As the year-end holidays approach, we want to pay tribute to Guadalajara, Mexico, where Christmas is an entire season of parades and parties that continues into January.

The depth of Mexico's history and culture is alive and well in this City of Roses. A central point of its vibrant historic district and many of its holiday celebrations is the Catedral Metropolitana, a cathedral which blends several architectural styles dating back to the late 1500s.

Just outside the cathedral is Plaza Guadalajara with its unobstructed view of the cathedral and dozens of laurel trees. These trees have led to its other name, Plaza de los Laureles. The laurels extend into neighboring streets famed for the shops and vendors that line them.

Similar public areas are scattered about the historic district. Enjoy a mariachi performance at Plaza de Armas' unique bandstand, or take some pictures of the massive fountain sculpture in Plaza Tapatia. Then stroll from Plaza Tapatia down Calle Morales, where you can view the rich and famous in wax at the adjacent Museo de Cera, or Wax Museum.

 
Art lovers won't want to miss the paintings housed in two of the city's palaces. Palacio de Gobierno dates to 1650 and features Moorish and Spanish influences in addition to beautiful murals. The much newer Palacio Municipal houses much of the city's government and contains paintings by Gabriel Flores.

The distinct values of the people of Guadalajara are as well represented in its architecture as in its spirit. The Roman goddess of wisdom is honored in a spectacular fountain and sculpture known as Fuente de Minerva. Near the cathedral, Guadalajara's most famous men are honored in the Rotunda de Los Hombres Illustres de Jalisco, which serves as the final resting place for many of the city's greatest contributors to science, the arts and more.

A city that so honors the past offers a uniquely rich experience, so take a moment to explore the most Mexican of Mexico's cities through this desktop getaway.