San Miguel de Allende is a picturesque colonial town located in the heart of Mexico and known for its cobblestone streets, art galleries and historic churches and a culinary and wellness vibe.
The Church of Saint Michael the Archangel rises above the city’s main square and is often the first stop. The architecture of the church has been depicted on postcards and paintings of the city. The church was built over a period of ten years and the pink sandstone was extracted from the slopes of the extinct Palo Huérfano volcano. The church was inaugurated in 1890.
After visiting the church, many travelers book a guided tour of the Museo de la Máscara (Mask Museum), a museum created to display ceremonial masks used throughout Mexican history.
Another good option is visiting Fábrica La Aurora, an old textile factory that is home to dozens of art galleries and shops displaying antiques, decorative items, sandstone handicrafts, glass, and jewelry.
Health and Wellness
The hot springs flowing throughout San Miguel de Allende are also a big draw. One of the most popular is Escondido Place, which has a variety of indoor and outdoor pools some of which are interconnected. La Gruta is an open-air hot spring that has an area nestled in a small grotto that makes it feel like a steam room. There are also strong jets of water that visitors utilize to relieve muscle tension in the back and shoulders. Xote is the oldest hot spring in San Miguel de Allende having opened in the early 1970s. Xote is known for its temazcal Mayan steam baths.
San Miguel de Allende is also famous for being a wine-producing region. Wine tours can include visits to several different vineyards, including San Lucas vineyard, which is known for its European architectural design, including white stone, arch-work, and tile roofs that resemble Tuscany. In addition to wine tastings and tours, the property also offers a workshop on the benefits of lavender (lavender fields surround the area). Hacienda San José Lavista is perched on top of a hill and is known for its reds, whites, and rosés. Vinícola Toyán specializes in organic wines and tours include a tasting of four wines, along with snacks made with local ingredients.
San Miguel de Allende has a nature reserve whose main attraction is El Charco del Ingenio, a botanical garden that specializes in the central Mexican plateau region. Rare species of maguey, succulents, and cacti are on display. There is also an extensive network of interpretive trails that attracts bird watchers and nature enthusiasts, and a labyrinth of ceramic artifacts from the pre-Hispanic era.
At El Charco del Ingenio’s northern end is a temazcal which hosts a steam bath on the weekend closest to the full moon. There are also concerts and other events held throughout the year at the botanical gardens.
Another popular activity in Miguel de Allende is a hot air balloon ride. Watching the colonial city come to life as the sun rises is a unique way to experience this region.
For adventure enthusiasts, horseback riding is a popular option. Half-day, full and multi-day excursions are available. Trails run through the Coyote Canyon to explore the changing landscape and peaks and valleys of the region.
Cultural enthusiasts can partake in a Mojigangas workshop. Mojigangas are large puppets that have become iconic in San Miguel de Allende; they appear in a variety of both secular and religious festivals, special birthdays, anniversaries, Day of the Dead and many wedding celebrations.