San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Photo: Justin Vidamo (Flickr: San Miguel de Allende at Sunset) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Justin Vidamo (Flickr: San Miguel de Allende at Sunset) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
San Miguel de Allende has enchanted you for years. Despite having visited numerous beach towns beforehand, this is where you received your first dose of real Mexican culture. The first city to be declared independent from Spain during the Mexican War of Independence is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The pink neo-Gothic façade of La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel towers over the city. Plaza Allende, filled with wrought-iron benches and laurel trees, sits in front of it. Baroque buildings and cobblestone streets spread out in a grid pattern from there. Colorful homes have massive front doors, hidden courtyards, and tangled vines of bougainvillea; artists now live in many of them. You’ve returned frequently to explore the colonial city. This time, you just want to watch it.

Luckily, there are plenty of rooftops with gorgeous views. After visiting the churches in the morning, make your way to La Posadita for lunch. One flight of narrow stairs brings you to the bar, and a second leads to the rooftop. A stone wall is on one side of your tile-covered table; you can practically touch La Parroquia from your seat. Order a frozen tamarind margarita, since the overhead umbrella is shielding you from the sun but not the heat. Then the Mexican feast begins. Chunky guacamole, chile rellenos de queso, mole enchiladas, slow-roasted pork, and, eventually, homemade flan cover the table. Another margarita, por favor.

Photo: Hotel Nena
Photo: Hotel Nena

You could sit on La Posadita’s rooftop the rest of the day, but you should really walk off that lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon wandering through galleries and talking to artists. The city seems even more colorful after you do so. Then find La Azotea before the sun starts to set. This chic rooftop bar has comfortable couches and a view of the Guanajuato Mountains, which are just starting to turn pink. With two-for-one drinks during happy hour, you don’t have to decide between a mojito and a martini—you can have both. While the tapas menu, which includes jicama tacos and shrimp aguachile, is tempting, despite your large lunch a little while ago. The rapidly lowering sun distracts you just in time, though.

While walking back to your hotel later in the evening, you decide to stop one more time for a nightcap. From Sky Lounge at Hotel Nena, you can watch the city light up now that it’s dark. A small pool, flickering candles, and heaters for when it gets cool are spread out across the terrace. You sway to the music, watch the twinkling lights, and make friends with the bartender as you sip a glass of añejo tequila. Eventually, you’ll make your way to your bedroom downstairs, since you’re staying right at the boutique hotel. But right now, you’re still too enchanted to move.

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