Day 1: Guadalajara Mural Walk
If you have a bucket list for Mexican art, Guadalajara’s Centro Historico is a good place to start. The great muralist Jose Clemente Orozco is from Jalisco, and he did right by his home state. If you start at the Plaza Tapatía and walk through the sculpture garden at its eastern end, you’ll find the Instituto Cultural Cabañas, which contains a chapel with 57 frescos by Jalisco’s native son. Intrigued? Walk west to the Plaza de Armas and the Palacio de Gobierno, which houses Orozco’s murals of Father Miguel Hidalgo. For contrast, head southwest along Juarez to the Biblioteca IberoAmericana Octavio Paz, where you can see the work of Orozco’s contemporary David Siqueiros. Cap your day with a meal at the arty Santo Coyote (Lerdo de Tejada 2379).
Day 2: Guadalajara Parks
Get a feel for the surrounding landscape with a morning hike in the Barranca de Huentitán-Oblatos (Calzada Independencia Norte), a tropical nature reserve on the outskirts of town. Then spend a more leisurely afternoon in the shade-dappled Parque Agua Azul (973 Calzada Independencia Sur), a favorite of Tapatío families for more than two centuries. The park features a pond, a butterfly dome, an aviary of toucans and scarlet macaws, and an orchid house. Open from 10am-6:30pm with an admission fee of six pesos. The aviary closes at 5pm.
Day 3: Shop Guadalajara
Spend the morning bargain shopping for folk art in Tonalá, and then head for lunch at the cavernous Mercado Libertad (52 Javier Mina). The market’s fondas (stalls) offer traditional, inexpensive fare. Choose a fonda with plenty of traffic, and enjoy the perfect combination of simple ingredients, served fast and hot. Afterward, you can peruse everything from skeins of chorizo to witchcraft supplies in the eight-square-block interior. In the mood for higher end shopping? The nearby Plaza Tapatía is lined in department stores, and the surrounding neighborhood has specific mini shopping districts, including amazing window displays of Mexican wedding and quinceañera gowns. Consider the centrally-located Fonda de San Miguel (Donata Guerra 25) for dinner.