San Miguel de Allende vs. Queretaro: Mexico

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Difference between San Miguel de Allende, Queretaro and Mexico

Queretaro is the largest city and happens to be the capital of, Queretaro, which is located in Central Mexico. San Miguel, on the other hand, is located in Guanajuato, Mexico, a few miles away from Queretaro. The two are well known cities but for two different reasons. They offer a great deal of attractions, good schools and are in close proximity to one another which makes traveling a lot easier. For pubic transportation, buses and taxis are available for your convenience.

San Miguel de Allende


San Miguel was founded in the year 1542 by Fray Juan San Miguel. The town served prominently during the Mexican War of Independence. One of San Miguel’s native’s son, Ignaco Allende, was captured and beheaded during the War for Independence against Spain. He was considered a national hero and after San Miguel el Grande changed its name to San Miguel de Allende in 1826 to honor him.

Queretaro was settled around 200 AD by groups migrating north (Mesoamericans). However, the founding date was given as July 25th, 1531. It is said that an eclipse occurred that day during a battle between natives in the area and the Spanish.


San Miguel de Allende has a beautiful and prestigious film festival that is hosted in the last week of July. The Film Festival is called “Expression en Corto International Film Festival” and it shows 400 films to the public. San Miguel offers more art, architecture, galleries and theater.

Queretaro, on the other hand, has more of an upbeat lifestyle. There are numerous clubs, discos, movies, shopping in the plazas, etc. The town is full of people running around and enjoying the day at a very fast pace, much unlike San Miguel’s slow walking pace.


Both cities have citizens and visitors but the two are very different in size. Queretaro is by far a bigger city and that’s proven by how long it takes you to get from point A to point B. The city has a lot of roads, buildings, stores, industries and a huge amount of people. San Miguel on the other hand is a very small city where it seems everyone knows everyone. It has kept its colonial town style and although has grown over the years, still holds a small population. When living in San Miguel you will most likely know everyone by name and address.


San Miguel is a lovely tourist spot for a wealthy client-el of Mexico City as well as many Americans and Canadians.

  • Queretaro is more of an economic city with paper products, chemicals, and machinery; has many citizens and immigrants from Mexico.
  • Queretaro has a fast paced life and San Miguel has a very relaxed slow pace feel.
  • San Miguel offers more artistic and theatrical attractions while Queretaro has many more relaxing and fun attractions; bars, movies, even night club restaurants.

Taxis and buses are used in Queretaro and walking is generally used in San Miguel.

Which Mexican city has the more lively nightlife?
  • San Miguel de Allende
  • Queretaro
  • Mexico

Discuss It: comments 5

  • Guest
  • GAIL wrote on April 2010

Visited both cities and agree. Both are historic but san miguel is more fun for Americans

  • Guest
  • Laura wrote on April 2010

San Miguel de Allende is better for shopping and Queretaro is a business hub

  • Guest
  • Carin wrote on April 2010

This was very fun and interesting to read. I liked both places alot, and I wish that someday I could visit again.

  • Guest
  • norman wrote on May 2010

I admit, I have not been on this webpage in a long time... however it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals. I thank you to help making people more aware of possible issues.

Great stuff as usual...

For anyone going to San Miguel de allende and needing transportation to and from the Airports in Queretaro, Leon or Mexico City or to other towns and sights to see in the area, we highly recommend Reyes Ortiz.

He is not only a very pleasant person but a good businessman. He speaks very good English, is very knowledgeable and informative of San Miguel de Allende and the other cities, towns and attractions in this part of Mexico and has very reasonable rates.

He also gives tours to Dolores Hidalgo, Queretaro, Atotonilco, Guanajuato, Mexico City and other sites.

We used another transportation service earlier, then tried Reyes and we continued to use him for the duration of our trip. He was a tremendous help and delightfully informative. We will definitely be using his services everytime we return to San Miguel.

We Highly Recommend Him.

Evans Family

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