By: Travel + Leisure Staff | TravelAndLeisure.com
Cobblestone streets, Spanish Colonial architecture, and a booming culinary scene featuring organic restaurants, small batch tequilas, and—believe it or not—croissants that would rival the ones in Paris: these are the hallmarks of San Miguel de Allende, a city in Mexico’s central highlands.
San Miguel may be best known for its extravagant festivals, fiestas, and parades. But what to do in San Miguel de Allende when you’re in town and there’s no celebration on the streets? You can enjoy these five San Miguel de Allende attractions anytime of year.
First thing on your must-do list? Soak in the hot springs at La Gruta. You can enjoy a natural massage from hot water pouring into the grotto, explore the water tunnel, or lounge in the pools.
Later, check out the Sanctuary of Atotonilco. This World Heritage Site is nicknamed the “Sistine Chapel of Mexico,” and boasts stunning Mexican folk Baroque-style murals on the walls and ceilings.
One of the most fun things to do in San Miguel de Allende is to visit the pyramids of La Canada de la Virgin, a recently discovered Otomi archeological site that faces the celestial North. Here, pre-Hispanic locals watched the heavens passing overhead.
On Tuesday, head to the El Tianguis de los Martes, which spans three football fields. Vendors at this market sell everything from antiques to handicrafts (think: ceramic plates, huaraches, and woven rugs), fresh food like bee pollen and Chihuahua cheese, and oddities ranging from branding irons to bootleg DVDs and used clothing.
Conclude your trip with another spa ritual—cleansing the body and soul in a temazcal, or traditional sweat lodge. We recommend the adobe sweat house in the Jardín Botánico, surrounded by the country’s largest collection of cacti and succulents.
Other popular San Miguel de Allende activities include strolling and spotting white egrets in Parque Juarez—the largest green space in the city—or sampling tequilas and mescals at the local bars.