San Miguel de Allende's 12 Best Spots for Design Lovers

Go ahead and warn your Instagram followers.

Photo By: Jennifer Harrison

Photo By: Jennifer Harrison

Photo By: Jennifer Harrison

Photo By: Jennifer Harrison

Photo By: Jennifer Harrison

Photo By: Jennifer Harrison

Photo By: Jennifer Harrison

Photo By: Jennifer Harrison

Photo By: Jennifer Harrison

Photo By: Jennifer Harrison

Photo By: Jennifer Harrison

Photo By: Jennifer Harrison

Mixta

Mixta is a wonderfully chic store in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico that many compare to Anthropologie (but I think it's even better). They have a curated collection of clothing, accessories and home goods, most of which you'll want to buy and shove into your suitcase. The "store" is spread out through several rooms (the space used to be an old home), and they have an insanely cool cactus garden in the courtyard. Tip: Casamidy, a seriously stylish furniture and accessories shop, is in the same complex in the back, so don't miss going back there for a quick look before you leave.

Door Tour

You may as well just make a "San Miguel Doors" folder in your phone right now because you won't be able to stop snapping them once you get to San Miguel. This is one of the most beautiful and intricately carved ones I came across (it's right off the main square on the side of a bank), but my "San Miguel Doors" folder is incredibly full after spending a couple of weeks there. Most of the doors in this town are old and detailed. Wind your way through the cobblestone streets, and I promise you'll find some door standouts.

The Good Abode

This new design showroom was one of my favorite stops in San Miguel. The Good Abode is a cross between a shop and an interior design studio on the second floor of a busy street. There was so much inspiration everywhere and so many pieces I wanted to buy, it was hard to concentrate while I was there. The Good Abode recently teamed up with Mercado Collective to curate even more fab items for their shop like home accessories, candles, planters and more. They tend to pop in and out during the day, so make sure to reach out ahead of time if you want to stop by on your trip.

Artisans Market

The Mercado de Artesanias (or Artisans Market) starts right behind San Miguel's main produce market and goes on for several long blocks with many stalls and shops along the way. You'll find all sorts of things like Mexican pewter, oilcloth, leather, clothing and beautiful table linens. There are definitely some kitschy souvenirs, but you can find some gems here, too. You could spend hours winding your way through the whole thing from start to finish.

Fabrica La Aurora

Visit this turn-of-the-century textile factory for a big dose of art and design inspiration. In Fabrica La Aurora there are more than 30 art studios, galleries and shops to browse through, as well as three restaurants to choose from. You can also often find interesting events, art openings or book signings. Many of the artists there are working in their studios and are happy to chat about their work or process.

Doce 18 Concept House

Food, fashion, art and even a hotel — you'll find them all at Doce 18 Concept House. Located just off El Jardin, the main square in San Miguel de Allende, this is the perfect spot to grab lunch. They have a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, some beautiful little shops and the sexiest food court I've ever seen. (Don't miss Birdie's Burgers or Taco Lab from local celebrity chef Donnie Masterson of The Restaurant, another must-visit spot in San Miguel.)

House and Garden Tour

If you're lucky enough to be in San Miguel on a Sunday, you must check out their weekly House and Garden Tour. Hosted by the town's public library, this tour takes you inside some of the most beautiful colonial homes. Different homes are featured, so you never quite know what you're going to get in the way of style or architecture, but that's part of the fun. The tour leaves every Sunday at noon from the central library.

Hotel Matilda

There are some wonderful boutique hotels in San Miguel, and Hotel Matilda is at the top of the list. Art lovers will go gaga over the amazing art displayed throughout the hotel, including this mural that sits right above the pool area overlooking the restaurant. The hotel is also nicely located (about a five-minute walk from the city center) so it would serve as a great home base for you.

Architecture Tour

Some of the buildings in San Miguel are more than 400 years old, so the history in the area is incredibly rich and varied. Dive into the architecture of the city with this three-hour walking tour, and get a chance to see the design trends in the city, building by building, as they developed over the years. Joseph Toone offers a great tour explaining it all.

Urban Mural Tour

Up until several years ago, street art wasn't permitted in San Miguel. However, a feisty expat helped change that when she offered up the opportunity to bring in an international group of artists who were excited to come and paint them (this all but eliminated graffiti or tagging). You'll tour through the Guadalupe neighborhood, where most of these murals now reside, and see a variety of original street art. There's now a big waiting list of residents who want their very own works of art on display at their homes.

Chapel of Jimmy Ray

A truly unique San Miguel experience is visiting the Chapel of Jimmy Ray. In fact, it's not really a chapel at all but a kaleidoscopic indoor/outdoor art gallery created by artist and American expat Anado McLauchlin. If you're obsessed with color, you'll love Anado's assemblage and mosaic art, which you can see on full display all around his property. He's taken on the challenge of turning his own home into a true living, breathing work of art. It's ever-changing and full of inspiration. Tip: You can only visit the Chapel of Jimmy Ray by booking a reservation ahead of time. It's located outside of town and is a bit tricky to get to, but there are directions on his website.

Pop-Up Sales

These are hard to plan for, but during your time in San Miguel keep your eyes out for pop-up sales along the street. Sometimes you'll find native women selling their hand-woven textiles, art or even souvenirs. You just might find a gem as you make your way around town.