Guadalajara is an incredibly important city to Mexico. Not only is it considered the cultural center of Mexico as the birthplace of tequila, mariachi music and charrería (traditional livestock herding practice, similar to rodeo), it’s also known as the Silicon Valley of Latin America because Intel, IBM, HP and more tech companies have campuses there.
Guadalajara’s duality makes it an exciting destination, whether it’s for leisure or business.
There are more than 23,000 hotel rooms in the metropolitan area of Guadalajara offering visitors a wide variety of options from budget to luxury. Accommodation options include local independent hotels; haciendas; and international brands, such as Hyatt, Holiday Inn, The Westin, and Intercontinental. Hacienda del Carmen is steeped in Mexican history as a hacienda, located just outside the city and very close to the famed Guachimontones pyramids. Here are some stand-out accommodation options in the city:
Guadalajara boasts cuisine that is synonymous with Mexican culture that cannot be found anywhere else. Key staples in the local cuisine include the classic corn tortilla (salty or sweet), chili peppers and beans. The city’s signature dish is the torta ahogada, a “drowned sandwich” stuffed with fried pork, chicken or shrimp before being drenched in a spicy tomato chili sauce and served with avocado, onions and radishes. The dense roll used in this dish (called birote) can only be found in Guadalajara due to the type of wheat used to make the bread and the city’s altitude. It can be found throughout the city at various food stands and restaurants.
For those wanting an immersive culinary experience in the city, here are some top picks:
Adventure – There’s no better place to experience charreada, the national sport of Mexico. This competitive sport is similar to rodeo and its origins date back to the 19th century when Mexico's haciendas were widespread throughout the country. Live charreada shows are popular in Guadalajara and can be found throughout the city year-round. Guadalajara hosts the Mexican National Charro Championship, held as part of the International Mariachi and Charreria Festival each September.
Entertainment – Guadalajara offers a wide variety of nightlife options including restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, with entertainment ranging from live concerts and shows at the Telmex concert hall to lucha libre wrestling at Arena Coliseo and national soccer games at Estadio Omnilife and Estadio Jalisco. Nightlife in the neighborhood of Chapultapec is very popular with locals and tourists alike. Mariachi performances can be found every evening in Tlaquepaque.
Shopping – As one of Mexico’s top artisanal hubs, travelers to Guadalajara can find pottery, glassware, leather goods, silver jewelry, regional clothing, and more at excellent prices. Mercado Libertad, also known as San Juan De Dios, is one of the largest markets in Latin America and offers shoppers a wide variety of artisan goods, food, and day-to-day household items. Across the street from the San Juan de Dios Mercado is a large marketplace for jewelry – the top provider of gold and silver in all of Mexico. Guadalajara is known for its shoe industry, and travelers in the market for a pair should try the Galería del Calzado, a shopping center made up exclusively of shoe stores. In the district of Zapopan, the Andares Mall offers shoppers top of the line luxury brands and high-end restaurants.
The city of Guadalajara moved four times before coming to its present location in February 14, 1542 after a group of young Spanish families settled in the area. Guadalajara prospered in 1560 when it was declared the capital of Nueva Galicia province. At the heart of a rich agricultural region, the city quickly grew into one of colonial Mexico’s most important population centers and became the launch pad for Spanish expeditions. Miguel Hidalgo, a leader in the fight for Mexican independence, set up a revolutionary government in Guadalajara in 1810, but was defeated near the city in 1811, not long before his capture and execution in Chihuahua. The city was also the object of heavy fighting during the War of the Reform (1858−1861) and between Constitutionalist and Villista armies in 1915.
By the late 19th century, Guadalajara had overtaken Puebla as Mexico’s second-biggest city after Mexico City. With a population of more than 4 million, the city is a huge commercial, industrial and cultural center and has developed into the hi-tech and communications hub for the northern half of Mexico.
Guadalajara has the largest convention center in Mexico and is one of the strongest meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) destinations in Latin America. Expo Guadalajara, the city’s convention center, has hosted events for more than 30 years. With more than 1.1 million square feet of meeting space, 57 interchangeable rooms and two levels, Expo Guadalajara can accommodate 60,000 people, offering 1,900 parking spaces. The Wi-Fi can accommodate 28,000 simultaneous connections and the 11,000-square-foot kitchen can serve up to 20,000 people simultaneously.