Guadalajara Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Guadalajara

Guadalajara has plenty to keep visitors engaged, and it's in the Centro Historico – the heart of the city – that they'll find some of the most attractive plazas, the massive Cathedral, historic colonial-style buildings, and prominent museums. Here, too, are the strikingly grandiose murals of Jose Clemente Orozco, one of Mexico's three greatest muralists. Theaters, shops, restaurants, and clubs dot the area, which is easy to explore on foot, especially given the pedestrians-only walkways. Follow this self-guided tour to discover Mexico's second-largest city and the birthplace of many of the country's traditions!
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Guadalajara Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Guadalajara Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Mexico » Guadalajara (See other walking tours in Guadalajara)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 16
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: leticia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Plaza Tapatia
  • Hospicio Cabañas
  • Teatro Degollado
  • Templo de San Agustin
  • Palacio de Gobierno
  • Plaza de la Liberación
  • Museo Regional de Guadalajara
  • Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres
  • Museo del Periodismo y de las Artes Gráficas
  • Catedral de Guadalajara
  • Palacio Municipal
  • Plaza Guadalajara
  • Biblioteca Iberoamericana Octavio Paz
  • El Parque de la Revolución
  • Universidad de Guadalajara
  • Templo Expiatorio
Plaza Tapatia

1) Plaza Tapatia (must see)

Plaza Tapatia is a monumental square in historical Guadalajara and stretches from the Teatro Degollado to the Instituto Cabañas. The square is 70 thousand square meters and houses several attractions, including many fountains and sculptures. One of them is fountain depicting four children playing with water. Another is a statue of two lions with a tree, which is the coat of arms of Guadalajara. In the center you will see La Inmolación de Quetzalcoatl, a nice fountain in the shape of a cross and five bronze sculptures. This popular square also houses a number of shops, restaurants and cafes.
Hospicio Cabañas

2) Hospicio Cabañas (must see)

The Hospicio Cabañas is a World Heritage Site and one of the oldest and largest hospital complexes in Spanish America. The complex was founded in 1791 by the Bishop of Guadalajara in order to combine the functions of a workhouse, hospital, orphanage, and almshouse. It owes its name to Juan Ruiz de Cabañas who was appointed to the see of Guadalajara in 1796 and engaged Manuel Tolsá, a renowned architect from Mexico City, to design the structure. Tolsá's design was based on classic examples such as Les Invalides in Paris and El Escorial near Madrid. The buildings form a rectangle measuring 164 m by 145 m. These are single-storey structures which are 7.5 m in height. The chapel is twice as high and has a dome rising to 32.5 m. The complex is erected on one level, "so as to facilitate the movement of the sick, the aged, and children."

Following the death of Cabañas in 1823, construction continued until 1829. Although it served for a time as a barracks in the mid-19th century, the hospital lasted well into the 20th century and continued to function until 1980, when the Cabañas Cultural Institute, with affiliated schools for arts and crafts, moved in. The highlight of the interior decoration is a series of monumental frescoes by José Clemente Orozco, including one of his most famed creations, the allegory of The Man of Fire.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Teatro Degollado

3) Teatro Degollado (must see)

Teatro Degollado is a neoclassical Mexican theater known for its diverse performances and artistic design. Many performances (from cultural Mexican dances to international operas) take place at this building. Meant to be a monument of Guadalajara's culture, the theater was inaugurated on September 1866, breathing life through its innovating artistic beauty.

Degollado Theater came to be as a result of Mexico's 1800's theatrical movement. There was a high demand for a great theater in Guadalajara, Jalisco that displayed the cultural arts of the city. In response to the demand, on October 1, 1855, Antonio Perez Verdia proposed the construction of Alarcon Theater (after the classic dramatist Juan Ruiz de Alarcon) to the current governor of the time, Santos Degollado. By December 12 of that same year, Degollado signed the official decree to build the structure, and by March, 1856, Degollado set the first cornerstone of the building. Coming April 1856, Jacobo Galvez was appointed to lead the initial construction of the theater. Due to a three year war in Mexico, and the change of government within the dispute, the completion of the project was slow. On November 12, 1861, Governor Pedro Amazon decided to change the proposed name of the project from "Alarcon Theater" to "Degollado Theater", after ex-governor and general at the time of his dead, Santos Degollado (killed in a battle on June 16, 1861).
Sight description based on wikipedia
Templo de San Agustin

4) Templo de San Agustin (must see)

The Temple of San Agustin is another prominent religious building of Guadalajara that was built in the sixteenth century in fine baroque style. This sacred place is one of the oldest churches in Guadalajara, and it was consecrated in 1573. It has been rebuilt many times, while the sacristy is original. The building that can be seen to the left of the temple initially functioned as an Augustinian cloister, but now houses the University of Guadalajara's Escuela de Música (School of Music).
Palacio de Gobierno

5) Palacio de Gobierno (must see)

Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace) is another significant landmark and prominent tourist attraction located in the city's historical center. This impressive baroque building was completed in 1774 and is famous for its outstanding murals created by celebrated artist Jose Clemente Orozco. If you walk in, you will see a beautiful patio with a huge number of fine columns and arches representing typical colonial style. By the stairs you will find a beautiful mural dating to 1937 that is definitely worth a visit.
Plaza de la Liberación

6) Plaza de la Liberación (must see)

Plaza de la Liberación is located between the Cathedral and Teatro Degollado and is also known as the Plaza of the Three Powers Square or "Plaza of the Two Cups." The square is home to two similar fountains, which are in the shape of huge cups. On the north side of the square you will find a bronze statue of Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costill that is represented breaking the chains of slavery. Priest and military leader during the War of Independence of Mexico, he is popularly known as "Father of the Nation." Plaza de la Liberación also houses a flea market, where you will find fine clothes, ceramics, pottery, masks, souvenirs and art objects.
Museo Regional de Guadalajara

7) Museo Regional de Guadalajara (must see)

The Regional Museum of Guadalajara is one of the most prominent museums in the city. Located in downtown Guadalajara, this cultural venue with its 14 rooms displays a variety of paleontological objects. Here you will see a number of exhibits of great historical importance, including such items as the "Mammoth of Catarina" and saber-toothed tigers. Housed in an impressive baroque building, the Regional Museum of Guadalajara is also home to an art collection, which presents European and Mexican painters from the 16th through the 20th centuries. The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:00 to 17:30.
Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres

8) Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres (must see)

Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres (Rotunda of the Illustrious People of Jalisco) is located in Guadalajara's historic city center, near the Cathedral. Built in 1951 according to the plans by Vicente Mendiola, the monument commemorates all prominent personalities from the state of Jalisco. It was previously known as the Rotonda de Hombres Ilustres de Jalisco and houses seventeen striated columns. On the upper stone ring you can see the inscription, "Jalisco a sus hijos esclarecidos" ("To Jalisco's distinguished sons"). In the center of the landmark you will find urns with the cremated remains of those honored here.
Museo del Periodismo y de las Artes Gráficas

9) Museo del Periodismo y de las Artes Gráficas (must see)

Museo del Periodismo y de las Artes Gráficas is situated on Alcalde Avenue, housed in the old style building previously famous as the Casa de los Perros (House of Dogs). Dedicated to the history of journalism, the museum was opened to the public in 1994 and offers three sections. Here you can find materials published in the 1700s, including one of the first Mexican newspapers. The museum also houses several halls for temporary exhibitions, an auditorium, video hall, library dedicated to mass media, and workshops. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00, and Sunday from 10:00 to 16:00.
Catedral de Guadalajara

10) Catedral de Guadalajara (must see)

The Guadalajara Cathedral or Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady is one of the most prominent tourist attraction and religious buildings in the city. This holy place is a Roman Catholic cathedral and a minor basilica. While the original cathedral was founded in 1541, the present one was constructed in Renaissance style with fine neo-gothic towers.

Inside you will see altars made of marble and silver, which are dedicated to numerous saints, beautiful stained glass which was imported from France, the largest organ in Mexico, and huge columns. It is also home to relics of St. Innocent, the remains of former bishops of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara, and the heart of a former Mexican president.
Palacio Municipal

11) Palacio Municipal (must see)

Across the Plaza Guadalajara is situated another landmark, Palacio Municipal. Its construction began in 1949 and finished in 1952 according to plans by Vicente Mendiola. Its central courtyard, corridors, columns, and arches show the colonial style architecture of Guadalajara. Inside you will find a mural created by the artist Gabriel Flores in 1963. It consists of five panels that depict the Spanish conquest, the fall of Pedro de Alvarado, Guadalajara’s founders, the spiritual conquest and the Paseo de Pendón. On the portico you can see Guadalajara’s coat of arms. The Palacio Municipal is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 19:00.
Plaza Guadalajara

12) Plaza Guadalajara (must see)

Located in the heart of the historic downtown, just across from the Cathedral’s main entrance, Plaza Guadalajara is another prominent landmark. Previously known as Plaza de los Laureles, the square housed several buildings that were torn down in the 1950s as part of the new city remodeling project. In the center of the square you will find a beautiful circular fountain in the shape of an oyster with fine rose petals. The fountain is home to Guadalajara's coat of arms that features two brave lions resting on the trunk of a tree.
Biblioteca Iberoamericana Octavio Paz

13) Biblioteca Iberoamericana Octavio Paz

Biblioteca Iberoamericana Octavio Paz is another wonderful sight in the historic city center. This historical building earlier was the temple of the Compañía de Jesus, while presently houses a library. Beside its historical and architectural importance, the building is famous for its exceptional mural, created by the worldwide celebrated muralist Jose David Alfaro Siqueiros, Amado de la Cueva, and painter Tapatío. Dating back to 1917, the mural presents labor and uprising and shows characteristics of the 1910 Revolution.
El Parque de la Revolución

14) El Parque de la Revolución

El Parque de la Revolución is situated on the west side of the city center, between Avenue Juárez and Avenue Federalismo. This public park was opened on 28 February 1935 and designed by engineers Juan José and Luis Barragan. The park houses a bronze statue, dedicated to Francisco Ignacio Madero González, who was a politician, writer and revolutionary in the Mexican Revolution. Here you will also find the statue of Venustiano Carranza de la Garza, another leader of the Mexican Revolution, and a monument, located on Avenue Federalism, which was built in 1976 in honor of the Mexican workers Ricardo Flores Magon, Manuel M. Diéguez and Esteban Vaca Calderón.
Universidad de Guadalajara

15) Universidad de Guadalajara

University of Guadalajara is the second Mexico’s oldest university and the fifth oldest one in all of North America. The University of Guadalajara is considered one of the largest and most appreciated institutions of higher learning in the country, where about 218,819 students study. The building was founded during the Spanish colonial period in 1791. This two story educational establishment is housed in the old French renaissance building and features six white columns on the upper level.
Templo Expiatorio

16) Templo Expiatorio (must see)

The Templo Expiatorio is a Catholic Church of neo Gothic style and is considered the greatest work of its kind in Mexico. Its construction began on August 15, 1897 and ended 75 years later in 1972. The idea of building a temple dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament in the city of Guadalajara began in the late 19th century, when a congregation of Catholics formed a committee to make this temple. So the archbishop of the city, Pedro Loza y Pardavé, together with the commission organized a competition among some architects and engineers to select the project of the temple.

The temple's doors are made of granadilla wood, carved by Jesús Gómez Velazco, and they are incrusted with bronze high reliefs made by master Benito Castañeda. The three tympana on the church's facade are embellished with Italian mosaics created in the Vatican's Mosaic Factory. The central one represents the Lamb of God; the east, Saint Tarcisius; and the west, St. Pius X. They were designed by painter and expert on the Vatican Museums, Francisco Bencivenga, who also oversaw the placement of them. The church is made mostly of stone, carved as it was done in the Middle Ages. The huge, stained glass windows, including the rosette on the facade, were executed by Jacques and Gerard Degusseau of Orleans, France, according to cartons of the artist Maurice Rocher of Paris.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Guadalajara, Mexico

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