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Besides being beautiful and filled with history, Guadalajara is a perfect place to have fun, since it has a variety of entertainment centers such as funfairs, huge parks, movie theaters, theaters, restaurants, show centers and much more. Must visits include the Degollado Theater, the Regional Museum, the City Museum, the Government Palace, and the Plazas, featuring the symbol that has become emblematic of Guadalajara, the towers of the Cathedral. Don't miss these attractions!
Not all cathedrals have as commanding a presence as the one that dominates the historic center of the city of Guadalajara. The Cathedral's two towers, rising to a height of 65 meters, have a truly striking appearance and have become the symbol of the city. This building was constructed in 1561 at the request of Philip II, King of Spain. The original towers collapsed during an earthquake in 1818 and the dome was rebuilt after the quake of 1875. The design combines Gothic, Baroque, Moorish and neoclassical elements and it has the second-largest organ in the country. During the War of Independence, it served as a refuge for insurgent troops.
It has been used for opera performances since 1856, when it opened with the opera Lucia di Lammermoor, with Angela Peralta in the lead role. Italian theater influenced the highly decorative neo-classical style of the theater. The vaulted ceiling is covered with frescos drawn from the fourth canto of the Divine Comedy. This theater was initially called the Alarcon Theater. The portico consists of 16 trabeate Corinthian-style columns and is complemented by images of Apollo and the Nine Muses. It is used for concerts, opera, classical ballet, recitals, theater and works by national and international performance artists.
Cabanas Cultural Institute
This has become a cultural and architectural reference for visitors touring Guadalajara. The main attraction is the "Man of Fire", a mural created by the artist Jose Clemente Orozco. The building was designed by the architect Manuel Tolsa at the end of the 18th century, which was finished in 1845. It has 23 patios and 106 rooms with a distinct neoclassical style in the portico's triangular pediment. From its founding until 1980, it was "The House of Mercy", a home for orphans. It is named after the man who advocated the creating of the building, the Bishop Juan Ruiz de Cabanas y Crespo. It has galleries, a performance theater, a movie theater and multiple-use rooms.
Wherever you go in Jalisco, you can hear mariachi music. The popularity of mariachi is such that the whole world identifies it with Mexico and it has become a fundamental part of the national folk culture. Playing in groups of five or more instruments, the mariachis have also added trumpets and violins to create unique sounds. When you see the mariachi arrive, dressed in their elegant suits and sombreros, you know that the party is about to begin!
In a festival that combines elegance, mastery and challenge, men display extraordinary grace and self-assurance as they bring enormous animals under control. This ritual has turned into Mexico's national sport par excellence. It is also an art, as reflected in the handsome clothing worn by the charros and, above all, in the exquisite precision of their movements. Events are held in special arenas called "lienzos". Mariachis perform throughout the event.
Tour by "Calandria"
These horse-drawn carriages tour the city center and were so named because of their original bright yellow color, like a lark or a "calandria". They haven't changed in essence since the old days. They are colorful, lit by side-lanterns and have a canopy roofs. The coach-man is a reliable guide who can tell you the history of Guadalajara. Hire a calandria in front of the Regional Museum, San Juan de Dios Market or San Francisco Garden.
Located on the northern side of the city, on Calzada Independencia and Periferico Norte, Guadalajara Zoo is an excellent choice for a family day out. They have a good variety of species, and educational programs especially for kids to learn and have fun interacting with the animals or simply appreciating the wild and colorful Mexican fauna.
Even though Tlaquepaque is considered a suburb of Guadalajara, it still preserves a traditional small town feel found throughout Jalisco. Best known for its art, ceramics, pottery, wood figurines and wrought iron furniture, Tlaquepaque is a very interesting place to visit, with an incredibly laid back atmosphere. If you want to try the local beverages then visit El Parian and sample a 'chabela', a very cold beer served in a cocktail glass; accompany this with some traditional food, and enjoy a good meal set to the music of one of the many roving mariachi bands. Let the picturesque town of Tlaquepaque and its people captivate you with their own special brand of magic and joy.
Fourteen km from Guadalajara's city center, you will find Tonala. It is a small town that still has the unhurried atmosphere that is so much a part of its craft tradition. Men and women live from their work of painting, combining colors, modeling and enameling, a creative ritual which is reflected in the beautiful handcrafted works that now adorn homes and buildings around the world. There are numerous shops on the main streets of the town.
The beverage of the same name comes from this very town, where there is a National Tequila Museum, depicting the history of the emblematic drink. The other attractions are the distilleries of the many different brands of this drink.
As you travel towards eastern Jalisco, you will come across the vast and beautiful Chapala Lake. 49 mi. long and 12.8 mi. wide, it covers an area larger than the Dead Sea and is surrounded by charming towns. It's also famous for its seafood and horseback riding. Ten minutes from Chapala is the picturesque town of Ajijic. Here there is a vibrant cultural and artistic craft scene which is well worth exploring. The next town over is San Juan Cosala, a town that is well-known for its hot springs.
Due to the magnificent landscapes, hundreds of tourists from Canada and the United States have relocated here and settled down on its shores. These settlements, forming numerous communities, have been integrated into the local population of the region, in a blossoming artistic, cultural and social melting pot.