Visit Guadalajara Mexico – Complete Travel Guide

What to Do in Guadalajara – Attractions, Sights, and Day Trips

Guadalajara is not only the capital of Jalisco state and the second largest metropolis in Mexico, it’s one of the most serenely beautiful and stately cities in North America. Blessed with an ideal climate and a location convenient to much of what Mexico has to offer, the city and its surroundings have attracted many American and Canadian expatriates.

Guadalajara’s intangible combination of qualities makes many foreigners naturally feel at home. It is a city of parks and fountains, monuments, and rose-lined boulevards, a city alive with color, especially in the flowers that bloom nearly year-round.

Best of all, Guadalajara is a modern city of some five million people that still retains much of its colonial charm. Its rich heritage dates back to 1542 and is evident throughout the city. Amid new skyscrapers, attractive residential areas, fine hotels, and outstanding golf and country clubs, are colonial mansions and lovely old churches.

Vacation Guadalajara
Guadalajara, Mexico

What is Guadalajara best known for?

Unlike the Mexico City area, where the Aztec civilization flourished, the Guadalajara region was a wilderness when the Spanish arrived. This they discovered in 1542 when, following the destruction of Moctezuma’s Aztec empire, Hernan Cortes sent Nuño Beltran de Guzman to conquer the lands to the west. Conquer he did, but only after a long and bloody campaign. It was not until 1551 that the Spaniards considered the area secure. Then the province of Nueva Galicia established Guadalajara, named after the Moorish city in Spain, as its capital.

Today, poets call Guadalajara the Pearl of the West, boasting she still has the soul of a provincial maiden. But the road from the city’s obscurity in colonial times to today’s splendor has been long and hard.

Traditionally, Guadalajara has thrived on agriculture. It lies in Mexico’s breadbasket, an area that includes, along with Jalisco, the states of Michoacan, Nayarit, Colima, Guanajuato, and Queretaro, and is home to a quarter of the nation’s population. Grapes, melons, strawberries, bananas, coconuts, jicama, vegetables, and grains grow abundantly.

Today, the city is becoming an industrial center as well, with first-class facilities for business travelers. The 250,000-square-foot Expo Guadalajara exhibition center hosts many national and international trade fairs. And with the opening of the Guadalajara-Mexico City superhighway, which cut driving time to about four hours, the two important cities are linked as never before.

A weekly English-language newspaper, The Colony Reporter, keeps the expatriate community and visitors up-to-date on happenings in Mexico and specifically in Guadalajara, Chapala, and the nearby resort of Puerto Vallarta.

Guadalajara can easily be the focal point of an entire Mexican vacation. It’s ideal for those who want to get off the usual tourist track, yet expect good hotels and comfortable living.

Things to See and Do in Guadalajara

The seven-block-long Plaza Tapatia and the cathedral dominate Guadalajara’s downtown area. The plaza is a stroller’s paradise of colonial architecture, fountains, ancient and modern sculpture, shops, and a museum.

The Department of Tourism for Jalisco state is located here, in a beautiful 18th-century building at Morelos 102 (tel. 613-0306). You can get maps and information about their walking tours in English.

Guadalajara’s month-long October Festival attracts visitors and performers from all over Mexico for a wide range of musical, cultural, and artistic events, and handicrafts exhibits.


Jose Clemente Orozco, who ranks as one of the greatest figures of modern Mexican art, along with Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, did much of his work in Guadalajara. He is perhaps the city’s most famous son and a name you are likely to hear.

His works hang in some of the world’s finest museums, while his murals grace such places as Dartmouth College and the New School for Social Research in New York City.

The best-known and most dramatic of Orozco’s murals, including the world-famous “The Man of Fire,” line the chapel of the former Hospicio Cabañas orphanage (between Republica and Miguel Allende streets), now converted into the Instituto Cultural Cabañas.

The plaza outside the Cabañas Institute features wonderfully surreal bronze sculptures by Guadalajara native Alejandro Colunga, whose work also graces Puerto Vallarta’s boardwalk. Resembling a living room set that Lewis Carroll would be proud of, Colunga’s chairs, table and sofa have eyes, ears, and feet, giving the impression they assembled there of their own accord and could at any time get up and walk away.

Guadalajara Museums

The Regional Museum of Anthropology and History at Liceo and Hidalgo streets is well worth a visit. You can spend hours browsing through the many rooms and admiring the religious art, pre-Columbian artifacts, colonial paintings (including some early works by Diego Rivera), colonial furniture, portraits of governors, emperors, queens, and notables, pottery, handicrafts, ethnography of the Huichol and Cora Indians, and more.

For an interesting glimpse into the lifestyle of one of Mexico’s contemporary presidents (1976-1982), visit the Casa Museo Lopez Portillo, on Liceo just two blocks north of the cathedral. This mansion, once the former president’s family home, houses an impressive collection of 18th- and 19th-century antiques.

The Museum of the City of Guadalajara is housed in a stately colonial building that has been adapted to showcase Guadalajara’s history, urban development, customs, art, and traditions from pre-Hispanic times through the 20th century.
At Morelos 217, between Maestranza and Degollado, is Guadalajara’s Wax Museum. Opened in 1994, it displays the figures of 120 prominent individuals, including Hernan Cortes, Emperor Cuauhtemoc, Cantinflas, Madonna and Bill Clinton.

In the nearby suburb of Zapopan, in a side room of the basilica, is the Huichol Art Expo Hall, a small museum devoted exclusively to colorful and fanciful yarn “paintings,” woven goods, embroidery, and intricate beadwork by the Huichol and Cora Indians of Jalisco state.

Degollado Theater

The Degollado Theater, at Degollado and Morelos streets, on Plaza de la Liberacion, is the home of the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra and the center of the city’s cultural activities. Unless it’s in the United States or Europe for a command performance, the Ballet Folklorico of the University of Guadalajara is a “command attendance” for you. It’s a colorful and thrilling presentation of the songs and dances of Mexico, Sundays at 10 a.m. at the Degollado. For reservations, call 614-4773.


Guadalajara is a city of parks. The largest, Parque Agua Azul, at Gonzalez Gallo and Independencia, has been renovated and boasts an orchid house, aviary, butterfly sanctuary housing 160 varieties, and an acoustic shell seating 9,000. The Toonerville-type train, which whizzes around the park, is constantly filled with children when in operation.

Not to be missed in Agua Azul is the Casa de las Artesanias (House of Handicrafts). Operated by the state, it contains some of the finest examples of blown glass, colonial and modern furniture, ceramics, pottery, tin work, and textiles, all produced in Jalisco. Most of the items are on sale at fixed prices.

Libertad Market

Libertad Market, at Calzada Independencia and Juarez, is said to be the biggest public market in the Western Hemisphere. Whether it is or not, it will keep you busy for a while. In addition to aisles of scrubbed and artistically-arranged fruits and vegetables, fish and meat stands, small restaurants, bird vendors, and flower stalls, there’s a great variety of shoe shops, toys, clothes for children, lamps, onyx, and acres of sombreros. It’s a great place to buy leather goods, unpainted chairs, stools and big flower pots. It’s also a place to bargain.

Guadalajara Churches

Apart from the cathedral, there are other interesting churches in Guadalajara. Santa Monica Church, on the street of the same name, is located in an authentic colonial neighborhood, and its facade is one of the finest examples of early 18th-century Mexican baroque, a breathtaking wealth of carved stone.

The Gothic Expiatorio Church, just behind the University of Guadalajara, is fun at noon or at six in the evening to watch the clock in the steeple as 12 figures representing the 12 disciples march forth.

Located at Corona and Prisciliano Sanchez streets, the Templo de San Francisco de Asis is a colonial monument of great beauty. It dates from the first years of the conquest and was finished in 1684. The facade is plateresque with many ornamental details.

A very small Gothic-style church located on Hospital Street, between Calzada Independencia and Alcalde, merits a visit. Take a close look at the carved figures on the facade — these celestial musicians are mariachis!
The Basilica of the Virgin of Zapopan, home of the “little virgin,” is located in a large suburb in the northwest end of town. The interior is decorated in the blue and white colors of Our Lady of Zapopan, who is the patroness of Guadalajara and offers protection against storms and plagues. The Virgin, which measures only 13 inches from head to toe, was donated to the local Indians by a Franciscan missionary in 1542 and now stands above the altar, the object of many pilgrimages.

Each year there is a great celebration when the “little one” returns home October 12 from her yearly trek to all the churches in the diocese. Accompanying her, strolling, dancing or riding the nearly five miles from the cathedral to Zapopan, are some 400,000 of her faithful adherents. For a week after, Indian dancers perform twice daily in the courtyard of the basilica.

The renovated Ex-Convento del Carmen, at Juarez 638, is the site of continuous art and cultural exhibits, along with concerts, plays and poetry readings.

Tequila plantations and distilleries

Visits to nearby tequila plantations and distilleries make great side trips.
You can tour the haciendas of leading tequila distillers Casa Cuervo and Sauza in the town of Tequila, and see how the national drink is made. The Panoramex travel agency offers tours to Sauza Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (810-5057/5005). You can also go on your own; tours of Sauza’s agave plantation, production plant, and 18th-century hacienda are offered Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tequila Herradura, another leading distiller, is based in the town of Amatitan, located between Guadalajara and Tequila. Their splendid hacienda, San Jose del Refugio, offers guided visits Monday through Thursday and Saturday, at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. and noon. In Guadalajara call 613-9585, or call (374) 5-0531 in Amatitan.
On Saturdays, you can take a train to Tequila as part of a day tour to a distillery that also includes tequila tasting on board, mariachi music, folkloric dancing, and a typical regional meal. Operated by the Guadalajara Chamber of Commerce, the Tequila Express departs from the train station, at Washington and Independencia, at 10:30 a.m. and returns at 7 p.m. Tel. 122-9020.

Guadalajara Golf

They say that scarcely a day passes when one cannot play golf in Guadalajara. This is attested to by the number of courses in and around the city, many of which may be played for a green fee with a letter of introduction or proof of membership in your home club.

The 18-hole Guadalajara Country Club is the oldest and a traditional favorite. But it has stiff competition now.
El Palomar Country Club serves an upscale planned community located high above the city, at Paseo de la Cima 437. There’s an 18-hole championship course, golf school, pro shop, gym, pool and restaurants. Golf packages are available that include lodging at the deluxe Quinta Real hotel. Tel. 684-4436.

The Club de Golf Atlas is an 18-hole championship course designed by Texan Joe Finger and is located on the Chapala highway between the El Tapatio hotel-spa and the airport.

The Club de Golf Santa Anita is about four miles south of the city on Highway 80, the road to Colima. In addition to a beautiful 18-hole golf course, the club grounds comprise one of the most popular residential areas for Americans in Guadalajara. Tel. 686-0386.

Another beautiful course is part of a luxurious residential development just a few miles north of Guadalajara on the road to Zacatecas. Called Las Cañadas, it is in a large valley surrounded by mountains, with hot mineral springs, riding trails, and a professional 18-hole golf course. Tel. 685-0412.

Guadalajara Sports

The Camino Real, Presidente Inter-Continental, Fiesta Americana, Holiday Inn and El Tapatio hotels have tennis courts. Club Deportivo de Guadalajara is a tennis and swimming club, and home of one of the city’s crack soccer teams. On most Wednesday and Saturday evenings you can watch professional soccer (called futbol) at the Estadio Jalisco on Calzada Independencia Norte, near the Plaza Monumental bullring.

Bullfights are generally held one or two Sundays a month at the Plaza Nuevo Progreso. At fiesta times, cockfights are also scheduled.

Spas in Guadalajara

Rio Caliente, about 17 miles from the Minerva Fountain, is a top-of-the-line spa where you’ll find steam baths, massages and even yoga. Vegetarian food is served in a peaceful setting of pine trees and thermal pools.

About 11 miles out on the Saltillo highway, deep in a valley, lie Los Camachos thermal pools. This is a beautiful spot for swimming, picnicking and relaxing — except on crowded weekends.

In the opposite direction, on the road to Barra de Navidad, you may bathe in the waters of Chimulco. Here one pool is so hot that you move to progressively cooler ones; the last pool is for swimming. Nearby, Agua Caliente offers every imaginable water park diversion for children, including a pool with artificial waves.

Tlaquepaque Day Trip

A trip to Guadalajara would not be complete without a visit to Tlaquepaque. This suburb of Guadalajara, just five miles from the city center, is probably Mexico’s largest and most important arts and crafts center, offering a wide variety of handicrafts, from dresses and ceramics to blown glass, furniture and original art from all corners of the country.

Just a few minutes farther on is Tonala, the home of artisans for centuries. It’s smaller, but growing, and offers some of its own specialties, including much of the fine dinnerware sold throughout Mexico.
Once a town in its own right, Tlaquepaque still retains its unique character. It’s a bit of Mexico of yore, of cobbled streets and quaint plazas with tiny outdoor cafes tucked under the arcades.

Today the number and variety of shops in Tlaquepaque seem limitless, but it all started with glass factories. At Contreras Medellin 173, opposite the El Refugio Cultural Center, is a small glass factory (657-5775), one of the few left in the village where you can still marvel at the traditional art of glass blowing.
The heart of Tlaquepaque is El Parian, a popular place to relax, enjoy a cold beer or soft drink and enjoy the passing scene. It’s lined with restaurants, cafes, and bars, all facing a central courtyard with the traditional bandstand. Mariachis stroll about playing guitars among the lovely Mexican-tiled arches.

The area around El Parian has been completely closed to traffic, making strolling the center of the village a delightful, vehicle-free experience. In keeping with a leisurely pace, local police, well-trained and helpful to visitors, calmly patrol the village on foot or bicycle. For tourist information, you can phone 635-5756.

One block from El Parian is the beautiful main plaza of Tlaquepaque, Jardin Hidalgo, remodeled in 1995 with handsome landscaping, fountains, and a kiosk. Concerts, mariachi performances, and folkloric events are often presented here on Sunday afternoons, in the shadow of the parish church of San Pedro.

Almost all the major stores in the village are located either somewhere along Independencia or on Juarez Street, one block to the south. All six blocks of Independencia, running west from the plaza, have been closed to traffic.
At Independencia 237 is the Regional Museum of Ceramics with its impressive collection, spanning more than a century, of handicrafts from the entire state of Jalisco, including extraordinary folk art by Huichol and Cora Indians.

Tonala Day Trip

Not far from Tlaquepaque and only a 30-minute drive from downtown Guadalajara is the thriving crafts center of Tonala. Many of the better craftsmen have stores here and in Tlaquepaque.

Tonala is particularly colorful on Thursdays and Sundays when its central streets are turned into a hustling and bustling open-air market, with dozens of handicraft stalls selling everything imaginable, often at knock-down prices.
A more select range of local handicrafts can be found at the Casa de Los Artesanos, which showcases the work of established artisans in everything from blown glass to hand-carved wood.

At Constitucion 104 is the former home of renowned local potter Jorge Wilmot, whose prize-winning pieces are displayed in museums around the world. Most appropriately, the building now houses the National Ceramics Museum. Be sure to allow sometime to tour the displays which will open your eyes to the marvels of Mexican ceramics.

The new Tonala Museum of Archaeology and Popular Culture, at Ramon Corona 73, also features ceramics, from pre-Hispanic artifacts to modern pieces..

Where to Eat in Guadalajara

Aquellos Tiempos. Camino Real. Celebrating 40 years in business, this award-winning restaurant features gourmet fare served in an elegant turn-of-the-century setting. The cuisine ranges from refined Mexican dishes to international favorites, and the service is excellent. Periodic gastronomic festivals feature the cuisines of different countries with theme menus and guest chefs. Winner of the AAA Four Diamond Award. Open 7 to 11 a.m., 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to midnight, except Sunday. Tel. 3134-2424.

Arco Iris. Presidente Inter-Continental. A delightful and informal setting with daily breakfast buffets, a different specialty luncheon buffet each day, featuring seafood Fridays, and a la carte service. Open 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; from 9 a.m. Sunday. Tel. 3678-1234.

Belvedere. Hilton. The hotel’s specialty restaurant features continental cuisine in a refined setting with live piano music. Excellent list of select wines, including Petrus. Open 1 p.m. to midnight. Closed Sunday. Tel. 3678-0505.

Chez Pierre. España 2095, near the Niños Heroes monument and the municipal art gallery in the Plaza del Arte. French decor sets the stage at this favorite spot for excellently-prepared French and international cuisine. Cozy and chic, with piano music. Open 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., except Sunday. Tel. 3615-2212.

El Arca. Centro Magno. The creative decor centers around the theme of Noah’s Ark, with a bar shaped like a giant ark and zebra pattern chairs and earthenware representing the wildlife on board. The menu features everything from egg rolls to fettuccini and includes salads, chicken, fish and meat dishes. Helpful and courteous service. Open 1:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.; to 10 p.m. Sunday. Reservations recommended. Tel. 3630-0860.

El Pargo. Lazaro Cardenas 4150, a block from the Camino Real. An attractive, breezy restaurant with contemporary colonial-style architecture. Colorful murals adorn the cupolas and Javier Andrade’s sculptures of sea life set the mood for a variety of fresh seafood dishes. Classic Pacific coast recipes, especially from Nayarit and Sinaloa. Try the exceptional fish and shrimp zarandeado, marinated and grilled over a mesquite fire. Children’s play area. Open 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tel. 3121-3529.

El Sacromonte. Pedro Moreno 1398. This elegant restaurant serves meat and fish specialties in style. The star lanterns hanging from the ceiling and live mariachi music lend a romantic air. Reservations recommended. Tel. 3825-5447.

Habana. La Paz 2199. From the 1951 Plymouth parked in front to the 1930s architecture with tiled floors and arches, the ambiance is pure old Havana. Try the tostones, crispy tortillas made of fried plantains heaped with different toppings; shrimp fricassee; and a minty mojito, a favorite island drink that resembles lemonade made with rum and crushed mint leaves. An extensive selection of Cuban cigars, including Cohiba, is available. Musicians keep things lively at lunch and dinner. Open 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. Reservations recommended. Tel. 3616-0096.

Italianni’s. Centro Magno. Reservations are practically a must at this bustling Italian restaurant. Traditional Italian dishes, beef and chicken specialties, and luscious desserts. Large portions are ideal for sharing. Open 1:30 p.m. to midnight; to 1 a.m. Thursday to Saturday; to 10 p.m. Sunday. Tel. 3616-4810.

Jacarandas. Crowne Plaza. A deluxe, sophisticated restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with superb gourmet cuisine, outstanding service, elegant decor and a terrific view of the city. Live piano music. Open 8 to 12:30 a.m. Closed Sunday. Tel. 3634-1034.

Kamilos 333. J. Clemente Orozco 333. Since 1975, this establishment has been specializing in a popular regional dish: carne en su jugo, or beef in its own broth. Open 8 to 1 a.m. Tel. 3825-7869.

La Destileria. Mexico 2916. From the mural in the parking lot to the grinders, shredders, fermentation tanks and old-fashioned brick ovens inside, this restaurant and tequila museum takes you through the entire tequila manufacturing process. Menu features Mexican specialties. Don’t miss the fried cheese with salsa verde and tequila soufflé with a vanilla sauce. Open 1 p.m. to midnight; to 6 p.m. Sunday. Tel. 3640-3110.

La Fonda de San Miguel. Donato Guerra 25, at Pedro Moreno, downtown. Built in the late 17th century, the city’s oldest convent and cloister of the Barefoot Carmelites has been lovingly restored to house a restaurant, art galleries and gift shops. The Mexican menu features a variety of moles and other traditional dishes perfected in convents over the centuries; the “manchamanteles” is said to be a recipe of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Live music. Open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; to midnight Wednesday to Saturday. Tel. 3613-0809.

La Hacienda. Fiesta Americana. Traditional Mexican atmosphere, superb Mexican cuisine, as well as some marvelous original creations, are the bill of fare at this outstanding hotel. Special Sunday buffet with mariachis. Open for lunch and dinner. Tel. 3825-3434.

La Moreña. Presidente Inter-Continental. An elegant hacienda-style setting and gourmet Mexican cuisine. Their well-stocked bar includes 80 brands of tequila. Breakfast buffet 7 a.m. to noon; a la carte dining 7 p.m. to midnight; open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Tel. 3678-1234.

La Valentina. Vallarta and Calle Colonias. Housed in a beautifully-renovated turn-of-the-century mansion with garden seating, this restaurant is new to Guadalajara but well-known in Mexico City and at top resorts. A treat for the senses, offering attractive hacienda-style surroundings, great Mexican cuisine, and live music. A few of their most popular menu items include the seasoned fish tacos Don Elias, pollo a la fogata (blackened marinated chicken), or filete mextli (tender beef fillet in a creamy huitlacoche sauce). Also luscious desserts. Open 1 p.m. to 3 a.m. Tel. 3825-2292.

Ma Come No. Las Americas 302. This lovely Italian restaurant features creatively prepared dishes accompanied by three kinds of bread baked fresh on the premises, including focaccia to drizzle with flavored olive oils. Good salad buffet with homemade dressings of mango and grapefruit. Desserts feature chocolate-filled ravioli, tiramisu, and vanilla mousse with raspberry liqueur. Open 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.; to 10 p.m. Sunday. Reservations recommended. Tel. 3615-4952.

Pierrot. Justo Sierra 2355, corner of Aurelio Gallardo. Formerly called De Pierre, this elegant spot in a residential zone features outstanding French and continental specialties. The very agreeable ambiance is orchestrated by the attentive Pierre himself, who provides top-quality cuisine at fair prices. Menu includes lamb, duck, and mahi-mahi. The three-pepper fillet is very popular. Piano music. Open 1:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., except Sunday. Tel. 3630-2087.

Quinta Real. Quinta Real. Refined Mexican and international dishes served in a beautiful setting, elegant atmosphere. Lives up to its motto of serving “sophisticated food for sophisticated people.” Also has some of the best breakfasts in town. Great Sunday buffet. Excellent service. Live classical music during lunch and dinner. Open 7 a.m. to midnight. Tel. 3615-0000.

Recco. Libertad 1981. In a restored colonial mansion near the U.S. consulate, this restaurant is named after a famous Italian town. The Italian cuisine is among the best of its kind in Mexico. The menu offers a variety of pastas and such specialties as chicken cacciatore, and beautifully prepared meat and fish dishes. Both the shrimp Casamona and steak au poivre are superb, as is the chicken Kiev. The luscious tiramisu with amaretto and a delicious homemade Sicilian cassata compete with the crepes Suzette for the perfect dessert. Good wine selection. Owner Luigi Capurro is a gracious host. Open 1 to 11 p.m. Tel. 3825-0724.

Santo Coyote. Lerdo de Tejada 2379. A stunning lantern-lit garden, and chic southwestern-style architecture and decor provide the setting for Mexican and international specialties; the garden is especially lovely at dusk as lanterns wink on and lawn sculptures seem to come alive. Menu highlights include beef carpaccio in balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard and red wine; Mixteca soup made with bone marrow and zucchini blossoms; grilled chicken in tamarind sauce; and charbroiled beef and rib specialties. Open 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Reservations recommended. Tel. 3616-8472.

Siglo XV. Colon 383. As part of the renewal of the historic downtown district, this theme restaurant serves excellent Spanish fare in a medieval castle setting. Waiters are costumed in period attire and talented troubadours dance and sing. Open 1:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Tel. 3614-4347.

Sirloin Stockade. Lopez Mateos Sur, corner of Conchita; Vallarta Pte. and Juan Palomar y Arias, near Price Club and Walmart. A fixed price gets you not only tasty beef, chicken or fish, but also unlimited access to GuadalajaraÕs largest salad, vegetable, and side-dish bar. Large dessert menu. Very popular with local yuppies. Open 12:30 to 11 p.m.; to midnight Friday and Saturday. Tel. 3634-7686 (Mateos) and 3629-7241 (Vallarta).

Suehiro. La Paz 1701. An elegantly decorated, authentically Japanese restaurant. The bar area is quiet and discreet, the dining rooms are fitted with traditional Japanese tables where the food is prepared by Japanese chefs and served by kimono-clad waitresses. Menu includes delicious teriyaki, teppanyaki, shabu-shabu, sukiyaki, sushi and tempura. Extensive Japanese breakfast buffet served Monday to Saturday 8 to 11:30. Outstanding in every way and a nice change of pace. Open 1:30 to 5 p.m. and 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Reservations are suggested. Tel. 3825-1880.

Guadalajara Nightlife

Bar Lafitte. Espa–a 2095, above Chez Pierre restaurant. Named for the infamous pirate; the decor is nautical. Live shows feature musicians, singers, comics, and more. Open 7:30 p.m. to 3 a.m., except Sunday. Tel. 3615-6645.

Bariachi. Vallarta 2308. This small but boisterous bar, featuring mariachi singers, fills up fast, so arrive early to get the best seats. Then settle in for a night of entertainment. Whistles and shouts get louder as the night progresses; audience participation is encouraged during the singing competitions. Open from 6 p.m. Tel. 3615-2706.

Caballo Negro. Fiesta Americana. A classy English-style pub with shows, good music (featuring salsa), and a dance floor. One of the most popular spots in town. Open 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Happy Hour 9 to 10 p.m. Closed Sunday. Tel. 3825-3434.

Casa Bariachi. Vallarta 2221. This newly built bar is a bigger version of Bariachi. Here, all the seats in the house provide a good view of the stage. The mariachi musicians are excellent showmen and encourage audience participation. By the end of the night, most of the bar is belting out the songs along with the band. There’s also a folkloric ballet. Open from 1 p.m.; shows from 3:30 p.m. Tel. 3616-9900

Copenhagen 77. Marco Castellanos 77. Live jazz combo in a popular gathering spot. The music starts at 9 p.m., except Sunday. Tel. 3825-2803.

El Manglar. Crowne Plaza. A pleasant lobby bar with pool tables and live music in the evenings. Open 11 to 2 a.m. Tel. 3634-1034.

El Rincon Bohemio. Frances hotel. A pianist and trio perform under the arches of this colonial monument that has been operating as a hotel for almost 400 years. Open 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tel. 3613-1190.

Hard Rock/Hard Rock Live. Centro Magno. Rock and roll bands play mostly cover songs in the evenings. The adjoining concert venue features a wide range of performers, from Mexican rock groups to Cuban music legends. Call for a calendar of events. Tel. 3616-4560.

La Diligencia. Camino Real. Turn-of-the-century decor, international entertainers and live music are featured from Thursday to Saturday. Open 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., except Sunday. Tel. 3134-2424.

La Fiesta. Crowne Plaza. A good night spot in a lovely hotel, with drinks, entertainment, and music for dancing. Open 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday to Saturday. Tel. 3634-1034.

La Maestranza. Maestranza 179, between Lopez Cotilla and Madero, downtown. More than 3,000 pieces of bullfighting memorabilia deck the walls of this spacious, trendy cantina. A great place to have drinks and enjoy the scene: a young crowd, and loud pop music. Try their yerbabuena (mint) house cocktail. Open 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tel. 3613-5878

La Rondalla. Hilton. The hotel lobby bar features live music and a tequila gallery. Open 1 p.m. to midnight. Tel. 3678-0505.

Lobby Bar. Presidente Inter-Continental. A lively gathering place. Happy Hour 5 to 7 p.m. Open 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tel. 3678-1234.

Memories. El Tapatio hotel. A chic candlelit disco featuring music from the 50s and 60s. Highlighted is the great view of the city. Open 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tel. 3635-6050.

Peña Cuicacalli. Ni–os Heroes 1988, corner of Chapultepec. Live folk music from Mexico, Latin America and Spain. Tasty snacks, from tacos and nachos to sandwiches and stuffed baked potatoes. Drinks and liqueur-flavored coffees. Don’t be surprised if the audience joins in. Open nightly from 8 p.m.; from 7 p.m. Sunday. Tel. 3825-4690.

Quinta Real. Quinta Real. A beautifully decorated bar–elegant, comfortable, and romantic. Live classical music and jazz. Open noon to midnight. Tel. 3615-0000.

Rada Lounge. La Paz 2550. Be a lounge lizard at this trendy two-story bar, complete with lounge music and 1950s decor. Outdoor patio and indoor seating.

Teatro Galerias. Lapizlazuli 3445, opposite the Holiday Inn. Mexican and international performances, including concerts, ballets, and plays. Functions begin at 8 p.m.; box office opens at 11 a.m. Tel. 3631-1511.

Undicci. Las Americas 1462. This small, trendy hangout is where Guadalajara’s young elite meet. Music ranges from Mexican pop to American rock and the walls are decorated with celestial scenes. Reservations are a must to avoid long lines on weekends. Cover charge. Tel. 3817-4410.

Where to Stay in Guadalajara

Calinda Roma. Juarez 170, downtown. On the main street, this old favorite is conveniently close to city attractions. It’s one of the best of the economically-priced hotels, with a rooftop garden, pool, restaurant bar. There are 120 air-conditioned rooms, including nonsmoking and executive women’s sections, with satellite TV. Meeting facilities and business center. U.S. Rep. (877) 657-5799. Rates ECON. Tel. 3614-8650. Fax 3614-2629.

Camino Real. Vallarta 5005. Located in a residential area 15 minutes from downtown, this first-class hotel offers a pleasant country club-style setting and excellent service at moderate prices. Each of the 205 rooms has a balcony overlooking the handsome landscaped gardens. Four swimming pools, a lighted tennis court, a well-equipped gym, a putting green, and a preferential green fee for guests at the Palomar Country Club golf course. Gourmet Mexican restaurant, coffee shop, lobby bar and turn-of-the-century bar with live music. Business center and extensive convention facilities. Rep. CRH. Rates MD. Tel. 3134-2424. Fax 3134-2404.

Crowne Plaza. Lopez Mateos Sur 2500, across from Plaza del Sol shopping center. One of the nicest Holiday Inns around, this modern colonial-style gem has 298 large rooms with all first-class amenities. Beautiful grounds, good restaurant, coffee shop, bar. Pool, gym, golf, playground. Convention and banquet facilities for up to 900 people, business center with computers. Very popular. Rep. (800) 2-CROWNE. Rates MD. Tel. 3634-1034. Fax 3634-9464.

De Mendoza. Venustiano Carranza 16, in the heart of the downtown area. A colonial-style hotel with lots of character, and 104 charming rooms with a/c, satellite TV, and phone. Heated pool, good restaurant, business center, small meeting rooms, parking. Rates ECON. Tel. 3613-4646. Fax 3613-7310.

El Tapatio. Blvd. Aeropuerto 4275, some 20 minutes from town, near Tlaquepaque. A colonial-style resort and racquet club located on a hillside overlooking the city, with gardens and cobblestone paths. Each of the 117 large, comfortable rooms has satellite TV, a minibar, balcony or terrace. Restaurant, disco. Pool, nine tennis courts, gym, sauna and steam room. Meeting rooms, business center. Rep. (888) 844-1524. Rates MD (includes continental breakfast). Tel. 3635-6050. Fax 3635-6664.

Fiesta Americana. Aurelio Aceves 225, across from the Minerva Fountain. This fabulous 25-story deluxe hotel is the tallest in Guadalajara. The twin towers have 351 rooms and 40 suites, a one-acre interior garden, four glass elevators and a shopping arcade. Continental and Mexican restaurants, bars, nightclub. Tennis, gym, pool. Convention facilities. Rep. FST. Rates FC. Tel. 3825-3434. Fax 3630-3671.

Fiesta Inn. Mariano Otero 1550, between Expo Guadalajara and Plaza del Sol shopping center. A well-located 158-room hotel with heated pool, gym, lobby bar, cafeteria-restaurant, and meeting facilities. Rep. FST. Rates MD. Tel. 3669-3200. Fax 3669-3247.

Frances. Maestranza 35, downtown. The city’s oldest hotel, with a fascinating history dating from 1610, has been declared a national monument. Right on the main plaza, the colonial hotelÕs 60 rooms and suites are completely modern, with satellite TV; courtyard, restaurant, bar and nightclub with live music. Rates ECON. Tel. 3613-1190. Fax 3658-2831.

Hilton. Av. de las Rosas 2933. This 22-story first-class hotel and recent winner of AAA’s Four Diamond Award is in the World Trade Center and connected to Expo Guadalajara via a direct walkway. The property offers 402 rooms and 20 suites (including a presidential suite). Business center, meeting rooms, executive club, heliport. Restaurant, cafeteria, lobby bar. Rep. (800) HILTONS. Rates FC. Tel. 3678-0520. Fax 3678-0521.

Holiday Inn Select. Ni–os Heroes 3089, corner of Lopez Mateos. A modern 15-story hotel catering to business travelers, with 220 rooms, each with a workstation, coffee maker, 28-inch TV. Rooftop pool and sun deck, sauna, gym. Restaurant, lobby bar, meeting facilities for 600 people, business center with computers, Internet access. Rep. HOL. Rates MD. Tel. 3122-2020. Fax 3647-7779.

Mision Carlton. Ni–os Heroes and 16 de Septiembre. Located about a mile from the downtown area, this modern 20-story hotel has 200 rooms with satellite TV, fine views. There is an international restaurant, disco. Nonsmoking rooms available. Extensive convention facilities. Heated pool, health club and lovely gardens. Rates ECON. Tel. 3614-7272. Fax 3613-5539.

Presidente Inter-Continental. Lopez Mateos Sur and Moctezuma, opposite Plaza del Sol shopping center, in a residential zone just minutes from the downtown area. This modern glass pyramid with a 12-story atrium lobby is a flower-filled center for doing business and socializing, with two comfortable restaurants, lobby bar with live music, state-of-the-art meeting facilities for up to 2,000 people, fitness center and spa, outdoor swimming pool, and shops. The 411 newly renovated rooms and suites have a/c, full bath with hair dryer, satellite TV, minibar, direct dial phone, data port. Club floor offers personalized service and club lounge. Rep. (800) 327-0200. Rates DX. Tel. 3678-1234. Fax 3678-1222.

Quinta Real. Av. Mexico 2727. Part of a fast-growing Mexican chain, this lovely, elegant hacienda-style hotel has 76 luxurious and beautifully decorated suites, some with whirlpool bath. Personalized service, fine gourmet restaurant, bar with chamber music, pool, gardens, business center and meeting facilities for up to 200. Member of Mexico Boutique Hotels. Rep. (800) 457-4000. Rates DX. Tel. 3615-0000. Fax 3630-1797.

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