48 Hours in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: Where to Eat, Play, Sleep!
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In San Miguel de Allende, you won’t find beaches and ocean waters. There isn’t even an international airport nearby. Yet, thousands and thousands of national and foreign travelers visit this colonial city every year – with a good reason. Walking down the cobblestone streets of San Miguel, you’ll see the city radiates charm and old-world ambiance. Colorful houses line the streets. Spanish colonial-style buildings tell the story of San Miguel’s lively history. It’s hard not want to stay a little longer, or even move here! If you have 48 hours to spend in San Miguel, read on below for things to do and see, best places to eat and drink, and luxurious hotels to stay at!
Day 1 at San Miguel
San Miguel de Allende is known for being the cradle of the Mexican independence movement, where Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rallied Mexicans to rebel against Spanish rule. At this UNESCO World Heritage City, you’ll see history, culture, and art come alive!
Morning: Begin the day with a classic Mexican breakfast at El Correo. Then, walk around town and visit the iconic temples and attractions.
Start from Jardin Principal, the town’s main square, take time to explore the pastel pink La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel. Originally constructed in the 17th century, the neo-Gothic facade was built in the 18th century by master builder Don Zeferino Gutierrez, who reputedly based the design on a Belgian church. From there, you can see Templo de San Rafael next door, with its bell tower rising high above the old flower market.
Across the street is Museo Historico de San Miguel de Allende, the birthplace of Ignacio Allende, a Spanish army officer who fought as a leader for Mexican Independence. Here, you can learn about the interesting history of San Miguel. Historic paintings and Mexican folk art can be seen at Casa de Cultura Banamex, once owned by the wealthy and influential De La Canal family. Even if you’re not into history, the compelling architectural details will blow your mind!
Follow the tall yellow dome and you’ll find Templo de la Purisima Concepcion, also known as Las Monjas. Inside houses paintings by Juan Rodriguez Juarez, one of the most famous painters in New Spain. Speaking of art, you do not want to miss the murals at Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramirez “El Nigromante”, especially the one by renowned Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. Or the dramatic murals at Biblioteca Publica by artists David Leonardo.
For hand-painted ceramics, mirrors, and Day Of The Dead artwork, head over to Mercado de Artesanias. Make sure to try local sweets and pulque (fermented agave drink) while you’re there!
Then, go inside the Templo del Oratorio de San Felipe Neri to see paintings by Miguel Cabrera as well as the lavish Capilla de la Santa Casa de la Virgen de Loreto. Admire the intricate facade of Templo de Nuestra Senora de la Salud. Make a stop at Plaza Civica where a large statue of Ignacio Allende on a horseback situates in the center. Lastly, end your tour at Templo de San Francisco.
All attractions are close by, so it is totally walkable. It will take about 2-3 hours to see everything.
Lunch: Rest up at the courtyard of Maria Xoconostle. One of the best places to please your palate if you’re wondering where to eat in San Miguel de Allende. They have authentic Mexican dishes to fuel your soul. Try escamoles (ant eggs – it is yummy!) and beef fillet medallions with “manchamanteles” sauce.
Afternoon: San Miguel is not all about colonial architecture and historical elements. At Doce 18 Concept House, you’ll see a harmonious blend of modern minimalist decor and old world charm. The space houses numerous shops, restaurants, bars, and galleries.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Casa Dragones Tasting Room. A tasting of Casa Dragones Joven (World’s best sipping tequila!) and Casa Dragones Blanco will completely change your impression of tequila! Reservation is required.
Dinner: Reward yourself with a hearty meal (and a panoramic view of the whole town!) at Antonia Bistro. Their tempura shrimp tacos hit the spot. Also, the grilled octopus, rack of roasted lamb and sweet potato creme brulee do not disappoint!
Stay at: L’Ôtel on the top floor of Doce 18. Each room is bright and airy, equipped with modern amenities. The rooftop terrace and pool are to die for!! There are only 10 guestrooms though. Alternatively, you can stay at Rosewood or Clandestino.
Day 2 at San Miguel
Morning: Power up your day with a healthy breakfast at Los Milagros, which serves a great selection of Mexican dishes that are worth waking up for!
Next, pay a visit to the Mask Museum, where an extraordinary collection of 600 Mexican ceremonial masks are stored. The owner Bill LeVasseur has spent over 25 years, traveling to indigenous villages throughout Mexico to collect them. The history and culture behind mask-making and masked dancing are fascinating!
Fabrica La Aurora is also worth a visit. Previously a textile factory, this century-old building is converted to an art and design center. More than 50 art studios and galleries, antique showrooms, furniture shops, and design stores can be found here. If you’re lucky, you might even see some talented artists at work!
Lunch: Let Chef Juan Carlos Escalante surprise you at Nirvana with his creative fusion cuisine. Sitting at the idyllic outdoor terrace surrounded by nature will make you forget all your troubles and worries!
Afternoon: Not too far away from the restaurant is Santuario de Atotonilco. This baroque style temple stands out for its 18th-century murals and architectural details that make it, along with San Miguel, World Heritage Site by UNESCO!
Saddle up for a horseback ride through the picturesque landscapes of San Miguel and ride off into the sunset with Coyote Canyon Adventures. The tour will take you back to the city center, where a mariachi band will greet you with cheerful music!
Dinner: Kiss the night goodbye at Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar. The incredible food, inventive drinks, and breathtaking view will make you not want to leave San Miguel.
There are plenty more things to do in San Miguel de Allende, 48 hours are simply not enough! Hopefully, this post will inspire you to visit this brightly-colored, colonial city, and get you started on your trip planning!
All the above attractions are marked on this map:
I really love the architecture of San Miguel – it has such a Spanish feel but yet is just that bit different. And, I’d definitely be heading over to Mercado de Artesania to buy some Mexican memorabilia. The Santuario de Atotonilco is the most stunning thing I’ve seen for a while too
You make me want to go back to Mexico so bad. San Miguel de Allende looks so very pretty, loving all the colourful buildings and food. Chef Juan Carlos Escalante creative fusion cuisine just sounds and looks amazing that it is making my mouth water. L’Ôtel sounds like my type of place with only 10 guestrooms that are bright and airy, equipped with modern amenities and a rooftop terrace and pool.
I’ve been seeing posts about this city on IG and have been wanting to visit! Mexico is one of my favorite countries, we go at least once a year and have been twice so far this year. I really want to make this our next Mexican destination, your photos are beautiful!
I think this is the city where they made the famous ‘Grito’ that they celebrate every year. I remember seeing it in the Jonny Depp movie, Once Upon a Time in Mexico. I’d love to try the Mexican cuisine at Los Milagros – a cool name for a restaurant too! The mask look like interesting souvenirs too!!
I love all the colours of the templos here! Just fascinating architecture and such a rich culture. I’m so sad I missed out on seeing San Miguel de Allende. I’d love to return to photograph all these places!
AH, San Miguel de Allende is such a beautiful place! I was there a couple of years ago for a wedding and had a blast. Everything in this town is lovely: the architecture, the happy people, the amazing food and the tequila was out of this world haha Great post. xo, – Mariella
What a charming town. I did not realize the airport is not nearby yet it still gets so many visitors. My mouth was watering with your food choices everything seems so delicious. I would love to visit and will be adding this to my list.
We love Mexico and San Miguel is a place we haven’t had the pleasure to visit yet. It looks so nice. I like cobble streets and colonial buildings cities. The Santuario de Atotonilco’s frescoes are incredible. I can just imagine how long it must have taken. All that food looks amazing too apart from the ant eggs maybe (not sure I’d be up for that!!).
Those paintings on the ceiling of Santuario de Atotonilco reminded me of Versailles. Very elaborate and grand. Also loved the dead art as they call. The muerta art at the markets are a must souvenirs I guess!
Such a lovely post! I love Mercado de Artesanias picture! I would love to visit restaurant Maria Xoconostle, too! Their escamoles and beef fillet medallions with “manchamanteles” sauce look so yummy <3
We’ve been to Mexico in the past, but never San Miguel. The art in the Santuario de Atotonilco is absolutely stunning. I love those intricate details on the ceiling.
What a perfect itinerary! I’ve been wanting to visit San Miguel forever. My friend goes every year for a writer’s retreat and I’m going to have to join her one of these days. I’d love to spend time at the Fabrica La Aurora – nothing better than bringing home local art.
You have so well captured the beauty of San Miguel de Allende in your pictures. The picture of the cityscape looks amazing. The masks look quite intriguing and I would have loved to know more about the history or legends associated with it.
Mexico has som nay beautiful cities and this surely seems to be one of them. I’m currently visiting Mexico and this article isjust in time for me. I will definitely include a visit to San Miguel in this trip to see that beauitful arhitecture, have a great lunch at Nirvana and just wonder around. Great tips 🙂
For the last twenty years I have lived no more than an hour away from Mexico. Now we are moving to Florida and reminiscing about what we are leaving behind. Easy access to the culture and history of Mexico is definitely one of the things we will miss. We might be flying to Cancun but the feel will be completely different.
I love the old world charm of San Miguel – I’m a big architecture nut, so walking among the colorful homes and Spanish colonial-style buildings is my idea of a great day!
Seriously, such stunning architecture – La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel and Templo de San Francisco are so beautiful. Thanks for this itinerary; horseback riding sounds like such a fun way to explore the countryside, and the tip to stop by Mercado de Artesanias – I would love to pick up some authentic day of the dead artwork!
Santuario de Atotonilco looks so beautiful, I can see why it is UNESCO listed. I like the way you have included lots of restaurant recommendations. I’d love to try the pulque drink too!
San Miguel de Allende has some amazing history embedded in itself. The amazing architecture can make any history buff go berserk here.
Apart from the amazing history and architecture, food is probably the only other reason why I would visit this amazing place.
A must save post for future reference.
San Miguel is a charming city. I love the fact that there is so much of cultural heritage and history throbbing alive in the city. The fact that it is UNESCO World heritage city is an added incentive to visit the city. I was particularly fascinated by Mercado de Artesanias, and would love to visit the place.
the food and the structures got me!!
nice and great photos as well.
Thanks for sharing.
This looks like a wonderful itinerary in such a pretty, slow-paced village. It feels so relaxing.
I am very ignorant about Mexico and I enjoyed “visiting” San Miguel de Allende through your words and pictures. Strange that the leader of Mexican independence was a Spanish, isn’t it? I would love to visit some of that beautiful colonial architecture and I am sure I would end up buying one of those masks for el día de los muertos at their mercado de artesanías.
San Miguel is going to be fun for me with so much of history and arts. I know that I would have been frenzied about where to start and what to do but thanks to you. You have beautifully put together this itinerary that tells me where to start and how to go about the day. Your map is also, quite helpful as it shows me the clusters I need to focus on. Thanks for this
I have been so anxious to go to San Miguel! I spent 1 week in Guanajuato last year and absolutely loved the colorful city, but didn’t have a chance to make it over to San Miguel. It’s definitely high on my Mexico list and love all these great recs!
I’d never heard of San Miguel, but I’m dying to visit there now. It has so much old world charm, as you said. La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel reminds me, in a much simpler way, of Guide’s cathedral in Barcelona. Fabrica La Aurora sounds like a must-visit for sure. I love discovering local artists.
I had never heard of San Miguel but I can understand why it’s so popular! It’s gorgeous but secluded – can’t go wrong with that! I love the architecture and artsy vibe too.
So colorful! I think I am going to bookmark this page to help me plan our trip to San Miguel de Allende when we get there. Casa Dragones tasting room does sound interesting 😉
I always love old colonial cities and San Miguel de Allende looks like another vibrant historical city with great culture and stories preserved. Definitely would love to visit!
Mexico has never been on my radar to visit, but your recent posts have really begun to change my mind, this town looks adorable and the food, well the food, looks amazing!
Yummm the food in San Miguel looks so good! What does pulque taste like? I still have to cross Mexico off my list, hopefully soon
San Miguel looks like the perfect town to explore for me! I love colonial architecture and historical sites. I haven’t been horseback riding in ages and it sounds like an awesome way to explore San Miguel!
I love Mexico and have yet to make it here! It looks absolutely charming. I’d love to try the tasting room, and am always up for horseback riding!
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Hi – Next time in town come along on a tour as my guest. It will totally change how you see San Miguel de Allende by explaining the indigenous and Spanish roots to modern traditions.