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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.

Get in[edit]

Map of León (Mexico)

By plane[edit]

  • 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: Del Bajío International Airport (Q1431200) on Wikidata Del Bajío International Airport on Wikipedia

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.

By car[edit]

By bus[edit]

  • 2 Bus station (Central de Camiones), Blvd. Hilario Medina 222; Col. Killian 1ª sección C.P.37260 León, Gto, +52 477 763 1243. The station is served by:
  • 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.

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

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 PagoBús is an electronic card system that allows users to streamline their access to stations and bus and save mobuses. There are 2 types of cards: Preferential and General, cost rates with 50 and 15% lower total cost.

By bicycle[edit]

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.


Martyrs Square (Plaza de los Mártires)

Near León you can find the archaeological zone of Ibarillo, of Tarasco-Chupicuaro origin. 23 km east of Leon city you can visit Los Tanques and La Granja Spas.

  • 1 Catedral Basílica de León (Catedral Metropolitana de León), Álvaro Obregón s/n, +52 477 716-1038. 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. Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Light, León (Q5758358) on Wikidata Cathedral of León, Guanajuato on Wikipedia
  • 2 Our Lady of Angeles Church (Templo de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles), Calle 20 de Enero 237, +52 477 713 2048. 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, +52 477 711 6711. 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. (Q24510789) on Wikidata es:Explora Centro de Ciencias on Wikipedia
  • 7 Museum of Art and History (Museo de Arte e Historia de Guanajuato), Calz de Los Niños Heroes 908 (Vasco de Quiroga), +52 477 104 1100, . 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. M$20 (pesos) (adults), free (students/teachers).
  • 8 Museum of the City of León (Museo de la Ciudad de León), Hermanos Aldama 136, +52 477 714 5022. 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), +52 477 713 6076. Tu-F 10:00-14:00, 16:00-18:30; Sa 10:00-18:30; Su 10:00-14:00. M$15 (adults).
  • 10 Bullfighting Museum (Museo Panteón Taurino), Calzada de los Heroes 404 (Universitario De La Salle), +52 477 713 4969. 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.


Hot Air Balloon Festival (Festival del Globo) in the Metropolitan Park)
World Rally Championship

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, +52 477 764 3143, . 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). Zoo León (Q8074054) on Wikidata Zoo León on Wikipedia
  • [formerly dead link] World Rally Championship, +52 55 5259 6904, . 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, +52 477 779 0998, . 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.


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. There are also retail outlets of leather goods that are relatively cheap when compared to Mexico City or Guadalajara.


Street food in el Centro







Stay safe[edit]


Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to León is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.