Aguascalientes means hot water in Spanish; the name comes from the abundance of hot springs in the area. Located in central Mexico, Aguascalientes borders the states of Zacatecas and Jalisco and is located about 537 km northwest of Mexico City. There are five traditional neighborhoods in Aguascalientes. Those neighborhoods are La Estacion, La Salud, El Encino, Guadalupe, and San Marcos(where the annual San Marcos Fair is held). Aguascalientes was founded in 1575. The city is very Spanish in nature and is known for its pottery, embroideries and woven goods. Aguascalientes, Mexico is the capital city of Aguascalientes state. Historically, the Spanish chose this city as an outpost to guard against the Chichimec Indians who once resided in the area. It was an outpost against the Indian tribes until 1857 when a state of republic was created under the same name as the state, Aguascalientes. From 1910 to 1920 the city was a major rail junction between Mexico City and the silver mines of Zacatecas.
Natives call Aguascalientes "the perforated city" or La Ciudad Perforada due to its intertwining passages, or catacombs beneath it that the pre-colonial Indians carved from rock. Their origin and reason is unknown and they are not open to the public.
It is ranked among the top three safest cities in Mexico, and one of the best in quality of life for its inhabitants.
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The climate in Aguascalientes is warm and dry year-round. Rainfall season is from May until November, although rain is very seldom here. When it does rain it's fierce and brief in the late afternoon leaving the evenings cooled off and dry.
Lic. Jesús Terán Peredo International Airport (AGU IATA), also known as Aguascalientes International Airport. The airport is 16 km (10 miles) out of the city.
- SLP - San Luis Potosí Airport
- BJX - Leon-Guanajuato Airport
- ZCL - Zacatecas Airport
- GDL - Guadalajara Airport
- TPQ - Tepic Airport
- Aeroméxico (Los Angeles, Mexico City, Ontario (California), Tijuana)
- American Eagle (Dallas/Fort Worth)
- United Express operated by ExpressJet Airlines (Houston-Intercontinental)
- Viva Aerobus (Monterrey)
- Volaris (Tijuana)
Central Camionera, the bus station, is on the south side of the first ring, 5 km (3 miles) from main square. A bus ride from Mexico City will usually take about six hours. There is an overnight bus that runs from Mexico City to Aguascalientes that leaves around midnight and arrives in Aguascalientes around 6am. This type of bus trip is perfect for those who just want to spend a full day in Aguascalientes.
Local buses M$6 (pesos) run from outside the bus station into the centre. Look for "Centro" on the windshield, meaning they go downtown.
To get to Aguascalientes from Mexico City by car, take the MEX 57 as far as Querétaro, then take the MEX 45 via Salamanca. Aguascalientes is located on Federal Highway 57/45 in Mexico.
From the airport From AGU - Aguascalientes Airport there is ground transportation available to take you to your destination.
Rent a car - Aguascalientes is very accessible by road so renting a car is a good option to see all the historic sites and architecture that Aguascalientes and its surrounding areas have to offer, however, it is recommended that you have some experience driving in Mexico, because the rules and customs can vary significantly from those from other countries.
Taxis - Taxis are also a safe option for getting around in Aguascalientes. You can arrange for a taxi from your hotel although street cabs are usually much cheaper. All taxis have meters that indicate the fare to pay. It is not required to speak Spanish or negotiate the fare. Check that the driver turns on his meter. Most places in the city can be reached for M$40 (around US$2.50) or less.
Turibús - Right across the main square, you can get a ride on a streetcar around the most important tourist sights with this government-provided service. Cost is M$36 (US$2.00) for adults, M$26 (US$1.50) for children and senior citizens. On board, the tour guide gives you descriptions and facts about the sights in English and Spanish. Hourly departures.
Walking - It is safe to walk during the day and at night around the tourist areas and downtown, to get on a cab or public transportation. Most people show their hospitality when they realize you are a tourist, always willing to help, give you directions or help you with the language.
- Museo de Arte Moderno
- Museo Interactivo descubre
- 1 Museo Jose Guadalupe Posada, Jardín del Encino. Posada is considered by many as the founder of modern art in Mexico. Since his death nearly a century ago, José Guadalupe Posada's work has steadily gained popularity with art lovers and Día de los Muertos celebrators alike. He is especially known for his calaveras images of whimsical skeletons. "While the illustration of the high society woman is one of Posada's most highly regarded pieces, it's also arguably the most recognizable image of the Día de los Muertos celebration.
- 2 Museo Nacional de la Muerte, Rivero y Gutiérrez Esq. The national museum of death. Celebrating the Mexican tradition of day of the dead with many beautiful works ranging from pre-Hispanic period to today. Many people visit Aguas for this museum alone.
- Museum of Aguascalientes - built out of pink quarry. It has a collection of 20th century arts including the works of Saturnio Herran, who was born in Aguascalientes. Herran's arts include portraits of the everyday citizen painted with a high degree of sensitivity toward his subjects. His work is very similar to art nouveau.
- Museo Regional de Historia
- Casa de la Cultura - This is the forum for the National Plastic Arts contest during the San Marcos Fair.
- Casa Teran
- Centro Cultural los Arquitos
- Parque Tres Centurias
- Teatro de la Ciudad
- Teatro Morelos - The National Poetry Prize is presented during The San Marcos Fair.
- San Marcos Garden (Jardin de San Marcos) - Located within the state fair's grounds is the most traditional and representative site of the state. The main gate is protrayed in the city's official crest.
- Guadalupe (Jardin de Guadalupe)
- El Encino (Jardin del Encino)- where the museum José Guadalupe Posada is located, with temporary and permanent exhibitions. The garden is also surrounded by restaurants, a church of the same name (built in 1796), and convenience stores.
- Parque Hidalgo
- Parque Heroes Mexicanos/Rodolfo Landeros Gallegos
- Parque Mexico
- Parque del Cedazo
- Baroque Style Main Cathedral
- San Marcos
- El Encino y Jardin de la Paz
- San Antonio Temple
- Religious Pinacotheca
- Estadio Victoria Football, home of "Necaxa", colloquially called the "Hidrorayos"
- Estadio Cuarto Centenario Basketball, home of the Panteras
Walk through the beautiful Parque de San Marcos, and then continue to the gorgeous Palacio de Gobierno with its central courtyard and murals. This is the most outstanding colonial building in Aguascalientes. On the west side of the main square lies the 18th century baroque cathedral. This cathedral is filled with gorgeous paintings by colonial painter Miguel Cabrera. More interesting places to see include:
- The Government Palace - Built of tezontle stone and gorgeous with its Neoclassical facade of red
- The Municipal Palace - Built out of pink quarry
- El Jardin de los Palacios (Palace Gardens)- A lovely fountain is on display here to honor the artist Jesus F. Contreras who was the creator of two of the relief sculptures decorating the square. Interesting to know is that Contreras sculptures represent the God of hunting "Camaxtli" and the God of Abundance "Centeotl."
- La Plaza Patria - Holds spectacular views of an iron tower built in 1808.
- Legislative Palace
These places are easily accessible by car:
- El Tunel Porterillo, a walking and hiking trail runs through the Huejucar Canyon.
- Plutarco Elias Calles Dam and the Jocoque Presa which is ideal for water skiing and fishing.
- Ejido Ecoturistco El Ojote, a perfect place for adventure sports, including rock climbing and rappelling.
- San Marcos Fair or in Spanish Feria de San Marcos. The oldest and largest state fair in Mexico begins annually around mid-April and ends in early May. One of the largest fairs in Mexico, attracting millions of visitors for the Casino, the bullfighting, cockfighting and nightlife. The San Marcos Fair also has nightly fireworks, amusement rides, art, theater, dance, commercial and industrial exhibitions, concerts,rodeos, and of course a variety of cuisine. This is the most busy time of year for Aguascalientes. Local schools close for a period of time during the fair as well as local offices.
- Centro Deportivo Ojo Caliente Spa - On the east side of town featuring thermal pools, saunas, steam baths, squash, and tennis courts.
- Camping and the Outdoors - Within a short distance from the city of Aguascalientes you can go camping in the mountains of El Pinal, Guajolote, Laurel, and Sierra Fria. The best sites to hike and climb are at Antorcha, Laurel, La Ardilla, and Los Gallos. A few kilometers outside of Aguascalientes is where the best fishing occurs. The Jocoqui, El Llanero, and Abelardo Rodríguez Reservoirs are the best places for sport fishing. In the surrounding areas in places such as El Tunel Porterillo, a walking and hiking trail runs through the Huejucar Canyon. There is also the Plutarco Elias Calles Dam which is ideal for fishing as well. The Ejido Ecoturistco El Ojote is a place for adventure sports including rock climbing and rappelling.
- Ecotourism - Aguascalientes also has beautiful natural scenery in which people can walk through. Visit the Parque Ecológico Héroes Mexicanos in Aguascalientes which is wonderfully abundant of natural scenery.
- Golf - Aguascalientes has two golf clubs. The Country Club Pulgas Pandas has a 6,420 yard long course, while the Club Campestre de Aguascalientes has an 18 hole course with a 7,535 yard long course.
- History - Aguascalientes is a colonial town full of history. If history is one of your main interests the Teatro Morelos should be on your list of stops. Here is where the supporters of Carranza, Villa and Zapata, gathered after defeating Victoriano Huerta upon drawing up a program for the government which led to the Revolutionary Convention and the Plan of Ayala. It was represented by men such as Alvaro Obregón, Felipe Angeles, and Francisco Villa. The Teatro Morelos is where Eulalio Gutiérrez was appointed president in 1914 also.
Malls and markets
- Mercado Teran
- Mercado Revolucion
- El Parian
- Plaza Patria
- Expo Plaza
- Plaza Vestir
- Centro Comercial El Dorado
- Centro Comercial Villasunción
- Centro Comercial Galerias
- The Centro Comercial Plaza de Vestir - This shopping center carries blouses and tablecloths produced by local craftsmen, puppets, wooden toys, and ornaments.
- Centro Comercial Altaria is located in the northern part of the city and it is modeled after the typical shopping center in the U.S., main stores include Sears, Liverpool, Radio Shack, Levi´s store, Nike, GNC, and Aéropostale among others. Banks, ATMs, restaurants including Chili's, Burger King and Carl's Jr., and a Cinema complex with VIP theaters. The Marriott hotel is a few yards away from the mall and Centro Comericial Galerías shopping center is also walking distance from here.
- Centro Comericial Espacio opened in April 2015, is a mall located in the eastern part of th city, includes a cinema complex, food court and stores like Office Depot and Soriana supermarket. It sits right beside the Ojo Caliente spa.
- Tianguis de la Purisima
- Linea de Fuego (on Sundays) mainly for used items, tools.
- La China Hilaria- Located on Blvd Luis Donaldo Colosio this restaurant sells delicious regional food.
- Rincón Maya - High quality authentic traditional Mexican cuisine from the state of Yucatán. Located in the Jardín del Encino (Encino garden), downtown area.
- Mesón del Taco- Located on Avenue Aguascalientes Pte. this restaurant sells traditional Mexican and Spanish food.
- Applebee's Grill and Bar - Located on Avenue Independencia 2351 this restaurant is for those who want a taste of the U.S. while in Mexico. Applebee's serves steak, chicken, salads, and seafood.
- De Andrea Alameda Located on Avenue Tecnológico one can come to this restaurant for a taste of all types of international food.
- Los Mixes- Located on Blvd Luis Donaldo Colosio this "hole in the whole" taco restaurant serves the best tacos in town.
- The best food to try while in Aguascalientes include the barbacoa de olla, biznaga tamales, candied guava, caramel sweets, and ladrillos; which is a delicious flaky pastry.
There is a mercado near 5 de Mayo specialising in delicious roast lamb served with tacos, or try Mercado Teran for cheap eats such as burritos.
There are many nightclubs and bars in Aguascalientes. But don't head there early. Locals usually begin to show up at the bars around 11pm. They don't leave or even start dancing until 5am through 7am. So if you want to drink and party like a local do not head home early!
If you want to party visit Aguas during la Feria de San Marcos . The city transforms into the largest open-air cantina in Mexico, with an abundance of places selling cocktails (M$50) or 2L beers (also M$50). You are also able to buy beer in cans, bottles, 16 oz and 1L varieties. Usually drinking on the street in Mexico would be problomatic, However, during the Feria many enterprising people open public bathroom, all costing M$5.
Clubs and a casino also open specially for the Feria.
- 1 Hotel Francia, Av. Francisco I. Madero #113-A, ☎ . Historical hotel, built in 1915, located in the city centre.
- 2 Quinta Real Aguascalientes, Av Aguascalientes Sur 601, ☎ .
- Marriott Hotel, Boulevard Zacatecas Norte S/N, Col Trojes de Alonso Aguascalientes, Mexico 20116, ☎ .