Looking For The Best Guadalajara Museums?
Guadalajara is known as a hub of Mexican culture. Many of the things that make Guadalajara famous internationally originate in the state of Jalisco and Guadalajara. There are plenty of museums in Guadalajara to explore this culturally-rich city.
From Unesco World Heritage sites to modern art museums, the best Guadalajara Mexcio museums will have something for all types of travelers.
I have lived in Guadalajara since 2009 and I love to share my passion for museums with my friends and family.
The Best Museums in Guadalajara
Let’s get ready to explore the 21 best things to do in Guadalajara, Mexico, that you can’t miss. As one of the coolest cities in Western Mexico, I hope this article helps you make the most of your trip to this amazing destination.
1. Museo Cabañas
The Instituto Cultural Cabañas is more than just a museum. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a movie theater, a botanical garden, and an architectural masterpiece. Whatever you want to call it, the Cabañas Museum needs to be at the top of your list of things to do in Guadalajara.
The building dates back to the early 19th century. The word of the Spanish architect Manuel Tolsá is considered to be one of the best examples of neoclassic architecture in Mexico.
Originally, the building was called Casa de la Misericordia and was a Catholic charity to help the poor. After Mexican Independence and the Reform Wars, it became a state-run orphanage called the Hospicio Cabañas.
In the 1930s, big three Mexican muralists José Clemente Orozco painted a series of 57 murals that are considered to be his masterpiece. There are always interesting expositions passing through the museum but the highlight is the murals.
- Museo Cabañas Address: Calle Cabañas 8, Guadalajara, (📍Map)
- Museo Cabañas Museum Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm
- Museo Cabañas Admission Cost: $80 pesos ($4USD) and free on Tuesday
2. Museo de las Artes Universidad de Guadalajara (MUSA)
You will quickly realize that the University of Guadalajara is a major patron of the arts in these parts. The Museum of the Arts (Musa) is housed in one of the earlier University of Guadalajara administrative buildings and has a wonderful schedule of exhibitions.
There are more José Clemente Orozco murals in the auditorium that are worth a visit.
- MUSA Address: Av Juárez 975, Guadalajara, (📍Map)
- MUSA Museum Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 10am-3pm
- MUSA Admission Cost: Free
3. Museo de Arte de Zapopan (MAZ)
The Zapopan Museum of Art is a wonderful reason to get to know Downtown Zapopan. There is a hip and quirky exhibitions that are all free.
Expect to see provocative paintings and multi-media spectacles.
The museum is not large but it is a hub of the artistic community of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Region.
Downtown Zapopan is lovely and it is a lot of fun to check out the museum, see the Basilica of Zapopan, and get a drink at Salon Candela around the corner.
- MAZ Museum Address: Prol. 20 De Noviembre 166, Zapopan (📍Map)
- MAZ Museum Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm
- MAZ Museum Admission Cost: Free
4. Museo Trompo Magico
The Trompo Mágico Museum needs to be on the list for anybody in Guadalajara with kids. It is more than you can experience in one day and the kids will be exhausted when they leave.
The museum is located in a wealthy suburb of Zapopan near the Tec de Monterrey campus and the Secretay of Education. It is totally worth the drive out this way and there is plenty of parking next door.
Make a plan before you arrive at the museum. There are a number of exciting activities like baking and astronomy that are only available in small groups with advanced reservations.
The museum is as much of a playground as it is a museum. Everything is kid-sized and built to be touched and manipulated. The hardest part is keeping an eye on the little ones as they run from experiment to experiment.
- Trompo Mágico Museum Address: Av. Central 750, Zapopan (📍Map)
- Trompo Mágico Hours: Open Wednesday-Sunday 10am-4pm
- Trompo Mágico Museum Admission Cost: $40 ($2USD) Free on Thursday
5. Museo Regional de Guadalajara
The Regional Museum of Guadalajara needs to be at the top of the list of those who have relocated to Guadalajara and around the middle of the list of those just visiting. It is easy to combine a tour of the Cathedral with a look around the museum because they are right next to each other.
There are some fossil exhibits but the real treat is the look at the people who ruled the area during the Spanish era. I particularly enjoyed the old maps from hundreds of years ago. It is fun to see what has changed and what is the same. The Alcalde Market was built in the 1980s but that square block was used as a marketplace for hundreds of years before that.
There are some interesting carriages like the horse-drawn carriages offering tours out front. It is cool to see how those traditions have been around for such a long time.
- Regional Museum of Guadalajara Address: Calle Liceo 60, Guadalajara (📍Map)
- Regional Museum of Guadalajara Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday 9am-4pm
- Regional Museum of Guadalajara Admission Cost: $85 pesos ($4.25USD)
6. Museo Regional de la Cerámica
The Regional Ceramic Museum is a small museum on the main pedestrian street in Downtown Tlaquepaque that is worth a quick look.
Jalisco has an interesting regional style of ceramics that is very different from the styles in the rest of the country.
This is a very small museum in the heart of town that specializes in ceramics. It is nice to see some of the historic ceramics before looking at the modern galleries.
- Museo Regional de la Cerámica Address: Calle Independencia 237, San Pedro Tlaquepaque (📍Map)
- Museo Regional de la Cerámica Museum Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-5pm, 11am-2pm Sunday
- Museo Regional de la Cerámica Admission Cost: Free
7. Museo de la Ciudad de Guadalajara
The Museum of the City of Guadalajara is located on a backstreet in Downtown Guadalajara four blocks away from the Cathedral.
There is a wealth of history about life in Guadalajara over the centuries for those who read Spanish. There aren’t any English translations.
The exhibits about Charro cowboys and musicians of the Spanish era are particularly interesting.
- Museo de la Ciudad Address: Calle Independencia 684, Guadalajara(📍Map)
- Museo de la Ciudad Museum Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm
- Museo de la Ciudad Admission Cost: $80 pesos ($4USD) and free on Tuesday
8. Museo del Premio Nacional de la Ceramica Pantaléon Panduro
There are two great reasons to visit the Pantaléon Panduro Museum in Tlaquepaque. Number one is the mural. There is an awesome mural in the back of the building that you should get a selfie in front of. The second reason to visit the museum is to see the winners of the national ceramics prize.
The winners of the national ceramics prize stay on site for a year so that the public can see the quality of art that each region is putting out. The works are absolute masterpieces that have so much detail and intricacy they will amaze you.
After visiting the Regional Ceramics Museum and looking at the style of ceramics in Jalisco, it is really enjoyable to see the styles of other parts of Mexico. Everybody is familiar with black clay from Oaxaca and Talavera from Puebla but Mexico has a wealth of regional styles from underrepresented regions like Guerrero and Sinaloa.
I highly recommend visiting this small museum while you are enjoying Tlaquepaque.
- Pantaléon Panduro Address: Calle Prisciliano Sánchez 191, San Juan, 45500 San Pedro Tlaquepaque, Jal. (📍Map)
- Pantaléon Panduro Museum Hours: Open Monday-Sunday, 10am-8pm
- Pantaléon Panduro Admission Cost: Free
9. Centro Cultural El Refugio Tlaquepaque
More than just a museum, El Refugio Cultural Center hosts concerts, plays, and all sorts of community-oriented workshops. The exhibits are interesting but more inclusive than elitist.
I thought the architecture of the building was as interesting as the exhibits that I visited.
El Refugio Cultural Center is around the corner from the Pantaléon Panduro Museum. It is easy to see both museums in a short period of time.
- El Refugio Museum Address: Calle Donato Guerra 160, Tlaquepaque (📍Map)
- El Refugio Museum Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-8pm
- El Refugio Museum Admission Cost: Free
10. Museo Panteón de Belén
The Panteón de Belén Museum is an actual cemetery. It is an old cemetery that isn’t accepting any new deposits but it is a wealth of history about the 19th-century high society in Guadalajara.
The museum is particularly popular in the month leading up to Day of the Dead. There are nighttime tours that include ghost stories about the residents.
- Panteón de Belén Address: Calle Belén 684, Guadalajara, (📍Map)
- Panteón de Belén Museum Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-2pm & 8pm-11pm
- Panteón de Belén Admission Cost: $98pesos ($5USD)
11. Museo de Paleontología de Guadalajara
The Paleontology Museum of Guadalajara is a small space dedicated to the prehistoric history of the region. There are fossilized skeletons of wooly mammoths and saber-tooth tigers.
Additionally, there are some visiting exhibitions that use the space. I saw an exhibit on the history of corn in Mesoamerica that was very interesting.
Parque Agua Azul is an under rated gem in Guadalajara. There are a lot of fun things to do in the area including the orchid garden, the butterfly garden, and the Casa de las Artesanias de Jalisco.
- Paleontologia Museum Address: Av. Dr. Roberto Michel 520, Guadalajara (📍Map)
- Paleontologia Museum Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30am-4:45pm
- Paleontologia Museum Admission Cost: Free
12. Museo del Periodismo y las Artes Gráficas
The Journalism Museum is housed in a building that is more famous than the museum itself. The Casa de los Perros is the setting of a famous ghost story that most tour guides will mention when cruising Downtown Guadalajara.
Today, the government of Guadalajara has rebuild Avenida Alcalde and set up a beautiful carrusel in the plaza in front of the museum. It is a lovely way to spend a Sunday exploring downtown.
The museum itself is small and includes a look back at the equipment used to print newspapers during the 20th century.
- Museo del Periodismo Address: Avenida Alcalde 225, Guadalajara (📍Map)
- Museo del Periodismo Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm
- Museo del Periodismo Admission Cost: Free
13. Ex Convento del Carmen
The Ex Convento del Carmen occupies an interesting place in Guadalajara’s history. There was a time when the Catholic church owned a great deal of land that contained the westward expansion of the city. The Templo de Nuestra Señora del Carmen is across the street and the Parque de la Revolución is where the orchard once was. Benito Juarez’s Constitutional reforms took much of that land away from the church in the 18th century.
Today, the former convent is still a Catholic church but they also host a number of cultural events. There is an art gallery that hosts local and international artists. There are concerts, plays, and a small movie theater for artsy presentations.
- Ex Convento del Carmen Address: Av Juárez 638, Guadalajara (📍Map)
- Ex Convento del Carmen Museum Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-5pm, Sunday 11am-2pm
- Ex Convento del Carmen Admission Cost: Free
14. Sergio Bustamante Gallery
If you spend any time in Jalisco you are bound to come into contact with the works of Sergio Bustamonte. His triangular-shaped heads are easily identifiable and pretty iconic if I do say so myself.
My favorite sculptures by Sergio Bustamante are on the boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta but the Tlaquepaque is a close second.
- Sergio Bustamante Gallery Address: Andador Independencia 238, Tlaquepaque (📍Map)
- Sergio Bustamante Gallery Hours: Open Monday-Sunday 11am-8pm
- Sergio Bustamante Gallery Admission Cost: Free
15. Museo Chivas
Inside Chivas Stadium is a museum dedicated to one of the most important soccer teams in Mexico. Club Deportivo Guadalajara, AKA Chivas, is a national icon that only hires Mexican soccer players.
The Chivas Museum documents the team’s history and championships won throughout the years.
The tour allows fans to visit the locker rooms, skyboxes, press room, and even walk on the field. It is a must-see for any true fan.
- Chivas Museum Address: Inside the Estadio Akron, Zapopan (📍Map)
- Chivas Museum Museum Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday 10:30am-5:30pm
- Chivas Museum Admission Cost: $130 pesos ($6.50USD)
16. Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Jalisco
The Jalisco State Government Palace was the National Palace of Mexico for a month back in the 19th century when Benito Juarez was fighting conservative forces for the fate of Mexico. There is a spectacular mural of Father Miguel Hidalgo painted by Jose Clemente Orozco in the main stairway.
In the past there were two small museums dedicated to indigenous art and the history of tequila. They have been under construction for some time now and are closed to the public for the time being.
- Palacio de Gobierno Address: Avenida Ramón Corona 31, Guadalajara, (📍Map)
- Museo Cabañas Museum Hours: Open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
- Museo Cabañas Admission Cost: Free
17. Museo de las Artes Populares de Jalisco
The Jalisco Handcraft Museum is a small museum located just a few blocks from the Cathedral and the Journalism Museum.
There is a lovely collection of traditional clothing from the state of Jalisco as well as lot of homemade toys.
There is always an interesting exhibit dedicated to Day of the Dead during the month of October and November.
- Museo de las Artes Populares Address: C. San Felipe 211, Guadalajara (📍Map)
- Museo de las Artes Populares Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-5pm
- Museo de las Artes Populares Admission Cost: Free
18. Museo del Ejército y Fuerza Aérea
The Army and Air Force Museum is located in the Reforma neighborhood, in between Oblatos and San Juan de Dios. It isn’t the best neighborhood but the museum deserves a look. It is well off the beaten path in Guadalajara and an interesting look at military history in Mexico.
I found the World War II-era fighter planes to be particularly interesting. Mexico fought alongside the United States in the Pacific Theater during the liberation of the Philippines. You will see streets named after Squadron 201, AKA the Aztec Eagles, all over the country.
- Museo del Ejercito Address: Calle Valentín Gómez Farías 600, Guadalajara (📍Map)
- Museo del Ejercito Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 10am-4pm
- Museo del Ejercito Admission Cost: Free
19. Casa Taller José Clemente Orozco
This is a very small museum dedicated to Jose Clemente Orozco. This was the muralist’s home and studio that he used at the end of his life. Orozco was painting a second mural in the Palacio de Gobierno right before he passed away in September of 1949.
- Casa Taller José Clemente Orozco Address: Calle Aurelio Aceves 27, Guadalajara (📍Map)
- Casa Taller José Clemente Orozco Hours: Open Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm
- Casa Taller José Clemente Orozco Admission Cost: Free
20 . Centro Interpretativo Guachimontones Phil Weigand
The visitors center is named after archeologist Phil Weigand who rediscovered the ruins in 1970. Serious excavations did not start until 1996. This is a very new archeological investigation.
Guachimontones is a must-see when visiting Guadalajara. Most people are unaware that there were large settlements of original people in the state of Jalisco and the conical-shaped pyramids are unique when compared with other archeological sites in Mexico.
- Museo Cabañas Address: Calle Liceo 177, Guadalajara (📍Map)
- Museo Cabañas Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm
- Museo Cabañas Admission Cost: Free
21. Centro Cultural Juan Beckmann Gallardo Tequila
Again, the Juan Beckmann Gallardo Cultural Center is not located in Guadalajara but an hour away in Tequila. It is one of the best museums in Jalisco and a must-see when visiting Guadalajara. A tequila tour from Guadalajara is not complete without visiting this breathtaking museum.
The Beckmann’s are the owners of José Cuervo and one of the richest families in Mexico. This museum is a testament to their wealth and dedication to the cultural identity of Jalisco. They spent somewhere around $30M US dollars building and acquiring the collections.
There are more exhibitions than any museum in Guadalajara. The exhibit that I most enjoyed was the section on Mexican cowboys, Charros. This has become a big part of Mexican culture and is still considered to be the national sport.
Make sure to take the guided tour in order to have access to the gardens. The sculpture garden by Leonora Carrington is stunning.
- Juan Beckmann Cultural Center Address: Andador José Cuervo 124, Tequila (📍Map)
- Juan Beckmann Cultural Center Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm
- Juan Beckmann Cultural Center Admission Cost: $70 pesos ($3.50USD) + $100 pesos for tour
Guadalajara Museums: Frequently Asked Questions
What is Guadalajara known for?
The quick answer is that Guadalajara is known for tequila, mariachi, and charros. There are excellent museums that touch on all three. The Juan Beckmann Gallardo Cultural Center in Tequila is easily one of the best museums in Mexico.
Digging a little bit deeper, Guadalajara is known for its regional food culture (torta ahogada & birria), a thriving technology industry, great medical schools, centuries of architectural heritage, Chivas Football Club, devout Catholicism, great weather, folkloric art, and beautiful people. Guadalajara is an amazing destination that you have to check out.
What are the best parks in Guadalajara?
The two best parks in Guadalajara are Bosque Los Colomos and the Parque Metropolitano.
Bosque Los Colomos is a beautifully wooded area that helps create a buffer in between the city of Guadalajara and the city of Zapopan. There are miles of running trails, horseback riding, and even a camping zone. The Japanese garden and the duck pond are two of the most popular attractions.
The Metropolitan Park is located in the city of Zapopan and doesn’t have as many trees as Colomos but has a lot of leftover infrastructure from the Panamerican Games. The tennis courts host professional tournaments, the aquatic center has three massive pools, and the movie nights in the park are my personal favorites.
Guadalajara has a lot of great parks but Bosque Los Colomos and the Parque Metropoitano are the two best parks in the metro area.
Where is Guadalajara Mexico?
Guadalajara is located in the middle of the state of Jalisco just 200 km east of Puerto Vallarta as the crow flies. It is west of Mexico City, north of Colima, and south of Roswell, New Mexico.
Guadalajara is a major transportation hub with good highways connecting every direction. Many people choose to stop in Guadalajara while making their way down Highway 15 from the United States to other points in Mexico.
Where to stay in Guadalajara?
Guadalajara is a massive metropolitan area with 10 independent municipalities that have grown together over the centuries.
The best neighborhoods to stay in while first visiting the area are the Downtown Centro Historico, Tlaquepaque, Colonia Americana, Providencia, and Arcos Vallarta. There are tons of great neighborhoods to visit once you have seen the highlights.
If you are interested in seeing as many museums in Guadalajara as possible, staying in the Downtown Centro Histórico keeps everything close. All of these hotels are within walking distance of many museums on the list.
Downtown Guadalajara is safe during the day but gets sketchy after dark.
Best Hotels in Downtown Guadalajara
📍Budget Option – Hotel Santiago de Compostela
📍Budget Option – Hotel de Mendoza
📍Mid-Range Option – Hotel Real Maestranza
📍Mid-Range Option – Hotel Morales (The first hotel I stayed at in 2009)
📍Mid-Range Option – Casa Pedro Loza (My wedding reception was here)
Other Great Hotels in Guadalajara
Is Guadalajara Mexico Safe?
Guadalajara is not one of the safest cities in Mexico. Much like Los Angeles, there are both safe and unsafe areas and activities. I recommend reading my article on safety in Guadalajara for a deep dive into some basic precautions and places to avoid.
With a little bit of preparation, most of the common threats can be easily avoided.
Is Guadalajara Mexico worth visiting?
Yes, Guadalajara is worth visiting. There are tons of amazing things to do and places to visit in the area. I have lived in Guadalajara for over a decade and feel like I am just scratching the surface. Guadalajara is one of the most under-the-radar destinations in Mexico.
What is the best time to visit Guadalajara Mexico?
The best time to visit Guadalajara is in the fall once the rains have ceased. The weather is beautiful, everything is super green, and there are a ton of cultural events filling the calendar.
Final Thoughts: Best Museums in Guadalajara Mexico
The vast collection of museums in Guadalajara is one of the reasons that this is such an enjoyable city to visit. There are museums for every sort of traveler from little kids to history buffs and everyone in between.
I hope this list has helped you find a museum that you might not have had on your radar before. I really enjoyed doing the research and I still have a few more museums that I will be adding to the list shortly.
Thanks for reading.