A Weekend in San Miguel de Allende
La Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel
An icon in San Miguel, this church is simply breathtaking. Although it was originally constructed in the 16th century, as it deteriorated many architects were hired over the years to rebuild it adding their style. In 1880 a self-taught architect, Don Zeferino Gutiérrez, who was inspired by Gothic European churches he’d seen in postcards, drew his vision of the in the sand, and this was the result. Find La Parroquía de San Miguel Archangel in the main plaza, El Jardín, but you’ll see the pink spires from almost anywhere in the city and as the sen sets it changes colors and illuminates.
Fabrica La Aurora
What began in 1902 as a major textile factory has now been converted into the largest concentration of contemporary art galleries and design stores including high end studios featuring local art from local painters, sculptors and other cool boutique shops. Some of the galleries still have some of the original industrial machinery and there is a small cafe with decent wraps, salads, pizzas, beer and wine. I recommend planning to spend at least 2 hours here and perhaps an entire afternoon if you see it all and eat at the cafe.
A colonial hacienda style boutique hotel that exudes Mexican luxury. Beside the magnificence of the hotel itself, their rooftop restaurant and lounge offers an amazing view of the sunset over the city along with cold local brews, wine and upscale appetizers such as king crab mano guacamole and red snapper aquachili. Open to the public on a first come basis, the terrace does fill up the closer the sun gets the the horizon so be sure to arrive in time to relax with a drink and enjoy the show.
Blacksmith Cocktail Workshop
A simple but cozy mixology bar in the heart of the city making an impact with less. The new bar on the block is run by Rodrigo, a stellar mixologist from Mexico City who in addition to crafting an amazing cocktail (and they are delicious) is extremely passionate about reducing waste in the bar industry. If you are an avid cocktail enthusiast with a keen eye you might notice that one thing is missing; the oh so Instagram worthy ‘cocktail garnish’. You won’t find a single one. Instead Rodrigo creates his own tinctures that he sprays on the glass, offering an aromatic quality that mimics the traditional garnish being tossed in the trash can at the end of the night. Bellied up to the rustic bar, sipping mezcal and soaking in Rodrigo’s passionate knowledge, I couldn’t help but feet a comfortable sense of joy. It’s relaxed, hip and intimate with music to match the vibe.
A Mexican non-profit organization committed to preserving the natural and cultural heritage of San Miguel de Allende, it features a vast array of cacti and other Mexican plants, many of which are on the brink of extinction. I recommend obtaining a map upon entry then heading right toward the small greenhouse of cacti then crossing the dry river bed and heading left, stopping at the dilapidated building and continuing on to explore the memorial monument near the damn. Upon crossing the dam turn and walk right following the canyon until it opens on a beautiful view of San Miguel de Allende. Take your time to see it all by allowing 2 - 3 hrs and be sure to wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water.
The charge for non-locals is 50 pesos per person cash.
Have more time? Just a 15 minutes south of the city is San Lucas Winery and Lavender Farm.