Approximately 300 miles northwest of Mexico City, in the heart of Mexico’s central region, is the city of Aguascalientes—the capital of the state of the same name. The city’s principal attraction is its famous national fair – La Feria de San Marcos – which lasts three weeks and attracts several million visitors every year. Read the Key Attractions section for more details.
Aguascalientes has experienced some of the most rapid commercial and industrial development of any city in Mexico during the last decade. Many large international companies now have factories here, although the colonial center has been well preserved and is well worth a visit.
Besides the hot spring baths on the outskirts of town, and the fabulous colonial architecture still visible in the colonial center of the city, Aguascalientes also offers visitors a selection of parks, museums, a famous art gallery and modern shopping facilities.
Textiles is one of Aguascalientes’ main industries. As a result, many of the shops here sell an excellent assortment of locally made textile goods, ranging from placemats to curtains.
Although this city is not often billed as a tourist center, Aguascalientes is well worth a visit when you’re traveling in this part of the country. Experience Aguascalientes and you’ll witness the emerging face of Mexico: where an old colonial town atmosphere meets a modern, but comfortable and easy-going city undergoing rapid and positive change.
The center of the city has been excellently preserved and has a great colonial feel and atmosphere about it. The Cathedral in the middle of town is a classic piece of colonial architecture, more so because the second bell tower (the one on the right as you face the Cathedral from the front) is actually a complete modern restoration of the original bell tower.
Don’t miss the Plaza de Toros (Bull Ring) – even if you don’t like bullfighting—the architecture is impressive and a good example of how modern colonial architecture can be blended in with the original works dating back hundreds of years.
The Palacio de Gobierno – (Government Palace) is where the local Governor’s office resides and is also an impressive piece of architecture, inside and out. It’s open to the public.
Jardin de San Marcos (St Mark’s Garden) is a popular park with locals and visitors alike—the four arches at each corner of the park welcome visitors to experience its green and relaxing atmosphere.
Museums & Art
The most famous museum is the one dedicated to José Guadalupe Posada, a man who was born and lived in Aguascalientes and who is credited as the “founder of Modern Mexican art.” The museum hosts a whole collection of his work as well as temporary exhibitions featuring other Mexican artists.
Other museums, featuring art and the history in Aguascalientes include: Museo Regional de Historia (History Museum), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Contemporary Art Museum), Museo de Aguascalientes (Featuring art from Saturnino Heran) and the Templo de San Antonio (Refugio Reyes’ Architecture).
Most people who come to visit Aguascalientes will come during the festival period of Feria de San Marcos (St. Mark’s Fair). Exact dates vary each year but usually start around mid-April and end three (or some years, four) weeks later. At this time of year, hotels are packed, parties go on forever and the whole city buzzes with excitement. Local schools close for some of the period, and some local offices and factories also have holidays to celebrate.
The fair attracts around a million visitors a year, making it the largest fair in Mexico. The people come to see commercial and industrial exhibitions, bull-fights, concerts, rodeos, and to gamble at the fair’s temporary casino. Gambling is currently illegal throughout Mexico, but the Feria de San Marcos opens a ‘specially licensed’ casino at the fair, where you can try your luck on the roulette wheel or test your Blackjack skills.
Other cultural events including art, theatre and dance are all prominent. There is also a funfair with mechanical rides; traditional food and drink is available everywhere, and parties go on throughout the night!
Details of the programs scheduled for the fair are available from the local tourist office, see Practical Information, below.
See Blog: Feria de San Marcos, Aguascalientes
By Air – You can fly to Aguascalientes from Dallas in the USA and other points in Mexico including Mexico City and Monterrey. The airport is situated about a 45 minute drive from the center of Aguascalientes on the south side of the city. For detailed information about flights and flying, see the Mexperience guide to Air Travel in Mexico.
By Bus – You can travel to Aguascalientes on a luxury bus from Mexico City— the trip takes 6 hours. An overnight bus runs from Mexico City to Aguascalientes, leaving at around midnight, and arriving in Aguascalientes at 6 am, in time to enjoy the day there. For detailed information about bus transportation read the Mexperience guide to Bus Travel in Mexico.
By Car – Driving to Aguascalientes is very fast and efficient using the many high-speed roads that connect this region. See additional information about Driving in Mexico and Mexico’s Toll Roads on Mexperience.
Car Rental – To explore Mexico’s colonial towns and cities, consider renting a car for your visit. Having your own car will give you more flexibility than using public transport options and, in some cases, offer you access to places which are otherwise difficult to visit without the use of a car. Read our guide to Car Rental in Mexico to learn what you need to know about car rental in Mexico and connect to the Mexperience Travel Center to reserve your Rental Car.
Taxis – Taxis in Aguascalientes now have taxi meters; they are economical and very good value for money. Taxi travel is very affordable in Mexico, in comparison to the USA, Canada and Europe, and so provides a viable means of public transportation in Mexico. Your hotel can arrange taxis for you; some post their rates on a board in the lobby; taxi hotel rates are usually higher than cabs you hail off the street. If you speak Spanish, you will have a distinct advantage in your negotiations with local taxi drivers. For detailed information, read the Mexperience guide to Taxi Travel in Mexico.
Telephone: Connect to the guide about Communications in Mexico on Mexperience for detailed information about keeping in touch and the latest table of national dialing codes.
Exchanging Currency: Banks with ATM machines can be found throughout the downtown area of Aguascalientes. During business hours, they and the local Casas de Cambio will buy traveler’s cheques and cash from you as well. For detailed information about exchanging and managing your money, read the Mexperience guide to Money in Mexico.
Travel Insurance: We recommend that you are adequately covered with travel medical insurance and/or travel assistance insurance when you are visiting Mexico. Read the Mexperience guide to Travel Insurance in Mexico for full details and links to specialist insurance suppliers.
Internet Access: Internet cafes can be easily found in towns and cities across Mexico and WiFi is increasingly commonplace–from cafes, shops, hotels, and some cities even offer free WiFi in some defined public spaces.
The Feria de San Marcos – Mexico’s biggest festival, with over 1 million visitors each year. The festival begins around the 3rd week of April each year and lasts for 22 days: This is Aguascalientes’ busiest time— an important event for the city, the state of Aguascalientes, and Mexico! See Feria de San Marcos in Key Attractions above for more information.
Aguascalientes enjoys year-round, hot & dry weather. The climate is ideal for taking part in a variety of outdoor sports and activities and for taking in the local culture, architecture and scenery. Rain is seldom a feature here; when the rains do come they tend to be during the months of May thru November, but as with most monsoon areas, rains tend to be fierce and brief in the late afternoon, leaving the evenings dry and cooled off.
Weather & Climates in Mexico
Learn more about the weather and climates through the seasons and regions by connecting to the Mexperience guide about Weather and Climates in Mexico
Mexico in your inbox
Our free newsletter about Mexico brings you a monthly round-up of recently published stories and opportunities, as well as gems from our archives.