The 10 Best Places to Visit in GDL and Surroundings

Welcome back to this blog. Today we bring you a definitive guide to the 10 best places to visit in Guadalajara, Jalisco, called “La perla de occidente”. This city is a mosaic of culture, history, and modernity. 

Get ready to discover incredible corners that will leave you breathless and provide you with unique experiences. Renting a car at the Guadalajara International Airport with MEX is the best option to explore each destination at your own pace and with freedom. Don't forget this. Let's go!


1. Historic Center


The heart of Guadalajara beats in its iconic historic center. Here you can admire the majestic Guadalajara Cathedral, an architectural gem dating back to the 16th century. Nearby is the Hospicio Cabañas, a former orphanage now the Cultural Institute Cabañas, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its colorful murals were painted by José Clemente Orozco and are a true work of art.  

You also can't miss the Degollado Theater, a beautiful Neoclassical building that hosts opera, music, and dance performances. If you're in the city center, visit the Rectory of the University of Guadalajara, an impressive building built in 1914.


2. Paseo Chapultepec


The bohemian soul of Guadalajara has its home in the Colonia Americana and Paseo Chapultepec. The latter is a tree-lined boulevard that invites you to walk and enjoy its bars and cafes. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the "Americana", a neighborhood with European influence where you can enjoy its fresh streets and colonial-style houses. In this area you will also find the imposing Expiatory Temple, a Neo-Gothic jewel that dazzles with its impressive architecture.


3. Tlaquepaque


Just 20 minutes by car from downtown Guadalajara, you will find the magical town of Tlaquepaque. Explore the artisan tradition at the El Refugio Cultural Center with theater plays, concerts, art exhibitions and workshops. Immerse yourself in this cultural experience. Plus, stroll through El Parián, a pavilion with several restaurants serving typical local delicacies to the sound of mariachi music.


4. Andares  


If you love luxury and shopping, Andares, Guadalajara's exclusive commercial and financial district, will delight you. This place is home to renowned brand boutiques like Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Rolex. Moreover, in Andares you will find top-level shopping malls, hotels and restaurants. And to relax, visit the recently opened Water Pedagogical Forest (Colomos III), a green lung perfect for disconnecting from the city.


5. Guadalajara Zoo


Are you traveling with kids or a nature lover? Don't miss the Guadalajara Zoo, where you'll see many animals from different parts of the world, like the African savanna and cold climates. Take advantage and ride the cable car to enjoy impressive views of the Huentitán Ravine. And to complement the experience, visit Selva Mágica, the amusement park located next to the zoo, full of exciting rides and mechanical games.  


6. Downtown Zapopan


Immerse yourself in downtown Zapopan, formerly known as the "Villa maicera" (Corn Village). This area is part of the Guadalajara metro area and captivates with its lively gastronomic, historic and cultural scene.

Don't miss the imposing Zapopan Basilica, a Catholic sanctuary dedicated to the devotion and tradition of the Virgin of Zapopan. Stroll through its colonial streets admiring the public art while enjoying a delicious ice cream. You can also visit the MAZ (Zapopan Art Museum) or the Huichol Art Museum.


7. Gastronomic Tour  


The "tortas ahogadas" (drowned sandwiches) are a local specialty of Guadalajara. They consist of a pork carnitas sandwich drenched in a tomato and chile sauce. You can't leave Guadalajara without trying them. Las Tortas Ahogadas El Profe Jiménez, in the Santa Tere neighborhood, is one of the best options to experience this local delight.

Another gastronomic experience you must have are the famous "carnes en su jugo" (meat in their juice). A true culinary icon where those from Karnes Garibaldi stand out, a traditional establishment that offers a wide variety of these typical regional dishes.  


8. Tequila


One hour by car from Guadalajara, you will find the city of Tequila, home of the famous Mexican distillate. Explore the vast blue agave plantations, visit the old tequila factories and discover the fascinating production process of this unique beverage. You can travel the Tequila Route on the Tequila Express, a tourist train that goes from Guadalajara to the main destinations of the agave landscape.


9. Ajijic


Ajijic is a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Chapala, located just an hour from Guadalajara. Here you can relax and enjoy a peaceful atmosphere, as well as visit its art galleries, craft shops and delicious restaurants. We also recommend visiting the nearby towns of Jocotepec and Chapala.  


10. Tapalpa


If you are a nature lover, you cannot miss visiting Tapalpa, a beautiful magical town located two hours from Guadalajara. You will immerse yourself in its impressive natural landscapes surrounded by pine forests. Try the delicious grilled lamb, go hiking and let yourself be enveloped by the peace and tranquility this place offers.


Car Rental to Fully Enjoy GDL


As you can see, Guadalajara and its surroundings offer a wide variety of attractions for all tastes. From historic and cultural sites to gastronomic experiences and outdoor adventures, this city has something special for you. Whether you decide to rent a car in Guadalajara or get around by public transportation, don't miss visiting these 10 unmissable places. Book your car rental with MEX Rent A Car at the Miguel Hidalgo International Airport and get ready to have an unforgettable experience!


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