Bienvenidos a Guadalajara! This beautiful city is famous for its art, architecture, and for being the Silicon Valley of Mexico.
The Guadalajara that we know today was founded in 1542 by conquistador Nuño de Guzmán. In 1560, it became the capital of Spanish colonial province Nueva Galicia, attracting artists, poets, architects, scientists, lawyers, philosophers, and writers due to its economic prosperity. In 1823, two years after Mexico gained independence from Spain, Guadalajara became the capital of the new Mexican province of Jalisco, where it remains to this day. Nowadays, Guadalajara has become a cultural and educational center of Mexico.
Where to live in Guadalajara
Guadalajara is home to almost 1.5 million people, making it the third most populous city in all of Mexico. Many of its most popular neighborhoods are located in the center and west side of the city. However, for a quieter, more village-like experience, consider one of the neighborhoods located outside of the official city limits and in the Guadalajara metropolitan area.
Best Neighborhoods in Guadalajara
Neighborhoods in Guadalajara are referred to as colonies, and there are over 2300 different colonies in the entire Guadalajara metropolitan area. There are countless options to choose from, but here are some of our top picks for the best neighborhoods in Guadalajara:
The district of Colonia Americana is the cultural heart of Guadalajara. You'll find weekend street markets and free concerts held on broad avenues lined with palms, jacarandas and colonial mansions. Every turn in Colonia Americana reveals more bars, cafes and restaurants that combine to make Guadalajara’s culinary scene arguably its strongest selling point. From humble taco stands to high-end establishments, you can gorge on a broad range of traditional dishes and strange beverages that are often unique to this corner of the country.
Amazing Apartments, Coliving Spaces and More
We've been rounded up the best housing options in Guadalajara. All are available on flexible terms, so you can stay one month or as long as you want
Quick Facts About GuadalajaraGuadalajara is one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities in Mexico—its art, architecture, and parks can’t be beat! Before you arrive in Guadalajara, here are some important things you should know:
Be careful about personal safetyGuadalajara’s crime rate is lower than other comparable cities in Mexico, like Mexico City. Of course, it’s important to stay vigilant nonetheless, and use common sense when out and about. Avoid carrying valuables or large sums of money, try not to walk alone at night, and be careful in tourist-heavy areas where pickpocketing can be a concern.
Avoid tap waterAlthough some people have a more lax attitude about drinking water straight from the tap in Guadalajara, you’re better off avoiding tap water, especially if your body isn’t used to the water in Guadalajara. Many expats recommend drinking bottled water, boiling tap water before drinking, or investing in a good water filter.
The weather is quite warmGuadalajara is pretty warm year-round, with temperatures averaging out at around 63°F during the wintertime and about 75°F during the summertime. However, Guadalajara experiences a significant amount of rainfall during the summer months, especially June and July.
Visit TequilaOne of the must-visit locations if you’re visiting Guadalajara is Tequila, located just under 40 miles away. This little town is where the drink tequila was invented, and you can enjoy some of the best tequila in the world here.
Be careful when drivingDrivers in Guadalajara can be reckless, and often don’t follow the same traffic laws that you might be accustomed to if you come from the US, Canada, or Europe. If you’re a nervous driver, you might hate driving in Guadalajara.
Many people speak EnglishOne of the nicest things about Guadalajara is that many people speak basic English. Although you should definitely brush up on your Spanish if you’re going to move to Mexico, if you forget how to say something, you should still be able to get by.
There’s a strong expat communityGuadalajara is a popular city for expats from the US, Canada, and Europe. If you’re interested in immersing yourself in Mexican culture, but still want to be connected to a community that shares your experiences, Guadalajara is a great choice.
Public transportation is confusingGuadalajara has a pretty comprehensive bus system, but you’ll quickly learn that it doesn’t seem to follow any consistent schedule. The best way to catch a bus in Guadalajara is to memorize the relevant bus number and stand on any corner along its route—eventually, a bus will stop for you.
Work in Guadalajara
Guadalajara is sometimes referred to as the Silicon Valley of Mexico because it’s the main producer of software and electronic components in the country. Companies like General Electric, IBM, Intel, Hitachi, HP, Siemens, and Hewlett Packard have facilities in Guadalajara or its suburbs. However, commerce, tourism, and textiles are also major industries in Guadalajara. If you’re arriving in Guadalajara looking for a job as an English teacher, be warned that you’ll likely need a master’s degree in education to work at most private schools, so don’t count on a guaranteed English teacher position.
How good is Guadalajara for Digital Nomads or Remote Work
Remote work is changing how the global workspace operates. In a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down, remote work is rapidly on the increase all around the world—especially in a place like Guadalajara. And about 25% of remote workers describe themselves as digital nomads—those who like to travel or stay in cities around the world while they work. So, how good is Guadalajara for both of these growing movements?
Average Internet SpeedThe Internet speed in Guadalajara is pretty fast, averaging out at around 16 Mbps throughout the city. Many restaurants and cafes in Guadalajara offer free WiFi, allowing you to work outside of your home.
Work-friendly Coffee ShopsSome coffee shops can be noisy and distracting, but Guadalajara has some amazing spots that will help you focus and ply you with delicious coffee. Here are some of the greatest coffee shops that Guadalajara has to offer: El Terrible Juan Cafe in Americana: In addition to delicious coffee and tea, El Terrible Juan Cafe offers plenty of vegetarian and vegan menu options, as well as a gorgeous outdoor seating area. The Coffee Legacy in Arcos Vallarta: The Coffee Legacy serves coffee made from specially roasted and locally grown coffee beans, as well as a delicious menu of crepes and pastries. Crema di Espresso in Americana: Crema di Espresso’s owner hand-sources and roasts all of his own coffee beans, creating some of the most delicious espresso drinks in all of Mexico.
Coworking SpacesYou’ll find several coworking spaces in Guadalajara! Here are some amazing spots that you may want to consider checking out: Metta Coworking: Metta prioritizes values of kindness, goodwill, and friendship, creating a beautifully collaborative working space for people from all different industries. They manage an exclusive Facebook group just for members, allowing you to form social bonds in addition to professional ones. Nevermind: Nevermind is a sleek, efficient coworking space that caters to entrepreneurs and freelancers alike. In addition to the usual coworking amenities, they also offer free water, coffee, and beer, so you have something to sip on no matter the time of day. Colabora Guadalajara: Colabora has a beautiful outdoor terrace where you can get some work done while enjoying the sunshine. They also offer a wide variety of community events and mentorship programs, allowing you to connect with new people and advance your own career.
Suitable Level for Digital NomadsOne of the best things about Guadalajara is its vibrant expat community. Moving to a new country often entails a lot of culture shock and loneliness, but the thriving expat community in Guadalajara offers you shoulders to lean on as you adjust to living in a new place. Guadalajara also has a ton of great restaurants, bars, and nightlife to explore during your downtime.
Visa RequirementsCitizens of over 90 different countries can visit Mexico as visa-free tourists and stay for up to 180 days (6 months)! However, if you’re planning on working in Mexico City or staying longer than 6 months, you’ll need to apply for a “permission to work” visa and/or temporary residency. As is the case with many countries, obtaining a Mexican work visa can be a bureaucratic mess, so it’s important to get it done in advance, well before you actually start working there.
Food and Drink in Guadalajara
Guadalajara has an amazing food scene, and its iconic traditional dishes are an absolute must for anyone visiting. Be sure to try birria, a stew made with beef, goat, or mutton marinated in adobo, and served with corn tortillas, onion, cilantro, and lime. Another iconic Guadalajara dish is torta ahogada, or drowned cake. It’s not actually a cake, it’s a sandwich with refried beans, pork, onions, and a spicy tomato sauce. Also give carne en su jugo a try; it’s another stew made with beef, beans, bacon, cilantro, onion, and radish. For dessert, try jericallas, a delicious flan or creme brulee-like dessert made with milk custard, egg, and cinnamon. Of course, you can’t go to Jalisco without trying tequila—the town that gave tequila its name is located only 40 miles away from Guadalajara.
Top 6 Things To Do in Guadalajara
Guadalajara is famous worldwide for its beautiful Spanish colonial architecture—for a glimpse of the best the city has to offer, visit the Guadalajara Cathedral, Hospicio Cabañas, Templo Expiatorio, de Santísmo Sacramento, Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres, and Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan. You’re also going to want to take a stroll through Tlaquepaque for a feel of traditional Mexican village life, and to see the beautiful papel picado art strewn throughout the neighborhood. Another fun activity is to visit San Juan de Dios Market, the largest indoor market in all of Latin America. There, you’ll find practically any food, souvenir item, or home good that you can think of. Finally, for a taste of Mexico’s diverse wildlife, visit Guadalajara Zoo, which is rated as one of the best zoos in Latin America. With so much to see, you’ll never be bored in Guadalajara!
Plaza de Armas
Av. 16 de Septiembre s/n, Zona Centro, Guadalajara
Zona Centro, Guadalajara
Regional Museum of Guadalajara
Calle Liceo 60, Zona Centro, Guadalajara
Av. Ignacio L. Vallarta, Vallarta, Guadalajara
Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan
Calle Eva Briseño 152, Zapopan
Jose Cuervo Express
Av. Circunvalación Agustín Yáñez 11, Moderna, Guadalajara