on January 4, 2006
Tlaquepaque nearly lives up to its colorful name, derived from the Nahuatl word meaning "best of everything," but alas, falls just a tad short. Billed as an "arts and crafts village," conjuring images of ancient Native American women hovering over pottery wheels, Tlaquepaque is more accurately an outdoor mall with a series of indoor shops and galleries--a little more sanitized and soulless than I had hoped for. While Tlaquepaque does offer great food, beautiful paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and pottery, it does not offer, say, ANYTHING that your average college student (or in my case, teacher) could afford to buy. For that reason, locals have dubbed the arts and crafts center "lock your pocket," which may be the more appropriate nomenclature.That said, I would still encourage you to visit Tlaquepaque. Even if the prices are a little too rich for your blood, and even if you are put off by the fact that chances are pretty slim that you will actually encounter the creators of said art at the village, you can still get a lot out of it.You don't have to spend a dime to take in Tlaquepaque's quaint architecture and winding cobblestone paths, reminiscent of a colonial Spanish village. Fountains, flowers, and other surprises are waiting to be discovered around every corner. One of the architectural highlights is the chapel, built over 30 years ago, which is actually used for weddings. I suggest you eat lunch at Rene (inside Tlaquepaque village). The prices are surprisingly reasonable considering the nice atmosphere and artistically composed dishes. (Read my full review of Rene in this journal for more info.)And, take heart--you can always treat the experience as if it were a museum instead of a shopping center, looking at all the art free of charge. And don't forget to lock your pocket...
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009