San Miguel de Allende Travel Guide

San Miguel de Allende rests as a bastion of art and culture in the heart of Mexico’s central Guanajuato state. The colonial town is now a national historical monument, having thrived through several distinctive eras. Its streets have witnessed the horses and soldiers of the Spanish conquest, the generations of local basket weavers, and more recently, the coming of artists from the world over. And you can enjoy it all when you stay at San Miguel de Allende vacation rentals.

What to Do in San Miguel de Allende

san miguel de allende art

Galleries Galore

Visitors can immerse themselves in culture at every corner in San Miguel. The locals have long showcased their own talents and skills: pottery, baskets, and woodcarvings have graced the community since the town’s conception. But it wasn’t until the 1930s that French artists began to descend on the elevated city. Before long, painters from North America and England followed in their path. Today, a plethora of art galleries dot this quaint and charming town. Right near San Miguel de Allende vacation rentals you'll find Casa de la Cuesta Folk Art Gallery where you can view traditional masks, ceramics, and paintings made by Mexican artists. The Galería Carlos MuRo features black-and-white photographs, copper creations, and sculptures.

Some of the paintings found in San Miguel de Allende’s galleries are of the sunlight drifting onto the old city’s colonial buildings; others are more contemporary or abstract. The galleries generally don’t open before midday, allowing visitors to have a leisure breakfast and stroll through the cobblestone streets. The most famous area for the arts is known as The Factory; visitors might even get a glimpse of a potter throwing clay or a sculptor molding a statuette.

Other Activities near San Miguel de Allende Vacation Rentals

For those who aren’t into art as much, San Miguel de Allende is bustling with other activities and venues. Play a round of golf or stop by a spa for a rich indulgence in aromatherapy or massage. Visit some of the local theaters or arrange for a hiking excursion just outside of the city. Take a lesson in salsa or tango dancing, or attend a language course for a morning. Or let the kids run around the historic Jardín district and play games with other children they meet.  This hip, artistic town really does have something for everyone.

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What to See in San Miguel de Allende

You'll enjoy culture near San Miguel de Allende vacation rentals. The variety among San Miguel’s churches gives testament to its varied history. One parish is nicknamed “La Parroquia” because it is so picturesque it is believed to have been copied from a postcard.

Another is Santuario Atotonilco, a pilgrimage church that brings worshippers week after week through its doors. The frescoes within it were painted by an artist who listened to stories from its priest and translated them into images. Although they are now faded, the frescoes still depict pictures of Biblical narratives you are sure to appreciate, whether from a religious perspective or purely an artistic one.

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Where to Shop and Eat in San Miguel de Allende

san miguel de allende shoppingBring your appetite, because residents in San Miguel de Allende certainly do not settle for anything less than the best when it comes to food. If you’re in the mood for European cuisine, stop by the courtyard at “La Crepe” for brunch or later casual dining. Try the famously delicious rolls and smoked salmon—and famously strong margaritas—at the Mexican restaurant El Campanario, where you can opt to sit on the rooftop deck across the street from one of the city’s cathedrals, or inside at the bar if you prefer.

Spend the evening indulging in Mediterranean cuisine on the terrace at Jackie's San Antonio while you watch the sun slip below the horizon, or enjoy a leisurely coffee shop breakfast at El Pegaso. The pastries at El Petit Four are known far and wide for being a budget-conscious delicacy, or there’s always the more expensive Mivida, which is ideal for special occasions. Another romantic option at a fraction of the price is Café Iberico, which serves both lunch and dinner and is known for being one of the city’s top restaurants among locals. There are so many restaurants in the area, it may be hard to decide where to you go when you leave your San Miguel de Allende vacation rental.

If you feel like shopping, the prices of the art available in San Miguel de Allende vary greatly. You’re sure to find a stunning piece of art to take back home with you to remind you of your captivating days spent here. Also, the central Jardín district is bustling with street vendors selling small items that will forever let you remember your days in San Miguel. Throughout the town, shops and boutiques abound. Due to the rich variety of people here, it’s considered some of the best shopping in Mexico.

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When to Visit San Miguel de Allende

Festivals and Events

For two weeks every summer, usually in early August, San Miguel de Allende is host to Mexico’s biggest chamber music festival, which has been going on for over three decades. Musicians from as far away as Europe come to grace the streets with their melodic harmonies as you pass by each day and night.

Every June 19, San Miguel de Allende celebrates the Día de los Locos festival and parade to honor spring. The locals take great pride in dressing up in bright colors to parade through the streets jubilantly, tossing candy at visitors and getting them to dance along. Other traditional Mexican holidays and festivals are celebrated here at San Miguel de Allende vacation rentals with an artsy flair.

Climate

The climate at San Miguel de Allende vacation rentals is a taste of spring year-round. The town rests at around 7,000 feet and is a relatively flat area amidst the regional mountains surrounding it. This means that mornings can be cool, so visitors are wise to dress in layers, particularly if they will be out for the entire day. In the winter, lows can get down to the upper 40s (Fahrenheit), but highs during the day hover around the 70s year round. Due to its altitude, the air is dry rather than humid.

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What to Bring to San Miguel de Allende

Although the rough cobblestone roads around San Miguel de Allende vacation rentals are charming to the eye and soul, they can be rough on the feet if proper footwear isn’t in place. You’ll want to bring at least one pair of sturdy walking shoes. High heels, particularly stilettos, are not advised. Should you forget shoes or any other basic item, most things are not difficult to find in central Mexico—although it should be noted that larger sizes in shoes can be next to impossible to find.

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Local Services in San Miguel de Allende

Since so many expatriates call San Miguel de Allende home, English is widely used and understood. For those wishing to brush up on their Spanish-speaking skills, however, the locals always delight in a foreigner taking the time to attempt a phrase or two in their language. There are many local amenities and businesses which are here to target both tourists and residents from specialty spas to hiking expeditions, all you have to do is ask once you arrive.

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What to Know About San Miguel de Allende

History

The town of San Miguel de Allende gets its name from a Franciscan monk in 1542: Juan de San Miguel. The encampment was on an important silver route. The latter part of the name was after General Ignacio Allende, a hero during the Mexican War of Independence who came from this area but who also never lived to see his land free of Spanish colonialism. When the minerals ran out, however, the town was in danger of losing its stature as a golden nugget in the region. It was after 1926 that the government of Mexico designated the town as a national historical monument that expatriates began to flock here, slowly at first. After World War II, many American GIs attended art school here. Today, many Americans call this town home.

After visiting San Miguel de Allende, you may find it hard to leave this enchanting city, too.

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Getting to San Miguel de Allende

Two international airports are commonly used to get to San Miguel de Allende vacation rentals. Those are the Aeropuerto del Bajio (BJX), which is about 70 miles from the town, and the newer Aeropuerto Internacional de Queretaro (QRO), about 45 miles away. Flights into the latter tend to be more expensive than flying into the Aeropuerto del Bajio, or even into Mexico City. That’s because the smaller Aeropuerto Internacional de Queretaro tends to receive fewer flights. So, your best bet is to fly into the Aeropuerto del Bajio. Once you touch down, Polanco Tours or Rafa Tours both offer bilingual transportation service to San Miguel de Allende, even directly to your exact destination in the town.

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Why San Miguel de Allende vacation rentals?

Imagine waking up to the coffee brewing downstairs in the heart of Mexico’s lofty hills! Taking a relaxing swing on the hammock, hosting a dinner party, or letting each of your children have their own bedrooms isn’t possible in a hotel; for your vacation to San Miguel de Allende, finding a home away from home is the ideal way to relax with comfort and privacy, while still being able to enjoy the charming city. You can have all this at San San Miguel de Allende vacation rentals.

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