San Miguel de Allende is one of Mexico’s most picturesque colonial cities. Home to stunning baroque architecture, twisting cobbled streets and its famous pink sandstone church, this is an easy family destination if you’re looking to explore Mexico beyond its beaches.
Located in the state of Guanajuato, in central Mexico, the city is – in many ways – an ode to the history of Mexico, as it was originally founded in 1542 and is famous for being the first municipality that declared itself independent from Spanish rule during the Mexican War of Independence.
If you’re out of ideas over what to do in San Miguel de Allende, be sure visit El Charco del Ingenio, the Botanical Gardens and Nature Reserve located just outside the city centre. These gardens extend over 170 acres but don’t expect perfectly manicured lawns, this is one of those wonderfully wild reserves characterised by native scrubland, a canyon and wetlands – perfect for a set of extended hiking tours. Various pathways wind their way through the reserve past an incredible array of cacti to various lookout points. There’s a Conservatory of Mexican Plants, home to cacti and other native plants, many of which are endangered.
There’s also a Children’s Garden, an interactive space designed to connect kids and nature. There’s a Scent and Touch Labyrinth, the Pollinators Garden, the Solar Observatory and, of course, a slide!
San Miguel’s daily market is also an ideal choice. It’s a lively, colourful spot and a great place to see local life in action. In addition to the fruit and vegetables on display, you’ll find chillies, dried mushrooms, herbs, honey and more. The Mercado de Artesanías is in the alleyway between the food market and and Calle Loreto. It’s not the best market for crafts but it’s a fun place to wander around, particularly for kids. They can even test their bargaining skills if they like!
However, few views can surpass the one San Miguel de Allende has on offer. And this photogenic city truly comes to life from above. Seeing it from these heights is easily one of the best things to do in San Miguel de Allende with kids. If your budget allows for hot air balloon rides, then it will surely be one of the most memorable things you’ll ever do.