Located in the southwest corner of the Alvaro Obregon borough of Mexico City, the region of San Angel was historically a rural community. It centred around a cathedral and was populated by the upper classes who were keen to keep themselves separate from the rest of the city. This continued until the mid 20th century when the monastery closed and the urban expansion of Mexico City could not be resisted and it engulfed the area.
Today it still offers you a more relaxed and quieter experience than the central areas of the city. Many historical monuments and traditional buildings have survived with cobbled streets, plazas, elegant architecture and stunning garden scenery that remind you of the rich colonial past.
The winding roads are crying out to be explored on foot, with shady trees and streets that are more reminiscent of a quiet Mexican village rather than a suburb minutes from the noise and traffic of the city centre.
Things get a lot busier throughout the weekend with several markets taking place. The famous Saturday 'San Angel mercado' is far from a run of the mill affair. You will find fresh fruit and other produce but what sets sellers here apart is their arts and handicrafts. Unique souvenirs are on offer ranging from original sculptures by local artists to handmade rings.
While the weekend is the best time to visit, the attractive neighbourhood also features several small museums to browse, art exhibitions and a range of delicious cafes and restaurants. There is plenty to keep you occupied if the market does not tickle your fancy.
Popular sights include the Convento del Carmen an elegant and enchanting building where you can see stone slabs where nuns used to sleep. There is also an underground crypt filled with mummified nuns. Another destination to head to is Plaza de San Jacinto, which is a cobbled square with a 16th century church at its heart. There is also an afternoon market that caters for all budget types.
Unfortunately as the region lies roughly six miles outside the city centre it is not served by the Metro Line. The nearest station is two miles away on foot. But it remains easily accessible via bus from Avenida Isurgentes that directly links to the market and plaza.
If you're looking for a tranquil experience that you can enjoy away from the majority of the crowds compared to other regions or tasting a slice of the countryside without straying too far from the city, San Angel is the place for you.