Things you must do and see when in San Miguel de Allende | San Miguel de Allende, Mexico | After my recent visit to San Miguel de Allende, here is my list of must DO and SEE things, which hopefully will help you plan your trip and maximize your time there. I was there for three nights. Unfortunately I did not have time to visit Guanajuato, but if you can, you should add extra time to your journey to do so. San Miguel de Allende is a city that manages to be both quaint and cosmopolitan at the same time. Once an important stop on the silver route between Zacatecas and Mexico City, its historic center is filled with well-preserved buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. With its narrow cobblestone streets, leafy courtyards, fine architectural details and sumptuous interiors, San Miguel de Allende is arguably the prettiest town in Mexico.
In 2008 UNESCO recognized San Miguel de Allende and the neighboring Sanctuary of Jesus de Atotonilco as World Heritage of Humanity sites, citing the town’s religious and civil architecture as a demonstration of the evolution of different trends and styles, from Baroque to late 19th century Neo-Gothic. Walking around San Miguel is quite quaint and charming. An obligated stop is Aldama Street, for great photo opts featuring its iconic cobble stone narrow streets and the Parish Church of San Miguel Arcangel.
Historically, the town is important as being the birthplace of Ignacio Allende, whose surname was added to the town’s name in 1826, as well as the first municipality declared independent of Spanish rule by the nascent insurgent army during the Mexican War of Independence. Most of these heritage can be seen and experience at the Jardin Principal or Jardin Allende and La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel.
Fabrica La Aurora. San Miguel is a preferred destination of art lovers. Whether you’re an aspiring or accomplished artist, or just prefer to admire the creations of others, you’ll be happy here. Studio openings, courses and workshops form a vital part of the thriving arts scene. Galleries, boutiques and shops selling a wide range of art and handicrafts are plentiful so it won’t be hard to find souvenirs to take home with you. The epicenter, perhaps, of this artistic movement can be found at Fabrica La Aurora. A beautiful art and design center housed in a former textile factory from the turn-of-the century.
One of the things that I enjoyed the most, was walking around exploring the streets of San Miguel and people watching. The town is very lively during the day, and once the sun is down, most of the activity centralizes around the Jardin Allende and La Parroquia San Miguel Arcangel, where I would go to enjoy the live music performances of the Mariachis.
The Mercado de Artesanias is a must stop. Local crafts include metalwork, papier mache, hand-blown glass, stained glass pottery and furniture. The many artists who make this city their home fill the city with beautiful details and offer their work for sale. You’ll find the best deals at San Miguel de Allende’s handicrafts market. Located near the Mercado Ignacio Ramirez, along Andador Lucas Balderas between Calle Colegio and Calle Loreto, this market takes up three city blocks and is full of stalls selling regional products. Don’t be shy to bargain, it’s part of the fun!
San Miguel de Allende has long had a reputation as a haven for visual artists. Since the 1950s, when Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros worked there. You should stop by Centro Culturál Ignacio Ramírez “El Nigromante”, also known as Bellas Artes, to see the unfinished mural by Siqueiros. Located only a few steps away from Jardin Principal. Formerly a cloister, place of prayer and contemplation is now a of Monastery of Art.
The Sanctuary of Atotonilco, located approx. 20 minutes from San Miguel de Allende, is a church complex and a World Heritage Site. The complex was built in the 18th century by Father Luis Felipe Neri de Alfaro. Dubbed the “Sistine Chapel of Mexico”, the main feature of the complex is the rich Mexican Baroque mural work that adorns the main nave and chapels by Antonio Martinez de Pocasangre over a period of thirty years. Biblioteca Publica is another must stop during your day. Specially to enjoy a coffee or light lunch at their inner courtyard. Mexico’s second largest English language library. There is plenty more to see in San Miguel de Allende, and this destination is perfect to be combined with Mexico City. Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator – www.carlosmelia.com
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