Aguascalientes is known for its brave bullfighters, fine wines, gentle climate, and relaxed provincial character. Capital of the state bearing the same name, the attractive colonial city of Aguascalientes is today a burgeoning commercial and industrial center. Aguascalientes is Mexico’s second smallest state, yet it enjoys high commercial status, producing a large proportion of Mexico’s high-tech manufacturing output. However, you'll find that Aguascalientes’ rapid growth and urbanization has done nothing to diminish the city’s colonial charm. Chichimec Indian territory, Aguascalientes was later blossomed as a strategic link between Mexico City and the mines of Zacatecas, while prosperous agriculture and ranching helped feed Spain’s emerging New World cities.
If it's your first time in Aguascalientes, the following are a must: a visit to the city's thermal mineral springs, a tour of the surrounding high-quality vineyards, some cultural sightseeing in the historic center, and the city's annual fair – the Feria de San Marcos. Dating back to 1604, this fair is held each April-May and is one of the most representative of Mexico.
However, you'll find that Aguascalientes’ rapid growth and urbanization has done nothing to diminish the city’s colonial charm. Recent restoration efforts have revitalized the city’s many colonial-era structures, so whatever you do in Aguascalientes, don't miss a visit to its stunning historic center. Wide pedestrian arcades span much of the central area, so you can enjoy a truly relaxed afternoon's sightseeing. Aguascalientes dates back to 1575, when it became a Spanish outpost in hostile acting over a million foreign and Mexican visitors. If you're en route between Guadalajara and Zacatecas, you won't be disappointed with a stop-off in Aguascalientes. The city boasts an impressive range of hotels –from the boutique to the modern all-inclusive– so if you're visiting on business or just taking in the city's glorious surroundings, you can do so in comfort and style.
Attractions you won't want to miss while in Aguascalientes include the Plaza De La Patria at the heart of the old city center: extensively remodeled in 1985, this broad, handsome square is dominated by a tall Ionic column built in 1808 by famous architect Manuel Tolsa. On the south side of the square you'll find the Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace), a former mansion with a stunning dark red volcanic stone façade. Walking along its arched interior hallways, take in the colorful murals painted by Chilean artist Oswaldo Barra Cunninghan, a disciple of Diego Rivera. To the west you'll find the magnificent Catedral Basilica (Basilica Cathedral), completed in 1738, and noted for its fanned vaults, gilded Neoclassical altar and priceless paintings by colonial-era artist Miguel Cabrera. Just next to the cathedral, you'll encounter the Teatro Morelos (Morelos Theater), built in 1885 and a showpiece for Victorian architectural style. To the north lies the elegant Palacio Legislativo, formerly a hotel and now the imposing site of the state’s Congress.