San Miguel de Allende the Fascinating City
San Miguel de Allende the city that makes us fall in love at the first moment was named by Travel +Leisure magazine as The Best City in the World in 2017 thanks to its artistic, gastronomic and cultural heritage.
A colonial city with a unique charm, where you can appreciate the old Mexico combined with the modern.
The beauty of its cobbled streets, the warmth of the people, its beautiful architecture and delicious food are some of the reasons for having been named Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2008 and Magic Town in 2002.
My first encounter with San Miguel was a long time ago when I was a child. Now more than ever, I can tell you this is a site you should visit.
I want to share with you the best things to do when visiting San Miguel de Allende.
As in almost any place, the weekends are more folkloric and more visited. My recommendation is to visit it midweek until the weekend to enjoy the two faces of this Magic Town.
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Where is and how to get to San Miguel de Allende City
It is located in the beautiful state of Guanajuato, just 1 hour from Guanajuato City.
The easiest way to visit San Miguel is from Mexico City. The trip lasts about 3 and a half hours, but the buses are comfortable and you can watch a movie in the meantime. Buses leave from the North Bus Terminal very close to the airport in Mexico City.
If you are already in Guanajuato City, just take a bus and in only 1 hour you’ll be in San Miguel.
What to do in San Miguel de Allende
In the most beautiful city in the world, there are definitely diverse things to do, I want to share with you my favorites.
Visit Guanajuato City
Of course, the best activity to do is combine these two fascinating cities, my recommendation is to spend a few days on each one, but if you can’t, easily get a one-day tour that takes you to visit the other city.
Parish Church of San Miguel Arcangel
The representative landmark of San Miguel de Allende is, without a doubt, the magnificent Parish Church of San Miguel Arcangel.
The tallest building in the city, Neo-Gothic style and built with beautiful pink quarry makes this Parish something to admire. By day you can appreciate the remarkable details, but you can’t miss it at night, it’s even more spectacular.
The original Parish was built in the 16th century but collapsed and was built again in the 18th century, taking inspiration on the European Gothic architecture.
As I said you can not miss the opportunity to visit it again at night, the lighting makes it look very different and even more charming.
Walkthrough the park in front of the Parish or enjoy a delicious dinner in one of the cafes around, with a great view!
Fascinating inside and outside the Parish, admission is free and you can not miss the great organ inside brought from Germany.
It is currently one of the most photographed churches in Mexico.
Walking through San Miguel
Of course, the best way to discover this city is through its magnificent cobbled streets. Feel free to walk everywhere, in each street, you’ll find beautiful facades and different shades of old and colonial Mexico mixed beautifully with modern Mexico.
In my walk through San Miguel, I found the craft market, delicious street food, art galleries, amazing places to photograph and most important for me the authentic life of this city.
You can take a bus tour that shows you the most important sites, but for me, it’s better to discover places walking.
Atotonilco Sanctuary near to San Miguel de Allende City
It is a baroque style temple founded in 1740 and also designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is an extraordinary work because the walls and ceilings of the interior are almost completely covered with murals.
It’s located only 15 minutes outside of San Miguel de Allende, at the small town of Atototnilco. It is colloquially called The Mexican Sistine Chapel.
Most of the work was done by Antonio Martinez de Pocasangre. Because of the details, it took him almost 30 years to finish it!
Chapel of Jimmy Ray and Casa de las Ranas
For me, it is a place that reflects the folklore of Mexico in the eyes of a foreigner.
The house of the frogs (Casa de las Ranas) is a house-museum created by two artists. One of them, Anado Mclauchlin does the tour, only in English. Imagine a house and patio decorated with a lot of colors, unique style, and a design that makes you feel in a surrealist painting.
The fee is around 200 pesos, it worth the visit if you are in San Miguel.
Immaculate Conception Church (The Nuns)
A beautiful convent founded in 1775 by a young nun who invested her inheritance. Today is part of the National Institute of Fine Arts.
Admire its galleries, museum and the amazing dome inspired on Les Invalides in Paris.
House of Ignacio Allende
At that historic building was born and raised one of the most important heroes of the Independence of Mexico. It began its construction in 1760, and at the end of 1810, the viceregal government confiscated the house.
The beautiful property with amazing Independence history became a museum in 1990. It is a very interesting museum and building that you can not miss in San Miguel.
Fabrica La Aurora
Another place you should visit in San Miguel is Fabrica la Aurora, nowadays it is an Art Center, located in an old textile factory.
It is a wonderful place if you like paintings, antiques, sculptures, books and more.
A unique place that mixes the old and the work of new artists. Also, I recommend that you plan your visit with time to eat something in the place or at least have a coffee, I’m sure you’ll love it.
Mexican Toy Museum
An incredible place to visit with your family, children will love it! In this museum, you can discover the creativity and colorful Mexican Toys.
Handmade toys that become a wonderful artwork, manufactured with different materials such as wood, metal, mud, fabric, etc.
Dolls, trains, Mexican wrestlers, Ferris wheel, carousel and a wonderful variety of beautiful old toys.
Where to stay in San Miguel de Allende
What do you prefer? Boutique Hostels, B&B, Fancy hotels, and Spa, you can find all options and a lot of prices.
If you are looking for something very special the Rosewood Hotel is a great choice, with an amazing view of the city, restaurants, spa, excursions and more.
Some of the hotels have Hot Springs in its facilities, restaurants with great views of the city, luxury suites or just clean and simple rooms to spend the night.
Where to eat in San Miguel de Allende City
I love to try on different places, the market, street food, small cafes and why not a fancy style restaurant. The market is full of delicious Mexican food low-priced.
Hecho en Mexico is an expert in Mexican food at good prices.
Aperi Restaurant it’s a great option if you are looking for a pleasant evening in a stylish restaurant. Here you’ll find a small boutique hotel and spa.
There is a win everywhere! The food in San Miguel is delicious and varied, and you can also experience a Food Tour.
Adventure activities in San Miguel
Hot Air Balloon Ride
I promise if you visit San Miguel de Allende, you will have an unforgettable experience!