Perched in Mexico’s Central Highlands, León offers a long list of activities, from cultural pursuits including impressive art museums to tree-lined parks that attract thousands of revelers each year for the International Hot Air Balloon Festival. Be sure to spend some time relaxing in the city’s open-air plazas and partaking in the area’s flourishing dining scene.
Home to the International Hot Air Balloon Festival—held each November—this family-friendly park features 337 hectares of a natural protected area which 85% of them correspond to the El Palote dam, nourishing the animal and flora wildlife that blooms in the area. Among the 204 different species that can be found are pelicans, Canadian ducks, seagulls, storks and other migrating birds.
In this central plaza, you’ll find the heart of León, as well as the giant Fountain of Lions. Each of the four lions represents a century of León’s history. Enjoy coffee, ice cream, and prime people-watching.
Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, its construction lasted more than 90 years beginning in 1921. With a neo-Gothic architecture, it is one of the largest representations of this style in the country. Its multiple stained glass windows, altars and catacombs are worth visiting. As a curious fact, his bell of more than two tons is not used to call mass and his granite floor was brought from Brazil.
Discover this pedestrian-friendly city just a 45-minute drive away. Guanajuato is renowned for its colonial architecture and narrow alleys, including the Callejón de Beso, which translates to the Alley of the Kiss—so named because the alley is narrow enough that a couple could reach across the balconies and embrace.
Located less than two hours away by car, the town of Dolores Hidalgo is known as the birthplace of Mexican independence in the late 1800s. Delve into Mexico’s storied past with visits to the town’s numerous museums, including the Independence Museum.
San Miguel de Allende
This charming town, roughly two hours away, is popular with expatriates. Stroll the historic downtown area and admire the colonial-era architecture and tree-lined plazas. The city also plays host to a thriving arts and cultural scene, with plenty of stores selling handmade wares and souvenirs.