Guadalajara is one of Mexico’s best cities to visit. With its rich history, colourful architecture, and vibrant nightlife – it lures travellers in with its rich Mexican charm and keeps them returning time and time again.

Guadalajara is known for its tequila, mariachi, rich history and traditions. The historical centre of the city is undeniably beautiful, full of intricate colonial churches and architecture.

The city is brimming with history but it is also unique in the sense that the city has also grown to be the tech hub of Mexico. Nicknamed the “Silicon Valley of Mexico”. The city is a seamless blend of old and new… and I’m into it.

This authentic Mexican city is jam-packed with lively neighborhoods that function as the perfect starting point for any adventure south of the border.

Deciding where to stay in Guadalajara is undeniably a tough task. If you’ve never visited the city before, you’ll likely be at a loss for which area is the best for you.

Lucky for you, I’ve packed my hero cape and I’m here to save the day! I’ve compiled the top areas to stay in Guadalajara and sorted them by interest. From the ritzy to the bohemian, I’ve covered em’ all.

Let’s get into it, amigo!

Where to Stay in Guadalajara

New Central Apartment | Best Airbnb in Guadalajara

New Central Apartment Guadalajara

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This modern Mexican Airbnb apartment is just a short walk from the Cathedral, and the most popular shopping and restaurant area in the city, Chapultepec. It’s a studio apartment, with enough space for 2 guests, a fully equipped kitchen and laundry facilities. The building also offers lots of extras like a cafe, fitness center, and pool.

Los Arcos Apartment with Jacuzzi | Best Luxury Airbnb in Guadalajara

Los Arcos Apartment with Jacuzzi Guadalajara

This is one of the best places to stay in Guadalajara if you want a little luxury during your stay. It’s a 1 bedroom apartment, suitable for 2 guests, and has a private jacuzzi so you can soak away your stress during your stay. It also has a full kitchen, laundry facilities, and you can bring your pet along with you during your stay!

Hotel Dali Plaza Ejecutivo | Best Hotel in Guadalajara

Hotel Dali Plaza Ejecutivo, Guadalajara 2

This four-star hotel sits right in the city center, close to all the most popular attractions like Guadalajara Cathedral and Mercado de San Juan de Dios. Not only is it centrally located, but the hotel also boasts an on-site lounge, fitness center, and room service. Stay at Hotel Dali if you want to be within throwing distance of Guadalajara’s best monuments.

Guadalajara Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Guadalajara

Historic Center, Guadalajara 1

Historic Center

If you’re in Guadalajara for the first time, El Centro, the official name of the Historic Center, is undoubtedly your best bet. What could be better than staying in the heart of Mexico’s second-largest city whose claims to fame include tequila and wide-brimmed sombreros?

Zapopan, Guadalajara 1


Located to the northwest of Guadalajara’s city center is Zapopan, arguably the region’s largest cultural hub. For history and architecture buffs, Zapopan can’t be missed as it’s also a famous local pilgrimage site, the Virgin of Zapopan, housed in the Basilica of Zapopan.

Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara 1


Situated to the southeast of Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque is a culture lovers’ dream. This colorful neighborhood is teeming with life and energy, from the Mariachi music constantly playing the squares to the bars offering some choice drink deals.

Zona Expo, Guadalajara 1

Zona Expo

Named after the Expo Guadalajara Convention Center, the central hub of the area, Zona Expo is the perfect place to stay if you want to save a pretty penny.

Near the Airport, Guadalajara 1

Near the Airport

If you’re traveling alone to Guadalajara, staying near the airport is an excellent idea. The city is not known for having reliable public transportation so having a car is essential for getting around.

Guadalajara’s Top 5 Neighborhoods to Stay In 

Guadalajara is one of the most densely packed cities in Mexico boasting a population of 1.46 million inhabitants. Located just over 300 miles from the capital of Mexico City, Guadalajara’s prime location near the beach resort of Puerto Vallarta helps to attract thousands of travelers to “the Jewel of Jalisco” every year.

This charming city sports a thriving culinary scene, and robust nightlife as well as deep historic roots. It is the home to both Mariachi music, and the Mexican hat dance. It hosts Latin American’s largest indoor food market, Mercado San Juan de Dios, a 40,000 square meter behemoth that is chock full of all the food stalls and souvenir shops that a gringo could ask for. 

Still, whether you’re drawn in by the impeccable gastronomy or the eye-catching colonial architecture, staying in certain areas in Guadalajara has more benefits than others. Some of the best neighborhoods to stay for sight-seers are those near El Centro, especially if you want to be in the thick of the action. Zapopan is another great choice for fans of culture and historical landmarks.

However, for those who want the quaintness of a Mexican town without the massive crowds, Tlaquepaque and Zona Expo are terrific areas. Both neighborhoods offer high-class accommodations, but are set in a slightly more authentic backdrop than the city center. You can expect to find a plethora of brightly-hued bars and restaurants along with countless mariachi bands serenading the pedestrians until sunset, when the action really picks up. 

On the other hand, if convenience is your only requirement for a perfect getaway, look no further than accommodation near the airport, the gateway for many to Guadalajara. This neighborhood is renowned for having the best luxury hotels in the city, with all the amenities you could need in one place, while still being close enough to downtown. 

No matter your budget, Guadalajara has a place for you to stay so don’t delay. Vamonos!

El Centro – Best Place to Stay in Guadalajara for Your First Time

Historic Center, Guadalajara 1

If you’re in Guadalajara for the first time, El Centro, the official name of the Historic Center, is undoubtedly your best bet. What could be better than staying in the heart of Mexico’s second-largest city whose claims to fame include tequila and wide-brimmed sombreros?

Founded by the Spanish in the mid-16th century, Guadalajara boasts a long, proud history and it shows in the countless monuments and historic sites sprinkled throughout the city center. El Centro is full of cultural museums, theatres, and artisanal shops that they will make your head spin.

If you want the genuine experience of staying in Guadalajara, this neighborhood should make your top slot.

Entire Loft | Best Airbnb in the El Centro

Entire Loft Guadalajara

Boasting a kitchen, free parking, and a prime location close to Expiatorio Plaza, this beautiful loft sleeps up to 2 guests and has a great balcony where you can take in the atmosphere with a glass of wine. The fittings are all sleek and modern, and there are security cameras on the property to ensure your safety during your stay.

Hotel Real Maestranza | Best Luxury Hotel in theEl Centro

Hotel Real Maestranza, Guadalajara

If you’re a couple looking to spend your holiday in the lap of luxury, there’s no better pick than Hotel Real Maestranza. Besides large, well-lit suites, the hotel also provides its guests with access to an on-site restaurant, fitness center, and free parking. Sample their a la carte breakfast or catch some sun on the scenic terrace. With a 24-hour reception desk, room service, and airport transfers practically at your fingertips, what more could you need?

Hostel Hospedarte Centro | Best Hostel in theEl Centro

Hostel Hospedarte Centro, Guadalajara

For travelers who crave to explore Guadalajara’s vivid streets but don’t want to spend a fortune to do so, Hostel Hospedarte Centro is the perfect compromise. Located right in the heart of the city, this Guadalajara hostel offers private rooms for cheaper than those in boutique hotels while still coming with several amenities. It also has dorm rooms and daily continental breakfast as well as pub crawls to the city’s best bars to keep you entertained.

Things to See and Do inEl Centro

Historic Center, Guadalajara 2
  1. Snap some pics of Catedral de Guadalajara and the Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres
  2. Spy a mariachi band in Plaza de Armas
  3. Check out the underwater life at Acuario Michin Aquarium
  4. Take in the art at Museo de Arte Sacro de Catedral de Guadalajara
  5. Stroll around the Botanical Gardens or take in the flowers at Mercado de las Flores
  6. Watch a show at Teatro Degollado
  7. Shop until you drop at Plaza de Alameda or the Mercado del Rizo
  8. Wander around Parque Morelos or Parque Alcalde
  9. Take a tour of the Cultural Institute Cabañas
  10. Eat until you can’t move at Mercado San Juan de Dios
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Zapopan – Best Place to Stay in Guadalajara for Families

Zapopan, Guadalajara 1

Located to the northwest of Guadalajara’s city center is Zapopan, arguably the region’s largest cultural hub. For history and architecture buffs, Zapopan can’t be missed as it’s also a famous local pilgrimage site for believers who want to see the Virgin of Zapopan, housed in the Basilica of Zapopan.

Zapopan is also brimming with art galleries and museums, such as Zapopan Art Museum which houses works from some of the most prestigious contemporary Mexican artists. For lovers of arts and crafts, the Huichol Wixarika Museum is home to handicrafts made by local Indigenous groups. And then, you have the Magic Top Museum, which offers frills and thrills for the whole family! 

Luxury MasterSuite | Best Airbnb in Zapopan

Luxury MasterSuite Guadalajara

This luxury suite sleeps up to 4 guests and has air conditioning, cable TV, wooden floors throughout, and modern bathroom facilities. If you’re traveling with a car, then you can store it in the apartment’s covered garage because you won’t need it much while at this apartment. It’s close to several popular shopping areas.

Hyatt Regency Andares Guadalajara | Best Luxury Hotel in Zapopan

Hyatt Regency Andares Guadalajara, Guadalajara 1

This luxury hotel practically screams elegance, from its sleek outward design to the tasteful decor of its wide suites. Take a dip in the hotel’s indoor pool or check out the panoramic view from its lounge bar. For foodies, make sure to grab a bite at the on-site restaurant and then work off the calories at the hotel’s state-of-the-art fitness center. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Hilton Guadalajara Midtown | Best Family Suites in Zapopan

Hilton Guadalajara Midtown, Guadalajara

This opulent hotel looks straight out of a magazine, featuring a rooftop swimming pool and hot tub, an unbeatable on-site restaurant, and a fitness center with all the bells and whistles. For travelers coming with tots in tow, the Hilton also offers suites large enough for a minivan’s worth of kids. Feast on their daily continental breakfast or have a drink at the hotel’s bar for the ideal beginning or end to any travel day.

Things to See and Do in Zapopan

Zapopan, Guadalajara 2
  1. Take in the glory of the Basilica of Zapopan and the Arcos de Zapopan
  2. Visit the Museo de Arte de Zapopan
  3. Check out the thrills at the Magic Top Museum
  4. Watch a soccer match at Akron Stadium
  5. Play around of golf at Guadalajara Country Club
  6. Go for a stroll in Bosque Los Colomos or have a picnic at Jardin Japones
  7. Shop like a pro at Belenes Grand Terrace
  8. Grab a bite to eat at Plaza Real Center

Tlaquepaque – Best Area in Guadalajara for an Authentic Stay 

Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara 1

Situated to the southeast of Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque is a culture lovers’ dream. Although there are lots of cool things to do in Guadalajara, this colourful neighborhood takes the cake. It’s teeming with life and energy, from the Mariachi music constantly playing in the squares, to the bars offering choice drink deals. Staying around El Parian is your best bet since copious entertainment venues surround the bandstand.  

If you’re looking for an authentic Mexican stay, there’s no better location than Tlaquepaque for its quaint charm. While in the area, make sure to check out the ample amount of pottery shops lining the vibrant streets. One is sure to hold something for you in their treasure troves. Andale!

New Private Apartment | Best Airbnb Hotel in Tlaquepaque

New Private Apartment Guadalajara

Suitable for up to 4 guests, this bright apartment is private and has 24-hour security. It’s in an excellent location in a quiet street while still being close to the city’s downtown area. It also has a big kitchen for cooking, which makes this one of the best places to stay in Guadalajara for families.

La Villa del Ensueno Boutique Hotel | Most Colorful Hotel in Tlaquepaque

La VIlla del Ensueno Boutique Hotel, Guadalajara

This villa’s ambiance is nearly as vivacious as its decor, from the two sparkling outdoor pools to the brightly painted walls in every suite. Upgrade to a suite with a balcony and/or a hot tub, and try a plate of their hot breakfast, served daily from their on-site restaurant. The villa provides free parking for guests arriving by car, so book a room and hit the road as soon as you can. 

San Pietro Boutique Hotel | Trendiest Hotel in Tlaquepaque

San Pietro Boutique Hotel, Guadalajara

If you’re looking for accommodation with both style and substance, this boutique hotel is just your ticket. Featuring an elegant interior design as well as an outdoor pool, San Pietro offers large suites with a garden view right in the center of Tlaquepaque. Relax on the hotel’s terrace to soak up some sun, or book a tour at the 24-hour reception desk for a taste of adventure instead. 

Things to See and Do in Tlaquepaque

Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara 2
  1. Check out the pottery at Museo Regional de la Ceramica
  2. Get some pics of the Monument to the Heroic Children and Palacio Municipal Tlaquepaque
  3. Sign up for a cultural workshop at Centro Cultural El Refugio
  4. Stroll around Jardin Hidalgo or La Glorieta del Alamo
  5. Browse the handcrafts at Plaza de Artesanias
  6. Try the samples at Mercado Benito Juarez
  7. Hit up the shops at Forum Tlaquepaque Centro Commercial and the Plaza Altea Rio Nilo
  8. Take in the architecture of Catastro de Tlaquepaque Jalisco
  9. Place your bets at La Terraza Rio
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Zona Expo – Best Area in Guadalajara on a Budget

Zona Expo, Guadalajara 1

Named after the Expo Guadalajara Convention Center, Zona Expo is the perfect place to stay if you want to save a pretty penny. While other popular neighborhoods in Guadalajara tend to specialize in pricey, luxury accommodation, the boutique hotels in Zona Expo are just as elegant, but for a fraction of the price.

If you want to live large, but don’t want to overspend, this area is a great compromise between a centralized location and affordable options. The area is loaded with a wide variety of restaurants, shopping centers, and entertainment venues – everything you need to make the most of your time under the Guadalajaran sun without needlessly breaking the bank.

Casa Enclosure #2 | Best Airbnb in Zona Expo

Casa Enclosure 2 Guadalajara

This simple, modern apartment is the perfect oasis away from the noise and busyness of the city. That’s what makes it one of the best places to stay in Guadalajara. It’s surrounded by public transport options, restaurants, and shops and has modern fixings and street parking.

Riu Plaza Guadalajara | Best High-End Hotel in Zona Expo

Riu Plaza Guadalajara, Guadalajara 1

This luxury hotel is where you go in Guadalajara when you want to live like a royal, without the expense. The sleek, dark-wood interior design of the stylish suites practically drips elegance while the hotel additionally provides copious amenities such as a poolside bar, lobby bar, a free minibar in each room, and two on-site restaurants. Don’t forget to try their complimentary continental breakfast to jumpstart your day!

AC Hotel by Marriott Guadalajara | Best Boutique Hotel in Zona Expo

AC Hotel by Marriott Guadalajara, Guadalajara

Just a few minutes drive from Guadalajara Cathedral, the AC Hotel is arguably the chicest boutique hotel in Zona Expo. Their large suites are uniquely decorated and well-lit. The hotel also houses an on-site bar, restaurant, and fitness center. Stay in this ultra-modern hotel if you want to live in the lap of luxury without spending an arm and a leg.

Things to See and Do in Zona Expo

Zona Expo, Guadalajara 2
  1. Snap a picture of La Minerva statue and the Guadalajara Cathedral
  2. Buy tickets for a show at Telmex Auditorium or a game at Jalisco Stadium
  3. Go shopping on Avenida Chapultepec
  4. Have a picnic at Glorieta de los Naranjos or Parque Agua Azul
  5. Visit Expo Guadalajara
  6. Pay homage at Glorieta de los Ninos Heroes and La Estampada monument
  7. Check out the architecture at Templo Expiatorio del Santisimo Sacramento
  8. Listen to some Mariachi music at Plaza de la Bandera
  9. Honor the local artists at Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres
  10. Take a tour around Museo Pateon de Belen

Near the Airport – Best Area to Stay in Guadalajara for Solo Travelers

Near the Airport, Guadalajara 1

If you’re traveling alone to Guadalajara, staying near the airport is an excellent idea. The city is not known for having reliable public transportation, so having a car is essential for getting around. Several car rental agencies are operating right out of the airport. All you have to do is land, and pick up your keys, before making the short drive to your accommodation.

You’ll never have to worry about where to park the car overnight as nearly all hotels in the area provide free parking. This factor also makes the area the ideal starting point for a day trip to other cities around Mexico, and the city center is less than a half-hour drive away.

When you’re all done, just drop off your rental and catch your flight back home. How’s that for convenience?

Casitas Sanchez | Best Airbnb Near the Airport

Casitas Sanchez Guadalajara

This comfortable apartment is a good choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Guadalajara with kids, as it sleeps up to 7 guests. It’s completely private and you’ll have full use of all the rooms, including the patio! The house has new fittings for a relaxing and convenient stay.

Fiesta Inn Guadalajara Aeropuerto | Best Hotel Near the Airport for Digital Nomads

Fiesta Inn Guadalajara Aeropuerto, Guadalajara

If you’re a digital nomad working on the go, this hotel should be right up your alley as it specializes in catering to traveling professionals. The hotel happily provides its guests with an excellent Wi-Fi connection and use of a conference room for meetings. Plus every suite also comes with a working area. Best of all, the hotel serves a scrumptious breakfast daily, giving your plenty of brain foods to keep you productive. 

Radisson Hotel Tapatio Guadalajara | Best Bang for Your Buck Near the Airport

Radisson Hotel Tapatio Guadalajara, Guadalajara

This colonial-style luxury hotel should be at the top of your list if you’re in search of accommodation with lots of amenities, for a low price. Not only does the hotel feature an outstanding outdoor pool, but the entire estate is surrounded by gardens and cobblestone roads. Enjoy Mexican or international cuisine at the on-site restaurant, and grab a drink at the lobby bar before hitting up the hotel’s nightclub to dance until dawn.

Things to See and Do in Near the Airport

Near the Airport, Guadalajara 2
  1. Listen to live music at Plaza de Mariachis
  2. Try all the samples at Mercado San Juan de Dios
  3. Get religious at Templo de San Sebastian Analco
  4. Get to know some celebrities at Museo de Cera
  5. Snap some shots of the Basilica of Zapopan, the Catedral de Guadalajara, and the Arcos de Zapopan
  6. Buy a ticket to the Museo de Arte de Zapopan
  7. Grab a bite to eat at Plaza Real Center
  8. Marvel at the architecture of Palacio Municipal Tlaquepaque
  9. Go shopping at some trendy boutiques at Plaza Altea Rio Nilo
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What To Pack For Guadalajara

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

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Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

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Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Guadalajara

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Guadalajara

The birthplace of both tequila and Mariachi music, Guadalajara is also well-known for its lively nightlife, mouthwatering cuisine, and a cultural heritage whose roots run back hundreds of years.

You can stay anywhere around the Historic Center to have easy access to the best sights in the city, or near the Zona Expo if you’d rather save a few bucks. Zapopan is the best option for those traveling with young children as there are several green spaces in the area and a plethora of family-friendly venues. For those who prefer a more genuine stay in Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque is an appropriate pick thanks to the area’s popularity among local artisans. 

Whether you’re attracted to Guadalajara for culture or food, you’ll have more places to choose from than you’ll know what to do with!

Looking for more info on travelling to Guadalajara and Mexico?