Flights to Guadalajara (GDL)

At first glance, Guadalajara seems to be of the Old World. It was founded by Spaniards in 1542, named after a Spanish city and many of its most prominent buildings look like they’d fit perfectly in a European capital. But this thriving modern city — located in Mexico’s Western Pacific region — is undeniably Latin American. Guadalajara is often called Mexico’s "Silicon Valley" because of its recent technology boom. And it’s also a hub of higher education, with the prestigious University of Guadalajara and ITESO (Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara) at the head of the class.

Historic downtown, known by locals as the Centro Histórico, is where most first-time visitors should start. It’s teeming with cafés, shops and galleries — and is eminently walkable. Here resides the city’s crown jewel, the majestic Guadalajara Cathedral, which dates from the 16th century. An inspiring blend of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, the Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady, as it's also known, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the Americas.

Nearby is the neoclassical Teatro Degollado, which opened in 1866. Today, it’s the home of the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra and the University of Guadalajara’s Folkloric Ballet, and hosts performances of all kinds throughout the year. You’ll also find the Museo Regional de Guadalajara, originally constructed as a seminary as its Spanish Colonial style attests. Its far-flung collection includes everything from paleontology and archeology to art and history.

Those passionate about Mexican cuisine will have little difficulty finding familiar comforts just about everywhere, but for a uniquely regional dish try the Birria, a spicy meat stew that’s made with pork, goat or lamb and served at the city’s many birrierías.

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