Guadalajara: The San Francisco of Mexico

The largest second city in Mexico, Guadalajara has retained much of its European influence. With numerous museums, galleries and other cultural attractions, it's no surprise that Guadalajara also boasts a vibrant LGBT community--complete with radio programming, resource center and various publications catering to gay and lesbian locals and travelers.

Stroll through Zona Rosa and you'll find both quaint and commercial shops and businesses catering to the gay community and visitors yearning to explore a more quirky side of the major metropolis.

The city is home to several gay-owned and operated accommodations, but even the more mainstream inns and hotels, especially in the Centro Historico, share an open-minded approach when it comes to gay and lesbian guests.

The nightlife is definitely something to brag about. Gay bars, cafes, antros (clubs) and full blown nightclubs keep the music pumping into the break of dawn. But late nights don't have to mean craving for munchies, Guadalajara is plastered with taco stands, late-night Mexican restaurants and other less glamorous dining options that operate well into the night, serving spicy platters and mucha cerveza.

Not to be outdone by other Latin America urban villages, Guadalajara's pride parade--which happens annually in June--is a colorful celebration of equality and love, with more than 200,000 people in attendance every year. All though same-sex marriage is now legal throughout Mexico, there are still several issues on discrimination to overcome.

Every Sunday, from 8 am to 2 pm, the main avenues and streets all throughout the city are closed to give way to people on bikes, roller skates or walks aficionados allowing a magical way to enjoy Guadalajara´s excellent climate and architecture.

Restaurants to check out