Guadalajara, the capital city of Mexican state, Jalisco, is located in the western-Pacific area of Mexico. This city has been named after the Spanish Guadalajara city. With over five million inhabitants, Guadalajara is Mexico's second most populous city. The city is situated at an altitude of 1585 meters, which explains why Guadalajara is not as hot as other Mexican cities during the summer. Guadalajara's historic plazas, colonial architecture and rose gardens have not changed at all since the days of the Spanish colonization. This city is a blend of cultural heritage along with modern conveniences. The unique blend of tradition and modernity has caused this city to blossom as the most happening tourist destination.
The city is centrally located and facilitates access to famous Mexican cities such as Manzanillo, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, Puerto Vallarta and San Miguel de Allende. Its 12 month sunshine and spring-like climate is another feature that makes this a favorable tourist destination spot.
Guadalajara Cathedral: Dominating the center of the city, is the historic Guadalajara Cathedral. The two remarkable 65 meter high towers have a striking appearance. In fact, these two towers, resembling inverted calla lilies have become the symbol of Guadalajara. This cathedral was built in 1561 on the request of the King of Spain but has undergone several changes since then. An earthquake in 1818, destroyed the original towers, which were then rebuilt. After another earthquake in 1875, a dome was added to the structure. The number of renovations and touch-ups have resulted into the structure's varied architectural styles. One can find baroque, neoclassical, Gothic and Moorish styles assimilated in this gorgeous cathedral. This cathedral possesses one of the oldest organs in Guadalajara and has three naves.
Zoologico Guadalajara: Covering an area of 34 hectares of reforested land is the Zoologico Guadalajara. It is a modern zoo and ecological center, built in 1988, for the preservation and protection of various endangered species. The zoo is famous for its attractions such as the petting zoo, aviary, reptile section, interactive museum and 3500 seated roofed auditorium. The reptile section or Herpetarium consists of all kinds of tortoises, snakes, fish, lizards and arachnids and is the largest reptile house in Latin America. The Nocturnario features all kinds of nocturnal animals such as owls, raccoons and so on. Over 2000 animals are present in the park, representing 360 different species. The entrance of the zoo features sculptures of monkeys made by the world-famous artist Sergio Bustamante. One can either take the sightseeing train to tour the zoo or walk it. Either way, it's guaranteed excitement!
Centro de Ciencia y Tecnologia Planetario: The Centro de Ciencia y Tecnologia Planetario is Guadalajara's planetarium, that was opened in 1982. Named after the scientist and priest, Severo Días Saavedra, it was opened with the purpose of educating the general public about science related matters. One can come across anatomic models of the human body and explore them, explore components of an airplane, enter into the cockpit of a F-105 fighter-bomber or Boeing 707 in the planetarium. Various interactive exhibitions related to different fields such as biology, physics, mathematics and chemistry are held in the planetarium. For astronomy enthusiasts, a workshop on constructing a working telescope is carried out every Friday. It's a wonderful place to visit! Imagine all the knowledge you will come out with!
Guadalajara's Calandrias: The Calandrias are horse-drawn carriages which tour all over the city of Guadalajara. They are named so because of their bright yellow color resembling a lark or a "calandria". These adorable horse carriages have canopy roofs and are lit by lanterns on its sides. Don't forget to have a chat with the coach man! He's a reliable guide who is able to give you information about the city's history. These carriages are found all over the city and anybody can hop into them. So definitely try them out and enjoy the ride!
Instituto Cultural Cabanas: Built in the 18th century and inaugurated in 1810, this neoclassical structure has been declared as a world heritage site. It is an architectural and cultural reference to tourists today. Until 1980, this structure was a house for orphans and was called 'House of Mercy'. The main hall of this cultural institution was decorated by the muralist Jose Clemente Orozco in 1938. His masterpiece, the 'Man of Fire' is the main attraction of this place and is found in the vault. The institute today consists of 106 rooms and 23 courtyards, housing permanent collections of Orozco and various other artists. It also features a performance theater, movie theater, gift shop, galleries and multiple use rooms.
Guadalajara is a wonderful place with lots of stuff to do. Besides the above mentioned places, one can also visit Selva Magica (children's amusement park located just beside the zoo), the Teatro Degollado (Degollado Theater), Chapala Lake, Tlaquepaque (town rich in art, pottery, ceramics) and many more. Apart from all these historical and cultural places, This city also features huge parks, movie theaters, fun fairs, restaurants, show centers and other similar hang outs. This blend of modern and historic cultures is what makes Guadalajara a very interesting city to visit.