San Miguel de Allende
Named top 3 cities in the world by Travel + Leisure and the number 1 city to visit in Mexico, South and Central America in 2016.
San Miguel de Allende is a city that manages to be both quaint and cosmopolitan at the same time. Its historic center is filled with well-preserved buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries with narrow cobblestone streets, courtyards and fine architectural details.
Located in Guanajuato state, 265 km (165 miles) northeast of Mexico City and 96 km (60 miles) from the state capital, Guanajuato city, San Miguel is located within Mexico’s hilly central highlands. San Miguel de Allende has no international airport so visitors usually fly into either the Leon/Bajio airport, Mexico City airport or Queretaro and then take a bus or uber (yes!! We ubered from Leon to SMA for $80 which is cheaper than a cab ride).
Walking is undoubtedly the best way to explore San Miguel, you will find hidden stores, alleys, courtyards and restaurants. Endless!! There is always something happening or something to do in San Miguel but still manages to keep this air of tranquility and peace. You can spend 10 days here and still find new things to do every day or you can come and not do anything at all and still have a great time. I have listed some of the places I visited or wanted to below.
Where to stay:
- AirBnB would be my first recommendation; SMA is becoming more and more of a tourist destination which means EXPENSIIVO! So check out some cool houses on the site first, not only will it be cheaper, I am positive you will find a more unique stay going this route. ($100-200 a night aprox rate)
- Matilda Hotel, it’s a great hotel, great restaurant, but expensive. If you want the royal treatment though, this is the place to go. ($400-700 a night aprox rate)
I have only done those two options that I can personally recommend but here are some others that were on my list.
Casa Marisol Hotel $80-94 aprox rate per night
Nirvana Retreat $100-120 aprox rate per night
Where to eat:
If you are looking for an authentic Guanajuato food experience head out to Mercado Centro, an old warehouse housing various food vendors from authentic Guanajuato dishes to experimental gastronomy. You will find great coffee, unique flower shops, seafood, empanadas and gourmet ice cream.
For a combination of food and shopping Doce 18 Concept House is where you want to go. Located in the heart of SMA in the iconic Cohen House. The building has gone through an extensive restoration and reestructuring that creates a great contrast between colonial and contemporary architecture that pairs well to showcase the best in design, fashion and gastronomy. You will find unique clothing from local designers, books, craft chocolate bars, candles, art and of course, an entire section just for food! If you can never make up your ming on what to eat, you will find several options here and can hang out for a beer after in the communal dining space. Make sure to check out Milpa and Jacinto if you are having food here. Crazy good mexican food!
Start off with the best breakfast in town at Cafe Lavanda, anything you order will be amazing guaranteed! (make sure to try the lavender latte of course). You can head out to La Parada for the best peruvian ceviche, Ten Ten Pie for a quick snack in a great little courtyard right in the middle of the street, Cenadura La Alborada for a good pozole, Moxi for fine Mexican dining from renowned chef Enrique Olvera, El Meson Hotel for micheladas and cocktails by the pool (food served as well) or Cent’Anni for great italian food and the best Carajillos (coffee cocktail).
More restaurants below that where on my list and radar but didn’t get to them, feel free to check them out and let us know what you think:
Aperi Mexican $$
The Restaurant Mexican-American $$$
El Vergel Bistro French/Deli $
Chao Ban Asian Fusion $
To check out:
–Doce 18 Concept House ; various local vendors
–Casa Maria Luisa; home decor/lighting
–Casa Armida; home decor/lighting
–Fabrica La Aurora; Old textile factory housing art, decor and furniture vendors.
–Wabi Gallery ; art furniture
–Bendita : Fashion showroom/local designers
–Barro.Co Clay Studio ; ceramics and classes
–Trinitate: ceramics, kitchen ware
Close Cities to visit:
Guanajuato – 1 hour drive
Queretaro – 1 hour drive
Leon – 1.5-2 hour drive
Mexico City – 3 hour drive
Xilitla – 6 hour drive