San Miguel de Allende + Colonial Cities

San Miguel de Allende + Colonial Cities Travel Guide

Even though most people come here to kick back, there is a nice (and not too challenging) assortment of things to do in San Miguel de Allende. Right on the city’s main square, El Jardin, you’ll find La Parroquia, the European-style church that’s the iconic symbol of San Miguel. Its gothic façade was supposedly inspired by Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Anytime, day or night, it’s a meeting place for locals, cultural events, and any number of painters, photographers and tourists looking for a perfect backdrop. There are plenty of things to do in San Miguel de Allende.

Most of the festivals here are rooted in religious traditions, but they promise a lot of fun. The Saint’s Day festival runs for an entire week in September and includes bull runs through the streets. June brings the Fiesta de los Locos (Festival of the Madmen), when locals dress in costumes and whoop it up in the town’s center. Take a day trip to Atotonilco, about seven miles out of town. The small village is home to an ancient religious sanctuary. On the way, you can see the natural hot springs, such as La Gruta, La Taboada, and Escondido. What to do in San Miguel de Allende with kids? There are two museums that will fascinate them: The Other Face of Mexico, a collection of 500 masks housed at the Casa de la Cuesta Bed and Breakfast, and La Esquina: Museo del Juguete Popular Mexicano, an in-depth museum about Mexican toys, with interactive features for kids. You can also take them to the Xote Parque Acuatic, a waterpark with multiple pools, slides and themed features.

A 1902 factory turned art center a 10-minute walk from downtown, with more than two dozen contemporary galleries and boutiques that showcase the region's best artisans. Stop in at Superficie for colorful tiles made in the nearby town of Dolores Hidalgo, famous for its pottery.

After dark, follow well-heeled locals to this laid-back terrace bar and try the signature cactus martini, a tequila-and-vodka concoction blended with Cointreau, lemon, and cranberry.