Located in Mexico’s central highlands, San Miguel de Allende is well known for its breathtaking baroque Spanish architecture. The city features a thriving arts scene and hosts various cultural festivals all year long. No matter the time of year that you are visiting here, there is lots to do and many excellent places to eat at. Let’s take a close look at 10 of the must-visit attractions you won’t want to miss out on when traveling to San Miguel de Allende.
1) El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden
There are lots of attractions in San Miguel that are manmade and display the utmost beauty, but when it comes to nature at its finest, you can’t go wrong when visiting the El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden. Boasting more than 170 acres of botanical garden, this ecological preserve gives you the opportunity to see wildlife, local cacti, and more. There are many performances and ceremonies that take place here, so make sure you research what events will be going on during your visit.
2) Escondido Place
If you are looking for a quiet attraction that features one of the area’s most beautiful natural hot springs, then head on down to Escondido Place. The retreat has 10 indoor and outdoor pools, all of which are fed by the natural hot spring. The plant life here is absolutely gorgeous, with colorful flowers surrounding the entire area. Remember, if you are going to take advantage of the hot spring pools, you will want to start out in the coolest pools and then work your way up to the warmest ones which are known for reaching 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
3) Canada de la Virgen
If you are interested in archeology, this 40-acre archeological site is sure to exceed your expectations. Located only 15 miles from San Miguel de Allende, you won’t have to travel far to get here. The site has four complexes and features seven pyramid structures. Not all of the area has been completely excavated, so more archeological finds are sure to be found.
4) Instituto Allende
Known for being one of the best art schools, the Instituto Allende opened in 1951 and was originally a home to a noble family back in 1736. And while many veterans attend this school because it is covered under the GI Bill, word has spread attracting students from all over the world. You can stop in here to walk through one of the many galleries, of if you prefer, you can even partake in one of the various workshops.
5) Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel
One of the most beautiful churches in San Miguel is the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel. Overlooking El Jardin, this prominent church boasts a neo-Gothic design. Built like a castle, the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel is so breathtaking because as the sun moves throughout the day, the colors and illuminations of the church change, too. Best of all, entry to tour through this church is free.
6) El Jardin
Located in the heart of the city, El Jardin is the perfect place for people-watching. You can observe tourists and locals alike, all the while being close to some of the city’s best shops and eateries. This is one of the locations that makes people want to purchase a vacation residence in San Miguel. Some of the neatest things you’ll see while visiting El Jardin are mariachi bands, local artisans, and many other entertaining venues. The best time to visit this hot spot is during the evenings during the week and during the afternoons on weekends.
7) Galeria Atotonilco
Open by appointment early, you will need to call ahead to visit this amazing attraction. Generally, an Open House event is hosted the last weekend of each month, with the hours being from noon to 5 pm. To learn more about Galeria Atotonilco, you can read the weekly ad found in the Atencion. Please note that this hot spot is not a museum, but it does feature some of Mexico’s finest folk art collections. It only takes about 10 minutes to drive to Galeria Atotonilco from San Miquel and is ideal for folk art lovers as well as those who don’t know much about this niche of artistry.
8) Santuario de Atotonilco
Whether you consider yourself religious or not, the Santuario de Atotonilco is perfect for art lovers. Boasting beautiful architecture and history at its finest, this lovely church has impressive ceilings and walls, displaying some of the area’s best art pieces. Only a 10-15 minute drive from the city, this is a place that is definitely worth the visit.
9) La Esquina Mexican Toy Museum
Known as a cultural institution that has been devoted to the preservation of Mexican toys, the La Esquina Mexican Toy Museum has more than a 1,000 toys on display. The collection featured in the museum was collected over a period of fifty years by Angelica Tijerina.
With a park like setting, Zocalo is a favorite for tourists and locals. You’ll see beautiful weddings take place here and you can expect the area to be full and busy most days. Local musicians tend to gather here, giving you free access to entertaining venues all year long. Don’t forget to stop by one of the local ice cream stands to cool off on a hot day.
No matter your reason for visiting San Miguel de Allende, there are lots of attractions to take advantage of. Make sure you check out the 10 places listed above and you will be well on your way to having an amazing time.