So last month, I finally made it to San Miguel de Allende. I have been wanting to go to San Miguel since I found out about it during my first trip to Mexico. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I absolutely loved our time here. While I do not think it is an authentic representation of Mexico, I do suggest visiting this adorable town. I wanted to share all the knowledge with you so that your trip here can be as easy as possible.
Basic information about San Miguel
San Miguel de Allende is tiny, even smaller than I expected. Usually, you will get around walking to all places, and everything is close by. I suggest getting your accommodation in the city center so that you can take advantage of that. Some public buses are running throughout the city, but we did not have any need for them.
Also, be aware that compared to the rest of Mexico, expect the Riviera Maya, San Miguel de Allende is very expensive. We paid almost European prices for food, which was very surprising. The portions very also quite large, but still.
How to get here
There are two main ways to get to San Miguel de Allende. You can fly to a closeby airport and take a bus or taxi from there. This may be a but costly and there are only a few destinations to fly to.
The other popular option is to come by bus. There are buses four times a day from Mexico City. The trip takes four hours and is very comfortable. The buses are very luxurious with enough space and services such as personal tv, USB connector, and even water is provided at the beginning of the trip. The bus costs about 520 MX pesos one way, which is the equivalent of about 26 Euros. This is what we did and we were super happy with the service. The bus terminal is also located close by the city center so you can walk or just take a taxi.
Centro Historico de San Miguel de Allende
This is the most well-known part of San Miguel de Allende. There are many pictures online from this city center and it is what makes the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are some beautiful buildings from inside and out, so many sure you spend time walking around here.
If you want more information, you can head to the tourist information or take a free walking tour. We decided to do the latter. There is only one offered here by an American lady who moved to San Miguel de Allende about six years ago. The tour takes about two and a half hours and takes you through most of the old town. She will point out things you would have not noticed alone. We enjoyed the tour and would recommend it. Check here for more information.
Parroquia San Miguel Arcángel
The Parroquia is the symbol of San Miguel de Allende. Most people know it as the Cathedral, but since San Miguel never had a bishop it is not officially a Cathedral. Standing in the main square of the town, you cannot walk by without noticing it. The Parroquia is open for visitors during the day, but please do not disturb mass and be respectful when you go inside.
An interesting fact about this Parroquia is that the famous exterior is actually a false facade. Built by Zeferino Gutiérrez in the 19th century, it is actually covering a 17th century Parroquia. The interior is still the original church so you will feel the difference in size when you enter.
Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez El Nigromante
Just a few steps away from the main square is this cultural center. It was originally built to be a strict convent, but the convent never took off and eventually could no longer support staying there. In the late 18th century and early 19th century, it was an art school where some of the famous artists taught. The school was quickly shut down due to spreading communism.
Currently, it still functions as an art school but also just a space to be creative. There is also a small cafe inside that we did not try but looks adorable. I would recommend visiting this place because it is such an excellent example of the colonial architecture in this region, plus a great photo opportunity.
If you have been traveling in Spanish speaking countries for a bit, you will know that Mirador means viewpoint. There are multiple ones around San Miguel de Allende, but this one is the most popular. From up here, you will have a gorgeous view of the whole city and get a feel from how big it is.
To get up here, you can take the bus, which says Mirador. If you are not sure, ask the driver, "Usted van al Mirador?". He will then tell you yes, or if not, which bus is going there. The other way to get here is to walk. It takes about half an hour and it very easy. Just take the street heading up the hill in front of the Parroquia and walk up until you see a stone church with two towers. Turn right in front of the church and keep walking until you reach the Mirador. The view from up here is spectacular, so I would recommend it.
Luna Rooftop bar - Rosewood
If you are looking for the best Rooftop bar in San Miguel de Allende, this is the one. Located on the roof of the famous Rosewood Hotel, it has a fantastic view of the old town and the Parroquia. They also have amazing cocktails, usually a bit unique but always matching the location perfectly. We enjoyed our time here and would return on a future visit. It is a bit price, as can be expected at a five-star hotel, but I would say it is worth the splurge.
Historic Museum of San Miguel de Allende
This museum is another great example of a typical colonial building. Restored to how it likely looked during the life of Ignacio Allende, it gives a great idea of what life around that time would have looked like. There are explanations in both English and Spanish which is always a plus. You really start to understand the story of the revolution that started in this area and how that was possible.
Serving a local version of tacos, it is one of the best food we had in San Miguel de Allende. Poncho's is located within a food market close to the main square. We had this dish where they put cheese between two tortillas and then put the topping on top. It was delicious, and we had to stop ourselves from returning every night. Also, the atmosphere within the market is charming. Even if this place doesn't suit you, there are about five more that might suit you, so give it a try.
Chapel de Jimmy Ray
One of the places I was very sad we did not get to visit while here was the Chapel of Jimmy Ray. This is one of the most unusual things to do in San Miguel de Allende. This American artist settled here in the 20th century and built his whole house as a piece of art. Today it is a museum, and you can go to visit it but only with an appointment. It is located about 20 minutes outside of the city, but you should have no problem getting a taxi to take you. If you are not sure about it, ask your hotel to organize it for you. If you want to check it out, here is the website.
Those are all my tips for things to do in San Miguel de Allende. I loved our time here and would definitely return. Although the town has become very touristy recently, it still has its charm and beauty. Have you visited it before? I would love to hear from you how you liked it in the comments below or on social media.