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Libertador Miguel Hidalgo International Airport (GDL) is nestled just south of Guadalajara, along the Guadalajara-Chapala Highway. The airport hosts the state's main domestic carriers and acts as a major hub for visitors. Many of the regional hotels offer pick-up, which is definitely cheaper than a taxi service. There are also other modes of transport, such as buses. However, the best way to get around is with a cheap car rental, available at or near the airport.
If you're coming out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the trip will take about three and a half hours, depending on the flight and stops. LAX offers plenty of services and amenities that will make your journey as comfortable as possible.
In Guadalajara, many of the region's sites are centered downtown, which is accessible by a walk of less than a mile. If you want to embrace the culture, though, go beyond the town center. There's no better way to get around than having the keys to a cheap car rental. Check out the Guadalajara Cathedral, Plaza de Armas or the Instituto Cultutal Cabañas and still enjoy a leisurely meal at Sagrantino or La Artesanal without keeping one eye on a bus schedule.