Guadalajara is Mexico’s second biggest city, and in many respects can be considered the quintessential Mexican destination. This is the birthplace of mariachi music and tequila, but also one of the country’s industrial and business centers, sometimes referred to as Mexico’s Silicon Valley. Unlike many colonial cities that maintain their original town plan, in the 1950s Guadalajara underwent a major project that changed the face of the city. Older buildings were razed to allow for wide avenues with new constructions, underground parking lots and shopping centers. Fortunately, the most beautiful older buildings were left intact.
A stroll through Guadalajara will give you an appreciation for the green spaces and public art in the city’s many parks and plazas. At the heart of Guadalajara is the cathedral. With its twin pointed towers and central dome, it is the most recognizable landmark on the Guadalajara skyline. The Cathedral is surrounded on all four sides by plazas. Plaza Guadalajara faces the church. Its central fountain depicts two lions with their paws resting on the trunk of a tree, the city’s coat of arms. To the south is the Plaza de Armas with its art nouveau bandstand and matching lampposts. The adjacent Government Palace has a lovely baroque facade and a spectacular mural in the interior main staircase, which was painted by Jose Clemente Orozco. To the north of the Cathedral is the Rotondo de los Jaliscienses Ilustres. This green space has a central circular monument with seventeen ribbed columns; the statues surrounding it represent Jalisco’s illustrious sons (and one daughter), people from Jalisco who have made notable contributions in arts, science and politics.
Behind the Cathedral is the large Plaza de la Liberacion, so named to commemorate Miguel Hidalgo’s abolishment of slavery. A statue of Miguel Hidalgo holding a broken chain commemorates the event. The Teatro Degollado is at the far east end of the plaza. Guadalajara’s Ballet Folclorico performs here in this beautiful neoclassical building dating to 1856. Walk around to the back of the theater to see a fountain depicting the Guadalajara city founders. The Plaza Tapatio begins here and stretches over half a mile to the Hospicio Cabanas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you stroll along you’ll pass picturesque arcades and promenades, bubbling fountains, charming restored colonial buildings and modern sculptures. Nearby, the Plaza de los Mariachis offers a space to have a drink and listen to the mariachis play, a fitting end to a full day of sightseeing in Mexico’s second city.
Whether you choose to explore the city by foot, double decker bus or calandria (horse-drawn carriage), you’ll find that Guadalajara’s numerous plazas, colonial architecture and modern conveniences make this a delightful city to visit.
Part of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, it is best known as being the home of the Virgin of Zapopan, an image of the Virgin Mary which was made in the 16th century. This image has been credited with a number of miracles and has been recognized by popes and even visited by Pope John Paul II. The municipality is also the home of the Centro Cultural Universitario, which contains one of the most important concert venues inLatin America and is the home of the new stadium for the C.D. Guadalajara.
San Pedro Tlaquepaque, is a city and the surrounding municipality in theMexican state of Jalisco. During the 20th century it was absorbed by the outward spread of the state capital and is now a neighbourhood of the Guadalajara conurbation, lying only a few kilometres from the city centre. The city had a 2005 census population of 542,051, while the municipality had a population of 563,006. The municipality’s area is 270.88 km2 (104.59 sq mi) and lies adjacent to the south side of Guadalajara. Its largest community besides Tlaquepaque is the town of Santa Anita, at the municipality’s southwestern corner.
The name Tlaquepaque derives from Nahuatl and means “place above clay land”. The area is famous for its pottery and blown glass.
Tlaquepaque features El Parián, a large plaza flanked by columned arcades and surrounded by restaurants and bars. The main square in the city centre is known as El Jardín Hidalgo (“Hidalgo Garden”), named after Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the “Father of Mexican Independence.” A larger-than-life statue of Hidalgo dominates the square. Other main features include the two important churches, El Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Solitude) and San Pedro (Saint Peter), and the Benito Juárez market.
Lake Chapala and its surroundings is one of the most charming places in the world to spend a great retirement. A place where natural beauty, tranquility and beautiful weather all year round, are just some of the attractions. This destination in the state of Jalisco is the largest water reservoir in Mexico and provides for the drinking needs for much of the city of Guadalajara. Here, a variety of cultures and nationalities come together, resulting in an exotic blend that coexists in a typically Mexican environment.
Chapala is located just one hour from Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico, which offers modern airports and roads for your use. From Chapala you can easily travel by car to San Miguel de Allende, Cuernavaca, Puerto Vallarta, Zacatecas, Patzcuaro, Manzanillo, Morelia and Mexico City.
The bounty of the local food is a great advantage for foreigners living here, because there is a great variety of food, it is plentiful and available all year. This certainly is a better option than buying imported food which is more expensive, but there are also many supermarkets where you can find whatever you are looking for.