Things To Do
San Miguel has so much to offer kids. We have compiled a comprehensive guide with all our favorite activities to do. Whether you seek a fun-packed adventure or a cultural experience, we have it listed! See below for a list of our all favorite spots, highlighting kid-friendly activities, must-see sights, fun playgrounds, and, of course, and where to tap into the local culture.
Things To Do
The main square of San Miguel is known as El Jardin and sits at the foot of the iconic pink church, La Parroquia San Miguel Arcangel. This is a great place to soak up the local ambiance and get a real feel for our small city. Our favorite time to visit is in the late afternoon when there is something magical about the way the light hits the streets, the bells toll to let you know the time and the pigeons flock to the church. Your little ones can buy a balloon from a street vendor, a Maria doll from an indigenous woman, have their name made into a friendship bracelet, or buy a flower crown in Los Portales. Sitting with a fresh cup of fruit and people-watching is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. If you’re lucky, on the weekends you might catch a Mariachi band playing. To get a better sense of the city, and especially El Centro, take a ride on a trolley tour, which is great for kids of all ages. El Jardin is also a great starting point for a day of shopping, you can find shops in all directions, from inexpensive souvenirs to upscale shopping.
Parque Benito Juárez, San Miguel’s mini Central Park is great for kids. It’s only a few blocks off of the main square and it has a great playground and basketball courts. The beautiful shaded paths make for great bike riding, skateboarding, and running around. This is also a fun spot for kids and parents to make friends. Throughout the year you will find that Parque Juarez is the venue for local events, many kid-friendly, so make sure to check the local event calendar. Just a short block south of the park you will find Los Lavaderos de Chorro and Parque El Chorro, great for exploring.
Mercado de San Juan de Dios
Visiting the markets of San Miguel is a great activity for kids of all ages and an absolute must if you are visiting. The hustle and bustle of the locals, bright colors, and the regional smells makes for a genuine Mexican experience.
The most touristy of the markets, El Mercado de Artesanías is our favorite. You will find incredible local handmade wares such as rugs, ceramics, jewelry, embroidered clothes, souvenirs, as well as food vendors. There are various toy stalls in this mercado where you can find Lucha libre masks, handmade dolls, wooden toys and all sorts of hand-crafted fun stuff for the kids. One of our favorite Mexican candy shops, Dulce Maria Jose is also here, so make sure to check them out, they offer free samples which your kids will surely love. Do shop around from stall to stall to find the best prices but, while some think it customary to bargain in Mexico, we would ask you not to. For the most part, these artisans are very humble and their handmade goods are incredibly time-consuming.
Both El Mercado de San Juan de Dios and Mercado Ignacio Ramirez are where many locals do their day-to-day shopping. From fruit to clothes to housewares to groceries, these mercados have a little bit of everything. The most colorful and beautiful part is the rows and rows of fruit and flower stands. Do make sure to look up to see the piñatas and colorful market bags. They have small ones for kids and they will love to carry them around shopping.
El Tianguis, or the Tuesday Market as it is known by expats, is a huge pop-up market that is set up only on Tuesdays a little way out of town on the Salida a Queretaro - any taxi or Uber will know where to go when asked. You won’t find souvenirs at this market but more local everyday essentials like fresh produce, meat, cleaning products, clothes, electronics, and even livestock. There are hot food stands lined up throughout and you’ll find some of the most authentic Mexican food in town here. Eyeball and brain tacos anyone? No? No worries. You'll still find kid favorites like quesadillas and gorditas. The hurly-burly of El Tianguis is an experience in and of itself, one your kids will not soon forget.
If you are there during peak hours make sure to keep your younger kids close by, there are certain sections of the market that can get very crowded and this is a large market with many different sections that look alike.
Every Saturday, organic traders set up food stalls and stands at the organic market, TOSMA (Tianguis Organico San Miguel Allende). Unlike some of the other markets, TOSMA has a much more relaxed vibe. You’ll find both Mexican nationals and expats shopping for groceries and sitting at communal tables enjoying a meal and good conversation. The food stands are perfect for everyone in the family to try different Mexican dishes like mole, tamales, barbacoa, and cochinita.
Something fun we like to do with our older kids when in the mercados is give them some of their own pesos to find something they would like to buy. Have them try out their Spanish when asking how much things cost.
The Mexican countryside surrounding San Miguel is beautiful and there are a myriad of adventures waiting for you and your family. Check out our list of companies that will no doubt show you an awesome time. At the top is a visit to Cañada la Virgen, which is home to a 40- acre archaeological site that was recently dug up, and Coyote Canyon Adventures, who offer a adventures for kids all year long.
Mexico is a country with a rich cultural history and San Miguel’s museums reflect just that. These three are worth a visit.
San Miguel de Allende bears the name of Ignacio Jose de Allende, who was key in Mexico’s independence from Spain and is considered a national hero. He was born here, then called San Miguel del Grande but after his death, they renamed the town after him. His home, built in 1760, sits next to El Jardin and is one of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in the town. It has now been turned into a museum where you can take tours and view his home. As it is a representation of the city’s history, it is important for kids to experience.
Museo La Esquina is unlike any toy museum you have ever seen. Rows upon rows of traditional handmade Mexican toys from all over the country line this small beautifully curated folk toy museum. While many are antique and can’t be touched you and your kids will still enjoy gazing at the detailed miniatures,masks, train sets, paper mache dolls, and there is a section where they can play with toys. They also have a gift shop that makes for some fun shopping.
Another Face of Mexico (La Otra Cara de México) is a fun quirky mask museum that houses more than 500 ceremonial masks from all over the country. Many of them are incredibly intricate. The kids will be in awe. This is the private collection of long time resident Billy Levaous and if you're lucky he will be the one to show you around. He has a wealth of knowledge about Mexican culture.
While mom and dad might never tire of soaking up the rich culture and beautiful sights of San Miguel, sometimes the kids might just need a break from it. La Luciernaga shopping center is the perfect spot for just that. The Cinemex movie theater is great for a lazy or rainy day, Enjoy Arcade is always fun, and the SMART trampoline park is a fun way to burn off some energy. For the ladies, The Nail Lounge is always great for a mom & me mani/pedi date. Your kids will also find some fun shopping at La Luciernaga: Miniso, a very cool Japanese based designer chain, and Todo Moda (similar to Claire’s) is a favorite among teens and preteens. There is also frozen yogurt, ice cream shops, shaved ice, and some fast-food restaurants up there.
It’s no secret that swimming is always going to be a hit with kids but San Miguel offers some incredible and unique swimming experiences that you won’t likely find elsewhere.
La Gruta is a beautiful hot spring, a favorite among locals and visitors for their mineral-rich pools, lush gardens, and indoor and outdoor pools. La Gruta is best known for their incredibly cool 56-year-old tunnel that leads into a rock cave where the spring falls from the ceiling. While the cave is better left to the older kids (8+) they also have several other pools and even a shallow kiddie pool. They have a full restaurant, snack bar, massage service, and boutique.
For a more traditional water park experience, Xote Parque Acuatico is where you'll want to go. Xote has 7 pools and tons of waterslides: from pools for toddlers, slides to the splash pad, and El Vertigo, a slide that has you plunge 65 feet straight down. They have playgrounds, picnic areas with grills, and a full staff of lifeguards. Xote is sure to be a fun-filled day for everyone in the family.
Just a 15 minute drive out of town you will find Los Senderos’ La Playa. La Playa, as in beach? You bet. This urban beachlike oasis has a natural swimming pond; lake for kayaking and paddleboarding; sand volleyball court; and a kids pool with a treehouse and slide. This all in addition to their full-service restaurant (and bar!), private cabanas and absolutely stunning scenery. This is a dreamy day at La Playa for you and the kids. Memberships and day passes are available.
For those who don’t want to venture far from town and are looking for a quick dip, Hotel Real de Minas also offers day passes, and is right in town. Order lunch and watch your kids jump from a bridge into the pool, a perfect way to escape the heat.
The favorite and all-around fabulous Rosewood Hotel also offers day passes on weekdays so if its a 5-star experience you seek, this is where to go. They have a family pool with a shaded area and a fountain. Their poolside restaurant, Aqua is excellent and we love that they have a kids menu. Access to Rose Buds kids club, for ages 3 to 11, is included in the day pass so when the kids have been in the sun long enough they can head there to do a craft, play a board game, watch a movie, and make new friends. Day passes are limited so make sure to get there early.
San Miguel is full of talented artists from all walks of life. Just walking through town you will no doubt see some seriously beautiful art, it’s all around us. So, while there are 100’s of galleries and art studios, most of which your kids may have little or no interest, here are three spots they will like to explore:
One of the coolest, and more recent, art scenes in San Miguel is only 10 minutes from Centro in Colonia Guadalupe. You will find over 100 street murals from local, national and international artists. We recommend the Muros en Blanco tour although it is perfectly fun to just get lost in the Colonia and discover them yourself.
Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez “El Nigromante”, also known as Bellas Artes by many, is an art school in San Miguel which boasts temporary art exhibits throughout the year, as well as housing some astonishing 18th-century murals, including some by famed David Alfaro Siqueiros. Absolutely worth a stroll through when you're in Centro.