San Miguel de Allende is a colonial-era city in Central Mexico, an area known for being the dry grassland and desert of the country. The city is a World Heritage city, known for its baroque Spanish architecture, historic cobblestoned streets, and neo-Gothic church (Parroquia).
The city was a hotbed of activity for the Mexican Independence movement, with Miguel Hidalgo being a key figure in the struggle as a priest in the city’s Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel church.
1. Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel
This historic church is on San Miguel’s main plaza ( Jardín Allende) and is a symbol of the city. The church was originally built in the 1600’s, but the neo-Gothic facade was designed and built in 1880 by Zeferino Gutiérrez. Gutiérrez was an indigenous bricklayer and self-taught architect.
The interior of the church hasn’t been significantly changed since the 17th century.
2. Cañada de la Virgen
This historic site is 30km west of San Miguel de Allende, and set on private property. The site was originally a city named Otomi, which was bustling between the 6th and 11th centuries. In 2002 the site was surveyed and in 2011 it was opened for visitors.
The most important, and well-known, monument on the site is the pyramidal “House of the 13 Heavens, which was used for observing the sky.
3. El Jardín
El Jardín is the plaza in front of the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, and is one of the best places to feel the pulse of this historic city. This plaza was plotted in the French formal style, and the Indian laurel trees have been groomed into perfect cylinders in the European style.
4. Museo Casa Ignacio Allende (Museo Histórico)
San Miguel de Allende was a core location where the rebellion and movement for Mexican Independence gained momentum in the 1810s.
This building, now a museum, was the family home of Ignacio Allende, a capital in the Spanish army who later fought alongside the Mexican Independence leader Miguel Hidalgo. He was ultimately captured and executed in 1811. The museum covers these events, as well as the history of San Miguel de Allende from the 16th – 18th centuries.
In the upstairs you can view the family apartments, decorated with 19th-century furniture and details.
5. Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez El Nigromante (Bellas Artes)
Located just two blocks from El Jardín, this cultural center is owned and operated by the Mexican National Institute of Fine Arts.
In the 18th-century the building was constructed as a convent, and after falling into disrepair it was revived in the 1930s. This is a free exhibit, and tourists will enjoy strolling around the photogenic cloisters.
6. Fábrica La Aurora
The Fábrica La Aurora is an art and cultural center built inside a former textile mill. This site was operated as a textile mill from 1902 to 1991, and was empty until it was revived as an artist studio in 2004.
The workshop-galleries are home to furniture makers, art galleries, jewelry shops, interior designers, embroidery, and antiques.
7. Templo de San Francisco
This church was constructed from 20 years from 1779 to 1799, and was funded partially by donations from local wealthy families. The tower was constructed in the late 18th century, and was designed in the Neoclassical style.
8. La Mezcaleria
La Mezcaleria is a mezcal bar known for its great cocktails and imaginative gourmet food. This restaurant will give you a traditional Mexican taste with some modern twists.