San Miguel de Allende is a vibrant town. Walking along its paved streets, surrounded by colorful colonial houses, you’ll be enchanted by this UNESCO Worlds Heritage Site. There are plenty of things to do in San Miguel de Allende and around. Read on to discover what to do in San Miguel, the best day trips and which hot springs in San Miguel de Allende you should visit.
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Best hot springs near San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende’s surroundings are filled with hot springs and resorts where you can bathe in natural hot water. The hot springs in San Miguel de Allende are famous for its water’s curing properties and visiting one or two is a great way to spend the day relaxing. The hot springs you’ll find in San Miguel de Allende are not in the wild, you’ll need to go to a resort to enjoy the water. Here’s a list of hot springs in San Miguel de Allende you can visit:
La Gruta is one of the best hot springs in San Miguel de Allende. It’s a nice spa with several thermal pools. Its best feature is the underground part, caves flooded with thermal water. You can also enjoy a Temazcal there (prehispanic saunas) and massages. They have a beautiful outdoor area where you can lounge on the grass or in a sunbed.
The entrance fee is 200 pesos and it’s open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 7 AM to 5 PM. To reach it by public transportation, take a bus bound to Dolores Hidalgo, and ask to be dropped off in front of the resort. Check out their website for more information.
Another resort with outdoor and covered pools. They have a nice garden, a restaurant and they offer spa treatments. It’s also a hotel.
Open every day from 8 AM to 5.30 PM. The entrance fee is 150 pesos. You can reach it the same way as the Grutas, it’s located on the San Miguel de Allende / Dolores Hidalgo road. Check out their website (in Spanish) for more information.
Parque Acuatico Xote
The most family-friendly of the hot springs in San Miguel de Allende, Xote is great for children. They offer many water activities for children as well as several thermal pools.
They are open every day, from 9 AM to 6 PM. It’s also located on the San Miguel de Allende / Dolores Hidalgo road. The entrance fee is 160 pesos for adults and 80 pesos for children. They have a camping area as well. Check out their website for more information.
Things to do in San Miguel de Allende
Walk around the city
Strolling around the city is the best way to discover San Miguel de Allende’s marvels. Take in the view, admiring the colonial architecture and cute little streets. Here are the city’s main landmarks:
- Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel – The city’s main church and its emblem, built during the 17th century and designed by Ceferino Gutiérrez in the neo-gothic style.
- Ex-Palacio Municipal – A place rich in history, home to the first town hall after independence in 1810.
- Allende’s House – Another historic landmark in San Miguel de Allende. Ignacio Allende is one of the fathers of the Mexican revolution, and you can visit the house he grew up in.
- Templo de San Fransisco – The facade of this church was build in the Churrigueresque style (a type of Spanish Baroque style), and the rest in Neoclassic towards the end of the 18th century.
- Plaza Cívica – Designed in 1550, this square is the city’s center of activities.
- Templo de Nuestra Señora de la Salud – Build towards the end of the 18th century, this church is known to have the city’s oldest bell.
- Casa del Mayorazgo – This private house is the perfect example of luxurious colonial architecture, you can’t visit it but the outside is worth a look.
Buy some handicrafts and souvenirs
As there are so many expats and tourists in San Miguel de Allende, everything tends to be overpriced. You’ll find some nice handicrafts there but you can also find the same things cheaper in other cities. It’s still worth having a look even if you don’t buy anything. You’ll see a lot of small shops selling crafts and souvenirs around the town. You can also visit the Handicraft Market (Mercado de Artesanias).
Visit the Botanical Garden
Located near the city center (1.5 miles north), you can take a stroll in this beautiful garden also known as El Charco del Ingenio. The botanical garden is famous for hosting more than 1300 species of Cactaceae.
Open every day from 9 AM to 5 PM. The entrance fee is 50 pesos.
Join the “Desfile de Los Locos”
Every year in June, locals celebrate the Desfile de Los Locos or Locos Parade. During this festival, participants wear a disguise of any kind and parade in the streets, giving out candies and sweets to spectators.
Read more about this 400 years-old tradition here.
Visit some Art Galleries in San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is an art hub and is full of art galleries selling local and international pieces. Even if you’re not planning on buying anything most of the galleries are worth a look if you like art. Here are the most famous ones:
- Galeria Casa Diana – This gallery was designed by Pedro Friedeberg, a Mexican surrealist artist. There you’ll find pieces of furniture and sculptures. They organize frequent exhibits showcasing art from renowned artists.
- Yam Gallery – Contemporary art gallery located in a colonial house. Its concept is based on the contrast between contemporary art and the Baroque style of the building.
- Galeria Nudo – This gallery aims at promoting emergent Mexican artists and collaborates with Fransisco Toledo.
- Fabrica La Aurora – a shared space where you’ll find artsy cafes, handicrafts shops, and design and art galleries, the most famous one there is Manuk.
- Galeria Izamal – They don’t charge commissions to the artists who exhibit there so the prices are competitive. They also offer painting and drawing classes once a week.
Take a tour in San Miguel de Allende
If you want to visit San Miguel de Allende with a guide, booking a tour might be a good idea. Several agencies offer walking tours of the city. You can also join a food tour to try local delicacies and discover the best food spots in Miguel de Allende. If you don’t have much time, you can visit San Miguel de Allende as a day trip from Mexico City via a tour.
Best day trips from San Miguel de Allende
Apart from visiting the town and spending some time in the hot springs in San Miguel de Allende, there are several places worth visiting outside of the town. Here are the best day trips you can take from San Miguel de Allende:
Atotonilco and its Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes San Miguel de Allende. It’s easily reachable and not far from the city. The sanctuary was built during the 18th century by the Jesuits. It’s considered as the perfect example of Baroque art and architecture in Mexico, but also of the blend of European and Latin American cultures.
There you’ll find a large church and several chapels. The sanctuary main features are the murals painted by Miguel Antonio Martínez de Pocasangre and the oil painting by Rodriguez Juárez.
The sanctuary is open every day from 10 AM to 6 PM. You’re not supposed to visit it during mass.
Dolores Hidalgo is a cute Pueblo Magico (Magic Town) not far from San Miguel de Allende. It’s also a cheaper alternative to stay at if you’re on a budget.
Dolores Hidalgo is a place rich in history, known for being the cradle of Mexico’s independence. It’s the home town of Don Miguel Hidalgo, one of the revolution’s main actors. You can visit his house, known as the Casa del Diezmo. You can also visit the Museo Bicentenario featuring more than 800 objects exhibited during the hundredth anniversary of the Independence.
Dolores Hidalgo also saw the birth of the singer and compositor José Alfredo Giménez. His house was turned into a museum and you can visit it.
If you like baroque architecture, you can have a look at the Casa de Visitas from the 18th century and the nearby Templo de la Tercera Orden.
Don’t leave without trying a Nieve (a type of ice cream). The town is known for making original flavors like mole, beer, avocado or aloe vera.
You can also go on a day trip to Queretaro or Guanajuato, but both deserve more than just a day as there is some much to discover there.
Best hotels in San Miguel de Allende
Accommodations in San Miguel de Allende are usually more expensive than in the rest of the country but you can still find some budget options. It’s also the perfect place to indulge yourself and book something exceptional. Here are a few options in or within walking distance from the historic town:
- Hotel – Hostal Punto 79 – great budget option offering dorms and private rooms (each with its bathroom), perfect location, right in the historic part of town. Clean rooms, great staff, lounge, and a nice patio. ~13 USD for a dorm and 50 USD for a room
- Hotel Petra – Located in a well-renovated historic house right in the city center, this hotel is a good mid-range option. The hotel is well decorated, with spacious rooms and a nice garden. Prices start at 80 USD.
- Hacienda Las Amantes – Beautiful boutique hotel in the historical center, with an amazing rooftop terrace. Most rooms have stone walls, visible beams, original furniture and a balcony with a view. Breakfast included.
Getting to San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel is pretty well served by public transportation. The two closest major cities are Guanajuato and Queretaro. There are also direct buses from Mexico City. The closest airport is in Queretaro, the one in Leon is also close by.
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