10 Best Experiences in San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel is a quintessentially Mexican place, where tacos and tamales are standard fare, the midday siesta is still respected, and religious festivals are frequent, ritualistic, and raucous. Yet tradition and modernity are intertwined. Here, the old cobblestone streets are now a mix of cultures and people: the modern art gallery and the antique apothecary, the French bistros and the buzzing taco stands, the young art students and the foreign retirees. And this mix of cultures and their joyous conviviality are precisely what makes the area such a rewarding place to visit, to spend a season, and to become a part of la vida mexicana. Sample from the best of San Miguel de Allende with these top experiences.

street view of the central plaza in San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende’s central jardín is one of the most lively spots in town. Photo © Julie Meade.

1. Go People-Watching in El Jardín

This sun-drenched public plaza is the most popular gathering spot in town. It’s also the best place to start a walking tour of the city’s historic district.

2. Tour Historic Architecture

With their unique Mexican baroque churches and well-preserved colonial-era mansions and haciendas, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and Querétaro are known for some of the most spectacular architecture in Mexico.

3. Shop for Art and Craftwork

With a range of shops specializing in everything from traditional Mexican crafts to contemporary design, as well as a slew of artist-run galleries, San Miguel de Allende is the ultimate shopping destination.

people soaking in hot springs
Bathers in the warm pools of La Gruta. Photo © Julie Meade.

4. Soak in the Hot Springs

Spend a day soaking in the clear natural hot springs outside San Miguel de Allende; many believe the water has healing properties.

5. Celebrate the Visual Arts

San Miguel de Allende’s enthusiastic art scene is cozy, fun, and inclusive, celebrating local artists without the pretension of a big city.

6. Attend the Festival Internacional Cervantino

Every October, Guanajuato hosts Mexico’s largest and most prestigious performing arts festival, with a bonanza of performances held in the Teatro Juarez and other venues across the city.

pyramid of canada de la virgen
Though it has been damanged over time, the pyramid at the Cañada de la Virgen archeological site remains impressive. Photo © Julie Meade.

7. Take an Excursion to the Countryside

Experience the Bajío’s countryside on horseback or a guided tour to the Cañada de la Virgen archaeological site and nature preserve.

8. See the Echoes of Independence

Some of the most famous moments in the Mexican war for independence from Spain took place here. Visiting the region’s historic sites provides an engaging look at this important era in Mexican history.

9. Go Off the Grid

Retreats like LifePath Center are just one of the many ways to relax, learn, and spend some time off the grid in San Miguel.

10. Savor Regional Cuisine

Mexico is one of the world’s top food destinations. Sample the Bajío’s local specialties, eat at one of San Miguel’s top restaurants, or take a cooking class to immerse yourself in this burgeoning culinary scene.

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