Dec 6, 2021
4 min read

An Insider's Guide to San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is the sort of place that leads you to believe in magic. The cobblestone streets are colorful and the Spanish architecture makes the city look almost too good to be true. We should also mention that it’s home to one of the best tequila companies out there: 
Casa Dragones
. So, the agave-induced buzz might be partly responsible for the dreamy state we usually feel when we’re here. 
To get an insider take on San Miguel de Allende, we couldn’t think of anyone better to speak to than 
Lily Wan
 – a creative strategist, former director of content at Casa Dragones, and friend of Safara. The city is just 150 miles north of Mexico City, so it’s totally accessible when you’re in the country. Pack a carry on, and come with us as we find out the best places to explore, eat, drink, stay and more in San Miguel de Allende.

As our guide to San Miguel de Allende, what are your hotel tips?

Hotel Matilda

Behind the colonial facade is a modern 32-room boutique hotel in the heart of San Miguel Allende. Named ‘Best Hotel in Mexico’ by 
Travel and Leisure
, staying at Matilda is a unique experience. There’s always a rotating art exhibition, while the permanent collection is incredible (including a Diego Rivera portrait of the hotel owner’s mother). The hotel restaurant, Moxi, is run by celebrated Mexican chef Enrique Olvera – and beyond award-winning food, the late-night DJs and tequila tastings seal the deal. 

Dos Casas

Appropriately named, this hotel was created out of two colonial-style homes. Now a mix of modern design elements and traditional structures, it makes for a beautiful boutique hotel – complete with a spa. The rooms are large and get gorgeous light; ideal for photographing the artwork and mid-century furniture.
Dos Casas

Where should we go to eat in San Miguel de Allende?

For something special, I’d try to get a seat at the chef’s table at Dos Casas restaurant, 
. It’s a gorgeous private space that’s essentially inside the kitchen. The restaurant is known for its inventive and beautifully plated dishes, celebrating locally and sustainably sourced ingredients. Their cocktails are pretty great, too.

And to drink?

Hotel Casa Blanca 7
, and the 
Casa Dragones Tasting Room
 – a must-visit to fully experience the world’s best sipping tequila.

Where’s the best place to get coffee in San Miguel de Allende?

, for the conchas (sweet Mexican bread). They have coffee, too, if a face-sized puff of bread doesn’t pick you up enough!

What are your favorite shops in San Miguel de Allende?

 is a must-visit. Also great are 
Kingsley Market
Mercado Sano
, the shops in 
Dôce 18 Concept House
, and Mercado de Artesanías (though you’ll want to have cash on you for this one).

Where’s best for a hit of culture, that’s not overwhelmed with tourists?

Book a private tour of 
La Casa Dragones
 for a little history lesson and tequila tasting, and then stroll around the Guadalupe neighborhood for art murals and low-traffic, high-color streets.

Where do you go to find a moment of peace in the city?

Parque Juárez in the early morning. Even just walking around the city center in the early morning (pre-7:30am) is really peaceful. You’ll probably spot some hot-air balloons, too, which are almost comically picturesque against the cotton-candy sunrise.

What’s the best way to get around town?

Walking will be your best bet, but the streets are mostly all cobblestone and the sidewalks are irregular widths, so be sure to bring flat shoes.

Apart from the parks, where’s good to relax and recharge?

The spa at 
Dos Casas hotel
. And, make a pit stop at the traditional Mexican apothecary, Botica de Santa Teresita, for some special tinctures and herbal gels, to take that feeling home. I hear the 
Mayan baths
 just outside of town are great, too. 

Where would you go with your sketch pad or journal?

Honestly, anywhere. Parque Juárez is my go-to for a great spot to sit back, relax, and journal. Or, if you’re looking for a good angle on the iconic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel church in the city center, 
 Rooftop has a nice view – post up there with a drink, and sketch away!

Where do you go to work remotely?

Dôce 18 Concept House
. It has consistent wifi, it’s spacious, and there’s tons of great food and drink options.

Where’s your favorite place to workout? 

Personally, I enjoy heading out on early morning runs around 7:00am once the sun is up – usually snaking a few streets and ending up at Parque Juárez for some laps.

Anything else we need to know?

Visit around the time of Día de los Muertos for an entirely next-level experience of San Miguel de Allende. Everyone paints their faces and shops dress their doors with marigold flowers. The town really feels like one big backyard of celebration and merriment! (And on that note, if you’re looking for the utmost chill time here, do NOT go during Día de los Muertos.)
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