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Updated March 2024

Meet San Miguel de Allende, the jewel box of a city located in Mexico’s state of Guanajuato. Praised for many things like its beauty and culture, it’s no wonder that it tops the lists for best destinations. While I planned my first trip here over a year ago, I finally made my arrival just this month.

What drew me in originally were the enchanting colored, Colonial streets dripping in bougainvillea. If you’ve seen any postcards of the rosy-pink spires of the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, you’ll know what I mean. But what really set fire to finally booking the tickets was something entirely different: The creative energy of San Miguel.

Found in artisanal shops, art galleries, farm-to-table restaurants, and boutique hotels providing an opportunity to slow down, it permeates everything. It doesn’t hurt that every corner turned in the city reveals yet another moment of beauty, but within it all, there is culture, cuisine, and community to be found.

Days spent soaking in the sun, sore legs from ascending the cobblestone lanes, hunting out incredible eats and shops, and moments of rest poolside or on a rooftop terrace. This was life in San Miguel for a week. Did it live up to my expectations? Yes and more.

If you’re thinking of booking the trip, I hope this guide will convince you not to wait as long as I did.

Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Hotels in San Miguel:

  1. Casa de Sierra Nevada, A Belmond Hotel, for the best hotel for couples
  2. Live Aqua Urban Resort, for the best hotel for families
  3. La Valise San Miguel de Allende, for the best design hotel
  4. Casa Hoyos, for the best budget hotel

For a more detailed overview of the most incredible stays in San Miguel, don’t miss my roundup of the best hotels in San Miguel. Also, be sure to check out my go-to list for things to do in town during your visit! Lastly, if you’re also planning to visit Mexico City, use this Mexico City Guide to help plan your trip!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!

For all international trips, I recommend having reliable travel insurance. I like to use World Nomads.

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

What to Know Before Visiting San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Is San Miguel de Allende Safe?

It is generally a safe city due to the number of tourists and ex-pats living in the city. The crime rate here is low when compared to other destinations across Mexico. With that said, practice common sense when traveling. Keep valuables close, be mindful of people passing you, don’t wander solo at night, and pay attention to your surroundings.

When is the Best Time to Visit San Miguel de Allende?

For those seeking the best weather, November through April have the coolest months in the 70s and 80s. Come summer, the months can be quite hot and it is very rainy June-October. As you plan, keep in mind it will be very busy during the holidays like Christmas and Easter.

How Much Time Should I Spend in San Miguel de Allende?

I would recommend a minimum of 4 nights. This will give you ample time to explore the city center itself and even take a nearby day trip or two.

How Do I get to San Miguel de Allende?

Nearest Airports

The closest two airports to San Miguel de Allende are BJX in León Del Bajio (48 miles away, 1.5 hr drive) and QRO in Santiago de Querétaro (41 miles away, 1.25 hr drive). Both service direct flights in the U.S. with airlines like Volaris, Aeromexico, and United Airlines.

Upon arrival at either of these airports, pre-book a transfer with Bajiogo. Bajiogo is a very reliable company, we booked our transfers both ways and found the service timely and professional.

Travel Tip: If arriving late at night, I would consider booking a nearby airport hotel to transfer in the morning instead of driving at night.

From Mexico City

If you are already in CDMX, you can hire a driver to take you. The drive from CDMX to San Miguel is around 3.5 hours.

How Do I Get Around San Miguel de Allende?

By foot is the easiest way to get around San Miguel de Allende. The whole city itself is walkable and you don’t need a car to explore. That said, Uber or taxis are readily available to get you around the city if in a hurry. Uber is very reliable, taxis will require cash.

Travel Tip: Be prepared to wear comfortable shoes to explore San Miguel on foot. The city is paved with cobblestones and has a lot of hills, which will definitely make you break a sweat at peak heat.

Additional Things to Know

  • Calling Code: +52
  • Language: Spanish (English widely spoken)
  • Currency: Mexican Peso (MXN)

Where To Stay In San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Casa de Sierra Nevada, A Belmond Hotel

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Checking in with Kiwi Collection for two nights at Casa de Sierra Nevada, A Belmond Hotel was nothing short of a dream. A perk of booking through Kiwi Collection is room upgrades on arrival (upon availability), so as we were whisked away to our suite, I knew we were in for a treat. The luxurious hotel is set with 37 rooms and suites across six separate 17th- and 18th-century Spanish Colonial buildings. As you step into the charming and intimate casas, the noise of the city fades away.

Inside our suite, a terrace with a plunge pool, a grand living room with a fireplace, and a Talavera-tiled bathroom. Each element in the room is a representation of Mexico, not a single corner untouched, true to the Belmond Hotel’s passion for memorable stays. In the morning, a quick call delivers a piping hot pot of coffee paired with local pastries like fluffy conchas. The postcards from the stay are in these thoughtful details.

Across the fairytale property, two restaurants shine in their own way — Andanza and Restaurante del Parque, I’d recommend at least a meal at both. During the stay, in the heart of Casa Palma is the quiet pool surrounded by stone arches and bougainvillea. It’s a setting unlike any other in the city. Come night, don’t miss a chance of watching the sunset with a cocktail in hand at Tunki — the newest rooftop bar to open in town.

Book the best Casa Sierra Nevada rates here.

Other San Miguel Hotels on My List:

Where To Eat and Drink in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Restaurante del Parque

Located in Casa de Sierra Nevada, A Belmond Hotel, Restaurante del Parque is an Oaxacan-focused dining experience. Ingredients sourced from the vibrant area of Oaxaca are infused with incredible flavors with a modern presentation. The food is equally as incredible as the setting, making it one of the best meals in San Miguel de Allende.

We had the pleasure of dining here for both breakfast and lunch, with these being our best meals while in the city. Executive Chef Eduardo Zorilla passion for refined cuisine is both playful and memorable. For lunch, two of the standout plates were the mole tasting and the softshell crab tacos. I highly recommend making a booking in advance.

Address: Santa Elena 2, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico


If you’re looking for an elevated meal for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner, book in at Andanza. Set inside the vine-covered walls of Casa de Sierra Nevada, A Belmond Hotel, the food is international featuring local flavors. It’s a local favorite for weekend breakfast. We really enjoyed getting to eat here several times throughout our trip — don’t skip the burger!

Address: Hospicio 35, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico


A small restaurant tucked off the street, Tostévere was a hit for its creative tostadas. Everything on the menu was delicious, I recommend booking in advance for weekends and nights.

Address: Codo 4, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico

El Pegaso

An easy meal in the center of San Miguel, we strolled in for a late lunch. They have a rooftop and bottom floor, with an affordable menu. Their most popular dish is the traditional Chiles en Nogada, which I tried and found a bit sweet but nonetheless interesting to try.

Address: Corregidora 6, Zona Centro, Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico

La Mezcalería SMA

This spot is just an absolute gem, you can smell the incredible food as you walk by. Though it is known for being a mezcal bar, they also have a great menu of small bites like tuna tartar and spicy housemade sausage.

Address: Zacateros, 81 B, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico


For a laidback spot for either breakfast or lunch, or even a cup of coffee with a pastry, head to Jacques. Tucked off a small street, this stunner of a restaurant was one of my favorites while visiting.

Address: Del Pueblito 3A, Zona Centro, Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico

Inside Cafe

Over the week in San Miguel, we had several meals delivered from Inside Cafe to our Airbnb (Uber Eats y’all!). We fell in love with their hot press sandwiches with pulled pork and cheese. And I always ordered a “limonada de maracuyá” which is like a sparkly passion fruit lemonade drink — absolutely epic.

Address: Insurgentes 66-Planta Alta, Zona Centro, Centro Histórico, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico


While there are several rooftop spots to check out for drinks and a bite, my favorite was Bekeb at the top of CASA HOYOS. It has been named one of the best bars in the world and is run by Fabiola Padilla, a top bartender in Mexico. The drinks are innovative and full of flavor.

Address: Mesones 14, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico

Chocolates y Churros San Agustín

It’s a classic while visiting, stop in for freshly made churros and dipping chocolate. There are a few different choices as well for the kinds of chocolate, so be sure to explore the menu.

Address: San Francisco 21, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende, Gto., Mexico

Where to Get Coffee

Essential Things to Do In San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Stroll the City

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Being such a walkable city, San Miguel de Allende is best experienced by going for a stroll. I would head out in the morning to watch the city come alive. You’ll see shops setting up, grab a coffee to go, and sit in one of the many squares like Plaza Cívica. Come night, the city comes alive — you’ll find live bands and mojigangas (the large puppets) gathered in front of the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel.

Visit Fábrica La Aurora

One of the best destinations within the city is that of Fábrica La Aurora. Head there in the morning, and start your time at Geek & Coffee. This cafe serves breakfast/coffee and is one of the most kid-friendly spots in the area with a small garden and play structures.

Afterward, stroll into Fábrica La Aurora, the renovated textile mill that now houses artist studios, shops, and galleries. There is so much to see in here, you could spend a whole afternoon winding in and out of the factory.

Shop the Local Design Stores

Throughout San Miguel, you’ll find so many wonderful shops to dive into. Just by going on a walk through the neighborhoods, you’ll find gems tucked away. I had a few favorite shops during our trip. Mixta for vintage clothing, Laura Kirar Shop inside Meson Hidalgo for colorful prints/home decor, La Calaca for antiques/folk art, Arte Zapoteco for all textiles (bought a lot here), Dôce 18 Concept House for high-end fashion/home, Mercado Collective for the best-curated store, and Roma Quince for incredible textiles and pottery.

Soak in Sunset Views from El Mirador

A classic view of San Miguel is from El Mirador. Come sunset, the viewpoint comes alive with visitors watching the city get draped in bright colors. You can take a taxi up and consider strolling back down into town afterward.

Visit La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel and Jardín Allende

The rosy-pink 17th-century church has spires that reach into the sky — La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel is in the backdrop of almost every photo of the city. While you can take in the beauty from the outside, you can also visit inside when there is no mass happening.

Afterward, stroll across the way to Jardín Allende for the bustling town plaza. You’ll find street vendors selling refreshing drinks and snacks — the perfect spot to people-watch.

Spend Time in Parque Benito Juárez

Things to Do in San Miguel de Allende

If you’re looking for the largest gardens and park to stroll, Parque Benito Juárez is it. There are basketball courts, lined pathways, and even kid parks. It’s incredibly peaceful and loved going here in the morning with our little one.

Shop the Ignacio Ramírez Market

A classic experience not to be missed is visiting the stalls of Ignacio Ramírez Market. There are two parts of the market — the food/grocer and the artisanal section. Don’t miss either, and especially bring cash for the Mercado de Artesanías.

Other Things to Do in San Miguel:

Consider Booking a Tour

There are several experiences nearby and within San Miguel. Here are a few tours to consider booking:

What to Pack for San Miguel de Allende

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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

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1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

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6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


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