capital of the state San Luis Potosí, Mexico
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North America > Mexico > Bajío > San Luis Potosi (state) > Centro > San Luis Potosi

San Luis Potosí is state capital of the San Luis Potosí state in the Bajío in Mexico. Its position along the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, one of the "royal" roads that led all the way up to Santa Fe, New Mexico, has given the city UNESCO World Heritage status. The city has colonial architecture, churches, government buildings, modern museums and attractions to explore.

Understand

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Plaza de San Francisco

San Luis Potosi's name is derived from the combination of its patron saint, Louis IX of France, and Potosi, in reference to the silver city of Bolivia, because of San Luis Potosi's own silver lode in nearby Cerro de San Pedro. It was founded in 1592 by Miguel Caldera and the conquistador Juan Onate, after the Spanish crown gave the indigenous peoples like the Otomi and Chichimeca the boot (after about 100 years).

SLP briefly served as capital of the country under Benito Juarez during the French invasion in 1863. Then it also featured as the place where Mexico's revolution against its dictator Porfirio Diaz began in 1910, after Diaz's opponent Francisco Madero fled imprisonment and called on Mexican statesmen to take up arms.

SLP sits on a high plain at around 1864 m, so be prepared for a little nip in the air on winter evenings. It isn't even unheard-of for some snow to fall. But the city has colonial architecture, churches and government buildings among others, plus museums and modern day attractions to explore.

For questions ask the official tourist information on their Facebook page. They answer quite quickly.

Talk

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A conversational understanding of Spanish will aid you greatly during your visit, as few SLP citizens will fluently speak English. Indeed, it is a very chic city for learning the Spanish language without being distracted by the English of tourists.

Get in

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By plane

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San Luis Potosí has a small airport with a handful of routes. If you can't find a direct flight, consider flying to a nearby city and taking an intercity bus to San Luis Potosi. Nearby cities within several hours by bus include Querétaro, León, Aguascalientes, and possibly even Mexico City.

  • 1 Aeropuerto de San Luis Potosí (SLP  IATA). A small, compact airport with just two gates: they have a limited range of commercial scheduled flights. From the U.S., direct flights are available on American from Dallas and United from Houston. Non-stop flights are also available to Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara.

By carpooling

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There are shared rides offered on Blablacar, which are about 30-50% cheaper than intercity buses.

Some examples with the approximate price (as of March 2022):
• Querétaro: M$180
• León: M$160
• Guanajuato: M$160
• Zacatecas: M$170
• Ciudad Valles: M$250
• Aguascalientes: M$150

By bus

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The 2 Bus station (Terminal Terrestre Potosína) is fairly large with frequent service to major destinations, including Mexico City to the south and Monterrey to the north, both about 5 hours away. Inside the bus station is a Banorte ATM opposite of the taxi counter. There is a 1 local simple restaurant right next to the entrance of Building B (Edificio B). It offers a main dish for M$75 (March 2022).

Several buses per day make the trip from Monterrey. Executive class tickets departing Central de Autobuses in Monterrey to Terminal SLP cost from M$800 to M$900 (August 2022) on lines like Grupo Senda, Omnibus de Mexico, or Futura Plus. Other options cost less, for example:

  • Apolo Platinum for M$400 (March 2022). This first-class bus departs in Monterrey near the bus station, next to the Hotel Salvador. The departures are at 10am and in the evening. Ask the bus company on whatsapp (+525565788344) for the 10am departure if it's not shown on the website. The 3 Apolo Platinum bus terminal is near the central bus station next to Hotel Sand's.
  • An alternative is the second class bus Touristica Riveria for M$450 (March 2022) with A/C. It departs from Monterrey at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm daily near the central bus station at Hotel Victoria. In San Luis Potosí the buses arrive around midnight near the bus station at Hotel Real de Minas.

Primera Plus[dead link] is a first-class bus line that operates services to SLP from Aeropuerto Mexico, Celaya, Cuautitlan, Guadalajara, Irapuato, La Penita, La Piedad, Lagos De Moreno, León, Mexico City (terminal norte), Mexico Observatorio, Morelia, Moroleon, Puerto Vallarta, Queretaro, San Juan De Los Lagos, Silao, Tapotzoltan, Toluca, Uruapan, Zamora de Hidalgo and Zapopan (western Guadalajara).

Overnight buses leave Austin, San Antonio or Laredo each night. They arrive in SLP around lunch time the next day. Most popular international line would be Grupo Senda/ Turimex -- a 5-minute cab ride from Austin Airport.

From the bus terminals to the center

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Both the bus station and the Apolo Platinum Terminal are 2.5 km (1.6 mi) from the center, so you will need to catch a taxi or city bus to the center. From both terminals any bus marked 'Centro' or 'Alamada' will take you there. The yellow buses bring you to the 4 city bus terminal Alameda, in the south-eastern part of the old-town. The price is M$10 (March 2022).

From the central bus station the 5 city buses to the center depart from the other side of the highway in front of the Mobil Diesel. To go there pass the pedestrian bridge. From the Apolo Platinum Terminal the 6 city buses to the center can be flagged down at the street in front of the Brazza y Fogo.

If you take a taxi from the central station buy a ticket from the booth inside the bus station. The price into the historical center is M$73 (March 2022).

Get around

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Map of San Luis Potosi

On foot

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You can get around a great portion of the city on foot.

By public transport

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To go from A to B, Moovit covers the city. Most of the city bus lines are yellow, the other ones are blue (operated by Transporte Tangamanga). Buses must be flaged down at dedicated bus stops. Moovit don't always show the correct position of the bus stops. Have a look where other people wait for the bus or ask a local nearby. Only a few city bus lines go inside the centro historico, others go around it. The price is M$10 (March 2022) and is paid to the driver when entering the bus. The buses operate until 10pm.

By e-hailing

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Uber covers the city.

By taxi

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Taxis are cheap.

By sightseeing tour

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The city has trollies at very inexpensive prices.

 
Map of San Luis Potosi
 
Cathedral in San Luis Potosí

Church buildings

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  • 1 Catedral de San Luis Potosí, José María Morelos y Pavón 620. Possibly one of the foremost known Mexican cathedrals by sight, its construction started in 1670 and was completed in 1730. It has a baroque architectural design not unlike the basilica in Mexico City.  
  • 2 Templo de la Nuestra Senora del Carmen, Manuel José Othón 410, +52 444 812 2878. 18th-century Baroque church with notable paintings.  
  • 3 Templo de San Francisco de Asis, Avenida Universidad 180, +52 444 812 4646. Baroque specimen built around 1692. Its stature before the San Francisco garden foreground can be quite appealing.  

Museums

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  • 4 Museo Federico Silva, Álvaro Obregón 80, +52 444 812 3848. W-M 10:00 - 19:00, closed Tu. Art museum specializing in contemporary sculpture, especially the works of sculptor Federico Silva, who employs cubist techniques with a strong Aztec influence. The museum frequently presents temporary exhibits featuring both Mexican and international artists. M$30 (M$15 for senior citizens and students), Free on Sunday.
  • 5 Museo Nacional de Mascaras, Juan De Villerias 2, +52 444 812 3025. Tu-F 10ː00-17ː45, Sa 10ː00-16ː45, Su 10ː00-14ː30. Museum highlighting regional dance masks and culture from pre-Colombian times to the present.  
  • Museo Regional Potosino, Calle de Galeana con Independencia (next to Templo de San Francisco), +52 444 812 0358. A place to further your knowledge about San Luis Potosi. Also, don't miss Plaza de Aranzazu adjacent.
  • 6 Museo del Ferrocarril "Jesús García Corona", Manuel José Othón 0, +52 444 814 3589. Tu Th Sa Su 11ː00-15ː00; F 09ː00-15ː00; closed M. Train museum.  
  • 7 Museo Laberinto (Labyrinth Museum of Sciences and Arts), Blvd. Antonio Rocha Cordero, +52 444 102 7800. Museum showcasing art, technology, and science exhibits.

Walking streets

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  • 8 Ignacio Zaragoza. It's a pedestrian street nice lightened after sunset. Worth to walk along. There are also many benches along the street.

Theaters

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  • 9 Teatro de la Paz. 1894-ish building that used to be a convent and that has quite a facade, as well as an acoustically-styled interior.  

Cultural centers

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Statues

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  • 11 Caja de Agua. A statue that is the pride of the townspeople, it alludes to how precious water used to be stored and allocated from a nearby spring.
 
Region around San Luis Potosí

Stroll through the Centro Histórico while the sun is fading and you will be able to take amazing photos of the beautiful architecture. During holiday periods (Christmas and Easter) there are twilight light shows in Plaza de Armas and Plaza de los Fundadores. It is a festival atmosphere with lots of people mingling in the plazas and surrounding streets. Stall holders sell colourful balloons and Mexican street snacks like corn-on-the-cob with cheese, butter, salt and lime.

  • 1 Parque Tangamanga I, Av. Dr. Salvador Nava Martinez. It is the city's largest urban park with many attractions: a lake, garden, zoo, water park, planetarium, theater, auditorium, motocross area, model aircraft zone with runways, museum, small castle, park train and a lagoon-type waterfront from which to view the city skyline. From Alameda goes bus line 10 to near the northern entrance. The entry to the park is for free. It's open Tu-Su 6am-10pm, Mondays only in the morning. The whole park is closed, when it's too windy.

Spectator sports

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  • 2 Estadio Alfonso Lastras, Malaquita 1030, Valle Dorado, +52 444 115 5320. Atletico San Luis is a top-tier professional soccer team in the Liga MX. They are 50% owned by and have managerial alliances with Atlético Madrid. The stadium is a modern facility built in 1999 to seat 25,700 fans.

Hiking

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  • 3 Cerro de la Pepsi. It's a 20 min hike uphill to the mountain top. There it's a really nice view over the city. You can easily spot the cathedral. Also you see the whole Parque Tangamanga from above. The 4 trail to Cerro de la Pepsi starts on the Calle Lic Ricardo Diaz de Leon. Use the satellite view of Google Maps, that trail is not shown on OpenStreetMap (for apps like OsmAnd or Mapy.cz). City buses go from the north and west of the center and from Alameda to the nearby Hospital del Niño y la Mujer. At the Hospital is an Oxxo to buy some water for the hike. After finishing the hike, there are some eateries around the Oxxo.
  • 5 Viewpoint of a circular hiking track. On this track you can see cacti, goats, a stream and maybe bovine. From the bus stop to the triangle it's around 30 min hiking. At the triangle is only one tree far and wide. It's near the track to Cerro de la Pepsi, so it starts from the same hospital. This trail is shown on OpenStreetMap. It goes through a neighborhood of simple housing. It made a safe impression, anyway don't show your possessions too openly.

Out of town trips

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  • 6 Mexquitic de Carmona – 20 km. It's a trip to a village in the beautiful mountains. There you can walk over a dam, see a lake, hike to a viewpoint on a mountain, see different cacti, see a church and visit a zoo. It's not touristy at all.
    Coming from the center it's convenient to join a 7 bus to Mexquitic at Jardín de Santiago. For more information have a look into the Get In section of the Mexquitic article. The last buses back to SLP depart at 8pm. At Jardín Santiago check if there is 2 street food in the park. The tacos are delicious and with meat which you may not have tried before.
    In front of the Jardín de Santiago depart city buses frequently back to Alameda.
  • 7 Cerro de San Pedro – 22 km. Also a village in the mountains. Take bus line 39 from Alameda to Zapatilla. From there a taxi for the remaining 4 km.
  • 8 La Joya Honda Crater – 40 km. The only entrance into the crater is on the south western spot. There you can also find a tourist center. To the crater goes a dirt road from the village La Purisima. Or you hike 1 hour from the village Estación Ventura. The hiking path is shown on OpenStreetMap.
    From the SLP bus station (Building B) go the Autobuses Cerritenses through Estación Ventura (on its way to Cerritos). The departures are daily 7:15, 9:00, 13:00, 14:15, 16:30 and 19:00, on Sunday without the departures at 7:15 and 14:15 (March 2022). Estación Ventura lies between SLP and Monterrey, so you can ask if intercity buses like Senda and Frontera stop there as well.
  • 9 Tequila Corralejo / El Palacio de los Espíritus. – 30 km. A Tequilla brewery. Tours are also offered in English. You can taste some Tequilla.

ATMs with low withdrawal fees in the center are:
Caja Popular Mexicana
BanCoppel in the north of the center
BanBajío
Banco Azteca in the electra stores, one is in the south of the center
citibanamex in the middle of the center
Santander in the middle of the center

For buying groceries in the center there are Oxxo, minimarkets (tiendas), the Farmacias Guadalajara, the Mercado Hidalgo and Waldo's around. A bigger choice of bread have the Expendido Bimbo stores. A bigger variety of groceries has the Bodega Aurrera in the north of the center. Somewhat more far away are the large supermarkets Soriana and Chedraui.

Centro Histórico SLP has many shops and markets where you can buy Mexican handicrafts, fresh produce and pretty much anything else.

Start at Plaza de Las Armas and walk north along Miguel Hidalgo. There is pedestrian mall followed by the Mercado Hidalgo.

  • 1 Centro Comercial El Dorado, Av Nereo Rodríguez Barragán 450 (on west side of town). Shopping mall, food court, movie theater.
  • 2 Plaza San Luis, Blvd. Antonio Rocha Cordero # 700 Fracc. Another mall with theater and food court.
  • 3 Citadella, Av. Dr. Salvador Nava Martinez 3125. Movie theater complex with Plaza Tangamanga shopping mall across pista. Pretty chic.
  • 4 Plaza Sendero San Luis. A not too exciting mall out in the southeast 'burbs. Has a theater though also.

San Luis Potosí has many good restaurants in the downtown area. Walk up Venustiano Carranza and you will find many of the city's top culinary gems. One of the entrees the city is uniquely known for is its enchiladas potosinas, which are enchiladas made with ancho peppers and corn dough.

Street Food

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San Luis Potosí has some street-food, either bicycles, small carts, or even trucks.

There is 3 street food every day on the north-western spot of the Alameda park. In Google Maps one of the stalls is shown with its name Antojitos Mexicanos "Doña Mary". Offered are:
• enchiladas potosinas
• tacos rojos
• chalupas
• quesadillas
• flautas
• tostadas
It's typical to order 5 pieces for M$50 altogether (April 2022). Included are potatoes and a salad on your dish. Other offers are:
• pambazos for M$30 (April 2022)
• pollo frito
• gorditas

4 Tamales Oaxaqueños – They are offered in the center in front of the Farmacia Guadalajara Ignacio Zaragoza 515. They cost M$20 (March 2022) and the street cart is there until 9:30pm.

In other parts of the city this street food is typically offered:

  • Gorditas de Horno. Baked version of tamales. These are stuffed with tasty savory fillings and soaked in a hot salsa. Look for the yellow tricycles with a fish tank full of gorditas in the front.
  • Tacos sudados. Tacos prepared very early in the morning are put in big thermal containers to keep them warm and sold for breakfast or lunch. You will see a cloud of people moving around the good places, all of them outside the city center: Benigno Arriaga and 5 Tacos sudados on Av Himno Nacional 2695.
  • Tamales. Imagine corn meal with a savory or sweet filling, wrapped corn husks and steamed. As they are thoroughly cooked and covered, tamales would be a safer choice among meals since no hand would be touching them until the husks are peeled off by the diner and the content consumed.
  • Corn. Either on the cob or loose this is all different from the yellow corn you are used to. Mexican corn is white is not sweet, but has a delicious flavor of its own. You can get it with a combination of the following ingredients: butter, cream, cheese, mayonnaise, lime, powder chili and salt. You can just ask for a recommendation to the seller.

Budget

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In the city center

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  • 6 Tacos Los Alambres, Ignacio Zaragoza 800. Have a look on the menu card. There are more dishes shown than on the signs inside. They offer for example:queso fundidolechuzas for M$50 (April 2022)three gringas for M$60 (April 2022)tacostortasquesadillasan hamburguesa with self made fries for M$50 (April 2022).
  • 7 Antojitos El Picolino. You get delicious burritos for M$12 (March 2022) gorditas, molletes, and a comida corrida for M$80 (March 2022). It's open M-F until 4pm.
  • Comida China. There are some Chinese restaurants. For example 8 Hong Fat, 9 Hong Kong Express or 10 Zhong Shen Express. A main dish with one kind of meat costs M$65-70 (March 2022).
  • 11 Gorditas Doña concha. You get tasty gorditas and burritos for M$10 and tortas from M$15 (March 2022).
  • 12 Tacos El Vaquero. When staying in the south of the center and being hungry for tacos in the evening: This place is for you. It offers four different kinds of meat. Prices are M$12 each (April 2022).

Off downtown

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  • 13 Gorditas de Horno Los Filtros, Calle del Arbol (about number 11, one block away from Gorditas de Morales). Open only on weekends. Arrive early as the queue can be very long at times. These gorditas are thick and cooked in an oven. Different from the ones sold in bicycle stands. This are not served in a bag full of salsa, but they are way softer and richer in flavor (not necessarily spicy).

Mid-range

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  • 14 La Fragua Steak Taco, Several locations (About a mile out from downtown past Hotel Real Plaza on a side street from Carranza), +52 444 8175425. The ultimate taco and beer joint. Lunch, dinner or to soak up the alcohol this place is always great.
  • 15 Gorditas de Morales, Camino a la presa de San Jose (behind Juan H Sanchez Park). This street is packed with about 20 different small restaurants, all with their own version of gorditas, some offer soups and other typical dishes. A rule of thumb is to walk around, take a look and get in the one with more customers. But since the competition is tight, the quality is generally good and you will hardly go wrong making a choice.

Splurge

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  • 16 La Gran Via, Av. Venustiano Carranza 560, Centro Historico, +52 444 812 2899, . Sophisticated elegance with live piano music at lunch and dinner. The menu is heavy on Spanish classic dishes (including an outstanding paella, loaded with seafood and redolent with saffron). They also have a smattering of exciting nouveau Mexican fusions, equally well prepared, and their cream of artichoke soup is a culinary delight.

Drink

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Be sure to find La Calle San Francisco (near the church by the same name) in the city's downtown sector. There are some outstanding cafes and clubs in this area. Look for those with the rooftop locations. They have the charm of brick-covered alleys and spectacular starlit views in the evening. Some also feature live music.

  • Cafe Luna
  • Callejon San Francisco, Universidad 169

Sleep

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Inexpensive independent hotels are mostly downtown. For true budget travellers the area between the cathedral and the Train museum (museo del ferrocarril) has many cheap hotels. For example the basic Hotel Alameda is for M$300 (March 2022).

Budget

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in the city center:

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  • 1 Hotel del Rio, Chicosein 140, +52 444 812 1507. With cable, for a bit of a more raw/organic stay in San Luis Potos
  • 2 Hotel Guadalajara.

around the bus station:

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Mid-range

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Splurge

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Go next

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To get from Alameda to the bus station catch a city bus marked 'Central TTP' running east along Av. Universidad. Or use Moovit to find a connection from any place in town. From the west and north of the historical center (along the street Reforma) go the bus lines 17 and 19 to the central bus station.

Your next destination for staying can be:

To the east

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To the north

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  • Real de Catorce – 210 km. A ghost town and pueblo magico. Due to its distance, it's more convenient to stay there at least one night instead of making just a day-trip. Inside the village are several hotels.
  • Matehuala – 190 km. On the way to Saltillo and Monterrey.
  • Saltillo – 450 km
  • Monterrey – 510 km

To the south

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To the west

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This city travel guide to San Luis Potosi is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.