31 Best Things to Do in San Miguel de Allende (in 2023)
When I left my corporate job to travel the world full time five years ago, the very first destination on my world tour was San Miguel de Allende. I still return near annually to check out all the amazing things to do in San Miguel de Allende.
Whether you are looking for history, nature, art, culture, or just some good street food, you’ll find plenty of things to do and see in this fantastic pueblo magico.
To help you explore the town like a pro, I put together this list of my favorite stuff to do in San Miguel de Allende after my most recent visit with my partner Clara.
We tried hard to hit all the main sites, attractions, and landmarks in town. I think there is something to do and see on here for everyone – so be sure to read until the end!
Quick Note: Clara and I also toured the best hotels in San Miguel de Allende so we could find the coolest places for you to stay in – check it out!
Table of Contents
- 31 Best Things to Do in San Miguel de Allende
- Fabrica la Aurora
- Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel
- El Mirador
- Sunset Drinks at The Rosewood Hotel
- Escondido Hot Springs
- Go Horseback Riding
- Museo Histórico Casa de Allende
- Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez El Nigromante
- Cañada de la Virgen
- Mercado de Artesanías
- Ignacio Ramírez Market
- Take a Foodie Tour
- Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Gardens
- Museo La Esquina del Juguete Popular Mexicano
- Take a Vineyard Tour
- Jardín Allende
- Parque Benito Juárez
- Take a Day Trip to Guanajuato
- Take a Day Trip to Santiago de Querétaro
- Take the Trolley Tour
- Dôce 18 Concept House
- Nómada Cocina de Interpretación
- Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
- Go Hopping Art Galleries
- Sanctuary of Atotonilco
- Try Some Esquites
- Templo de San Francisco
- Biblioteca Pública de San Miguel de Allende (the Public Library)
- Templo de Santa Ana
- Teatro Angela Peralta
- Take a Cooking Class
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31 Best Things to Do in San Miguel de Allende
Fabrica la Aurora
The best place to experience San Miguel’s famous art scene
📍 Map It: Calz de La Aurora S/N, Aurora, 37710 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 152 1312 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm daily
San Miguel de Allende is world-famous as an artistic haven, and nowhere is that better on display than the fantastic Fabrica la Aurora. Located on the northern side of town, this art center occupies a massive former textile mill that has been converted to a sprawling complex filled with different art galleries and displays.
There are several cafes and a restaurant in the front, so I suggest planning to come for lunch and spending a couple of hours browsing the art. It’s definitely one of my personal favorite things to do in San Miguel de Allende.
Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel
The town’s iconic 17th century pink church can’t be missed
📍 Map It: Principal S/N, Zona Centro, Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 152 0544
Easily the most famous attraction in San Miguel, Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel is a stunning 17th-century church. The current pink Gothic facade was added in the late 19th century. To me, the jutting spires give it an almost “castle-like” feel. During my years of travel around Mexico, I’ve seen hundreds (maybe even thousands) of churches. I can’t think of one that is more beautiful than Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel.
In the evening, a popular thing to do in San Miguel – for locals and travelers alike – is to just grab a park bench at El Jardin, the park in front of the church, and admire its colors changing as the golden hour sunlight shifts to nighttime.
When services aren’t happening, you can take a peek inside the church and snap a few photos. Though the exterior is the star attraction, it’s worth a few minutes to look inside the equally ornate interior too!
The best viewpoint in San Miguel de Allende
📍 Map It: El Mirador
San Miguel de Allende is filled with fantastic viewpoints, but the best in the city is the El Mirador outlook. You’ll find fantastic panoramic views of the entire city, various vendors selling souvenirs and drinks, and a small handful of cafes and restaurants.
Note that there is parking at El Mirador, but it fills up fast. You can also get there via taxi, Uber, or just hiking up the steep streets from the Parque Benito Jaurez area.
Sunset Drinks at The Rosewood Hotel
The best rooftop bar in town, if you ask me
📍 Map It: Nemesio Diez 11, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 152 9700 | Website
Having a drink on a rooftop is easily one of the most popular things to do in San Miguel de Allende. There are many gorgeous options to choose from, but my favorite is the rooftop terrace of the Rosewood Hotel’s Luna Tapas Bar. Come to this sprawling rooftop about an hour before sunset, order drinks, and some snacks, and be treated to live music and some of the best sunset views in town. Just be aware that the menu here is definitely on the pricey side.
Oh, and if you’re looking for where to stay in San Miguel, the Rosewood Hotel is definitely one of the top San Miguel de Allende hotels. Its sprawling grounds offer several restaurants, luxurious facilities, and even an art gallery in the basement.
Escondido Hot Springs
Comfortable hot springs that make for a relaxing afternoon trip from town
📍 Map It: San Miguel de Allende – Dolores Hidalgo, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 185 2022 | Website
I’ve been to the nearby hot springs on most of my visits to San Miguel, but somehow have never managed to get a good photo to share. Still, visiting the Escondido hot springs retreat is definitely one of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende. It’s about
You’ll find 10 thermal pools, both outdoors and indoors, including a few under gorgeous stained glass windows. You can get here by driving or hiring a taxi from the city center.
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Go Horseback Riding
A classic San Miguel de Allende activity
The countryside around San Miguel de Allende is filled with kilometers of trails perfect for horseback riding. You’ll find several operators in town offering tours, but the most popular ones are this half day tour which takes you into Coyote Canyon, and this tour combining horseback riding with a visit to the hot springs.
Museo Histórico Casa de Allende
Learn about the history of the town and its namesake, Ignacio Allende
📍 Map It: Cuna de Allende 1, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 152 2499 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 4:15 pm Tue-Sat
Just around the corner from the main square and the church you’ll find San Miguel’s Historic Museum. The expansive building is the former home of the city’s namesake, Ignacio Allende, the captain of Spain’s Army in Mexico who famously became a sympathizer and war hero of the Mexican independence movement.
Today, the structure is a museum sporting historical artifacts that provide a window into the life of Ignacio Allende and the history of the Mexican War of Independence. Browsing the exhibits is one of the best free things to do in San Miguel de Allende.
Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez El Nigromante
A historic building turned art school that makes for a great retreat from the city
📍 Map It: Calle del Dr Ignacio Hernandez Macias 75, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 152 0289 | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm Tue-Sun
This courtyard at this peaceful cultural center is the perfect place to take a break from the bustle of the town. Located in one of the city’s historical buildings, the Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez El Nigromante serves as an art school. You can stroll through and admire the many paintings and murals that adorn the side rooms inside the building.
While you’re here, step outside and around the corner to check out the yellow Templo de la Purísima Concepción, another one of the many beautiful churches in San Miguel de Allende.
Cañada de la Virgen
A 1,500 year-old Otomi archaeological site with an impressive pyramid
📍 Map It: Carretera San Miguel de Allende – Guanuajuto, Km 9.5, San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 109 2466 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm Tue-Sun
About 40 minutes outside of San Miguel de Allende, you’ll find the Zona Arqueológica Cañada de la Virgen. Only open to the public for a little over a decade, Cañada de la Virgen features a pyramid constructed by the area’s indigenous Otomi people approximately around 540 AD. The steps of the main pyramid were designed so that during key lunar cycles, the moon works its way up and down the notches made by the pyramid’s steps.
If you have a car, it’s a short ride to Cañada de la Virgen. If not I suggest visiting with this tour led by an archaeologist, which has nearly 500 fantastic reviews.
Mercado de Artesanías
Stroll through a vibrant market filled with color
📍 Map It: Lucas Balderas S/N, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 112 8138 | Hours: 9 am – 6 pm daily
Even if you’re not a fan of shopping or souvenirs, it’s worth taking a stroll through the colorful Mercado de Artesanías. You’ll find everything from regional crafts, clothing, and toys on offer by the various merchants hawking wares in this covered market.
If you enter at the intersection of Calz de La Luz and Hidalgo streets, you can walk through and then exit right into the next attraction on our list of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende …
Ignacio Ramírez Market
Another bustling local market worth a visit
📍 Map It: Colegio s/n, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 154 4011 | Hours: 7 am – 7 pm daily
Although it is located so close to Mercado de Artesanías that it can be hard to distinguish the two, the Ignacio Ramírez Market is slightly different in that it’s more focused on goods and produce. You probably won’t need to buy the meats or vegetables being sold, but it’s still worth taking a peek inside to see all the activity inside the market.
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Take a Foodie Tour
The best way to quickly sample San Miguel’s famous foodie scene
This town is a veritable paradise for foodies, so of course one of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende is to take a food tour. You can craft your own bar just hopping between San Miguel’s many restaurants, taco stands, and churro stalls.
For a real treat, however, plan to join one of the popular food tours led by local experts. This highly rated food tour will take you to some family-owned local eateries and sample street food you might not otherwise find. Or, if you just want to really focus on tasting some tacos, there’s a popular taco tour you can take too.
Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Gardens
A relaxing escape for nature lovers
📍 Map It: Paloma S/N, Las Colonias, 37720 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 154 4715 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily
One of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende for nature lovers is to check out the town’s large botanical garden. Wandering the grounds of the Charco Del Ingenio nature preserve, you’ll encounter various indigenous Mexican plants, a small waterfall, and a variety of panoramic views. The site also periodically hosts a variety of events, ranging from performance to environmental education programs.
Note that shade is limited, so if visiting the botanical garden on a sunny day bring sunscreen and a hat. To get to the Charco Del Ingenio Botanical Gardens, you can either drive or hire a taxi for the short ride.
Museo La Esquina del Juguete Popular Mexicano
Browse a fascinating collection of vintage Mexican toys
📍 Map It: Núñez 40, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 152 2602 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5:30 pm Tue-Sat, 11 am – 4 pm Sun, Closed Monday
A charming museum of vintage toys popular with Mexican children through the years, Museo La Esquina is the perfect place for anyone who is into antiques or collectibles. The museum features more than 3,500 toys celebrating the heritage of Mexico’s children. As someone who is still very much a little boy at heart, I personally really enjoyed the model airplane and lucha libre exhibits!
👉 Pro tip: the top floor of Museo La Esquina includes a nice patio terrace where you can soak in some good views of the area’s stunning colonial architecture.
Take a Vineyard Tour
Sample amazing wines at a fraction of the price you’d pay in Napa Valley
I don’t call myself an oenophile by any means, but my understanding is that the semi arid climate and elevation of San Miguel de Allende make the Central Mexico region one of the few winemaking areas of the Northern Hemisphere this far south in latitude. Naturally, wine tasting is one of the most popular things to do in San Miguel then.
If you’d prefer someone else to handle the driving (and let’s be honest, you probably should!), then you can take this popular tour which will take you wine tasting in two nearby boutique vineyards.
A leafy central plaza perfect for people watching
📍 Map It: Principal 18, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende
El Jardín is a small parque and main square that sits opposite the pink church. In the evenings, locals and visitors alike gather in El Jardín to socialize. You’ll find mariachi bands will play a song for a few, and Instagram wannabes angling for the best shot of Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel (hey, no shade, Clara and I did it!). Various street food vendors sell elote (corn) and ice cream. Grab something to eat, sit down on a park bench, and just people watch.
Parque Benito Juárez
A large serene park and gardens perfect for a stroll
📍 Map It: Cañadita de los Aguacates 75, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Hours: 8 am – 9 pm daily
While there is no denying the appeal of El Jardín, I think Parque Benito Juárez is my personal favorite park in San Miguel de Allende. It’s far more expansive – you can easily spend a half hour strolling its leafy walking paths.
👉 Pro tip: While here, check out the nearby Lavaderos del Chorro, a cobblestone square that used to serve as a Spanish colonial public laundry. You can still see the basins used to clean clothes during that era!
Take a Day Trip to Guanajuato
An equally colorful – and very different – city lies just an hour away
📍 Map It: Guanajuato
If you somehow check off the top things to do in San Miguel de Allende itself, why not check out a day trip to the nearby town of Guanajuato? This colorful city is just an hour’s drive away, but has a very different vibe than San Miguel. Among the many fun things to do in Guanajuato, I personally love just seeing all the colorful buildings and climbing to the incredible viewpoints in Guanajuato.
You can drive from San Miguel de Allende to Guanajuato if you have a car, or else you can join this popular day trip tour that will take you there.
Take a Day Trip to Santiago de Querétaro
An under-appreciated city featuring a historic UNESCO World Heritage Site
📍 Map It: Santiago de Querétaro
If you’re the type of traveler who likes going where others don’t, then I highly suggest a day trip to the nearby city of Santiago de Querétaro. With over a million residents, but barely a foreign tourist in sight, I personally think Querétaro is one of the most underrated places to travel in the world. The large historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you’ll find many more museums, churches, rooftop terraces, and fine dining restaurants.
I recently spent a month in Queretaro and, though I’m sure I’ll catch some mean comments for saying this, I have to say it … Compared to San Miguel de Allende, where you’ll often hear more English spoken than Spanish, Santiago de Querétaro offers what is, in my opinion, a bit more authentic of a taste of Mexico.
👉 Don’t have a car? You can visit Santiago de Querétaro from San Miguel de Allende via this day trip tour.
Take the Trolley Tour
An easy way to see many of San Miguel de Allende’s best sites and landmarks
Sure it’s one of the more touristy things to do in San Miguel de Allende, but the historic trolley tours are a fun and easy way to check off some of the best sites in town in one swoop. Though the information and schedules published online aren’t super reliable or up to date, as of my last visit you should still find these trolley-style buses leaving from El Jardín each day for about $3 per ride.
Dôce 18 Concept House
A fun complex filled with restaurants, bars, shops, and art
📍 Map It: Relox 18, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 154 9201 | Website
Dôce 18 Concept House is a vibrant commercial center right near the main square where you’ll find several boutique shops selling everything from fashion to macaroons, a fascinating modern display, and a stylish bar. It’s a great place to browse right before you check off the next item on this list …
Nómada Cocina de Interpretación
Sit at the chef’s table to enjoy a unique high-end meal
📍 Map It: Relox 18, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 121 6165 | Hours: 12 pm – 10 pm Mon & Wed-Sun
While you’re in the Doce 18 Concept House, plan to grab a meal at the spectacularly creative Nómada Cocina de Interpretación, located right in the center of the complex. This unique and high-end San Miguel restaurant offers creative spins on Mexican dishes. For a real treat, sit at the chef’s table, where you’ll have a chance to chat with the friendly team as they prepare your meal.
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Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
A unique way to San Miguel from above
I’ll be honest with you: I’m way too scared of heights to have done this thing to do in San Miguel de Allende myself. But there is no denying how pretty the hot air balloons looks, and I’ve heard from friends that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to take a hot air balloon over San Miguel de Allende.
There are a few companies offering hot air balloon rides in San Miguel de Allende, but this one seems to be the most popular from my research.
Go Hopping Art Galleries
Explore San Miguel’s famous art scene
As I mentioned above, San Miguel de Allende has become something of a haven for Mexican and international artists. It follows, therefore, that you’ll find dozens of small art galleries dotting the cobblestone streets of this small city. You won’t have to walk far to find one, and there are many to choose from, but if you need inspiration check out Galeria Casa Diana or Galeria Noel Cayetano.
For the serious art lovers out there, be sure not to miss this popular art tour that takes you through various local artist workshops and lets you meet many of the artists.
👉 Pro tip: In case you missed it at the top of this list of things to do in San Miguel de Allende, Fábrica La Aurora is also a great place to see several art galleries in one place.
Sanctuary of Atotonilco
A fortress-style church complex some have called the “Mexican Sistine Chapel”
📍 Map It: Calle Principal 31, 37893 Atotonilco | Phone: +52 415 185 2060 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily
Santuario de Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco is a large complex with an impressive cathedral, located 20 minutes outside central San Miguel de Allende. The murals inside the domed ceiling are the main attraction here and have even drawn comparisons to the famous Sistine Chapel!
Try Some Esquites
A corn-based street food you’ll find sold by vendors on the streets
I’m going to tell you straight up that this is a thing to do in San Miguel you’ll probably either love or hate. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of esquites – the traditional street corn dish. But Clara absolutely loves esquites, and maybe you will too. There is only one way to really know which camp you’ll land in – you just need to try it for yourself! You can find it sold by carts all around town (especially near El Jardin).
Templo de San Francisco
Another elaborate church is also worth a visit
📍 Map It: San Francisco Esq, Zona Centro, Juarez, Colonia Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Hours: 7 am – 8 pm daily
Like most Mexican pueblo magicos, visiting churches is one of the most typical things to do in San Miguel de Allende. You might feel the urge to skip this one given the other churches higher on this list, but considering its central location, you might as well pop in to admire the beautiful soaring ceilings at Templo de San Francisco. There is also a small park out front which makes for a nice place to take a break in between exploring the many things to do in San Miguel de Allende.
Biblioteca Pública de San Miguel de Allende (the Public Library)
A nice library in a historic building with a quaint courtyard
📍 Map It: Insurgentes #25, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 152 0293 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Tue-Fri, Closed Sun & Mon
Run by local volunteers, the public library is a beautiful place to come for anyone who loves books, art, or just needs to get some work done while in San Miguel de Allende. The library of course has an extensive collection of books, but you’ll also find a nice little courtyard with decent free public wifi.
Templo de Santa Ana
Another gorgeous church interior worth a quick stop
📍 Map It: Insurgentes, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 556 119 1674
Yes, we have yet another church on this list of what to do in San Miguel de Allende. This one can be visited in a matter of minutes. It’s right next to the library, and it’s well worth the quick stop to pop your head in just to check out the gorgeous inside. To me, it’s actually the most beautiful interior of all the San Miguel churches on this list.
Teatro Angela Peralta
A classical theatre offering a variety of events and shows
📍 Map It: Mesones 82, Zona Centro, 37700 San Miguel de Allende | Phone: +52 415 152 2200
I’ve personally never been lucky enough to see a show at San Miguel’s Teatro Angela Peralta, but this small classical theatre looks absolutely beautiful. At least when the health crisis isn’t interfering, you can stop by to check the schedule and see if someone is on during your visit. The theatre plays host to everything from operas to flamenco dance shows.
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Take a Cooking Class
The best souvenir from San Miguel de Allende you can buy!
You can’t visit San Miguel de Allende without falling in love with the local food. If you’re someone really tends to fall in love with food, maybe consider taking a cooking class so you can have the skill to take home with you!
This popular cooking class will teach you how to make mole, salsas, and a variety of regional fare.
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That’s it for this guide to the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende! I hope you love this small town as much as I do, and I hope I’ve helped you find some fun stuff to do you didn’t know about. Oh, and be sure to also check out our post on the best hotels in San Miguel de Allende!
If you liked this article, be sure to check out all my Mexico travel guides for more travel tips and helpful planning info!
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I’m surprised you don’t list Galería Atotonilco in your guides. It’s one of, if not the best gallery in Mexico.
That’s a great suggestion too! There are so many great art galleries in San Miguel de Allende for sure!