Throughout the autumn months Guadalajara hosts a succession of events. In September, when Mexicans celebrate independence from Spain, the city goes all out, with a full month of festivities. The celebrations kick off with the Encuentro Internacional del Mariachi (, in which mariachi bands from around the world play before knowledgeable audiences and hold sessions with other mariachis. Bands come from as far as Japan and Russia. Concerts are held in several venues. In the Degollado Theater, you can hear orchestral arrangements of classic mariachi songs with solos by famous mariachis. You might be acquainted with many of the classics without even knowing it. The culmination is a parade of thousands of mariachis and charros (Mexican cowboys) through downtown. It starts the first week of September.

On September 15, a massive crowd assembles in front of the Governor's Palace to await the traditional grito (shout for independence) at 11pm. The grito commemorates Father Miguel Hidalgo's cry for independence in 1810. The celebration features live music on a street stage, spontaneous dancing, fireworks, and shouts of "¡Viva México!" and "¡Viva Hidalgo!" The next day is the official Independence Day, with a traditional parade; the plazas downtown resemble a country fair and market, with booths, games of chance, stuffed-animal prizes, cotton candy, and candied apples. Live entertainment stretches well into the night.

On October 12, a procession honoring Our Lady of Zapopan celebrates the feast day of the Virgin of Zapopan. Around dawn, her small, dark figure begins the 5-hour ride from the Cathedral of Guadalajara to the suburban Basilica of Zapopan. The original icon dates from the mid-1500s; the procession began 200 years later. Today, crowds spend the night along the route and vie for position as the Virgin approaches. She travels in a gleaming new car (virginal, in that it must never have had the ignition turned on), which her caretakers pull through the streets. During the months leading up to the feast day, the figure visits churches all over the city. You will likely see neighborhoods decorated with paper streamers and banners honoring the Virgin's visit to the local church.

The celebration has grown into a month-long event, Fiestas de Octubre, which kicks off with an enormous parade, usually on the first Sunday or Saturday of the month. Festivities include performing arts, charreadas (rodeos), bullfights, art exhibits, regional dancing, a food fair, and a Day of Nations incorporating all the consulates in Guadalajara. By the time this is over, you enter the holiday season of November and December, with Revolution Day (Nov 20), the Virgin of Guadalupe's feast day (Dec 12), and several other celebrations.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.