Check out the area surrounding the University of Guadalajara for its edgy murals, grand architecture, and fun boutiques. Om Ganesh sells saris and incense imported from India, while nearby Ganesh slings vegetarian versions of Mexican dishes such as pozole. The cute clothing boutique La Nube sells hipster-y jewelry (Frida Kahlo earrings), and digital nomads set up camp at Viva Chapata, a Zapata-themed café that serves sandwiches on homemade bread. Every hour on the hour, puppets pop out of the windows, grandfather clock–style, at the Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento, a church cathedral beside the university.
Revolving around the Guadalajara Cathedral, a masterpiece of Spanish Renaissance architecture, downtown Guadalajara is a people-watcher’s dream. Sightseers will also love the Corinthian-columned Teatro Degollado and the Rotonda de los Jalisciences Ilustres, which features statues of famous revolutionaries, writers, and thinkers. Shoppers will enjoy the pedestrian mall on Calle Morelos for the artisanal crafts and leather goods, as well as the buskers belting out love songs. To cool off from the heat, buy a tejuino (a fermented, corn-based Jalisco staple) from a street vendor.
The bars and pubs in this go-to nightlife neighborhood are full of beer-guzzlers munching peanuts, burgers, and quesadillas. Pedestrians stop for tacos arabes, tortillas filled with meat cooked on a vertical spit. Saturday nights are the best time to hit the neighborhood, because that’s when the median separating the two sides of Avenida Chapultepec becomes a giant festival of salsa-dancing classes, chess games, and local craftsmen selling their wares.
This upscale neighborhood vibes residential and cosmopolitan at once, its tree-lined streets a mix of sleek homes, open-air cafés, and chic restaurants. Foodies and hipsters gravitate to La Cuisenela for gourmet salsas, and to the newly opened Maximo Valentino Cocina & Cultura, an innovative cultural center that houses a bakery, a restaurant that uses only local ingredients, a gallery displaying the works of tapatío artists, and a Pilates studio. Walking paths and a jungle gym make Silvano Barba Park a nice stop for families, while dog owners flock to Italia Park.
Just outside the city limits lies the charming pueblo of Tlaquepaque, which boasts lively family-style restaurants, shops selling textiles and silver and tequila, and folkloric dancers who twirl in flowy white dresses. A great place to see ornately dressed mariachis is El Parián, a clutch of outdoor restaurants surrounding a bandstand. In the Plaza de Artesenias, shoppers snag glass hummingbirds straight from the glassblower, Catrina (Day of the Dead) dolls, and dreamcatchers.