How to Spend a Weekend in Guadalajara, Jalisco

How to Spend a Weekend in Guadalajara, Jalisco

If you’re planning a trip to Mexico, one of the places you should add to your itinerary is Guadalajara Jalisco and the surrounding area. Guadalajara is one of the biggest cities in Mexico and is surrounded by pueblos magicos (magic towns), beautiful lakes and filled with good music and tequila. Here’s how to spend the perfect weekend in Guadalajara Jalisco.

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Where to Stay

Camino Real Hotel in Zapopan Guadalajara Jalisco
In the pool at Camino Real Hotel in Guadalajara

We stayed at a beautiful hotel just outside of Guadalajara Jalisco in a place called Zapopan. We stayed at the Camino Real Hotel and it was gorgeous. There was a lovely outdoor buffet as well as an indoor restaurant. There were also three or four different swimming pools to relax and cool off in. I loved that we had access to the pools because it was super hot when we visited.

Things to Do in Guadalajara Jalisco

Guadalajara Jalisco Statue of a Woman

Guadalajara is a city located in the western Mexican state of Jalisco. The state is known for mariachi music and tequila as well as colonial architecture. Some of the best things to do in Guadalajara include visiting the Guadalajara Cathedral, the Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Jalisco and the Mercado Libertad San Juan de Dios.

Guadalajara Jalisco Hospicio Cabañas
This is perhaps the most famous mural in the Hospicio Cabañas.

My favorite thing that we did in Guadalajara was visiting the Hospicio Cabañas. The Hospicio Cabañas is a World Heritage Site and is one of the oldest and largest hospital complexes in the world. It was founded in 1791 to be a hospital, hospice, and orphanage but now serves as a kind of museum overflowing with intricate murals. The murals were all painted by José Clemente Orozco who is one of Mexico’s most famous muralists. The site is also currently home to the Cabañas Cultural Institute and the Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Day Trips from Guadalajara: Go on a Tequila Tour

Barrels of Tequila in Tequila Jalisco

The best thing we did in Jalisco, in my opinion, was when we went on a Tequila tour. Did you know that Tequila is like Champagne in that, it can’t be called Tequila unless it comes from the town of Tequila? If you visit Jalisco you would be crazy not to pay a visit to Tequila as well.

The company that we went on the Tequila Tour with is called Tequila Grand Tour. You can often book them straight through your hotel, or you can book a tour with them here. The tour started off by taking us to Rancho Convivenvia Tequilera. At this spot, we were able to see how the agave plants are grown and cared for and how they are then made into tequila. We tried three or four different kinds of tequila while there. They also had tostadas for sale so we ate those as well.

Rancho Convivencia Tequilera | Jalisco
Agave fields in Rancho Convivencia Tequilera

The next stop on the tour was to visit a giant buffet with a view of many agave fields where we ate rice, salad, tostadas, tacos and enjoyed free margaritas. Afterward, we went to the center of the town of Tequila and wandered around a bit before making our way to our final stop.

Tequila Jalisco | Jose Cuervo Distillery
Jose Cuervo Distillery

Our final stop on the tour was to visit the Jose Cuervo Tequila distillery where we got to see how they make and age tequila using barrels, tanks and other kinds of contraptions. We also got to try multiple kinds of tequila and got margaritas at the end. Afterward, we wandered around the town of Tequila a bit more, stopped for dinner and then hopped back on our tour bus to go back to our hotel.

Visit the Giant Tiangis in the Nearby Town of Tonalá, Jalisco

Pottery in Tonalá | Near Guadalajara Jalisco

Another amazing thing to do near Guadalajara Jalisco is to go to the giant tiangis (open-air market) in Tonalá. Tonalá is a small town just 20 minutes away from Guadalajara by car. The tiangis in Tonalá is massive and is home to over 3,500 merchants selling artisanal goods, handicrafts and Mexican food. The tiangis operates on Thursdays and Sundays. You can read about the Tiangis in Tonalá here.

Go Shopping and Sightseeing in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco

Tlaquepaque Jalsico | Magic Town
Tlaquepaque de mi corazón – Tlaquepaque of my heart.

Tlaquepaque is one of Mexico’s famous pueblos magicos or magic towns. It’s a town filled with colorful buildings, flowers, statues and even a street decorated with hanging umbrellas and ribbons. It’s also very close to Tonalá so you could visit both places on the same day. Tlaquepaque is a wonderful place to go shopping at various artisan boutiques and buy handmade goods. It’s about a ten-minute drive away from Guadalajara and a fifteen-minute drive away from Tonalá.

Other Things to Do in the State of Jalisco

  • Visit Lake Chapala (1-hour drive from Guadalajara)
  • Go to the popular beach town, Puerto Vallarta (5-hour drive from Guadalajara – best to spend a few days there)
  • Visit Mazamitla (another pueblo magico located 2 hours away from Guadalajara)

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