Even if you haven’t been to Mexico you may realize that it is not the same as it is made out to be in the stories and in the news. However, if you picture an ideal imagine of a Mexican pueblo (village) in your mind it is probably very close to the reality of San Miguel de Allende.
Some people may not like San Miguel for its constructed appearance and the fact that half of the population are foreigners. In my opinion it is a gorgeous Mexican town with a groomed Mexican spirit. It is not as sincere and simple as Oaxaca, but it is very charming.
What to do in San Miguel?
1. Stay for a night and enjoy a romantic dinner
It takes around 5 hours by car/bus to get to San Miguel from Mexico city, so it makes sense to stay for a night and enjoy the town`s cozy lighting. Have a long lazy dinner over a glass of wine or two with your partner or friends. The city is very small and you`ll be able to do everything you had planned throughout the day, so, your well deserved dinner will be a nice culmination to your San Miguel fairy tail. I didn`t stay the night, but a good friend recommended a nice and very affordable hotel, Green Hotel Boutique.
Note: The hotels book up really quickly, so plan in advance – even 1 or 2 months in advance if you want to have your pick of places to stay.
2. Meet some cool creative people from all over the world
Perhaps, this is the best aspect of San Miguel. It is full of foreign artists, writers, designers etc. Each of them with their own fascinating story and original point of view. Get out there and talk with people around the place and you will get inspired and be infected with their enthusiasm.
3. Enjoy your Michelada on a terrace
San Miguel de Allende is famous for its picturesque terraces. Enjoy a refreshing Michelada (beer with spices, lime juice, tabasco, Maggi sauce etc.) or margarita on a cozy terrace with some mariachi music in the background.
4. Shop for some unique items
The town is full of shops with indigenous craft goods, jewelry and clothes created by independent foreign designers. Even if you don’t want to buy anything it can be an interesting experience to browse. Be aware though that the prices are not as low as you imagine being in Mexico.
5. Feel like a fairy wearing a charming wreath
Buy a beautiful wreath made of natural flowers on the central square and leave it on all day. Take as many pictures as you like with it. If you are a group of girlfriends you can have a wonderful photo session together.
6. Historical walking tour
If you are in to history, but are not prepared to delve deep into the research join the historical walking tour which leaves from the Jardin across from the Parroquia at 10:00 am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Find out more information about it here. I love historical tours and try to take one in every city I visit because the volunteers who lead the groups are usually very passionate about the subject and present the facts in a fun and entertaining manner.
I didn`t mention the iconic places such as The Garden (El Jardin) and the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel which you’ll stumble upon just walking around. So, repeating myself, it is very important to book a hotel in advance and be aware that San Miguel is more like an ideal version of Mexico, although don’t let that stop you appreciating it as much as I did.
Warning: There is however the risk that you may want to leave everything behind and move to the town after talking with the happy expat community:) For some different things to do in San Miguel de Allende check out this blog as well.