Founded in 1576, today's Leon is one of Mexico's top five most populated and most important cities. It abounds in tourist attractions, from archeological sites to cathedrals, museums to city parks, theaters to modern restaurants. Since the early 20th century, Leon has experienced extraordinary industrial growth in leather production, agriculture, and livestock. Its more than 4,000 guest rooms spread among 42 hotel venues in Leon attest to the attraction and industry of this energetic and innovative colonial city.
The Guanajuato International Airport Del Bajio is a 22-mile drive from downtown Leon, with direct flights to 7 international cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.
Among the meeting venues in Leon is the world-class Convention Center Poliforum Leon, which hosts 100 national and international events annually, such as the World Youth Conference in 2010 and the International Tomato Congress. The center has flexible event spaces for 25 to 14,000 people, and 10 hotels within walking distance. The Poliforum offers 484,375 square feet of exhibition space and 55,972 square feet of event halls for conferences, spread out over 165 acres.
Located in central Mexico, in the state of Guanajuato, Leon is a strategic choice as a host city for fairs, expositions, conferences and conventions. Thanks to the state of Guanajuato's excellent highways, Leon is a short drive from the Mexican states of Jalisco, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Michoacan and the State of Mexico. It is less than five hours drive and a short 55-minute flight from Mexico City. A 30-minute drive from Leon is the city of Guanajuato, the state's capital, and a beautiful colonial town declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, perfect for pre- and post-stays, or even a day visit.
Leon is known as the shoe-and-leather capital of the world. In fact, its residents are known as the "Green Bellies," for the green stain of chemicals on their tanners' aprons from preparing the leather!
Before the arrival of the colonizing powers, Leon was inhabited by various indigenous groups, including the Toltecs, Chichimecas, and Guamares. Just outside of Leon, the remains of these ancient civilizations can be explored at archeological sites such as Ibarrilla and Alfaro, both from built in the Pre-Classic Mesoamerican era between 2,000 BC and 200 AD by the Chupicuaro people.
The city of Leon was founded in 1576 as Villa de Leon by the orders of viceroy Martin Enriquez de Almanza with the purpose of creating a defense against the Chichimecas. The city was then appointed "Corregidor" with royal jurisdiction over the surrounding areas. During the War of Independence between 1810 and 1830, Leon suffered many casualties as insurgent troops stormed the city various times to no avail. Until the arrival of Agustin de Iturbide in 1821, Leon remained part of New Spain. It wasn´t until 1825 that the city of Leon finally celebrate the annual Grito de Independencia celebrations, or "Cry of Independence."
Until the 18th century, Leon's main source of income was from agriculture, which was supplanted by shoe-making. During the 20th century, after the Mexico Revolution, Leon experienced continual economic and demographic growth, especially after the mines in the nearby city of Guanajuato were closed in 1928 and many workers migrated to Leon. The shoe-making industry has remained strong; Leon produces 60% of the shoes worn in Mexico.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Leon has an average temperature of 68 °F and approximately 300 days of sunshine every year. The months of December and January are the coldest with an average daytime temperature of 50 °F. Although Leon rarely experiences snow or extremely cold weather, it is recommended to bring jackets and scarves for the winter months and chilly nights. Leon's rainy season begins in June and ends in August, making the days comfortably humid and fresh.
Poliforum Leon Convention and Exhibition Center
Only 15 minutes from the Guanajuato International Airport, the Poliforum Leon is one of Mexico's biggest fairground and conference complexes, with 484,375 square feet of exhibition space and 55,972 square feet of flexible event halls for conferences, accommodating 10 to 14,000 people. Split into two major buildings with 31 flexible event halls, the Poliforum Leon has space for any size or type of event.
Offering world-class products and services, the Poliforum Leon is ISO 9001:2008 certified, meeting the highest rating of the International Organization for Standardization. Located in the city´s hotel and business zone, the convention center is easily accessible by foot from 1,500 guest rooms in the vicinity, and is in the process of developing a hotel within the convention center, the Courtyard by Marriott Poliforum Leon. The convention center offers a variety of services, including equipment rentals, Wi-Fi, 24-hour security, decorations and parking for up to 3,000 vehicles.
Forum Cultural Guanajuato
Guanajuato's Cultural Forum is a 22-acre cultural complex aimed at encouraging the arts, culture, and entertainment. It consists of a series of modern buildings complete with a library, an art and history museum, a theater and academic center. The Wigberto Jimenez Moreno State Library contains 8 event halls that can hold up to 2,400 guests. The Guanajuato Art and History Museum is a 244,878-square-foot complex that organizes a variety of cultural expositions and events, and the theater can accommodates up to 1,500 guests for large presentations.
Salon Haciendas del Refugio
The beautiful Haciendas del Refugio's installations offer a main hall with capacity for up to 800 guests. The Magno hall is divided into two floors with space for up to 1,200 guests with a total of 12,916 square feet of event space. The Hacienda provides banquet and catering services for all types of events.
Guanajuato International Airport Del Bajio (BJX)
Approximate taxi fare: 319 MXN
The Guanajuato International Airport, located 22 miles from downtown Leon, operates 250 flights weekly, and is easily accessible thanks to modern toll roads and four-lane state highways. Supported by 10 different airlines, the airport has direct flights to Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Sacramento, San Jose, Chicago, Oakland, Mexico City, Cancun and Monterrey. The airport has 8 car rental companies, wireless internet, a VIP room, restaurants, banks, and taxi and tourism services.
Leon has a number of taxi providers called "sitio taxis," where a simple phone call brings the taxi to your hotel and can take you wherever you like in the city, and can wait for you if need be. The sitio taxis from Haciendas El Rosario can take only passengers; while the sitio taxis Sotelo can transport large goods and make delivery services.
Guanajuato International Airport has 8 different rental car companies on site, including Hertz, Avis and Alamo. Prices range from $90 to $200 USD for a week's use.
Credit : Leon Oficina de Convenciones y Visitantes A.C.
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