A Guide to Visiting Tlaquepaque, Jalisco
Is Tlaquepaque worth A Visit?
If you're reading this, you likely fall into one of two categories. I'd say you're either looking for information to help plan your visit to Tlaquepaque or you've never heard of the city but were intrigued by a pretty video we shared online. If you're in Group A, read on! My aim is to share what you can expect to find in Tlaquepaque and help you decide whether it's worth adding to your Guadalajara itinerary. If you're of the latter group, you can watch the video again at the end of this post and hopefully be inspired to visit Tlaquepaque one day!
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 just last week 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'
Tlaquepaque is less than 10 kms southeast of Guadalajara and is especially known for its ceramics, pottery and mariachi. It is frequently visited on weekends by locals from Guadalajara and less frequently visited by international tourists. 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'd be anything else to do. I managed to convince Wes that our Tlaqupaque day trip it 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 wasn't a total bust.
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). You can pick up a map and inquire about any special events or performances taking place during your visit.
Walk the infamous Calle Independencia, a vibrant pedestrian street lined with shops, restaurants and insta-worthy umbrellas overhead. The shops here have some really impressive displays but shopping in Tlaquepaque is more boutique than outlet. You'll also see A LOT of 'no photos' signs at various stores and displays along Independencia.
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 with their meal. 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. Prices and dishes seem to be the same at each restaurant but the tequila cazuelas definitely stood out. If you're looking to try some new dishes, have a look at this complete guide to authentic Mexican food.
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.
Guadalajara to Tlaquepaque day trip
WITH UBER: We used Uber to travel from Guadalajara to Tlaquepaque and both the fare and travel time can vary quite a bit. We paid $100 pesos to get there and used Uber Pool on the way back for $75 pesos. It can take up to 40 minutes, depending on traffic and your starting point in the city.
BY TAXI: Taxis are readily available in big cities throughout Mexico though you may be quoted double the Uber fare.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: While Google doesn't populate routes for local transit in and around Guadalajara, the website Moovit does show Guadalajara to Tlaquepaque buses.
TAPATÍO TOURS: Tapatío is a popular tour bus company in Guadalajara that has 4 different hop-on, hop-off routes. Tlaquepaque is Route #2, tickets start at $130 pesos per adult and buses depart from their office right by the Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres.
If you find yourself at Guadalajara's new bus station with time to spare, the heart of Tlaquepaque is only about 20 minutes away from the terminal (depending on traffic). You could easily store your things at the station, hop in an Uber/cab, walk along Independencia and be back within 2-3 hours for your bus.
We're nearing the end of our 99 Days in Mexico series and surprises like Tlaquepaque remind me that, no matter how long we stay or how many times we come back, we'll never be able to see all of this beautiful country. Sigh.