Guadalajara is a hidden gem for gay travelers. It’s the capital state of Jalisco and the second most-populous city in Mexico, right behind Mexico City. Sure, visitors flock to the beaches in Puerto Vallarta, but gay Guadalajara is also worthy of your attention.
Fun facts about Guadalajara
Guadalajara, the “Pearl of the West,” has a humid, tropical climate, with an average temperature of 75ºF/24ºC in the summer. Guadalajara is the home of tequila, mariachi music and charreria, the country’s official national sport.
This city is also Mexico’s tech hub; it’s home to the Mexican headquarters of several tech giants like Intel, IBM and Oracle. With such a technologically savvy workforce, there’s an impressive startup culture in Guadalajara.
Unlike Mexico City, Guadalajara lacks a fully developed transit system. The light rail system still only has two working lines, with another scheduled to open later this year. Luckily, if you need to get around, there are still buses and taxis, but if you’ve got the time, walking is the best way to learn about Guadalajara.
While you’re here, you must try tortas ahogadas, or drowned bread rolls, Guadalajara’s most iconic food. This spicy dish features a type of bread similar to the French baguette, stuffed with cuts of meat, prawns or cheese and marinated in spicy tomato sauce. A breakfast staple, tortas ahogadas are as delicious as they are messy.
Guadalajara local attractions
The architecture of Guadalajara has a huge European colonial influence. For example, the Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan, this most visited sanctuary in Western Mexico, features a wooden Virgin, a valuable medieval-era relic which came from Spain to New Galicia in the 16th century.
Guadalajara Cathedral is another excellent example of the Spanish Renaissance style, with its Neo-gothic spires. Built in 1541, the altars dedicated to famous saints from Our Lady of Guadalupe to Saint Dominic are cast in marble and silver.
Besides admiring the architecture around the city, there are other fun local attractions worth exploring. Since 1988, the Zoológico Guadalajara has been one of Guadalajara’s most popular tourist attractions. The city’s first true zoo, it also promotes conservation and research. From rare white lions to Nile crocodile, it is a fun place to see and learn about endangered species.
Los Colomos is a city park with walking paths and picnic areas. There’s also a Japanese garden and breathtaking landscapes, making it a beautiful place to hike.
San Juan de Dios Market is Guadalajara’s largest indoor market and a shopper’s paradise. This market has three levels and sells everything from apparel to electronics. If you are searching for a bargain, don’t be afraid to haggle.
Gay Guadalajara nightlife
What makes gay Guadalajara unique is its large queer community, complete with lots of bars and clubs and an impressive Pride parade.
At Dolce Veele, besides a refreshing beer, you can also order excellent diner food while enjoying karaoke or a good old-fashioned drag show.
Many bars have exciting entertainment like dancers — Voltio even has a live sex show, if you’re into that. To get some relaxation, go to the aptly named Riilax sauna, which is spacious, clean and a great place to socialize.
A lot of nightlife happens between the Plaza de Armas and the Zona Rosa. If you want to be in walking distance to bars, you’ll want to try to find a place to stay in this area.