Northwest of Mexico City lies the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Maybe best known for the charming city of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato contains so much more – from “magic towns,” mummies (!) and so many hidden gems. After exploring this region, it’s really ignited my desire to see more of the interior of Mexico – instead of just hoping to one of Mexico’s coastal beaches. I feel like I just barely scratched the surface in Guanajuato, and already can’t wait to get back!
San Miguel de Allende is a town straight out of a fairy tale book. With its charming cobblestone streets, brightly colored buildings, and Spanish architecture, it’s easy to see how this city has been topping lists on CN Traveler & Travel + Leisure! In 2008, UNESCO designated the city as a World Heritage Site. It was chosen for its well-preserved Baroque-style colonial architecture and for the role the city played in Mexico’s independence. With a world-famous food scene and a great selection of luxury stays, and historic I can’t recommend San Miguel de Allende more!
Upon arriving in San Miguel, my friend Tyler and I hit the ground running with a hot air balloon ride over the city which was such a great way to first experience the city! We stayed at Live Aqua, a chic and modern hotel that is set with a great pool, a fantastic restaurant (Zibu Allende), and a Casa Dragones Cigar Bar – need I say more! We went to check out a newly developed area called Distrito SOMA, a design center filled with authentic shopping, galleries, and Mexican Winery Once Gatos. After some wine tasting, we grabbed some nosh at El Vergel, a European bistro with an amazing sunken patio. One experience that was possibly the highlight of the trip was a horseback ride through the cobblestone streets of San Miguel. It was unexpectedly such a fun way to cruise the streets – and it didn’t hurt getting to stop at a cantina for a tequila + sangrita sipper! Ended the night with the best views of San Miguel at sunset at the Rosewood resort’s rooftop restaurant, Luna!
San Miguel de Allende
To Eat :
- *El Vergel – Great spot for brunch or a long “Mexican lunch”! The bistro has European fare and great seafood options. There’s an adorable sunken patio that makes the 10-minute trek out of town so worth it! Don’t miss the fried calamari, fig & beetroot salad, and roasted chicken!
- *Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar at the Rosewood Hotel – If you’re not staying at the Rosewood, this rooftop is a must for at least a drink at sundown.. but you should stay for the food as well! The property is gorgeous with breathtaking views of the magical town. I had one of the best margaritas here (just their classic!) and the delicious menu has everything from tacos to flatbreads!
- Zibu Allende at Live Aqua Hotel – Zibu Allende is a new gastronomic concept: Mex-Thai cuisine, which fuses Mexican haute cuisine with Thai cuisine to create a unique menu. I had some of the best octopuses I”ve ever had here!
- Antonia Bistro
- Āperi Restaurant at Dos Casas – Upscale food for the five senses, prepared with the freshest ingredients of the region and the passion and excellence that characterize its cuisine
- Bovine – Meat-forward brassiere in a gorgeous art deco space!
- Moxi Restaurant at Hotel Matilda
- Fátima at Casa Blanca
- Kab’an Conina de Origen – Traditional Mexican fare with an upscale twist! Don’t be surprised to see some crickets and local bugs on these tasty dishes!
- Zumo – Great food and amazing views – recommend for lunch! Get their guacamole with charred corn & poblanos to start!
- Trazo 1810 at Casa 1810 – Trazo 1810 is a casual dining restaurant located in the heart of San Miguel de Allende. The restaurant overlooks the Parish of San Miguel de Arcangel, one of the most beautiful Parish in Mexico, and sits at the rooftop of a historic colonial building Hotel Boutique Casa 1810.
- Marsálà – Perfect spot for Sunday brunch!
- La Parada – Peruvian. Get a Pisco sour & some ceviche!xt
- La Mezcalería
- Xibalba – Speakeasy-style cocktail bar inside Kab’an!
- El Tres (Patio 3) at the El Meson boutique hotel
- *Shop in the SOMA District– This new shopping district has everything: antique furniture, Muinane Brunel, and Mexican wine tasting at Once Gatos
- *Horseback riding through the charming cobblestone streets
- Shop Magnolia Home + Style
- *Fábrica La Aurora – Renovated textile mill housing cafes, shops & galleries with works by local artists in many mediums.
- See San Miguel de Allende from a Hot Air Balloon
- Live Aqua Hotel – This is where we stayed and would totally recommend it. This modern and chic stay had luxurious rooms and a fun pool scene. Not to mention an amazing restaurant in the lobby!
- Rosewood – The first luxury resort to come to San Miguel de Allende. This hotel is set in a Spanish Colonial mansion on a tree-lined cobblestone street. The genteel hotel has plush rooms with balconies with this uber-luxury stay.
- Casa Eterea – This “mirror house” is located on the slopes of the extinct volcano Palo Huérfano, only 5miles from San Miguel de Allende. Due to the mountainous road, the drive takes 20 minutes.
- Casa Blanca
Guanajuato took me by surprise. To be honest, I didn’t know much about the capital city and I was kind of blow away. The city is historically old as it was conquered by the Spanish in the early 1500s after they realized that the native people there had access to silver. A whole lot of it. 1/3 of all the silver in the world has come from Guanajuato! The city is still mining silver from the ground 500 years later. Guanajuato is bustling with a pulse and has almost more colorful buildings than its sister city, San Miguel, but they feel like organized chaos with all of its neon and crazy colors. The city is situated in a valley, so the views of the city are truly breathtaking.
We traveled through the city on an ATV tour, which ended up being such a great way to see Guanajuato. We went from the top of the town all the way to the underground tunnels, traveling through the narrow and winding streets! That afternoon we stopped into Casa de la Presa Concept House – a house that has been converted into functional boutiques and shops. At the very top of the house, is a prohibition-style cocktail bar called Parlamento, and they had some of the best cocktails I’ve had in a very long time! I’d for sure recommend stopping by to sip some delicious libations and check out the cool space!
- *Casa Mercedes – Great spot for authentic local cuisine! I got the pistachio mole chicken
- La Table de Andrée – Surprisingly amazing french cuisine from Chef Thierry Ambrosini
- El Jardín de los Milagros – Mexican fusion in a beautiful, expansive and romantic garden.
- *El Gregario Coffee House – great coffee shop!
- *Bartola Sky Bar at Casa del Rector Hotel – insane views of the city!
- *Parlamento Bar – Prohibition-inspired cocktail bar located at the top of Casa de la Presa Concept House – a must!
- *Take an ATV tour of the city
- *Visit the Mercado Hidalgo
- *Shop around the Casa de la Presa Concept House
- Relax in the Parque Reforma
- Explore the city center:
- Tteatro Juárez
- take a ride up the Funicular for some amazing views!
- Jardin Unión
- Stroll around Florencio Antillon Park
- Take a peek down Callejon del Beso
- See the “Witch’s House” at Casa de las Brujas
- Take mixology lessons at Parlamento Bar
- *Visit the Museum of the Mummies of Guanajuato
- Visit the muesum of Alhóndiga de Granaditas
- See the monumentof El Pipila
- *Casa del Rector – Can’t recommend this stay anymore! Cutest boutique hotel tucked into the hills. Rooms offer amazing views along with a pool and delicious food!
- Hotel Quinta Las Acacias – Overlooking the mountains of Guanajuato and a 3-minute walk from the Presa de La Olla lake, this elegant family-owned hotel in a 19th-century, Colonial-style home.
- Villa María Christina – Set on a tree-lined street, this upscale hotel in a grand, Colonial-inspired mansion with an elegant courtyard is 2 km from the Museo Iconográfico del Quijote.
Have you traveled to San Miguel de Allende or been to Guanajuato before? Let me know what your thoughts were and I’d love to hear about your trips! Hopefully, you’ll be seeing a few more city guides from the interior of Mexico here in the next few months as I’m eager to get back!