Meet the Guachimontones Pyramids

SAN PEDRO TLAQUEPAQUE

The first time we visited Guadalajara, we didn’t have much time to do more than walk around the historic centre, have lunch at the monstrous Mercado Libertad (the largest indoor market in Latin America) and join in on the chanting at an entertaining night of Lucha Libre. It wasn’t until our second visit that we were able to make it out to Tlaquepaque. That’s when I learned three things:

 
  • The complete, historical name is San Pedro Tlaquepaque
  • This isn’t a neighbourhood of Guadalajara (my mistake) but an entirely independent city
  • There is more to Tlaquepaque than the colourful ‘umbrella lane’

There are a surprising number of day trip options from Guadalajara, each offering something unique for different types of travellers. Tlaquepaque is especially known for its galleries, ceramics, pottery and mariachi. It’s conveniently located less than 10 kms southeast of Guadalajara and frequently visited by locals and tourists alike with weekends being the busiest days.

I’d seen so many photos of streets in Tlaquepaque lined with papel picado and colourful umbrellas but I had my doubts on whether there would be anything else to do. I managed to convince Wes that our Tlaqupaque day trip would make for some great video footage and hoped for the best. Central Jalisco’s dry heat during the spring/summer months requires a certain level of patience (for non-accustomed Canadians) and I’m relieved our day trip was worthwhile.

THINGS TO DO IN TLAQUEPAQUE, JALISCO

The visitor’s centre is a great place to start your day in Tlaquepaque. It’s located by the colourful ‘Tlaquepaque’ sign on Calle Independencia (at Av. Niños Héroes). Here you can pick up a map and inquire about any special events or performances taking place on the day of your visit. We’ve included a map at the bottom of this post where you’ll find the visitor’s centre as well as the following things to do in Tlaquepaque:

CALLE INDEPENDENCIA

Walk the popular Calle Independencia, a vibrant pedestrian street lined with shops, restaurants and colourful decorations. This is the most visited and (in my opinion) most beautiful area of Tlaquepaque. When travelling to Tlaquepaque as an independent day trip from Guadalajara, Calle Independencia is an ideal reference point to map to. It’s worth noting you’ll see A LOT of  ‘no photos’ signs at various stores and displays along this street.

TAKE HOME A UNIQUE SOUVENIR

Mercado Benito Juarez is a lively, local market in Tlaquepaque where you’ll find everything from souvenirs to foods and even piñatas. For items that are unique to this region of Mexico, we recommend checking out Cantú for tiles, Casa Piel for leather, Galería Cempasúchil for decorative items, and Galería Imperial for furniture. The galleries and shops along Calle Independencia have some really impressive displays but you may find that shopping in Tlaquepaque is more boutique than budget.

REGIONAL CERAMIC MUSEUM

The museum is small but free with varying local exhibits throughout the year and some examples of traditional ceramics. Entrance is off of Calle Independencia.

MARIACHI AT EL PARÍAN

It may be mariachi or folklore ballet but those dining at El Parían can enjoy a live Mexican performance in Tlaquepaque. El Parían is a complex of over a dozen restaurants that surround a gazebo where performers entertain daily. We were there for mariachi from 3:30-4:30pm and, while the restaurants are quite calm during the day, things are said to pick up at night. Menus seem to be about the same at each restaurant though the food is nothing to write home about. If you’re keen to watch a performance, try a tequila cazuela with a snack instead.

EL JARDIN HIDALGO

To truly escape from the bustle of Guadalajara, grab some helado de garrafa (ice cream) and find shade at the Jardin Hidalgo. At the square you’ll also find the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Solitude and the San Pedro Tlaquepaque Parish.

NOCHES DE LA RONDA

On the second and fourth Friday of every month, the main streets of Tlaquepaque come to life with live music and dancing to celebrate noches de la ronda.

HEAD TO TONALÁ

A day trip to Tlaquepaque is often combined with a stop in Tonalá, a neighbouring city also offering artisan crafts but in a less touristy setting.