25 Best Hotels in Guadalajara [2023 Locals’ Guide]
Looking for the best hotels in Guadalajara?
Guadalajara is a great town. It is a large metropolitan area that feels a lot smaller than it is. This article is an introduction to my favorite hotels throughout the metropolitan region; Guadalajara, Zapopan, Tlaquepaque, Tlajomulco, and even including a couple of haciendas out by Tequila. I just updated my ‘Things to do and places to see in Guadalajara‘ article, and I am updating the ‘best hotels in Guadalajara’ article as a complement to that article. These are my recommendations for places to stay in Guadalajara. I am sure you are going to find something cool.
With a population upwards of 5 million, there are lots of different experiences depending on which neighborhood a traveler stays in. Guadalajara is the capital of the State of Jalisco and has a long history and thriving economy. You can find a great hotel at every price point and for every type of traveler. Where to stay in Guadalajara is going to be influenced by the points of interest, restaurants, and overall neighborhood vibe that you are looking for.
A theme that I refer back to when talking about Guadalajara is the contrast between modern and traditional. You can see it in the architecture, the food, and even in the people. I like taking my friends to see the historic downtown in the morning and then to the super modern Punto São Paulo in the evening to show both sides of Guadalajara’s personality. I even recommend breaking up a stay in Guadalajara between two hotels, one in the historic heart of the city and one in the financial district.
Table of Contents
- 25 Best Hotels in Guadalajara
- Hotels in Downtown Guadalajara
- Hotels in Colonia Americana
- Hotels in Plaza del Sol, Chapalita, and the Expo
- Hotels in Providencia
- Hotels in Tlaquepaque
- Hotels in Zapopan and Puerta de Hierro
The Best Hotels in Guadalajara
The best hotel in Guadalajara is the Casa Habita (formally Casa Fayette) in the Colonia Americana for a stylish design that combines a historic mansion with a modern highrise. It has some serious art deco fabulousness and is within walking distance of hundreds of cool restaurants, bars, and museums. Casa Pedro Loza is a 19th-century mansion in downtown Guadalajara that has been converted into a hotel and wedding venue. The Hotel Riu is a corporate Spanish chain that my family raved about after my wedding. The best budget hotel in Guadalajara is the Hotel Morales in Downtown Zona Centro. Lastly, the Demetria Hotel and the Demetria Bungalows are beautiful and stylish properties that will delight architects and travelers alike.
The 25 Best Hotels in Guadalajara
The prices of these hotels are going to fluctuate so click the link to check the prices during the time frame that you are thinking about. I like Expedia and have used them for a long time.
1. Casa Habita (Formally Casa Fayette)
⭐️ Rating: 9.0 /10 | Neighborhood: Americana | View on Expedia.com
The Casa Habita was built by one of my favorite Hotel Groups in Mexico, Grupo Habita. They have a pattern of restoring historic properties and combining them with contemporary construction and design. They also choose the best neighborhoods in a city and in this case the wildly popular Colonia Fayette.
The original property was built in 1940 and the tower was added in 2015 as a boutique hotel. The Colonia Fayette is an architectural treasure with dozens of well-preserved 20th-century mansions of different styles. The Original Casa Habita Hotel has a lot of art deco glamor with some regionalist or eclectic accents.
The Casa Fayette Restaurant has excellent food and design that evokes emotion. It is just plain fun. The last time I was there I got to talk with the chef about what he was growing on the rooftop garden and the sorts of heirloom ingredients that he likes to use. Expect to see seasonal recipes and recipes that you know but are somehow a little different. Like pumpkin seeds and avocado on a Cesar Salad instead of croutons.
The pool is known for parties on the weekends when it gets crowded. It is very small. However, during the week it is a great place to host a social event with your friends.
2. Hyatt Regency Andares Guadalajara
⭐️ Rating: 9.2 /10 | Neighborhood: Andares | View on Expedia.com
I don’t think most people realize how much money there is in Mexico. Plaza Andares attracts some serious shoppers from neighboring states that don’t have the same high-end offerings. The hotel is in Plaza Andares so you will have access to excellent dining, one of the hottest nightclubs in the city, a world-class hospital, and designer boutiques.
The Hyatt Regency Andares Guadalajara took the title of the tallest building away from the Riu Plaza. It is one of the most popular hotels for business travelers as a number of tech companies have campuses in the surrounding highrises. The corporate meeting rooms are luxurious and high-tech.
The fitness center is huge, and the suites are huge, but the pool feels small for the size of the hotel
The hotel has a great breakfast but it is substantially more expensive than the options in the plaza.
3. La Villa del Ensueño
⭐️ 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.
4. Gran Fiesta Americana Guadalajara Country Club
⭐️ Rating: 9.4 /10 | Neighborhood: Providencia | View on Expedia.com
The Gran Fiesta Americana Guadalajara Country Club is one of the nicest business hotels in Guadalajara that is located in the financial district and across the street from the old country club. On the weekend the clientele appeared to be predominantly Mexican while during the week it is more international. No matter when you visit, the service is exceptional.
In addition to the hotel itself is the neighborhood it sits in. Providencia is an upper-class neighborhood but this corner of Providencia has a number of new skyscrapers filled with big-name companies within a few blocks. The Fiesta Americana is on the same side of the street as the mall and the restaurants. Less than two blocks away are ten of the best restaurants in Guadalajara including La Docena which is listed on the San Pelligrino list of the best restaurants in Latin America. And, located just a few minutes away in a car there are over a hundred excellent examples of local food from high-end to street food.
One thing to remember is that this hotel caters more to business travelers than families with young children. The minibar is right within reach of a toddler and I was afraid we were going to lose one of those little bottles. There isn’t a pool which isn’t a big deal in the fall but when it is roasting in April and May I would prefer to have a pool.
We all found the rooms to be very comfortable. We all slept well on the comfortable mattresses. Even the little one slept all night in the crib. The complimentary toiletries were L’Occitane which I thought was a fancy touch.
There is 24-hour room service but we chose to eat out every meal and pick up some snacks at the Oxxo across the street. When it comes to coffee, I am not much of a fan of the Nespresso capsules but there is a Starbucks in the building or Terrible Juan just a few blocks away. The morning walk to breakfast, the park, and coffee was lovely. Providencia is a beautiful neighborhood with great architecture and cool local businesses.
The cherry on top is the Gym and Spa on the 19th floor. The view is insane. Make it a point to hop on the elliptical machine at sunrise or sunset for a half hour.
5. Casa Pedro Loza
⭐️ Rating: 9.0 /10 | Neighborhood: Downtown | View on Expedia.com
Casa Pedro Loza is a 19th-century mansion in the historic center that has been converted into a hotel and wedding venue. The boutique hotel has just 12 rooms but the wedding venue is one of the most highly coveted places to throw a party in Guadalajara. This is where my wife and I celebrated our wedding reception.
The hotel is located on Calle Pedro Loza which is a pedestrian, in the heart of Guadalajara, six blocks north of the Guadalajara Cathedral and two blocks west of Mercado Alcalde. It is a highly walkable part of Guadalajara by day but not my favorite place to walk around after dark.
One of the most memorable parts of our wedding reception was the sunset toast on the rooftop patio. The view from the roof is awesome with many church belltowers visible in the distance. Casa Pedro Loza is a time capsule that will help you step back in time to experience a golden era.
6. Hotel Demetria
⭐️ Rating: 8.6 /10 | Neighborhood: Americana | View on Expedia.com
The Demetria Hotel is a designer’s dream come true. The ultra-modern building is flanked by historic properties and decorated with reminders of Guadalajara’s architectural past. One of the partners literally wrote the book on the Fayette neighborhood documenting the history of most important properties. The hotel gift shop/bookstore has an impressive architectural section.
The 5-star hotel has some of the coolest master suites in the area. Guest rooms on the higher floors have spectacular city views of historic landmarks like the arches and the Minerva traffic circle. It is just a short walk to the best restaurants, bars, and coffee shops in Guadalajara. The rooftop terrace is one of the most enjoyable places to spend a spring evening watching the sun go down.
A close friend managed the hotel restaurant for a number of years and shared how much training goes into their exclusive service.
Demetria has two properties that are a block and a half away from each other: Hotel Demetria and Demetria Bungalós. Both properties are perfectly situated for walking tours of the neighborhood. Hotel Demetria is more luxurious and the bungalows are in a restored, historic building.
7. Villa Ganz Boutique Hotel
⭐️ Rating: 9.4 /10 | Neighborhood: Americana | View on Expedia.com
Villa Ganz is cataloged as the first boutique hotel in Guadalajara dating back over 30 years. There are only 10 rooms in the restored old mansion. The rooms are tasteful yet elegant with very comfortable rooms.
The hotel is located in the heart of the Lafayette neighborhood just a block away from the Colonia Americana. The is one of the most walkable areas in Mexico with a major selection of excellent restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops. The Gallo Altanero tequila bar, ‘World’s Best Bars’ winner, is less than two blocks away.
There is a lot of architectural heritage in the area.
8. Riu Plaza Guadalajara
⭐️ Rating: 9.0 /10 | Neighborhood: Chapalita | View on Expedia.com
The Hotel Riu Plaza Guadalajara is the region’s newest landmark. For a short period of time, it was the tallest building in the city. The 44-story building can be seen from all over town. The RIU is located at the intersection of three of the most important avenues in Guadalajara and is a favorite of business travelers because of its central location, modern amenities, and exceptional service.
The rooms are ample but not huge. There is an outdoor swimming pool, free wifi, a good-sized fitness center, and English-speaking concierge services. My biggest complaint is not with the hotel but with the weather. Every time that I have stayed here the weather was overcast and my photos came out uninspiring.
I watched this tower go up and I really enjoy staying here over the years. This is where my family stayed for my wedding and everybody loved it. There is plenty of English-speaking staff and the comforts of a top-notch hotel. You can’t go wrong with the Riu Plaza Guadalajara.
9. Hotel Morales
⭐️ Rating: 9.4 /10 | Neighborhood: Downtown | View on Expedia.com
The Hotel Morales was the first hotel that I stayed at in Guadalajara and one of the most recommended hotels in the Mexpat Guadalajara Facebook group. It is located in the heart of historic Guadalajara, is clean, and is very affordable.
The building dates back to the late 19th-century Porfirian era when a family turned their house (mansion) into a guest house. In the 1930s the owner put a lot of effort into expanding the property and turning it into a luxury hotel. The old bullring used to be in front of the Hospicio Cabañas and the Hotel Morales was where the high society of the era would come to party before and after the corridas de toros. There are pictures of Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete, and Maria Felix having a blast at the Hotel Morales.
The neighborhood around the Hotel Morales is right on the edge of where Guadalajara gets a little rough. Walking around the city centre during the day is no problem but I would avoid the unaccompanied, nighttime sightseeing tours. The area is urban.
10. AC Hotel Guadalajara Providencia
⭐️ Rating: 9.4 /10 | Neighborhood: Country Club| View on Expedia.com
As of October 2021, the satellite view on Google Maps still shows this place as a dirt field without the slightest sign of coming construction. This neighborhood is one of the fastest-growing parts of Guadalajara and a little off the tourist track. The AC Marriott is right across the street from Providencia but it is in the Country Club part of town with a lot of old money.
My dad stayed here for my wedding and raved about the place. He loved the city view from the sun deck, said there were spacious rooms and a business center, and that everyone spoke English. There is free parking for hotel guests and free wi-fi.
One of the best parts of the AC Marriott is the food court next door. Pannarama Food Court has one of the best concentrations of really good restaurants in the city. The second floor is lined with high-end, hip, and design-focused restaurants and bars blasting loud music that feels somewhat like a nightclub.
11. Quinta Real Guadalajara
⭐️ Rating: 9.0 /10 | Neighborhood: Vallarta Norte | View on Expedia.com
The Quinta Real Hotel was the high-end concept by the Camino Real Hotel Group and it is still one of the finest properties in their portfolio.
12. DoubleTree by Hilton Guadalajara Centro Histórico
⭐️ Rating: 8.8 /10 | Neighborhood: Downtown Guadalajara | View on Expedia.com
The DoubleTree Hotel was rebranded during the pandemic of 2020. Prior to 2020, it was affiliated with the NH hotel group. A close friend of mine was the chef of the hotel’s restaurant for a number of years and he convinced me to check out the property.
The rooms are nice but there is a million-dollar view and the restaurant is the best-kept secret in Downtown Guadalajara. Even if you do not stay here it is worth a trip to get lunch just for the picture.
Parking and traffic is somewhat complicated. If you don’t have a car this is one of the best places to stay in Guadalajara. You have Guadalajara’s historic downtown at the base of the elevator. It is hard to get much closer to the best museums and historic buildings.
13. Hotel La Mansión del Sol
⭐️ Rating: 9.2 /10 | Neighborhood: Ciudad del Sol | View on Expedia.com
You can think about the Mansion del Sol like you are going to stay with your rich grandparents. The hotel is a mid-century (mid-20th century) mansion that has been converted into a hotel with an old-school motif and antique furniture. It is fabulous and tacky at the same time but super comfortable. You are right down the street from Plaza del Sol and right down the street from Chapalita. Having a car is recommended because it is right in the middle of a suburban neighborhood and there isn’t too much walking distance.
Did I mention the price? It is super cheap. My friends recently scored it for less than $800 pesos a night and were so happy they booked it a second time a week later. They are pet-friendly but charge per animal which can add up quickly.
14. Demetria Bungalows
⭐️ Rating: 8.8 /10 | Neighborhood: Lafayette | View on Expedia.com
The Demetria Bungalows are located in the heart of the Lafayette neighborhood which is a mosaic of architectural history. The Bungalows themselves are a piece of that history dating back to 1936 and employing an eclectic local style.
While the exterior is vintage, the interior of the bungalows is modern and comfortable. They all have minikitchens and lend themselves to a longer stay.
The neighborhood is one of the coolest in the world and gets lumped in with the Colonia Americana. It is only two blocks to the Gallo Altanero tequila bar, two blocks to Allium Restaurant, and two blocks to Avenida Chapultepec. There is nothing more walkable than this section of General San Martín Street. I am getting hungry just thinking about all the places there are to eat and drink nearby.
15. Hotel Bellwort
⭐️ Rating: 8.4 /10 | Neighborhood: Americana | View on Expedia.com
The Bellwort is a wonderful new addition to the boutique hotels in Guadalajara. After a serious remodel, the 44-room hotel opened in early 2021. The building was originally designed by architect Julio de la Peña in 1967 as an modernest apartment complex. The remodel has highlighted the modernist movement of architecture in Guadalajara while adding some luxury finishes.
Located Avenida Union (the continuation of Avenida de las Americas), the Bellwort is is a very walkable section of the Lafayette neighborhood just blocks from the Colonia Americana. It is one block away from the famous Saloon del Bosque Cantina and La Panga del Impostor seafood restaurant. There is no shortage of exceptional places to explore on foot.
There is a small heated outdoor pool on the second floor and a nice hotel gym adjacent to the pool.
16. Hotel Velvet Plaza
⭐️ Rating: 9.2 /10 |📍 Neighborhood: Arcos Vallarta | 🏩 View on Expedia.com
I was very impressed with the major remodel that went into the Hotel Velvet Plaza. The property is lovely but the location is incredible and the price can’t be beaten. It is a short walk to the Minerva traffic circle and the Guadalajara arches. Two blocks in the other direction is Cafe palReal which has the best breakfast and coffee in the city.
The hotel restaurant is called the Caneva de Andrea. It is one of the most under-the-radar Italian restaurants in Guadalajara. My friend from Rome is really good friends with the Italian owner and says it is the most authentic Italian eatery in Guadalajara.
On Sundays, the Via Recreactiva (car-free Sundays) rolls down Avenida Vallarta in front of the hotel making this a perfect place to rent a bike and cruise the coolest neighborhood in the world.
17. Presidente Intercontinental (An IHG Hotel)
⭐️ Rating: 8.8 /10 | Neighborhood: Ciudad del Sol | View on Expedia.com
I always thought that the Presidente Intercontinental Hotel looked very 1980’s from the outside like the Nakatomi Tower in Die Hard or something. There is a ton of glass.
It is important to remember that the Intercontinental Hotel Group represents Hyatt, Holiday Inn, and Marriott in Mexico. These are the professionals and the Presidente Intercontinental is a high-end concept for a mid-range price. Inside the place is impeccable and has one of the best French restaurants in the city.
The location is excellent for those driving and those without a car. It sits on the corner of Avenida López Mateos and Avenida Moctezuma in the Ciudad del Sol neighborhood. Plaza de Sol mall is across the street. The Expo Convention Center and the Trasloma Festival Grounds are just minutes away. If you are going to the Book Festival, Corona Capital concerto, or one of the wine festivals, this is the best place to stay. This is a great hotel in a great location.
18. Quinta Don José Tlaquepaque
⭐️ 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.
19. Guadalajara Plaza Ejecutivo López Mateos
⭐️ Rating: 9.0 /10 | Neighborhood: Chapalita | View on Expedia.com
The Guadalajara Plaza Ejecutivo is a great mid-range hotel with some interesting local history. The hotel is located between the convention center and Chapalita so the price can fluctuate depending on what big events are in town at any given moment. It is corporate, clean, and has been tastefully renovated over the years.
The parking is safe and I would feel comfortable leaving my car full of stuff in front of my room. The parking lot is not visible from the street.
Back in 1970 when Mexico last hosted the world cup, this is the hotel that the Brazilian national soccer team stayed at when they played in Guadalajara. Brazil went on to win that world cup and there is a plaza named after that Brazilian team next to the Estadio Jalisco where they played.
There is a really cool picture of Pelé kicking back in a lounge chair playing guitar next to the pool in between soccer matches. Who knows, maybe you would stay in the same room that Pelé stayed in 50+ years ago
This hotel has some cool local history.
20. Casa Alfareros
⭐️ 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 creat exceptions experiences. Much of the furnitue and designes 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.
21. Ramada Encore by Wyndham Guadalajara Aeropuerto
⭐️ Rating: 9.4 /10 | Neighborhood: GDL Airport | View on Expedia.com
By far the best option for those needing a hotel close to the Guadalajara Airport. It would also be a great option if you are going to see a concert at the Vicente Fernandez Arena (Arena VFG).
The indoor pool is heated year round and the gym is pretty nice for a corporate hotel gym. The rooms are clean and the hotel isn’t too expensive. If you need to stay near the airport, this is the best place to do it.
22. Hacienda El Carmen Hotel & Spa
⭐️ Rating: 9.6 /10 | Neighborhood: Ahualulco de Mercado | View on Expedia.com
I have been watching the Netflix series Monarca about a wealthy Mexican family that is partially set in Tequila. They filmed a number of scenes at the Hacienda El Carmen. This is a special place.
Hacienda El Carmen is not in Guadalajara. It is located an hour outside of the city at the base of the Tequila Volcano, very close to the Guachimontones pyramids. Jalisco is famous for country culture. It would be a great experience to see both the big city and the nearby ranches.
The hacienda boutique hotel is spectcular. Try to make the time to get out of the city to see this area.
23. Hotel Solar de las Animas Tequila
⭐️ Rating: 9.6 /10 | Neighborhood: Tequila | View on Expedia.com
Hotel Solar de las Animas is part of what makes Tequila, Jalisco such an important touristic destination. The Jose Cuervo group has built what I consider to be one of the premier touristic products in the whole country.
The hotel is a testament to the wealthy ranching culture of the hacienda era. The rooms are adequate but you will not be spending much time there. The restaurants, bars, pools, distilleries, event spaces, waterfalls, and agave fields are ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE. There is so much to see and do in this part of Mexico that drinking tequila might actually get in the way of all the other activities like hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
The Hotel Solar de las Animas is an expensive yet worthwhile hotel experience. Tequila, Jalisco should be on your list when you come to Guadalajara.
24. Hacienda Labor de Rivera
⭐️ Rating: 8.6 /10 | Neighborhood: Teuchitlán | View on Expedia.com
Hacienda Labor de Rivera is an old hacienda that has been refurbished as a boutique hotel 40 minutes outside of Guadalajara in Tequila Country. The hotel happens to be 10 minutes away from the Guachimontones pyramids archeological site.
The 21 rooms are decorated in a historic yet comfortable fashion. There is a working ranch on site and lots of room for the kids to run around.
This is an excellent base camp to experience the Ruta del Tequila.
25. Donaire Hotel Boutique – Adults Only
⭐️ Rating: 9.4 /10 | Neighborhood: Ajijic | View on Expedia.com
The Best Neighborhoods in Guadalajara for Travelers
These are the best neighborhoods to stay in Guadalajara. The Colonia Americana because of the bar district, the restaurant scene, the flea markets, and well-preserved architecture. Guadalajara’s historic downtown for the museums, markets, and oldest buildings. Chapalita and Ciudad del Sol for the suburban, mid-century modern mansions and tree-lined streets with great food. Providencia for the boutique business district and the upscale plazas and food courts like Punto São Paulo and Midtown. Tlaquepaque for an artisans’ village, pueblo magico feel that is inside of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Region but a world apart. Maybe your want to take a vacation from your vacation. Less than an hour away from Guadalajara are several hacienda hotels and the towns of Tequila and Chapala which are regional highlights. There is a lot to see and do in this area.
While most of these hotels have excellent restaurants, it would be a shame to skip the local restaurants. Guadalajara has a vast selection of restaurants, bars, and street food options for every mood. There are excellent restaurants in every part of the city. The bar scene in the Colonia Americana highlights smaller, and what some might call hipster establishments, while the bar scene in Providencia is bigger, better financed, and a little more expensive. Alcalde Restaurant is a regional treasure and is considered to be one of the best restaurants in Latin America. palReal Café has the best coffee in the city, and one of the best breakfasts, and Chef Fabian Delgado throws awesome parties with distinguished visiting chefs. And while you are in tequila country it would be advisable to drink some agave spirits at the Gallo Altanero or Pare de Sufrir.
Depending on how many days you have in Guadalajara you are probably going to want to stay relatively near to the parts of town you plan on visiting. Driving back and forth from Tlaquepaque to Zapopan every day is doable but if you only have a weekend it is a waste of time, especially at rush hour. My favorite place to start exploring Guadalajara is in the Downtown Centro Historico because of the museums, cantinas, and centuries-old history. Tlaquepaque is famous for folk art and shopping. Providencia and Puerto de Hierro are considered to be wealthy parts of town and have excellent high-end restaurant scenes and boutique shopping. Chapalita and Plaza del Sol are somewhat suburban but they have easy access to the Expo Convention Center if you are lucky enough to catch the book festival. Don’t stop with just Guadalajara. The entire state of Jalisco is amazing. The Pueblos Magicos in Jalisco will leave a lasting impression of old-world hospitality and country-style cooking.
Guadalajara and Jalisco have excellent transportation infrastructure for every budget. You can easily rent and drive a car all over the state, hire a driver, take an Uber or a taxi, or even take the bus. However, one of my favorite activities in Guadalajara is walking. There is no better way to appreciate the historic architecture than walking the back streets of a new city and stopping for a drink in something you find on a whim. The Colonia Americana and Downtown Guadalajara are the two most popular neighborhoods for walking or renting bikes.
Try to use pesos. Some local businesses will accept dollars but you will be paying an exchange rate substantially more expensive than the market rate. Guadalajara has a reputation for money laundering and there are currency controls at all of the local banks. Grey market money changers are supposed to limit transactions over a thousand dollars but nobody actually does. However, they sell dollars at about one peso less than the official bank rate and they buy dollars for two pesos less than the official bank rate. If you want to buy dollars from a money changer in Guadalajara you will get a great deal.
When to Visit Guadalajara
While the capital of Jalisco doesn’t see a lot of international tourism, it is a major destination for Mexican travelers. During Semana Santa (Holy Week or the week before Easter) most of the Tapatios (the locals) head to the beach but the city is flooded with tourists from other parts of Mexico and the price of hotels increases. During big events like the book festival (late November/early December) or the film festival (mid-March) getting a last-minute room becomes difficult. Make sure to plan ahead if you want to find a nice, affordable place to stay.
The spring months of Abril and May are the hottest months of the year. The summer is the rainy season and while it is still hot the rains lower the temperature. It rains most days during the summer but usually not all day. I would recommend carrying an umbrella with you just in case because the storms can appear on the horizon in the blink of an eye. Fall is my favorite season in Guadalajara because the rains are dying down and the weather is lovely. Winter gets a little chilly at night but the daytime temperatures will probably be in the 70s. There might be a cold streak or two.
Staying in El Centro Histórico, Downtown Guadalajara
Guadalajara’s historic core is an architectural dream with good museums and excellent examples of Mexican muralism. There are a few buildings that date back to the 16th century but the real jewels are the 18th-century baroque churches and the 19th-century Porfirian buildings (European-influenced architecture built during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz).
No trip to Guadalajara is complete without a stroll downtown to marvel at the architecture of the Spanish colonial era. Many of these buildings have stood for hundreds of years and are remarkable for the detail of the ornamental carved stone. Many of the temples and government buildings are open to the public and hide some of the best examples of Mexican muralist frescos that you will find in all of Mexico.
I highly recommend taking a tour of downtown Guadalajara
There are dozens of Spanish, colonial-era churches, expansive plazas, and museums that need to be seen. This is where you are going to get your best pictures of Guadalajara. You need to see the old town before you can understand Guadalajara’s dichotomy of modern and traditional.
The Best Hotels in the Centro Histórico
The Best Restaurants in the Centro Histórico
My favorite places to eat in Downtown Guadalajara are in the markets. Mercado Alcalde has one of the best birrias in the country. Mercado Corona and San Juan de Dios have no shortage of great food stalls.
The seventh-floor restaurant in the DoubleTree Hotel has a spectacular view of the Guadalajara Cathedral and the Plaza de Armas. Los 7 Pozoles is a great place to break up the walking tour of downtown. As the name would imply, there are 7 awesome pozoles representing different parts of Mexico.
Staying in the Colonia Americana
The Colonia Americana is the heart of hipster Guadalajara. Much like the Colonia Roma in Mexico City, you will find plenty of small restaurants and bars set in historic buildings. The architecture dates to the era of Porfirio Díaz but runs all the way through the 20th century. The old mansions make cool nightclubs and restaurants.
Avenida Chapultepec is the heart of the bar district while Avenida López Cotilla has some of the best restaurants in town. The area is a little run down in parts especially as you move east towards Avenida Enrique Díaz de Leon and downtown. Make sure to be aware of your surroundings and not to walk around focused on your cell phone.
The Americana is kind of a blanket term that describes multiple neighborhoods just west of the city center. Think urban hipster with early 20th-century European-style mansions as the backdrop. There is a thriving restaurant and bar scene, some of the best coffee in the city, and a cultural flea market. Young people love the Colonia Americana because it is very walkable and has a high concentration of nightlife options.
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The Best Hotels in the Colonia Americana
The Best Restaurants in the Colonia Americana
I think that the best restaurants and bars are not located directly on Avenida Chapultepec but rather on the side streets. El Sacramonte is an absolute classic that launched one of the most important restaurant groups in the city.
Restaurante Allium is one of the best restaurants in Guadalajara for farm-to-table and ingredient-focused cuisine. Chef Adolfo Galnares is from Mexico State/City and went to school in New York at the Culinary Institute of America. He keeps a kitchen garden on the roof of the restaurant and has access to some of the best artisanal products in Mexico. He is a nice guy and a great chef.
I have spent a lot of time talking about food and architecture with my friend Bernie of RinTinTin Cafe. There are few people who understand the Colonia Americana better than he does. Plus, he is a true epicurean and operates one of the best bakeries in the city.
Staying in Ciudad del Sol, Chapalita, and the Expo Guadalajara
Chapalita and the area is my favorite part of Guadalajara. These residential neighborhoods used to be rural but the urbanization caught up long ago. The streets are lined with orange trees and roses, there are plenty of parks and the mid-century modern and art deco architecture is accented with Mexican Stone and color. The Glorieta Chapalita holds a lovely art market on Sundays and the surrounding restaurant zone is very enjoyable. Calle Parque Juan Diego is my favorite street in the metro region.
Plaza del Sol was one of the first American-style malls in Latin America and the neighborhoods that grew up around the mall are midcentury and wealthy with some style.
The Expo Guadalajara convention center was built in 1983 creating the need for a lot of lodging options close by. The prices skyrocket when there is a big convention in town like the book fair. It is hard to find a room close by when that is going on.
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The Best Hotels in Ciudad del Sol, Chapalita, and the Expo Guadalajara
- Hotel La Mansion del Sol
- Presidente InterContinental
- Hilton Guadalajara
- The Westin Guadalajara
- Riu Plaza Guadalajara
The Best Restaurants in Ciudad del Sol, Chapalita, and the Expo Guadalajara
Chapalita has some great restaurants along Avenida Tepeyac, Avenida de las Rosas, and Avenida Guadalupe. That is a very walkable area around the Glorieta Chapalita roundabout. On the Avenida Mariano Otero side of Plaza del Sol are big restaurants like Karne Garibalie Carne en su Jugo and Pampas Brazilian BBQ. The Presidente InterContinental has a great French restaurant called Bistro La Bastille.
The Expo just happens to be next to Mercado de Abastos. The market is not fancy but has some of the best food in the city. Birria, menudo, carne asada, street tacos and much, much more await those in the know.
Staying in Providencia, Guadalajara
In the 1960s and 1970s Providencia was the most luxurious neighborhood in Guadalajara. While Puerto de Hierro may have taken the crown of ultra-luxury, Providencia has a great restaurant scene, fancy boutiques, and plenty of green spaces.
The massive park, Bosque Colomos, predates the neighborhood as a residential area and is still a weekend favorite for Tapatios. Make sure to check out Punto São Paulo, Av. Terranova, and Av. Pablo Neruda. They are all loaded with great restaurants and shopping.
The Best Hotels in Providencia
The Best Restaurants in Providencia
Providencia is a little more expensive than other parts of town but there are some great restaurants. Let’s start with Tacos Providencia which is a cult favorite. Avenida Terranova has an excellent restaurant district Oaxacan food, Yucatecan food, Italian, steaks, burgers, and much more. Punto Sao Paulo is a very high-end mall with great restaurant options. La Docena is on the list of the best restaurants in Latin America. Casa de los Platos has one of the most beautiful properties in the city with four different concepts. It is worth it to just stroll the property and ask to see the menus before deciding where to eat.
Staying in Tlaquepaque
The municipalities of Tlaquepaque and Tonalá are folk-art lovers’ paradise. Tlaquepaque has excellent galleries and pedestrian walkways while Tonalá is where a lot of the workshops are still churning out smoke, blowing glass and forging the pieces you see in the high-end Tlaquepaque galleries. There are enormous restaurants where the locals come to drink tequila, listen/sing mariachi, and gorge on regional dishes. Make sure to save room for a corn-on-the-cob in the plaza; they are the best!
The Best Hotels in Tlaquepaque
The Best Restaurants in Tlaquepaque
In Downtown Tlaquepaque, I really like El Abajeño, El Patio, Casa Luna, and Real San Pedro. In Las Juntas, Tlaquepaque is one of the most iconic birria restaurants in the State of Jalisco and possibly the entire country. Birrieria El Chololo is a Guadalajara institution and should not be missed.
Staying in Zapopan and Puerta de Hierro
Zapopan is most famous for its 17th-century Basilica and the annual pilgrimage where thousands of the faithful make their way to the Basilica to ask the virgin for her blessing and look for strength and encouragement. Coming in a close second of famous things in Zapopan is the mall. Walking around Plaza Andares for a few minutes will give you a sense of the money in this part of Mexico. The skyscrapers, the Ferrari dealership, the tech companies and the sheer number of Michael Kors bags will remind you that shorts and sandals are not in style.
Besides the airport, Tlajomulco is probably not too high on the to-do list. There is a burgeoning suburb with a couple of golf courses, a bunch of multinational restaurant chains, a couple of tech campuses, and the occasional abandoned narco mansion, but nothing to drag you out that way unless you are on business or driving to the beach.
In the last couple of years two big, luxury malls opened up in the south part of the city or El Sur as it’s being rebranded. A lot of the big restaurant groups like La Tequila, Campomar, and El Abajeño have built big restaurants. Tlajomulco is turning into an important and large suburb of the Guadalajara Metro Area but the traffic during rush hour is no joke. Plan accordingly.
The Best Hotels in Tlajomulco
The Best Cheap Hotels in Guadalajara
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to find a really enjoyable place to stay in Guadalajara. There are great hotels for all budgets. These are some of my favorite cheap hotels in the city of Guadalajara.
- Hotel Estancia Business Class
- Hotel Velvet Plaza
- Hotel Malibu Gran Plaza Fashion Mall
- FCH Hotel Expo
- Country Hotel & Suites
- Hotel Plaza Diana
- Hotel Isabel
- Hotel Real Maestranza
- Hostel Hospedarte
- Hotel Ronda Minerva – Arborea
- La Mansion del Sol
Final Thoughts on the Best Hotels in Guadalajara
I am excited to hear about your experiences. If you have any suggestions that I have missed please feel free to let me know in the comments. My family and I are always testing out new hotels to put on the list.
Have a great trip. I am confident you will find an amazing hotel in Guadalajara.