48 Hours in San Miguel de Allende
A guide to the best hiking, tacos, and more
While Mexico may be best known for its beaches, take a four-hour drive northwest of Mexico City into the Bajío mountains and you'll discover the often overlooked gem, San Miguel de Allende. Its neatly-packed city center features ambling cobblestone streets that link brightly-colored colonial buildings. And the food scene is on the rise thanks to star chefs like Enrique Olvera opening new restaurants. Here, how to spend two days in the cosmopolitan city that hasn't lost its rustic charm.
Where to Stay
The place to stay is Rosewood. Not only is it San Miguel’s top property, but it’s one of the best hotels in all of Mexico. Spacious rooms and suites offer comfy leather furniture, wooden accents, and Mexican art, and the sizable 67-room property count’s three pools plus the city’s most beautiful clay tennis court that’s meticulously groomed. The rooftop also offers an incredible view of the city’s other rooftops that make up a kaleidoscope of colors.
Start the day with a vinyasa or bikram yoga class at Esencia, located a quick 10-minute walk from the hotel. After a shower, have breakfast at Rosewood’s signature eatery 1826, which features traditional sweet and savory Mexican breads and classics such as heuvos rancheros and chilaquiles served on vibrant, hand-sewn Mexican tapestries. Take a short walk to see the pink neo-Gothic church, Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, overlooking El Jardin, San Miguel’s main square. Browse the boutiques in the area that sell a rainbow of handmade shirts and dresses, plus flower crowns and various bohemian textiles.
For lunch, cruise by the newer Dôce 18 Concept House, a modern multi-merchant mini “mall” of sorts which sells everything from mochi to an excellent, simply-adorned beef burger at Birdie’s Burgers. In the afternoon, take a dip in the indoor and outdoor pools fed by natural hot springs at El Escondido or opt for a massage at their on-site spa.
Aperi, connected to Dos Casas Hotel & Spa, is where you’ll want to land for dinner. Hometown hero Matteo Salas’ minimalist plates flavored with native ingredients have earned him countless accolades, including a finalist spot on the first season of Top Chef Mexico.
For morning coffee, stop by organic chocolate shop Mente Cacao. Further down the street is Cumpanio, a restaurant and bakery that offers everything from yogurt and berries to grilled prickly pear for breakfast. Afterwards, it's worth taking the 20-minute drive to Galleria Atotonilco, an art center which supports local folk artists. Here you can tour the galleries and find colorful works to take home ranging from painted gourds to rugs.
For lunch, head to La Posadita, a local hotspot that offers rooftop dining with an incredible view of the Parroquia. Try the aguachile or enchiladas, made with organic produce sourced from a nearby farm. For more adventurous eaters, there’s grasshoppers and the Mexican delicacy escamoles, also known as ant larvae. Then make your way to El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden, an expansive ecological reserve, where you’ll find hiking trails rife with rare cacti and other plants relocated from all over Mexico.
End the trip with tacos from the local stands. They don’t have specific addresses, but to find two of the best, walk over to the corner of Relox and Mesones about two blocks west of Plaza de la Soledad in town. There you'll find vendors feverishly slicing pork and pineapple for al pastor, and scraping paper-thin slices of fresh beef off the flat top, before piling the meat into flour tortillas. Garnish and enjoy them with a selection of salsas.