Fall in love with Mexico's San Miguel

Visit a mountain city of courtyards, cobblestones, and secrets waiting to be revealed. Here's where to go and what to see

San Miguel street
Photo: Thomas J. Story

People love San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. They love San Miguel so much that when you tell them you're making your first visit, their love annoys you. San Miguel will change your life, they say. Yeah, right, you think. The architecture, the culture. I've seen old buildings, you mutter, I've seen lots of old buildings.

So you make the flight to Leon, in central Mexico, and the hourlong taxi ride, and you're in San Miguel. And just as all the annoying people warned you, you're in love. Here, on the slopes of the Mexican altiplano, is a city that reminds you of parts ― the best parts ― of Santa Fe, of Siena, of Seville.

SEEING SAN MIGUEL

San Miguel is in Guanajuato state, about 170 miles northwest of Mexico City. There are frequent flights from the U.S. to León-El Bajio Airport, about an 80-minute drive from San Miguel via taxi, hotel van, or shuttle service (reserve a shuttle at viajessanmiguel.com).

The website portalsanmiguel.com will help you plan your visit and, once you're in town, tell you what's going on. The weekly English-Spanish newspaper, Atención San Miguel, is good for event listings.

In April and May, expect warm days and cooler nights. Pack nice clothes too: This is a fairly dressy city. Prices below are listed in U.S. dollars; visit xe.com/ucc for conversion rates to Mexican pesos.

Use the international prefix 011-52 when dialing from the U.S., except with numbers for the lodgings Casa de Sierra Nevada, Casa Schuck, and Oasis.

WHAT TO SEE

Walking tour Local charity Patronato Pro Niños conducts excellent walking tours of the centro that start at El Jardín--the ideal way of introducing yourself to most of San Miguel's major sites, including La Parroquia. INFO: 10 a.m. Mon, Wed, Fri; $10; El Jardín in front of La Parroquia; 415/152-7796.

Next: Courtyards we love

 

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  • San Miguel de Allende Mexico locator

    Visiting San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

    San Miguel is in Guanajuato state, about 170 miles northwest of Mexico City. There are frequent flights from the U.S. to León-El Bajio Airport, about an 80-minute drive from San Miguel via taxi, hotel van, or shuttle service.

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