiery torch that signifies the Mexican Revolution. Like many of Orozco's paintings this mural is quite powerful and very moving; causing you to take pause and really enjoy the works that were produced by this very talented painter. There was another building here that was destroyed by the earthquake in 1750, but rebuilt with golden stone facades and inaugurated in 1790 by Antonio Villa Urrutia. The main entrance is located on two levels, with a wonderful stairway, and there is an unusual bucket shot clock that was added in 1885. The columns increase in size from the bottom to the top and are crowned with laurel flowers, as well as gargoyles shaped in armor in the front corners of the rectangular towers that sit on both levels. There is an oracle on the first that was used to fire the cannon and a balcony on the second that wraps around the structure with cornice and windows spread evenly around it. In this courtyard, in 1858, President Benito Juarez was almost assassinated on March 13.

La Rojena - Jose Cuervo Distillery
Jose Cuervo Distillery Guadalajara, MexicoThe Jose Cuervo distillery is located in Guadalajara, Mexico and produces the finest tequila in the world, with the Jose Cuervo Especial brand selling more than any other brand in the world. In 1758, Antonio de Cuervo got a land grant from the king of Spain that was located in the Mexican state of Jaliso, and he began building a small factory there. When Jose Maria Guadalope Cuervo grew up, he would use the land to construct his own factory to distill tequila in 1795 and later called the Fabrica La Rojena. The product wasn't exported to the United States until 1873, and then in 1900, Jose Cuervo Labastida changed the name to Jose Cuervo and that brand has become world famous today. The company is owned by the Cuervo family heirs, the Beckmanns.  Currently the company is run by Juan-Domingo "Dobel" Beckmann that is now the sixth-generation of Cuervos to lead the company, and besides the famous label that has sold for centuries, he had developed niche brands like the Maestro Dobel Diamond Tequila which is a luxury or high end hand made tequila. The main part of Jose Cuervo tequila is 51% mixto tequila which means that only 51% is fermented from the sugars of the agave plant and the rest is fermented with cheaper sugar sources. The Tradicional and Reserva Familia are 100% distilled agave plant tequilas. A few of the brands have done good at the international spirit ratings competitions, like the Reserva de la Familia brand received the gold medal at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. 

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Local Restaurants in Guadalajara

Birrieria Las 9 Esquinas
Menu; goat birria is meat prepared with variety of spices, cooked over fire all night, served with a consomme; lamb barbacoa is served on pulpy leaf of maguey, lamb meat is ripened with roasted garlic & onion, cooked over low fire; machito is slices of goat tripe, mixed with ground chorizo sausage, fried on hot plate, served alone or with birria broth; cochinita pibil is colorful pieces of tender pork, prepared with special dough made of seed known as achiote, with wonderful spices added after marinating the meat in sour oranges, picked fresh and then wrapped in banana leaf; mole poblano is chicken simmered in smooth sauce, prepared with toasted tortillas and chocolate tablets, chili spices, cinnamon, brown sugar; mole verde is sauce made from green sesame seeds, lettuce, tomato, garlic, herbs, little chunks of pork, two chilis, serrano & poblano; cheek chicharron in red sauce is prepared in sauce made from tomato, small green tomatoes & guindilla pepper, gristle is soaked through juicy with fresh spice of mirasol pepper; tinga poblana is shredded pork, cooked with small pieces of chorizo sausage, fried tomato & green tomato, chipotle & brown sugar; chicken enchiladas in green sauce; chicken enchiladas in mole poblano; fried chicken with potatoes; cheeseburger with fries; melted cheese; melted cheese with chorizo; 3 tacos; 3 quesadillas; guacamole with tortilla chips; French fries.


Lamb Barbacoa Birrieria Las 9 Esquinas Guadalajara, Mexico


Tinga Poblano Birrieria Las 9 Esquinas Guadalajara, Mexico




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Museo Huichol Wixarica de Zapopan Museo Huichol Wixarica de Zapopan Guadalajara, Mexico
The Museo Huichol Wixarica de Zapopan is located in Guadalajara, Mexico and contains wonderful information about the Huichol culture and religion. These northern Jalisco Indians are well known for their fierceness and independence, as well as their beautiful beadwork and yarn paintings. The museum has many mannequins wearing elaborately embroidered clothing, that is for sale, on both women and men with bilingual cards explaining the piece; with other items like prayer arrows, beaded works and something called god's eyes. Many people come here often to spend the entire day looking over the marvelous inventory and learning as much as is possible about these unique Native Mexicans that also live in the neighboring states of Nayarit and Zacatecas. The museum has a permanent display of handcrafts made by the Huichol Indians and other tribes as well, with many informational books about the legends and stories of these interesting tribes that were here long before the Spanish conquistadors and numerous ones still live and exist much the same way that they have for thousands of years.

The Magic Top (Trumpo Magico)
Magic Top Guadalajara, MexicoThe El Trompo Magico, or Magic Top or more precisely, the Magic Spin is a wonderful interactive museum that was created for children expressly to encourage them to learn by having fun doing it, which is becoming the norm for many exciting venues for children and perhaps the best way to teach them the necessary information they need to know about sciences, history and cultural heritages of different countries. It is somewhere that children can come and express themselves and their questions with their piers and not some adult who perceives what the child is trying to discover, and then giving them an answer based on their knowledge, which invariably is very different that what the child inquired of them. The center offers a marvelous opportunity for the children to learn new ideas and innovations that assist them in the road to adulthood and knowledge. Set in the wonderful state of Jalisco, in Guadalajara, Mexico, the museum houses four distinct areas of interest; contemplative displays, advanced technology, educational foundations and an interactive aspect to learning these various tools and ideas. Using the main themes of art, workshops, science, culture and conferencing, with the integration of interaction, the children explore the various cultures of the region by studying through playful activities, the science and art of those cultures, which in turn helps them to learn and understand the social concerns, the environmental concerns and the historical remedies or solutions that have been discovered by either ancient Native Mexicans or modern day scientists. All in the name of fun and education. The center has a snack bar, a gift shop, a nurses station, plenty of parking and parcel posting; with of course, all the information that you could possibly think of or ask for.

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Regional Museum of GuadalajaraRegional Museum of Guadalajara, Mexico
The Jalisco Regional Museum in Guadalajara, Mexico was originally a seminary constructed in the early 18th century as the Seminario Conciliar de San Jose, and then in 1861, and up until 1914, it was the location of a school named Liceo de Varones. In 1918, it would be transformed into the Museum of Fine Arts, and in 1976, it was remodeled once more to become the regional museum, housing beautiful and exotic works from around the area, like the mysterious piece to the right, which is supposed to resemble a man seated, concentrating on something in this world or another. It houses 16 galleries that showcase its permanent collections, with fourteen of them being separated into paleontology, archaeology and pre-history, since this area was settled centuries before the United States and its ancient cultures more prominent and significant in the continent. Their prize piece is an entire skeleton of a wooly mammoth that is an excellent example of the historic beast with huge long tusks. There are galleries devoted to paintings and another to history, with beautiful works by Juan Correa, Jose de Ibarra and Cristobal de Villapando. The bottom floor contains the enormous mammoth skeleton which sits in the natural history gallery that is both interesting and exciting. The museum is one of the high points in the city, encouraging you to learn more about the city's exciting history and the cultures that surround it. With more than 1.5 million people, it is the second largest metropolitan area in Mexico, with 22 museums located here to help you discover more about our southern neighbors and the people whose culture is much older than our own. Perhaps a visit there might help Americans to understand why these poor people so desperately need to leave their country and come here for work, leaving their families behind, but constantly sending money to them. It is a rich and historical culture, with many things to learn about them and this museum is sure to help with that.  There are also a large number of local arts and crafts, both old and new, since many of the traditions of the ancient culture and way of life is still pertinent to the new. A place where the past and the present have found a way to co-exist, as well as educating the visitor about both cultures, which seem to go hand in hand.

Centro Cultural Jaime Torres Bodet
Centro Cultural Jaime Torres Bodet Guadalajara, MexicoThe Centro Cultural Jaime Torres Bodet is located in Guadalajara, Mexico and houses a theater and art gallery. One of the most favorite places in the city, the center has organized more than 400 events since opening in 1991, that include; musical performances, theatrical plays, festivals, concerts and much more. The center contains galleries that are devoted to sculpture, paintings and photography.  The center originally opened as a municipal art gallery in 1965, but closed due to financial difficulties in 1967, and remained abandoned until 1991, on the 449 th anniversary of the city. There is a marvelous bust of Don Jaime Torres Bodet by the main entrance to the center. The outstanding auditorium has comfortable seating with performances in guitar, piano, dance and other specials with temporary exhibitions being held here for approximately one to two months at a time.  Jaime Torres Bodet was a well known Mexican writer and politician that served in the executive cabinet of three Presidents in Mexico, and a native of Mexico City, as well as serving as director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization from 1948 to 1952, which is also known as UNESCO. 

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Museo Regional de Ceramica de TlaquepaqueMuseo Regional de Ceramica de Tlaquepaque, Mexico
The Regional Museum of Ceramics in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico is located near Guadalajara, and opened in 1954, after the state government purchased the former estate of wealthy and well known rancher, Francisco Velarde, and was nicknamed the "Golden donkey". The magnificent house is a neoclassical style structure that was constructed in the 17th century, and the museum is housed throughout the various rooms which contain beautiful specimens of ceramics from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries that were hand crafted by local artisans from the small cities and towns of Jalisco state. Francisco was part of the government of General Santa Anna and was executed for his part in the Second Empire. The museum preserves and showcases the more traditional ceramic from Atemajac Valley and many pieces have been awarded prizes in the National Ceramics contests. There are marvelous collections of blown glass and miniature clay figures that are depicted in traditional scenes. The museum was started by the National Indigenous Institute and the Institute of Anthropology and History in 1954, and was inaugurated by the government in 1998. Sitting on the wonderful Independence Street, this beautiful hacienda is a reminder of past glory days of wealth and elegance, with the familiar colors of the city and the corridors emitting the old smells of the earth that is still found in the jugs that line the walls with new plants and flowers. There are nine galleries that house outstanding vessels of ceramic, masks, figures of unrealistic Indian roots, horns, flutes, pottery and many decorative arts. The hacienda will take you back to the years when Mexico was a nation that had great wealth and vast ranches, and wide open spaces as far as the eye could see. One gallery is devoted to the magnificent Huichol art and is especially popular with the museum's visitors.

Hospicio Cabanas
Hospicio Cabanas Guadalajara, MexicoThe Hospicio Cabanas that is located in Guadalajara, Mexico is a World Heritage Site and one of the oldest and biggest hospital complexes that exists in Spanish America and was started in 1791 by the Bishop of Guadalajara so that the various functions of a almshouse, orphanage, workhouse and hospital could be contained in one area. The name comes from Juan Ruiz de Cabanas, the appointed see of Guadalajara in 1796, who commissioned Manuel Tolsa to design the building, a great and well known architect from Mexico City. A see is the Episcopalian version of a bishop and known as a seat, or the seat of authority; however, it is affiliated with the Roman Catholic church since the pope is also known as the Holy See. The complex's design was inspired by such classic styles as the Les Invalides in Paris and the El Escorial by Madrid. The structure measures over 500 feet long and 450 feet wide and has single story buildings that are up to 22 feet high, all constructed on one level, so that the infirm could be moved from place to place, like the old, children and sick, since they didn't have any elevators as of that period. When Cabanas passed on in 1823, the construction still continued on until 1829, with parts of it being used for a barracks during the mid 19th century, and the remainder of it still a hospital until 1980; then the Cabanas Cultural Institute with affiliated schools of arts and crafts arrived and moved in. One of the main features of the splendid interior are the huge frescoes that were created by Jose Clemente Orozco, which includes one of his most famous works, the Man of Fire that was started in 1936 and finished in 1939; it is the image to the left. There is a video game called Super Street Fighter 2 that has the character T. Hawk's stage being based here.

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Guadalajara CathedralMetropolitan Cathedral Guadalajara, Mexico
The Guadalajara Cathedral or Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady is found in Guadalajara, Mexico, and is the Roman Catholic cathedral of the archdiocese of Guadalajara and a minor basilica constructed in the renaissance style of architecture with neo-gothic towers. The original cathedral was constructed in 1541, on the site of the current Templo de Santa Maria de Gracia, which was made of adobe and had a thatched roof. In 1574, while the church was having mass, neighbors fired their weapons into the air, which resulted in the church catching fire and burning it with substantial damages. The new church was designed by master architect Martin Casillas, but the work labored along because there weren't sufficient funds to complete it. Finally, in 1618, it was finished and the blessed sacrament was taken from the old church and brought to the new one. In 1818, an earthquake rumbled through the city and caused the towers and dome to collapse, but these were rebuilt soon enough, enough so that in 1849, when another earthquake arrived and destroyed them once more. Manuel Gomez Ibarra designed the next new ones, which were completed in three years and cost 33,521 pesos. After being finished in 1854, Pope Pius XII elevated the cathedral to a minor basilica, although the beautiful church did and is still in imminent danger from the earthquakes that has continued with some regularity since back then. Damage occurred in the earthquake of 1932, 1957, 1979, 1985, 1995 and 2003; that caused a slit to open on the north tower and some minor structural damage to the dome; neither of which has been repaired or replaced. It houses altars that have been dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, Our Lady of Sorrows, the Virgin of Zapopan who is the patron saint of the city, St. Thomas Aquinas, Our Lady of Guadalope, St. Christopher, St. John of God, St. Nicolas and Saint Dominic, with the main altar made of silver and marble. There are magnificent examples of stained glass that came here from France. It also houses the relics of St. Innocent and the remains of three cardinals, as well as numerous former bishops; and the heart of a former President. 

Basilica de Zapopan
Basilica de Zapopan Guadalajara, MexicoThe Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan and the abbey of Our Lady of Expectation of Zapopan are part of a Franciscan sanctuary that was constructed in the middle of Zapopan, a suburb of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. It is owned by the Franciscan province of Sts. James and Francis that cover the states of Jalisco, Zacaetas, Monterrey and Guanajuato. The abbey contains the Franciscan order of friars minor, and used by the Third Order, the Franciscan sisters, Capuchin, the Clarisse and the Society of Saint Francis; as well as working with the Franciscan Youth of Roch and the Dominicans. It has become the most popular sanctuary in Western Mexico and contains a wooden Virgin that arrived here from Spain in the 16th century, and is of a considerable valued artifact of medieval origin.  The Virgin of Zapopan is also called Our Lady of Expectation, or La Generala or the Zapopanita, and in 1734 she was made the patroness of lightning and storms, staying in Guadalajara from June 13 to October 12 and after the nation became independent in 1821, she was made the patroness of the state. In 1942, she was canonically crowned in a ceremony that also included giving her the keys to the city of Guadalajara. Every year, a pilgrimage is made from the Guadalajara Cathedral to the Basilica of Zapopan and is the third most important such journey in the nation and is about a mile's distance. Every dawn on October 12, a procession of lay Catholics, priests, pre-Columbian dancers, seminarians and mendicants carry a statue of the Virgin Mary from the cathedral to the basilica, which is accompanied by over 3 million people and includes a gala festival with most of the people from both cities and ends with a mass in the plaza that sits outside the basilica; as well as traditional dances and night time fireworks.

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