San Miguel de Allende Journals

Day of the Dead in San Miguel De Allende

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An October 2001 trip to San Miguel de Allende by tmhhmt

Hotel Quinta Loreto Photo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico More Photos
Quote: We rented a house for a month in San Miguel de Allende. I'd heard that the fall weather was perfect, that prices would be cheaper since it was off-season, and that there would be lots of Day of the Dead Festivities - it was all true.

Day of the Dead in San Miguel De Allende

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Overview

Quote:
The food was pretty excellent everywhere - even with all the walking we did there was no way we worked off all the queso fundido and chilaquiles we ate. Much as I hate taking a tour - I wound up taking several tours that were quite good. One good one and one bad one was sponsored by the Biblioteca Publica, several were with a private tour guide (both in town and out), and a couple of tours I sort of latched onto - mostly for Mexican school children visiting historical buildings. San Miguel is packed full of Mexican history and you really are missing out if you don't know the background of the town, the buildings and churches. My bad tour was a house tour sponsored by the B...Read More
Quote:
The first time I stayed at the Quinta Loreto I paid $13 for a room with bath but without television - the television cost $2 more. These were the prices only five years ago.

Now the rooms are $40 and up, still quite reasonable in a town with $300 a night rooms nearby. The rooms are very simple and the place is built rather along the lines of what I think of as a motel - like one of the old motor court hotels.

The three best things about the Quinta Loreto are the price, the location (at the edge of the Mercado Artesanias) and the excellent restaurant. Also, they have a huge parking lot, one of the few in town.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

Hotel Quinta Loreto
Calle de Loreto 15
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Hotel Quinta Loreto

Restaurant

Hotel Quinta Loreto Photo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Quote:
Eating in the little dining room at the Quinta Loreto is like eating at your grandmother's house - that is if your grandmother is from San Miguel.

The lemonade comes in little misshapen aluminum pitchers, the quesadillas are made with handmade tortillas, the tamales are fantastic. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive, just plain food well prepared.

You get to the restaurant by walking up the little incline - walk along the left side of the hotel - the restaurant is at the end of the building. Look for the sleeping dogs on the steps and bird cages on the patio.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

Hotel Quinta Loreto
Calle de Loreto 15
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
+52 (415) 152-0042

Casa de Sierra Nevada

Restaurant | "Casa de Sierra Nevada en el Parque"

Casa de Sierra Nevada Photo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Quote:
Everything here - every single solitary thing here - is fantastic. Well, I never tried the American tomato plate - but everything else was fantastic.

You can eat on the patio looking over the garden or in the huge dining room - I always chose the patio.

The grounds are beautiful (I think someone told me this was originally the bishop's palace or something like), after you've finished eating take a walk back towards fountains and down the steps to the huge lawn - this is also a hotel with really gorgeous (and equally expensive) rooms.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

Casa de Sierra Nevada
Hospicio No. 35
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
+52 (415) 152-70-40

Tio Lucas

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Restaurant

Quote:
Definitely make reservations for the weekends. Everyone raved to me about Tio Lucas and while the food is quite good the atmosphere was not my favorite. My main problem was that the place was full of smoke, more full of smoke than anyplace I've ever been in my life - if you are a smoker, you may enjoy it. There were two women sitting behind me who never, for a single moment, were without a lit cigarette or two in their hands and to my left was a man who actually downed three cigars in an hour. Besides the smoke, the seating is very cramped - our table locked a couple between their table and a wall. When they left seven people had to stand up and two tables had to be moved fo...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

Tio Lucas
Mesones 103
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
+52 (415) 152-4996

El Pegaso

Restaurant

Quote:
Everyone in San Miguel eventually goes to El Pegaso. Breakfast is incredibly crowded so I've never eaten it there, but lunch and dinner are pretty good. Actually, the food is not the best, but, you will see and be seen by everyone in town so that can be fun.

The food is not necessarily Mexican though they do serve Mexican food - they also have things like eggs benedict and Thai noodles but I stick to the tacos.

El Pegaso also functions as an art gallery that shows work produced by local artists. Some of it is in my living room right now.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

El Pegaso
Corregidora 6
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
(415) 152-1351

Ole-Ole

Restaurant | "Ole Ole"

Quote:
Ole Ole is the best fajita restaurant in the entire world. I'm supposed to use 25 words but there's really nothing else to say. Okay, how about this - get the queso fundido too, it also is superb.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

Ole-Ole
Loreta #66
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Placita

Restaurant | "La Placita"

Quote:
This restaurant is inside the Posada de San Francisco. You may need reservations here if you're visiting around the holidays or during high season.

The food is decent, the drinks are good, the best part about this place is you can sit here - in a patio just off the Jardine - for hours and hours drinking, laughing and talking. Very child friendly.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

Placita
Plaza Principal 2
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

La Puerticita

Restaurant

Quote:
Sunday brunch here is fantastic - it's a buffet of gourmet Mexican cuisine. You can eat inside or on the patio overlooking the valley in which are gardens and fountains. Just beyond the fence surrounding the hotel is a park so the green seems to go on forever. The service is fantastically attentive and after brunch you can walk around the grounds - definitely worth a visit. If you go on the Biblioteca's house tour La Puerticita provides a free van from the last house to the hotel for the brunch. The hotel is on a hill in a residential neighborhood - rather out of the way - so if you are unfamiliar with the city or not enjoying walking on cobblestones (or late at night since the stree...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

La Puerticita
Santo Domingo 75
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 37740

Quote:
The food here is excellent - breakfast, lunch and dinner were all just perfect. The grounds are lovely - you can eat on the patio or in a gazebo. It's just down the street from the Jardine.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

Hotel Villa Jacaranda
Aldama 53, centro
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
+52 (415) 152-1015

Biblioteca Publica (Public Library)

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Attraction | "Biblioteca Publica"

Quote:
Well, technically this isn't a store, or isn't only a store but I couldn't think of a better category. The Biblioteca should be your first stop. The Biblioteca is the largest English library in San Miguel, and I think the second largest in Mexico. It is chock full of helpful English speaking expatriates that want to talk to you and help you. I think part of their desire to chat must stem from the need to talk to new people as in my month in San Miguel even I got quite tired of running into the same 6 people over and over and over and... well you get the idea. Anyway, the Biblioteca sells tour books and maps of the city (and other things) - and is also a library/educational center/rest...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 18, 2001

Biblioteca Publica (Public Library)
25 Insurgentes
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Plaza de Allende - The Jardine

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Attraction | "Plaza de Allende, aka the Jardine"

Plaza de Allende - The Jardine Photo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Quote:
I would call this the town's living room. It was rather hard trying to provide an address for the Jardine as the way I always found it was by looking for the steeple of the Parroquia (big pink church) and walking toward it. You can almost always see the steeple as it is sort of in the middle of town both vertically and horizontally. I'm sure there really is an address for the Jardine but I don't know what it is. On my worn out little map the Jardine is on either Correo or Umaran on the south side (Correo becomes Umaran, or perhaps Umaran becomes Correo?), and it's on either Canal or San Francisco on the north side (same thing with the streets switching names), on the east is definite...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 18, 2001

Plaza de Allende - The Jardine
corner of Correo and Reloj
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

La Parroquia (Old Parish church)

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Attraction | "La Parroquia"

Quote:
This is the parish (parroquia) church of San Miguel Archangel after whom the town is named (the town was founded by a Father Miguel but nothing is actually named for him). From the outside the church is quite beautiful - the inside, well, there are better. The churches in Atotonilco and Dolores Hidalgo have more interesting interiors - but La Parroquia has an exterior that is truly magnificent. I understand that the church was designed by a local who had no architectural training but who had studied photographs of European churches - mostly from postcards. If you stand at the base of the church near the front doors and look up it's almost like you're standing in the air near the spires...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 18, 2001

La Parroquia (Old Parish church)
Across From The Central Garden
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Church of San Rafael - Santa Escuela

Attraction | "Church of San Rafael aka Santa Escuela"

Quote:
Most people don't notice Santa Escuela because it fits so neatly into La Parroquia's shadow - it is both smaller and sort of tucked away sitting under the larger church's left arm.

Getting there is easy, after you've walked up the front steps at the front of La Parroquia (facing the Jardine) - look to your left and you'll see the front of Santa Escuela.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 18, 2001

Church of San Rafael - Santa Escuela
next door to La Parroquia
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Casa de Don Ignacio Allende

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Attraction | "La Casa de Don Ignacio Allende"

Quote:
This is the birthplace and family home of the revolutionary Ignacio Allende. It's now a museum with not so very good standing exhibits. The best part of going through the house is the house itself. The first floor is rustic with only a few large rooms meant to be inhabited by animals and, I suppose the servants. The second floor is a more refined living space. For the Day of the Dead the first floor courtyard was adorned with a huge altar in honor of Allende and was full of groups of school children. The room I liked best was the kitchen, it was the only space left almost with original, or close to, furnishings. It's on the second floor in the southwest corner. So...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 18, 2001

Casa de Don Ignacio Allende
Corner of Umaran and Cuna de Allende
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Convento De La Concepcion - Las Monjas

Attraction | "El Convento de la Concepcion aka Las Monjas"

Quote:
A convent with great cookies. The convent has a beautiful church, a large quiet paved courtyard, cloistered nuns and a store at the rear (west) end of the courtyard where they sell really good cookies. The convent was founded by the daughter of the Canal family - the family that at one time owned and run much of San Miguel. The altar is very very gold & full of floral arrangements that are put in place by disembodied hands - I can only hope the hands belong to the nuns. There are a series of heavy curtains behind the altar and the nuns are just behind them. There are so many churches in San Miguel I was rather 'churched out' by the time I got to this one so I can't say to...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 18, 2001

Convento De La Concepcion - Las Monjas
corner of Canal and Hernandez Macias
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Bellas Artes - El Centro Cultural El Nigromante

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Attraction | "Bellas Artes aka El Centro Cultural El Nigromante"

Bellas Artes - El Centro Cultural El Nigromante Photo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Quote:
This is not really an art gallery - though there is a gallery. This is an art school, one of the many in town - housed in an incredibly lovely old building. There is also a cafe that makes good coffee though better baked goods can be had across the street at La Buena Vida. The building used to be part of the convent next door (Las Monjas) but the stairways are the only original bit left of the interior - or so I was told. As you enter, the exhibition gallery is to the left after the second entry archway. While I was there the exhibit was of some pieces made of slick plastic sheeting stabbed through with long plastic things - the thingies that stores use to attach price tags to clothes....Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 18, 2001

Bellas Artes - El Centro Cultural El Nigromante
Hernandez Macias between Canal and Mesones
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Teatro Angela Peralta

Attraction | "El Teatro Angela Peralta"

Quote:
An actual opera house in San Miguel - opened by the Mexican opera singer Angela Peralta. There's a bust of her in the lobby, unfortunately she appears to be a twin of Queen Victoria of England. The hall itself looks like something Miss Kitty would have sung in - very Wild Wild West with white painted railings and red velvety cushions. The front of the building is covered in bullet holes that date back to the early 1900s. There is a cafe in the lobby. One of my favorite things about this building was the looped ropes along the walls of the two lobbies - turns out the ropes are a means of hanging posters and notices without damaging the white painted wood panelling. Instead of ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 18, 2001

Teatro Angela Peralta
Mesones near the corner of Hernandez Macias
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Templo de Nuestra Senora de la Salud

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Attraction | "El Templo de Nuestra Senora de la Salud"

Templo de Nuestra Senora de la Salud Photo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Quote:
My favorite church in San Miguel. It sits between the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri (too many churches, never went in that one), the Plaza Civica with its huge statue of Allende and the College of San Francisco.

This church is dedicated to 'Our Lady of Health' and is very simple. Above the front door is a huge but rather unadorned clam shell (San Diego in Spain used shells for baptisms), it is one of the least adorned church facades in town.

The painting of the walls and ceiling inside are wonderful and there's an icon to the Holy Child of Health on the left at the front of the church. His altar is full of everything from milagros to Tonka trucks.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 18, 2001

Templo de Nuestra Senora de la Salud
corner of Mesones and Colegio
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Mercado Ignacio Ramirez

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Attraction | "El Mercado Ignacio Ramirez"

Mercado Ignacio Ramirez Photo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Quote:
A covered market with everything - cowboy hats, huge roses, fresh fruits and vegetables, tamales, christening dresses that look like wedding cakes and tons of shoes. If you don't speak any Spanish at all this won't be any easy place for you, especially if you like to haggle on prices. I was in there every morning buying flowers - and for the Day of the Dead there was an extra large flower market set up on the streets surrounding. Advice - don't eat the green oranges - they make great juice but don't taste very good. If you are dying for a taste of fresh fruit or a salad you can buy water treatment tablets at all the grocery stores. You put the food in water (tap or bottled), add some d...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 18, 2001

Mercado Ignacio Ramirez
corner of Colegio and Balderas
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Mercado de Artesanias

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Attraction | "El Mercado de Artesanias"

Mercado de Artesanias Photo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Quote:
The city will supposedly only rent a stall at this market to artisans - and yet you can buy everything from the usual tourist crud (postcards & salt shakers) to what appear to be handcut tin ornaments. There is truly a ton of silver jewelry, beaded everything, hand painted pottery and papier mache, and cast recycled aluminum - my favorite buy was a large round aluminum plate with a dozen egg shaped cavities - can't wait to spring that one on the family this Easter. The market runs at an angle down three or four blocks and you can enter it at several spots - on Loreto, on Reloj and on Hidalgo. There are signs on the buildings nearby pointing the way. If you are at the Jardine, just walk north...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

Mercado de Artesanias
on Balderas at corner of Colegio
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Instituto Allende

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Attraction

Instituto Allende Photo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Quote:
A large art & language school with an excellent gallery and a cafe. You can walk freely around the grounds - and while I would not consider them extensive it's a pleasant tour. There are a few really beautiful murals on the grounds - some new, some not. The school has a website with class and event schedules but I don't remember the url. The building used to be the summer house of the Canal family - their winter house was up on the hill near the Jardine I believe. After the Canals the building became a convent - supposedly there are underground tunnels from the building to many of the churches in town. Finally in the 1930's an American turned the building into an art school. The g...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

Instituto Allende
Ancha de San Antonio #20
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 37700
(415) 152-0190

Parque Benito Juarez

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Attraction | "El Parque Benito Juarez"

Parque Benito Juarez Photo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Quote:
A very large and sometimes quiet park - with a playground that would never pass American safety standards that is nevertheless full of very health and mostly scar-free children having a fantastic time. This actually might be the only playground in town now that I think about it. There are basketball courts on the Diezmo Viejo edge of the park near Sollano, across the street from the house we rented. When the high school lets out at 2pm the courts start to fill up and the games don't stop until the sun goes down. I never saw any gringos play ball but I suppose it's not prohibited. The park is kept up quite well - most of it is very clean though there is lots of graffiti (the same gang m...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

Parque Benito Juarez
corner of Aldama & Diezmo Viejo
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Santuario de Atotonilco

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Attraction | "El Santuario de Atotonilco"

Santuario de Atotonilco Photo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Quote:
I've said that Nuestra Senora de Salud is my favorite church but that isn't true - this one is my favorite followed by the church in Dolores Hidalgo - which makes Salud finish third. This is a great church, even if you don't really care much for visiting churches. The painted walls and ceilings are truly fantastic. Sadly it seems as though the church is being restored by artisans with painting ability but no training in restoration - which is to say they are repainting the place not restoring it. The paintings as you enter the door are of crazy looking devils with words and poems wrapped around their heads. Part of the early 'restoration' involved painting over parts of the door, I c...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

Santuario de Atotonilco
main street of Atotonilco
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

House & Garden Tour

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Attraction | "House & Garden Tour"

Quote:
Everyone that goes to San Miguel raves about the house and garden tour - all the tour books and magazine articles rave about the house and garden tour - I hated the house and garden tour. First of all I never knew that they only showed homes that were either for sale or rent - so you are not seeing the best of the best. You are only seeing the best that's for rent or sale that week. You are paying for the privilege of doing what real estate agents should pay you to do. The money from the tour goes to a good cause but I'd rather have known I was going on a sales pitch before I got on the bus. Secondly, the tour I went on started on a school bus. Mexican school buses are not comfortable...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

House & Garden Tour
starts at the Biblioteca Publica
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Helene Kahn Tours

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Attraction

Helene Kahn Tours Photo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Quote:
I found Helene Kahn's website before I got to San Miguel and arranged for several tours. First for a private walking tour of San Miguel - concentrating on where things were (like grocery stores & good pharmacies) since I'd be there for a month and local architecture. The second tour was an all day trip to Dolores Hidalgo and Atotonilco. Helene used to be a buyer for jewelry stores in the states so she mainly offers shopping/artisan studio tours however she easily accomodated my desire to NOT shop and instead indulged me with all the architectural detail I could stand. She's very knowledgeable, friendly and easy going. There's a review on this site of a trip to Dolores Hidalgo - in ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

Helene Kahn Tours
Apdo. 928
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 37700
52 (415) 152-0849

Quote:
Really beautiful photography, limited edition books, exhibits. Affiliated with a printmaking school - the owner/artists are lovely people. The works range in price from extremely expensive to work done by students that is extremely inexpensive.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

Galeria de Arte Fotografico
Reloj 46
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Seven Heaven

Attraction | "7th Heaven"

Quote:
Great jewelry - the owners are jewelry designers and will make things to order. Also they have unique ceramic tiles - very sculptural with unusual glazes. Very friendly.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 19, 2001

Seven Heaven
Sollano 31
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico