Wonderful Things To Do in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Looking for the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende? Keep reading to find out more about Mexico’s incredible little town.
San Miguel de Allende might just be Mexico’s best-kept secret. A charming town full of colonial, stone architecture, ochre colour palettes, delicious bars and restaurants and some of the best boutique shopping in Mexico, San Miguel really is a feast for the eyes.
2 or 3 days is a perfect amount of time to visit to soak up the atmosphere, all the delicious mezcal cocktails and spa experiences. There are many magical things to do in San Miguel de Allende but the best is definitely just wandering around, exploring, and seeing what you manage to find on every corner.
To get you started here are some of the best things to do in San Miguel, our favourite activities that you don’t want to miss. In this guide to San Miguel de Allende, you’ll also find all our San Miguel de Allende tips, practical information and more.
*This ‘things to do in San Miguel de Allende travel guide’ contains affiliate links meaning I might make a small profit if you choose to book at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep providing you with top quality content for free.
A visit to San Miguel de Allende is perfectly paired with a day or two in the magical nearby city of Guanajuato. Check out our Insider’s Guide to Guanajuato for inspiration to extend your trip further. If you’re spending time in Mexico City, don’t miss our Curated Mexico City Itinerary for 3 Days in Mexico City
Best Time to Visit San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel is a great place to visit at any time of the year. Blessed with pleasant, spring-like weather all year round, there’s a reason why about one-sixth of the town’s population are expats.
Winters are cool (21°C/ 70°F) and dry and summers are hot (29°C/85°F) and wetter. The wettest months are June-September. We visited in May and we had glorious weather the entire time we were there.
When visiting San Miguel de Allende try to avoid the weekends as this is the busiest time. Due to its proximity to Mexico City, many people like to visit for the weekend.
How Much Time to You Need in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato?
2-3 days is enough time for San Miguel de Allende itself and the sights immediately around it. If you plan to visit other destinations nearby in Guanajuato like Leon or Guanajuato city, you’ll need more time.
Having said that, San Miguel de Allende is a destination that really promotes slowing down, throwing out the itinerary and extending your stay. It’s the sort of place you want to explore and savour slowly, so the more time you have, the better.
How to Get to San Miguel de Allende?
The closest airports to San Miguel de Allende Guanajuato Mexico are León Del Bajio (BJX) and Santiago de Querétaro (QRO). They have direct flights from a number of US cities and domestic Mexican destinations with airlines like United, Aeromexico and Volaris.
Both airports are about 1.5 hrs drive from San Miguel de Allende. It’s possible to connect by bus or by private transfer.
For a reliable private transfer, we used this private transfer via Viator and were very happy with the service.
Alternatively, you can also travel to San Miguel de Allende by bus from other nearby cities in Mexico. You might have to change in Leon.
From Mexico City, it’s about 3.5 hours to San Miguel de Allende. You can take a private transfer such as this one or take a local bus.
Once you get to San Miguel you’ll find the city to be very walkable. However, take comfortable shoes as the whole city is very hilly and there are cobblestone streets almost everywhere.
For this reason, it’s well worth organising a transfer right to your hotel if you have luggage as the cobblestone streets just aren’t wheely luggage-friendly.
Is San Miguel de Allende Safe?
In general, San Miguel de Allende is a safe place to visit. There are many tourists and expats in the city. Crime rates here are very low compared to some other destinations in Mexico and around Latin America.
That being said make sure to use common sense when travelling like you would anywhere else.
Top Things to Do in San Miguel de Allende
Gawk at the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel & the Central Square
One of the true architectural gems of San Miguel de Allende if not the whole of Mexico is the stunning, neo-gothic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel.
This church is nothing like most churches in Mexico with its skyward buttresses and ornate stone finishings and details, it’s definitely something to admire while strolling around the city.
In fact, the whole central square around the city is worth savouring; the colonial architecture, rooftop bars and perfectly manicured central garden. Make sure to also pay a visit after dark when everything is lit up beautifully.
Take a Mexican Cooking Class
If you’d like to learn a little more about authentic Mexican cuisine and take your cooking skills to the next level, then San Miguel de Allende is a great spot for a cooking class.
Guanajuato State is very rich in food traditions and during the class, a top Mexican chef will guide you on how to prepare traditional Mexican dishes and salsas like mole or enmoladas.
Click here for one of the most highly rated cooking classes in San Miguel.
Relax in a Cafe
There are so many amazing cafes in San Miguel de Allende, some of them stand-alone cafes and many others attached to the corner of a concept store or converted mansion.
Either way, you’ll come across many while out exploring this gorgeous city. My favourites are Lavanda Cafe and Ki’bok Coffee where you can take a seat and just watch the world go by while drinking some of Mexico’s best brews.
Walk around the City Centre
One of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende is to simply walk around and explore without a plan or a map. It’s hard to get lost in the relatively small central area, and the beauty of this city is hidden on the rooftops and beyond the thick, facade walls of its buildings.
I highly encourage you to simply walk around and poke your head into doorways to see what kinds of gems you uncover for yourself.
The city is full of incredible spaces, restaurants, bars and boutiques that you’ll want to spend at least some of your time in.
Take a Painting Class
San Miguel de Allende has been a hub for artists and creatives for decades and it’s a lovely place to learn a new craft, have fun and do something different. The creative energy here is just unreal- something that really has to be felt to be believed.
There are a number of workshops in San Miguel de Allende where you can learn about different styles of painting, however the most unique is Talavera, a ceramic painting technique.
In a Talavera painting class, you’ll be able to learn a little more about this amazing technique and paint your own plates which can later be fired and shipped to you.
To learn more and book your Talavera painting class click here.
Learn about the local craft beer scene
Craft beer is pretty popular in San Miguel Mexico and the area produces quite a few different brews.
Dos Aves Brewery is one of the best known in San Miguel de Allende and if you want to know more about the craft beer-making process and have a chance to try some of their final product then check out this tour of the Dos Aves Brewery in San Miguel de Allende.
Visit the Local Markets
For discount souvenirs and encounters with friendly locals, head to the very authentic local markets of San Miguel and Ignacio Ramirez. Here you’ll see the locals going about their daily lives and old ladies selling fruit and vegetables.
You’ll also find the most incredible selection of cowboy boots, local style hats as well as local produce like honey and cheeses which you’re welcome to try.
I highly recommend coming here to stock up on local fruit, try some Mexican/ Guanajuato food (if you aren’t plant-based) and practice your Spanish with the friendly people who are very open to talking with you.
Explore the Coyote Canyon on Horseback
Coyote Canyon is a lovely green and wild area just outside San Miguel de Allende and exploring it really gives you the opportunity to get outside the city and experience the Mexican countryside.
One of the best ways to explore the canyon is on horseback where you’ll get the opportunity to gallop through rivers and even do a bit of hiking and soaking in some hot springs.
This half-day tour is suitable for beginner and advanced riders alike and really allows you to see and experience the Coyote Canyon and the Mexican countryside.
With all the incredible boutiques in San Miguel de Allende is impossible to keep shopping off this list of things to do. From gorgeous clothing items to jewellery and home decor, this small town has some of the coolest pieces in Mexico. It’s also a great place to buy souvenirs to take home for family and friends.
Some of the best things to buy in San Miguel de Allende are cowboy boots, local hats and arts and crafts. For souvenirs and local crafts make sure to check out Mercado Artesania and Mercado San Miguel, Mexico.
Spend the day in a World-Class Spa
There are so many amazing places in San Miguel de Allende, México for a unique spa experience if you need to just turn off for a while.
From unique outdoor thermal springs like La Gruta to luxury boutique hotel spas, there are plenty to choose from. Make sure to read the chapter above for the best wellness spots and spas in the city.
READ MORE: Best Yoga Retreats in Mexico
Visit the Mirador
For those looking for what to do in San Miguel de Allende inside the city itself, reaching the town’s viewpoint is a sweaty but worthwhile feat.
Soon after arriving in San Miguel de Allende, you’ll notice that it’s a pretty hilly town and that means plenty of uphill walking and some of the best viewpoints around.
Just outside the town centre, you’ll find the ‘Mirador’ or viewpoint, from which you can get some of the best views of San Miguel de Allende and the surrounding countryside.
It might seem a little strenuous getting up the hill but trust me, it’s worth it!
Fly over the City in a Hot Air Balloon
If the view from the viewpoints around town isn’t enough for you and you’d prefer a much more special experience, try flying over San Miguel de Allende in a hot air balloon.
Globo San Miguel is the only company in the area that offers exclusive sunrise flights over the fairytale landscape at the prettiest time of day. After the magical flight experience, you can then have breakfast at Rosewood Hotel- the best hacienda-turned hotel in the city. An experience of a lifetime no doubt.
Visit the Botanical Garden
El Charco del Ingenio is a lovely outdoor protected area and botanical garden just outside San Miguel de Allende that’s worth a visit if you’d like to get out of the city for a while and be in nature.
You can come here to learn about all the different flora and fauna in the area including some endangered species, go for a run or jog or even come here to meditate, take some time out and enjoy nature.
Take a Day Trip to Cañada de La Virgen
Cañada de la Virgin is an archaelogical site near San Miguel de Allende that date back to 1050AD. You can spend the day or even a half day exploring the ruins and the colossal temple pyramid and learn more about the local culture and Otomi people who once lived there.
If you’ve got a car you can easily drive to the site from San Miguel de Allende or if you prefer a tour with a knowledgeable guide to learn more, we loved this one here.
Explore the best Rooftop Bars
Without a doubt, San Miguel de Allende has some of the best rooftop bars in Mexico and if you’re into getting a drink or a bite to eat while watching the sun go down with a view you’ll want to visit some of the classic rooftop bars in this charming city.
Our favourites were Luna Rooftop & Bar at Rosewood, Quince and Pueblo Viejo, right on the main square.
Visit La Aurora Factory
Fabrica La Aurora was once a textile factory and one of San Miguel’s most important industrial sights. It operated from 1902 until it closed in 1991. Today it’s been converted into an art gallery mall where you can shop around for a unique piece to take home with you.
However, as you walk around you’ll still be able to see all the old looms, engine rooms and industrial apparatuses that used to work around the clock in what used to be San Miguel’s beating industrial heart.
Visit The Chapel of Jimmy Ray
Probably one of the most unusual things to do in San Miguel de Allende is to make you’re way out to this house-complex. Located a few miles outside San Miguel, The Chapel of Jimmy Ray was built by artist expat and assemblage/mosaic extraordinaire Anado McLauchlin.
The chapel compound encompasses the residence of late McLauchlin and husband Richard, along with a gallery and gardens adorned with artwork and materials. The exterior of the compound is covered in vividly hued mosaics often integrating mirror fragments.
For one of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende that’s completely unexpected, make sure to take a quick taxi ride out here.
Where to Stay in San Miguel de Allende
Probably the most famous hotel in all of San Miguel Allende Guanajuato, this beautiful property is a converted hacienda and the perfect choice if you want to experience one of Mexico’s most traditional country accommodations.
With a beautiful courtyard right in the centre, ample-sided, modern rooms, a signature spa and a rooftop and tequila bar, you’re sure to spend your time in San Miguel de Allende in style.
Dos Casas Hotel & Spa
This beautiful, colonial-style property is located right in the heart of the historical center. Rooms range from the beautiful ‘Design Suite’ to the 753 sq ft Town House both of which include a 5-course tasting breakfast and customized in-room spa menus.
You’ll also find their own restaurant, bar and rooftop with incredible views of the town and surrounding mountains, a gym, hammam, sauna and a wide range of other wellness activities.
In their spa, they also use CBD-infused products to help you relieve stress and tension during your stay. Massage and Tibetan bowl sound healing are also available. This truly is one of the best wellness-focused stays in the whole of Mexico.
Live Aqua San Miguel de Allende Urban Resort
Another incredible wellness-focused resort right in the heart of town, Live Aqua provides a very special space in which to base yourself while exploring the area. Rooms are modern with a touch of local through their wooden beam ceilings and colonial stone architecture.
There’s also a spa, fitness centre and outdoor pool area with hammocks for ultimate relaxation. In the evening take advantage of the beautiful garden or indoor bar before waking up the next morning and enjoying a delicious breakfast on the patio (plant-based breakfast options available too).
For a budget but equally nice place to stay, right next to the lovely Juarez Park, don’t miss Casa Liza. This beautiful, old, stone mansion is ambient and atmospheric with gorgeous, traditional rooms which are so perfectly quiet.
Go for the Junior Suite where you’ll get some amazing views of San Miguel de Allende, right from your own balcony.
Find more great deals on accommodation in San Miguel de Allende here:
Best Restaurants in San Miguel de Allende Mexico
For the best coffee in town, head straight to Lavanda where that warm, toasted aroma will hit your nose as soon as you walk in. They work with a number of different national roasts and beans from Veracruz to Oaxaca.
Try their signature lavender coffee made in a Chemex with a sprig of lavender or a classic almond milk cappuccino to wake you up and get you going.
If you’re looking for a place outside of your hotel for breakfast, try Panio, one of the best bakeries in the city.
They have everything from a great quality croissant to Fresh style cakes and desserts to good coffee and loaves of sourdough bread. My favourite option was the avocado toast- the best one I’ve had in Mexico so far.
Don Taco Tequila
Taking plant-based tacos to another level, Don Taco Tequila is a must for taco loving vegans. They have a small but amazing menu full of dishes to share like nachos and a whole list of vegan taco options from Baja California style cauliflower tacos to the vegan pastor.
Don’t miss their amazing guava margaritas too. Just note their tacos are pretty big compared to your standard Mexican taco, so don’t go overboard as we did.
Luna Tapas Bar
An unmissable treat when in San Miguel de Allende, undeniably so for its incredible city views, Luna Tapas Bar is located on the rooftop of the iconic Rosewood Hotel.
The best time to come is for golden hour and sunset, just make sure to make reservations before going as it’s normally fully booked. Order a mezcal cocktail, guacamole or one of their many veg-friendly dishes and watch the sun come down over the city.
Churreria San Agustin
If you’ve got a sweet tooth then don’t miss the best churros in the city at San Agustin. This little, centrally located cafe is a wonderful place to rest your legs in the afternoon with a pause for a mug of steaming hot chocolate and delicious, sugary, crunchy churros. This place is an institution.
Where to Shop in San Miguel
This stunning, modern space is one you can’t pass up when in town. With a beautifully decorated bar in the centre, a restaurant in the back and small designer boutiques and even a hotel around the sides, this space is cool beyond anything else you might encounter in Mexico.
Add to that the perfect mixture of modern decor and lush green plants and exposed brick walls. Walk around, check out the boutiques and have a drink in the gorgeous bar in the centre.
A local designer selling Tulum-style clothing; think flowy, baggy linens that are not only chic but also oh so comfortable.
A small boutique in the center of the city selling clothes and shoes for both men and women from a handful of international brands. When we visited they had some gorgeous espadrilles by Naguisa from Barcelona and Brava Fabrics selling lovely shirts for men.
Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, a visit here is a must just to check out the incredible space. Here you’ll find one or two boutiques selling beautiful textiles and homewares, clothes, jewellery and even some cosmetics but the highlight here is the colonial mansion itself and the beautiful courtyard that’s filled with cacti and other greenery as well as a fountain. It’s a space to just be.
Located just adjacent to the main cathedral in San Miguel de Allende, this is an old, colonial mansion with a wide range of rather upmarket boutiques selling mainly clothes and decor. A beautiful selection of pieces to even just look at.
While you might not be on the market for interior design pieces when on vacation in Mexico, this little store is just perfect for a little wander and an oogle at the gorgeous home decor pieces to inspire your living space.
Best Wellness Resorts & Spas
La Gruta Thermal Baths
Feeling like you need to rest and relax in San Miguel de Allende more than shop and see sights? Take the afternoon off and visit La Gruta, a gorgeous outdoor space where you can enjoy the thermal waters in the area in the main pool and enjoy a treatment or massage in their spa.
There are also outdoor picnic areas and a restaurant where you can order local food and just spend the afternoon relaxing.
Dos Casas Iris Spa
For one of the best spa experiences in Mexico, head straight to Iris Spa at Dos Casas Boutique Hotel. The moment you walk into this private sanctuary engulfs you in a wave of tranquillity that’s yours to use to dive into your healing or relaxation journey.
Connect mind to the body with one of their amazing treatment packages to choose from depending on your own personal needs. Their signature Iris treatment packages combine steam baths, exfoliation and CBD oil massages for one of the best and most personalised spa experiences around. For more information see their website here.
Spa Rojo Botanicus
For a more budget spa experience using Mexico’s most popular line of organic, natural and cruelty-free products, Botanicus head to Spa Rojo right in the centre of San Miguel.
Cosmetics store cum spa, here you can shop for new products and head over to the spa for a couple’s massage or facial. They also offer a few other treatments from radiotherapy to reflexology and even chocolate therapy. Find out more here.
Do you have any comments or questions about things to do in San Miguel de Allende? Let me know below
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