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Most tourists are likely to spend the bulk of their time in the Centro, the historic centre, with its grid sytem of cobbled streets lined with fashionable homes, cafes, restaurants and boutiques plus the increasingly rare remnants of the old San Miguel. The focus of the town is the main square, or Jardín, overlooked by the quirky 19th century Gothic parish church, la Parroquia, and some venerable mansions. To the south of the Jardin the Centro becomes a bit more residential and leads to the leafy Parque Juarez.
Walk uphill (east) and you eventually hit the quiet, smart residential districts of Balcones and Atascadero. Most of the homes here look venerable, but few are more than 20 years old. If you take the road out of town towards Celaya and then make a right, you come to another pleasant, but much more mixed, residential area called San Antonio. It has its own little plaza that comes alive with local families in the evening. On the other side of the main road is upscale Guadiana. Much further out is the first of San Miguel's (semi) gated communities, Los Frailes. More and more of these are optimistically under construction on the fringes of town.
As real estate prices have risen in San MIguel, a number of other, less expensive areas have also begun to attract foreign residents; chief among these is Guadaloupe, to the left when you take the road out of town in the direction of Dolores Hidalgo.
The original town, San Miguel el Viejo, is across the railway tracks to the west, and is now no more than a sleepy village with the area's oldest post-conquest structure, the chapel built by the town's founder, Fray Miguel, in the 1540s.