Tlaquepaque is located in the Mexican state of Jalisco and is one of the nine municipalities in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area. It is one of Mexico’s premium tourist destinations because of a culture of artisanry, hospitality, and old-world charm. Many people consider Tlaquepaque to be a perfect day trip from Guadalajara, but Tlaquepaque itself is a world-class destination and designated Pueblo Mágico by the Mexican Secretary of Tourism.
This guide will help you find all the best things to do in Tlaquepaque: the best shopping, the best food, the best hotels, and the best time to go. Strap in, buckle up and let’s head to Tlaquepaque Jalisco.
I have lived in Guadalajara since 2009 and I absolutely love spending my weekends in Tlaquepaque. The last group of friends that I showed around preferred the historic center of Tlaquepaque to the center of Guadalajara.
Things To Do In Tlaquepaque Jalisco Overview
Hanging out in the magic town of Tlaquepaque is one of the coolest things to do in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area for travelers and locals alike.
The shopping in Tlaquepaque is absolutely spectacular. This is one of the premier artisan communities in a country known for folk art. The downtown area is filled with cobblestone streets, artisan workshops, and delicious food.
You will find exquisite examples of regional folk art not just from the State of Jalisco but from across Mexico and other parts of Latin America. There are high-end galleries, flea markets, and everything in between.
Much of the hospitality industry in Tlaquepaque is housed in old historic mansions that are decorated by local artists. El Parián is a 19th-century food court with many different restaurants and bars situated around a bandstand with Mariachi and folkloric dance shows.
Tlaquepaque used to be the country and there are lots of ‘campestre’ or country-style restaurants preparing exotic meats like goat and lamb. There are both elegant and humble options serving wonderful Mexican food.
A Brief History of Tlaquepaque
The name Tlaquepaque (pronounced tla-kay-pa-kay) comes from the Nahuatl word, tlalipac, or place above clay land. There are a couple more interpretations but they all involve clay because the original inhabitants made ornaments and utensils out of clay, going back long before the Spanish arrived.
In 1530 the Spanish arrived to find a federation of Totonaco communities allied under the rule of Queen Cihualpilli Tzapotzinco of Tonalá. The third founding of Guadalajara was short-lived because of resistance from the original inhabitants. In 1542 the Spanish relocated Guadalajara to its current location on the west side of the San Juan River (today the Calzada de la Independencia) at a more defensible position.
Once the Spanish dominated the region, they changed the name to San Pedro Tlaquepaque.
In the 19th century, not long after the independence from Spain, the San Pedro part was removed. In 2010 the community voted to return to the full name San Pedro Tlaquepaque which is where it stands today. However, nobody calls it San Pedro Tlaquepaque. That’s just a formality. It is and always will be just Tlaquepaque.
In 2018 Tlaquepaque was designated a Pueblos Mágico by the Mexican Government’s Secretary of Tourism but everybody in Jalisco already knew how special the town is.
27 Best Things To Do In Tlaquepaque Jalisco
Just strolling the cobblestone pedestrian streets and eating corn on the cob in the plaza while listening to music is a quintessential Mexican activity. Sunday is family day. Hanging out in the plaza in Tlaquepaque while talking and eating a street food snack is one of Mexico’s top things to do.
1. Andador Independencia
The first thing that visitors like to do in Tlaquepaque is walk the streets of Calle Independencia and Calle Juarez in Downtown Tlaquepaque. Public art decorates pedestrian-friendly streets. There are dozens of boutiques, galleries, museums, street vendors, and restaurants to take in.
Calle Independencia is a pedestrian-only street. Calle Juarez runs parallel and does allow cars in one direction but the sidewalks are wide the crosswalks are well designed.
The section of the street next to the Jardin Hidalgo is often decorated with ‘papel picado’ or umbrellas strung between the old neoclassical-style buildings. It is a very Instagram-friendly backdrop. The colorful Tlaquepaque sign is on Calle Independencia in a little plaza next to Avenida Niños Heroes.
I recommend looking at the menus of a few different restaurants before deciding where to eat.
2. Parian de Tlaquepaque
The Parián de Tlaquepaque is a 19th-century market that has evolved into the largest cantina in the world. It is a collection of restaurants and bars with entertainment.
The building takes up one city block and there is a large bandstand in the center with mariachi and folkloric dance shows performed every day. There is usually a negotiable cover charge to sit up close to the performers.
I really enjoy drinking in the old cantinas but have just gotten average food at the restaurants that I have visited (though I haven’t hit every restaurant in the food court yet). The restaurants on Calle Independencia and Calle Juarez are my favorites.
3. Jardin Hidalgo
The Jardin Hidalgo is the large plaza in downtown Tlaquepaque. It is bordered by two fine churches, by the Mercado Benito Juarez, and it is kitty-corner to the Parián. There are always street vendors selling food and oftentimes there is an outdoor flea market selling all sorts of folk art and clothing.
There is usually good food to be found outside of popular churches in Mexico. The Jardin Hidalgo has two beautiful temples that make the perfect backdrop for selfies.
4. Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad
In 1742, the construction of the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad church began under the initiative of José Antonio Caballero. It would take another 100 years to complete the construction because of a lack of resources.
The temple was finished in 1878 thanks to the support of Fray Luis Arguello. In 1873, before construction was finished, Pope Pío IX designated the temple as a minor basilica and forgave the indulgences of the faithful that financially supported the construction.
El Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad is a mixture of baroque, neo-gothic, and neo-classical architectural styles. It is one of the prettiest churches in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area.
5. Museo Regional de la Cerámica
Tlaquepaque, Jalisco is one of the best places in Mexico to learn about Mexican ceramics. From traditional to modern, there is a long history of making very fine pieces. Before buying any ceramics, I recommend cruising the Ceramics Museum.
Housed in a 19th-century mansion, the museum features a fine collection of works from distinguished artisans going back hundreds of years. The traditional pottery from Jalisco has a very unique style that you will be able to distinguish from other regional styles after visiting the museum.
6. El Refugio Cultural Center
The Refugio Cultural Center is an old charity hospital that was taken over by the government in the 1980s and converted into a museum and community center. Given that it was a hospital with a psychiatric ward, there are plenty of Ghost stories to be told. Before the pandemic, there were nighttime ghost story tours and a lot of exhibitions of local artists.
7. Museo Premio Nacional de la Cerámica, Pantaleón Panduro
The Pantaleon Panduro Museum is housed in the historic Fray Luis Arguello Chapel on the back side of El Refugio Cultural Center. It is named after the famous artisan, Don Pantaleón Panduro, who worked in the era of President Porfirio Díaz
Every year, there is a national ceramics prize where artisans from different regions in Mexico present their works. The winning pieces from all the different categories are exhibited in the museum.
It is likely that you have seen pieces before that represent the different regional styles. However, the level of detail and intricacy of the pieces shown here are over the top. These really are the best examples of regional ceramics in Mexico.
There is an incredible mural at the back of the building by Guillermo Chávez Vega called “Alegoría por la paz.”
Shopping In Tlaquepaque Jalisco
One of the nicknames for Tlaquepaque is the Villa Alfarera or the potters’ village. There is a long and rich tradition of crafting fine ceramics that date back to before the Spanish arrived.
The name should be Artisans’ Village because ceramics are just the beginning. There are carpenters, glass blowers, leather workers, sculptors, jewelry makers, and many more skilled tradesmen plying their trades and creating unique things.
Downtown Tlaquepaque is lined with mostly galleries and boutiques. The workshops have been pushed to the industrial outskirts of the area where the rents are cheaper.
The shopping in Downtown Tlaquepaque is exceptional. Not only can you find the best and finest selection of fine folk art from Jalisco but many boutiques sell regional styles of crafts from across Mexico.
There are examples of black clay from Oaxaca and Talavera from Puebla, embroidered goods from Chiapas in addition to the local style of earthenware.
Obviously, the best deals will be on the pieces produced locally. For example, the Talavera from the State of Puebla is either low quality or exorbitantly expensive, or both.
These are some of my favorite places to go shopping in Tlaquepaque for high-quality gifts from Mexico.
8. Rodo Padilla’s La Casa de la Bicicleta Gallery
Rodo Padilla’s gorditos, or chubby people, are some of the most iconic pieces of public art in Tlaquepaque. The guitar player on a bench in front of his shop is a classic spot to get a photo. He has a couple more pieces along Calle Independencia that you will love finding and knowing who the artist is.
9. Sergio Bustamante Gallery
Sergio Bustamante is one of the biggest names in modern art in the State of Jalisco. You will see public art at the zoo, in the Glorieta Chapalita, on the malecón in Downtown Puerto Vallarta, and hidden around town like little treasures. He has a very identifiable style that once you see you will easily recognize.
If you have the money, these are really special, high-quality pieces. People will recognize a Sergio Bustamonte neckless or bracelet.
10. Cantú Azulejos
Before you go to Cantú make sure to walk by the tile mural reproduction on Calle Juarez of Diego Rivera’s ‘Dream on a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Central.’ It will give you an appreciation of the talented painters and tile makers.
Cantú has a lot of smaller pieces. This is the easiest place to buy a small tile souvenir of some sort. The other top ceramics shops do mostly custom orders while Cantú has a large retail boutique.
11. Ceramica Avalos
If you have eaten at any of the restaurants on my ‘best restaurant list‘ it is likely that you have eaten off of earthenware from Ceramica Avalos. They make beautiful modern plates, bowls, and other vessels for food and drink.
Rather than selling individual pieces, they sell custom-made sets. I absolutely love the espresso cups that I use with the Moka Pot coffee maker.
12. El Búho Tequilas
Jalisco is the best place to buy tequila in the world and El Búho Tequilas is arguably the best tequila shop in Jalisco. They have an incredible selection of different tequilas and their staff is really excited to talk about different styles.
One of the best parts of shopping for tequila at El Búho is the tasting bar. They have more than a hundred open bottles of tequila that are available to taste.
Good tequila is becoming harder to find. There is a scarcity of some of the best bottles. El Búho has bottles that nobody else can get. I love going shopping here.
A great bottle of tequila is one of the best souvenirs you can get in Mexico.
13. Mercado Benito Juarez
This is your standard Mexican market with three distinct sections. The bottom floor has some tasty cheap eats that you will find in a traditional Mexican market. The ground floor is a grocery market with fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat vendors.
The third floor was the parking lot but has been turned into a flea market. This is the most affordable place to buy inexpensive souvenirs like pottery and carved wooden pieces.
I found the prices to be much more reasonable than the boutiques outside. The quality runs from cheap to middle-of-the-road. If you want the best quality, it would be best to look in a gallery or boutique.
14. Alejandro Yeo Marroquinería
Marroquinería is the art of making decorative items out of leather. I find the purses and wallets at Yeo to be some of the most beautiful pieces of art in Tlaquepaque.
I got my mom a red purse from Yeo a few years back. The quality is exceptional and the designs are one of a kind. You won’t find anything like this elsewhere.
15. Nuestros Dulces Candy Shop
I have a couple of young kids and we can not visit Tlaquepaque without stopping at Nuestros Dulces. Nuestro Dulces has a collection of traditional Mexican candies from across the region. Small towns are famous for one or two different types of candy and you can find them all here.
Traditional Mexican candy is very unique. There are many flavors that do not exist in other parts of the world.
I really enjoy fruit-based candies like the guava roll. I always buy a few candies as gifts. It is hard to enter this store without buying something.
Events in Tlaquepaque Jalisco
16. Noches de Ronda
Every other Friday night there is a street party in Downtown Tlaquepaque called Noches de Ronda. There is a carnival-like atmosphere because the bands bring circus performers in costumes and on stilts.
You can expect lots of street food, a fair amount of alcohol, and a good time.
17. Expo Ganadera
Ranching is a very important industry in this part of Mexico and the farm animal festival is a big deal. It is an industry trade show but also a touristic event with rodeos, bullfights, and lots of food. Ranchers know how to eat well and have a good time so the food will be rustic excellence. The atmosphere during the day is family-friendly but at night can turn heavy as copious amounts of tequila are consumed to banda music.
The Expo Ganadera is usually held around the same time as the Fiestas de Octubre. During the pandemic, it has been restricted to people working in the ranching industries. I am still waiting to hear if the 2021 edition will be open to the general public.
18. Day of the Dead in Tlaquepaque Jalisco
In the month leading up to the Day of the Dead, you will see a lot of Mexican marigold flowers and altars built for our deceased loved ones. There are parades and lots of public art exhibitions to explore. In 2020 the public celebrations were canceled due to the pandemic but we hope that in 2021 there will be some form of public celebrations.
19. Feria de Tlaquepaque
The San Pedro Tlaquepaque Fair is your typical country fair. This one celebrates Saint Peter, Tlaquepaque’s patron saint. There are sketchy rides, drunken carnies, and good times to be had by all.
Restaurants and Where to Eat in Tlaquepaque Jalisco
Going to Tlaquepaque is a favorite Sunday activity for the folks who live in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Region. The restaurants are massive and several of them seat more than 500 people.
20. Birrieria Chololo
Birrieria Chololo is a major Guadalajara institution. There are a couple of locations but the original is located in the Las Juntas neighborhood of Tlaquepaque. The family has a rags to riches story of selling birria out of a street cart before they could purchase their first brick-and-mortar restaurant. Las Juntas isn´t in Downtown Tlaquepaque but over by the train tracks near the junction of Calzada Lázaro Cárdenas and the freeway to Chapala and the airport.
This is one of the best tatemada birrias that you will taste in Jalisco. Tatemada means that it is cooked twice. First, it is braised for a long time at a low temperature. Then, right before it is served, it is broiled to crispen the outer layer. Chololo serves their birria dry with traditional birria broth in a separate bowl.
If you are not familiar with goat meat there is no better place to become a birria lover than at Chololo. This is one of Guadalajara´s favorite places to spend a Sunday eating and drinking.
21. Restaurante Casa Luna
Casa Luna is one of the most beautiful restaurants that I know of. They are highlighting local artisans with their design and regional gastronomy with their menu. There is a stellar list of distilled agave spirits from small producers and a very modern cocktail program. This is one of my go-to places for chile en nogada during the season. The service is educated and the food is good.
22. El Abajeño Tlaquepaque
El Abajeño is a huge restaurant that can handle large groups. The dining area is one large covered, outdoor garden. Tapatíos love spending Sundays drinking tequila, eating roasted meats, and listening to mariachi music. Abajeños is perfect for all three. The food is good, the service can be a little slow when it is busy but the prices are fair. I always order the lamb and think that you should too!
23. Real San Pedro
Real San Pedro is a high-end restaurant, offering what some might say are exotic food dishes such as alligator, wild boar, and goat meat dishes. The decoration is elegant with stone everywhere and lots of plants. There is a nice breakfast buffet on Sunday mornings.
24. Streetfood in the plaza
Don’t forget to save room for corn on the cob or a prepared cup of corn ‘esquite’ in the plaza. There are some of the best you will find. Go easy on the chile de árbol because it is REALLY spicy. I like the ones that are mixed with chayote, potato, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Hotels in Tlaquepaque Jalisco
⭐️ Rating: 9.4 /10 | Neighborhood: Tlaquepaque | View on Expedia.com
The 20-room boutique hotel was built in a neo-Spanish colonial style with some classy eclectic features. Originally, the property was comprised of two old mansion buildings that were remodeled into a hotel in 1996. The stone mosaics are really beautiful. This is a very romantic hotel.
There is a small outdoor pool and jacuzzi.
The front desk is available 24 hours a day.
Villa del Ensueño is located 600 meters from Downtown Tlaquepaque and Calle Independencia pedestrian mall. It is safe to walk during the day but it would be best to get a ride after dark. Parking is included but the lot is around the corner. I wouldn’t leave my car loaded with luggage overnight.
Villa del Ensueño is a member of the prestigious Hacidndas y Casonas de Jalisco hotel association for exceptional historic properties.
⭐️ Rating: 9.6 /10 | Neighborhood: Tlaquepaque | View on Expedia.com
Tlaquepaque is a romantic neighborhood that is full of art and artists. Quinta Don José is a beautiful property that we loved. It has characteristically Mexican design features, many of which are local to Tlaquepaque. The outdoor pool is chilly in the winter months but perfect 9 months out of the year.
You can walk everywhere in the historic district of Tlaquepaque. It is two blocks from the Parian and one block from the Abejeño Restaurant. Look at the reviews for their restaurant on TripAdvisor. It’s an Italian/Mexican fusion but people go crazy for this place. The service is excellent and the kitchen is even better.
Tlaquepaque reminds me of a little Coyoacán. It feels like a village because of great properties like Quinta Don José.
⭐️ Rating: 10 /10 | Neighborhood: Tlaquepaque | View on Expedia.com
Casa Alfareros is one of the best hotel deals in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Region. This is Mexico. You don’t need million-dollar budgets to create exceptional experiences. Much of the furniture and designs are locally made by Tlaquepaque artisans. Everything is painted in bright colors and accented with lovely tilework.
The hotel is located right in the heart of Downtown Tlaquepaque’s boutique and walking district. The Regional Ceramic Museum is one block away and there are some really good places to eat on that same block.
You can’t go wrong with this mid-range hotel.
How to Get from Guadalajara to Tlaquepaque
Tlaquepaque is easily accessible from every part of the Guadalajara area. It is only 15 km from the Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Guadalajara International Airport.
Uber and Taxi
Taking an Uber or a taxi to Tlaquepaque is the easiest way to get there when there is no traffic. It takes about 20 minutes to get to Tlaquepaque from Guadalajara and a little bit longer from Zapopan. With traffic, it can take up to an hour or more depending on where you start.
From Chapalita an Uber should cost about $125 pesos without much traffic. From Downtown Guadalajara, an Uber to Tlaquepaque should cost about $100 pesos.
Metro Light Rail
If you are near a metro stop and don’t mind a little walk, Line 3 of the Guadalajara is new and awesome. This is the first of the Guadalajara Metro System that runs through the tourist areas of Downtown Zapopan, Downtown Guadalajara, and Downtown Tlaquepaque all the way out to the Central Nueva long-distance bus terminal. It costs about US0.50 to ride and is in excellent condition because it is new.
The Downtown Tlaquepaque metro stop is about ten blocks or just over a kilometer from the Parian and the heart of Downtown Tlaquepaque. If you are going to take public transportation you will do some walking.
Make sure you look at the map before getting in the car. I have driven out there a hundred times but I still get lost. You need to plan ahead and know which route you are going to take. Try to avoid rush hour because the streets are narrow and get saturated easily.
Use off-street parking lots. If you have to park on the street make sure that you do not leave anything in the car. I would not park an expensive BMW on the street overnight. You are risking the loss of expensive pieces.
Tapatío Tour Bus
There is a hop-on,/hop-off tour bus called the Tapatío Tour that serves Tlaquepaque. There are three main routes through Guadalajara, Zapopan, and Tlaquepaque that leave from the Rotonda de los Jaliciences Ilustres, in the shadow of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Cathedral.
The Tapatío Tour bus stop in Tlaquepaque is on Calle Juarez in front of the Plaza de las Artesanias.
Tours cost $150 pesos per person and $100 pesos for kids, seniors, and students.
The coolest way to get to Tlaquepaque is by bicycle. On Sundays, large swaths of the city are closed to vehicle traffic so that pedestrians, bicycles, and more may use the roads as a park. The Vía Recreactiva runs all the way from south Zapopan through Downtown Guadalajara all the way to Tlaquepaque. It is a marvelous way to see the city if you can ride 10 to 20 miles. There are city bike rental stations where you can rent a bike in Zapopan and return it to the numerous bike stands throughout the metro region.
If you are in Western Mexico it would be worthwhile to stop by Tlaquepaque, Jalisco for a visit. I hear about a lot of people driving up from Puerto Vallarta to look for home furnishing and decorative pieces for their winter homes. While I never go with the purpose of shopping, I always leave with something cool. You will not regret making time for Tlaquepaque.
FAQ: Tlaquepaque, Jalisco Travel Tips
These are the most common questions that I get asked and see in the expat groups.
Is Tlaquepaque Safe?
Tlaquepaque, Jalisco is a rather large municipality located on the east side of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Region with its own city government and identity. Downtown Tlaquepaque is less than 5 miles from the city of Guadalajara and is easily accessible for a day trip or just for breakfast.
Touristic Downtown Tlaquepaque is a very small part of the surrounding municipality. There are both safe and unsafe parts of Tlaquepaque. Downtown Tlaquepaque is safe. El Cerro del Cuatro is not safe.
Make sure you know where you are going when traveling at night. It is easy to make a mistake following the GPS and make a wrong turn into a very sketchy area.
Try to always park your vehicle in private, secure, off-street parking lots. You can not leave anything in a vehicle when it is parked on the street and expect it to be there when you get back. A piece of luggage in a rental car is like a magnet for thieves.
What is Tlaquepaque, Jalisco famous for?
Tlaquepaque is famous for art. Ceramics are the most important artisanal trade but there are plenty more.
Additionally, Tlaquepaque is home to the José Cuervo corporate offices. Hewlett Packard has a huge campus in Tlaquepaque. The Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO) is a major university that draws students from across the globe to experience life in Guadalajara.
For Mexicans involved in ranching, the Expo Ganadera is a major event that brings people from all the neighboring states to buy and sell farm animals.
How many days is enough in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco?
Most people will spend one day in Tlaquepaque while visiting the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area. If you are really interested in ceramics or tequila, it would be easy to spend two or more days.
I have lived in Guadalajara for 15 years and I never get tired of spending my Sundays strolling the plazas and eating at the same restaurants.
What is the best month to visit Tlaquepaque?
I think that October is the best month to visit Tlaquepaque because the weather is mild, the rains have ceased, and the Expo Ganadera is in town.
Tlaquepaque is decorated for Day of the Dead during the last week of October and there are events leading up to November 1st and 2nd.
Where are the umbrellas in Tlaquepaque?
The umbrellas were moved from Calle Independencia to the Plaza de Artesanias on Calle Juarez.
I suspect that at some time in the future there will be another umbrella art piece on Calle Independencia because it was so popular.
What is the best street in Tlaquepaque?
The best street in Tlaquepaque is Calle Independencia. It is the pedestrian-only street that runs from Avenida Niños Heroes to the Parián where all the best boutiques and galleries are located.
What is the meaning of Tlaquepaque?
The word Tlaquepaque comes from the Náhuatl word, tlalipac, or place above knolls of clay. The original inhabitants made ornaments and utensils out of clay, going back centuries before the Spanish arrived.
Conclusion: Things To Do In Tlaquepaque, Jalisco
I get a lot of nostalgia writing these articles and going through old photos. When my wife and I were just dating we spent a lot of time in Tlaquepaque. We still spend a lot of time in Tlaquepaque.
I try to make a point and swing by Tlaquepaque before I travel to the United States because I think it is the best place to buy gifts for my family.
Tlaquepaque is so popular with people from the United States that they built a replica in Sedona, Arizona. It is beautiful but the original is magical.
Thanks for reading, and I hope that you enjoy your time in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco.