One of the main reasons I we chose to travel to Guadalajara instead of say, Mexico City, is because Guadalajara is home to the Chivas soccer club. It just so happened that they’d be playing during our stay, but more on that later. When I found out that the city is also home to Latin America’s largest indoor market, I was hooked.
Mercado Libertad, or Mercado San Juan de Dios as it is locally called, houses over one thousand vendors, and it is easy to get lost among the three intertwining levels. Each level has a different theme, with the top level selling mostly clothing and electronics. The middle level has traditional clothing, leather goods, hardware, and endless eateries offering mostly local fare, like birria and tortas ahogadas. The ground level was my favorite, as it houses the butchers, and produce, spice and sweets vendors.
I stopped for a quick bite at Mariscos Brisa on the second level and had a shrimp cocktail and fish taco. I wasn’t crazy about the cocktail, and forgot to take a photo of the taco, which was delicious.
After buying some sugared tamarinds, I spent another couple of hours wandering around the market before heading over to Palacio del Gobierno, or the Government Palace. There are four huge plazas in the historical district, and by Plaza de Armas, the most impressive of the four, stands the palace. Inside, an imposing staircase and council chamber displays murals depicting Padre Miguel Hidalgo in the War of Independence. Like the murals at the Cabanas Cultural Institute, these were also painted by Jose Clemente Orozco:
Back outside, it had started raining lightly, so I hurried to catch the bus to Estadio Jalisco in time for the Chivas versus Tigres game. By halftime, it was pouring rain and the players struggled to run in the slick mud and grass. The fans made it even more exciting – they kept up the cheering, chanting and drumming throughout the whole game, despite the downpour:
Chivas won and I took a very wet bus ride back to my district. By the time I arrived near our hotel, all the restaurants had closed so we settled for a late-night hot dog and nachos from the 7-11 down the block.
It may have not been adventurous eating, but at least I put lime with ketchup on my hotdog. I try!