We at The Abundant Traveler have put together our list of the 25 best things to do in San Miguel de Allende. Some of our suggestions are typical of a San Miguel de Allende itinerary, and some are unusual things to do; some are inside the city limits, and some are day trips; some are official sites, and some are do-it-yourself and unstructured, but if you have the luck to take a trip to San Miguel, let us help you pack your days and nights with the best 25 things to do in this city.
Click to watch my travel vlog with the top 10 things to do, taste, and see when you are in San Miguel de Allende
The architecture in San Miguel is absolutely spectacular, it’s very colonial and you only see it in a couple of places in Mexico.
Another reason to love this town is a street food, my two favorites are they alert day, which is corn on the cob and the homemade ice cream.
San Miguel is such a magical place with all of the gardens and flowers everywhere. There’s always an opportunity for a great selfie.
Another reason to love the city is how safe you feel and how easy it is to get around, it’s such a walkable city.
Mexico is known for its service and its sauces and San Miguel does not disappoint, if you want fine dining, this is a place to find it.
Definitely try the ceviche and Aguachile. San Miguel is known for its shopping, and shopping, and shopping. There are so many handmade treasures throughout San Miguel.
Another reason to love San Miguel are the rooftops. You can have dinner, cocktails, anything you want and watch the sunset, and the most spectacular sunsets.
San Miguel is also known for its traditions, the girls and I got to participate in a wedding parade or kayaking out this weekend.
And the final reason to fall in love with San Miguel is the music, from mariachi to guitar players, accordion, singers or even discos at night. San Miguel is a place to come from Mexican music.
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And no matter what your itinerary entails, and no matter what the San Miguel de Allende weather is during your stay, remember that this is a walking town. The cobblestoned streets are old and rambling and charismatic. Which brings up one of our most important tips about your trip — what to wear in San Miguel de Allende, specifically on your feet. This is not the trip to try out your new sandals or wear shoes with a cute heel that perfectly match your outfit, shoes must be comfortable. Our best advice is that, no matter the temperature, everything you wear goes great with tennis shoes, sneakers, walking shoes…whatever you want to call them. There are no judgements on footwear here.
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 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 Get Your Guide’s Landmark’s and Lunch 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 Tours by Locals 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. Or, 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
If you’re looking for what to do on any given day, head to Jardin Principal, the city’s main square. This bustling square is filled with restaurants and the best San Miguel de Allende shopping for souvenirs. 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.
3. Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel
You can get lost down many a rabbit hole 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 Arcangel 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. One of my favorite evenings started out just before sunset by grabbing a cocktail at Quince, a hip rooftop bar, and watching the colors and shadows of Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel change as the sun moved across the sky.
4. Eat Your Way Through a San Miguel de Allende Food Tour
Undoubtedly one of my favorite things to do in this city (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 + tequila tour, a traditional foods tour, or a tour of local Mexican chocolate indulgence. 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, where 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.
5. Tour the San Miguel de Allende Markets -Mercado Ignacio Ramirez and Mercado de Artisanias
The San Miguel de Allende markets are known for their incredible food and artisan crafts. One of the best things to do 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 Artisanias, another great stop. This was my favorite shopping in the city — browsing the local crafts, jewelry, toys, and clothing and picking up gifts or souvenirs. And speaking of shopping in San Miguel de Allende…
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. La Fonda Rosa Cooking School and local chef Gabriela Green will guide you on a shopping excursion to the San Miguel market, and then, armed with the best ingredients, you’ll accompany her to her home to create your special meal. Also, check out the Mole and Salsas cooking class or this chile relleno cooking class.
8. San Miguel Happy Hour
You’ll find the city filled with the best rooftop bars complete with music, people watching, and incredible views and ambience. 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. Or 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 likely 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 Shoenste Spa, or ask your hotel concierge for their favorite local massage person.
11. Take Part in San Miguel de Allende Art
12. Barrio de Guadalupe Street Art
Art here 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.
14. Hike to Mirador San Miguel de Allende for the Best View
Another amazing thing 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 artisan’s or craftsman’s table.
16. San Miguel de Allende Museums #1 -- 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. San Miguel de Allende Museums #2 -- 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
19. Day Trip #1 -- San Miguel Botanical Garden
There are numerous amazing day trips from San Miguel de Allende. Once you’ve gotten your fill of art and architecture in town, head a bit outside of town to spend a day at El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Gardens, a natural reserve filled with indigenous plants, cacti, and rare species. There are walking paths, steam baths, and breathtaking rock formations.
20. Day Trip #2 -- San Miguel de Allende Hot Springs
Also a must-add for your day possible day trips are the hot springs just a few miles outside of town. Escondido Hot Springs and La Gruta San Miguel de Allende both have delicious food, bar, and spa facilities as well as the hot springs. This is one of the best things to do near the city to unwind and relax.
21. Day Trip #3 -- Galeria Atotonilco and Sanctuary of Atotonilco
For another fulfilling day trip, Galeria Atotonilco offers the best and most unusual collection of Mexican folk art — wood, ceramics, antiques, masks, baskets. Visitor proceeds support local artists and families. By appointment only. The Sanctuary of Atotonilco is a World UNESCO Heritage Site and has been coined the “Sistine Chapel of Mexico,” with its impressive paintings, murals, and architecture. Pair with your trip to one of the hot springs.
22. Day Trip #4 -- Finca Luna Serena Olive Farm
Another really cool thing to do is to visit Finca Luna Serena. Finca Luna Serena is an organic farm in the mountains outside of San Miguel de Allende that has more than 1,500 olive trees, and from these olives the farm produces a host of delicious, flavored oils. Finca Luna Serena is not open to the public, but groups of four or more people can reserve private tours and lunch at their on-site restaurant. If you can’t make it to the farm, grab a couple bottles to take home from Finca Luna Serena’s shop near the center of San Miguel on Hernandez Macias 99.
23. Day Trip #5 -- Horseback Riding and ATVs
Try horseback or an ATV excursion to get out of town. These outings range from one hour to full-day trips and often include hotel pick ups, lunch, and time at the hot springs. Check out this romantic horseback excursion, or this 1/2 day trail riding horseback ride, or how fun would it be to zip around the countryside in this Razor ATV?
24. 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.
25. 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. And don’t forget those selfies along the way too — San Miguel pictures offer endlessly stunning backdrops.
San Miguel de Allende Hotels
If you plan to visit after reading about all the great things to do, here are my recommendations for a few great hotels in San Miguel de Allende.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of my top things to do in San Miguel de Allende. Let me know in the comments below!
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