Where to stay in Guadalajara, the land of tequila and mariachi
With origins as far back as 1531, the second-largest city of Mexico is a standing example of central-American tradition meeting modern metropolis expectations, creating a melting pot of culture and technology. The city of Guadalajara is also part of IEEE’s “Smart Cities”, a program dedicated to uniting major cities into research and development of smart technological solutions in fields such as energy, communication, health, etc.
This article will help you choose where to stay in Guadalajara.
The Guadalajara metropolitan area comprises of the city center and seven other municipalities:
- Tlajomulco de Zuñiga
- El Salto
- Ixtlahuacán de Los Membrillos
With this in mind, here are our recommended areas to stay in Guadalajara:
|Center Guadalajara (Centro)||Best for first-timers|
|Zapopan||Best for modern nightlife visits|
|Tlaquepaque||Best for artistic/bohemian crowd|
Public transportation, getting around Guadalajara
If you chose any of the locations we’ve listed, the most important things should be within walking distance from you. Alternatively, here are four ways you can get around Guadalajara:
Guadalajara has a total of 178 bus lines and the majority passes through the city center. Luckily, the Moovit app can help you understand their routes easily. A standard bus ticket will cost between 6 and 10 Pesos ($0.45-0.80)
Although taxies in Guadalajara are safe for tourists to use, they can be pretty inconvenient. The prices vary heavily depending on where you’re being picked up, where you’re going and the time of year. The average starting fee is around 30 Pesos ($1.6) and the price of one kilometer is usually around 10 Pesos ($0.55), although some taxies will try to bargain with tourists to get a better price. A half-an-hour ride within city areas should not cost you more than 150 Pesos ($8). The price is increased by up to 40% for outer city areas and 15% for the night tariff.
UberX is available and safe to use. Travelers that enjoy the comfort and convenience of using Uber can rest assured, it provides the same types of advantages compared to taxis, as you’d expect from the service.
There are two main subway lines operating in Guadalajara. A regular ticket should cost around 7 pesos ($ 0.40). Here’s a map of the stations, green representing one train line and blue the other.
Where to stay for first-timers – Centro (Guadalajara city Center)
The city center is a good location to set up base, with lots of things to see and do in the area, and with easy access to the rest of Guadalajara.
What to see and do in Centro Guadalajara?
Cathedral de Guadalajara
The first official city cathedral was a small church built all the way back in 1541. However, in May of 1574, the building caught fire and was severely damaged.
During this time, King Felipe II already commissioned Spanish architect Martin Casillas to build a new cathedral.
It was finally completed in February 1618 and looked mostly the same as it does today.
In 1849, an earthquake shook the region and damaged the cathedral, its towers beyond repair. Reconstruction started shortly after, and the new structures were completed in 1854, after which Pope Pius XII elevated Catedral de Guadalajara to the rank of Minor Basilica.
San Juan de Dios Market
This is the largest indoor marketplace in Latin America, covering a total of 40 000 square meters. The market has 3 levels, all of which have different purposes.
- The first floor has typical marketplace goods such as fresh groceries, sweets, drinks, as well as crafted goods and souvenirs
- The second floor if full of food stalls and restaurants, where both locals and tourists alike come to enjoy cheap, authentic Mexican dishes.
- The third floor is, dedicated to imported goods and modern technology
Many of the vendors are willing to bargain for their price, so don’t be afraid to look around for better prices on the same or similar items.
Where to stay in Central Guadalajara
Affordable price range: One Guadalajara Centro Historico – a colorful, furnished apartment in the center area.
Moderate price range: Victoria Apartment Zona Centro – outstanding for the price and amenities it provides
Luxury price range: Mariott – lux hotel
Where to stay for the nightlife experience – Avenida Chapultepec
People looking for the full-on Mexican nightlife experience, while still being in the heart of the city, should look at areas surrounding Avenida Chapultepec (Obrera/Americana). Located just south-west of the Centro area, this modern neighborhood has plenty of places to go and spend your hard-earned cash, especially at night.
What to see and do at Avenida Chapultepec
This is a live dance event where people come on Chapultepec Avenue, between Lerdo de Tejada and La Paz. The event takes place every Monday from 6:30 pm. For the first hour, people get to learn Salsa and Bachata, then from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., the street dance event takes place. Everyone can participate and it’s completely free, it’s all about coming together to enjoy the evening.
Walk down the Avenue
The avenue is the heart of this area, with plenty of bars, restaurants, clubs, and street food to choose from. Walking down the avenue and absorbing the culture can be an attraction in itself, but wait until you see it lit-up at night.
Jose Cuervo Express
All aboard the Tequila train. Hop on the Jose Cuervo to learn about the origins and production of the world-famous drink. The train leaves from Guadalajara for the town of Tequila, after which the drink was named. Depending on the type of pass you buy, on the train, you’ll be offered different drinks and snacks to enjoy while you travel. At the destination, visitors will be offered a tour of the La Rojeña distillery, which started producing Tequila over 250 years ago. The landscape and the industrial facilities of Tequila are Unesco World Heritage sites.
Where to stay in Avenida Chapultepec, our top AirBnB’s
Affordable price range: Cool & Comfy Hostel – modern, colorful loft in a great location
Moderate price range: Art-Filled Loft – vintage-looking living interior mixed with a modern kitchen and bathroom
Luxury price range: Suites Parioli – gorgeous hotel
Where to stay, artistic/bohemian edition – Centro Tlaquepaque
Tlaquepaque is an area famous for its art, particularly its colorful pottery. The Centro and surrounding areas of San Francisco and De Santiago are great neighborhoods for your base location in Tlaquepaque. Just don’t get it confused with central Guadalajara, this is a separate municipality.
What to see and do in Tlaquepaque?
Historically blocks of homes for the wealthy colonials, the houses, and area around them have been transformed into one of the favorite districts both for locals and tourists. The area is full of shops, cafes, art exhibits, it’s very colorful and full of greenery, making it a great escape from modern metropolis life. Make sure to buy some art as a souvenir and support local artistry.
Museo Regional de la Cerámica (National Ceramics Museum)
Opened in 1954 and serves as one of the two museums dedicated to preserving ceramics and similar crafted art from the area, but winder Mexico as well. The second museum was named after Pantaleon Panduro. Born on July 26th, 1847 in Tlaquepaque, he was a self-taught clay sculptor famous for his lifelike human figurines. The museum houses winning pieces of Mexicos’ annual nation-wide ceramics competition from the past three decades. Once you’re done with the National Ceramics Museum, head on over to the Pantaleon Panduro exhibit.
El Jardín Hidalgo
Named after Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, who was a Roman-catholic priest and leader of the Mexican war of Independence. In the middle of the square, there is a giant statue of Miguel. Along with his statue, notably, there are two churches nearby:
- El Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Solitude)
- Parroquia de San Pedro (Parish of Saint Peter)
Where to stay in Centro Tlaquepaque
Affordable price range: Hostel Hospedarte Centro – like the name says, charming apartment and good location
Moderate price range: Casa Carmen Tlaquepaque Centro – nicely furnished, great location
Luxury price range: Quinta Don Jose Boutique Hotel