with Laura Kirar
In a town like San Miguel de Allende, the days and nights flow together as smoothly and sweetly as pours of fine anejo. We certainly can’t recommend limiting your stay here to a scant 36 hours. We can recommend this personal introduction—by intrepid México-based artist, designer, and Mesón Hidalgo host, Laura Kirar—to one of the world’s most enduringly enchanting cities
Greet the day—and ease the kinks from your travels—with a private yoga class from our favorite teacher and San Miguel native, Alejandro Trejo. His soothing voice and alignment-focused flows make for a moving meditation so satisfying, you may just make it your daily ritual.
Raices offers updated takes on traditional Mexican cuisine; most dishes made with flavors typically found in Oaxaca. Everything is so good you may want to order several things to share… and be sure to try the agua de aquacate. Excellent for breakfast or an early lunch.
Take a shopping tour of Zona Centro. Be sure to bring sturdy, no-nonsense walking shoes—the cobblestone streets are as charming as they are devastating to more delicate footwear—and a basket or bag for all your finds (we love the mercado tote bag from Laura’s accessories collection). Here, her top five favorite places to browse and buy:
Visit Evita for our favorite Mexican crafts and antiques in San Miguel.
This San Miguel institution carries beautiful women’s ready-to-wear, and has reinvented the humble poncho in truly elegant fashion. Each is made right here in Guanajuato.
Shop sexy and feminine fashion accessories (and make an appointment to have your makeup, hair, and nails done, too).
Discover eclectic and bohemian fashion and accessories from around the world.
Roma Quince / Bindilou Home
Concept store featuring contemporary Mexican designed fashion and
Order the jamaica flower tacos at Don Taco Tequila, an all-vegan taco spot that will transform the way you think about both vegan and Mexican cuisine.
Reserve your slice of the world-famous Quince rooftop for cocktails as sun descends. Laura loves the Spicy Saki Margarita. (Reservations recommended.)
Yearning for American-style comfort food, or maybe a fresh bowl of noodles and a roll? Chef Donnie Masterton makes that happen at The Restaurant, and if it’s Thursday it’s “Burger Night” with a variety of California style burgers including a mushroom one for you vegetarians.
Hang with the locals at the original El Manantial (Calle Barranca 78) an historic cantina serving traditional bar food, and surprisingly delicious small dishes.
Set a wake-up call in time to catch your scheduled hot air balloon ride at Globo San Miguel. Even in a city with magic around every corner, there’s nothing like seeing it from among the clouds. As your technicolor dreamship slowly ascends over a just-waking city, you can’t help but feel your spirit soar with it. (Reservations required.)
More elegantly farm-to-table than strictly rustic, Rústica serves simple, impeccable breakfast and brunch favorites under the generous shade of umbrellas and olive trees. Laura almost always orders a frittata—unless she’s in the mood for their otherworldly take on French toast.
Fábrica L’Aurora, a former textile factory, now weaves together locally stocked galleries, working studios, shops, and restaurants into a self-contained art walk. “I almost always stop by Skot Foreman Gallery to see what amazing international work he has rotating, and I never miss the opportunity to shop antiques at Cantadora and vintage at Dirk Jan Kinet,” says Laura.
Book a deep-tissue “SMAssage” (a portmanteau employing the city’s ubiquitous acronym) with therapeutic and chiropractic practitioner Gorky Guido. Laura swears by his uncanny ability to intuit sources of tension and imbalance, and deliver not just a relaxing experience, but a healing one. “He’s truly gifted.”
Cocktails on the rooftop of Casa No Name followed by dinner at Marsala in their tree-dotted courtyard and enjoy the offerings of Chef Marcela Bolaño just 50 meters down the street on Hernandez Macías. Varied menu from light Greek salads to weightier bolognese.
Denise Baca runs GAMMA, the coolest of cool nightspots in San Miguel. Great DJ’s, karaoke night and a place where “you do you” with no judgment. All welcome and all arrive.
Take a stroll (or a run, if the sun cooperates) through the botanical gardens of El Charco del Ingenio. You’ll encounter an incredible collection of native, rare, and endangered succulents and other flora from across México, the buzzing insects and flitting birds—like the lucky colibrí—who feed on their nectar, and (if you rise early enough) very few other humans
Go for the quiche—any kind will do—at El Vergel, a French-country-style bistro North of the city (and the nearby El Charco) in a different sort of garden altogether: El Vergel de Los Laureles.
Head out of the city limits to experience the simple, pastoral (though still thoroughly indulgent) pleasures of one of San Miguel’s native wineries. Reserve an afternoon of horseback riding, wine tasting, cellar tours (they’re known for their lavender and olive oil as well as their wine) and a leisurely lunch at La Santísima Trinidad’s vineyard estate. (Reservations required.)
After your siesta, set your sights (and appetites) on the light but intensely satisfying fare at La Parada, a Peruvian restaurant serving the locals’ favorite ceviches alongside “the best Pisco Sours I’ve ever had,” Laura adds, “And I’ve had my share…”
If you’ve gotten this far without trying México’s perfectly balanced, smoked-agave liquor called mezcal, this is your chance. La Mezcalería will happily steer you to a chupito—a shot to be sipped, not downed—or cocktail to your taste. (We suggest the Casa Dragones label, a local favorite run by friends of Méson; the maker also offers afternoon house tours and tastings, if you’re so inclined.) If you do find yourself at La Mezcalería, and especially if this is your final night in SMA, make the short walk to the central square. There’s no better parting view than that of La Parroquia de San Miguel de Arcángel, that massively intricate, sand-pink wedding cake of a cathedral, towering above you like a fairytale castle—to remind you once and for all:
This city casts a spell all its own.
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