It’s not the largest Mexican city, but many would argue it is the most “Mexican” Mexican city. Guadalajara gave birth to the music of Mariachi bands. And the first time anyone danced around a Mexican hat, it happened here in Guadalajara.
Guadalajara is a mix of modern comforts and traditional culture. A cathedral whose construction continued over three centuries, dominates the downtown area. Four plazas surround it. The oldest, the Plaza de Armas, features a cast iron Art Nouveau bandstand. In contrasting style, near the Plaza Tapatía, the Quetzalcoatl Fountain is a modern, abstract depiction of the mythical plumed serpent Quetzalcoatl, constructed of gracefully molded steel. A series of lively fiestas draw locals and visitors alike. In September, Guadalajara celebrates Mexican Independence Day with streets bustling with food, music and parades. October’s feast day for the Virgin of Zapopan has grown into a full month of celebrations, beginning with a parade in which the 500 year old icon of the Virgin is pulled through the streets for a five hour trip in a brand new car whose engine has never been turned on (thus making it, too, “virginal’).