I’m excited to present my travel guide for three days in San Miguel de Allende. San Miguel is a great destination for a couples trip and would also be perfect for a girls’ trip as well!
You know I love Mexico, so when my dear friend, Tanya Foster, invited us to join her to celebrate her birthday in San Miguel de Allende, it was an immediate yes! I’ve heard wonderful things about this charming town in the mountains of central Mexico, and was so excited for this adventure with close friends. I’ve already shared My San Miguel Packing List and What I wore in San Miguel. The travel guides take a bit longer for me to put together. I’ve also saved our trip on Instagram Stories Highlights.
San Miguel de Allende
Founded in the 16th century as San Miguel in honor of the Archangel, it became a major center of commerce and the military on the silver roads during this period and the center of several major battles. By the mid-18th century the city was at its height, and this was when most of its large mansions, palaces, and religious buildings were constructed and most of them still remain behind the beautiful doors San Miguel is known for. With a population of 30,000, it was one of the most important and prosperous settlements in New Spain.
The town became known as San Miguel de Allende after the Mexican War of Independence and was the birthplace of one of the leaders Ignacio Allende. It went into decline in the 190th Century and the Mexican government preserved the almost ghost town because of it’s significance. In the late 1930s a wave of artists and writers began to move to San Miguel de Allende and helped to begin the artistic culture it is known well known for today. In 2008, San Miguel de Allende became a UNSECO World Heritage site and was chosen for its well-preserved Baroque colonial architecture and layout and for its historic role in the Mexican War of Independence.
Getting to San Miguel
I get into San Miguel is fairly easy. You have a choice of two airports, Leon and Queretaro. We flew to the Queretaro airport. It is a smaller airport than Leon. Other friends that were with us had flown to the Leon airport and said that this one would be their preference going forward. Tanya had arranged a private driver through InfoToursMX for airport transportation, as well as our day trip to the winery. All the drivers were wonderful and extremely professional.
Where to Stay
Private Villas – We were guests of Tanya and her husband and stayed at the beautiful Villa Blanca. This gorgeous is owned by a Dallas family and villa is centrally located near the La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, the most photographed church in Mexico, and town center. It is a stunning four-bedroom home built into the hillside with beautiful terraces and lots of outdoor living. In my opinion, it has one of the best views of town and sunset!
Rosewood San Miguel de Allende – We went for a sunset cocktails to the Rosewood. It was a very beautiful property with a central garden courtyard and expensive rooftop bar. Two of the other couples had stayed there before and said that it was lovely.
Belmond Casa Sierra Nevada – The girls stopped in for a cocktail while shopping one afternoon at the beautiful Belmond casa sierra Nevada. I have not personally seen the rooms but if the lobby, bar and restaurant or any indication they are beautiful as well.
There are also a number of small boutique hotels, including Casa No Name where we had Sunday brunch.
What to Do
Shopping! – There are streets upon streets of special boutiques and little shops carrying everything from beautiful clothing to handmade glass and then, of course, the market which is a must. Here are a few of my favorites that I took note of:
Arte Lemon – A great source for beautiful Otomi embroidered pieces and other embroidered items, including clothing, napkins, and placemats. I purchased a beautifully embroidered poncho to wear this spring. There are two locations of this store not far from each other with different offerings. (Photo 1)
Marquesa de Mancera – If I had a house in San Miguel, I could furnish it from here! Marquesa de Mancera is filled with so many beautiful decor pieces from furniture and lighting to art and small decorative objects. (Photo 2)
Mercado Artesanis – The market in San Miguel is one of the largest I have been in. They have everything you can imagine: cowboy boots, jewelry, Otomi embroidery, linens, glass hearts, metal art and more. Bring pesos as most do not take cards.
Recreo – Owned by Lisa Coleman who designs beautiful clothing and is known for her beautiful wraps and gorgeous jewelry. Lisa gave us a lot of great information and insight about restaurants and shopping in San Miguel, too. (Photos 3 and 4)
Trinitate – I’m not sure I’ve ever been overwhelmed by so many beautiful choices as I was in this ceramics store. From garden containers to exquisite dinnerware designs, I truly couldn’t decide on which was my favorite or even what to bring home! I’m inspired to begin a new dinnerware collection from here…not to chose a design! (Photo 5)
Xinu – Pronounced she-nu, this tiny fragrance shop is well worth finding. Hidden inside Meson Hidalgo, they hand craft five fragrances. I brought home No. 5. Fragrances are my new favorite souvenir from our travels. (Photo 6)
Eat amazing food! All the details on this are below!
Walking Tour of San Miguel de Allende – The first morning, Tanya set up a three hour walking tour of San Miguel with Joseph Toon. He was a wonderful guide, who shared the history and culture of San Miguel de Allende. This was a great way to begin the trip armed with the knowledge of how this special town came to be and also helped me get a lay of the land. We do tours of most of the foreign cities that we travel to and love them.
Wine Tasting at Tres Raíces – A driver took us to this beautiful vineyard for a wine tasting and delicious lunch at their restaurant, Terruno. The architecture is unique, wine is good and food fantastic. Put this at the top of your list! Fun note: Tres Raices is available at HEB/Central Market in Texas. I really liked the Savignon Blanc and the Merlot.
Other activities friends have recommended:
Spa at the Rosewood Hotel
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Tequila Tasting at Casa Dragones – This is best scheduled in advance. They’ve reopened their tasting room but reservations are required.
Where to eat
I can certainly say there is no shortage of amazing restaurants in San Miguel! I feel like we had a great sampling of the best of the best, but I’ll also list a few here for you as well that, highly recommended.
Atrio – The first day, we had lunch at this great rooftop restaurant. They have some of the best margaritas I have ever had! The food was fantastic and so fresh. Others in the group liked this restaurant so much on another trip, they ate there twice! I recommend this for lunch or dinner as the view of the La Parroquia Arcangel is stunning anytime. (Photo 1 and 2)
Boca Ciega – We all absolutely loved this Mediterranean restaurant. It may have been our favorite meal! We let our server guide our selections from their very fresh and creative menu, and he did not steer us wrong! I really loved the bohemian chic decor as well. (Photo 3)
El Correo – This quaint restaurant and bar has a fabulous traditional Mexican breakfast. They do not take reservations but if you go early, the wait was not long.
Casa No Name – We had Sunday brunch here and it was absolutely wonderful. Beautiful atmosphere and a very large and varied buffet. Don’t miss the chicken molè! (Photo 4)
Luna – Sunset cocktails at the Rosewood rooftop bar is a must. We all loved their Sunset Margarita! (Photo above in Things to Do)
Panio – A great place to grab a pastry and a cup of coffee as you set out on the day.
The Restaurant – We had a lovely dinner and a private room at this great restaurant. It was a recommendation the owner of Recreo. A friend of mine had her rehearsal dinner here when she was married in San Miguel last year.
San Augustin Chocolate and Churros – we stopped for an afternoon pick me up at this famous spot. You can’t go wrong with a hot chocolate and churros! So good! Address: Calle San Francisco 21 (Photo 5)
Quince – This fun rooftop restaurant is one of the best places to watch the sunset. It’s very lively with fun entertainment, including a tight rope walker! The food and cocktails were good but you’re really going for the ambience and sunset view. (Photo 6)
Zumo at Villa Lemon – Tanya‘s birthday dinner was at this lovely restaurant with a gorgeous view. The owner joined us for a bit. It’s fun to visit with the ex-pats about how they came to San Miguel. The food and service were fabulous, and they made the evening really special.
Other recommended restaurants:
Cafe Lavanda – Highly recommended breakfast place. Go early and pesos only. A few couples went while we were there…we slept in!
Moxi – Recommended by friends who were on this trip. They enjoyed it but wanted to try another restaurant. It is hard to decide because there are so many great and highly recommended ones!
Restaurante La Unica – Also recommended by the friends above and many others.
I hope my San Miguel de Allende Travel Guide gives you a good feel the town and inspires you to visit this charming town. We had such a great time and are grateful to have been included in Tanya’s birthday celebration with other dear friends. We are all getting together this weekend for a “San Miguel Reunion” and I can’t wait!
Let me know if you have any questions! Don’t miss my Packing List for San Miguel and What I Wore in San Miguel as well as Tanya’s San Miguel Travel Guide and what she wore, too!