What to do in San Miguel de Allende?
February 19, 2011 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Going to visit San Miguel de Allende in March. What to do?

I'll be visiting friends in San Miguel de Allende (Mexico) for much of March. If you've been there or know it well, can you suggest things to do or see or buy or bring back? Good local food and drink, nice quiet hangouts, indigenous art and craft, best tequila and huaraches, etc. Good day trips? My friends have lived there for a few years so they'll have ideas, but I'd love to hear yours, especially unusual places or products the locals know about but the expats don't. Thanks very much.
posted by fivesavagepalms to Travel & Transportation around San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I really liked La Gruta hot spring -- small, but very pretty and relaxing.

I also love Guanajuato and Querétaro, if you feel like taking a weekend trip out of San Miguel. Both are really charming, beautiful cities a an hour or two away with excellent museums, architecture, and culture.
posted by LeeLanded at 10:21 AM on February 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

Just there in late October, so here is what I recommend: La Sirena Gorda for late night tacos, wander around the public library and have a coffee in the sunny courtyard, and go to the Mask Museum inside Casa de la Cuesta-- hundreds and hundreds of masks from all over Mexico, truly amazing. The museum doesn't have regular open hours, so you've got to make an appointment, but it's really worth it.

And expats have been settling in San Miguel since the 40's, so plenty of them are basically native at this point and their influence is pretty deeply woven into San Miguel. Relax and take San Miguel for what it is. If you want to see a less gringo influenced town take a 1st class bus ride to Guanajuato. It's jaw droppingly gorgeous, the more purely Mexican.

And take me with you!
posted by tula at 10:23 AM on February 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Take an art class, my sister learned to make brass statues there.
posted by jennstra at 11:15 AM on February 19, 2011

2nding Las Grutas. It's outside of town, so you'll need transportation. I paid a cab driver to take me out, then come and pick me up again in 2 hours.
You're also spitting distance to Dolores Hidalgo, cradle of the revolution. Go to the bus station, get yourself a cheap ticket and spend 30 minutes on the bus. While in Dolores, make sure to get ice cream, as it's their modern claim to fame.
Go to the farmer's market.
Get up early in the morning, and go hang out in the square. Life moves really slowly in San Miguel, and drinking in the pace of life is its own reward.
posted by Gilbert at 12:02 PM on February 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Love SMA and the area.
Highest recommendation goes to the all day art tour by bus of surrounding towns (Dolores Hildago, Pozos, Guanajuato, Queratero, etc). Get tickets at the art center in town (the Instituto Allende).
It's totally fun diving in and out of towns, sampling what the towns have to offer, margaritas served on the bus and learning about the incredible art & history.

Pozos is a cool arty ghost town worth a taxi trip by itself, go to Cafe de Artistes for lunch, great.

2nding La Sirena Gordo, has great fish tacos.

Might as well note that Doc Severinson & band (Johnny Carson's band) live there and perform sometimes at Bella Italia (if not on tour). Music and drinks are great, food not so much.

Got a friend who built a small house there, we've bought a couple ratty motorcycles to day trip. Look forward to many more visits.
Have fun!
posted by artdrectr at 1:53 PM on February 19, 2011

The Charco del Ingenio botanical garden is a must-see if you are inclined to get excited about birds or plants. Its 'downhill' end has a dam with a mill race (actually a big pipe for high pressure water) that fed an old textile mill, which has been converted into a neat atelier and gallery space called Fabrica La Aurora. Lots of old textile mill stuff is still there.

My partner's family has a house near the cathedral of San Miguel, which is adjacent to the main square. This place was busy every night with dances for the kids and festivals of various kinds. These festivals are crowded but fun and San Miguel has the reputation of being a place where people love festivals. There are plenty and they are lots of fun.
posted by jet_silver at 4:23 PM on February 19, 2011

Take a day trip to Guanajuato. If you're at all interested in history, go to the Alhondiga de Granaditas, an important revolutionary site which is now an excellent museum. You'll get the most out of the exhibits if you can read Spanish or tag along with someone who does.
posted by expialidocious at 4:41 PM on February 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

There's a great indoor market at the corner of Colegio and Puente de Umaran. If you continue down Colegio towards Mesones, you will encounter a small shop named Polleria Brenda that makes the best roast chicken on the face of the earth. I still have vivid dreams about that chicken and, if I could instantly be transported to anywhere in the world, it would be to right there.

I ate many a sandwich at Tortitlan on Dolores Hidalgo.
posted by Jon-o at 5:24 PM on February 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks so much for your excellent suggestions. Got 'em all written down. Fired up and ready to go!
posted by fivesavagepalms at 7:24 AM on February 20, 2011

Ah, yes, Fabrica La Aurora in SM is great if you like art, and it's a nice little walk from the center of town and tourist area.

Oh, and if you do go to Guanajuato, be sure to climb, take a taxi, or ride the funicular up to the view point, it is truly spectacular. Also, the Mummy Museum there is macabre good fun.
posted by tula at 8:18 PM on February 20, 2011

« Older Where can I find link histories?   |   Quatre jours a Paris Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.