For those who have sated themselves on Guadalajara’s high profile tourist attractions, the neighborhoods of the city’s midtown offer a change-of-pace urban experience that invite the visitor to return again and again.
From working-class neighborhoods on its eastern edge that offer up colorful mom-and-pop shops, newsstands, and street food vendors to the stately boulevards and historic mansions on its west end, midtown is a great weekend experience.
A nighttime stay-over is a must, because while daytime browsing is great fun, it’s in the evening, that these neighborhoods really come alive.
A weekend stay-over is made even sweeter by bargain rates on hotels that cater to businessmen during the week.
Midtown is home to museums and monuments, sidewalk cafés, bookstores, bars and clubs with live music, and a checkerboard of eclectic and sometimes funky shops.
At its heart is the Parque Revolución, located where the Avenida Juarez becomes the Avenida Vallarta at the intersection of Calzado de Federalismo.
It’s hard to miss. An ever-changing mural which covers the billboard-sized wall of a Pemex station is visible from blocks away.
The Parque Revolución is only a 20 minute walk from the Centro Historico, or two subway stops from the San Juan de Dios Market station, which is located adjacent to the market on the side facing the Plaza de los Mariachis.
Here the lines of the Tren Ligera subway system converge just blocks from the University of Guadalajara. While there’s no question that the concentration of students fuels much of this neighborhood’s ambiance, it’s a also convenient place for workers from nearby shops and offices to grab lunch.
Here you can enjoy a street taco, buy indigenous art and crafts or a bouquet of flowers, and get a haircut or shoeshine.
Or you can just order yourself a paleta, pick a shady bench, and soak up the atmosphere.
On a weekday afternoon, students on their way to and from classes – or just in between classes, study and congregate on the Parque’s north side, where a collection of street vendors holds permanent court.
The mood here is nothing if not mellow, and has the familiar feel of parks near universities worldwide.
There’s more to see here than can possibly be covered in a single post, so my next posts will take you on a walking tour of midtown, where you can enjoy the Guadalajara that tourists rarely experience.