All we can say is WOW to our discovery of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico’s Guanajuato state. The entire city is incredibly beautiful and even looking at just photos will make you want to go.
It’s no wonder why it was named the best city in the world in 2017 by Business Insider as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site. With plenty of things to do in San Miguel de Allende, streets to explore, art to discover, and beauty around every cover you will want to stop what you’re doing and book your next vacation here.
Besides being mind-blowingly beautiful, check out our picks for best things to do in San Miguel de Allende.
What to Do in San Miguel de Allende
Stroll the Streets
One of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende and to get a feel for this amazing city is to just stroll the cobblestone streets. With beautifully painted colorful homes adorned with flowers, flower pots, vines, and cactuses you can’t help but feel awestruck or feel all the feels while just wandering down each and every nook and cranny here.
From the different streets, you will see different vantage points of the massive and impressive cathedrals and buildings that make up this historical and unique Baroque and Neoclassical architecture and skyline.
While we were strolling the streets we both just kept saying how much we loved it here. Again, it’s no wonder why so many travel publications claim that San Miguel de Allende is the best.
Find All the Street Art
Upon arriving to San Miguel de Allende you can’t help but notice that there are murals everywhere. We mean EVERYWHERE! If you enjoy seeing walls splashed with artistic designs and bright colors you’re going to find street art hunting to be one of the top things to do in San Miguel de Allende.
Not here. You will find entire blocks with walls covered from top to bottom with some of the most amazing murals.
We only found one politically charged mural that had President Trump, but most others were just gorgeous designs and artwork by local artists. You can tell this community really cares about art and culture, and it really adds to the entire character of this lovely and aesthetically charming city.
Find a great Vantage Point
To really appreciate how beautiful San Miguel de Allende is you will want to find an elevated viewpoint to look down at the city. There are several different places where you can find a good vantage point. This was one of our favorite things to do in San Miguel de Allende during our two days of exploring.
Besides getting a little extra exercise to climb up the hills, we also got to see some of the most beautiful and finest properties in the city as well as the rewarding view at the top.
We enjoyed the view from the El Mirador Viewpoint. Besides seeing an incredible view of San Miguel de Allende we also enjoyed bird watching from up here.
For an ultimate viewpoint of San Miguel de Allende try out an early morning hot air balloon ride!
Visit the Church of St. Michael the Archangel
The centerpiece and focal point and one of the best things to do in San Miguel Allende is the unmissable church.
La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel or the Church of St. Michael the Archangel is as impressive as it is massive. This is arguably the most photogenic spot in the city inside and out. You are able to stroll inside the church as long as a mass isn’t going on, however, you can’t take photos inside so you will have to have a photographic memory to remember the gorgeous detail on the interior.
The Neo-Gothic 17th-century structure is one of most photographed churches in the country and once you cast your eyes on it you can understand why. Enjoy the view from the well-manicured garden in the plaza directly in front of the church that looks almost like an ornate pinkish orange cake!
Find the best rooftop restaurants in San Miguel de Allende
One of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende is to enjoy a drink of meal with a view from one of their many rooftop restaurants. You can enjoy a rooftop terrace in town directly next to the Church of St. Michael the Archangel or get out of the heart of the city a bit for rooftop that has a vantage point of the entire historic skyline.
For central rooftop restaurants in the heart of the city, we recommend Mama Mia restaurant. This restaurant serves up tasty pizza and refreshingly tasty pitchers of mint margaritas.
Another great spot is Atrio, this place is more of an upper scale spot but is located directly next to the Church of St. Michael the Archangel giving you an incredible up-close vantage point.
Quince is another upper scale rooftop terrace located directly next to the church. Besides being a swanky spot to dine with an incredible location, there are several shops, galleries, and another bar in the courtyard of this building. It’s even worth a peek or some window shopping to admire all the local artists.
Our last suggestion for a rooftop terrace near the heart of the center of San Miguel de Allende is Cielo. You can see this rooftop terrace directly from the plaza in front of the church with its tvs airing sports. This is the perfect spot for a drink and appetizer for sunset.
If you want to leave the city a bit and enjoy a view of the entire city skyline head over to Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar or Rosewood San Miguel de Allende for an unbelievable view.
When visiting you will notice the large number of older expats and foreigners who reside here. That’s because one of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende is to retire here. There was a huge boom in foreigners who moved here in the late 1980s – the 90s who bought up property here and have lived here since.
You will see premium real estate agencies like Christies and Sothebys advertising new listings that value all the way up to $15 million!
Many of the foreign residents who now call San Miguel de Allende are retirees from the US, Canada, and Europe. What makes San Miguel de Allende so attractive would be the mild climate and low crime rate. And unless you are going all out and buying a multi-million dollar home, the cost of living is reasonably cheaper here than in their home country.
Take Care of Your Medical Needs Here
For US citizens, it’s much easier and affordable to get anything medical here for a fraction of the price.
One of the best things in San Miguel de Allende I did was stock up on my birth control. I can imagine how easy and accessible it must be for older folks to get their hands on their prescriptions here judged by the ease of my experience.
There are currently between 5,000 to 8,000 foreign expats currently living here with at least half of them coming from the United States. So, if you’re looking for an incredible place to retire, be sure to look into San Miguel de Allende.
Hit Up the Hot Springs
Besides enjoying the vibrant and cultural city center, one of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende is to experience the local hot springs just a 10-minute drive out of the city center.
The two hot spring centers that are most popular are La Gruta and Escondido Place.
La Gruta is supposed to be best in the winter months because their springs have hotter temperatures. However, Escondido Place is said to have better facilities and more hot spring caves, yes caves and they look amazing, but the water temperature isn’t as warm so you may not enjoy it as much in the cooler months. We were told to enjoy Escondido Place during the summer months.
We sadly skipped this on our trip but will make sure we do not miss them on our next visit.
Check out the adorable hotels
San Miguel de Allende is filled with adorable hotels and B&Bs scattered throughout the city (check our favorites below). As you’re wandering the streets you will notice the adorable courtyards and many of them will let you come in and take a peek even if you’re not staying there.
We ended up finding this was one of the best ways to find great photo locations! And of course, one of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende is to admire and photograph all the stunning architecture, details, and art.
How to Get to San Miguel de Allende
From Mexico City, go to the bus terminal Autobuses del Norte. From here you can book any of the bus companies and check their times for San Miguel de Allende.
We recommend using either ETN or Primera Plus bus companies. These buses are just as nice as flying first class and make your 4-hour journey a breeze. There are snacks and a drink included in your ticket as well as individual TVs, reclining chairs, and a headset all for around $25ish dollars!
Take the headache out of travel so when you arrive you can enjoy the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende.
Where to Stay in San Miguel De Allende
$ Hostel Inn
You can’t beat the location and price of Hostel Inn. The city center is about a 10 minute walk and people who stayed here loved the rooms. A bonus would be even though this price sounds too good to be true, they also provide free breakfast in the mornings.
$$ Casa Mexicana San Miguel Hotel Boutique B&B
Located down an adorable alley near the center of San Miguel de Allende, Casa Mexicana San Miguel Hotel Boutique B&B is a great mid range choice. You’ll get to enjoy the local flare and charm in each room. With an adorable picturesque courtyard and cozy rooms you can’t go wrong here.
$$$ Clandestino Hotel
The Clandestino Hotel is the perfect location if you’re looking for an amazing view of the city center. We already said that getting a view is one of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende and you can get a great one here from the terrace of the hotel. The rooms are cozy and this is the perfect place for a romantic getaway.
$$$$ Rosewood San Miguel de Allende
If you’re looking for the ultimate luxurious option in the city then you will want to check out Rosewood San Miguel de Allende. The hotel is set in a Spanish Colonial mansion on an adorable tree-lined cobblestone street which offers exquisite rooms with balconies, your own fireplace, fine dining, three outdoor pools, poolside service and food, and a rooftop bar with a stellar view. If you’re coming to San Miguel de Allende for a special occasion, this is the place to splurge on.
For more places to stay in San Miguel, check the map below:
We can’t deny having an entire apartment to yourself is one of the best ways to go when you’re visiting a new city or place. Especially when the apartment is modern, cozy, and gives you access to cook in your own kitchen. Our pick for the best Airbnb in San Miguel de Allende is only a few minutes walk from the city center and is so nice you may just never want to leave! See the listing here.
What are your tips on what to do in San Miguel de Allende?
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