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Guadalajara Attractions | Things to do in Guadalajara
In addition to its beauty and rich past, Guadalajara also offers a great deal of fun, featuring a variety of entertainment options that includes fairs, enormous parks, cinemas, theaters, restaurants, auditoriums, and a whole lot more. Must-see attractions include the historic downtown area, which is where you'll find icons like the Degollado Theater, Museo Regional (Regional Museum), Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum), and Palacio de Gobierno (City Hall), as well as the symbolic landmark that has become the emblem of Guadalajara, the cathedral, which is surrounded by charming plazas.
The 210 feet high pair of towers that rise above the structure of the cathedral make it an iconic symbol of the city. Constructed in 1561, at the request of King Philip II of Spain, it features an admirable combination of Gothic, Moorish baroque, and neo-Classic architectural influences, as well as being home to the second largest organ in the country. During the Mexican War of Independence, it served as a refuge for rebel troops.
Established in 1866, this auditorium was inaugurated with a performance by Angel Peralta. The theater has an impressive neoclassical design in the style of the Italian theaters of the time, with a portico featuring 16 Corinthian columns. The interior is decorated with murals representing Dante Alighieri's fourth canto in the Divine Comedy, while the exterior is embellished with a mosaic of Apollo and the nine Muses. The theater is used to stage concerts, opera, classical ballet, recitals, and theater shows, as well as concerts performed by Mexican and international artists.
Home to Instituto Cultural Cabanas (Cabanas Cultural Institute), this site is an architectural benchmark and obligatory cultural stop for people visiting Guadalajara. The main attraction here is "El Hombre de Fuego" (Man of Fire), a mural created by the painter Jose Clemente Orozco. Designed by the architect Manuel Tolsa at the end of the 18th century, it wasn't until 1845 that the building was completed; it boasts a neoclassical facade, 23 patios, and 106 rooms. From the day it was founded up until 1980, it served as a hospital, orphanage and almshouse. The complex is named after its founder, the bishop Juan Ruiz de Cabanas y Crespo, and is home to galleries, a theater, a cinema, and multi-purpose rooms.
The music of the mariachis originally comes from the state of Jalisco. A fundamental part of Mexican folklore, these groups are so popular that the whole world identifies them with Mexico. Mariachis are made up of five or more people who play trumpets, violins, and other instruments, while wearing elegant suits and braided sombreros. When they arrive, it means the party has officially started! The main places to find them in the city are in downtown and San Juan de Dios.
In an event that combines elegance, chivalry, and a challenge, men show their bravery as they attempt to rope cattle. "Charreria" (horsemanship) is a ritual that has become a national sport. The events, known as "charreadas", are held in "lienzos" and are accompanied by Mariachi music.
Despite being considered as part of the Guadalajara suburbs, Tlaquepaque is a traditional city in its own right that has maintained many of the features of small Jalisco towns. Known for the artistic quality of its ceramics, pottery, wood carvings, and wrought ironworks, among other artisanal goods, Tlaquepaque also offers a colorful setting for enjoying a relaxing day out. The square "El Parian" is the ideal place for a "chavela" (beer served with tomato juice and hot sauce in a cocktail glass) while you enjoy live Mariachi music, delicious local cuisine, and the traditional atmosphere that makes Tlaquepaque such a special place.
The Expiatory Temple
Templo Expiatorio del Santisimo Sacramento (Expiatory Temple to the Blessed Sacrament) is an incredible stone structure featuring beautiful stained glass windows and wonderful neo-Gothic style. The church clock was imported from Germany and features 25 bells that play pieces of music at 9:00 a.m., noon, and 6:00 p.m. When the clock chimes, doors open in the clock tower and you can see miniature figures of the twelve apostles come out.
Tequila is a town with the Mexican name that is most well-known outside of Mexico. The main attractions are the distilleries, which produce the most famous Mexican drink in the world, the agave fields that surround it, and the National Tequila Museum. Don't pass up the chance to explore the famous distilleries and agave fields.
This old pre-Hispanic town is located less than 10 miles from downtown Guadalajara. Tonala is a small town with a peaceful atmosphere that is popular for its artisanal goods. Men and women alike make a living from painting, sculpting, and enameling artisanal goods. Their work is a creative ritual, which is reflected in the beautiful pieces that adorn places around the world. There's an abundance of stores in the streets in the heart of the town.
The "Calandrias" are horse-drawn carriages that take you on a tour of the heart of the city. They haven't changed much since yesteryear, in fact they are still lit by lanterns on the sides of the car, the roof is a canopy or a hood, and they come in a wide variety of colors and styles. The coachmen are expert guides who will tell you typical stories about Guadalajara. They can normally be found by the Regional Museum, the San Juan de Dios market, or at the San Francisco Garden.
Located to the north of the city, on the avenues Calzada Independencia and Periferico Norte, Guadalajara Zoo offers a wide variety of species and educational programs. Here kids can learn as they have fun interacting with the animals, while you admire the colors and diversity of the Mexican plant and wildlife.
Lake Chapala is located about an hour south of Guadalajara. At 50 miles long and 12 miles wide, the lake is bigger than the Dead Sea. It is surrounded by picturesque towns, and is famous for horseback rides and seafood cuisine. Ten minutes from Chapala you'll find the town of Ajijic, where there is an artisanal and cultural movement that has made it popular with expats. Nearby you'll also find San Juan Cosala, which stands out for its hot springs.
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