Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel
Let’s see, how can I put this in a way that my Rabbi father won’t find offensive? This Jew certainly had a come-to-Jesus moment just looking at this place. In fact, I instantly stopped being a dick to Nick and asked for forgiveness. From the moment you see it, the cathedral is breathtaking. I felt extra lucky to have the cool experience of having it catch me by surprise; I turned a corner and it quite literally caught my eye. The outside is comprised of rose-colored spires that increase in height as they pull your eye towards the central steeple adorned with a cross. As you approach the entrance, you’ll see intricately carved statues reminiscent of European minsters (for those of you more familiar with European travel) and brightly colored tiling on the fountain outside. From the inside, the ceiling is massively concave and also filled with ornate details too abundant to actually see in their entirety. We spent a good half hour in there and could easily have increased that had we not been late for a very important date with street tacos. In all, this place is enough to make your obnoxiously broey cousin let his guard down and describe the Disney castle vibes he’s getting from this place to you in great detail.
Bonus tip: Make sure you swing by the central (town square off of which the church is located) at night at some point during your stay in San Miguel; the sight of the church lit up at night is equally captivating. Given San Miguel’s great weather, strolling at night also tends to be pleasant and worth it.
The library itself is on a lot of “top” lists in San Miguel. When I asked the attendant at our hostel for a cafe recommendation, she also mentioned the library as a place to go get a cup of coffee and peruse. We stopped inside and it was certainly cute; it’s located in a historic building that matches all the others in this town as far as aesthetics go. We decided against getting a cup of coffee there because someone else gave us a last minute rec for a different cafe, but we certainly didn’t hate the library option. TBH, there’s little to do there other than…what one would normally do in a library. (For those of you that haven’t read about this contentious issue in my relationship, I suggest reading my previous post titled: “Because Knowledge Might Lead to Freedom: And Other Reasons My Fiance Won’t Let Me Read”.)
For great tips on where to eat in San Miguel, check out this Foodie's Guide.
On to Guanajuato now. We heard mixed reviews about this town and drove in to find it equally breathtaking in a different way from San Miguel de Allende. The houses built into the surrounding hills are really brightly multicolored and give a gorgeous backdrop to the vibrant scenes in the town itself. The #1 rec you’ll find about Guanajuato as far as something to visit is the theater. The building is undoubtedly impressive and historic. It has housed famous politicians since Mexico’s independence and continues to play an important role as far as cultural exhibitions go in this World-Heritage-Site designated city. It’s definitely worth swinging by if you’re here; it’s also right off the town’s main square so it’s conveniently located. Make sure to look at El Pípila, the statue dedicated to a local hero on a hill overlooking the city.
Verdict: If cool buildings is what you’re into- go. And for more on general free self-guided stuff in the town visit here.
Alley of the Kiss
In Guanajuato, there is an alley so narrow that legend has it two lovers, whose love was forbidden by their families, could meet and kiss while standing on opposite ends of the street. We tracked it down, waited for a group of 24 year olds to take 20 minutes’ worth of selfies, and then took a look. It’s cute. It’s also like…just a street….that is small…where your fiancee will say no if you ask him to take a stereotypical kissing picture with you….before he changes his mind and says “OK but just one of you kissing me; we can’t kiss each other.”
Verdict: It’s cute. Go.
Basilica de nuestra Señora de Guanajuato
Guanajuato’s version of the Parroquia. Gorgeous, awe-inspiring, beautiful. What can I say? It’s another church that’s Fancy AF and located in the center of town. The Parroquia in San Miguel is better but it’s still pretty.
Verdict: If you’re not churched out….go. If you are….nothing you haven’t seen in literally every other place you’ve ever visited. (Except Israel. Because….they’re not…you get it.)
Jardin de la Union
Town square in Guanajuato. Mini-park reminiscent of Parks & Rec’s “Smallest Park in Indiana” but overall gorgeous and fun! Restaurants and cafes line both sides of it and people kinda just stroll and eat and chat here. The aforementioned local town hero statue is also visible from the park and midday it’s a great place to grab a bite or some coffee and chat. Unfortunately, there’s not really much to do in Guanajuato so this is kinda it. It’s not bad, just….it.
Verdict: Go because literally there’s nothing else to do.
The Mariachi Band Blaring their Music Right Outside My Window All Last Night
Just thought I’d review these guys as well so they don’t feel left out.
Verdict: Book another hostel far far away.