Last Updated on August 8, 2023 by Jerardo Gomez
Discover the Hidden Gems of Tlaquepaque: Top Things to Do and See
Overview of Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico
Welcome to Tlaquepaque, Mexico! Located just outside of Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque is a charming town known for its rich cultural heritage, traditional architecture, and vibrant arts and crafts scene.
If you plan a day trip to Tlaquepaque, you’re in for a treat. From exploring historical sites and local markets to sampling traditional food and drinks, there are a lot of exciting things to do in this picturesque town for everyone, including families.
However, if you have never been here, planning your day trip can be overwhelming but I’m here to tell you it’s easier than you think. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you make the most of your visit.
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What to expect in Tlaquepaque?
A day trip to Tlaquepaque is a perfect way to experience the rich culture, history, and artistry of this charming Mexican town. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be transported back in time with its colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and colorful facades.
As you explore the town, you’ll discover a vibrant arts and crafts scene with numerous galleries, workshops, and markets offering handmade pottery, jewelry, textiles, and other artisanal goods. You can also visit historical sites like the Parroquia de San Pedro, a 16th-century church, and the Regional Ceramic Museum, which showcases the town’s traditional pottery-making techniques.
And of course, no visit to Tlaquepaque would be complete without sampling its delicious traditional cuisines, such as birria, pozole, and tequila. With so much to see and do, a day trip to Tlaquepaque is a must-visit for anyone traveling to the Guadalajara area.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, we’ve got you covered with insider tips, recommended routes, and top things to do and see. So, grab your walking shoes, camera, and sense of adventure, and let’s explore.
Getting to Tlaquepaque
By taxi (Most recommended)
If you have access to a taxi, driving is a convenient way to reach Tlaquepaque due to parking issues. The town is located just 20 minutes from Guadalajara, and keep in mind that parking in the town can be limited, so plan accordingly. Driving in Mexico is different than driving in the US.
By Public Transportation
Tlaquepaque is also easily accessible by public transportation. You can take a bus from Guadalajara’s central bus station, which departs every 20 minutes and takes approximately 30 minutes to reach Tlaquepaque. Alternatively, you can take a local bus or taxi from Guadalajara’s city center.
Things to do in Tlaquepaque
Tlaquepaque offers a plethora of activities for visitors to explore. Here are some top things to do and see:
Historical sites to visit
- Parroquia de San Pedro: This 16th-century church is a must-visit for its colonial architecture and ornate interior.
- El Refugio Cultural Center: Located in a former convent, this cultural center hosts exhibitions, concerts, and workshops throughout the year.
- Casa Museo López Portillo: This museum houses a collection of 19th-century art, furniture, and other decorative objects.
San Pedro Tlaquepaque has been around for centuries and it has become the most famous artisan crafts village in Mexico and is not far from the historic center of Guadalajara. When you visit Tlaquepaque, you can find visitor centers, and signs pointing you in the right direction.
As you walk on the cobble stoned walkways, you will have beautiful surroundings of unique shops, restaurants, a town center plaza, and bronze statues.
Local markets and shopping
- Mercado San Pedro: This bustling market offers a wide variety of local food, produce, and handmade goods, including traditional pottery, textiles, and jewelry.
- Mercado Juárez: This indoor market specializes in artisanal goods, such as pottery, glassware, and leather goods.
- Tonala Market: Located just outside of Tlaquepaque, this market is known for its folk art and crafts, including pottery, textiles, and wood carvings.
As an artist community, you will find handmade souvenirs and events happening to show the regional items.
Art galleries and museums
- Regional Ceramics Museum: This museum showcases the history and techniques of Tlaquepaque’s famous pottery-making tradition.
- Sergio Bustamante Gallery: This gallery features the whimsical sculptures and paintings of the famous Mexican artist.
- Casa de las Artesanias: This arts and crafts center offers workshops and exhibitions featuring local artisans and their work.
In this traditional Mexican village, you can find many different art pieces in exclusive art galleries such as breathtaking blown glass creations, fine contemporary jewelry, functional and traditional ceramics for homes, decorative arts, distinctive gifts for souvenirs, and unusual gifts.
If you are not interested in art or architecture then this wouldn’t be a place to visit. I don’t believe there is an entrance fee as everywhere I had gone, it was free to walk in. Also, a lot of the ceramic pieces sell for hundreds and some thousands of dollars.
You are able to buy art pieces, furniture, and other things for your home with shipping. They are able to ship items internationally for you if you end up buying something.
Traditional food and drink options
- Birria: A spicy stew made with goat or beef, typically served with tortillas and garnishes such as onion, cilantro, and lime.
- Tequila: Tlaquepaque is known for its tequila distilleries and tasting rooms, where you can sample the town’s famous spirit.
- Pozole: A traditional soup made with hominy, meat (usually pork), and spices, often served with garnishes such as lettuce, radish, and lime.
El Parián de Tlaquepaque!
Its a very famous square with an awesome ambiance and its cheap to eat! It is an open-air building, with at the center of it a space for Mariachi bands and dancers to perform regularly. El Parian is known for having Mariachi bands performing.
When I went there, there was traditional dancing and Mariachi bands. The food was delicious and the drinks were great too.
Planning your Day Trip – Tlaquepaque Mexico
Best time of year to visit
The best time to visit Tlaquepaque is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. During this time, the weather is mild and pleasant, with plenty of sunshine and lower humidity. The rainy season, which runs from May to October, can be hot and humid, with occasional thunderstorms. Mexico is generally warm/hot throughout the year. Please wear sunscreen.
Length of stay recommendations
While Tlaquepaque is a small town, there’s plenty to see and do, so it’s recommended to spend at least a full day exploring. However, if you’re interested in delving deeper into the local arts and crafts scene or visiting nearby attractions like the Tonala Market, consider staying for an additional day or two.
Recommended itinerary for a day trip
Here’s a sample itinerary for a day trip to Tlaquepaque:
- 9:00 am – Arrive in Tlaquepaque and start your day with a traditional Mexican breakfast at El Parian, a historic plaza surrounded by restaurants and bars.
- 10:00 am – Visit the Parroquia de San Pedro and take a guided tour of the church, which features beautiful colonial architecture and rich history.
- 11:00 am – Explore the local markets, including the Mercado San Pedro, Mercado Juárez, and nearby Tonala Market. Shop for souvenirs, pottery, and other handmade goods.
- 1:00 pm – Take a break for lunch and try some traditional Mexican cuisine.
- 2:00 pm – Visit the Regional Ceramic Museum to learn more about Tlaquepaque’s famous pottery-making tradition.
- 3:00 pm – Explore the town’s art galleries and museums, including the Sergio Bustamante Gallery and Casa de las Artesanias.
- 4:00 pm – Sample some tequila at one of Tlaquepaque’s famous tequila distilleries, such as Casa Herradura or El Jimador.
- 5:00 pm – Finish the day with a leisurely stroll through the town’s charming streets, taking in the colonial architecture, colorful facades, and vibrant atmosphere.
This itinerary is just a suggestion, and you can customize your day trip to Tlaquepaque based on your interests and preferences.
Tips for a successful day trip to Tlaquepaque
What to bring
When planning your day trip to Tlaquepaque, make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, a hat, a camera, and a reusable water bottle. It’s also a good idea to bring cash for purchases, as some markets and small shops may not accept credit cards.
What to wear
Tlaquepaque has a warm, subtropical climate, so lightweight, breathable clothing is recommended. Avoid wearing revealing or provocative clothing, especially if you plan on visiting churches or other religious sites.
To save money on your day trip, consider taking public transportation instead of a taxi or ride-sharing service. Many local buses and trains are affordable and easy to use. You can also save money on food by eating at local markets or street food stalls, which offer delicious and authentic Mexican cuisine at a lower price than sit-down restaurants.
You can haggle prices of street vendors to a reasonable price.
Tlaquepaque is generally a safe town, but it’s always a good idea to take basic safety precautions when traveling. Keep an eye on your belongings and avoid walking alone at night. It’s also important to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen to avoid heat stroke or sunburn.
A day trip to Tlaquepaque is a perfect way to experience the vibrant culture, rich history, and stunning beauty of Mexico. With its charming streets, friendly locals, and rich cultural heritage, it’s no wonder that Tlaquepaque is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations.
If you’re ready to plan your own Tlaquepaque day trip, start by booking your flight and hotel to Guadalajara with Expedia.