Welcome to San Miguel de Allende
The small town of San Miguel de Allende is a postcard-perfect
colonial town filled with 17th and 18th-century Baroque buildings.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, the town has
retained its historical charm with restrictions on construction and
development. The city centre remains much as it was 250 years ago,
and the narrow cobbled lanes are framed by yellow, orange and ochre
buildings twined with bougainvillea vines.
The city has a number of beautiful buildings, including the pink
Gothic parish church, La Parroquia (one of the most photographed
churches in Mexico); the Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramiez with its
magnificent courtyard; the Casa del Mayorazgo de la Canal, which
houses the historical artwork collections of the Banamex Cultural
Center; and the richly-decorated Oratorio de San Felipe Neri
A centre of Bohemian creativity in the 20th century, San Miguel
de Allende is very popular with foreign expats and tourists in
Mexico, having been noted as a desirable retirement destination for
Americans. The city blends the relaxed atmosphere of a small town
with the cosmopolitan nature of a much larger city. Houses are
intermixed with shops and businesses, and there are a wide variety
of restaurants, art galleries, and more than 80 bars and
San Miguel de Allende has a lively arts community, with
productions hosted regularly at the Angela Peralta Theater and the
Otra Cara de Mexico; the town also has its own bullring. Tourists
will also enjoy wandering the outdoor markets selling local
handicrafts and souvenirs; the best are the Zacateros Market and
the Mercado de Artesanias.
The overall attitude of San Miguel de Allende is a festive one,
and the citizens will take any excuse to hold a festival or
celebration. The largest celebrates the town's patron saint, the
Archangel Michael. Popularly known as the Fiestas de San Miguel de
Allende, the week-long celebration includes parties, sporting
events, cultural celebrations and dance performances.
Information & Facts
Spanish is the official language in Mexico. Some English
is spoken in tourist regions.
Mexican currency is the New Peso (MXN) divided into 100
centavos. Credit cards are widely accepted, particularly Visa,
MasterCard and American Express. Travellers cheques are generally
accepted, but cannot be cashed on Sundays. ATMs are available in
most cities and towns and are the most convenient way to get money,
but for safety reasons they should only be used during business
hours. Although most businesses will accept foreign currency it is
best to use pesos. Foreign currency can be exchanged at one of many
casas de cambio(exchange houses), which have longer hours
and offer a quicker service than the banks.