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Mexico's former corn-producing capital is now a municipality of wealthy enclaves, modern hotels, and malls surrounded by hills of poor communities (as is much of metropolitan Guadalajara). Farther out, some farming communities remain. The central district, a good 25-minute cab ride from downtown Guadalajara, has two worthwhile museums, an aged church that's home to the city's most revered religious icon, and a pedestrian corridor punctuated by restaurants and watering holes popular with young Tapatíos. The neoclassical city hall building on the north side of the plaza has occasional art exhibits upstairs.
Some of Zapopan's attractions are separated from its downtown area and best reached by taxi. Save money by catching Bus 275 or a northbound Tur. Catch the Tur at Alcalde and San Felipe for 9 pesos and get off at the corner of Circunvalación and Avenida Laureles. Alternatively, take the light-rail to Avila Camacho (Line 1), cross the street, and catch Bus 631.
An afternoon is adequate for downtown Zapopan's major sights. Spend 20 minutes at the basilica, about an hour each at the Huichol Museum and the Art Museum of Zapopan, and 15 minutes at City Hall. If you have more time, check out the market, which is across the plaza and beside City Hall, and a couple of surrounding churches before grabbing a drink or a bite on pedestrian-only Calle 20 de Noviembre or at one of the quaint restaurants or bars around the corner on Javier Mina.
Zapopan at a Glance
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