Guadalajara is Mexico’s second city, with a population of some 4 million people in the metropolitan area, and it’s an important cultural and business hub. Located in the state of Jalisco, it's commonly known as the birthplace of mariachi, tequila, and charreria—Mexico’s national sport. Guadalajara enjoys warm, spring-like weather most of the year. Although no season is a bad time to go, the best time to visit Guadalajara is in the fall, from September through December, when temperatures are pleasant, there’s little rain, and you’ll find interesting cultural festivals taking place. Whenever you decide to visit, this guide will give you the information you need to plan your trip.
The Weather in Guadalajara
The weather in Guadalajara is generally pleasant, with temperatures ranging between 55 and 95 degrees F (12 to 35 degrees C) most of the year. You can expect the warmest temperatures in the springtime. Most of the rain falls during the summer, and winter can be quite cool, especially at night. The fall is the best season to visit for little to no rain, and the most pleasant temperatures. May is the warmest month in Guadalajara, with an average temperature of 74 degrees F (23 degrees C) January has the coolest temperatures, averaging 60 degrees F (15 degrees C). Summertime is the rainy season. It may rain every day during the peak rains between July and September, but don’t worry, it won’t rain all day! Generally, the city experiences late afternoon thunderstorms, although you may see the occasional hail as well. August is the wettest month with an average of 9 inches (230 mm) of rain.
Guadalajara's Mariachi Festival
One of the most important events celebrating local culture is the International Mariachi Festival (Encuentro Internacional del Mariachi y la Charreria) that takes place at the end of August and beginning of September. Mariachi musicians from around the world converge on Guadalajara for this festival celebrating the music form. The celebration starts on the last Sunday of August with a grand parade along the main streets of Guadalajara. Featuring mariachi bands in full silver regalia, dancers in traditional dress, charros on horseback, and more, it’s a colorful and festive event. The majestic historical Degollado theater is the scene for the “Galas de Mariachi” where you can hear the best Mariachis in the world accompanied by the Guadalajara Philharmonic Orchestra, creating a wonderful fusion of classical and traditional music. Each year, festival attendees attempt to break an obscure world record to be listed in the Guinness Book of Records. Past years have seen them breaking the record of the most individuals wearing hats, the greatest number of couples dancing in traditional costumes to Mariachi music, and the largest gathering of people singing Cielito Lindo. From the sublime to the comical, this festival has it all and is a wonderful celebration of Mexican culture.
Spring in Guadalajara
This season is the warmest, and it can feel quite humid, which increases toward the end of the season, when the rains begin, and bring some relief from the heat. You may experience highs ranging from 93 degrees F (34 degrees C) and 83 degrees F (28 degrees C). This is the second busiest time of year for tourism, with a lot of people visiting especially around the Easter and Holy Week holiday.
Events to check out:
- Guadalajara’s International Film Festival takes place in March. This is one of the largest and most important film festivals in Latin America and brings together celebrities, industry professionals, and movie buffs to celebrate the world of cinema. There are several screenings (some with free admission).
- Festival de Mayo is a cultural festival held throughout the month of May. and is perfect for anyone who considers themselves an art lover. A different guest country is featured each year.
Summer in Guadalajara
The summer months have comfortable temperatures, but it’s quite wet! These months see the most precipitation, with 6 to 10 days of precipitation per month, and an accumulated 33 inches. In 2019, there was even a freak summer hailstorm, but that’s not common. June through August is the slowest time for tourism in Guadalajara, but if the wet weather doesn't deter you, you may be able to find good deals on accommodations and other tourist services. When you head out for a day of sightseeing, don’t forget your rain jacket. If you get caught in one of Guadalajara’s summer storms, take refuge in a safe, dry place like a market, cafe, or restaurant and take advantage to sample some of Guadalajara’s local cuisine, like a torta ahogada or some birria.
Events to check out:
- The Feria de Tlaquepaque takes place in the neighboring town of San Pedro Tlaquepaque during the last half of June each year. The festival starts with a parade on June 15, kicking off a two-week fiesta with concerts and cultural events as well as mechanical rides, crafts, Mexican snacks, and activities for children.
- The Jalisco Jazz Festival is held in July and offers concerts by important Mexican and international performers of the world jazz scene.
Fall in Guadalajara
During the fall months, Guadalajara has mainly clear, dry weather. Highs hover in the low 80s F (high 20s C), perfect for exploring the colonial plazas and landmarks of the historical city center on foot, or take a day trip to nearby Tequila. It’s not a super busy tourist season, but crowds do tend to gather for the special cultural festivals that take place this time of year.
Events to check out:
- The International Mariachi and Charrería Festival is held over 10 days in September. Thousands of spectators enjoy performances by some of the best mariachi bands from around the world as well as the National Charro Championship, and other cultural events.
- Fiestas de Octubre brings together nearly two million visitors every year for a month-long celebration featuring Guadalajara’s best art, culture, entertainment, and cuisine.
- Guadalajara’s International Book Fair is held the last week of November at Expo Guadalajara. This is the largest publishing gathering in Ibero-America and also an important cultural festival.
Winter in Guadalajara
Weather is the coolest during the winter in Guadalajara, and you’ll want long pants and closed shoes as well as a sweater (at least in the mornings and evenings). Average highs during this season are between 85 degrees F (30 degrees C) and 74 degrees F (23 degrees C). You’re unlikely to see rain this time of year. This is Guadalajara’s busiest tourist season, especially during the Christmas holidays, which bring special festivals and celebrations, but also higher hotel rates than at other times of the year.
Events to check out:
- Navidalia, a unique Christmas fair and theme park allows visitors to experience a multi-sensorial Christmas journey through different worlds, including a visit to Bethlehem, the North Pole, and a traditional Mexican Christmas. At the Avila Camacho park from Dec. 13 to 31.
- The anniversary of Guadalajara's founding is celebrated every year in February. The city was founded by Cristóbal de Oñate, a Basque conquistador, on Feb. 14, 1542. Festivities to mark the occasion take place from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and include concerts and theatrical performances, a light show, and other events.