48 hours in San Miguel de Allende
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.

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.
Explore the city

Start a day with a tasty breakfast. San Miguel de Allende is rich in history and culture and unbelievably sophisticated in its cuisine.In local restaurants the food is full of flavor that bombs to open the senses.

After breakfast, it's time to explore the city. Visit government-funded art school Bellas Artes. Well, the official name isn't quite so succinct: it's Centro Culturál Ignacio Ramírez "El Nigromante". The school is an oasis of peace, quiet, learning, and artistry in the midst of the busy town. It is free to enter and to explore, and it is truly beautiful. Spending the afternoon there, you might hear a guitar being strummed by a student in the interior courtyard, or the birds chirping outside, offering their own sweet orchestra.

Have lunch or meander through the archways, which make way to galleries and classrooms. They're filled with both young students learning ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, and printmaking, and older expats learning age-old weaving techniques for making Mexican blankets on a loom.
A little bit of history.

The building was originally constructed from 1755 to 1765 as the cloister area of the Convent of the Immaculate Conception (Las Monjas). Yup, it's a convent turned art school, rich in history and representative of the two core traditions of San Miguel, art and Catholicism. Surrounding the courtyard's pinky-peach walls, visible as you climb the stairs and peek under an archway, are murals that were painted by early students at the school in the '40s. They depict the life of Mexican families in day-to-day activities, such as washing their clothes at the edge of the water or weaving a blanket.

And along the north wall of the cloister, in a space that was once the nun's refectory, is the most famous, albeit uncompleted, work of art in all of San Miguel de Allende—a powerful abstract mural by both David Alfaro Siqueiros, one of Mexico's most famous muralists, and his students. The colorful work gives the illusion that the room is larger than it is, and you can experience it from every vantage point in the cavernous space.
Shop in Mercado Ignacio Ramirez

Next stop is a visit to a local Mercado Ignacio Ramírez, the most authentic experience you can have. This vibrant market is located in Centro, not far from the large equestrian statue in Plaza Cívica. The markets are a part of everyday life in San Miguel de Allende.

The colorful Ignacio Ramírez market reflects the rich culture and gastronomy of the city and will without a doubt spur sensory overload, in the best of ways. The market is both indoors and outdoors and is predominantly food-focused. There are rows and rows of orderly displays of fruits and vegetables piled high, likely 30-plus varieties of chilis, more types of peppers and grains than you ever knew existed, and butchers and floral vendors.

Try local food

In a side annex of the market, you will find traditional home-cooked, ready-to-eat foods. Here, women are making tortillas and gorditas, shucking and grilling corn over an open fire, and slicing mango and jicama and dusting them with chili and fresh lime, which they'll scoop into a plastic bag for you to take.

And if artisan crafts are what you are after, just behind Ignacio Ramírez you can visit the Mercado de Artesanías. With the one-two punch of Ignacio Ramírez and Mercado de Artesanías, the whole zone is certainly equipped for some one-stop shopping.
Next day is the visit to local galleries

Next day you can spend time visiting local galleries. If you're tastes more towards fine and contemporary art make sure not to miss Fabrica La Aurora, about a 15-minute walk from the center of town.

A former turn-of-the-century textile mill making fine cottons, it has been restored and turned into a vast art and design center housing over 50 art galleries, working artist's studios, and stores that sell home furnishings and decor, textiles, fashions, jewelry and antiques.
Countless other art galleries are found throughout the town and you could spend days wandering through them all. And if you want to explore the city with art expert, we have Gallery Art Tours, City Tours, Photowalks, Photography Workshops and Photosessions
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