About the city

Known as the World Footwear Capital, León is a city that masterfully combines the historic with the contemporary, baroque and neoclassical architecture side-by-side with modern and dynamic buildings. Its strategic geographical location puts it in perfect communication with many destinations in Mexico.

It is one of the places with the highest development indexes in the past 10 years and it has been named the “Entrepreneurs’ Bajío” for incubating new businesses and serving as the host for world-class training events and national conventions.

León was founded Jan. 20, 1576. Its territory was inhabited in pre-Hispanic times by different indigenous groups such as the Toltecs, the Cichimecs and the Guamares, among others. The archeological sites of Alfaro and Ibarilla, close to the city of León, bear witness to the oldest settlements in the region, dating to the Preclassical period.

If you wish to know more about León, please visit the official city sites:


Points of interest

Plaza of the Martyrs (Main Plaza)
Previously known as the Plaza of the Constitution. After a lamentable event which took place Jan. 2, 1946, in which several citizens lost their lives when confronting the troops of Gen. Bonifacio Salinas, the plaza received the name it now bears.

León Triumphal Arch
Located in the Calzada de los Héroes (Avenue of the Heroes), the arch was built in 1896 by the engineer Pedro Tejeda. For tourists this is an obligatory stop when they visit the city. A curious fact: the original lion, made of cement, is now found in the city zoo, where it was relocated after being replaced by the current bronze lion in 1958.

Founders’ Plaza
This plaza is one of the principal symbols of the city. It harbors the Fountain of the Lions, installed in 1976 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the city, with each lion representing 100 years of history.

Explora Science Center
This is a space for learning and for family fun. It comprises six themed exhibition halls, an IMAX screen, an auditorium and multi-purpose rooms, among other facilities.

Basilica Cathedral of León
Built in 1765, the cathedral has different architectural styles in its four lateral chapels. From the center the visitor may contemplate the main altar. In 1866 this church was elevated to the status of cathedral.

Expiatory Church
Its construction began in 1921, inspired by Neo-Gothic architecture, and its altars, stained glass and catacombs make it one of the most important tourist attractions in the country. The church is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and each morning the bell of more than two tons is rung in what has become one of the city’s traditions.


A most versatile city, León boasts a great variety of locations for enjoying art, sampling food, having fun and shopping. Its varied spaces have renewed and positioned the city well in different categories.

Theater and Museums

My University Museum, De La Salle University

Guanajuato Art and History Museum

León City Museum

Bicentennial Theater

Manuel Doblado Theater

María Grever Theater

Shopping Centers

Plaza Mayor Shopping Center

La Gran Plaza Shopping Center

Centro Max Shopping Center

Altacia Shopping Center

Plaza del Zapato Shopping Center

Plaza Galerías Shopping Center

Leather and Footwear Zone

Seasonal Events

Due to its location and infrastructure, León has become the host city for festivals and competitions at the national and international levels at different times of the year:

International Balloon Festival (FIG) – This event takes place every November and is the most important of its kind in all Latin America, and the third-biggest in the Americas. It offers the world one of the most beautiful and admired spectacles in Mexico: the flight of some 200 fascinating and colorful hot-air balloons, watched by around 300,000 spectators.

International Cervantes Festival (FIC) – Taking place every October since 1972, the FIC has established itself as the most important multicultural celebration in the Americas. Because of this, artists from all over the word congregate every year to demonstrate the different cultural offerings of each nation.

Guanajuato International Film Festival (GIFF) –This festival has as its objective the strengthening of the film industry through mechanisms that facilitate production, screening Mexican and international cinema. Each year, new talent is presented and homage is rendered to those who have made outstanding contributions to the industry.

Rally Guanajuato Mexico - This is the third date in the World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar. It takes place in the mountains surrounding the cities of León, Guanajuato, Irapuato and Silao during the first days of March, and has been named as one of the top five rallies in the world.

León State Fair – The fair is part of the January Fiestas, which mark the anniversary of the city’s founding. It offers amusement, rides, shows, farm-animal exhibits, and business, industrial and food displays, and is visited by more than 5 million people every year.

Along with these events, there are activities all year round that aim to promote healthy diversion, culture, art and sport.

Emergency numbers

Place Telephone
Emergencies 911
Fire Department 773 53 13
Airport 01 (472) 748 2120
Directory Assistance 040
Red Cross 065
776 1676 / 7762400
Police Headquarters 146 5000
Traffic Police 146 7300
Bus terminal 791 4169 y 774 4983
Médica Campestre Hospital (close to the University) 779 0505
Ángeles Hospital 788 5600
Aranda de la Parra Hospital 779 7100
De La Salle University of the Bajío
Image and Communication Department 710 85 00, ext. 129, 530, 231
General Switchboard 710 85 00