Why you should go to Guadalajara !

Guadalajara is a sprawling and sophisticated urban area with one of the gayest scenes in Mexico. Nicknamed "Pearl of the West," "Mexico's Silicon Valley" and "Digital Creative City," it is the country's second largest city, really a confederation of three cities - Guadalajara, Tiaquepaque (upscale art center) and Zapopan (Guadalajara's Beverly Hills). Several thousand Internet startups and blue-chip multinationals like IBM, Intel, Hewlett Packard and BMW call it home as does Corona beer. It is also the birthplace of mariachi music and in the heart of hot sauce and tequila land. Residents are called "tapatíos," and almost all of them have a relative living in Chicago or California.

It is a city of superlatives: the largest public market in the Americas, the most shopping centers in the country, the most avid football (soccer) city in Mexico, the nation's second largest public university, the biggest Hispano-American book fair and Mexico's greatest concentration of "criollos," people of Spanish or French descent. It's also said that tapatíos are the best-looking people in Mexico, but you'll have to judge that for yourself. Two of its most important events are Gay Pride in June and the international mariachi convention in September.

Winter lows are in the upper 60s, summer highs in the low 90s, encouraging golf and tennis. The historic center - laid out like a cross connecting four plazas and the cathedral - has most of the attractions and top-flight nightlife and restaurants within walking distance. Its micro-breweries lead Mexico's craft beer revolution, drawing crowds of over 30,000 to the annual beer festival featuring more than 100 domestic and imported brews each October. Restaurants feature local specialties like tender stews and torta ahogada or "drowned" sandwiches, served submerged in a dried chili pepper sauce.

Money-laundering and cartel violence are the dark side of Guadalajara and Jalisco state, but they have little impact on visitors to the city. The US Department of State assesses that wrong-place/wrong-time violence is the greatest risk. As in any large city, tourists need to be on guard of pickpockets and purse-snatchers on public transit.

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General impression
Excellent
LGBT-friendly
Good
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Great place ! A lot of things and places.

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I live here

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Getting around

Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla International Airport is 12 miles (19 km) east of the city, a trip taking about 25 minutes by taxi. Taxis are paid for upfront with tickets purchased at booths outside the arrival hall. Many hotels offer pickup services, and a public bus to Central Caminera Vieja near the historic center stops at the bottom of Terminal 1 (fare: 6 pesos). Most attractions downtown can be reached by walking. Horse-drawn carriages (calandria) also circulate. Getting around the sprawling city - one of the largest urban centers in North American - can be accomplished by taxi and public transit.

Cars can be rented 24/7 at the airport from a good selection of local and international agencies. Prices range from US$25 a day to US$190. A valid driver's license from your home country is required. For ease and best price, it is wise to reserve ahead online. Agencies also have offices in the city.

Launched in 2014, MIBICI is a public bike system operating 365 days a year, beginning with 116 stations in the center of Guadalajara and Zapopan and growing into a system connecting Arcos Vallarta, Chapalita, Mezquitán and Tlaquepaque. It is integrated with light rail lines and buses. A one-day pass costs 80 pesos (about US$4), three days for 160 pesos and 7 days for 280. Annual passes are also available. Payment is by credit card.

A mostly underground light rail system operated by SITEUR connects Guadalajara, Zapopan and Tiaqupaque. Line 1 runs north-south and Line 2 east-west, intersecting at the Juárez station on the western edge of the Centro Historico. Trains run from 5 am to 11 pm. Fare is 7 pesos (34 US cents), payable in exact change or with pre-loaded smart cards.

Getting around the sprawling city by bus requires transfers, a pocket full of change and a tolerance for closely packed crowds. Many major routes in the complex system pass through the city center with service from 6 am to 10 pm daily. Plot your journey on a map from the tourist office before you take off. Fares are 6 pesos (30 US cents), but for 12 pesos you can ride the turquoise luxury buses, which are air-conditioned and have limits on how many passengers can board. If you are just traveling between the Centro Historico and the Zona Rosa, take the Par Vial Route along Avenida Vallarta westbound and Avenida Hidalgo eastbound.

Plenty of taxis are available, costing 10 to 30 pesos a ride (50 US cents to US$1.50). If the taxi isn't metered, settle on the fare before you get in. Not all taxis are metered. Know where you are going, and have a map at hand. Uber has been available since 2015.