36 Hours in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

2013-03-19

San Miguel de Allende is almost 500 years old, and for more than 50 it’s been a beloved tourist destination. Nevertheless, it’s still possible for newness to wash over this famous Mexican mountain city of snaking cobblestone streets and colonial buildings in delectable fruit-bowl-meets-spice-rack colors (think mango and avocado next to paprika and turmeric). After a spell when some Americans hesitated to travel to their southern neighbor, San Miguel — a Unesco World Heritage site — feels fresh again, with rebooted energy from an influx of sophisticates far younger than the expatriate retirees traditionally associated with the town. Stores focus on regional designers and artists, and restaurants specialize in the locally grown — organic produce and livestock from surrounding farms that thrive year-round in the eternal spring climate at roughly 6,100 feet. Lovely as always and livelier than ever, it’s a new old San Miguel.

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