Plenty of people vacation and travel in Mexico. There are beautiful spots like Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Playa del Carmen, where tourists flock to the beaches and bars. But my favorite city in Mexico is one that is well known, but seldom touristed by non-Mexican travelers.
My mom’s family is from Guadalajara, so she grew up visiting during summers and holidays. Since I was in high school she’s been visiting more, and last summer I was finally able to join her. Ever since I was a child my mom would tell me stories about her time in the city. She would tell me about the tianguis where you can buy embroidered shirts, my grandmother’s house where she had a room overlooking the street lined with giant trees, the beautiful cathedrals that dominate the skyline of the city, and of course, the food.
I’m starting a new series of posts to share my love for this lively city. Today I’m starting with the reasons why I love this place and why more people should visit.
1. The art
My dad has joked that he’s so good at the art categories on Jeopardy because his daughter dragged him to every art museum in Western Europe, and it is 100% true. If there’s an art museum anywhere I’m visiting, you can bet that it’ll be at the top of my to-do list. In Guadalajara the art isn’t necessarily found in museums, but in government buildings, the streets, and even an old orphanage.
I’m huge fan of the Mexican greats: Kahlo, Rivera, and Orozco.
Guadalajara has some amazing Orozco murals in the Palacio de Gobierno and the Instituto Cultural Cabañas. The city boasts a multitude of beautiful statues, like La Madre Patria (pictured above, middle row, second from left).
A little outside the city is an area called Tlaquepaque, famed for its pottery, art, and craftwork. It’s a good place to go if you want to pick up an authentic Mexican souvenir.
No matter where you look, Guadalajara is an inspired, artistic city.
2. The food
When picking a place to eat, I usually opt out of Mexican saying that I don’t like it. But really, I don’t like the stuff we try to pass off in Texas as Mexican food. The food in Guadalajara is authentic Mexican, of course, and you will gain a few pounds each day you’re there. But that’s a good thing! It means you’re doing it right.
Paletas are a delicious treat, and they come in every flavor imaginable! You can find them in little paleteria shops all over the city. My personal favorite flavor is strawberries and cream. My favorite bakery is Croissants Alfredo. I had breakfast here every day of my visit. We went to a hole in the wall restaurant, Taqueria La Suerte, that I still dream about at night. Best meal of my life. Another great place is La Chata. We ate here just about every other day during our trip. Its specialty is delicious, authentic Mexican dishes.
You will definitely eat well in Guadalajara! And the best part? It’s cheap! Which brings me to…
3. The prices
The dollar is very strong in Mexico, so everything is cheap cheap cheap! We stayed in a beautiful five star hotel (Hotel Morales) in the city centre that was clean and safe. A single suite starts around $55, and the imperial suite we stayed in costs less than $100 per night!
Food, drinks, souvenirs, and everything else is so cheap, which makes this a great destination for travelers on a budget.
4. The architecture
Guadalajara reminded me so much of Europe because of its architecture. The cathedrals and theatres make you forget you’re in the heart of Mexico. The city is absolutely beautiful. Just walking around the city looking at the buildings and stopping in cathedrals is enough to fill one’s day.
5. The culture
Guadalajara is the cultural capital of Mexico. It’s also the real capital of the state Jalisco, which is the birthplace of mariachi music and tequila.
If you want to experience Mexico beyond the touristy destinations like Cancun, Guadalajara is perfect.You can get a taste of the real Mexican culture here, on the streets, in the theatres, at the distilleries, it’s everywhere and it’s wonderful.
Happy wanderlusting, friends!