It can be overwhelming to try and figure out where to stay in Guadalajara Mexico, particularly if you are visiting the city for the first time. The Jalisco capital is a sprawling metropolis and it is made up of various different neighborhoods, each of which has its own distinct personality.
Add in the fact that there is a limited amount of information about Guadalajara’s districts online, and it is understandable to feel that you don’t know where to begin! Several areas in central Guadalajara are both charming and safe, including Centro, Chapalita, Americana, and Chapultapec.
Tlaquepaque and Zapopan are a little farther out, and they are technically their own cities, but they can also make a wonderful place to base yourself. Guadalajara is Mexico’s third-largest city, with a population of 4.4 million people.
However, despite that, it has something of a small-town vibe about it. You can explore a lot of the historic center on foot, provided that you are mindful of your safety and which neighborhoods you wander into.
Public transport and the availability (and reliability) of Ubers are pretty good in Guadalajara too. So, wherever you choose to stay here, you will find that it is relatively easy to get around. There
Where to Stay in Guadalajara Mexico:
Best Areas and Hotels
Safety is always a major concern when you talk to anyone about Guadalajara and other Mexican cities. Before you commit to booking a hotel here, it is always a good idea to look at where it is on the map, and then do a little additional reading on the neighborhood.
That being said, hotels are not generally located in the “no go” areas of town anyway. As a rule of thumb, the most desirable areas tend to be located in the western part of the city. You generally want to avoid the eastern part of town.
The central area from Avenue Juarez in the south close to the Guadalajara cathedral, up to Parque Alcade/Museo Panteón de Belén is fine during the day, and just requires a little more caution and common sense at night.
Opting to stay in the “Centro” district of Guadalajara places you right in the heart of the action. Here you are just a short walk away from the main things to do in Guadalajara.
The city’s main attractions, churches, plazas, and museums are located here. You also have a plethora of dining and nightlife options right on your doorstep.
The historic center is a vision, filled with grand neoclassical buildings, churches, and cobbled plazas. The Guadalajara Cathedral is the piece de resistance in this part of town.
It dates back to the 16th century and was built in the Spanish renaissance style, during the colonization period. Its neo-gothic spires were added in the 19th century and the building has been a part of the city’s skyline for centuries. Its interiors are just as spectacular as its exterior, and it is free to enter.
Guadalajara’s main central square (the zocalo) sits beside the cathedral and is a popular rendezvous point for locals. At nightfall, the cathedral plays host to an illuminations show and is lit up with hundreds of colorful, twinkling lights.
The cafes that encircle the square are a great place to grab coffee with a view, while Avenue Juarez is Guadalajara’s main shopping promenade, filled with everything from international high street brands, to local independent boutiques. If you enjoy sampling street food, head to Mercado Corona and Mercado San Juan de Dios.
The latter is the largest indoor market in Latin America. If you want to try something truly local, order yourself a torta ahogada.
This sandwich is a Guadalajara specialty. Pork carnitas and red onions are stuffed inside a crusty bread roll and then the sandwich is drenched in spicy tomato salsa. It’s probably the only time that you will eat a sandwich with a spoon and you may find yourself surprised by how much you enjoy it!
Best hotels in Guadalajara Centro
The center of Guadalajara has a diverse selection of hotels to suit every budget and travel style. You can book a hostel bed for upwards of $12 a night, a budget room for around $25 a night, and a luxe boutique for around $80 a night. Several renowned international chains have hotels in this part of town.
- Hotel De Mendoza
- Six Hotel Guadalajara
- Hotel Mision Guadalajara
- DoubleTree by Hilton Centro Historico
The Americana district is to Guadalajara what Roma is to Mexico City. The leafy promenades here are lined with charming coffee shops, art galleries, and boutique stores.
Americana exudes creative hipster vibes at every turn. Yet it remains unapologetically and quintessentially Mexican.
It has not been gentrified by western tourists. Chapultepec Avenue is the best-known street in this part of town and you will find it referenced in most Guadalajara guides.
However, those in the know, know that the best hang-out spots are to be found on Calle Prisciliano Sanchez and Libertad nearby. Gabinete (Libertad 1698) is a quaint little coffee shop and the best place to head to if you want to sample Mexican breakfasts or brunch.
It is fairly quiet on the weekdays, save for the occasional intellectual you will see snuggling down in an oversized armchair with a good book. At weekends, anyone who is young, hip, and Jaliscan heads to this part of town to meet their friends for brunch. (At this time reservations are a must!)
La Cafetería, HERA Coffee & Tea, and Lluvia Café are great spots to people-watch and sip strong cups of Mexican Chiapas coffee beneath cabanas. Mercado México is a farmer’s market-style Mercado where vendors sell everything from sweet bread and handmade donuts and pastries, to gourmet hotdogs, skewered meats, and fresh ceviche.
The market feels more reminiscent of Greenwich Village than of Mexico, and it can be a good choice if you want to try lots of regional delicacies and don’t know where to start. You can sample a little of everything from the stalls here!
Colonia Americana is just a short walk away from Guadalajara center. Nearby, be sure to visit the Templo Expiatorio – one of the best neo-Gothic churches in Mexico, and the MUSA art museum.
Best hotels in Americana
- Gala Hotel Boutique
- Quinta Real Guadalajara
- Villa Ganz Boutique Hotel
- Monraz House, Hotel Boutique & Gallery
- Ramë Hotel Boutique
- Ekléctic Hotel Boutique
Chapalita is a safe, leafy upscale district in the western part of Guadalajara, close to Zapopan. It is often overlooked from most people’s Guadalajara itineraries which can make it even more rewarding to explore.
Chapalita provides a real authentic glimpse into what life in the city is really like. The neighborhood square, Jardín del Arte de la Glorieta Chapalita, is an idyllic plaza filled that often hosts live musical performances and art exhibits.
Whatever day of the week you happen to stop by, you will find street food vendors selling everything from tamales to elotes, as well as local artists selling their painted works and handicrafts. There is usually a live brass band or other musical performances and entire families come out to lay a picnic blanket on the grass and watch the spectacle.
Restaurants serving various Mexican and international cuisines encircle Jardín del Arte de la Glorieta. For exquisite steaks and Argentinian food, head to La Boka (Av Guadalupe 1144).
Meanwhile, Theo By Vincent (Av de Las Rosas) is a chic, contemporary establishment that serves Mexican cuisine with an international twist. Chapalita may be a little distance from Guadalajara’s historic center, but you can take an Uber to the cathedral area for just a few pesos in less than 10 minutes.
This part of town is very safe, and the residents all engage in neighborhood watch activities, looking out for each other and what goes on in the area. Chapalita is devoid of tourists, making it one of the city’s biggest hidden gems.
Best hotels in Chapalita
- Hotel Boutique La Mansion – Gorgeous, tastefully-decorated rooms set inside a converted traditional mansion complete with a pool, sophisticated communal areas, and a courtyard
- Guadalajara Plaza Ejecutivo López Mateos
- Hotel Clarum 101
- Becquer Hotel Guadalajara
- Victoria Ejecutivo Guadalajara
- Casa Ixaya by Barrio Mexico
Tlaquepaque (pronounced Tuh-laa-kay-paa-kee) is its own independent city located 10km southeast of Guadalajara. It has been recognized by the Mexican tourism board as a “Pueblo Magico” – a Mexican town with a particularly special local culture and atmosphere.
In particular, Tlaquepaque is known for being the birthplace of mariachi, and the place where the music first started to become popular. Live performances can be enjoyed every day of the week in the bars that encircle El Parian.
The town is also known for its handicrafts and artisanal products – most notably azulejo tiles, glass blowing, and pottery. You can learn more about this aspect of regional history at the Pantaleon Pedro Museum of the National Ceramics Contest (C.Prisciliano Sanchez 191) and the Museo Regional de la Ceramica (Calle Independencia 237.
These items also make great souvenirs from your trip to Mexico. You can shop for them, as well as organic skin care products and gorgeous items of clothing produced by independent designers in the boutiques along Calle Independencia and the Plaza de Artesanías (C. Juárez 145).
There are also a couple of lovely, centuries-old churches here that are worth checking out. Namely, the Our Lady of Solitude Sanctuary and the Parroquia San Pedro Apostol.
Urban expansion has made it difficult to identify where Guadalajara ends and where Tlaquepaque begins. The Jalisco capital has basically consumed the smaller settlement.
Opting to stay here doesn’t mean that you are far removed from Guadalajara’s highlights. You can travel between the two areas in just 10-15 minutes in a cab.
If you are embarking on a wider Jalisco itinerary, you may be interested to note that Tlaquepaque actually places you closer to Lake Chapala and Ajijic. At the end of a long day’s sightseeing, you have plenty of cafes, dining, and nightlife options here.
Best hotels in Tlaquepaque
Zona Expo takes its name from the Expo Guadalajara convention center that is located in this area. This neighborhood is also home to the largest fairground in the country.
Zona Expo sees a lot of Mexican and international business travelers that visit the convention center for meetings and tradeshows. For this reason, you will find a lot of mid-range and higher-end chain hotels in this area.
For instance, the Westin, the Ibis, Holiday Inn, etc. Here you have plenty of restaurants, stores, and cafes on your doorstep and you are just a short walk away from Chapalita.
Although this is not the most interesting area to stay from a tourist perspective, it isn’t a bad place to base yourself if you find a hotel here that you like. It is safe, and you can reach most places of interest around the city in 10-15 minutes by cab.
Best hotels in Expo Guadalajara
- Hotel Riu Plaza Guadalajara
- Baruk Hotel de Autor Guadalajara
- One Guadalajara Expo
- Guadalajara Plaza Expo Business Class
Zapopan is actually its own independent city, situated just northwest of the city of Guadalajara. However, like Tlaquepaque, it has been effectively consumed by the urban expansion of the Jalisco capital.
This upscale area boasts a plethora of excellent boutiques, shopping malls, restaurants, and coffee shops. Zapopan is best known for its “Virgin of Zapopan”.
This is a 16th-century statue of the Virgin Mary that sits inside the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Zapopan. It has been credited with apparently causing many miracles and so today, people make a pilgrimage from across Jalisco (and wider Mexico) to visit the church.
Even Pope John Paul II visited the Virgin of Zapopan. The area is safe during the day, though you should always be aware of your surroundings and not walk alone at night.
Best hotels in Zapopan
- Hard Rock Hotel Guadalajara
- Quinta Real Guadalajara
- Hotel & Suites Quinta Magna
- Camino Real Guadalajara
- European Life Style Executive Suites
FAQs about Where to Stay in Guadalajara
Do you have any more burning questions or concerns about where to stay in Guadalajara? Hopefully, you will find the answers you are looking for below.
Which part of Guadalajara is best to stay in?
There are several excellent areas in Guadalajara that are perfect for tourists. Arguably the best place to stay is subjective and depends on you, your travel style, and what you are looking to see and do in the city.
If you have a limited time to spare and you want to have all of the main museums, attractions, and historic sites right on your doorstep, Centro may be the best area for you. If you prefer hipster vibes and quirky cafes filled with intellectuals, Americana and Chapalita are stunning and underrated districts.
What is the rich area of Guadalajara?
Providencia, Chapalita, Chapultepec, and Zapopan are among the most affluent areas in Guadalajara. They are home to communities of international ex-pats as well as affluent Mexicans.
What are the dangerous areas of Guadalajara?
Guadalajara, like many major cities, definitely has areas that you should avoid. As a tourist, you would have no real reason to venture into them anyway.
Oblatos and the area around San Juan de Dios market should be avoided at night. The market is fine to visit during the day, but you don’t really want to venture any farther out of the city from there.
When visiting Tlaquepaque, stick to the central areas around El Parian square. Avoid the area of El Cerro de Cuatro, Tlaquepaque.
Colonia del Fresno is not safe and should be avoided completely. Be mindful not to wander here from Chapalita or Americana. Central Tonalá is charming and filled with handicraft stores but the outskirts should absolutely be avoided.
Have you visited Guadalajara before? What did you think?
What do you think about where to stay in Guadalajara? Is there an area that appeals to you the most?
If you are visiting Mexico for the first time, you may also be interested in reading this selection of Mexico travel tips to know before you go. From Guadalajara, you may also want to do a day trip to Tequila.
Have a wonderful time in Guadalajara! Safe travels and buen viaje! Xo