Districts of Guadalajara, Mexico
Guadalajara is divided into several districts. The main areas of interest to tourists are the Centro Historico and the Minerva – Chapultepec – Zona Rosa areas. These are located on an East-West axis centered on Av. Vallarta (named Av. Juárez in the Centro Historico) and stretch from the Plaza Tapatía/Plaza Mariachis on the East side to the Fuente Minerva/Arcos Vallarta on the West side. Outside of the downtown area are three areas also of interest to the tourist: Tlaquepaque, Tonalá – located SE of the centro and known for their handicraft shops and markets, and Zapopan – located NW of the centre and famous as a site of pilgrimage and for its old-town charm. Conveniently the bus route runs from Tlaquepaque through the centre to Zapopan, providing convenient access to all of these sites.
- Sector Juárez — southwest central Guadalajara, with plenty of shops and 2 malls (Centro Magno and Galerias, encompassing the Minerva and Chapultepec commercial zones.
- Sector Hidalgo — northwest central Guadalajara, a largely residential area encompassing the financial district and the country club.
- Sector Libertad — northeast central Guadalajara, a largely industrial zone. The southwest part of the sector is pretty close to the historic downtown; there is a traditional market (Mercado San Juan de Dios) and Plaza de los mariachis where you can find the traditional Mexican music.
- Sector Reforma — southeast central Guadalajara, also a mostly industrial zone. Parque Agua Azul, a large park with many trees, an auditorium, and a lake. On Saturday mornings there’s a street market, the Tianguis Cultural, where you can buy alternative clothing and articles such as spiked belts, black trench coats, military uniforms, used books and trading cards for a fair price.
- Centro Historico — the historic downtown. Most of your time will probably be spent here. It is filled with colonial era buildings. It also boasts several important mural paintings by Jalisco-born José Clemente Orozco, one of Mexico‘s most important artists.
- Zapopan is both a large municipal region comprising much of the western edge of metropolitan Guadalajara and the small old town center of Zapopan northwest of the Minerva-Chapultepec area. Zapopan the region comprises several shopping malls (Plaza Patria, Plaza Galerias, La Gran Plaza, among others), the Mercado del Mar (Sea Market) where you can eat fish and seafood for a reasonable price, as well as downtown Zapopan where you can find many bars and cantinas. South of the downtown there are rich neighborhoods, night clubs, three private universities (Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, Tec de Monterrey and Universidad del Valle de Atemajac – UNIVA) and several shopping malls (Plaza Pabellon, Plaza del Sol). Zapopan actually is the largest municipality in the State and also has several parks (Los Colomos, Country Club) and a forest (La Primavera)
- Tlaquepaque — south and southeast Guadalajara, offers an old town Tlaquepaque area with a Mexican village setting. It has an important shopping district as it is a main arts and crafts center within Mexico. The old town offers many interesting restaurants, galleries, a regional ceramics museum and a “Premio Nacional de la Ceramica” (National Ceramics Awards) museum. There is a large variety of shops where you can buy local pottery and handicrafts, including indigenous huichol artesanship. “The Parian” is a square building in the heart of its downtown that houses a collection of 17 restaurant-bars and at the center has a traditional kiosk where mariachi groups and singers play for patrons. It’s a great place to enjoy a cool drink on a hot day and listen to good music in a very Mexican setting. Tlaquepaque is about 30 minutes from Guadalajara’s downtown and about 20 minutes from the airport. A private university, the ITESO, lies on southern Guadalajara.
- Tonalá — eastern Guadalajara, where you can also buy handicrafts. Besides there is a huge park, the Parque Solidaridad.