2 days in Guadalajara: The Perfect Itinerary (First Time Visit)


How to visit Guadalajara in 48 Hours? Itinerary + Where to stay

You’re planning to spend 2 days in Guadalajara and you’re looking for the best things to do?

You’re at the right place!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you the perfect 2-day itinerary in Guadalajara.

During your trip, you will discover the rich culture, history, and flavors of the city as well as its must-see attractions.

In addition to the best places to visit and activities for each stage of your itinerary, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.

So, what are the best places to visit in Guadalajara in 2 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

Day 1: The Heart of Guadalajara

Morning Walk: The Essence of Guadalajara

Start your adventure at Guadalajara Cathedral.

This iconic building is one of the most symbolic places in Guadalajara. With its mix of baroque style and neo-Gothic towers, it’s a breathtaking sight.

Inside, you can explore three chapels, see a Christ figure made of ivory, and admire oil paintings by Mexican artists.

Right in front of the cathedral, the Plaza de Armas serves as a central gathering spot. Here, locals meet, visitors snap photos, and everyone can enjoy sitting on the benches.

The centerpiece is an Art Nouveau kiosk, brought directly from France, where live music fills the air, usually on Thursdays at 6:30 PM.

Palacio de Gobierno Guadalajara
Palacio de Gobierno Guadalajara

Next, visit the Palacio Municipal (City Hall) and the Palacio de Gobierno. Good news – entry to both is free.

Inside, don’t miss the powerful murals by José Clemente Orozco. These artworks dive deep into Mexico’s history and are a must-see for understanding the country’s past and culture.

Take a moment at the Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres. This circular monument honors individuals from Jalisco who have made significant contributions in arts, sciences, education, politics, and human rights.

Each statue tells a part of Jalisco’s rich story and the remarkable people who have shaped it.

Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres Guadalajara
Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres, Guadalajara

Conclude your morning exploration at the Regional Museum of Guadalajara.

Located in a late 18th-century building known for its baroque facade, central courtyard, and beautiful staircase, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the region’s past. Here, you can discover a wide range of exhibits that bring the history of Jalisco and its people to life.

museo regional guadalajara mexico
Regional Museum of Guadalajara

Afternoon Adventure: Flavors, Culture, and Shopping

Kick off your afternoon with a visit to Mercado San Juan de Dios, a bustling hub in the heart of Guadalajara.

It’s not just any market; it’s the largest indoor market in Latin America, boasting around 3,000 stalls spread over three levels.

Here, you can find virtually everything – from clothes, shoes, and electronics to candies, movies, and, of course, handicrafts. It’s a treasure trove for shoppers and a feast for the senses.

Don’t leave without trying the torta ahogada, a signature dish of Guadalajara. This “drowned sandwich” with its spicy sauce and tender pork filling will give you a real taste of local flavors.

The market is also the perfect spot to sample other local dishes like birria or pozole.

torta ahogada mario
Torta ahogada at Mario (San Juan Market), Guadalajara

Next on your list should be Hospicio Cabañas, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Inside, you’ll find José Clemente Orozco’s breathtaking murals, including the famed “Man of Fire”.

Cabañas museum guadalajara
Hospicio Cabañas Museum, Guadalajara

Continue your journey to the Teatro Degollado, a stone’s throw away from Hospicio Cabañas. Marvel at this neoclassical theater’s grand facade and, if you’re lucky, take a peek inside to admire its lavish interiors (open from 12pm to 2PM, Tuesday to Sunday).

degollado guadalajara mexico
Teatro Degollado, Guadalajara

Finish your afternoon at La Fuente, one of the oldest cantinas in Guadalajara!

Even if you’re not into drinking, the traditional ambiance is one of the best experiences Guadalajara offers. I personally had a lot of fun and I highly recommend. It’s the perfect spot to soak in the local vibe, enjoy some lively conversation, and maybe even catch some live music.

cantina la fuente guadalajara
Cantina La Fuente, Guadalajara

Day 2: Tlaquepaque and Colonia Americana

Morning Discovery: The Charms of Tlaquepaque

Your 2-day trip in Guadalajara continues with an exploration of Tlaquepaque, known for its rich culture and artisan crafts.

Take a walk along Independencia Avenue. This vibrant street is lined with galleries and boutiques offering a wide range of local crafts, from handmade jewelry to intricate glasswork.

calle independencia tlaquepaque
Avenida Independencia, Tlaquepaque

Make a stop at the Ceramic Museum (Museo de la Cerámica) that showcases the diversity of Mexican pottery. This free museum showcases beautifully crafted pottery, ranging from pre-Hispanic artifacts to contemporary art pieces.

ceramic museum tlaquepaque
Ceramic Museum in Tlaquepaque

Make your way to Jardin Hidalgo, Tlaquepaque’s main plaza, resembling a charming green park centered around a beautiful kiosk.

On weekends, this plaza transforms into a bustling hub of activity. Locals gather here to socialize, enjoy the performances of street musicians, and indulge in snacks from food vendors.

Here, I strongly recommend trying a tejuino. This traditional fermented corn drink is incredibly refreshing – i love it!

jardin hidalgo tlaquepaque
Jardin Hidalgo, Tlaquepaque

Conclude your morning at the Museo Pantaleon Panduro, which displays an impressive array of ceramic art, from whimsical figures to more traditional pieces.

This collection not only showcases the talent of Mexican artisans but also the evolving nature of ceramic art in the country.

Pantaléon Panduro Museum Tlaquepaque
Pantaléon Panduro Museum, Tlaquepaque

Before you leave Tlaquepaque, I suggest a visit to Nuestros Dulces on Calle Juarez. This shop is a paradise for those who love traditional Mexican candies, boasting an impressive variety. They also claim to be “the store with the most variety of tequila in the world!”

It’s definitely worth taking a look, even if just to glimpse the vast selection. You might find the perfect souvenir to bring back home.

nuestros dulces tlaquepaque
The Ali Baba cave of tequila at Nuestros dulces, Tlaquepaque

Afternoon Stroll: The Vibrant Colonia Americana

After the morning’s cultural immersion in Tlaquepaque, your journey continues in Colonia Americana, a neighborhood known for its historical significance and architectural marvels.

This area stands out for its beautiful examples of early 20th-century architecture, blending European influences with Mexican elements: mainly neoclassical, art deco and modernist.

This diversity in architecture makes it a fascinating area for a leisurely walk. It is also the perfect place to discover charming cafés, where you can take a break and enjoy a cup of coffee in a cozy setting. – Check out my Guide to the 5 Best Coffee Shops in Guadalajara!

Stroll along Avenida La Paz, Avenida Chapultepec, Calle Libertad, and don’t miss the opportunity to explore the local shops and boutiques scattered throughout the neighborhood.

As the day transitions to evening, Colonia Americana reveals its vibrant nightlife. The area is home to some of Guadalajara’s best bars and restaurants, where you can experience the city’s culinary diversity.

From traditional Mexican cuisine to international dishes, there’s something for every palate.

The bars in Colonia Americana are ideal for winding down after a day of exploration. My personal favorite are Farmacia Rita Perez and Bienvenido Pariente with their inventive cocktails and lively, unpretentious atmosphere!

street art guadalajara
Colorful mural in Colonia Americana, Guadalajara

Guadalajara in two days: Insider’s Tips

1. Plan Your Route: To make the most of your 2 days, start early and plan your route. If you don’t have a car, you can easily use public transport or take an Uber between the areas. For closer distances, walking or using the MiBici bikeshare system is a great option (although not for Tlaquepaque since it’s a bit further away).

2. Maximize Your Visit with a Guided Tour: To truly make the most of your time in Guadalajara, consider taking a guided tour. They can help you navigate the city more efficiently, ensuring you see the major sights. It’s a great way to cover a lot of ground, especially if you’re limited to two days! Book it here:

3. Enjoy the Nightlife: Avenida Chapultepec in Colonia Americana offers a lively scene at night with bars, live music, and great food. It’s the perfect way to relax and soak in the local culture after a day of exploring.

4. Sun Protection: Given Guadalajara’s typically hot and sunny weather, dressing in light clothes is recommended. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen regularly and wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Staying comfortable and safe in the heat will enhance your enjoyment as you explore the city.

5. Rainy Season Readiness: If you’re visiting during the ‘temporada de lluvias’ (the rainy season, from may to october), expect sudden and heavy showers. Keeping a lightweight, waterproof jacket or an umbrella with you can save the day, ensuring that the rain doesn’t interfere with your plans.

6. Cash Is King: While many places in Guadalajara do accept credit and debit cards, it’s not uncommon to find smaller shops, street vendors, or local markets that operate on a cash-only basis. Carrying cash in pesos will make transactions smoother and ensure you don’t miss out on anything, from street food to souvenirs.

7. Embrace the Local Cuisine: Guadalajara is known for its delicious food. Don’t leave without trying torta ahogada in Mercado San Juan de Dios and sipping on tejuino in Tlaquepaque. Explore both street food and restaurants to get the full flavor of the city.

Is Two Days in Guadalajara Enough?

Two days in Guadalajara are enough to get a good feel for the city if you plan wisely.

Focus on the main attractions like the historic center, Tlaquepaque and Colonia Americana, and enjoy some local cuisine along the way.

A guided tour (click here to book!) can help you cover more ground faster and give you insights you might miss on your own.

Sure, 3 or 4 days in Guadalajara would allow you to explore more deeply, but with two well-planned days, you’ll still leave with a great taste of what it has to offer.

It’s a start, and you can always come back for more like I did!

To prepare for your trip, be sure to check out my guides:

9 esquinas guadalajara
Plaza de las 9 Esquinas, Guadalajara

Where to Stay for Your 2 day-adventure in Guadalajara

For a two-day exploration of Guadalajara, the ideal choices are the historic center for its proximity to historical sites or Colonia Americana. Here are my recommendations for the best hotels in Guadalajara:

  • Hostal Hospedarte Centro: A cozy and colorful hostel in the heart of Guadalajara, close to the Cathedral and Plaza de Armas. Dorm or private room with shared bathroom, from 34 $usd per night, breakfast included. Highlights: free walking tours of the city, friendly staff, lively common areas – this is my choice for a cheap and fun stay in Guadalajara!
  • Hotel Dalí Plaza Ejecutivo: A modern and comfortable hotel 320 ft meters from the Teatro Degollado and the Plaza de la Liberación. Room with private bathroom and cable TV, from 44 $usd per night. Highlights: central location, rooftop terrace, free parking.
  • Hotel de Mendoza: A historic and elegant hotel next to the Teatro Degollado and the Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres. Spacious room with balcony and panoramic view of the city, from $67 usd. Highlights: outdoor pool, gym, colonial charm, restaurant.
  • Casa HabitaA restored 1940s mansion in the Colonia Americana neighborhood, 3 km from the historic center. Very elegant and comfortable room with terrace and pool view, from 150 $usd per night, breakfast included. Highlights: the outdoor pool, the bar, the retro atmosphere.
  • Boutique Hotel Villa Ganz: A renovated mansion in the Colonia Americana district, 3 km from the historic center. Cozy and elegant room with fireplace and garden view, from 200 $usd per night. Highlights: the personalized service, the gourmet restaurant, the beautiful decoration, it’s my favorite hotel in Guadalajara for a romantic stay!

Rent a car in Guadalajara

Renting a car is the best way to visit Guadalajara and make the most of your stay!

To rent a car, personally, I always use Booking.com Cars, for a few reasons:

  • You can easily compare the rental cars prices between all the agencies: for sure the easiest way to find the best rate!
  • Cancellation is often offered free of charge: no need to worry if you change your mind
  • Booking Cars offers full insurance coverage at a lower price than the rental companies, so it’s an instant saving with no effort

Simply click on the green button to find your rental car at the best price:

Finding the Best Price for Your Flight Ticket

The Guadalajara International Airport (Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla) is one of Mexico’s main airports.

It welcomes numerous international flights (from the United States, Europe, etc.) and domestic flights (Mexico City 1h30, Cancun 2h45, Tijuana 3h, Puerto Vallarta 1h).

To find the best deals on flights to Guadalajara, use our flight comparison tool, developed in partnership with Skyscanner. It’s your ticket to securing the best rates!


Book your trip now and save money!

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best places to visit in Guadalajara in 2 days


I have created this blog to give you all my best tips to plan your next trip to Mexico, regardless of your budget. I share detailed itineraries, advice about places to visit as well as recommendations for transportation, hotels and restaurants. I hope I will also help you to discover amazing off the beaten path destinations in Mexico!

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