Welcome to my guide on the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende. My name is Dr. Cacinda Maloney and I’m a small town girl from Texas. I worked as a Chiropractor in Phoenix for 22 years before traveling. I had no idea I would become a full-time traveler or photographer at the time.
My website – www.pointsandtravel.com – was kicked off in August of 2012. I was an avid points collector for my family of four and would always use miles and points to get the best value out of airline and hotel partners. So I have been fortunate to pursue this project for the last eight years now.
One amazing place that I visited back in 2012 was San Miguel de Allende. I always remember that it was my favorite city in the world. Now that I have traveled to 93 countries, I can say that for sure! I had the pleasure of visiting San Miguel de Allende recently for their reopening after lockdown.
The San Miguel Tourism Board hired me to do a campaign about San Miguel de Allende’s reopening. I thought to myself that I needed new photos of this city and so I hopped on a plane and headed down to Mexico. I stayed at the lovely Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada hotel.
Top 10 Things To Do in San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is the perfect destination. It has it all: rooftop bars, restaurants, music, dance, the arts, shopping, an expat community, nice locals, lovely churches that dot the city, a gorgeous library and museums. Travelers will love this place because there is so much to see and do.
I wrote an article on my website on why I fell in love with San Miguel de Allende. It includes my round up of the best things to see and do. You can read the article on my blog and see a summary of these experiences below.
1. Learn about the History of San Miguel de Allende
I’ve always been a history buff and you can feel the history of this destination when you walk around the old churches, colonial buildings and historic museums. San Miguel de Allende’s rich history dates back to 1542 when it played a central role in the silver trade coming out of Guanajuato.
2. Admire the Architecture of San Miguel de Allende
The colonial architecture of San Miguel de Allende really speaks to me. One of the most amazing pieces of architecture in the city is the famous pink limestone church called Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel. Just wander through the streets, alleyways, courtyards and admire the beauty on offer.
3. Discover the Marvellous Churches of this City
It seems that on every corner of San Miguel you can find a church or chapel. I counted 42 churches but for sure there are more than that! This is a super religious region of Mexico which has led to many churches being built over the years. Get your camera out and start snapping!
4. Taste the Incredible Local Mexican Food
The food in Mexico is phenomenal and San Miguel de Allende is no different. In recent times, many new restaurants, street food stalls and bustling bars have popped up turning the city into a foodie-heaven! Hotels here have also attracted famous chefs to work as “star” hotel chefs.
I had the most delicious meals during my stay at the Belmond de Sierra Nevada hotel plus many of the great restaurants that I ate at around town.
5. Enjoy a Few Drinks on the Rooftop Bars
6. Shop at the Artisan Boutiques of SMA
San Miguel de Allende is home to countless boutiques and artisans selling everything from hand-made designer clothing to unique pieces of artwork. The food markets and bazaars are also fantastic ways to spend an afternoon eating your way through the city, trying one delicacy to the next.
7. Walk around and Get Lost in the City
The walkability of this city is one of its features. With 24 blocks of alleys and cobblestone paths to explore – there’s never a shortage of things to see on the streets of San Miguel. Make sure you bring some decent walking shoes and don’t be afraid to lose yourself in this wonderful city.
8. Meet the Expat Communities of San Miguel de Allende
One great thing about San Miguel de Allende is not only its rich Mexican culture but also the expat community here which consists of Americans, Canadians and other foreigners. There is a big community of expat writers, artists, store owners, chefs, restaurateurs, etc. who all call this place home.
9. See the Paintings of Patron Saint Miguel
Locals of SMA often display devotional paintings otherwise known as “retablos” in their homes and shops. These paintings are devoted to the Patron Saint Miguel and provide solace for people during difficult times through prayer and worship. Retablos are a popular folk art in Mexico.
10. Experience Dia de los Muertos in SMA
The celebration of life and death is a massive part of Mexican culture. Of course, the most famous example of this is the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. When November rolls around, this celebration is seen everywhere with dress-ups, parades and parties to get involved in.
Need to Know Before you Go
The main tip I would give is to bring walking shoes. You will need them as this is a highly walkable city! Make sure you also bring some joy and happiness when interacting with locals and tourists. Enjoy your stay in San Miguel de Allende. I enjoyed every minute of my time there!