Seeing San Miguel De Allende

San Miguel de Allende in the Mexican state of Guanajuato could very well be the most beautiful city in the entire country. Some go to visit. Others go to visit and never return. The U.S. State Department estimates that the number of Americans in Mexico has increased from about 200,000 a decade ago to between 600,000 and 1 million today. The number around the San Miguel de Allende reported that Americans made up about 10% of their 70,000 residents. San Miguel de Allende could be the most American town in the country. About 10 percent of the residents are American. Most stores price their wares in dollars. English is common. The Americans in San Miguel regularly oppose allowing big American money like McDonalds and Starbucks to move in. They also don’t like the idea of building a freeway to better connect San Miguel to the rest of the country.

Father Fray Juan de San Miguel, a Franciscan missionary born in Spain, founded San Miguel Viejo in 1542 and named it after his patron saint. It was then an Indian mission near the present railroad station.
During the late 16th Century, the settlement was moved near the springs of El Chorro, located above the steps at the top of Juarez Parque. This colonial gem sits about 150 miles north of Mexico City and remains an antique city of the old world. No traffic lights, parking meters, billboards, or neon signs will deter your sight from the wondrous, natural beauty of your surroundings.
San Miguel de Allende is almost never hot, and enjoys a mild climate year round with cool evenings. San Miguel is also a very green city, with trees, flowers, botanical gardens, and is surrounded by hills. San Miguel de Allende has been declared a national monument: no building is allowed that doesn’t conform to Colonial style.

On Tuesdays, a large outdoor weekly market draws in lots of vendors from the countryside. The first week in February growers from all over the area bring foliage and flowering plants to a large park. Buses and cars are inspected for emission pollution. City bus rides cost about 25 cents, and taxis are about $1 per ride, so there is really no need to own a vehicle in this paradise.

You can find nearly any kind of restaurant in San Miguel de Allende – including Thai and Chinese. The price of meals – fine meals – ranges from $4 to $10. The Bibliotheca, the second largest bilingual library in Mexico, was founded by Americans and other expatriates. It has a computer center used in the morning by foreign friends and in the afternoon by Mexican children. It also boasts a gift shop, restaurant and a new theater for dramatic performances and culture displays. Located in the former convent of Santa Ana, La Biblioteca is a good place to find information on San Miguel or just to sit in the patio and read.

San Miguel de Allende prides itself on its beautiful architecture, quaint streets and neighborhoods, lovely plazas and parks. It has a well deserved reputation as an artistic community with art schools, numerous Spanish language schools, galleries, theatres, fine restaurants, cafes and hundreds of arts and crafts shops with artisans peddling their wares from all over Mexico. Today high quality artistic and cultural events happen here, like the International Hall Music Festival, the Winter Classic Music Festival, the Wool and Brass Fair, the traditional Pamplonada in September, and the Jazz Festival to name a few and not to mention every small local fiesta.

What you don’t want to miss seeing is:

Jardin Principal
Located in the heart of the City, is the meeting spot for most people anytime. It’s surrounded by beautiful buildings and archways from the colonial era.

La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel
This church was built at the beginning of the 18th Century.

Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramirez
The building was erected as a convent for the Conception’s nuns in 1754. Today, it’s a beautiful art institute which offers classes in painting, drawing, sculpture, music and dance.

Paseo del Chorro
This water spring was originally used by local tribes before being discovered by the Spanish in the 16th Century. It is now a shady park which is home to a public washing area.

If you’re going to visit, you have several options regarding lodging. You can stay at one of the six luxury hotels in the city such as the Villa Rivera, La Puertecita Boutique, or Casa Rosada for an average of $160/per night. Or, you could opt for one of the nine smaller motels such as the Hacienda de las Flores, La Morada, or Vista Real for an average of $85/per night. The motels are not like our Motel 6s. They’re still very grandeur.

If you need more permanent quarters, you can lease an entire property by the week, month, or year. Some owners rent entire homes on a short term basis. The price range varies greatly from $75/night to $500/week to $1300/mo to upwards of $10,000/mo. Some of the places even include staff such as a housekeeper and cook in the price. If you’re looking to stay permanently, you’ll find real estate hard to come by, and when you do find it, it’ll be pricey.

To get there, you’ll either have to drive the whole way (800mi of it on Mexican roads) or fly into a neighboring, larger city such as Mexico City or Quetaro, but you’re still in for anywhere from 2-4 hours of driving time, be it by a rented car and driver or a local bus. You could always ride a burro…..
How ever you plan to get there, get there as soon as your can. San Miguel de Allende is truly a must-see.

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