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Guadalajara city guide: what to do, plus the best bars, restaurants and hotels

November 11, 2017

Pare de Sufrir is Guadalajara’s best mezcal bar.

Far from Mexico’s well-trodden tourist trail, the colonial city of Guadalajara is one of this vast nation’s most overlooked destinations. In the western state of Jalisco, Guadalajara is Mexico’s second-largest metropolis, and the birthplace of two of its most emblematic exports: tequila and mariachi music. It is sunnier and less overwhelming than Mexico City, while offering better value for money and a more “Mexican” experience than gringo-orientated resorts of the Yucután peninsula.

Proud Tapatíos, as Guadalajara’s 4.5 million residents are known, take hospitality seriously and love to showcase the very best of their culture. The city’s historic centre houses its most obvious attractions, such as the twin-towered cathedral and the labyrinthine Mercado San Juan de Dios, Latin America’s largest indoor market. The stately Hospicio Cabañas, a former orphanage with fiery murals by José Clemente Orozco, is Unesco-listed and worth a visit, along with the Zapopan district’s imposing stone archway and majestic 17th-century basilica.

Guadalajara is home to several spectacular cathedrals and basilicas.

Once considered one of Mexico’s most Catholic and conservative cities, Guadalajara has grown increasingly progressive and is now famed for its gay scene. Its cultural heart today is lively Colonia Americana, with its weekend street markets and free concerts held on broad avenues lined with palms, jacarandas and colonial mansions.

Every turn reveals more bars, cafes and restaurants that combine to make Guadalajara’s culinary scene arguably its strongest selling point. From humble taco stands to high-end establishments, visitors can gorge on a broad range of traditional dishes and strange beverages that are often unique to this corner of the country.

Palreal is famed for its delicious lonche de pancita.

Thomson flies direct from Gatwick and Manchester to the nearby resort of Puerto Vallarta from under £500 return, with some real bargains to be had if booked last minute. Guadalajara also serves as a cultured and palate-pleasing excursion from Mexico’s lush Pacific coast…

Click here to read this travel guide in full at The Guardian

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