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What to Do in Gaudalajara, Mexico in 2024: Best Hotels, Restaurants

What to Do in Gaudalajara, Mexico in 2024: Best Hotels, Restaurants

Both tequila and mariachi bands originate from the Guadalajara region of Mexico. So do actor-filmmaker Gael García Bernal and Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toros, who founded the Centro Internacional de Animación (or El Taller del Chuco) animation studio, financed with his alma mater, the University of Guadalajara, in 2020. The metropolitan area’s high-tech movie theater Sala Guillermo del Toro is also named in his honor.

Known as the City of Roses, Guadalajara — one of the country’s most vibrant art and cultural centers — now hosts the AMACC’s Ariel Awards. Often referred to “Mexico’s Oscars,” the awards moved from Mexico City in 2023 and take place in September at the Teatro Delgollado, a neoclassical landmark inaugurated in 1866. The 39th annual Guadalajara International Film Festival, where actor Diego Luna received this year’s Mayahuel Award for Mexican Cinema to honor his career, wrapped on June 15.

Award-winning cuisine, internationally headlining artists and ceramicists, fashion brands emerging on the global scene, and scores of celebrities lining up at the region’s distilleries to launch tequila brands are adding buzz to Guadalajara, the capital of the state of Jalisco. 

“Every iconic image you know about Mexico comes from this state,” said Eva Longoria about Jalisco during her 2023 CNN series Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico. She described Guadalajara as “vibrant and exciting,” noting that “the locals proudly call themselves Tapatíos, a nickname meaning ‘triple the worth.’”

Guadalajara’s Teatro Degollado opened in 1866.

Courtesy of Guadalajara Tourism

Here are highlights of where the stars (from both sides of the border) are shopping, sleeping, eating, sipping agave spirits, and collecting or commissioning art in Guadalajara and beyond throughout Jalisco.

Where to Eat

On Searching for Mexico, Longoria visited several eateries in Guadalajara, referencing the city’s “new generation of food pioneers.” Among them, chef Fabian Delgado Padilla’s outposts Café palReal (C. Lope de Vega 113, in the trendy Colonia Americana neighborhood) and Yunaites, a stall with more affordable fare in the Mercado IV Centenario market (Calle Garibaldi 824). At both places, Longoria indulged in variations of pork belly with mole dulce sauce.

Dish at Café PalReal in Guadalajara.

Courtesy of PalReal

White corn husks hang sculpturally from the ceiling inside the Santa Teresita neighborhood restaurant Xokol (Calle Ignacio Herrera y Cairo 1375) helmed by husband-and-wife chefs Óscar Segundo and Xrysw Ruelas Diaz. Xokol showcases the many varieties of native corn and beans in a communal dining experience.

Chef Xrysw Ruelas Diaz of Xokol

Courtesy of Xokol

At Xokol, Longoria sampled a dish made with chayote squash roots, and a “ceremonial taco” in a tortilla decorated with a graphic design using carmine insect dye, filled with bitter greens and black beans. Diaz opened the restaurant after hours in February to cook for legendary singer-poet Patti Smith after a local performance. Diaz tells THR that Smith requested a vegetarian menu and had a shot of mezcal. Ozark star Alfonso Herrera and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever actress Mabel Cadena also have recently dined at Xokol. “There is only one table, like in a house, so famous people dine right here, seated in the same place as others; they don’t have a private room,” says Diaz.

Xokol restaurant, Guadalajara

Courtesy of Xokol

Where to Drink

Ross Lynch and Tame Impala (aka Kevin Parker) have been spotted at El Gallo Altanero, which opened in 2018 and landed at number 14 on North America’s 50 Best Bars List in 2024. The intimate 80-seat establishment at 125 Calle Marsella focuses on boutique agave spirits: tequila, mezcal and raicilla, a mezcal crafted in western Jalisco, known for its herbal notes.

El Gallo Altanero bar.

Courtesy of El Gallo Altanero

“Ninety-eight percent of the world’s tequila is produced right here in Jalisco,” said Longoria, who toured the family-owned Cascahuin distillery in El Arenal, about 27 miles from Guadalajara, guided by Salvador Rosales Trejo, grandson of Cascahuin founder Salvador Rosales Briseño. Longoria exclaimed, “I love the extra añejo,” as she explained the differences among tequila blanco (distilled and bottled), reposado (aged in barrels 2 to 12 months), añejo (aged in barrels for over a year), and extra añejo (Cascahuin’s is aged for four years).

Rosé tequila from the Adam Levine-Behati Prinsloo label Calirosa is produced nearby in Amatitán. Casa Maestri in Tequila, Mexico produces hundreds of tequilas, including Elon Musk’s Tesla Tequila, Shay Mitchell’s tequila brand Onda, and Cincoro Tequila, co-founded by Michael Jordan, along with L.A. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens, Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck and his wife Emilia Fazzalari. Cincoro announced in May that Derek Jeter, Serena Williams, Michael Strahan, Dustin Johnson and Keegan Bradley have all on-boarded as co-owners.

Longoria’s own tequila, Casa Del Sol, is created in Los Altos or “The Highlands” region of Jalisco, alongside labels such as Lebron James’ Lobos 1707 (which counts Arnold Schwarzenegger and Anthony Davis as investors), Dwayne Johnson’s Teremana Tequila, the Sammy Hagar-Guy Fieri Santo Tequila and the Nick Jonas-John Varvatos Villa One.

Where to Sleep

The JW Marriott Hotel Guadalajara opened its doors in 2022 in the Country Club neighborhood and boasts a 3228-square-foot presidential suite complete with a private plunge pool and hot tub. Harry Styles, Maluma and The Weeknd have all stayed here. (Mar Báltico 2242, rooms from $230 a night; more booking options at Tripadvisor and

The presidential suite at the JW Marriott Guadalajara.

Courtesy of JW Marriott

Dating to 1912, the Hotel Fénix in downtown Guadalajara often hosted actress-singer María Félix, a star during the Golden Age of Mexican cinema known as “La Doña” for her role in the 1943 film Doña Bárbara. Félix had a secret staircase built to allow private entries and exits to suite 710, where she stayed extensively. President John F. Kennedy and former Mexican President Manuel Ávila Camacho were also guests at Hotel Fénix. (Av. Ramón Corona 160, rooms from $55 a night; more booking options at Tripadvisor and

Where to Shop: Art & Home

Guadalajara is famous for its ceramics. Inside the 25,000-square-foot Guadalajara factory of Cerámica Suro (C. Ignacio Ramírez 526 in the Santa Teresita neighborhood; more booking options at Tripadvisor and are an array of custom tableware, tiles and ceramics created for restaurants, resorts, and individuals. Most are collaborations with renowned architects, artists, interior designers, and chefs executed by José Noé Suro, who took the business over from his father Noah in the 1990s.

Cerámica Suro in Guadalajara.

Courtesy of Ceramica Suro

Cerámica Suro plate.

Courtesy of Ceramica Suro

Suro tells THR that, two years ago, he crafted ceramic tiles from volcanic lava for Salma Hayek’s swimming pool in Los Angeles. He also created tiles, designed by artist Jorge Pardo, for Audrey restaurant at The Hammer Museum and more are in the works for the Los Angeles home of LACMA director Michael Govan. In 2019, Suro teamed with artist Pae White to created the tiled escalator walls featuring more than 18,900 circular modules at L.A.’s Beverly Center. Current projects include pieces for the forthcoming Hermès boutique in Scottsdale. For a private order, email

Artist Claudio Limon

Javier Ortega

The Mexican pop artist Claudio Limon, known for his vibrantly colored work, is currently painting a series inspired by the local flower market at his new studio in the Moderna neighborhood of Guadalajara.  “There is so much negativity in the world,” he tells THR. “I want to share joy.” Actor Diego Boneta is a collector of Limon’s pieces. The artist recently installed a large mural at Mercado González, a food stall concept at Northgate Market in Costa Mesa that debuted in November. To book a private appointment, email

Another Guadalajara-based artist, Jose Dávila, held his first solo show, “Photographic Memory,” in Los Angeles this spring at the Sean Kelly gallery, which represents him in the U.S.. Dávila’s exhibition featured contemporary riffs on traditional “papel picado” or cut paper art.

Tributo shop in Guadalajara

Courtesy of Cesar Bejar Studio

Sisters Laura and Gabriela Noriega run the tiny shop Tributo (Calle Gral San Martin 185) in the Colonia Americana neighborhood that features a well-edited curation of home furnishings and accessories created by Mexican artisans. In the mix are pieces, such as a wood credenza with embroidered textile inlays, created by Laura, an interior and product designer. Guadalajara native Gael García Bernal purchased a wood and copper Vaiven container and singer Pepe Aguilar has stopped by to shop.  

Where to Shop: Fashion

The City of Roses is a hub for independent fashion designers. Two names at the forefront, who both launched their namesake labels in 2010, are Alfredo Martinez and Benitos Santos.

See Also

Alfredo Martinez has dressed Janelle Monáe, Lupita Nyong’o, Jodie Turner-Smith, Jurnee Smollett, Kourtney Kardashian, Nicky Hilton, Cindy Crawford, Aislinn Derbez and Ana de la Reguera (who wore the label at the Guadalajara International Film Festival earlier this month).

Fashion designer Alfredo Martinez.

Courtesy of Alfredo Martinez

A model wearing a design by Alfredo Martinez.

Courtesy of Alfredo Martinez

Martinez, who has drawn inspiration from Studio 54 and ’80s supermodels, tells THR, “My brand DNA is to make women look powerful; that’s why I always put some emphasis on the shoulders.” He adds that he would love to dress Demi Moore, Tilda Swinton and Michelle Obama. The label’s spring 2025 collection will be a tribute to 15 years of business, with fresh riffs on best-sellers. For an appointment at the atelier, located at Avenida de la Paz 1740 in Colonia Americana, email 

Santos gained fame when Ximena Navarrete was crowned Miss Universe in 2010 wearing a gown he designed; beauty pageants inspired his fall 2024 collection of evening dresses. Santos was the first Mexican designer to co-create a Barbie with Mattel in 2022 in honor of Dia de Muertos and has dressed luminaries such as Mexico’s former First Lady Angélica Rivera de Peña, singer Thalía, and Carlos Cortés, who picked up an Oscar for best sound for Sound of Metal wearing a custom Santos tuxedo.

Fashion designer Benitos Santos

Courtesy of Benitos Santos

Models wearing designs by Benitos Santos

Courtesy of Benitos Santos

Asked what he would design for Mexico’s new President Claudia Sheinbaum, Santos tells THR that he would choose something “burgundy, the color of the [Morena] party.” His dream clients are Eiza González and Salma Hayek, since they are “huge ambassadors of Mexico,” he says. For made-to-measure appointments at the atelier, located at Avenida Rubén Darío 1440, email

The Franco sisters launched their avant-garde fashion brand Julia y Renata out of their parents’ garage in 1993 and have since made a name for their minimalist, one-size-fits-all silhouettes in solid colors. Clientele includes Mexican actress-activist María Cecilia Suárez de Garay. A flagship boutique (Avenida de la Paz 2219) stocks their designs alongside a curation of local labels, a project they call Albergue Transitorio or “transitional shelter.” The latter ranges from Gramo eyeglasses, Pajarote liqeuers and Luis Rodrigo Medina paintings to Gerardo 103 handcrafted perfumes and Butika organic personal care products.

Julia y Renata’s Albergue Transitorio, a curation of local labels.

Courtesy of Julia y Renata

Carola Martinez Galindo (married to F1 driver Sergio “Checo” Pérez) and television personality-actress Gloria Calzada are among the clients who frequent the concept boutique Ugga (Avenida Rubén Darío 1328 in the Providencia neighborhood) which features an assortment of apparel and accessories by emerging designer fashion brands.    

Ugga shop in Guadalajara

Courtesy of Ugga

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