Saturday, December 5, 2015

Hey I'm Going To Guadalajara

*Every once in a while I'll get an e-mail from a friend, like hey I'm going to (Paris, Puerto Rico, NYC ect.) what do you recommend, so I think I'm going to try to turn these e-mails into some sort of organized list of suggestions/ideas for their trip...and yours too, so here's another installment in the...
Some things to know...
Guadalajara is Mexico's second largest city. If you're thinking quaint and colonial there are areas that will exceed your expectations, but it's also a big, beautiful, modern, chic city. Their slogan is "Guadalajara es México", Guadalajara IS Mexico,  since it’s the birthplace of mariachis and tequila.  It’s also known as the city of eternal spring, with temps ranging from high 50s to high 80s so bring layers for those warm mornings, hot afternoons, and cold evenings.

Where to Stay-I highly recommend staying at Hotel Demetria, or Casa Fayette as these are the nicest hotels in Guadalajara and in a really hip swanky neighborhood.  Walking around this area, even at night, is super safe and I loved the mix of modern houses and traditional Mexican villas.

What to Do- First you should know that Uber and Taxis are the easiest and cheapest (ranging from $3-$8) way to get around. Driving in GDL is not for the faint of heart, so if you want to rent a car just know that parking is scarce and you better be an aggressive driver. The traffic is no joke.
While there are a few things you should visit, mostly I had an awesome time strolling around, popping into a café for a drink, people watching, checking out a boutique etc…
Plaza de Armas, and it’s cathedral (Catedral de Guadalajara) is the main plaza in Guadalajara. Most avenidas leading to this square have some great options for shopping and eating. El Palacio del Gobierno is also right on the plaza and houses some of the most famous Orozco murals. A few steps from here (12 min walk) will put you in front of the Hospicio Cabañas, which is a cultural center full of super interesting expositions and more Orozco murals, plus beautiful architecture, peaceful gardens and charming courtyards. Templo Expiatorio, is another impressive cathedral and totally different than Catedral de Guadalajara. And lastly you can't go to Guadalajara with out visiting the Mercado Libertad, (aka Mercado San Juan de Dios) thee largest market in all of Mexico. If you can't find what you're looking for here? it probably doesn't exist. I brought back leather sandals, a tortilla press, some jewelry, and an embroidered blouse.
Where to Eat- With all the sightseeing you'll probably want to make time for some luxuriously long lunches and dinners. Just know if you're the only people at the cafe at 1pm it's because Mexico sticks to a Spanish time frame. Lunch is 3-4pm and dinner is 8-9pm, so eat a hearty breakfast and pack snacks. Taco Fish La Paz was one of the best taco places we found, we also popped in to Café Benito as it's close to Plaza de las Armas. For dinner I highly recommend: Alcalde, La Tequilla, Lachata, and while I didn't get a chance to check it out everyone is going crazy for Hueso. If you're a foodie this is your chance to eat at some of the nicest restaurants for CHEAP actually everything is much cheaper than say in Tulum, or anywhere in Riviera Maya and with the falling exchange rate (this trip was 16.60 pesos to $1usd the best it's ever been) So if you're looking for a 4 course meal in a fancy spot for under $40 us?!?! Guadalajara will feel like you've died and gone to heaven.
Above I mentioned "cute and colonial" for that you need to head to Tlaquepaque –technically a suburb of GDL, until the city grew so large it surrounded it. This is an adorable area famous for Mexican artesanias like pottery, jewelry, baskets, Otomi embroidery, and other little handmade things. There's also a plethora of furniture and antique stores, if only I had a way to bring some some of those larger pieces! Starting at the Museo Regional de la Ceramica isn’t a bad idea.  For lunch order Cazuelas (a local cocktail of tequila, and citrus juices served in a ceramic bowl) maybe some tacos, or quesadillas, and check out a mariachi show at any of the restaurants at el Parián . For dinner head down the street to Casa Luna and ask for a seat in the beautiful courtyard. Don’t forget to pick up a bottle or 2 of some delicious tequila or mezcal from Nuestros Dulces.

...and there you have it. Remember that not as many folks speak English as in Cancun or D.F. so it's best to learn the following.

Hola and say it every time you walk into a place, Gracias when you leave or you know...just to say thanks, plus:
lo siento (I'm sorry)
busco-I'm looking for
yo quería-I would like
cuánto cuesta- how much does it cost 
donde esta- Where is
feliz viaje, have an awesome time!! 

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