Guadalajara's sports culture is one of the most vibrant in Mexico, with a well-developed infrastructure of stadiums and facilities, achievements under its belt such as its successful turn as the host of the 2011 Pan-American Games, world-class athletes such as professional golfer Lorena Ochoa calling the city home, and big plans for the future.
Of course, one would be remiss in talking about Guadalajara sports without mentioning the three professional football (futbol, i.e. what Americans call soccer) teams based there: Estudiantes, Atlas, and of course, Chivas. Chivas, more properly known as Club Deportivo Guadalajara, is, according to FIFA, the most popular football team in Mexico. Chivas has won 11 first-division titles and holds the longest-ever season-opening winning streak: 8 back-to-back wins. Chivas is also the only football team in Mexico with exclusively Mexican players, whereas other teams have players of varying nationalities. The team colors are red, white, and blue, signifying "Fraternity, Union, and Sports". The new stadium, Estadio Omnilife, with a capacity of 49,850, was inaugurated on July 30, 2010.
Omnilife StadiumCircuito JVC 2800, Ayamonte, ZapopanPhone: +52 (33) 3777 5700This is the stadium where most of the outdoor events for the 2011 Pan-American Games were held, andmore importantlywhere the most popular football team in the city and the whole country, Club Deportivo Guadalajara (Chivas), has played since 2010. Chivas plays here every other Saturday at 19:00, unless otherwise specified. If you happen to be in Guadalajara on a Saturday, you are most likely to find either a Chivas football game in this stadium, or an Atlas game at Estadio Jalisco (below). Big games to watch out are Chivas vs. Atlas (which can be held in either stadiums depending on which one is scheduled as the home team) and Chivas vs. Amricathe "National Superclassic" (superclsico nacional)as these teams are bitter rivals. Either of these match-ups are sure to sell out the stadium and treat those lucky enough to get tickets to an intense atmosphere. It should be noted that Estadio Omnilife is a difficult place to reach by public transport. It is close to the Perifrico Oriente, so taking a taxi is the best option. Alternatively, use any bus that will go around Perifrico and you'll eventually get there, just ask the driver to let you know when you are there, since the stadium's visibility from Perifrico is very limited. Jalisco StadiumSiete Colinas 1772, IndependenciaPhone: +52 (33) 3637 0563Located in Colonia Independencia, it can be reached by taking any bus along the Calzada Independencia and asking for the Estadio Jalisco. You will almost definitely see it if you look out, it will be on your left as you come from the center. Here the football team Atlas plays. Chivas used to play on this stadium until 2010, when Estadio Omnilife was completed. During the season there are league games every other Saturday. If Atlas is playing as a visitor, then you can look for a Chivas game at Estadio Omnilife. A big game to watch out for is Atlas vs. Chivas, which has an incredible atmosphere, though most games are worth experiencing. If you are of a nervous disposition, perhaps avoid the upper stands when there is a large crowd as it's known to shake when the crowds begin to jump. March 3rd StadiumPatria 1201, Villa Universitaria, ZapopanPhone: +52 (33) 3610 1834The Universidad Autnoma de Guadalajara's football stadium in the north of the city, where "Los Estudiantes" play, is named for the date of the founding of the university in 1935. The Estudiantes play in the Primera Liga along with the other Guadalajara teams, Atlas and Chivas.
Nuevo Progreso BullringMontes Pirineos 1930, MonumentalPhone: +52 (33) 3651 8378Located right across the road from the Estadio Jalisco, just off Calzada Independencia, bullfights take place at the Plaza Nuevo Progreso every Sunday at 16:30. Those arriving by bus might not be able to see the bullring from the street, as it's hidden behind some trees, so get off when you see the Estadio Jalisco and go in the opposite direction.
Holidays and events
Spring and summer
Guadalajara Film FestivalNebulosa 2916, Jardines del BosquePhone: +52 (33) 3121 7461The biggest film festival in Latin America as well as one of the most important showcases for Mexican and Latin American cinema on the world stage, the Festival Internacional del Cine de Guadalajara takes place annually in early March. A bevy of awards are given in all categories of film, and it also serves as a forum for education and creative interchange among Latin American cineasts. International Mariachi and Charrera ConferenceMariachi bands from all over Mexico and the world meet the last week of August and the first week of September, usually at Teatro Degollado and the surrounding area, to play and compete for the delight of fans. You won't witness anything like this unique event anywhere else.
Independence DayVisitors who find themselves in Guadalajara on the 16th of March are in for a festive and patriotic treat. One traditional way that Tapatos enjoy celebrating this holiday is with a reenactment of the "Cry of Dolores" (Grito de Dolores), the incident that, in 1810, kicked off the war that ended with Mexico's independence from Spain. At the stroke of midnight, locals go to the main square and shout out in unison: half yell "Viva" and the other half "Mxico", going on to the names of important heroes of Mexican history: "Viva Hidalgo", "Viva Morelos", and so on. Pilgrimage of Our Lady of ZapopanCelebrated in Guadalajara on October 12th, this event honors the local Virgin Mary figure of the Guadalajara area, the Virgen de Zapopan. On this day, over a million people parade the famous statuette from the downtown cathedral to its home in the Baslica de Nuestra Seora de Zapopan. This festival is only celebrated in the Guadalajara area, and is one of the largest examples of a romera outside Spain. International Book FairThe "FIL" takes place every November in Guadalajara. Companies and delegations come from all over the world to exhibit their books and see books from other places. Every year a country or region serves as the guest of honor, presenting books that represent its particular literary tradition.
ChristmasA Tapato Christmas tradition that you may witness if you're in Guadalajara over the holidays is known as "Las Posadas" (The Inns). Children parade through the neighborhood recreating the passage of Joseph and Mary through Bethlehem, asking for shelter and being refused. Generally nowadays this is a celebration for family and friends, but if you know a Mexican, it's a great way to experience Mexican culture firsthand. Regular appearances include piatas, mariachi bands, Mexican beer, tequila and general merriment.
Foundation of GuadalajaraHeld on February 14th, this is a celebration to commemorate the foundation of the city of Guadalajara on that day in 1542.