The 8 Best Things to Do in San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende, a charming colonial town in the heart of Mexico, is renowned for its stunning architecture, rich culture, and vibrant arts scene. Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, or an art enthusiast, San Miguel de Allende has something for everyone. Here are the ten best things to do in this enchanting city.

1. Explore the Historic Center

Discover the Heart of San Miguel

The historic center of San Miguel de Allende is a UNESCO World Heritage site, known for its well-preserved Spanish colonial buildings and cobblestone streets. Begin your journey at El Jardín, the central plaza, where you can admire the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, a neo-Gothic church that is the town’s most iconic landmark. The historic center is filled with charming cafes, shops, and galleries, making it a perfect place to wander and soak up the atmosphere.

Visit Key Landmarks

While in the historic center, make sure to visit other key landmarks such as the Casa de Allende, which is now a museum dedicated to the town’s history and its namesake, Ignacio Allende, a hero of the Mexican War of Independence. The Teatro Ángela Peralta is another must-see, a beautifully restored 19th-century theater that hosts a variety of performances.

2. Enjoy the Local Cuisine

Savor Traditional Mexican Dishes

San Miguel de Allende is a paradise for food lovers. The town offers a diverse range of dining options, from traditional Mexican eateries to upscale restaurants. Don’t miss the opportunity to try local specialties such as chiles en nogada, a seasonal dish featuring poblano chiles stuffed with a mixture of meat, fruits, and spices, topped with a walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds.

Experience Fine Dining

For a more upscale dining experience, head to one of San Miguel’s renowned restaurants like Aperi, which offers contemporary Mexican cuisine with a focus on local ingredients. Alternatively, visit the rooftop restaurants and bars for a dining experience with breathtaking views of the town.

3. Visit La Gruta Hot Springs

Relax in Natural Hot Springs

A visit to La Gruta Hot Springs is the perfect way to unwind and relax. Located just a short drive from the town center, La Gruta offers several thermal pools set in a lush garden environment. The highlight is the grotto, a cave-like pool where you can enjoy the warm, mineral-rich waters. The hot springs are a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the town and rejuvenate your body and mind.

Enjoy Spa Services

In addition to the hot springs, La Gruta offers a variety of spa services, including massages and facials. Treat yourself to a day of pampering and relaxation in this serene setting.

4. Explore the Art Scene

Visit Local Galleries

San Miguel de Allende is known for its vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries showcasing works by local and international artists. Spend an afternoon exploring the many art galleries, such as Galería Nudo and La Aurora, a former textile factory turned art and design center. Here, you can find everything from contemporary paintings and sculptures to traditional Mexican crafts.

Participate in Art Workshops

For a more hands-on experience, consider taking an art workshop. Many local artists and studios offer classes in painting, ceramics, and other crafts. This is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and take home a unique souvenir.

5. Take a Walking Tour

Learn About the Town’s History

One of the best ways to experience San Miguel de Allende is on foot. Join a walking tour to learn about the town’s history, architecture, and culture. Knowledgeable guides will take you through the historic center, sharing fascinating stories and insights about the town’s past and present.

Explore Hidden Gems

Walking tours also give you the chance to discover hidden gems that you might miss on your own. Explore lesser-known streets, visit local markets, and learn about the town’s vibrant community and traditions.

6. Attend a Festival

Celebrate Local Traditions

San Miguel de Allende is famous for its lively festivals and celebrations. Plan your visit around one of the town’s many festivals, such as the San Miguel de Allende Film Festival, the Festival Internacional de Música, or the Día de los Muertos celebrations. These events offer a unique opportunity to experience the town’s rich cultural heritage and enjoy music, dance, and art.

Enjoy Parades and Performances

Festivals in San Miguel de Allende often feature colorful parades, live performances, and traditional dances. Join the locals in celebrating and experience the vibrant energy of these festive occasions.

7. Shop at Local Markets

Discover Artisan Crafts

San Miguel de Allende is a great place to shop for unique artisan crafts. Visit the Mercado de Artesanías, where you can find a wide range of handmade goods, including pottery, textiles, jewelry, and more. Support local artisans and take home a piece of San Miguel’s rich artistic tradition.

Enjoy Fresh Produce

For a taste of local flavors, visit the Ignacio Ramírez Market. Here, you can find fresh produce, local delicacies, and traditional Mexican snacks. It’s a great place to sample regional cuisine and pick up ingredients for a picnic or a cooking class.

8. Take a Day Trip to Nearby Attractions

Explore Natural Wonders

San Miguel de Allende is surrounded by natural beauty and interesting attractions. Take a day trip to the nearby Cañada de la Virgen, an ancient archaeological site featuring pyramid-like structures. Explore the stunning landscapes of the Charco del Ingenio, a botanical garden and nature reserve.

Visit Neighboring Towns

Consider visiting nearby towns such as Dolores Hidalgo, the birthplace of Mexican independence, or Guanajuato, known for its colorful buildings and underground tunnels. These towns offer their own unique charm and historical significance.


San Miguel de Allende offers a rich tapestry of experiences, from exploring historic landmarks and enjoying local cuisine to immersing yourself in the vibrant arts scene and relaxing in natural hot springs. Whether you’re visiting for a few days or an extended stay, the town’s charm and beauty are sure to leave a lasting impression. Make the most of your visit by exploring these top attractions and creating unforgettable memories in one of Mexico’s most enchanting destinations.