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Plants adorn roofs, restaurants, patios and parks in San Miguel de Allende, located 258 kilometers (160 miles) northwest of Mexico City.

San Miguel Bellas Artes
San Miguel Bellas Artes
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Numerous Canadians and Americans come here in winter. They stay at hotels in San Miguel, vacation rentals and apartments. The next thing you know, the mild climate, cultural attractions, great dining and friendly local and ex-pat residents have enticed them to retire in San Miguel de Allende.

Spanish language schools

Many visitors enrol in Mexican cooking schools and Spanish language courses. Others study painting, silverwork, ceramics, music and other arts at San Miguel schools, including the Instituto Allende and the National Institute of Fine Arts, known locally as Bellas Artes.

Art beckons from galleries, the courtyard of Bellas Artes and the walls of Instituto Allende, where a large colorful mural depicts the history of Mexico.

Statue of Fray Juan and La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel Church
Statue of Fray Juan and La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel Church
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

San Miguel de Allende was named after a Spanish Franciscan friar who started a mission here in 1542. "De Allende" was added in 1826, to honour Ignacio Allende, an independence patriot who, with Miguel Hidalgo, mobilized their countrymen to revolt against Spanish rule.

A statue of the Franciscan monk, Fray Juan de San Miguel, stands in front of the beautiful pink stone parish church, Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, located on Plaza Principal.

UNESCO World Heritage

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. All buildings must be colonial style.

Bells of the 18th-century Templo de San Francisco (Church of San Francisco) resounded over the old colonial city as we ambled along cobblestone streets, peering into the courtyards of pumpkin, bubble gum-pink, lemon and cobalt-blue stucco buildings.

In one, we discovered a charming restaurant that served frosty margaritas and delicious Aztec Soup, made with chicken, tomatoes and chile peppers, topped with avocado, crispy tortilla strips, cheese and fresh cilantro.

Things to do in San Miguel

San Miguel de Allende Mexico trips often coincide with special events, including the San Miguel Jazz Festival and Sanmiguelada. Held in September, Sanmiguelada features a running of the bulls, similar to the festival in Pamplona.

Besides visiting restaurants, clubs and bars with happy hours, you can shop for arts and crafts in shops, the Artisans Market and Ignacio Ramirez Market. The Public Library has computers and Internet access.

Mural depicts the history of Mexico in Instituto Allende.
Mural depicts the history of Mexico in Instituto Allende.
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

San Miguel de Allende tours visit baroque and neoclassical buildings, including Oratorio de San Felipe Neri, which has gold walls and ornate decorations.

There are several parks and gardens in San Miguel, including Cante Botanic Garden, Parque Benito Juarez and El Charco del Ingenio. In the shady El Jardin plaza, downtown, you can buy ice cream from street vendors and relax with San Miguel residents on wrought iron benches.

San Miguel de Allende weather

Daytime temperatures are hot, while evening temperatures are cool, because the altitude of San Miguel is about 6,200 feet (1,890 meters).

Rainfall is low in this semi-desert region of Central Mexico, with most rain falling between June and September.

Getting to San Miguel

There are no San Miguel flights. You can fly into Benito Juarez Airport (airport code: MEX) in Mexico City, and drive to San Miguel de Allende. Driving time is four hours.

Buses to San Miguel from Mexico City depart several times daily.


Mexico Tourism Board: www.visitmexico.com

More things to see & do in Mexico's colonial cities:

Patzcuaro Mexico Vacation

Morelia Mexico Holiday

Guanajuato Vacation

Queretaro Mexico Travel Guide

Mexican Candy Shops, Markets and Dulcerias