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A guide to Guadalajara, a cultural hub in Mexico

Find fine crafts and mariachi music in Tlaquepaque,

Find fine crafts and mariachi music in Tlaquepaque, a municipality of Guadalajara. Photo Credit: Michele Herrmann

Go beyond the coast in Mexico with a trip to Guadalajara. The city in the western Mexican state of Jalisco has much to offer as a cultural, culinary and sports hub. Here’s where to get exploring.

Cultural sights

Once a hospital complex, Hospicio Cabanas (Calle Cabanas #8) now houses a cultural institute and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its chapel is a masterpiece, with 57 frescos painted by fiery Mexican muralist Jose Clemente Orozco. Also see Orozco’s murals inside Palacio de Gobierno (Av. Ramon Corona #31), Guadalajara’s government building.

Guadalajara’s houses of worship are works of art themselves. The Catedral de Guadalajara (Av. Alcalde #10) stands out with neo-Gothic bell towers and an interior featuring exquisite altars and Tuscan-style golden leaf pillars. Admire the stained glass windows and Italian mosaics at the Templo Expiatorio del Santisimo Sacramento (Calle Lopez Cotilla #935).

Local goods

The large Mercado Libertad (Calz Javier Mina #52) sells just about everything from groceries to clothing to electronics. Within the market’s restaurant area, order a local favorite, torta ahogada. It’s a meaty sandwich drowned in a spicy sauce.

The municipality of Tlaquepaque is the place for craftsmanship. Calle Independencia is lined with brightly painted boutiques and showrooms and outdoor stalls where fine handiwork and furnishings will catch your eye and tempt your wallet. While you’re there, stop in at the Museo Regional de la Ceramica (Calle Independencia #237), which celebrates ceramics through various exhibits.

Culinary scene

Guadalajara’s dining scene blends traditional flavors with inventive twists. The skeletal decor at Hueso (Efrain Gonzalez Luna #2061, huesorestaurant.com) gets your attention, but its cosmopolitan dishes will satisfy your appetite. Anita Li (Av Inglaterra #3100, anitali.mx) is noted for craft cocktails and a Mexico fusion cuisine. The bakery La Postreria (Av. Pablo Neruda #3180, lapostreriagdl.com) prepares fanciful treats. And Tacos Providencia (Av. Ruben Dario #534) provides hearty orders of the Mexican staple.

At night, head to Tlaquepaque for mariachi music at venues such as El Parian (Calle Rio Juarez).

Sports action

On Sunday afternoons at Lienzo Charros de Jalisco (Av. Dr. R. Michel #577), watch a charreada with Mexican horsemen (or charros) carrying out riding and roping exercises. At the Arena Coliseo de Occidente (Calle Federico Medrano #67, cmll.com), catch lucha libre, a style of professional wrestling with colorful characters, with matches typically on Sunday and Tuesday nights.

Trip to Tequila

Plan a visit to Tequila, about 40 miles from Guadalajara. While en route to this town, spot the blue agave plant used in producing the alcoholic spirit of the same name. On Saturdays, the Jose Cuervo Express train (mundocuervo.com/eng/jose-cuervo-express) takes passengers from Guadalajara’s Ferromex station to Tequila with sightseeing packages including a tour of La Rojena, Jose Cuervo’s distillery. Or go by air with the Sauza Tequila Copter (tequilacopter.com), a helicopter ride with a tour of the Sauza distillery.

GOOD TO KNOW

Getting there: Fly into Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Guadalajara International Airport, about 30 minutes from the city center.

Getting around: Along with car rentals, public buses and taxis, Guadalajara’s light rail system has two lines — with a third addition to be finished in 2018 — and serves Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara and Zapopan.

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