Located in the highlands of central Mexico, far away from the coastline,there is a cobblestone-lined, artist-haven jewel city—San Miguel de Allende. With its hot-but-not-scorching climate, Spanish Colonial architecture, steep hills, elegant buildings, and colorful façades in a palette of golden yellows and ruby hues, it's a storybook-like setting.
Add to this scene, San Miguel's striking light and you have a city that can cast its spell over you and capture your heart. This artistic enclave and food-focused haven is not easy to get to, which has helped the area remain insulated and authentically Mexican. The culture and surroundings are enough to seduce visitors, eliciting dreams of moving to the city. And many do—permanently! Twenty percent of the San Miguel's population is expats from the U.S., Canada, and Europe; the region became an expat hub for American and Canadian artists in the1950s.
Of course, it isn't just expats who adore the city. San Miguel is of great significance to Mexicans, too. It was the first town to declare independence from Spain during the Mexican War of Independence in the early 1800s. The city is the birthplace of Ignacio Allende (for whom the city was named), an officer in the Spanish army who switched sides and fought for Mexico.
You can still feel that romantic, unspoiled charm of yesteryear as you traverse the narrow streets—the preserved, old-time feel is part of the area's allure. In 1926, San Miguel was declared a historic monument city and laws were passed to safeguard it from modernism, meaning no traffic lights and no neon signage to this day.
48 hours in San Miguel de Allende is not enough to see everything but we share swoon-worthy, not-to-be-missed highlights.