Walking Tour of Guadalajara, Mexico
Guadalajara, Mexico is the second largest city in the country but has somehow managed to retain its charm and elegance. It has been called the “City of Roses” and is known as the birthplace of Mariachis, Tequila, and the Mexican Hat Dance. The city is extremely pleasant to walk because of the numerous plazas, fountains, and parks.
My walking tour begins at the Plaza de Armas, a lovely square with an Art Nouveau bandstand at its center. On the northern side of the plaza is the imposing Cathedral (its side faces the square). Its yellow-tiled spires are a prominent city landmark. To the east, facing the square, is the Governor’s Palace, headquarters for the state of Jalisco. Inside the building are murals by Jose Clemente Orozco.
Exit the square by walking south on 16 de Septiembre. The Capilla de Aranzazu is a few blocks ahead, on the left. It was once part of a Franciscan monastery. Its altars are Mexican Baroque in style. Across the street is the Templo de San Francisco Neri. Notice its Plateresque façade.
Now, backtrack to the north and then turn right on Madero. When you reach Calzada Independencia, turn left. The Templo de San Juan de Dios, another of Guadalajara’s interesting churches, is a few blocks ahead, on the right. This church has a particularly striking and colorful interior. Behind the church is a lively plaza.
Next, continue one block north, on Calzada Independencia, to find the city’s giant, covered bazaar, Mercado Libertad. Stroll among the stalls to search for bargains before continuing.
Exit the marketplace and turn right on Independencia. The Quetzalcoatl Fountain is straight ahead, and marks the entrance onto the Plaza Tapatia, a broad pedestrian-only area which stretches across nine blocks.
Turn right into the plaza to visit the Instituto Cultural Cabana, occupying the easternmost end of the plaza. This massive building once housed thousands of homeless children, but is now an artistic and cultural Mecca for the city. It is notable not only for its exhibitions, performances, and as a school for the performing arts, but also for the building itself. It is a Neo-Classic gem of fine architecture and attractive courtyards and also contains additional murals by Orozco.
From here, begin to work your way westward, across and along the Plaza Tapatia, all the way back to the Cathedral.
On your right, several blocks ahead, is the Iglesia de Santa Maria de Gracia, an adorable, little church. Directly ahead is the Teatro Degollado, a beautiful Neo-classical opera house. Its sumptuous interior must be explored before proceeding.
On the left, near the theater, is Iglesia de San Agustin, now part of the Guadalajara University School of Music.
Now, continue westward to the rear of the Cathedral, and then circle it, counter-clockwise, to see the front, then continue around it to the Plaza de Armas, where the walking tour began.