Walking the narrow cobblestone streets past shuttered windows, closed doors, and climbing bougainvillea, you have a sense of secrets waiting to be revealed.
Thomas J. Story
COURTYARDS WE LOVE
The courtyard is the essence of San Miguel. Below are three favorites, regularly open to the public. But some of the most beautiful belong to private homes; these you can glimpse just strolling around the city or, even better, on the Sunday House & Garden Tour. Houses on the tour change weekly.
Biblioteca Pública Not the prettiest of the city's courtyards, but one of the liveliest -- the library is command central for expats, plus there are frequent concerts and a good cafe. INFO: Café Santa Ana ( $) open daily; library closed Sun; Reloj 50A; 415/152-0293.
Escuela de Bellas Artes This former monastery is now an art school: It hosts art exhibits and an impressive (if unfinished) David Siqueiros mural. But the best thing about it is the courtyard: verdant, lovely. INFO: Calle Hernández Macías 75.
Villa Jacaranda San Miguel has gorgeous jacaranda trees; one of the best is in the courtyard of this hotel--worth a meal here just to enjoy. INFO: Closed in Apr for renovation; Calle Aldama 53; 415/152-1015.
House & Garden Tour Starts at the Biblioteca Pública at noon every Sunday. INFO: $15; tickets go on sale at 11 a.m.; Avenida Insurgentes 25; 415/152-0293.
Fábrica La Aurora A former textile factory that has become 40 shops and galleries offering contemporary works as well as Spanish Colonial antiques. INFO: Calzada de la Aurora.
Libros El Tecolote A great little bookstore with a good stock of mostly English language books. INFO: Closed Mon; Calle Jesús 11; 415/152-7395.
Mercado de Artesanías Leatherware, pottery, jewelry--they're all here, somewhere, in this sprawling crafts market. INFO: Between Loreto and Colegio, north of El Jardín.
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