San Miguel de Allende Is the Best City in the World — Here's Proof
Known for its cobblestone streets, Spanish colonial style architecture, and creative cruisine, the Mexican city of San Miguel de Allende has long attracted visitors from across the country and all over the world.
This year San Miguel is about to land on the radar of many more travelers after winning the World's Best Award for best city in the world. While the Mexican city has made the list for the best cities in Latin America, it's the first time in the 22 years of the contest that it has topped the list of all international cities.
“San Miguel is one of the most authentic, creative and cost-effective destinations we’ve visited,” wrote one reader in this year's survey. “Over the years we’ve discovered more great restaurants and activities, but the town still maintains its Mexican heritage, culture and charm.”
Visitors can explore most of the city on foot, wandering its quaint streets and shopping for handicrafts such as pottery, woven baskets, and embroidered clothing.
The central plaza, often referred to simply as El Jardin, is a lush launching point for any tourist to explore the historic center that was named a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Home to more than 350 restaurants and several expansive markets, you'll never run out of mole, gorditas, tacos, or tequila to sample.
Take a look inside the best city in the world.
Architecture of San Miguel
San Miguel de Allende is known for its brightly-colored, colonial architecture, classic markings of the Spanish colonial style.
Dia de Los Muertos
Residents of the Mexican city celebrate the holiday of Dia de Los Muertos to honor the dead in the autumn.
Restaurants and Nightlife
The cuisine of San Miguel de Allende is one of the best aspects of any visit there, with gorditas, mole, and stuffed chiles topping any foodie's list of things to savor.
Sunset View of the City
When the sun goes down, locals and visitors alike can descend upon the city to eat, drink, or just wander some of its historic, cobblestone streets.
Las Monjas Church
The Church of the Immaculate Conception, locally known as "Las Monjas" or "the nuns," is a Catholic space of worship that was completed in the mid-19th century by Zeferino Gutierrez.
Doce 18 Concept House
This shopping plaza near the center of town serves up gourmet dishes.
San Miguel de Allende Bridge
This bridge frames a colorful view of some of the Spanish colonial architecture for which San Miguel de Allende is known.
This aerial view shows the Plaza Principal — or main square — in the heart of the city, complete with a lush garden.
Carved Skulls for Dia de Los Muertos
The calaveras, or skulls, are one of the most prominent symbols of the celebration of Dia de los Muertos.
One of the best ways to spend a day in San Miguel de Allende is to wander its historic streets. The center of the city was named as a world heritage site by UNESCO, in part for the preservation of its architecture.
San Miguel by Night
The central plaza is surrounded by open air cafés, perfect for a coffee or a glass of wine.
Mexican folk dancing often infuses a mix of influences from indigenous and European cultures.
General Iganacio Maria Allende Unzaga
This statue depicts General Iganacio Maria Allende Unzaga, a hero of the Mexican Revolution and one of the namesakes of the city.
A Walkable City
Renting a car in San Miguel isn't necessary, as most of the best sites and restaurants can be reached on foot.
Brightly colored flags adorn the central plaza.
Independence Day Decorations
Mexico celebrates its Independence Day on September 16, and San Miguel joins in on the fun with festive decorations.
The Historic City Center
The historic city center spans 68 blocks and contains many small, hidden gems.
San Miguel de Allende is a great place to buy handmade crafts and jewelry, and you can find everything from baskets to pottery to embroidered skirts.
Overview of the City
A striking image of the skyline shows the city's historic center.
Interior of Parroquia San Miguel
See the interior of the city's best known church, the Parroquia San Miguel.
Bars and Nightlife
Visitors can sample local mezcal and tequila at neighborhood watering holes or rooftop bars with staggering views.
The Fiesta Charra is just one of many annual festivals in San Miguel de Allende.
Flowers and Greenery
The nooks and crannies of San Miguel are bursting with color from local flowers and shrubbery.
Parroquia San Miguel
The Parroquia San Miguel is the most well-known church in the city, with its distinctive, pink spires.