Joanna’s Must-Visits in SMdA
I first visited San Miguel de Allende for my ten-year wedding anniversary in May 2018, and have been back twice since then. I must admit that I was slightly hesitant to visit, in the beginning. I assumed it would be packed with tourists, and with so many expats living there it didn’t seem like it would really feel like Mexico. My mind quickly changed during that first trip when I discovered some of the best antique shopping and also met artists and chefs who were really experimenting with food and shops that were true to the origins of Mexico. It felt like a city rooted in history, but with an energetic buzz of newness and potential. I’ve started to build a community of friends in San Miguel, and lucky for me I have two aunts who will be moving to the charming town from Mexico City and Germany. My list of must-dos continues to grow each time I return, and I’ve put together a Top 5 of my essential SMdA spots:
Antigua Capilla B & B: In the heart of San Miguel but just slightly off the beaten path, this bed and breakfast is grand in size and beauty, accommodating just the right number of guests so that it remains private and cozy. The owners, Francisco and Antonieta, are incredibly hospitable and have created an oasis (built around a former chapel), highlighting Mexican craft with ceramics and textiles. Equipales furniture; candelabras from Michoacán; and hand painted tiles decorate the hotel, exuding a quiet luxury while adhering to the essence of Mexico. I especially loved sitting outside by the fire while enjoying a cold Dos Aves beer, also made by the owners.
Casa Benito Folk Art: The best thing about shopping in Mexico is being able to see an object from a different perspective. Taking it out of context and imagining it in a different setting is part of the beauty in sourcing. This gem of a shop is packed with crafts from all over Mexico, and I have spent countless hours dissecting every item. Ceramics, tin hearts, wooden masks, paper flowers and various crafts are displayed together making it the greatest overwhelming shopping experience in San Miguel de Allende. The more the merrier, in my opinion!
Andy’s Taco Cart: If you want real Mexican food, visit Andy’s Taco Cart late at night to devour the most delicious tacos al pastor. Wait in line, grab your plate, and pile your tacos with salsa and lime. In Mexico, I become a pork eater.
Road to Dolores Hidalgo: The road to Dolores Hidalgo requires time and effort and the right contacts. But if you’re a serious shopper and you want to spend time sourcing antique furniture and filling a container, this is the drive to take. Rustic tables and benches; paint chipped vitrines; and enough doors to fill a hacienda of crumbling grandeur, are just some of the remarkable pieces that can be unearthed.
Lavanda: This is my absolute favorite spot for breakfast in San Miguel de Allende. I go for their lavender latte and chilaquiles verdes, and inevitably I say yes to the rol de piloncillo-pistache, also known as a pistachio cinnamon bun. The line can be long but it’s worth the wait, and I like to sit near the coffee bar and admire the glorious painting by David Villasenor.