Public Library (Biblitoecta Pública de San Miguel de Allende)#5 in Best Things To Do in San Miguel de Allende
If you wouldn't normally include a library on your vacation itinerary, you might want to reconsider when you're in San Miguel. The city's Public Library has an extensive collection of both Spanish- and English-language books and films, and offers a quiet respite from the sights and sounds of the city. In 1954, Canadian expat Helen Wale invited Mexican children to read through a collection of magazines in her home. Soon, the volume of visitors outgrew the space. In 1958, the library moved to its current location in an 18th-century building several blocks north of El Jardin in central San Miguel. Today, in addition to its abundant bilingual media, the library offers free classes for children on subjects like computers, painting and piano. The library also hosts cultural events and English-language tours that guide visitors through the neighborhood's colonial architecture.
Inside the library, you'll find a courtyard cafe (good for a quick bite) and the Santa Ana Theatre, which shows international films and hosts concerts by San Miguel's popular musicians. With its large number of events, the site has become a cultural artery for residents and visitors alike. "This is more than a library. It's a memorable gathering point for Spanish and English speakers of all ages to share books, chess, movies, music and food," one TripAdvisor reviewer wrote.
The library is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guided house and garden tours operate on Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon; the two-hour tour costs 150 MXN (about $12 USD) per person. Tickets can be purchased at library's Ticket Center.
More Best Things To Do in San Miguel de Allende
#1 El Jardin (Zocalo)
El Jardin is San Miguel's main plaza, located in the heart of the city. At the Zocalo, as El Jardin 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 Jardin, 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 Jardin: "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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