CNN’s Best City Places in Mexico

“If you ask González Nieves her absolute favorite thing about San Miguel, she’ll say it’s the people. “I’ve had the chance to meet extraordinary people that are thought leaders, creative masters, curious minds,” she says. “It’s really the people who live here that bring this town to life.”

So naturally, her personal travel guide on how to enjoy San Miguel starts with an afternoon of people watching.

At the center of San Miguel sits El Jardín, a neatly landscaped minipark flanked by the pink spires of La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. You’ll find yourself passing through the square 10 times a day in route to restaurants, galleries and shops on nearby streets, but one of González Nieves’ favorite things to do is plunk down on a bench here and take in the scene.

“You can sit there for an hour with a coffee and just look at the people or walk around and listen to the mariachis singing on the corner,” she says. “Every single weekend there’s something that’s being celebrated — a procession for this, a celebration for that — there’s not one dull moment here.”

During the Day of the Dead festival in the fall, El Jardín is covered with elaborate ofrendas, or altars, decorated with orange marigolds to honor the dead. You can get your face painted in the square or buy a flower crown to join in the festivities.”

Don’t miss the market.

“No trip to San Miguel is complete without a trip to the mercado.  There are a handful of markets in San Miguel, including the massive Tianguis de los Martes on Tuesdays on the outskirts of town, but the Mercado San Juan de Dios is a short walk from El Jardín, and according to González Nieves, it’s the best place to meet the locals and get to know the personality of San Miguel.

“To really get the temperature and the culture of the town, you need to go one morning and buy some food, some seeds or some flowers or something,” said Nieves.

For more insight as to what to see and do in San Miguel de Allende, is here to help. 

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