Last Updated on December 14, 2023 by Soumya
If you’re visiting San Miguel de Allende for 3 days and looking for the perfect travel itinerary, then you’re at the right place.
This San Miguel de Allende itinerary has been curated by a history nerd who loves everything about Mexico, especially its ancient civilizations and colonial towns.
San Miguel de Allende is one of the prettiest colonial towns in Mexico.
With its quaint alleyways, colorful buildings, and flowered doorways, San Miguel de Allende definitely has a piece of my heart. I have traveled here several times and plan to go back again soon.
This San Miguel de Allende itinerary is based on my personal experiences of spending several (recently 3) days in San Miguel. Come, let’s see if I can make you fall in love with this lovely Mexican town.
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- Best 3 Days in San Miguel de Allende Itinerary
- More than 3 Days in San Miguel de Allende
- Less than 3 Days in San Miguel de Allende
- Best Places to Stay in San Miguel de Allende
- Practical Information for visiting San Miguel de Allende
- San Miguel de Allende Travel Itinerary FAQ
- How many days in San Miguel de Allende is perfect?
- Is San Miguel de Allende worth visiting?
- How many days do you need in San Miguel de Allende?
- Is San Miguel de Allende walkable?
- Do you need a car in San Miguel?
- Can you do a day trip from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende?
- Is San Miguel de Allende beautiful?
- Is one day enough for San Miguel de Allende?
- Loved this San Miguel de Allende itinerary? Pin it for later!
Best 3 Days in San Miguel de Allende Itinerary
Day 1 of 3 Days in San Miguel de Allende: Historic Center of San Miguel
On the first day of your 3 days in San Miguel de Allende itinerary, explore the Historic Center of San Miguel de Allende, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are lots of amazing things to do in San Miguel’s Historic Downtown including checking out majestic churches, visiting quaint museums, shopping at colorful markets, and relaxing in verdant green gardens.
Here are the best San Miguel de Allende attractions to see on your trip to San Miguel de Allende.
Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel
Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel is the most famous landmark of San Miguel de Allende.
With a stunning neo-Gothic facade, towering spires, and a distinctive pink color, La Parroquia has become a symbol of San Miguel. This makes it an essential stop on every San Miguel de Allende itinerary, long or short.
What makes La Parroquia special is its unique Gothic architectural style. Built by an indigenous architect, Zeferino Gutierrez in the 19th century, the church has an uncanny resemblance to the churches of Europe.
The interior of La Parroquia is equally breathtaking, adorned with ornate altars, religious art, and intricate design work.
One of the best places in San Miguel de Allende for your pictures, La Parroquia has captured people’s imaginations for centuries.
For detailed insights into the history and architecture of La Parroquia, I highly recommend joining this Historical and Cultural Walking Tour of San Miguel de Allende whose guide is full of knowledge and interesting information.
Church of San Francisco
The Church of San Francisco holds a significant place on the bucket list of any San Miguel de Allende visitor.
Built in the late 18th century, this striking church boasts a mix of Churrigueresque and Neo-classical architectural styles. Its façade is a work of art, adorned with intricate carvings.
Inside, visitors are greeted with an array of beautiful altars. There’s a nice museum with art and relics.
The church faces a small garden where you can sit down and rest your feet. Here, you’ll also find local women with their baskets of Otomi dolls. I love buying from them because the traditional Otomi doll is one of my favorite things to buy in Mexico.
Museo Historico Casa de Allende
Museo Historico Casa de Allende is hidden in plain sight right next to La Parroquia.
This museum is special as it showcases the rich history and culture of the city. That makes it a must-visit spot on every San Miguel de Allende 3-day itinerary.
Housed in a beautiful 17th-century, colonial building, Museo Historico Casa de Allende was once home to Ignacio Allende, a leader of Mexican Independence.
The museum has a wide range of exhibits. They are a unique blend of Mesoamerican artifacts, historical documents of the city, and personal memorabilia of the owner, Ignacio Allende.
The museum is open 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Tuesday to Sunday. For detailed schedules and admission, check the official website here.
Toy Museum of San Miguel de Allende
When I was planning my itinerary for San Miguel de Allende, I did not even know that the city had a toy museum. A last-minute addition, the Toy Museum turned out to be a fantastic San Miguel de Allende attraction.
Also known as Museo La Esquina, the Toy Museum in San Miguel de Allende is loved by both kids and adults. It captures the essence of Mexican culture through the enchanting world of traditional toys.
From miniature wooden figurines to large-scale carousels, the museum boasts an impressive collection of over 3,000 handmade toys, each telling a story of Mexico’s rich heritage and traditions.
I was thoroughly impressed by collections that depicted carnivals and Lucha Libre performances. Do not miss the first room called the “Play House” which showcases different kinds of Mexican dolls. I found them super cute.
Museo La Esquina is open 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Tuesday – Sunday. For admission charges, check out their official website here.
Mercado de Artesanias or the Artisan Market is a must-visit for every art and culture lover.
This market is a vibrant labyrinth of stalls selling different kinds of local crafts and art, ranging from intricate beadwork, and handwoven textiles, to vibrant ceramics and traditional tinwork.
It’s the best place to pick up some traditional Mexican souvenirs if you haven’t already.
What makes shopping at the Artisan Market special is the opportunity it offers to dive into the rich culture of Mexico and an opportunity to people-watch or strike up a conversation, if you’d like.
Do not forget to get a gorgeous picture on Aldama Street (Google Maps).
Aldama Street is San Miguel de Allende’s most photographed street. You have to get a photo here for the Gram!
Benito Juarez Park
Need to rest your weary feet after a long day of walking around San Miguel de Allende? Head to Benito Juarez Park which dates to the early 20th century.
Often referred to as the “green lung” of the city, Juarez Park is the best place for peace and tranquility amidst the bustling city life of San Miguel de Allende.
The park is home to an array of native plants, meticulously manicured gardens, and striking sculptures that add an artistic touch to the natural beauty. Many visitors enjoy leisurely strolls along its winding paths while others just enjoy a siesta on one of its wrought iron benches.
The park’s centerpiece is a European-style gazebo, a popular site for local festivities and music performances.
El Jardin Garden
Spend the evening relaxing at El Jardin. Located right in front of La Parroquia this beautiful garden is the throbbing heart of San Miguel de Allende.
Every evening, locals gather here for their daily chitchat while bands play traditional Mexican music. It is not usual to see locals breaking into a dance or mariachi bands serenading a couple.
The whole atmosphere at El Jardin is very festive and marks a perfect end to your exciting day at San Miguel de Allende.
Day 2 of 3 Days in San Miguel de Allende: Sanctuary of Atotonilco & Dolores
Start your second day in San Miguel de Allende with a visit to the Sanctuary of Atotonilco.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a hidden gem in Mexico, the Church of Atotonilco is also known as the “Sistine Chapel of Mexico“. That’s because of its richly decorated walls and ceilings.
Just a 20-minute drive from San Miguel, the sanctuary is a must-visit for every art lover. The stunning murals narrate biblical stories and happenings in the life of Christ.
The artwork was magnificent and yet so subtle, it left me speechless.
Combine your day out with a trip to Dolores Hidalgo, a small city about 45 minutes away from San Miguel de Allende. Atotonilco is kind of midway between the two.
Known as the “Cradle of Mexican Independence,” Dolores where Father Miguel Hidalgo famously issued the Grito de Dolores (battle cry), signaling the beginning of Mexico’s struggle for independence from Spain.
Here, you can visit the Parish of Our Lady of Sorrows, where the historic cry for independence was made.
Don’t forget to try the city’s famous ice cream (you’ll find ice cream carts everywhere!). They are available in a range of unusual flavors! Think mamey, elote, queso, camaron, and so many more!!!
How to get to Atotonilco and Dolores from San Miguel de Allende?
It is not easy to get to Atotonilco and Dolores by public transportation from San Miguel because public transport is nearly non-existent here. Read my sob story of how we got stranded in Atotonilco for details.
The best way is to rent a car and drive.
Or book a guided tour – this one comes highly recommended – and leave the planning to the experts. The guide is super knowledgeable and it is fun to see two historical places with a local who can give you deeper insights.
Day 3 in San Miguel de Allende: Canada de la Virgen Ruins
Reserve Day 3 in San Miguel de Allende for a journey to the ruins of Canada de la Virgen. Isn’t this absolutely the best way to end your long weekend in San Miguel de Allende?
Located less than an hour west of San Miguel, the archeological site of Canada de la Virgen is an ancient city that’ll fascinate history buffs.
This not-so-famous, Mexican pyramid complex was built in the early 300s and was a ceremonial center for the Otomi people.
Highlights include the House of the Wind, the House of the Thirteen Heavens, and the House of the Longest Night which offer a glimpse into the architectural and astronomical knowledge of the Otomi civilization.
How to get to Canada de La Virgen from San Miguel de Allende?
The ruins are located inside a private hacienda. Therefore, you need to book a guided tour to explore the site.
You can hire a guide locally or check out this excellent archeologist-led tour of the Canada de La Virgen ruins.
With more than 600 5-star reviews, this tour is one of the highest-rated tours in San Miguel de Allende, and for good reason. This tour is led by the archeologist guide, Albert Coffee from Albert Coffee Archaeotours. It is interesting to know that Albert helped excavate the site in 2004 and is a treasure trove of all things Canada de La Virgen!
Late Afternoon & Evening in San Miguel de Allende
Once you’re back in San Miguel de Allende, I highly recommend just strolling through the streets and marveling at the colorful buildings that surround you.
The flowered doorways and windows of San Miguel de Allende are gorgeous. You’ll get some of the most amazing pictures here.
Also, remember to drop by Cafe San Agustin for some magnificent churros with chocolate. They are the most delicious in town. You’ll almost always find a line here. But don’t worry, just drop your name and number at the door and they’ll call you as soon as a table opens up.
More than 3 Days in San Miguel de Allende
Do you have more than 3 days in San Miguel de Allende? Are you spending, like, a week in San Miguel de Allende?
Don’t worry. We have several more things to do in San Miguel de Allende.
- Take a day trip to the colonial town of Guanajuato located in the middle of a beautiful valley. With a long history of silver mining and stunning Baroque architecture, the Historic Town of Guanajuato is a UNESCO World Heritage Site today. A combined Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende itinerary is often what many travelers prefer.
- Soak in the hot springs of Tolantongo. Tolantongo is a longish day trip from San Miguel but very well worth it because of the views and its magical pools of turquoise waters. Check out a highly recommended Tolantongo guided tour here.
- Go hot air ballooning or horseback riding in San Miguel de Allende. I tried hot air ballooning over the Teotihuacan Pyramids in Mexico City and absolutely enjoyed it. Yet to try in San Miguel de Allende. Let me know if you do.
- Foodies will love this yummy food tour filled with tacos and tequila. If you’d like to take your culinary skills a notch higher, join this authentic Mexican mole and salsa class in San Miguel de Allende.
📖 More options: If you’re looking for even more destinations to add to your San Miguel de Allende itinerary, then go check out our article on the 7 Best Day Trips from San Miguel de Allende.
Less than 3 Days in San Miguel de Allende
If you have less than 3 days in San Miguel de Allende, then you can either drop the Atotonilco (Day 2) or Canada de La Virgen (Day 3) from your itinerary.
Art and culture lovers with enjoy Day 2 whereas history buffs will be delighted on Day 3 in San Miguel de Allende. So, depending on your interest, feel free to decide.
Best Places to Stay in San Miguel de Allende
I highly recommend staying in the Historic Center of San Miguel de Allende especially if you’re a first-time visitor.
Here are the best places to stay in San Miguel de Allende’s historic downtown.
Casa de Sierra Nevada, A Belmond Hotel, is an uber-luxurious hotel just minutes from La Parroquia. Their rooms are located in beautiful colonial mansions flanked by well-manicured gardens.
Service is outstanding. And the biggest selling point is the wonderful views of the cathedral from the rooftop bar – definitely the best place to watch a glorious sunset. You can check out more reviews of Casa de Sierra Nevada here.
Casa Maricela B&B is a cute B&B in the historic center that has the most adorable rooms and a rooftop area. They serve great Mexican breakfast and have the most hospitable hosts. Book Casa Maricela B&B here.
Practical Information for visiting San Miguel de Allende
Best Time to Visit San Miguel de Allende
The best time to visit San Miguel de Allende is from November to April because the weather is typically dry and sunny, with average high temperatures ranging between 70-80°F (21-27°C). Note that this is also the busy season which means you’ll have to get your bookings done sooner rather than later.
The hot and rainy season in San Miguel de Allende spans from May to October. It’s not too bad if you’re okay with a few showers which provide a different perspective of the city’s beauty with lush landscapes and fewer crowds.
San Miguel de Allende also plays host to numerous festivals during the year including the Chamber Music Festival in summer and the Jazz Festival in winter.
How to get to San Miguel de Allende?
It is easy to get to San Miguel de Allende from Mexico City by bus. Luxurious buses such as the ETN operate between the two cities. They are comfy and super convenient. The journey from Mexico City to San Miguel takes around 4 hours.
You can also rent a car in Mexico City and drive to San Miguel de Allende at your own pace.
Or book a highly recommended guide tour like this one if you want to see San Miguel de Allende in one day.
If you’re flying, remember that the Queretaro Airport (QRO) is the closest to San Miguel de Allende followed by the Bajio International Airport (BJX) in Leon. Aeromexico has regular flights from Mexico City to both. There are also flights from a few cities in the US.
✦ Pro Tip: Read our guide on the Best Ways to Get from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende for further details.
How to get around San Miguel de Allende?
The best way to get around San Miguel de Allende is by foot. The roads are narrow and hilly. Therefore, it is pointless to drive a car in the historic center.
However, you will need a car if you plan to do some day trips from San Miguel de Allende. Public transportation is not great. So, renting a car is the best for day trips. Or join a guided tour instead.
San Miguel de Allende Travel Itinerary FAQ
How many days in San Miguel de Allende is perfect?
2 to 3 days in San Miguel de Allende is perfect to see the best attractions in San Miguel de Allende and include a couple of cool day trips in your itinerary.
Is San Miguel de Allende worth visiting?
Yes, San Miguel de Allende is absolutely worth visiting because it is one of Mexico’s prettiest colonial towns and is home to stunning buildings and monuments that depict an interesting evolution of architectural styles making it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
How many days do you need in San Miguel de Allende?
You need at least 3 days in San Miguel de Allende to explore the Historic Center (a UNESCO heritage site), visit the museums, check out the Sanctuary of Atotonilco, and explore the ruins of Canada de La Virgen.
Is San Miguel de Allende walkable?
Yes, the Historic Center of San Miguel de Allende is very walkable even though a little hilly. The attractions are located pretty close to each other making it easy to walk to one point from another.
Do you need a car in San Miguel?
You do not need a car to explore the historic downtown of San Miguel but you do need a car if you’re planning a day trip to either Atotonilco, Canada de La Virgen, or Guanajuato because public transportation is not great. Guided day tours are another great option to plan day trips.
Can you do a day trip from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende?
Is San Miguel de Allende beautiful?
Yes, San Miguel de Allende, with its beautiful historic center chock full of colorful mansions, charming streets, and a pastel-pink church called La Parroquia, is one of the prettiest towns in Mexico.
Is one day enough for San Miguel de Allende?
One day in San Miguel de Allende is enough to see the highlights of the city including the beautiful La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, Church of San Francisco, Museo Casa de Allende, the Toy Museum, and shop for souvenirs at the Artisan Market.