San Miguel de Allende, in Color
A walk through the vibrant streets in one of Mexico’s most photogenic cities.
Canary yellow, orange the hue of tangerines, the mintiest of greens: If the buildings of San Miguel de Allende could talk, they would heap praise on whoever gave them walls in such a kaleidoscope of colors. That’s because it’s walls like these—and the beautiful way they contrast against the perpetually bright blue sky—that make travelers like me fall in love with the city. The colonial-era town unabashedly embraces the rainbow in a way that instantly puts visitors in a bright, joyful mood.
My advice: Wake up early and start walking, first meandering over to the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel so you can see up close (and without the crowds) the structure that towers over the skyline with its tiers of pale pink spires. And then, just wander. On one of my long, languorous strolls around the city’s winding, cobblestoned streets, I found myself surrounded by buildings that made me feel like I was walking through a sunset, their exteriors painted in the full spectrum of fiery scarlets and ochres. Step foot inside any of the art galleries or boutiques or markets and you’ll see that more vibrant colors await, in the form of oil paintings and pottery or rows upon rows of blooming flowers, just-picked vegetables, and cheerful piñatas hanging overhead.
After a trip to San Miguel, it can be a shock returning home to a place without Crayola-colored houses at every turn. So do as I did, and create an album on your phone that’s called “colored walls” and transport yourself back anytime you like. And you’ll want to do it often—because visions of the vivid hues (said to be inspired by those used in pre-Hispanic murals) are not easy to forget.