San Miguel de Allende has been voted as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and now I see why. As I sit here in my colorful 3-story Airbnb, I’m already missing the vibrant city and all it has to offer. The food, the people, and the culture are incredible and each have a story of their own. In this post I’ll get straight to the nitty gritty – Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to Do, and Things to Keep in Mind if You’re Traveling From America.
Where to Stay in San Miguel de Allende
There are lots of options on places to stay in San Miguel. From cute airbnb’s to fancy hotels, you shouldn’t have a problem finding something within your budget. Here are some places I stayed, visited, or want to stay at on future trips (because there will be more). I’ll note that there is one place I HAVE to stay one day that’s in high demand. I’d share it here, but then I’ll never get a reservation haha. If you REALLY want to know, DM me on Instagram.
3 Bedroom Artsy Airbnb w/ Full City View
This is where I stayed on my most recent trip. I absolutely loved my home for the week. It’s super colorful and feels like San Miguel. In my opinion, this Airbnb had the BEST views of the city from anywhere else I visited. There is art everywhere, 3 spacious bedrooms, 4 patios, a full kitchen and plenty of Instagramable spots. It’s about a 15 minute walk from center city which is great for early morning walks to breakfast. But, unless you’re used to being in high altitudes, I’d recommend taking a taxi on the way back. The hills will show you just how weak you are. Trust me.
Another thing I loved about the Airbnb is the host team! The owner is American and doesn’t live here full time, but was still available to answer any questions I had about getting into San Miguel, where to get vaccinated before our flight back, and where to exchange money. The house manager was also available for any questions I had while in San Miguel. She helped us with finding cab services and made recommendations on places to go. Book it here.
One thing I will mention, is that it can be a bit noisy at times. Not sure about other neighborhoods, but in this one you may hear dogs barking and random fireworks. There is someone a ways away that did loud fireworks at any time they pleased. I can’t fault the Airbnb, because they have no control. Also, there’s a good chance the entire city hears them. But they did wake us up a 6am one morning so who knows wtf those people are doing up there haha. That being said, the rooftop has the best sunset/sunrise views. Didn’t hate that one bit.
I stayed at Live Aqua in Cancun for my 30th birthday so I thought I’d know what to expect when visiting the San Miguel location. I was totally wrong. The only thing that was the same was the incredible customer service. The Live Aqua property in San Miguel is stunning. It stands out as one of the few all-white buildings in the city, but they still carry on the local art scene. The hotel is an open air property and has a few restaurants (which are BEYOND yummy), small boutiques, and a pool. While from the ground floor you won’t find views of the city, they do have an incredible view off the hills from the pool.
Moroccan Style Apartment w/ View
If you’re visiting San Miguel with your significant other, this may be the place for you. It’s super romantic, has an incredible view, and is a super short walk to all of the happenings. It doesn’t have a full kitchen, but with the price of food in San Miguel you won’t need that. I didn’t stay here because I was traveling with 2 friends who also like their space, but it would be perfect for you and your lover. Book it here.
We came to breakfast here because it was super close to our Airbnb. As soon as we arrived, I knew it was my vibe. I’ve only seen the inside via pics online. But the service we received was great so I would recommend based off of that, location, looks. Book it here.
Where to Eat in San Miguel de Allende
We chose this place because the patio was covered and it was hot AF that day. The drinks were really good and so was the food. We ordered Conchita Pibil, Chicken Fajitas, and a Quesadillas. There were no leftovers. We also had a few margaritas and Pina coladas. You can’t go wrong. One thing I will recommend is bringing pesos. Pretty sure we got cheated by paying with American dollars, but that’s our own fault.
This is where we learned that breakfast in San Miguel is cheap AF. All three of us ate for $8 each. Our meal came with coffee or tea, juice, and an entree. We also each added on extra protein. Still, $8 a pop. You simply can’t beat that. Oh, and the food was bomb. Highly recommend the green juice (all juice in SM has pulp) and the Benedict. Oh yeah, they also bring out bread/pastries for free. SO GOOD.
Quince is one of the most popular rooftop restaurants in the city so I HIGHLY suggest you make a reservation. We went on a Thursday and it was still packed. The restaurant is located right next door to the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel. Go at sunset and you’ll have not only incredible views of the church, but the city as well.
The food was SUPER good and not too pricey. Their drinks were really good too – I tried both of the mezcal drinks because..when in Rome. We went for my birthday dinner so I decided to get a few “small plates”. The truth is, 1 or 2 of them would have done me in. The ceviche was super fresh & incredible, the peach and burrata salad was pretty ok, and the tuna carpaccio was great! My friends ordered the short rib, salmon, and a charcuterie board – all of which were eaten with no bites left behind.
Elena Restaurant & Bar
For a random restaurant at a hot springs destination, this place was pretty dang good. I chat more about the hot springs below, but Elenas really surprised me. I ordered a mole chicken and it was super flavorful. My friends both ordered taquitos that would’ve made me jealous had my mole not been so good. They don’t have wine there, but we were able to get some sangrias. Honestly, they were okay, but I still slurped mine down.
Honestly not sure why this place wasn’t packed out when we went. Their food was so good – literally the best oysters I’ve had in my life. And their drinks are good too! It’s super cute and luxurious on the inside. Lots of black and gold (which this girl can appreciate). And hella instagramable.
The food is simple and delicious, but the owners are the highlight. Keli is from Kansas City and her husband is from Mexico. They went above and beyond to make sure that we not only had great food, but an incredible time in San Miguel. She gave me a shot of whiskey for my birthday, suggestions on things to do, and some of our favorite conversations while we were in town. She’s right across from our Airbnb, so we saw her often. We even exchanged numbers on our way out and gave each other a big old covid-free hug.
Yep! The same hotel I spoke about earlier has a tasty breakfast and lunch restaurant! I ordered the quiche and it was great. It came with juice, tea, and a salad for about $8. Come here for a quiet breakfast with cute architecture.
Yintony by Tanqueray
This restaurant, located in the beautiful Live Aqua hotel, was my favorite place to celebrate my birthday. I visited Live Aqua Cancun for my 30th birthday, but this one was even more luxurious. Not only is it stunning, but the team was super cool and the food was delicious. We came mostly for drinks so we ordered ceviche and octopus (highly recommend both), but the food we saw them bringing other tables looked super delicious too. The manager that was helping us lived in South Carolina for a stint so he was making all kinds of jokes and references that I loved (as a former NC resident). Also, the dessert they brought out for my birthday was off the chain. It was some type of cake, surrounded by some type of flan, covered in a hazelnut white chocolate. Way better than the dried marshmallows we got everywhere else. We loved it. But pro tip, dress real cute because they have ALL the vibes and you’ll def want to snap some pics.
Moxi, located in Hotel Matilda, was one of my most memorable meals but you’ll have to find out why in another post I’m working on. We set at the bar upstairs where I was surprised to find Japanese menu. It honestly had some of the best ramen I’ve ever tasted. Highly recommend the pork one – their pork belly is incredible. This place is also great for having drinks and chatting with locals.
We came here for Sunday brunch and it was pretty cool. It’s located inside The Rosewood Hotel, which is absolutely gorgeous! They have food stations and you can order off of their extensive menu. Brunch is all you can eat and comes with juice, coffee, and tea. It ran us about $30 each so come hungry and stay a while. Oh, and whatever the price is for mimosas, know that it comes with a refill too.
Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar
This restaurant is also located in The Rosewood Hotel, but good luck gaining entrance. We tried twice to get into this place with fail. They don’t take reservations, but they had amazing reviews and a stunning view.
Where to Buy Alcohol in San Miguel de Allende
Oxxo is a one stop shop for liquor, wine, beer and snacks. Because it is a gas station. Not glamorous, but we were able to use cards, USD and pesos here. Most times we paid in USD so they would give us pesos in return. They have a computer that does the conversion math for you so that made it simple. But, depending on who’s working, do not expect to go there and do a straight trade.
This cafe had a great selection for wine. You can drink it there or take it with you. They also were super helpful when it came to accepting American dollars. We didn’t get to eat there, but they do have food. In fact, it seemed to be a hot spot in the city. Their seating is outside across the street and it stayed pretty full. I get it though, there’s a pretty incredible view and people watching from there.
What to Do in San Miguel de Allende
Okay, I know people normally save the best for last but I’m loved this too much to wait. If you do nothing else while you’re in San Miguel, take the De Travesia ATV Tour with Pedro. It was the best ATV experience any of us have ever had. They brought the atvs out to our Airbnb and it was all a journey after that. We drove them through the city, out to the mountains, through some really nice neighborhoods, and some humble ones. I feel like we saw most of what San Miguel had to offer and in the most fun way possible.
If a guided tour isn’t your jam, you can also rent the atvs to take around by yourself. But honestly, the streets are a little confusing so I’d go with guided. Plus, you’ll likely see WAY more guided than you would alone.
Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel
It’s pretty hard to miss this church because it’s massive and in the middle of the city. While I did’t get a chance to go inside, I loved that it was located near so many small shops, parks, restaurants and more. It really is the epicenter of San Miguel. Find your way there and you’re likely to pass a few hot spots on the way.
Walk Around + Take in the Sites
San Miguel itself is the attraction to San Miguel. From the colorful buildings and pretty doors, to the friendly people and evergreen parks, the city is a literal work of art. If at any point you don’t know what to do, just walk around and you’re sure to run into something cool.
Shop Til You Drop
Walk down any street and you will see a store. Oh, and I wasn’t kidding about that “drop” part. The hills in San Miguel might lay you out lmfao. There are boutiques at almost every restaurant and hotel. Plus there’s some cool markets like Mercado de Artesanias and Tianguis de los Martes.
Chill Out at the Hot Springs
There are a few hot springs around San Miguel that are worth visiting. We went to Escondido Place which was about 30 minutes outside of the city. They had hot springs and cold springs which were both enjoyable. There’s also a hotel on site, which explained why we saw so many families hanging out for the day. Oh, you can fish there too! And your chances of catching one are high. I saw SO MANY FISH in their ponds. It was kind of shocking but really cool haha.
When you go to Escondido Place, there are lockers you can use to keep your stuff in. You can either bring your own lock, or buy one for about $4USD.
Two other hot springs we heard about were La Gruta Spa and Grutas Tolantongo. La Great seems to have lots of tunnels and things, but Grutas Tolatongo looks INCREDIBLE. The hot springs there are literally built into the side of a mountain. Apparently, there are waterfalls in the area too. You can even camp beside the hot springs and have your own hot spring to chill at. It’s about 3.5 hours away from San Miguel, but if you have a long trip I say take the drive and stay for a night. I know I will!
We didn’t get a chance to visit these because it was hot af, but the next time I’m in town I’ll wake up early for this one. Apparently they have tons of cactus and hot weather plants – no surprise there.
Things to Keep in Mind when Traveling to San Miguel de Allende From America
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD BRING PESOS
I know people tell you not to bring too many pesos, blah blah blah, but you will legit get screwed over if you don’t have pesos on you. I can’t tell you how many times we had to pay with cash and the business converted it wrong. We got over charged for meals, taxis and more because of it. Just make life simpler by taking out at LEAST $500USD in pesos.
Many of the fancy places take cards, but none of the taxis to. And unless you love walking in hot af weather, you’re gonna want to take a taxi. It’ll also save you time trying to figure out bills and whatnot when the check comes.
And while we’re talking about Taxis…
Getting Around San Miguel
You may be tempted to rent a car, but that’s not a great idea in San Miguel. First of all, the streets are a little confusing. Plus, parking would not be easy. There aren’t many parking lots or anything.
What I would recommend is walking around. The city is very walkable. So if you have the calves for it, galavant through the hills and see all there is to see. If you’re lazy like me, take a taxi. But be smarter than I was.
Let me just be blunt. Do not use the company below. This guy charged us a minimum of $100 pesos no matter where we went. Other businesses charged us $60 pesos. It was incredible how much he got over on us. But lesson learned. Don’t make the same mistake!
A local bartender told us that we shouldn’t really pay more than 60 pesos to go anywhere in the city. Anything more is a rip off – likely because they know you’re a foreigner. It took us a while to realize what was happening, but you can avoid that mistake by just getting a green cab.
Traveling to San Miguel
Coming from Dallas, we took a straight flight from DFW to QRO with American Airlines. I booked our private airport transport with Bajio Go per the recommendation of my Airbnb hostess. Highly recommend booking with them. Their prices are reasonable and the service both ways was spectacular. On the way down we had a full shuttle van to ourselves. On the way back we rode in a spacious SUV.
Covid Traveling Tips for San Miguel (as of June 2021)
If you’re flying into San Miguel during the panny (pandemic), here’s what to keep in mind. You will need to fill out a health questionnaire before entering Mexico. That’s where you’ll find the necessary QR code to enter the country. If you forget, they will have a link at the airport but TRUST you do not want to wait in that line. Be prepared and hash it out the day before you go. You’ll need to fill out the same questionnaire before getting to the airport for your return flight.
Before coming back to the states, you will have to get a COVID test within 72 hours of your return flight. I went to Biolab at 55 Hildago and asked for an antigen test. They are definitely going to put a cotton stab up your nose and tickle your brain, but it was quick so you’ll be fine. We got our results within an hour. I ended up loving this location because it’s right up the street from this indoor/outdoor market. It’s down the hill and on the same street as Biolab. You just walk below on some steps and voila.
As far as masks go, people wear them inside and outside. When you’re walking down the streets you’ll see people with them. When you get near city center, you even have to walk through these sanitizing stations. They spray a mist on you, so if you care about your hair wear a hat. Also, there may be people at stations telling you to put your mask on. It’s not an inconvenience, just figured you deserved a heads up.
Making Calls + Texts in San Miguel
I get service in Mexico and Canada, so I was able to call and text anyone in the U.S. with no issues. But, if I wanted to call someone in San Miguel, I had to use WhatsApp. I would recommend downloading it before you get to Mexico so you don’t have issues at the airport or wherever. I had zero issues using it while in town.
So Should You Visit San Miguel?
Yes. The city has something for everyone. If you’re traveling on a budget, you will have a good time still. If you don’ have a budget, you’ll also have a good time! The people in the city are incredible. The views are astounding. And the food, well, it was even better than I expected!