San Miguel de Allende’s central plaza is known as El Jardin. This is the social heart of the city, a venue for fiestas and live music and a popular meeting place, day and night.
El Jardin translates as the garden, an apt name for the park with neatly trimmed laurel trees at its center. Relax on a wrought iron bench provided under the shade and watch activities in the city. Friends come here to gossip or just to pass the time. This is a good place to get a feel for San Miguel’s inhabitants.
Purchase food from street vendors or stop for refreshments at a sidewalk café. Watch ad hoc musical performances by mariachis. These are small groups of musicians wearing traditional outfits. You may also hear music coming from the bandstand in the middle of the park.
Tour the historical buildings that border the square. On its south side is the Parish Church of San Miguel Arcangel with Gothic spires and a pink-colored façade. Step inside this centuries-old church to view its religious artwork. Next door is La Santa Escuela de Cristo, an 18th-century church with a bell tower decorated with reliefs.
Head to the family home of Ignacio Allende, one of the leading figures of the Mexican War of Independence, which ended Spanish rule in Mexico. The building is now the Historical Museum of San Miguel de Allende.
While you are in the square, visit the small satellite branch of La Esquina Mexican Folk Toy Museum. It displays a handful of exhibits drawn from its main museum building.
El Jardin is an easy place to reach because San Miguel de Allende is small and walkable. If you are coming by car, note that parking spaces are limited in number. However, taxis are plentiful and cheap.
Conclude your visit with a walk down the warren of cobblestone streets surrounding El Jardin. These streets are filled with tourist shops, restaurants, cafés, markets and galleries.