museums in guadalajara

The “FIL” is the largest Spanish-language book festival in the world. (Photo: Getty Images)

Culture + Style

Where to Eat, Drink and Enjoy the Arts in Guadalajara

What do tequila, the Beatles and Laberinto del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) have in common? Guadalajara has played an important role in the development of each. When you travel to this Mexican city, delve into its culture.

Guadalajara is Culture

Guadalajara has something that makes living here very good. In part it’s the weather, in part it’s the proximity to the sea, but above all it’s the people.

The locals—called Tapatíos—have forged a very particular culture: they like to eat well, they distill the juice of agave, the light invites them to feel alive via an explosion of colors and the sun stimulates the blossoming of the most fantastic plants.

Here, people sing and dance a lot. Mariachi is known around the world as Mexican music, but the Tapatíos are proud because it is their local music.

Guadalajara and its surroundings have produced some of the most outstanding artists and creatives in the country.

The architect Luis Barragán, the writer Juan Rulfo, the painter María Izquierdo, the musician Carlos Santana, the film director Guillermo del Toro, the actor Gael García Bernal, the dancer Isaac Hernández and the composer Consuelo Velázquez have all come from these latitudes.

And they have all triumphed in their respective disciplines, either with Hollywood statuettes, the Pritzker Prize, the Benois Dance Award, or because the Beatles made a cover of the tapatía song “Besame Mucho.”

So, if you feel like it, buy yourself a charro hat—a local design also famous throughout the world—and let yourself be surprised by Guadalajara.

El Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara

The International Film Festival in Guadalajara, the largest and most prestigious film festival in Latin America, is celebrated every March.

Although it is an event aimed at industry professionals, during these days, you’ll notice that the city’s atmosphere changes, and if you go to the indicated bars or restaurants, you can see the stars of the moment.

museums in guadalajara
The largest and most prestigious film festival in Latin America is held in Guadalajara. (Photo: Getty Images)

In addition, young talents and students are invited to attend the festival’s workshops and activities. Thus, this unforgettable experience is the perfect way to further enhance your talent.

The organizers have also kept the rest of the visitors in mind: cinema screens are removed and installed at parks and other outdoor sites so that the public can see a well-curated selection of films. If Guadalajara is reputed to have some of the best weather in Mexico, watching movies under the stars makes it downright cozy.

El Hospicio Cabañas

Although we stated that the most famous architect in Mexico hails from here, Hospicio Cabañas (Cabañas Hospice) is not his, but it is over 200 years old.

This building is undoubtedly the most important colonial architectural work in the city, and it is quite impressive, as it was modeled after colossal European works, such as El Escorial or Les Invalides.

museums in guadalajara
Hospicio Cabañas is the city’s most important colonial building. (Photo: Alamy)

And if this and its UNESCO World Heritage nomination weren’t enough reasons to persuade you to visit, go to admire its murals—they are unique!

José Clemente Orozco, one of the most important painters of the Mexican twentieth century—who is also from this area, a fact which should no longer surprise you—depicted Guadalajara’s national history in 57 monumental murals here.

That’s why this edifice is considered nothing less than the Sistine Chapel of Mexico. Go with time to spare because you’ll be craving to see an exhibition, a good movie or a concert.

Feria Internacional del Libro

The Feria Internacional del Libro (International Book Fair)—”La FIL”, as those in the know call it—is the largest Spanish-language book festival in the world.

In fact, it features much more than just books; the organizers have set out to spoil the reader with concerts, art exhibitions, cultural events, parties and dances as well as public presentations, read-aloud lectures and autographs from the most important pens.

Held in December, there’s a special guest country at every edition of La FIL. So if you’re lucky—and since authors from all over the world come to Guadalajara—you might get to see your favorite novelist or poet. Without a doubt, La FIL is an event you can’t miss if you’re interested in discovering what’s happening in the world of books.