If you’re looking for the ideal getaway spot or one of a kind experience, take it from me, The Abundant Traveler, a trip to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico will never disappoint. I have put together a list of the 21 best things to do in San Miguel de Allende. There is something for everyone in this comprehensive list. Not sure what to do in San Miguel de Allende? Let us help you pack your days and nights with the best 21 things to do in this city.
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1. Take a San Miguel de Allende Tour
One of my favorite things to do in San Miguel de Allende is to walk and explore this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site city, so I highly recommend that one of your first things to do should be a proper San Miguel walking tour. Many group walking tours, like a walking tour or a Tacos & Tequila Walking Tour, will be two hours (or more) of nonstop walking, and they’ll likely take you to the main historical sites to see the beautiful architecture, as well as landmarks such as the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel. This is the best way to get a general overview of the town when you first arrive.
For a deeper dive into the history of San Miguel de Allende, hire a local, private guide from Viator who can alter course depending on your smaller group’s wishes and can give you a more up-close-and-personal idea of daily life. Of course, the windy cobblestone streets are also perfect for self-guided San Miguel walking tours if you care to lazily stroll on your own time.
2. El Jardin Principal
When considering the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende, the bustling square of Jardin Principal is a solid choice. It is filled with restaurants and some of the best souvenirs to commemorate your trip. All festivals pass through or end up in Jardin Principal, such as the four-day-long Day of the Dead festival, as well as music and dance performances, wedding parades, and fireworks. Head over to the square for what I promise is the best people watching in town, grab a delicious fresh fruit juice from a street vendor, and take a break from the sunny weather and relax on a bench under shade from the square’s lush, bright green, highly manicured garden.
Join us in San Miguel de Allende for an exciting trip. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of Mexico’s central highlands colonial-era city!
3. Enjoy San Miguel Foods Through Food Tours & Restaurants
Undoubtedly one of my favorite things to do in San Miguel de Allende (or any city) is a San Miguel de Allende Food Tour. Whether you call yourself a certified food lover or not, a food tour is a must. This town is known for its cuisine, so meals will be highlights of your days. (Not to worry — you’ll definitely walk off the calories.) Check out these food tours for a variety of tour options that will take you to the best restaurants including a tacos and tequila tour, a traditional foods tour, or a tour of local Mexican chocolate indulgence.
You can also find great spots to eat on your own. I admit that every day for me was a self-guided tour of the food here. I spent many meals popping into tiny hole-in-the-wall spots. Along the way I found the best breakfast at Muro Cafe, the best lunch at Los Milagros, and in general some of the best restaurants are off the beaten path.
If you plan to visit the Mercado Ignacio Ramimrez, you’ll have to reign in your salivary glands from the litany of smells emanating from the vendors rolling fresh tortillas and building tacos right in front of your very eyes. You might even want to stand in line at a crowded street cart, where you can treat yourself to everything from incredible local fare to fruit drinks to desserts.
4. Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel
You can get lost down many rabbit holes trying to hit all the churches in San Miguel de Allende, but the main “Catedral de San Miguel de Allende” is not to be missed. Anchoring Jardin Principal, the awe-inspiring pink spires of Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel Cathedral soar into the sky with staggering beauty. It’s free to enter Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, and you can spend five minutes or an hour — whatever fits your schedule.
Whether you’re there to look at Parroquia de San Miguel’s architecture, or you’re there to attend a mass service, visiting this church is one of the top things to do. It’s also the epi-center of the city, so you’ll likely pass by Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel multiple times during your stay.
5. Tour the San Miguel de Allende Markets
The San Miguel de Allende markets are known for their incredible food and artisan crafts. One of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende is take a few hours and wander aimlessly around the San Miguel Ignacio Ramirez market to see all the vibrant and colorful fruits and vegetables, fresh meat and seafood, fresh juices, homemade tacos, and flowers under one enormous open-air roof. The San Miguel market is daily life in San Miguel at its best. And just behind the food at the market is Mercado de Artesanias, another great stop. This was my favorite shopping in the city — browsing the local crafts, jewelry, toys, clothing, and picking up gifts or souvenirs.
For art, head to Fabrica Aurora, an enormous warehouse with dozens of galleries representing all kinds of art and pottery and textiles. Surely you’ll be passing by Mixta, a beautiful store filled with local textiles, accessories, and sundries. Tao Studio Gallery is a mesmerizing display of textiles, art, and home decor. Go to Talula de la Lune for the coolest purses you’ll ever see or check out Finca Luna Serena to taste local olive oils. Finally, Armida Decoraciones, near Rosewood Hotel, offers unique local home decor ideas.
6. San Miguel de Allende Shopping
Shopping is one of the best ways to spend your free time here. Art, clothing, pottery, textiles, jewelry, food, gifts, accessories — hand-painted, Mayan, local, unique. The best way to shop San Miguel de Allende is just wander the cobblestoned streets. Find the local shops and enjoy!
7. Take a San Miguel de Allende Cooking Class
Private cooking classes are one of the best ways for food lovers to delve into San Miguel de Allende’s food culture. This cooking class will guide you on a shopping excursion to the San Miguel market, and then, armed with the best ingredients, you’ll accompany the chef to create your special meal. If you love wine and food, then check out this Vineyard Tour in Independence Valley.
8. San Miguel Happy Hour
You’ll find the city filled with some of the best rooftop bars complete with music, people watching, and incredible views and ambience. That’s why this makes the list for one of many top things to do in San Miguel de Allende. You need to check out Quince just behind Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel for the best San Miguel happy hour drinks and cocktails and a beautiful view of the church lit up at night. You can also head over to the Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar at the Rosewood for one of the best sunset happy hours you’ve ever witnessed.
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9. Join a Wedding in San Miguel de Allende
Upwards of 800 couples have weddings in San Miguel de Allende every year, so that means you’ll see at least one or two of these big events during your time there. Wedding parades are a big thing to do for couples who travel to hold their wedding here to tie the knot– grab a cocktail and join in the revelry.
10. Check out the Spas in San Miguel de Allende
If your trip allows for some time at a spa, treat yourself to a massage or reflexology appointment to get relief from all the walking. Many of the large hotels and boutique hotels offer spa services. Check out the Sense Spa Rosewood Hotel or the Laja Spa at the Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada hotel, which sits conveniently behind the Parroquia de San Miguel. If you are really adventurous, experience a traditional Temazcal instead of your everyday spa massage.
Don’t forget that some of the best spas in San Miguel de Allende can be found at smaller, hole-in-the-wall places like Schoenste Spa. I also advise asking your hotel concierge for their favorite local massage person.
11. Take Part in San Miguel de Allende Art
Checking out the San Miguel de Allende art world is one of the coolest things to do in San Miguel de Allende and one of the top reasons tourists flock to this amazing town. Fabrica la Aurora is the largest art gallery and it’s an easy walk from Jardin Principal. You can also paint a San Miguel scene with a local artist. Make sure to check out Merry Calderoni’s gallery as she was the first artist at Fabrica Aurora.
12. Barrio de Guadalupe Street Art
The art scene in San Miguel de Allende stretches beyond the art galleries and on to the urban streets. Close to the Jardin Principal and Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, Barrio de Guadalupe is a maze of cobblestoned streets that serve as an outdoor art gallery. The walls of homes and buildings are covered in huge, colorful murals depicting Mexican themes and the multicultural origins of the population. The best way to view this community-driven, ongoing, rotating art project is to take a self-guided tour.
13. San Miguel Street Food
No food tour is complete without checking out the street vendor carts. These carts are known for some of the best tacos in San Miguel de Allende, as well as tamales, fruit, juices, and sweets. Many vendors congregate around Jardin Principal or the markets, but often some of the best restaurants in San Miguel de Allende can be found anywhere around town where you see a cart and a crowd. Make sure to try the elote with mayo, queso fresco and chile. My favorite cart is the elote cart in the central jardin, corn on the cob with butter or Mayonaise, chile, queso fresco and lime. Delicious!
14. Hike to Mirador San Miguel de Allende for the Best View
Another one of the many amazing things to do in San Miguel de Allende is to hike up to Mirador San Miguel for its spectacular view of the town. Brave the steep hike up, or take a cab, or the local trolley — however you can make it happen. Head up in the afternoon and grab a cocktail at one of the best bars in the city — Casa Nostra Rooftop Bar — to time it right as the sun sets over the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel cathedral.
15. Peoplewatch in Juarez Park
The weather in San Miguel de Allende is always conducive to spending time in Juarez Park — an ideal break from all the walking. Grab a coffee and breakfast to go, and start your day strolling along winding paths laced with soaring trees, flowers, and birds. Join in the start of a wedding parade or pick up a souvenir from a local artisans or craftsman table.
16. Toy Museum San Miguel de Allende
One very cool, unusual thing to do is to check out the Museo La Esquina del Juguete Popular Mexicano — the toy museum, which is filled with thousands of unique, handcrafted, vintage Mexican toys. Close to Jardin Principal, this is a fun place to spend some time channeling your inner child.
17. Mask Museum in San Miguel de Allende
Here’s another unusual thing to do — also just a short walk from Jardin Principal, the Mask Museum in San Miguel de Allende holds more than 500 masks that have all been used in indigenous Mexican dance ceremonies, offering a unique look at Mexican culture. The museum is not always open, so make an appointment ahead of time for a special viewing with the owner, complete with authentic dance videos showcasing the masks. Admission is inexpensive — about 100 pesos, which the owner donates to a local day care center.
18. San Miguel de Allende Hot Air Balloon
See the best of the town’s beauty, architecture, and archaeological sites from above with a hot air balloon trip. Set that alarm and check out Globo San Miguel or Coyote Canyon Adventures for San Miguel de Allende hot air balloon trips for couples or groups to try something truly unique, like riding in a hot air balloon!
19. Take Part in the San Miguel de Allende Festivals
Festivals here are the best. Due to the beautiful weather, and the always-warm temperature, the best time to visit San Miguel de Allende can only be answered as “all-year-round” to catch a festival. Festivals run the gamut — whether it’s Mexican Independence Day, Dia de los Locos, or Day of the Dead San Miguel de Allende, these events are the place to be for dancing, colorful costumes, music, parades, and fireworks.
20. San Miguel de Allende, Self-Guided and Unstructured
This is your vacation, so plan some things to do in San Miguel de Allende that offer “you” time and, after you’ve gotten your fill of architecture and the food, indulge yourself in a couple of unusual activities that are exclusive to you.
For me, that meant a self-guided avocado and guacamole tour, a self-guided search for the best tacos, a self-guided chocolate-tasting tour, and a beautiful walk in the park to enjoy the weather. For you it might mean heading to Juarez Park to channel your inner artist and sketch, or joining in the local nightlife. Don’t forget those selfies along the way either — San Miguel pictures offer endlessly stunning backdrops.
21. San Miguel de Allende Hot Springs
There are several hot springs near San Miguel de Allende that would be excellent places to visit. One of the most popular is La Gruta, which is just a short drive from the city and has a series of natural hot springs in a beautiful, lush botanical gardens style environment, with waterfalls and caves adding to the ambiance. La Gruta also offers a range of spa services, such as massages and facials, to enhance your relaxation experience. For those who want to extend their stay, there are bungalows available for overnight accommodations.
Other nearby hot springs include Escondido Place, which is a more secluded and intimate setting. You can also indulge in a range of spa treatments, including massages, facials, and body wraps. There are also options of rooms and suites for those who want to stay overnight. So, if you’re looking to unwind and soak in some natural hot springs, these are all great options to choose from when planning your visit to San Miguel de Allende Mexico.
Join us in San Miguel de Allende for an exciting trip. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of Mexico’s central highlands colonial-era city!
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