3 Days in Guadalajara: An EPIC Itinerary (First Time Visit)


How to spend 3 Days in Guadalajara: The Best Itinerary + Where to Stay

You’re planning to spend 3 days in Guadalajara?

Great idea!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you the perfect itinerary to visit Guadalajara in 3 days.

With my guide, you will be sure to discover all the city’s best place to visit, amazing local dining spots and hidden gems!

In addition to the best thinngs to do 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, how to visit Guadalajarain 3 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

Day 1: Dive Into the Heart of Guadalajara

A. Guadalajara Cathedral

Begin your 3 days in Guadalajara at the Guadalajara Cathedral, a landmark known for its stunning mix of Gothic, Baroque, Moorish, and Neoclassical architecture.

Don’t just stop at admiring its exterior; the interior holds breathtaking art and peaceful chapels. It’s a must-visit for both its beauty and historical significance.

B. Historic Center Walking Tour

Immerse yourself in the soul of the city with a walking tour of the historic center.

Plaza de Armas is your first stop, a picturesque square surrounded by magnificent buildings and the beating heart of Guadalajara’s social life, with a splendid French bandstand in the center.

The Government Palace, just a stone’s throw away, houses striking murals by José Clemente Orozco, one of Mexico’s most celebrated artists. Plus, admission is free!

Complete your tour at the Regional museum of Guadalajara, that houses an extensive collection that spans from pre-Hispanic artifacts to contemporary art, offering a comprehensive overview of Jalisco’s cultural evolution.

colection Regional Museum of Guadalajara
Regional Museum of Guadalajara

C. Lunch at Mercado San Juan de Dios

No visit to Guadalajara is complete without a meal at Mercado San Juan de Dios, Latin America’s largest indoor market.

As you wander through its bustling aisles, you’ll encounter stalls selling everything from handcrafted goods to fresh produce.

But the highlight is undoubtedly the food section, where you can indulge in Guadalajara’s culinary delights. Be sure to try the torta ahogada, a spicy drowned pork sandwich that’s a city staple. The market’s lively atmosphere, combined with delicious local flavors, makes for an unforgettable dining experience.

torta ahogada market guadalajara
Torta ahogada at San Juan Libertad Market

D. Afternoon at Hospicio Cabañas & Teatro Degollado

After lunch, make your way to Hospicio Cabañas, a jewel of neoclassical architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It is home to some of the most important murals by José Clemente Orozco, depicting various social and historical themes, including the famed “Man of Fire”.

orozco guadalajara
Man on Fire, José Clemente Orozco, Guadalajara

Later, visit Teatro Degollado, a cornerstone of Guadalajara’s cultural scene. This stunning neoclassical theater hosts a variety of performances, from opera to folk dance.

Even if you don’t catch a show, the theater’s facade and interior are worth admiring for their artistic and architectural beauty. The lobby and main hall are adorned with impressive frescoes and sculptures, making it a feast for the eyes and a testament to the city’s vibrant arts culture.

E. Evening at Cantina La Fuente

End your day with a visit to Cantina La Fuente, not just any bar, but a living piece of Guadalajara’s history as one of the oldest cantinas in the city!

The ambiance in Cantina La Fuente is unparalleled. It’s a place where young and old, forever patrons and first-time visitors, come together in a lively, welcoming environment.

Live music often fills the air, with people singing along, creating a communal experience that embodies the spirit of Guadalajara. The authentic ambiance, the buzz of conversations, and the shared moments laughter make it a must-visit spot, even if you’re not inclined to drink.

Day 2: Tlaquepaque and Colonia Americana

A. Morning Visit to Tlaquepaque

Begin your cultural exploration in Tlaquepaque, a picturesque area known for its vibrant art scene and rich heritage. This neighborhood, with its quaint cobblestone streets and colonial-style buildings, offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity.

Start at the Ceramic Museum to admire locally crafted pottery and ceramic art, illustrating the skill and creativity of Mexican artisans.

As you wander down Avenue Independencia, take in the galleries and artisan shops that line the street, offering everything from hand-blown glass to intricate metalwork.

calle independencia tlaquepaque
Avenida Independencia, Tlaquepaque

Make your way to Jardín Hidalgo, the heart of Tlaquepaque, where you can relax under the shade of trees or enjoy a refreshing tejuino, a traditional corn-based drink that’s a must-try.

Don’t miss a visit to Casa Luna for lunch. This beautifully decorated restaurant not only serves delicious local dishes but also features live music, providing a delightful sensory experience.

If you like tequila, don’t miss the Cazuela cocktail with grapefruit, orange, lime. It’s tasty and refreshing!

casa luna tlaquepaque
Casa Luna, Tlaquepaque
cocktail casa luna tlaquepaque
My cocktail at Casa Luna, Tlaquepaque

Before leaving Tlaquepaque, stop by Nuestros Dulces, where you can indulge in traditional Mexican candies and marvel at the world’s largest collection of tequila bottles. It’s a perfect spot to pick up souvenirs or gifts for loved ones back home.

B. Afternoon in Colonia Americana

Transition to the Colonia Americana in the afternoon, a neighborhood celebrated for its early 20th-century architecture and cultural vibrancy.

Wander along Avenida La Paz, Calle Libertad, Avenida Chapultepec, taking in the eclectic mix of historic homes, contemporary art galleries, and boutique shops.

The streets of Colonia Americana are alive with a dynamic energy, especially as the day transitions into night. Here, you’ll find an array of dining options, from quaint cafés to upscale restaurants, alongside bars and clubs that offer a glimpse into the city’s nightlife.

Check out my Guide to the 5 Best Coffee Shops in Guadalajara’s Colonia Americana!

zuno cafe colonia americana
zuno cafe colonia americana
chapultepec guadalajara
Avenida Chapultepec, Guadalajara

Day 3 Choices: Tequila or Zapopan & Colomos

On your final day, you have two interesting options to round off your adventure.

Option A takes you on a day trip to Tequila, the birthplace of Mexico’s most famous spirit. This experience offers a deep dive into the cultural and historical significance of tequila, set against the backdrop of stunning agave landscapes.

Option B is a mix of urban exploration and nature, focusing on Zapopan and Bosque Colomos.

Each option presents a unique way to conclude your 3-day journey in Guadalajara!

1. Day Trip to Tequila

Embark on an early departure to Tequila, a small town with a global name, nestled among fields of blue agave. This UNESCO World Heritage site is not just about tasting tequila but understanding its roots and the traditional processes that give it its unique flavor.

A guided tour of a tequila distillery is essential, like the famous Jose Cuervo and Herradura.

Here, you’ll learn about the harvesting of agave, the fermentation process, and the distillation that leads to tequila’s creation. Witnessing the transformation from agave plant to tequila offers a fascinating glimpse into a craft that has shaped the region’s identity.

After the tour, enjoy a lunch and tequila tasting session. This is where you can truly appreciate the nuances of tequila, guided by experts who can explain the differences between the various types. It’s an opportunity to savor tequila in the very place it originated, making for an unforgettable tasting experience.

Spend the afternoon exploring the town of Tequila.

My Advice
 If navigating transportation isn’t your cup of tea, why not book a guided tour of Tequila?

It includes hotel pickup in Guadalajara, a guided journey through agave fields, tequila tastings at a distillery, insights into the drink’s production, visits to the towns of Tequila and Amatitán, and a return trip to Guadalajara.

Reserve your spot here:

tequila jalisco
Tequila, Jalisco

2. Zapopan and Bosque Colomos

A. Morning Visit to Zapopan

Begin your day in Zapopan, a municipality that’s home to the revered Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan.

This site attracts pilgrims from all over Mexico and is a masterpiece of Spanish colonial architecture. The basilica houses the venerated image of the Virgin of Zapopan, an important religious artifact in Mexican culture.

basilica zapopan
Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan

Adjacent to the basilica, don’t miss the Huichol Museum, where you can admire intricate beadwork and yarn paintings that reflect the rich spiritual and artistic traditions of the Wixárika (Huichol) people.

A short walk away, on Andador 20 de Noviembre, the Zapopan Art Museum offers contemporary exhibitions.

Andador 20 de Noviembre Zapopan
Andador 20 de Noviembre, Zapopan

B. Afternoon at Bosque Colomos

After lunch in Zapopan, head to Bosque Colomos, an expansive urban forest that offers a peaceful retreat from the city.

Here, you can wander through Japanese gardens, enjoy picnics by duck-filled ponds, or simply relax in the shade of towering trees.

The park also features several trails and is a popular spot for jogging, photography, and family outings. Its Japanese garden, complete with a traditional tea house, is particularly stunning and provides a unique cultural experience amidst the natural beauty.

bosque colomos guadalajara
Bosque Los Colomos, Guadalajara

Additional Tips for Spending 3 Days in Guadalajara

Best Times to Visit Guadalajara

Guadalajara usually has nice weather. But remember, from May to October, it can be very hot and rainy.

If you want to walk around the city and see everything, the best time to go to Guadalajara is between January and April.

During these months, it’s a bit cooler (but not cold) and it almost never rains. It’s also sunny. This is the best weather for going outside and discovering the city!

Transportation Tips Within Guadalajara

Navigating Guadalajara is relatively straightforward. The city boasts an efficient public transport system, including buses and a metro line, which cover most tourist destinations. Consider also using ride-sharing apps like Uber or renting a bike through the city’s bike-share program.

Cultural Etiquette and Useful Spanish Phrases

Guadalajarans are known for their warm hospitality. A few basic Spanish phrases can go a long way in showing respect and enhancing your interaction with locals. Phrases like “Buenos días” (Good morning), “Por favor” (Please), and “Gracias” (Thank you) are essential. Remember, polite gestures and a friendly smile are universally appreciated.

Recommendations for Food and Safety

Guadalajara is a haven for foodies, offering everything from street food to gourmet dining. Don’t leave without trying local specialties like torta ahogada and birria. When it comes to safety, Guadalajara is generally safe for tourists, but like in any large city, it’s wise to stay aware of your surroundings, especially at night, and keep valuables secure.

Is Three Days Enough to See Guadalajara?

In three days, you can cover many of Guadalajara’s highlights, making the most of your visit with this itinerary.

If you have extra time, it’s great for a slower exploration of the city or a trip to Lake Chapala.

For additional insights and travel advice, check out my other articles:

Where to Stay for Your 3 day-trip in Guadalajara

For a three-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) 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!

You’re traveling in Mexico? These articles will help you!

Discover all my articles about Mexico: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Mexico are listed there.

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best places to visit in Guadalajara in 3 days
best places to visit in Guadalajara in 3 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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