Walking Tour of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
San Miguel de Allende is a Colonial treasure in the Heartland of Mexico, about 410 kilometers (230 miles) northwest of Mexico City. It was declared a National Monument by the Mexican president in 1926. It is famous today as the location of the Instituto Allende, which provides instruction in Art and Language to thousands of students from all over the world.
The citizenry became wealthy as a result of the discovery of silver to the west. Thus, there are many elegant mansions along the narrow, cobblestone streets. The city has also attracted many foreigners who, perhaps, came to the school and then liked the area so much that they stayed.
My walk begins at the Plaza Allende (also known as El Jardin), the town’s Main Square and primary gathering place. It is the site of La Parroquia. This unique church looks so different than the typical Mexican church. In fact, it was remodeled in the 19th century to be more like a Gothic church of Europe.
Also on the square are several Colonial mansions, Casa de Mayorazgo de la Canal, perhaps the finest palace in the city, and Casa Allende, now the home of a historical museum.
Exit the square by walking south, past the cathedral, on Cuna de Allende, and then turn right on Cuadrante. The Casa de la Inquisicion (the city’s prison during the Inquistion) is on the right. Opposite the old prison is the Casa del Inquisador, where visiting officials stayed.
Now turn right on Hernandez Macias, and then left on Canal to see the Templo de la Concepcion. This domed church was part of a former convent. Next, continue west on Canal and turn right onto Quebrada. On your right is the Templo las Monjas, one of San Miguel’s most beautiful churches. Continue walking north on Quebrada until you reach Insurgentes, and then turn right. The Iglesia de Santa Ana is on the left, and, when the road begins to turn southward (becoming Llanos), the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri is also on the left. It contains several very ornate chapels and a series of 33 paintings of the saint’s life, which must be seen.
Continue walking on Llanos and then detour into the small plaza on your left (Plaza Civica). On your left, just beyond the square, is the Templo de Nuestra Senora de la Salud. Note the Churrigueresque façade.
Now walk back through the plaza and turn left on Llanos and then left again on Mesones, and then take quick right onto Juarez. Check out the Templo de San Francisco, on the right. Again, note the Churriguerresque facades and the decorated ceilings, inside.
After your visit, turn right on San Francisco, which leads to Plaza Allende, where the walking tour started.