There is plenty to explore in the city of Guadalajara, but if you’re there for more than two to three days, I’d suggest taking a half day or a full day to explore one of the outlying cities. Tequila, Zaponan, Tonala, Chapala and Tlaquepaque offer some of the most popular trips for visitors. Richard and I decided to visit Tlaquepaque, a small city that lies about 20-30 minutes southeast of Guadalajara’s historic center.
Tlaquepaque reminded me of Guanajuato, where I studied abroad during college, in so many ways. The major similarities came from Tlaquepaque’s appearance: the architectural features and colorful buildings, along with the small plazas and restaurant patios, created the colonial atmosphere I felt every day in Guanajuato.
At the center of Tlaquepaque is the Jardin Hidalgo, named for the Father of Mexican Independence, Miguel Hidalgo. Two gorgeous cathedrals, El Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad y La Parroquia de San Pedro tower over the town, and as we walked through the streets that Sunday, beautiful songs of praise lifted up to the clear blue sky. A popular attraction for visitors to Tlaquepaque is El Parian, a collection of eighteen restaurants and bars that are located around a central courtyard where mariachi bands play.
But what intrigued Richard and I most was the Museo del Premio Regional de la Ceramica. We were told that the ceramic art on display at this museum is the best of the best — and it’s true. Established in 1954, the museum was created to preserve and promote indigenous handcrafts of Jalisco, the state where Guadalajara is located. Ceramic pieces and other handcrafts from various parts of Mexico are displayed, but the art focus is primarily on works from Jaliscan cities like Tonalá, Santa Cruz de las Huertas, El Rosario, Tlaquepaque, Zalatitlán and Tateposco.
The handiwork required for each work of art in the museum is mind-blowing. Of the art that most caught my eye were the miniature ceramics sets. The miniature set that stood out from the rest was a bullring full of spectators watching a bullfight in the center. The bullring’s diameter could not have been wider than three inches — can you imagine how it would have been like to create such a piece of art? It was fantastic to have seen such memorable ceramics pieces during our trip to Guadalajara.