Ceremony in Mexico marks final step in new sister city relationship for Palm Springs

San Miguel de Allende chooses its sister cities carefully. Similar agreements with Vail, Colo. and Santa Fe, New Mexico were made because they have similar tourist economies and natural beauty.
San Miguel de Allende Mayor Mauricio Trejo and Palm Springs Mayor Grace Garner hold signed agreements officially uniting the two cities during a signing ceremony in Mexico on Friday. (Photo: Alfredo Casuso)

Palm Springs Mayor Grace Garner, accompanied by multiple business and civic leaders, put the finishing touches on an agreement with San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, on Friday to increase opportunities for cooperation between the two cities, their business owners, and residents.

During a ceremony at Palacio Municipa Garberat with San Miguel de Allende Mayor Mauricio Trejo, similar to one conducted at Palm Springs City Hall in February, the mayors’ signatures represented the final task needed to begin a sister city relationship.

Local reporting and journalism you can count on.

Subscribe to The Palm Springs Post

“As the mayor of Palm Springs, with its rich Mexican heritage and so many citizens with Mexican roots, including my own family, I am proud to see the city partner with a Mexican city,” Garner said Friday. “Today I was especially honored to represent my city and my culture and how important the Mexican people have been in making California what it is today.”

Added Trejo: “We went a thousand miles to strengthen our relationship, and we’ll go many more to make it work.”

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Palm Springs had robust connections with three international cities — Victoria, British Columbia, Nikko, Japan, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico — as a part of the sister cities program . In the 1980s, however, the city terminated its final sister city relationship, with Victoria, after then-Mayor Frank Bogert deemed the effort “just too cumbersome” and time-consuming.

Last year, the newly-formed Palm Springs Sister Cities Committee set out to revive the efforts and renew relationships with international cities. An all-volunteer organization, under the leadership of its co-chairs at the time — current City Councilmember Jeffrey Bernstein and former Airport Commissioner Al Jones — chose to pursue a relationship with San Miguel de Allende.

The city, located 170 miles north of Mexico City, was described by Travel + Leisure as one of the most charming in Mexico. It’s most well-known for its Baroque and Neoclassical colonial buildings, as well as the thriving food and wine scene and a strong network of local artisans. The city’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, drawing thousands of tourists a year.

“I first presented the idea of a Palm Springs sister city four years ago at a Palm Springs economic development meeting,” said Bernstein after the signing ceremony. “It’s exciting to see the idea become a reality encompassing not only economic development and tourism but also the arts, education and cultural exchange.”

While this is the first in what the Sister Cities Committee hopes will be multiple new agreements for Palm Springs, it’s far from the first for San Miguel de Allende. In the United States, Trejo’s city also has agreements with Vail, Colo. and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The mayors of San Miguel de Allande and Palm Springs at a signing ceremony at Palm Springs City Hall in February.

During his delegation’s visit here in February, Trejo said San Miguel de Allende chooses which cities to associate with carefully. Similar to Palm Springs, he said, the other American cities share not only natural beauty but also a tourist economy and cultural similarities.

“We don’t sign sister city agreements with just anybody,” said Trejo. “We look for sister cities that are culturally rich with something to offer us and that we can offer something to as well.”

Jones, who serves as president of the Palm Springs Sister City Board of Directors, said partnering with San Miguel de Allende will offer a chance “to build bridges between cultures and increase understanding of others.”

“All too often, we believe that the US is the center of the universe,” said Jones. “Traveling abroad and the implementation of a sister city agreement with San Miguel will broaden our collective vision, recognizing that we have as much to learn from other cultures — Mexico in this instance — as they have to learn about Americans outside of reading the news.”


Sign up for news updates.

Receive vital news about our city in your inbox for free every day.

100% local.

The Post was founded by local residents who saw gaps in existing news coverage and believed our community deserved better.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top