Walk along the cobbled streets, admiring the stunning architecture as you bounce between museums, cafes and galleries. There are many things to do in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico — you will never get bored here.
Sit back to take in the sights and sounds of the town square before heading out for a nice dinner and cocktails on the rooftop. A few days of this, and you will quickly understand why San Miguel de Allende is one of the most popular places to visit in Mexico.
Although a day trip is one of the best things to do in Guanajuato, this city deserves your time!
Over the past two years, San Miguel de Allende has been named one of the best cities in the world by Travel & Leisure. What is it about this small colonial town in Mexico that makes it such a special place?
1. Hanging out in the park
As in most cities in Mexico, San Miguel de Allende is centered around the main square.
Known as El Jardin, this tree-lined square is surrounded by magnificent buildings such as the parish Church of San Miguel. Hanging out here is easily at the top of the list of things to do in San Miguel de Allende.
The square is bustling with activities in the evenings and on weekends. You will see traveling mariachi bands, balloon vendors and many snack vendors, making it a very lively scene.
If you ever get lost in the winding streets, you just have to find your way back to the square and start all over again.
Visiting the main squares of cities and towns is one of the best things to do in Mexico. This is where you will find all the action! Click here to find this place on the map.
2. Take a day trip to Cañada de La Virgen
Not far from the city you will find the huge nature reserve of the Cañada de La Virgen. The highlight of a visit to this archaeological site is to be able to explore the many pyramids.
There is much more to do here, including camping, horseback riding and astronomy tours. Although it is possible to visit on your own, you’d better sign up for a tour that includes lunch, all fees and a guide.
This highly appreciated experience is one that you will not want to miss and is one of the best day trips from San Miguel de Allende.
3. Take a look inside the Church
Without a doubt, the emblem of the San Miguel is the magnificent La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel.
Its imposing neo-Gothic facade is a true architectural masterpiece. It was built by the self-taught Zeferino Gutiérrez who would have used postcards of European churches for inspiration.
Although the exterior of the church is absolutely breathtaking, be sure to go inside and take a look around.
In the chapel, you can see the venerated image of Christ of the Conquest (Christ of the Conquest) as well as a beautiful painting depicting the founding of the city.
4. The Botanical Garden
While many visitors to San Miguel de Allende spend much of their trip admiring the man-made beauty that abounds, you’ll also want to make time to get out into nature.
The ideal place to do this is the large botanical garden known as El Charco del Ingenio. Here you can take a leisurely walk along the many paths, watch the birds or have a picnic near a waterfall.
The reserve is open from 21:00 to 17:00 all year round and on some days free transport is offered to the botanical Garden. Click here for more details.
5. Take a walking tour
It’s fun to walk alone through the cobbled streets of San Miguel de Allende, but it’s even better when you’re accompanied by a knowledgeable guide.
Signing up for a walking tour of the city is definitely one of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende. During this experience, you will learn more about the city, while visiting interesting places (a chocolate tasting is also included!). At the end of the experience, you will receive a list of the best rooftop restaurants and bars in San Miguel.
Walking tours usually meet in the center of the city and last about 2 hours. It’s a great way to find your way around the city, meet new people, learn more about San Miguel and get local recommendations on where to eat and drink.
6. Learn Spanish
One of the most popular things to do in San Miguel de Allende is to sign up for Spanish courses. There are many excellent Spanish schools here and the locals are super friendly and ready to help you practice.
Ditch that bad gringo accent and improve your Español here before traveling to other parts of Latin America.
Another option is to participate in this walking tour with conversation in Spanish! Meet Enrique and explore San Miguel together. During the two-hour experience, you will converse together in Spanish and he will help you with your Spanish skills.
It’s a fun way to practice Spanish in San Miguel. Find out more here.
7. Visit the house of Ignacio Allende
Did you know that San Miguel de Allende is actually named after two different people? The city takes its name from a brother named Juan de San Miguel and Ignacio Allende, hero and martyr of the Mexican independence movement.
One of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende is to visit the latter’s house, which is now the city’s history museum.
The Museo Historico is open from Tuesday to Sunday and costs only about to visit. Spend an hour or two here and you will leave with a much better understanding of the city, its history and its importance for the country.
8. Explore the Sanctuary of Atotonilco
Just a 30-minute drive from the center you will find the incredible Sanctuary of Atotonilco. A trip here is one of the best things to do around San Miguel de Allende.
This historic church complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is famous for its Mexican baroque murals. The paintings are so beautiful, in fact, that it has been nicknamed the “Sistine Chapel of Mexico.”
The colorful little town itself has a few buildings and food stalls, but there is not much interest here for tourists except for the shrine.
9. Walk to a viewpoint (free activities in San Miguel de Allende)
Fortunately, it is not too difficult to get a fantastic panoramic view of the city. It is only a 15-20 minute walk from the square to the viewpoint, known as El Mirador.
Be sure to bring your camera with a full battery so that you can take photos of this magnificent city from this great viewpoint. Add a hike to the Mirador to your list of things to do in San Miguel de Allende.
10. Visit The Fabrica La Aurora
For almost 100 years, Fabrica La Aurora was a textile factory north of San Miguel de Allende. Nowadays, it is a lively collection of shops, galleries and cafes that many consider a paradise for art lovers.
If you want to watch the artists at work, try stopping by on a Thursday for their open house. Check out their website to see what’s going on and be sure to include a stop here when you visit.
11. Experience a Local Festival
There are different festivals that take place throughout the year in San Miguel de Allende.
In fact, it is known as a “party town” because it likes to party! It seems that there is always something fun going on here, be it a music festival or a traditional Mexican holiday.
There are famous storytelling and jazz festivals here every year, and there is also the absolutely wild Dia de los Locos (Day of Fools). This is one of the best festivals in Mexico, don’t miss it.
People dress up in all kinds of crazy costumes for a huge parade that is tons of fun for all. This crazy day takes place on the Sunday closest to June 13th, so plan accordingly.
12. Ride A BIKE
A great way to leave the city for a few hours and enjoy the countryside is to take part in a bike tour. This is one of the most unusual things to do in San Miguel de Allende — most people only stay in the city center when they visit.
There are several different options for cycling adventures, but this one is a great choice. The trip will last about 3 hours and the routes are classified from beginner to intermediate, really anyone who knows how to ride a bike can join.
I will not give everything, but you will stop in front of a chapel, a dam and enjoy snacks and drinks in a country house. All the equipment, the snack and the guide are included in the price. Read more about this fun bike trip here.