When I first moved to Guadalajara, finding a place to live was difficult. I had two bad situations before I found a good one. Well, not just a good one, but an amazing living situation. I spent a little over a year on the eighth floor of the Torre Minerva (Highrise apartment building) in the Glorieta Minerva, Guadalajara. In Mexico, a Glorieta is a traffic circle or roundabout. The Torre Minerva is a little piece of Guadalajara history and the view of the Minerva Fountain is priceless. Day or night, there is always something going on in the Minerva.
The eighth story of the Torre Minerva is a great place to observe the weather in Guadalajara. The sunsets are spectacular and you can see the rain coming from miles away. I kept a camera on a tripod next to the patio because I was always running out there to take pictures of something that I heard or saw.
There were protests, celebrations, marathons, bike races, and nighttime fun rides. I saw a massive concert in the Minerva that shut down traffic for days while they were setting up and taking it down afterward. Living in the Minerva is better than reading the newspaper because all you have to do is look out the window.
I recommend seeing the Glorieta Minerva, Guadalajara while you are in town. Hopefully, you will be fortunate enough to see it after Chivas wins a title or the National Team wins the cup. Coming on Sunday during the Vía Recreactiva would be the second-best. The Tapatio Tour Bus is another great way to see the Glorieta Minerva. Cruising the roundabout on a sunset tour in an open-air bus is always a pleasant experience. It may not be the first stop on the things-to-do list but it is somewhere in the middle.
History of the Glorieta Minerva Guadalajara
Today, the Glorieta Minerva is the intersection of the principal avenues of Guadalajara: Vallarta and López Mates. Avenida Vallarta heads north all the way to the United States and Avenida López Mateos leads to the Pacific port town of Manzanillo. The Guadalajara Arches are just a just 100 meters away and were built in the 1940s to celebrate the highway from Mexico City to Guadalajara. In a lot of ways, this Glorieta (roundabout) is the entrance to the city.
Governor Agustin Yañez inaugurated the Glorieta Minerva in 1956 before there was a neighborhood surrounding it. The neighborhood grew up around the Glorieta Minerva. The owner of the Torre Minerva which was built in the 1960s was also involved in building Plaza del Sol shopping mall, the first American style shopping mall in Mexico in 1969. The Fiesta Americana Hotel was the tallest building in Guadalajara for a brief second in the 1980s. Today the area is one of the nicest places to live because of the central location, gorgeous mid-century architecture and its walkability.
Traffic in the Glorieta Minerva
The traffic in the Glorieta Minerva can be nervewracking for those who are not used to driving in massive roundabouts. The busses are cutting you off on the outside while the guy on the inside is trying to swerve across 5 lanes of traffic to exit; it’s complicated. I will say that I learned some tricks that have helped me drive successfully in Mexico.
Celebrations in the Glorieta Minerva Guadalajara
After the Mexican National Soccer Team or Chivas has a big win the Glorieta Minerva quickly fills up with fans to celebrate the victory. A win in a local Clasico game (Chivas vs Atlas) will draw a few people. When Chivas beats America in the National Clasico it brings a lot of people to the Glorieta Minerva. When Mexico beat France in the World Cup it felt like the whole city had converged on the Minerva.
During the World cup, games would be shown on the Corona billboard and fans would pour into the street. People would show up to watch the games from the Glorieta Minerva.
When Mexico unexpectedly beat France the whole city came to a standstill, the streets were shut down for blocks in every direction as everyone came to celebrate.
Cycling in the Minerva
Occasionally the Paseo Nocturno Ciclista would take a route that goes through the Minerva.
Every Sunday there are plenty of cyclists cruising around the fountain. Every once and a while there are official competitions. I saw a time trial bike race that had teams from just about every state in Mexico.
Protests in the Minerva
Just about every major protest is going to use the Glorieta Minerva to start or finish their protest.
Jalisco en Vivo Concert
One of the highlights of living in the Minerva was the Jalisco en Vivo concert. This was a free concert that the government of Jalisco used to run up support before an election. The inner two lanes of the Glorieta Minerva were shut down for a week before the concert so the stage could be set up.
The entire Glorieta Minerva was shut down most of the weekend of the concert. On the night of the concert, even though it was raining, there was a crowd of people going half a mile down Av. Vallarta. It was insane. Good times.
When you come to Guadalajara I highly recommend spending some time in the Glorieta Minerva. Go for a bike ride, ride the Tapatio Tour bus or just come and take some pictures. The Minerva fountain is one of my favorite monuments in Guadalajara.