If you’re looking for a colorful, artistically minded city with an impressive UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town, then Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende is the destination for you.
Three days in San Miguel de Allende is enough time to explore the city’s magnificent churches and cathedrals, to relax in hot springs and lounge around rooftop bars, and to visit art galleries and wineries. But you might want to extend your stay, too, because this is a city that will always keep you coming back for more.
Keep reading for our ultimate 3-day San Miguel de Allende travel itinerary.
Best Time to Visit San Miguel de Allende
The best time to visit San Miguel de Allende is in the cooler winter months between November and April. This is when the climate is dry and temperatures rarely exceed 25°C (80°F).
Admittedly, though, San Miguel de Allende’s location in Mexico’s central highlands ensures that year-round temperatures are always much cooler than those of either Mexico City or the coast. Even in summer, temperatures rarely exceed 30°C (86°F). Between May and October, however, the city experiences its rainy season, with most rain falling in the hottest months of June and July.
As with anywhere in Mexico, San Miguel de Allende is exceedingly popular in December and January (particularly during the holiday period). For this reason, visiting San Miguel de Allende during a shoulder month (October or November, or March or April), when crowds are thinner but the weather is still wonderful, is a great idea.
How to Get Around San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is the perfect city for walking, because the narrow, colorful streets and hidden, shady plazas are best explored on foot. As you’ll soon see, San Miguel de Allende has a compact city center, and almost all of the best sights in the historic center are within walking distance of one another.
As you leave the center, though, the streets get steeper as the hills rise above San Miguel de Allende. While the city is perfectly safe to walk in, you might want to consider getting a taxi or Uber to cover the distance if you’re staying in the suburbs.
The same goes for journeys to the bus station and to destinations outside the city, such as wineries and hot springs. Taxis and Ubers are affordable and safe, and much more convenient than attempting to navigate the limited public buses.
Where to Stay in San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is full of boutique hotels and rustic Airbnb apartments that are brimming with character. If you can, book into accommodation with a terrace or balcony so that you can enjoy those colorful city views at your leisure.
If you’re looking for luxury during your visit, then one of the best places to stay in San Miguel de Allende is the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende. Overlooking the iconic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel in the center of the city, the Rosewood offers an outdoor pool with spectacular views and unrivaled service and amenities.
If you’re wondering where to stay in San Miguel de Allende on a budget, then check out apartment listings on Airbnb, where you can find great deals within walking distance of the historic center.
For more accommodation options in San Miguel de Allende check out Booking.com. They continuously offer the best rates and their custom service is on point.
The Perfect 3-Day San Miguel de Allende Itinerary
The perfect San Miguel de Allende itinerary is a balanced mix of sightseeing and relaxation. The city is full of history and marvelous architecture, but a large part of San Miguel de Allende’s real charm is found in the rooftop bars and courtyard cafés hidden among old colonial-era buildings.
However, before we get to our San Miguel de Allende itinerary, we just wanted to remind you to purchase travel insurance. You never know what will happen and, trust us, you do not want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. As a wise man once said, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” So don’t leave home without it.
We personally use and recommend SafetyWing. For only around $10 a week, it’s really a no-brainer. You can get a quick, non-binding quote below:
With that covered, let’s get to it; here’s how to experience San Miguel de Allende in three days!
Day 1 in San Miguel de Allende
Your first day in San Miguel de Allende will be spent exploring the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town. This is a day of walking, but there are plenty of opportunities to escape the sun with a stroll through shaded gardens. You’ll visit two of San Miguel de Allende’s best museums, too, and end the day with an unbeatable view of the sunset from a rooftop bar and restaurant.
Walking Tour of San Miguel de Allende
Start your San Miguel de Allende travel itinerary with a walking tour of the city. The old, historic center dates back to the Spanish colonial era, and the cobblestone streets and narrow alleys are best explored on foot.
Walking tours are a wonderful way to get acquainted with the city when you first arrive, and you’ll be inundated with local tips from your guide.
San Miguel de Allende is a popular destination, so you can find a large number of walking tours available to book in advance. There are history tours, architecture tours, art tours, and food tours to choose from!
Walking tours usually depart from Jardin Allende, the city center’s main public square.
Surrounded on three sides by colonial buildings and on the fourth by San Miguel de Allende’s most impressive church, the gardens are a meeting point, a landmark, a public events space, and more.
Take the time after your walking tour to sit down and reenergize in the shade before it’s time to start exploring again.
Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel
San Miguel de Allende’s most impressive structure is the standout Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel.
Rising high above the city, right next to Jardin Allende, the Parroquia is best known for its vivid pink spires. The architecture is Gaudi-esque, but it was designed by a local architect who had never even been to Europe. He based the whole facade of the church, with its intricate designs, on a postcard he’d seen.
Your walking tour should lead you through the Parroquia, but you might want to take more time to examine the unique artwork within the church at your own pace.
Casa de Ignacio Allende
If you’re looking to learn more about the city’s history, then one of the best places to visit in San Miguel de Allende is Casa de Ignacio Allende.
Located just a few steps away from the Parroquia, this is the former family home of Ignacio Allende, the city’s namesake. Ignacio Allende was a local soldier who took up arms against the Spanish during the Mexican Wars of Independence. He rose high up in the rebel forces but was executed by the Spanish before Mexico gained its independence.
He was honored by his hometown when they adopted his surname as part of the city’s official name. The colonial-era house is now a museum that tells Ignacio Allende’s story while also demonstrating to visitors what it would have been like to live in 19th-century Mexico.
The Mask Museum of San Miguel de Allende
Your final stop in the afternoon is at the Mask Museum of San Miguel de Allende. This quirky museum is by appointment only – with all proceeds from the entrance fee going toward local charities – so make sure to book ahead of your visit.
The owner of the museum has spent a lifetime collecting masks from around Mexico, and over 500 are on display. The dramatic, colorful masks offer a unique insight into indigenous Mexican culture.
Watch the Sunset at a Rooftop Bar
Just before the sun sets, make your way to one of San Miguel de Allende’s many rooftop bars and restaurants, where you can enjoy beautiful views alongside delectable food and drink.
On your first night in San Miguel de Allende reserve a rooftop table at Quince for unbeatable views of the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel.
Day 2 in San Miguel de Allende
Your second day in San Miguel de Allende sees you exploring further afield, with the morning spent hiking through the city’s vast botanical gardens. After a strenuous start to the day, though, you’ll have plenty of time to relax at the local hot springs in the afternoon.
Charco del Ingenio
Start your second day with a trip to Charco del Ingenio, one of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende if you’re looking to reconnect with nature.
Charco del Ingenio is a vast botanical garden that’s located on the edge of the city, and you’ll want to get here nice and early to avoid the heat and have enough time to see everything.
A large, freshwater lake is surrounded by curated gardens within a lovely, sheltered valley. You’ll be amazed by the number of species of plants gathered here from across Mexico.
Sanctuary de Atotonilco
Once you’ve explored the botanical gardens, it’s time to head up the road from San Miguel de Allende to visit one of the city’s most famous religious sanctuaries.
Sanctuary de Atotonilco is located in the nearby countryside, but it forms part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage listing. This historic Catholic church has long been a place of pilgrimage for Mexicans from all over the country. The Sanctuary de Atotonilco was built on top of natural springs, and so the church has always been revered as a place of healing.
When you step inside the Sanctuary de Atotonilco, you’ll also be shocked and awed by the gruesome religious artwork on display.
La Gruta Spa
Next to the Sanctuary of Atotonilco, you’ll find La Gruta Spa, where those same healing hot springs now help tourists to relax after a packed travel itinerary.
Spend the rest of your afternoon enjoying the soothing surrounds of San Miguel de Allende’s best natural spa. Take a dip in the hot springs, go for a treatment or massage, and then head back to San Miguel de Allende suitably refreshed for another evening out.
Day 3 in San Miguel de Allende
Your third and final day in San Miguel de Allende will see you visiting the city’s best art gallery before spending the afternoon enjoying wineries. End the day at San Miguel de Allende’s most famous sunset viewpoint, and then spend your last evening enjoying those popular rooftop restaurants!
San Miguel de Allende is well known for its artistic side, and since World War II, the city has been a haven for artists from around the world.
At Fabrica Aurora, you can find over 40 different exhibitions all under one roof. Located within a refurbished textile mill, this mammoth gallery has an ever-changing selection of modern art for visitors to peruse at their leisure
Explore San Miguel de Allende’s Wineries
No weekend in San Miguel de Allende is complete without an afternoon at the local wineries. The temperate highlands ensure that the city is surrounded by prime grape-growing land, and the oldest winery here has been producing vintages for centuries.
The best way to see the wineries is on an organized tasting tour with a local guide. Hop from one winery to the next, and then don’t worry about having to drive back to your hotel!
If you only want to visit one winery, though, then head to the delightful surrounds of Dos Buhos, where you can take a tour then spend the afternoon enjoying excellent wine and gourmet platters of cheese and nibbles at the most relaxing winery in San Miguel de Allende.
On your way back into San Miguel de Allende, stop at El Mirador, the city’s most panoramic viewpoint.
Time it for sunset, and you’ll enjoy an unbeatable view of the city’s colorful houses and church spires below.
Once the sun has set, stroll down to the city center – it’s just a short walk. It’s your third and final night in San Miguel de Allende, so enjoy it in your own time!
Day 4 and Beyond
72 hours in San Miguel de Allende might be enough time to see the highlights, to delve into the arts scene, and to try out a few rooftop bars, but if you have more time to spend in the city, then there’s always more to do.
Don’t be afraid to laze days away wandering through plazas and galleries or simply sitting out on a terrace and enjoying the view. If you want to explore further, though, on the fourth day you can head to Canada de la Virgen, where you’ll find a recently excavated but ancient archaeological site dating back to the pre-Hispanic era.
In the nearby area, you can follow La Ruta de la Independencia and visit Dolores Hidalgo, where the Mexican Wars of Independence began in 1810. Then there’s the equally colorful city of Guanajuato, the history of Querétaro, and much more awaiting you within a one- to two-hour drive of San Miguel de Allende.
Experience the best of San Miguel de Allende with our three-day travel itinerary. You’ll see colonial churches, learn about the city’s heroic namesake, and have plenty of time for hot springs, wineries, and rooftop bars.
If you’re wondering what to do in San Miguel de Allende in three days, why not follow our expert travel itinerary?