picture
Courtesy Instituto Allende

Key Info

Ancha de San Antonio 22, Zona Centro, 37700

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Museums, Free, Cafes, Shopping, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

The picturesque Instituto Allende has been drawing art students to San Miguel de Allende for more than 50 years. Originally built in 1736 as the home of the noble Condes de la Canal family, the sprawling campus became an art and language school more than two centuries later. When the institute opened in 1951, American veterans flocked to the mountainside town after learning that the Insituto Allende qualified for study under the GI Bill. It wasn't long before word of the beautiful aesthetics spread and aspiring artists were heading to the school in droves.

Located less than half a mile southwest of the city center, the Instituto Allende is open to all travelers looking to take workshops, explore the property and peer into galleries. You'll find plenty of open space on campus in the form of parks and gardens, as well as artsy cafes and restaurants. One recent TripAdvisor reviewer described the atmosphere as full of "beautiful architecture, meandering passages, galleries, a nice cafe, and an amazing view of the Parroquia from the back patio."

The campus is open to visitors on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visiting the school is free, but art workshops can cost up to 3,800 MXN (about $290 USD) for three- or four-week courses. One-day workshops in things like clay modeling, photography and painting are available for $95 to $105 USD, depending on the course. For more information, visit the school's website.

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#1 El Jardín

El Jardín is San Miguel's main plaza, located in the heart of the city. At the Zocalo, as El Jardín is often called, you can spend time people-watching, perusing the nearby shops and restaurants and reorienting yourself should the town's winding roads lead you astray.

Depending on when you find yourself in El Jardín, you may witness a political rally or have the chance to listen in on a live concert. According to one TripAdvisor reviewer, there's always something happening in El Jardín: "You'll hear mariachi bands, you'll see dance performances, you'll find arts and artisans, and religious ceremonies and every other possible entertainment experience here in the center of San Miguel." Early evenings and weekend afternoons are particularly busy times in the plaza; this is when you'll find expats and locals catching up with friends or simply relaxing on the wrought-iron benches.

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