You heard it here first, guys. San Miguel is not just a delicious beer – it’s also a stunningly beautiful city located in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, perfect for romantic getaways.
Founded in the early 16th century, San Miguel de Allende is dripping in history and culture. Many landmarks date back to periods of intense conflict, and the fact they’re still standing today is a testament to the will of the people. This is one UNESCO listed gem you need to check out!
San Miguel has also become super popular with gay couples thanks to its draw as a romantic getaway and even as a wedding destination. The people are famous for being super friendly, religious but curious and tolerant of everyone. So much so that gay owned businesses have flourished over the years, from artists, jewelry designers, painters, sculptors and art galleries.
This is why we love San Miguel and rate it as one of our absolute favourite gay cities in Mexico – a sort of cultural alternative to gay party town Puerto Vallarta! Here is our gay travel guide to San Miguel de Allende to inspire you and help you plan your visit to the “Heart of Mexico”.
Shake your tail feathers with a gay tour of Mexico City!
Our friends at Out Adventures just launched an all-gay tour of Mexico City and its surrounding sites. The short and sweet escape ticks off the megalópolis' best-known attractions such as Frida Kahlo's house, Chapultepec Castle and nearby Teotihuacan. Best of all, the tour mambos over to Zona Rosa where boys, booze and bad decisions await.
Is San Miguel de Allende safe for LGBTQ travellers?
Overall, yes it is. San Miguel is famous for being a very artistic city since the 1960s, attracting a mix of all kinds of fabulous people. There are also several established safe spaces for the LGBTQ community, which we explore in more depth below. San Miguel de Allende has been voted as the best city in the world twice by Travel + Leisure magazine (coming in 2nd in 2020) so you know there's plenty of reasons to visit!
San Miguel is a hive of activity, hugely popular with LGBTQ tourists and no more dangerous than any other large, busy city. There are reports of gang-related violence, but it rarely, if ever, affects tourists. By all accounts, most people who visit San Miguel have an incredible time. Safety is rarely a big concern for locals and tourists alike.
Heading to San Miguel soon?
The easiest way to get to San Miguel de Allende is by flying into the El Bajio Airport (BJX) in Leon, Guanajuato as it has flights from many major US cities. It takes at least an hour to get to San Miguel from the airport. To minimise stress on arrival, we recommend pre-booking a private airport transfer so you don't need to worry about taxi fares or lines and can just relax in an air-conditioned vehicle with an English speaking driver.
Gay hotels in San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is an everyone-welcomed destination where all couples can celebrate LOVE. Hotels are accustomed to dealing with people from all around the world, so sharing a double bed should not be an issue. The city is famous for having such a diverse range of hotel properties including the Belmond San Miguel de Allende, the Live Aqua San Miguel de Allende and the Matilda and Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, all of which are centrally located and have also been named best hotels in Mexico by Travel and Leisure.
These are the hotels we have been working with for the LGBTQ market and supported our LGBTQ press trip and reception. Beneath that we review the best gay friendly hotels based on feedback from fellow LGBTQ travelers.
- Casa Blanca 7
- Casa Hoyos
- El Palomar
- Casa 1810
- Dos Casas
- Hacienda El Santuario
- L'Ôtel Doce 18 Concept House
Casa Don Pascual
Why we love it
- Lovely, friendly staff available 24/7
- Calm and relaxed atmosphere
- Quintessential Mexican architecture and decor
- You can live out your telenovela fantasy!
Casa Don Pascual is a gorgeous gay friendly hotel in San Miguel with a beautiful pool.
Casa Don Pascual is tucked away up in a particularly hilly part of downtown San Miguel. The walk down is a little steep, but thankfully, the hotel offers car hire and transport into the city. It’s adults-only and very welcoming of the LGBTQ community.
That Mexican flair doesn’t begin and end with the name either. Everything about this hotel oozes traditional hacienda style, with a gorgeously bold colour palette adorned with wood furniture and beautiful ceramics. Ooh, it’s like living in some fabulous telenovela – escandalo! And trust me when I say, Seby is definitely dramatic enough to be in one…
The staff are super-friendly and will do whatever it takes to make your stay enjoyable. There’s also a gorgeous outdoor patio and pool area along with a lovely communal dining area where you can enjoy a delicious Mexican breakfast and meet other guests.
Nearby tourist attractions include Juarez Park, full of local flora and fauna; El Mirador, where you can trek to the top and take in a stunning panoramic view of the city; and Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, an incredible neo-Gothic church that dates back to the 17th century.
Of course, staying a little off the beaten track has its upsides – this hotel is so peaceful, you’ll have some of the best sleep of your life, undisturbed by the buzz of the main town.
STAY WITH A GAY LOCAL
Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, avoiding any nasty surprises when you check in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off your first booking.
Why we love it
- Right in the centre of San Miguel
- Staff will bend over backwards for you
- The rooftop pool is absolutely fabulous
- It’s just so romantic!
Situated in downtown San Miguel, not far from Casa Don Pascual, this chic, gay-friendly boutique hotel is romance on a stick, and we are so here for it!
The Feliciana is closer to the central area of Jardin Allende than the previous entry, but is located on one of the quieter streets. It’s a little more reserved and refined in its decor but still retains that classic Mexican charm.
The outdoor courtyard area is gorgeous, especially at night when the beautiful lighting kicks in and ups that romance factor a couple more notches. But the piece de resistance of the Feliciana is its stunning rooftop pool area. You know what they say – the higher the pool, the closer to God!
Hotel Feliciana prides itself on its customer service, and the staff will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure your stay is truly magical. There’s an on-site restaurant serving a traditional Mexican breakfast. And if you fancy something a little different, being in such a central location, you’re walking distance from all the best restaurants, cafes and bars in the area.
And that’s not all. The Feliciana is also perfectly situated for taking in all the top tourist attractions in the city. Everything is on your doorstep, but we recommend the Canada de la Virgen and El Charco del Ingenio nature parks and the beautiful church of Santuario de Atotonilco.
If you’re choosing between these two hotels, it’s essentially a trade-off – the ultimate in peace and tranquillity or staying in the heart of the action. Having said that, the Feliciana really isn’t a whole lot noisier than the Casa considering its close proximity to the hustle and bustle of San Miguel proper.
Gay bars in San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel is more a romantic cultural getaway than a party destination, so don’t come here expecting the sort of scene you’d find over in Cancun. That being said, there are a few queer-friendly venues to check out:
Here I go again! If that name alone doesn’t scream “Gays welcome!” I don’t know what will. It is in the process of moving to a new location which we will update as soon as it is confirmed. MAMA MIA is made up of several smaller bar areas and a fabulous restaurant serving delicious Latin and Italian fare – more on that later. The bars are unique in their own way and appeal to different crowds, solidifying MAMA MIA’s position as a place for people from all walks of life to hang out and have fun. Our favourite area is the rooftop terrace bar and lounge, La Terraza.
Location: Dr. Hernández Macías #91
Open: On weekdays from 8am until midnight and on weekends from 8am until 3am
This adorably rustic Mexican cantina is a great place to relax and have a few drinks – and by a few drinks, of course, we mean several of the fabulous margaritas and shots of every type of tequila known to man! Cantina La 21 Unica is on Calle de Jesus, a short walk west of the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel church. There’s a charming, relaxed atmosphere, no one bats an eyelid at anyone’s gayness, and the mariachi nights are an absolute blast. There is also a pretty decent menu of Mexican dishes available for either lunch or dinner, all made from scratch.
Location: Jesús 23, Centro
Open: Wednesday to Sunday from 2pm until 10.30pm
We simply adore this super-trendy rooftop bar, if only for the stunning view – seriously, it’s one of the best views in the city that doesn’t involve trekking up a mountain somewhere. La Azotea is just around the corner from the Museu Historico Casa de Allende on Umaran. It attracts a young, hip and, above all, friendly crowd. It’s not hard to see why though; the music is fabulous, and the drinks are always flowing. This bar also offers an incredible, varied menu of typical Mexican foods and some more off-piste choices like octopus. We particularly enjoyed the shrimp tacos!
Location: Umarán 6, Zona Centro
Open: Daily from 1pm until midnight
This cool little bar is extremely popular. Located on the corner of Huertas and Barranca near the Capilla de la Virgen de los Dolores, it doesn’t seem to matter which night you visit, this place will always be full of locals and travellers living their best lives. El Manantial serves some of the best drinks you will find in the whole city, as well as an incredible menu of classic Mexican cuisine. If you’re only going to go once, make it a Tuesday – two-for-one margaritas, baby!
Location: Calle Barranca #78
Open: Daily from 1 or 2pm until 10 or 11pm
Gay clubs in San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende doesn’t have much of a gay scene to speak of per se, but that’s not to say there aren’t a couple of places where you can scratch that gay clubbing itch. These clubs are safe and welcoming for the LGBTQ community and, above all, they’re just a great time. So, without further ado, here are the best queer-friendly clubs in San Miguel!
Let’s have a kiki – I wanna have a kiki! This club night may rival MAMA MIA for the gayest-sounding name, and considering the fact it’s not a gay venue in deed, it certainly is in thought.
It’s a place for all to come to drink, party and live their best lives loud and proud, whether they’re straight, gay, male, female, cis, trans, or gender non-conforming. You can tell that much from the photos on the club’s Facebook – this is one cute, colourful crowd! And if you’re done kiki-ing and would rather be kaikai-ing, there are plenty of Mexican hotties around to be admired and enjoyed!
Location: KiKi Nights take place in a different location each time, so you’ll need to keep an eye on the Facebook page to find out where the next party is at
Open: Starts at 9pm every Saturday and keeps on swinging ‘til 2am
This discoteca is buzzing and gave us LIFE! It’s one of THE places to be seen in San Miguel de Allende. Although a straight club, it’s where the cool local queer kids hang out. They always have the best live DJs playing the latest Latino hits with a few electro gems thrown into the mix. Inside it’s got a campy Gothic vibe, almost like you’ve set foot onto the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The Limelight…look out for the towering sculptures overlooking the dance floor!
Location: Calle Umarán 15 in Zona Centro
Open: El Grito is only open on Friday and Saturday evenings from 11pm until 4am
Gay Pride in San Miguel de Allende
Pride is always a tricky business in areas where there isn’t much of a gay scene, but we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the gays of San Miguel have indeed been feeling their oats for the world to see every year since 2018! It might not be quite as big or famous as Mexico City's Gay Pride, but it's still definitely worth checking out.
Pride San Miguel de Allende – more commonly known as PRIDE SMA – usually takes place over three days in August. The festivities in 2019 kicked off with an incredible pre-party featuring a raft of entertainers including musicians and comedians, followed by the Pride Parade, a celebration of everything it means to be gay with plenty of spicy Mexican flavour running throughout.
PRIDE SMA also throws a spectacular outdoor concert where guest artists from all over the world show up and show out to excite and delight their queer fans. All that glittering gay energy built up over the first two days of the festival culminates in a sparkling stellar fiesta in the shape of the Pride Party, the grand finale, featuring even more thrills and surprises.
Where to eat in San Miguel de Allende
No vacation is complete without fabulous food, and San Miguel is no slouch when it comes to eating out. Whether you want to grab a quick bite in the middle of a shopping spree or relax and savour a delicious evening meal, the city is brimming with cafes, bars and restaurants all serving flavourful Mexican dishes and other delicacies. Here are just a few of our favourite places to eat in San Miguel!
El Petit Four is a gay and lesbian-owned cafe/bakery that makes delicious cakes, pastries and other baked delights. And let me tell you, they are out of this world. Truly, anyone with a sweet tooth owes it to themselves to check this place out. We highly recommend the Baileys chocolate cheesecake – I feel like I’m gaining ten pounds just thinking about it. Also, if you’re interested in learning more about the local cuisine, El Petit Four offers market tours and hands-on cooking classes too.
Here I go… again?! You’ll recognise this place from the bar section, and we weren’t pulling your poodle when we said there’s a lot going on here! Besides multiple bars, MAMA MIA is also home to a fabulous restaurant. For those of you who like it hot, there’s plenty of Mexican spice to be enjoyed here, with several Italian dishes also on offer for those with a more delicate palate. And if you have certain dietary requirements, MAMA MIA’s chefs are very accommodating – we love to see it! However, note that it will be moving to a new location, which we will be sure to update very soon.
Not only does this restaurant serve some of the best food in SMA, but it also treats its patrons like royalty. It’s no surprise, then, that Tostevere happens to be the number-one-rated restaurant in the entire city according to customers on TripAdvisor. These dishes wouldn’t look out of place on MasterChef – and they taste as good as they look! Tostevere’s small size and popularity mean you’ll probably need to book ahead, but the cosiness lends itself perfectly to a romantic meal for two.
Only second to Tostevere in the TripAdvisor rankings, this restaurant is named after its incredible signature dish, lamb barbacoa – lamb steamed in banana leaves. First, you’ll be served a delicious consommé made from the juices of the meat before the piece de resistance arrives; the most tender lamb you’ve ever tasted with scrummy homemade tortillas on the side. El Pato’s repertoire may be limited, but it does what it does so well, you’ll be back for round two before you know it.
Other restaurants to consider in San Miguel include:
- El Pegaso
- Antonia Bistro
- The Restaurant SMA
- 1826 Inside Hotel Rosewood
- Mercado del Carmen
Things to do in San Miguel de Allende
When it’s time for that romantic gay getaway, San Miguel de Allende ticks all our boxes. UNESCO listed world heritage sites – tick! Pretty cobblestone historic center – tick! A thriving art scene – tick! Goooorgeous colonial architecture – tick! Here’s a summary of some of our favorite things to do in this darling quaint city to inspire your travel planning:
Explore the historic district of San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a city with a fascinating history. Mexico has been subject to a great deal of political unrest, and San Miguel saw its fair share of battle during times of conflict. If that kind of thing steams your pudding, you’ll definitely want to visit the city’s historic district. San Miguel was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, and many centuries-old churches, colonial buildings and other monuments are still standing today. The best way to explore the historic district is by wandering around and if you join a walking tour then you'll have a local guide to tell you about the city's history.
Discover the food
San Miguel de Allende is a city that prides itself on its cuisine, and it's gooood! Any foodie owes it to themselves to taste every delicious morsel SMA has to offer. If you want to learn more about the local food, how it’s prepared and the secrets behind how it tastes so utterly amazing, there are many food tours and other activities going on in the city every day. Walking around the city is hungry work, so break it up with lots of tasty treats!
Visit the ancient ruins of Canada de La Virgen
The spectacular Canada de La Virgen pyramids were originally built by the Otomi tribe around the year 530 AD. Despite having been around for so long, it wasn’t until 1995 that the site was first excavated, and the project didn’t really get off the ground until 2002. Canada de La Virgen first opened to the public in 2011, but the site is still considered private property and visits are heavily restricted, so you’ll need to seek out an officially sanctioned tour if you want to check it out.
Horse riding in Coyote Canyon
If you really want to feel your Mexican fantasy, what better way than to ride a horse through the magnificent Coyote Canyon? You’ll feel like you’re in an episode of Westworld as you cross the La Virgen river, gallop along the clifftops and take in the breathtaking views. You can even partake in a heart-stopping 120-foot rappel down a cliffside if you want to! Once you’ve had your fill of thrills and spills, Coyote Canyon is also home to an old-fashioned ranch serving organic Mexican food.
Plan your trip to San Miguel de Allende
We've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to San Miguel de Allende. Read on to find out everything the gay traveller should know before they go. For more information check out the Visit San Miguel website.
How to get there: Most visitors to San Miguel de Allende will fly into the airport at Leon/Guanajuato, Queretaro or Mexico City. Queretaro is the closest at just over an hour from San Miguel, Leon/Guanajuato is about an hour and fifteen minutes while it's more than three hours to get there from Mexico City. The Leon airport is the most used, with international flights from many US cities and shuttle services to San Miguel. We recommend pre-booking your transfer so you know your driver will be waiting to take you straight to your accommodation in air-conditioned comfort without any hassle. A private transfer is also cheaper than hiring a taxi and you won't have to deal with long taxi lines.
Visa requirements: Most European and North American citizens don't need a visa to visit Mexico on holiday for up to 180 days. Make sure you check your visa requirements beforehand and always ensure your passport has at least six month's validity from your arrival date.
Getting around: The easiest way to explore San Miguel de Allende is by walking, just make sure to bring comfortable shoes! You can also hire bicycles or join tours to explore further afield. Here's a handy guide to getting around in San Miguel.
Power Plugs: In Mexico, the standard power plug is Type A, which is the same as the US, Canada, China and Japan. If you're travelling to San Miguel de Allende from a country with different power outlets, remember to bring a travel adaptor with you.
Travel insurance: We always recommend travel insurance so that you will be protected in the case of injury, illness, theft or cancellations beyond your control, even if you're travelling to somewhere as safe as San Miguel de Allende. We've been using World Nomads Travel Insurance for years and cannot recommend them highly enough. Their coverage is very comprehensive and it's easy to make a claim online.
Safety and Security: Even in a safe destination like San Miguel you can encounter danger when travelling. We like to use the CloseCircle “virtual bodyguard” app when we're abroad, as they can provide support or security alerts wherever you are. Their service covers everything from advice to evacuation in the case of weather emergencies or unforeseen events. Read more about why we love CloseCircle in our article on how travellers can stay safe.
Vaccinations: All travellers to Mexico should make sure they're up to date with routine vaccinations like measles, mumps and chickenpox. Most travellers should also be vaccinated for hepatitis A and typhoid. Some travellers may also need vaccinations for hepatitis B, malaria and rabies, depending on what you'll be doing/where you'll be going. Check the CDC website for the most up to date info for Mexico and also speak to your local doctor or travel nurse before making travel plans for San Miguel.
Currency: Mexico uses the Mexican Peso which is shortened to MXN. The country uses the dollar symbol though, so don't get confused by prices for dinner being $200 as they mean 200 pesos! €1 is worth about 21 pesos while $1 (US) converts to around 19 pesos.
Tipping culture: Tipping is customary in Mexico since most workers earn a low wage so they rely on tips to make a living. In restaurants, we recommend tipping between 10-20% for good service. In hotels or resorts, tipping will ensure you get that extra special treatment! Check out this detailed guide to tipping in Mexico for more information.
Internet access: Most hotels, restaurants, bars and other establishments will have free WiFi in Mexico, which is better quality than you might assume. Otherwise, consider buying a local SIM card when you arrive, or even a portable WiFi device so you can connect multiple devices at faster speeds.
Online privacy: Mexico is very gay friendly, so you won't need to worry about using gay apps such as Grindr or Scruff while you're in San Miguel. However, if you prefer to keep your internet activities private, we recommend ExpressVPN because it is affordable and reliable.
Accommodation: For more accommodation options in and around San Miguel de Allende, check out Booking.com which we love. They have so many choices at the best prices, often with free cancellation included which is perfect if you like to be flexible during your travels. It's also easy to book online and they have 24/7 online customer service if you need help with something.
Sightseeing and adventure: We use GetYourGuide when looking for tours and activities to do around San Miguel de Allende. They have lots of fun options, an easy to use booking system and excellent online customer support that's available 24/7.
When to visit: There's no real bad time to visit San Miguel de Allende as the weather is temperate all year. Even winter is warm during the day, although it does get colder in the evenings so make sure you pack a jacket to keep the chill out.
Gay map of San Miguel de Allende
Here's a gay map of San Miguel de Allende which includes all the gay bars, clubs, hotels and sightseeing highlights we've mentioned in this post. Use it to plan your own amazing gay trip to San Miguel!
For more inspiration:
- Find out what it's like to grow up gay in Mexico in our interview with Andres
- Read about the best gay Pride events in Latin America
- These are the biggest Gay Pride events in the world
- Get inspired by these sexy gay Pride outfit ideas
- And don't forget to pack these must-have Gay Pride accessories
- Head to where it all started with our guide to New York Pride
- Then find out why London is our favourite place to celebrate Pride
- And see what to expect from Barcelona's fabulous gay Pride