Guadalajara in a day.
Normally when you think of Mexico, you might think of it’s capital Mexico City, Cancun, or Cabo (see article links). But Guadalajara is one that’s slightly under the radar and as of now, and that’s to our advantage. It’s definitely worth taking a day or two to explore if you’re anywhere around the western coast or Baja Cali (also a quick two-hour flight from LAX). This all at once busy, ancient, and modern Mexican city has plenty to see and do for days, and the following may take up to three, but grab your sombrero and see how far you get!
One of a few “downtown” areas around the city, “T-Town” (as many English speakers call it for short) is a fun sight to see. Complete with market stands selling anything and everything handmade from souvenirs to leather goods to coconuts and chili seasoned grilled corn (yum). There are a few banks on the outside corners where your driver can drop you off to use the ATM before you begin your journey through the city. Wander through the streets and if you’re lucky to catch the ribbon/pole dancers in the center of the square, you’re in for a treat. These guys in traditional costume spin around this extremely high pole until they get to the top while they perform a sort of dance routine around this pole with brightly colored ribbons, all in front of a beautiful gazebo and small park next to a large, old church. Grab a seat and enjoy some delicious traditional food at several of the local restaurants (we love going to the places with the Mariachi singers, touristy or not, it’s all authentic and affordable).
Mercado de San Juan de Dios.
You can buy anything here. Really, anything: clothes, accessories (Hello, well-made knock offs of every color and style), electronics, food, decorations, souvenirs, live chickens… anything. It spans over several square city blocks in the city center and is packed in as tightly as possible (read: guard your bags/pockets). Bring your cash, since there aren’t many who will (or want to) accept cards. I recommend stopping by the guys with the very well made leather jackets for very reasonable prices. Have fun wandering through the maze; you’ll find them eventually.
The cathedral in the center of old city center is beautiful to see day or night, though the traffic through here does get busy especially during rush hours. Walk through some of the oldest streets of the city where its history began. There are a few parks nearby as well as local places serving delicious chilaquiles (think: nachos).
If you aren't tired of the great hospitality and amazing food. Does anyone really get tired of Mexican food?
Here we mean both the drink and the town. Though I have yet to check this one off my list, it’s been highly recommended to take a day trip out to Tequila. There are several tour packages you can choose from that will include transportation to several distilleries, offering tastings, lunch, and souvenirs to ensure you remember your trip.