Hidden Heritage: Discovering the Bohemian, Historic Charms of San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a charming city located in the heart of Mexico. Its rich history and vibrant culture make it a must-visit destination for travelers from around the world. With its cobblestone streets, colorful colonial architecture, and stunning cathedrals, San Miguel de Allende exudes an old-world charm that is hard to resist. From the iconic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel to the picturesque Jardin Principal, every corner of San Miguel de Allende tells a story of its past. In this article we’ll take a look at the many charms of visiting San Miguel de Allende.
History and Heritage of San Miguel de Allende
Visiting San Miguel de Allende is like stepping back in time. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, all structures, including homes, civic structures, and churches, are mandated to retain their original appearance. When you visit this city, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any building that looks modern — even businesses are required to display only the most discreet signage. But that is how the city retains its historic charm.
As you meander through narrow, cobblestone streets and rows of beautiful homes in vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and red, you’ll instantly be transported back to another era. The city was first established in the 16th century, but most of the architecture originated in the 18th century with a Mexican Baroque style. Over time, the aesthetic evolved from Baroque to neoclassical.
Some of the architecture in the area also represents exceptional examples of exchange between Latin American and European cultures.
Today, the city is well known for its convergence of old-world charm and first-world amenities. While the town center remains a time capsule frozen in time, the city has a vibrant modern nightlife and a multitude of fine dining spots that give the town more modern, cosmopolitan airs.
Travel Tips for San Miguel de Allende
Since the city of San Miguel de Allende has so much to offer, you’ll never run out of things to explore. From visiting natural wonders and cultural sites to exploring the history and thriving nightlife, there is something for every moment of every day to keep you entertained. However, this can easily be overwhelming, especially if you’re worried about making a travel faux pas. Before visiting San Miguel de Allende, it’s helpful to spend some time preparing to maximize the success of your trip.
Because the city is a heritage site, you should prioritize staying respectful of the culture, the locals, and their traditions. This includes being mindful of the carbon footprint you leave behind when you visit. Taking more eco-friendly vacations today is important in general, but it’s especially wise when visiting older cities that can be more easily impacted by the negative effects of tourism.
For example, instead of contributing to carbon emissions by using a car when you visit, it is more sustainable for the city if you make use of public transportation. If you are staying at a rental, you can also buy food to support local vendors and cook your own meals instead of always going out to eat at restaurants.
Things to Do and See in San Miguel de Allende
When planning your trip, you must do your research on things to do and see in San Miguel de Allende.
If you’re interested in the arts, Bellas Artes is a must-see. Founded in 1939, this cultural center offers an abundance of classes in dance, art, and music. It also often hosts numerous concerts and art exhibits.
If you are looking for something off the beaten path, there is a giant flea market on the outskirts of town called the Tuesday Tianguis. Here you can shop to your heart’s content for everything from spices to clothing, and there are also plenty of food stalls to explore to satisfy your hunger for local fare.
Of course, no trip to San Miguel is complete without visiting the Parroquia de San Miguel. Seated at the heart of the city, this stunning church is a cultural icon and a beacon for the city and its most recognizable landmark. Originally built in 1709, the current facade was constructed by the stone mason Zeferino Gutiérrez in the late 1800s in the Gothic style.
For a view from the top with stunning views, try hiking up an old winding stone staircase from Parque Juarez to the El Mirador overlook. Once you reach the peak, you’ll be gifted with sweeping views of the town and the valley below, which is especially magical at sunset.
Living in San Miguel de Allende
Of course, if you visit San Miguel de Allende and find that you just don’t want to leave, the city offers some of the best international living. Many ex-pats have found themselves retiring to the city for all that it has to offer
However, San Miguel isn’t only ideal for retirees. The city is also an excellent spot to relocate for work. In fact, San Miguel de Allende is often listed as one of the best destinations for digital nomads — with its affordable cost of living and amazing community.
Though the city is listed as a great choice for digital nomads, it’s still wise to make sure it’s the right move for your career and quality of life. Just because San Miguel is right for some doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone, especially if you have no connections there and will be uprooted from family and friends.
Time to Explore!
Once you’ve done your research and planned your trip accordingly, there’s nothing left to do but embark on your adventure and explore! Just remember to give yourself time to genuinely relax and enjoy yourself. You can always plan a second trip if you love it that much — or even make the move and relocate if you are so inclined.