León is a city in Guanajuato, Mexico, known for its leather goods. It is known as the "Pearl of the Bajío" and the "Footwear Capital of the World" because it is here where more footwear is produced nationally.
Its population of 1.7 million (2017) makes it the fourth most populous municipality in Mexico.
It is considered one of the most environmentally friendly cities in Mexico and has a high number of cyclists, in part because of integrating a network of bike lanes into the SIT system.
León's strong leather industry makes shoes, boots, belts, jackets, and other leather accessories for national and international markets. The leather industry earned its inhabitants the nickname of "green belly" (panzaverde in Spanish) because of the green tainting in the workers' bodies resulting from treating leather.
- 1 León Tourist Office (Oficina de Convenciones y Visitantes de León), Calle Madero 517, ☏ , toll-free: 1 800 716 5366, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 1 Aeropuerto Internacional del Bajío (Bajio International Airport BJX IATA) (KM 5.5 along the Carretera Silao-León (Hwy 45), half way between Leon & Silao in the Silao municipality). The major airport for Guanauato state serving Guanajuato, Irapuato, Leon & Silao. The airport is 27.5 km southeast of the Plaza Principal in El Centro de Leon. If booking a ticket or researching the fare on an airline or an aggregate site be sure to look for "Leon" or "Leon/Bajio" instead of "Guanajuato" as you will not find it under "Guanajuato". Most flights offered are domestic and limited international services from the U.S. Scheduled flights are available with:
- Aeromexico & Aeromexico Connect from Atlanta, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Monterrey & Tijuana
- American Eagle to Dallas Ft Worth.
- Interjet Mexico City, Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta & Tijuana
- MagniCharters Cancun
- TAR Puerto Vallarta
- United Express Houston & Chicago
- Viva Aerobus Cancún, Cd Juarez, Monterrey & Tijuana
- Volaris [dead link] Chicago Midway, Ciudad Juárez, Cancún, Los Angeles, Mérida, Mexicali, Oakland, Puerto Vallarta, Sacramento, San Jose CA, San Jose del Cabo and Tijuana
As of August 2018 state sponsored, Unebus Guanajuato operates buses from the airport to Leon, Guanajuato and San Miguel Allende. The stop is right turn when coming out from the airport, past the building in front of the taxi stand.
Alternatively if you're flying from Europe, Canada, Caribbean or South America you can fly through Mexico City 319 km to the SE and take a bus or a flight from there. Primera Plus operates a direct bus from Mexico City's airport to Queretaro where passengers transfer to another bus to continue to Leon or Guanajuato City.
If you want to look for an intercity bus ride in the app CheckMyBus, you need to select "León de los Aldama".
- 2 Intercity bus station (Central de Camiones), Blvd. Hilario Medina 222; Col. Killian 1ª sección C.P.37260 León, Gto, ☏ . The station is served by:
- [formerly dead link] Greup Estrella Blanca, ☏ , toll-free: 0800-507-5500. They also operate the Americanos, Elite, Elite Plus, Oriente, Chihuahuanese, TNS (Transportes Norte de Sonora) and the Pacifico brands.
- ETN (Enlances Terrestre Nacionales); Turistar, ☏ , toll-free: 0800 8000-386.
- Primera Plus, Blvd. Hilario Medina 222; Col. Killian 1ª sección, ☏ , toll-free: 0800 375-75-87. The major bus line for the region which also include the Coordinados and the Flecha Armarilla lines for travel in the state and to adjacent states.
- Omnibus de Mexico, ☏ , toll-free: 01 800 765-36-66. Also include the Noreste and the Omnibus Plus brands.
- Unebus Guanajuato, (mini-stations/estaciones) Chedraui Poliforum, Mega Centro Max, Puerta del Milenio. State operated bus that connects San Francisco del Rincón, Purísima del Rincón, León, Silao and Guanajuato and from Leon Bajio International Airport to Leon, Guanajuato and San Miguel Allende.
From Guanajuato it's M$62 (Dec 2021) with Unebus and M$95-105 (Dec 2021) with Primera Plus.
Coming from Mexico City, Guadalajara or Querétaro: If you want to take a second-class van to León: Roll&bits has daily rides for about M$200 (May 2022), from Mexico City M$350 (May 2022). Just book your ticket online on their website. The vans have a big trunk for luggage. In Mexico City it departs in front of the "Monument to Gr. Div. Joaquin Amaro" which is at the auditorio and near the bus stop of metro bus line 7 from the city center. In Querétaro the vans of roll&bits stop at La Comer Estadio. In Google Maps the stop is called "Lateral Queretaro-Mexico y Mega Estadio". In March 2022 it was better to pick a seat in the front half of the van because of better A/C.
Uber and Didi are available.
For finding a connection, Moovit is somewhat better than Google Maps, because Moovit shows you the frequency of the buses. You can pay every bus ride with the bus card or in cash. It costs M$12 (Dec 2021).
The buses only stop at bus stops. The non-express buses must be flagged down, and in order to exit the bus, the stop button must be pushed.
The Sistema Integrado de Transporte (SIT) operates a bus rapid transit system named “Optibús”. The route system is divided into four categories:
- Trunk routes: eight main lines that cross the city from end to end. The buses are known as Orugas (caterpillars in Spanish) due to their articulated midsections. The Optibús transit system consists of 52 stations located in the central area of the main avenues of the city.
- Feeder and Auxiliary Routes: urban bus routes that have one or more transfer stations. Are identified by the letter A (Feeder route/yellow decals) or X (Auxiliary route/blue decals).
- Conventional Routes circulate through most of the city and are distinguished by having the corporative colors from its owners: orange, red, pink, purple and green.
- Suburban Routes: routes are circulating outside or on the city edge communities as Comanjilla, Duarte, Loza de los Padres, La Hacienda.
There are three permanent transfer stations (San Jeronimo, Delta de Jerez and San Juan Bosco), two micro-stations (Santa Rita - Parque Juarez), which are the endpoints for trunk routes, feeder routes and auxiliary routes. Passengers at these stations are allowed to transfer without cost from any of these lines.
The city's bicycle paths are extensive. Leon is one of the most bicycle-friendly large cities in Latin America and has an extraordinary track record in active transport, keeping the biking and walking share above 39% of the total trips, one of the highest values in Latin American cities.
Near León you can find the archaeological zone of Ibarilla, of Tarasco-Chupicuaro origin.
- 1 Catedral Basílica de León (Catedral Metropolitana de León), Álvaro Obregón s/n, ☏ . M-Sa 10:00-14:00, 17:00-19:00; Su 10:00-14:00. This cathedral dates back to 1975 and has interior chapels and a baroque-style facade. The Virgin of Light, patron saint of León since 1849 is worshipped here.
- 2 Our Lady of Angeles Church (Templo de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles), Calle 20 de Enero 237, ☏ . This church was built at the end of the 18th century and is churrigueresque in design.
- 3 Martyrs Square (Plaza de los Mártires). The name of this square commemorates a local power struggle between different political factions which took place in 1946. The square is surrounded on three sides by beautiful neoclassic archways.
- 4 Triumphal Arch (Arco de la Calzada de los Héroes). Built in 1893 to commemorate the 83rd anniversary of the Mexican Independence. The centerpiece of this neoclassic arch is a bronze lion which was donated by local bullfighter Antonio Valdez.
- 5 San Juan de Dios Church and Garden (Templo y Jardin San Juan de Dios). This age-old romantic spot is regularly visited by local residents.
- Botanic Gardens (Jardín Botánico Leones). The gardens contain a variety of plants, orchid garden, greenhouse and orchards.
- 6 Explora Science Center Museum (Explora Centro de Ciencias), Francisco Villa 202, ☏ . M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa Su and holidays 10:00-19:00. This interactive science center and park is 9,500 m², and contains four large halls (Man, Water, Communication and Movement), IMAX theater science classroom, workshops and temporary exhibits.
- 7 Museum of Art and History (Museo de Arte e Historia de Guanajuato), Calz de Los Niños Heroes 908 (Vasco de Quiroga), ☏ , email@example.com. Tu-F 10-17:00, Sa-Su 11:00-19:00. Opened in 2008, this museum is dedicated to the history of the state of Guanajuato, and hosts rotating temporary exhibits. free for students and teachers.
- 8 Museum of the City of León (Museo de la Ciudad de León), Hermanos Aldama 136, ☏ . Tu-F 09:00-14:30, 17:00-19:30; Sa Su 10:00-14:00. Devoted to the history of the city of León.
- 9 [dead link] Museum of Religious Art (Museo de Arte Sacro), Calle Hidalgo (behind the cathedral), ☏ . Tu-F 10:00-14:00, 16:00-18:30; Sa 10:00-18:30; Su 10:00-14:00.
- 10 Bullfighting Museum (Museo Panteón Taurino), Calzada de los Heroes 404 (Universitario De La Salle), ☏ . This restaurant and bar is distinguished by is tables which are the headstones of bullfighter who died in the bullring. It is considered a museum as it contains a large collection of bullfighting history and memorabilia.
While this is not a capital city, so there is enough to do such as catching a game of their two professional baseball teams, their top-flight soccer team and a nascent professional basketball team.
- 1 Metropolitan Park (Parque Metropolitano). Daily 06:00-20:00. Over 260 hectares for recreation, sports and enjoying nature. The park has a pier, bicycle paths, train, rose garden, orchards, vegetable gardens, picnic tables and camp grounds. Also available are bicycle and boat rentals along with children's games.
- 2 León Zoo (Parque Zoológico de León), Camino a Ibarrilla, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 09:00-17:00. Over 2,000 animals are on display in this attractive park, such as polar bears, panthers, pumas, tigers and lions. There is also a lake with aquatic birds an a miniature train ride. M$44 (adults), M$30 (children).
- [formerly dead link] World Rally Championship, ☏ , email@example.com. Annually in March. León and nearby Guanajuato host the Mexican round of the World Rally Championship.
- International Balloon Festival (International Festival de Balloons de León), Metropolitan Park, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A three-day festival held annually in November, featuring balloon rides, food, and musical entertainment.
- Bowl Leon: This bowling alley also contains a domino room, pool tables, ping pong, foosball and coffee shop.
In the intercity bus station are ATMs of Libertad and Caja Popular Mexicana. Both charge just M$17 (Dec 2021) for a withdrawal.
Around the intercity bus station are Oxxo's, a Circle K and some minimarkets.
León is known as 'the shoe capital of the world', and is a great place for discounted top footwear. Every major brand from Nike to Steve Madden shoes is outsourced to León. There are lots of cheap places to buy shoes and leather in general, some outlets on the sides of the manufacturers.
Just walk north-west from the intercity bus station and you will immediately see a lot of local shoe stores.
- 1 Plaza del Zapato, Hilario Medina 100, ☏ , email@example.com. M-Sa 10:00-20:30, Su 10:00-18:00. A large shopping center with a multitude of shoe shops, offering a large range of footwear for all tastes.
- 2 Plaza Piel, Hilario Medina 101 (across from Plaza del Zapato), ☏ . Another shopping center, with shops selling locally-made leather goods.
- [formerly dead link] SAPICA (Salón de la Piel y del Calzado), Boulevard Adolfo López Mateos 3401, ☏ , toll-free: . A bi-annual, four-day shoe festival occurring every March/April and August/September.
There is some street food in town.
In the centro
- 1 Tostilocos food stall. Very tasty tostilocos with several ingredients. You can choose between spicy and non-spicy nachos. The price is M$50 (Dec 2021). Open in the evening. It's in the east of the centro, in front of the Triumphal Arch of the Causeway of the Heroes
Around the intercity bus station
- 2 Mexican hot dogs stall. They are tasty and for M$25 (Dec 2021). The stall serves every day from 11:00–19:00. It is right next to the Hotel Terranova in Salina Cruz 112.
- 3 Taqueria Chiras. The quesadillas have a nice cheese and are for M$18 (Dec 2021). Also available are tacos for M$12 and tortas for M$18 (Dec 2021). It's open daily from 8:00–22:30. The food stall is covered on Google Maps.
- 4 Crunchy taco stall. You get five crunchy tacos without meat and with tomatoes, avocado and further ingredients. Say if you don't want it spicy. It's usually open from 8:00–20:00 every day. The stall in front of the address Salina Cruz 111.
- 5 Comida China. Tasty Chinese food. A main dish with two kinds of meat is for M$70 (Dec 2021). A rather small dish with one kind of meat is for M$55 (Dec 2021). It's right next to the MAY fashion store in Blvd. la Luz 1105.
- 6 Quesadilla eatery. You can choose between a variety of ingredients for your quesadilla. The price is M$19 (Dec 2021). It's open daily from 9:00–14:00.
- 7 El Carnal. It is popular among the locals. Open daily from 9:00-18:00. Offered are (prices as of Dec 2021):tacos – M$13quesadillas – M$18quesadillas doubles – M$22quesitortas – M$25tortas – M$22
- 8 Aromas Restaurante, Av Cerro Gordo del Campestre 1101, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 14:00-23:00, F Sa 14:00-01:00, Su 14:00-18:00. Temporarily closed as of Dec 2021. Great food, great wine, great people.
- 9 Frascati León, Avenida Cerro Gordo 201a (El Campestre), ☏ . M-Sa 14:00-23:00. A popular Italian restaurant.
in the city center:
around the bus station:
There are private rooms in very good rated hotels where both the stadium and the intercity bus station are. Prices are around M$300-400 (Dec 2021). For example:
- 1 Hotel D' Reyes, Blvd. Hilario Medina 505-A, El Coecillo.
- 2 Hotel Kassia Leon, Monte Carlo 405, Killian.
- 3 Habitaciones Montecarlo, Monte Carlo 410, Killian.
- 4 Hotel del Carmen, Blvd. la Luz 1103, Killian, 37260.
- 5 Go Mini Hotel, Hermosillo 330, Killian.
- 6 Hostal la Central, C. Españita 805, Los Gavilanes.
- 7 Hotel Suites Mexico Plaza Campestre (formerly Hotel Mexico Plaza Campestre), Blvd Morelos 1758-2, ☏ , toll-free: 01 800 343 4444, email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: noon. Outdoor pool and gym, with an onsite restaurant. From the hotel to the main city around 20-25 minutes on a cab. M$1,250+ (May 2016).
All of these places have hostels and private rooms:
San Luis Potosí – 180 km
Querétaro – 180 km