What $100 Buys in...San Miguel de Allende
Mexico's colonial time capsule abounds with surprisingly cosmopolitan keepsakes.
There's no shortage of beaded jewelry in San Miguel's many souvenir shops, but for something more unique, seek out Olga Prieto's understated, matte-brass bangles, stocked in a well-curated boutique just off the Jardín Allende. Once Ambient Store, Cuna de Allende 11-12, onceambientstore.com.
$1 Place mat
Of the city's four major markets, the Mercado de Artesanías is the hub for authentic, affordable gifts like hand-cut tin ornaments, artisanal vanilla extract, and these bright, woven-palm place mats. Mercado de Artesanías, between Calle Colegio and Calle Loreto.
$32 Coasters (set of six)
Mexico City transplant Jaime Goded was among the first modern artists to set up shop here 25 years ago. Now he shows off his latest work—vibrant wooden coasters, jigsaw puzzles, and cabinets—at his studio in a converted textile factory. Galería Goded, Calzada de la Aurora, 011-52/415-154-4075.
Those who happen upon the Zona Centro Mexican Oil Cloth Store face a truly difficult decision: Snap up one of the dozens of ready-made totes, or browse the 100 fabric options and have a custom tablecloth, bag, or luggage tag stitched up within two days. Mexican Oil Cloth Store, Calle Loreto 17, 011-52/415-152-6964.
$2 Pot holder
This handmade cotton hot pad is the perfect whimsical, yet practical, partner for a traditional Guadalajaran earthenware pot. Both are sold in the 65-year-old Artes de México, San Miguel's oldest shop. Artes de México, Calzada de la Aurora 47, 011-52/415-152-0764.
Each of this volume's 190 homegrown recipes (such as caldito San Miguel, a spicy chicken-and-chipotle soup) are from an area chef, a resident, or a repeat visitor—many of whom come here for cooking classes. Sweet bonus: All proceeds go to fund Feed the Hungry's local antipoverty efforts. feedthehungrysma.org.