San Miguel de Allende Tourist Attractions
The town of San Miguel de Allende nestles on a hill and extends down into a valley. It is one of the few places in the country designated as a national monument and has thus been able to preserve almost entirely its character as a colonial town.
Hidden behind often simple façades are some particularly attractive houses with patios and gardens. The charming townscape, the attractive surroundings and the pleasant climate have attracted many foreigners to San Miguel de Allende, either as visitors or as permament residents. The town has consequently become a centre of intellectual and artistic life, predominantly in the spheres of painting, sculpture, pottery, music, literature and drama.
How to get there
From Mexico City by bus about 4 hours; by car approximately 280km/174mi on the MEX 57D via Querétaro.
During the pre-Columbian period there were several Tarascan and Chichimecan settlements in the area around San Miguel de Allende. Juan de San Miguel, the Franciscan friar who became famous in Michoacán for his beneficent work among the Indians, founded an Indian mission here in 1542. He named it after the saint whose name he bore and the San Miguel de los Chichimeca Indians who resided here. A little later Indians from Tlaxcala settled here, having to defend themselves against attacks by warlike Chichimecs. In 1555 the settlement became the provincial town and was renamed San Miguel el Grande. During the Colonial period rich owners of mines and land from Guanajuato and Zacatecas settled here. Some of their mansions and houses are among the town's finest.
Ignacio de Allende, born here in 1779, took up the fight for Mexican independence in 1810 together with Juan Aldama and Father Miguel Hidalgo. In recognition of the deeds carried out by Allende, who was later executed by the Spanish, the town was given the epithet "de Allende" in 1862.
During the past decades the town has developed into one of the country's important cultural centres, without losing much of its traditional charm.