In my last post, I told you my favorite places to see, sleep and eat in Mexico City. Now it’s time to share the great recommendations that my friends gave me in those same categories.

These friends live, work or have traveled extensively to the city. Therefore, their recommendations are very detailed and informative.

Trajineras, or colorful gondola-like boats, are a main attraction in Xochimilco.

Trajineras, or colorful gondola-like boats, are a main attraction in Xochimilco.

Below, I’ve put it all together to make a painstakingly detailed, insiders’ guide to the best places to hit when you go to Mexico City.

Enjoy!

Pierluca & Faud: Mexico City Insiders

These are my friends who are awesome and live in Mexico City.
Reminder: Most (if not all) museums in Mexico City closed on Mondays.

Tips by Neighborhood

Centro Histórico

Downtown. This is where all the main touristic sites are at.

Zócalo or main plaza is the center of Centro Historico

Centro Historico is home to all the key historical sites.

While here make sure to visit:

  • Bellas Artes Palace. Famous for its eclectic architecture, and an icon from the Mexican cityscape, the Bellas Artes Palace is both a museum, which offers great temporary exhibits all year, and a theater which harbors an original and enormous Tiffany glass curtain made in 1912. The theater serves as a venue for the famous Ballet Folklórico de Amalia Hernández (Mexican Folk Ballet) which is a must-see for both Mexicans and visitors. Unfortunately there are no show dates during the time you’ll be staying here, but make sure to check some videos on YouTube and even the soundtrack on iTunes, which includes some of Mexico´s most iconic pieces of classical music.’
  • Take a stroll through Pasaje Madero Street until you get to the Zócalo. Also get lost through all the streets; you’ll literally find amazing buildings along your walk)
  • If your diet allows it, buy a sweet treat at Dulcería Celaya.
  • Enter the Cathedral in the Zócalo.
  • Visit the Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de México, which displays another original Tiffany stained-glass ceiling from 1908. This building is iconic for its lavish Art Nouveau style architecture. As a fun fact, the latest of the James Bond movies’ opening sequence was shot inside this hotel.
  • Some museums around the area, which may be displaying interesting exhibits are: Museo Nacional de Arte, Museo Academia San Carlos, Museo Antiguo Colegio de San Idelfonso. Museo Franz Mayer and our all-time favorite, the Palacio de Correos de Mexico. All the museums here listed also happen to be iconic buildings from the downtown cityscape.
  • Visit Casa de los Azulejos, which is now just a restaurant, but the 18th-century palace is definitely worth a peek. You may also find that the building is crooked, leanings towards the side as a result that Mexico City (originally Tenochtitlán) was initially built over a lake, the Lago de Texcoco by the Aztecs. Eventually and over the centuries it started sinking.
  • Visit the Museo del Templo Mayor which displays archeological findings from the Aztecs that initially founded the City and inhabited the area. It also offers access to the Templo Mayor (Pyramid) ruins.
  • The Palacio Nacional is home to some murals by Diego Rivera, preserved in great condition.
  • Hotels we know and love (just in case they pop up on the Hotel Tonight app): Hotel Downtown — this hotel also features an incredible rooftop bar, perfect for unwinding after a long day of sightseeing.

Coyoacán

Statues such as this one pepper the square

The name of this neighborhood likely means “place of coyotes.”

South of the City. Coyoacán is the bohemian part of the city. It originally built as headquarters for Hernán Cortés and the Spanish during the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire and over the centuries became a weekend retreat for Mexican aristocracy. Now it’s one of the 16 boroughs of Mexico City.

  • Get to the main plaza and walk all around, explore. Go on a Sunday so you can see all the Mexican scene. Try the Churros, if you feel like it, and don’t be afraid to try Street Food, it’s a unique experience. Our favorite street dish are Esquites, which is completely vegetarian and delicious.
  • Go to Frida Kahlo’s childhood home (Museo Frida Kahlo), also known as the Casa Azul (blue house).
  • After that, you can get to the San Ángel area, which is close to Coyoacán. San Angel has the same colonial spirit of Coyoacán, also featuring Mexican aristocracy homes from ages past. There you will find great restaurants, art-crafts. If you happen to be there on a Saturday, there is a pop-up Mexican art-crafts market called Bazar del Sábado, on Plaza San Jacinto and surroundings. While in San Ángel, make sure to go check the Mercado del Carmen, which features nice little shops, a food court, and a nice bar. Also in San Ángel you will find the San Ángel Inn, which is an old Hacienda which was turned into a restaurant, and right next to it is the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, which was Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo’s home as a married couple.

Polanco

The trendy, chic area. Polanco is a famous upscale district, featuring fashion boutiques, hip bars and restaurants, luxury hotels and stylish people.

Polanco is a wealthy, upscale district.

Polanco is a wealthy, upscale district.

(Do not visit on a Monday, since all museums are closed.)

It might be a good idea to start your day early and visit all the important museums along Paseo de la Reforma, and then move on to explore Polanco after lunch.

  • Museums along Paseo de la Reforma that are a MUST: The Anthropology Museum (Museo Nacional de Antropología). This museum is HUGE. Not unlike the Met, a lifetime is not enough to see everything in it, so take in as much as you can and then move on, don’t waste a whole day in there, there’s still a lot to see! Museo Tamayo (Contemporary Art Museum). The Museo Tamayo is one of our favorites since it is always offering really interesting exhibits. It also features an amazing gift shop, perfect for buying presents for your friends back home, and a really nice restaurant which has just been remodelled. MAM (Museo de Arte Moderno). The Modern Art Museum harbors works from some of the most famous Mexican artists from the 20th Century. These include the renown Remedios Varo, some of Frida Kahlo’s most emblematic works, as well as art from the Mexican Muralism movement.
  • Castillo de Chapultepec. Chapultepec Castle is the only royal castle in North America that was actually used as the residence of a sovereign: the Mexican Emperor Maximilian I, and his consort Empress Carlota, lived there during the Second Mexican Empire. (ABSOLUTE MUST SEE)
  • I believe there are special Holiday folk ballet shows at the Castillo in the days you’ll be staying here. For tickets, use Ticketmaster. 
  • Walk along Paseo de la Reforma which is a beautiful avenue, and marvel at anything you walk past.
  • After your museum visits you can relax in Polanco’s trendy scene. There are a lot of good restaurants to have lunch in and bars to visit at night.
  • There is a world-class Peruvian Restaurant in Polanco called Astrid & Gastón (like the one in Perú), from the famous Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio.
  • Hotels we know and love: W Mexico City  and Las Alcobas (with the perfect location in Polanco)

Condesa and Colonia Roma

The cool, hipster, shabby chic, artsy districts.

It's in Cuauhtémoc borough

Colonia Roma is also called La Roma and Roma.

  • These are the design-conscious, artsy, hipster, trendy neighborhoods of the city.  Roma and Condesa offer a pleasant change of pace. Spend the day wandering around the neighborhoods, taking in the laid-back atmosphere and admiring the beautifully restored Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture. You can find independent galleries all over the area. For Condesa just walk around. Get to Parque Mexico and walk from there all around through Calle Ámsterdam, Calle Veracruz, and Calle Tamaulipas. Just get lost and explore— marvel.
  • In Colonia Roma walk through Calle Álvaro Obregón, Calle Colima, and get to Parque Luis Cabrera. Sometimes you can find design and art pop-up markets, organic farmer’s markets. There are also good clothing stores of emergent Mexican designers and some of the city’s best restaurants. Our favorite is Máximo Bistrot; celebrity chefs from all around the world come to eat at this little, local bistrot.
  • Hotels we know and love: Hotel Condesa DF  (this one belongs to Grupo Habita, the owners of the Hôtel Americano in New York City.

UNAM (Mexican Autonomous University) You will probably have to go out of your way to reach the UNAM. Nontheless, it’s an important landmark and it offers great museums to visit. It is located in the deep south of the City, and if you visit this place you might probably want to visit it the same day you visit Coyoacán and San Ángel for practicality.

Xochimilco (Floating Gardens)

  • Take half day to do this if you like. It’s a nice place to visit if its your first time around; an authentic Mexico City experience. Rent a Trajinera for a while to go through the canals, and maybe pay a chalupa of mariachis to accompany you with some typical music.

Places outside Mexico City

  • Teotihuacán Pyramids (you’ll need almost an entire day to visit, but they’re amazing). Buses leave from the Auditorio Nacional in the Reforma-Polanco area early in the morning. You pay 45 dollars and the tour includes a round trip and some other activities for the day. If you’re interested check it out.
Teotihuacan means "the place where the gods were created." It's a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Teotihuacan means “the place where the gods were created.” It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Further information

  • Tipping is something people expect you to do in Mexico. A 10 pesos coin or a 20 pesos bill will suffice most of the time. (For bell boys or people who might offer help at any given time.)
  • No need to tip Ubers.
  • Gratuity at restaurants is typically 15% if service was good, 10% if service was bad.

Josh A.: Tips from a Traveler

HOTEL in MEXICO CITY

  • La Condesa DF: Definitely stay here as it’s in the center of the best neighborhood (it’s very much the West Village of Mexico City):   Hotel Recommendation   We got a corner suite and really liked our room. Since it’s not super expensive to begin with, I would recommend upgrading if you can. You can walk around this neighborhood for hours and it’s very safe… the other nice hotels are in the fancy part of town that isn’t nearly as charming (think 5th Ave by the Plaza vs. the West Village)

MUST DO’S

  • Go to Maque for Breakfast. Dan B. spent 10 days in Mexico City over NYE and went here every single day. We went all 3 days we were there. It’s a very pretty 10 minute walk away from the hotel and we loved it deeply. It’s a super charming sidewalk cafe on Parque Mexico serving awesome fresh pastries, huevos rancheros, tamales, etc… and it’s also quite chic, you’ll love it.
  • Go to Contramar for lunch.  It’s very popular so get there early so you can sit outside (early for them is normal lunch time for us, like 12:30-1pm). Food is excellent and it’s a fun power lunch scene there. Very special.
Every single meal we had down there was excellent, but those two above were the most memorable and would be a bummer to miss either of them. Here are the other places we went in order of preference.
Casa Virginia is owned by a mother-daughter team.

Casa Virginia is owned by a mother-daughter team.

  • Casa Virginia — we went for dinner… it’s a super beautiful restaurant, great food, very sophisticated, we loved it– look!
  • Maximot Bistrot — went for dinner… food was A+ and the vibe was cool. Could easily be a top tier downtown NYC restaurant.
  • El Parnita — went for lunch, super cool/hipster crowd, tasty tacos, etc… more about the scene than the food, but food was still good.
  • Quintonil — This is from former Pujol chefs… we went because Pujol was closed. I would definitely try to go to Pujol, in which case you can skip Quintonil for sure. People who go to Pujol generally lose their shit about how awesome it is though, we were bummed to miss it.
We went to the Anthropology Museum one day which was definitely interesting but not amazing or anything (Dan loved it though).  We also went to the downtown area that was worth seeing, but again no big deal if you miss it. Our favorite part of being down there was just walking around the Condessa and Roma neighborhoods, dropping into local shops, cafes, etc…
We didn’t do the pyramids or any of that stuff, but Jen/James did and loved it.
Oh, and I have a driver down there that we used the entire time we were there if you want an intro. Uber works really well though, so you def don’t need one… I think you just want to avoid taking cabs.
(Nick’s note: Uber was awesome in Mexico City! No need for a car and dedicated driver, unless you want it for the tour guide factor.)

Dan: Comprehensive Tips from All Over

I got tons of recos, my two most helpful lists below, but my faves included:

  • Azul Condesa
  • Maximo Bistrot (so so good)
  • My side trips to the pyramids (Teotihuacan) and to the crazy hippie crystal town of Tepotzlan.
  • I found Dulce Patria hilariously stuffy and old school, but the food is amazing.
  • The pastry/ brunch place called Maque, right off the Parque Mexico, is literally the best thing ever and we went there ever single morning for tamales or pastries.
  • I’d prioritize going to the Anthropology Museum bc it’s insane and to Carlos Slim’s museum bc it is offensively garish/bizarre.
  • The castle in the main park (Chapultepec) is really fun but way too crowded on weekends– if you do that go early one day (we ran up there from Condesa– our apartment was right on Avenida Mexico on the park).
  • Also in the Condesa, Tacos El Greco (little dive place) is friggin awesome.  Don’t be afraid of street tacos– they are crazy delicious and only sometimes scary!
Maximo Bistrot is widely known for its fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Maximo Bistrot is widely known for its fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Food

  • Contra Mar (best seafood in town, its our fave place. Quite the lunch scene, with politicians, telenovela stars, hipsters, mafia.)
  • Pujol (best super fancy new Mexican.)
  • Azul Condesa (fantastic Mexican, more traditional.) They also have another branch downtown.
  • El Pescadito (seafood taco joint in Condesa, we love their fried shrimp tacos. Get there when they open at around 11am, or its super packed.Crazy cheap.)
  • Bistro Maximo (newish fancy locavore bistro in Roma, the food is fantastic.)
  • Felix (tiny little hipster snack and burger joint, always good and cute skater boys work there.)
  • El Parnita (this place is close to our house, great food, hipster power lunch spot lol.)
  • El Califa (legendary tacos al pastor, tho we prefer their competition El Faraon in Roma, who locals affectionately call Cali-fake.)
  • De Mar a Mar (new seafood place opened by the chef from Maximo, we think its as good as Contra Mar, but less of a scene.)
  • Rosetta (Italian, but absolutely fantastic. The building is also a stunner.)
  • Fonda San Diego (new spot that opened on a street called Havre in Juarez,) should be good! We designed their glassware and they open next week I think. The block also has another cool spot, Casa Havre, which has a pizza joint downstairs and various design projects upstairs. The area of Havre is developing really fast because of its proximity to Roma and also to Reforma.
  • Esperanza in Roma is another super cool bar/restaurant opened by French pals. I haven’t been there but its supposedly very chic, part owned I think by Emanuelle Picault from the very cool Chic By Accident. They hangout with the owners of 192 magazine, which is the coolest fashion/art/style mag here, created by Fabiola Zamora (who used to live in NYC and work for DeFacto reps! She’s done amazing work with the magazine!)

Bars

No longer my area of expertise lol, but here’s a few nice ones:

  • Limantur (great for cocktails, the bar itself is also super pretty. They have one in Roma and another in Polanco.)
  • Mercado Negro (also in Roma, cheaper and decorated with Mexican hipster graphics and black light. Artist Hector Falcon is the owner.)
  • The streets Alvaro Obregon and in Roma is a great place to bar hop also.
  • Check Societe Perrier Mexico’s site also, they’re the cool kids who go out.
  • Cine Tonala is also really cool: part cinema, part restaurant, both pretty great. Another hub of cool lol.
  • Romita: this was created by a bunch of friends, its a pretty cool space, more for a drink than the food tho. They also have a great little boutique you might like!

Sunday brunch is still a family affair here, hence excellent brunchy places like El Cardenal where u still get fantastic traditional food and huge family groups. Another great place in Condesa for breakfast is called Maque.
This blog is also interesting.

Museums/Galleries

Museo de Franz Mayer features a grand colonial patio.

Museo de Franz Mayer features a grand colonial patio.

  • The Museum of Anthropology (their mayan collection is especially rad.)
  • Anahuacalli (our fave museum, houses Diego Rivera’s collection of pre hispanic objects in a crazy monolithic rock pyramid partly designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.)
  • Museo Franz Mayer (downtown, full of crazy hardcore colonial furniture and art, a lot really bloody and/or rococo.)
  • MUAC (a rad newish contemporary art museum inside the Unam campus. If you go, there’s a great little botanical garden nearby.)
  • I also really like the small, very Victorian Museum of Geology in Santa Maria la Ribera, in front of a very pretty park! If you go there you may also want to visit el museo del Chopo, which is a contemporary art museum housed in a renovated Victorian train shed. Saturday also is the mercado del Chopo nearby, which is DF’s punk and hardcore market, worth a visit for people watching. Mexican goths are a freaky bunch lol.
  • El Castillo de Chapultepec is also interesting, very Versailles-esque and overdone tho on top of a hill with great views.
  • There’s a fantastic Louise Bourgeois show at Bellas Artes (the building itself is wirth a visit, it’s art nouveau outside and hardcore art deco inside)
  • El Museo Soumaya (the new building by Fernando Romero, son in law of Carlos Slim, to house Slim’s really disappointing collection.) The building is better viewed from the outside. At the Soumaya’s other location in Loreto, they have an amazing show of vintage Mexican commercial art from calendars and advertising, it’s super good.
  • El Museo Jumex (just opened, this one houses Eugenio Lopez’s contemporary art collection. The building is by Chipperfield, its gorgeous.)
  • Lastly, there’s a strange little torture musuem I LOVE downtown, next door they have meteorites on display!) In front of MUNAL museum, which is also pretty.
  • El Museu Tamayo recently got renovated and grew about 60%, the building is rad, and the work there is interesting tho on a conceptual tip. Their museum store is the best in the country, we sell there too!
  • La Compañia is a new creative space that opened in Roma, part bar, part gallery, part PR agency. They have a young photo show up right now, tho I cannot vouch for how good it is. Let me know if you’d like any other specifically photo recommendations!

Contemporary art galleries:

  • OMR
  • Proyectos Monclova
  • kurimanzutto
  • Labor (which is near Casa Barragan, both worth visiting depending on what’s showing.)
Stylized with a lowercase letter, kurimanzutto was founded in 1999.

Stylized with a lowercase letter, kurimanzutto was founded in 1999.

Other misc.

  • Def go to Teotihuacan if you’d like to see the pyramids (they’re rad to climb, esp if one is stoned), but get there EARLY. Super cheap buses leave from estacion del Norte on the half hour, you really don’t need to get a taxi or car with driver. Try to get there around 9am when it opens and it will be a nicer experience and less hot! You can also get hot air balloon tours over the pyramids. I’ve never done it but it looks cool!
  • Sunday also there’s a great flea market called La Lagunilla, which is super fun for finding Mexican vintage and kitsch stuff. Its close to the ruins of Tlatelolco also, which are a nice 20min walk 🙂
  • The Downtown hotel is supercool. Def eat the the Azul Downtown, its one of the best restaurants in the city! Nearby also is a rad candy store called Celaya, the store itself is super old and decorative, plus their candy (a lot of which is super traditional) is fun. I like their little sweet corn cupcakes, and they make these delicious cubes of marzipan mixed with cajeta!

Museums

  • Museo Soumaya — Carlos Slim’s wacky museum, designed by his son in law, housing his weird and not very good collection, cornerstone of a massive real estate play, but totally worth visiting
  • Frida Kahlo house — kind of have to see it (Nick’s note: I skipped it! Heard it is small and long lines.)
  • Museo Tamayo  Located in Chapultepec Park, which is worth strolling through, especially on the weekend. If they are there on Sunday and like riding bikes, they can rent them for free and ride along the Boulevard de Reforma which is closed to traffic on Sunday.  I loved it.

From my art friend:


Marina: What to Do & When to Do It

Food

  • Best tacos: El Tizoncito (Tamaulipas Número. 122, Colónia Condesa, México, D.F). El charco de las ranas in Mixcoac is also very good
  • Best steak: One of the many argentine restaurants in La Condesa. I like Quebracho (Atlixco 93, Condesa) or Don Asado (Michoacan 77, Condesa)
  •  Best restaurant from Oaxaca: Los Danzantes in Coyoacan (Plaza Jardín Centenario 12)
  •  Best Mexican contemporary food: Pujol (Calle Francisco Petrarca 254). I have heard that Máximo Bistro is really good but have not been able to get a table (Calle Tonalá No. 133, Roma). Also Quintonil (Newton 55, Polanco). Also I have heard people speak highly about Merotoro (Amsterdam 204, Condesa)
  •  Best gourmet food market: People rave about Mercado Roma (Calle Querétaro #225, Roma Norte)
  •  Best seafood: Fisher´s (various locations throughout the city) is an institution. contramar is also very good (Durango 200, Col. Roma Norte)
  •  Best traditional Mexican: El Cardenal (Av. de la Paz Núm. 32,, Col. San Ángel; or Av. Juárez 70, Hilton Mexico)
  •  Best ice cream: Roxy (Av. Fernando Montes de Oca 89, Condesa; or Tamaulipas161, Condesa). This is a very traditional ice cream shop but it is spectacular. You MUST NOT miss it. Please have a mamey ice cream on my behalf
  • Best old school restaurant: San Angel Inn (Diego Rivera No. 50, San Angel); Antigua Hacienda de Tlalpan (Calzada Tlalpan 4619, Tlalpan); La Hacienda de los Morales (Av Juan Vázquez de Mella 525)
  • Best traditional restaurant in the Centro Histórico: Cafe Tacuba (Calle de Tacuba 28, Centro) or Danubio (Republica de Uruguay 3, Centro Histórico)
  •  Best french restaurant: for expensive, try Les Moustaches (Rio Sena 88, Cuauhtémoc), for cheap and good try Bistro Arlequin (Rio Nilo 42, Cuauhtémoc)
  • Best crepes: Cluny (Av. de la Paz, 57 | Loc. 2 & 3)

Coffee houses around Roma (disclaimer I am not an expert in this topic. Not sure if all of them have wi fi)

  • La Selva Café (Plaza Iztaccihuatl 36, Col. Condesa). They sell nice coffee from Chiapas
  • Los Bisquets de Obregón (Álvaro Obregón 60, Col. Roma) This is an institution. I am not sure they have wifi but even if you do not choose this as your working place, you have to go there for breakfast or lunch. Their pastries are very famous. They now have franchises all over the country, but they started at Col. Roma.
  •  El pendulo (Av.Nuevo León 115, Condesa). This is a bookstore and a cafe. Very pleasant.
  • Fondo de Cultura economica (Tamaulipas 202, Hipódromo Condesa). This is also a bookstore and a cultural center. They have movie events and talks. My friend Afredo when was on a sabbatical a bit like you really enjoyed it.You might want to check it out

Museums

  •  Museo de Antropologia e Historia (Av Paseo de la Reforma y Calzada Gandhi). This is a MUST. It is the equivalent of the British museum. My recommendation is not to spend too much time in the first 2 or 3 rooms of the permanent exhibit. The museum is BIG. Save your energy and attention span for the Aztecs and Mayan rooms further along.
  • Museo Nacional de Arte (Calle Tacuba 8, Cuauhtemoc). The best part is the landscapes
  • Murals at the Fine Arts Palace (Av. Juárez, Centro Histórico). If you can catch the ballet or an opera in the Palace, then do it. It is worth seeing also the Tiffany stage curtain inside the theater.
  •  Museo de Arte Popular (Revillagigedo 11, Centro Histórico). If you like arts and crafts, this is your place.
  • Museo Soumaya (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303, Polanco). This is Carlos Slim’s collection. Not great art (except maybe the Rodins). But it is free. I think the guy has way too much money but did not buy art wisely. The museography is awful. Right next door if Coleccion Jumex. You might want to do both on the same day.
  • Check out if there are any exhibits at the Colegio de San Ildefonso (Justo Sierra 16, Centro Histórico). This is where they usually have the grand exhibitions. If there is anything showing, it is worth visiting.
  •  Museo Franz Meyer (Av. Hidalgo 45, Centro Histórico). Great Colonial Art meseum. Do not walk around the are behind the museum (away from Bellas Artes) because it is not too safe.
  • Museo Dolores Olmedo (Av Mexico # 5843 | La Noria, Xochimilco). In the far South of the City. It has a nice collection of Mexican art

 Things to do over the weekends

Trajineras, or colorful gondola-like boats, are a main attraction in Xochimilco.

Trajineras, or colorful gondola-like boats, are a main attraction in Xochimilco.

  •  Go to Coyoacan on a Saturday afternoon (Plaza Jardín del Centenario). It is the ultimately traditional chilango thing to do. Don´t forget to get coffee at El Jarocho (Av. México 25-C, Coyoacán, Del Carmen). Stay at night in one of the bars.
  •  Go to the Bazar del Sábado (San Jacinto 11, San Angel). You can mix it up with a visit to Diego Rivera’s house and Frida Kahlo museum. Coyoacan is nearby so you can do both on the same day.
  • Spend a day in Chapultepec. This is the most important park in the city. I guess it is the equivalent to central Park. There is a zoo, the castle (it used to be the residence of Mexican presidents. Definitely one of the highlights of the area), an outdoors photo gallery, an amusement park, a lake with boats you can row
  •  Go to Teotihuacán. Hire a driver or a tour to take you to the pyramids. This is an all day activity but it is definitely worth seeing. Take your camera and WEAR SUNSCREEN!
  • Go to the Centro Historico. This is the old town. Where the city was founded. Visit the
  • Go to Xochimilco to the trajineras. This is a thing to do with a large group of friends. Beware because groups of teenagers go there to get really drunk and do stupid stuff. But even so, it is a nice tradition. The Museo Dolores Olmedo is closeby.

Weekend Road trips

  • I recommend going to the colonial towns of San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato. Lots of history, nice restaurants, and nice arts and crafts
  • If you prefer to just enjoy the nice weather and stay by the pool, go to Tepoztlan. It is a pleasant town about 90 minutes from Mexico City.
  • If you want to go to the beach, Acapulco is the closes beach at about 240 miles away
  • If you want to venture further out, I really recommend Oaxaca. It is a colonial town in the South part of the country. Food there is amazing. It is only 1 hour away by plane, but 5 hours away in bus.

My Sister Emily’s Friend: The Local Perspective

Restaurants/Cafes

Churrería El Moro is famous for its sweet edibles and drinkables.

Churrería El Moro is famous for its sweet edibles and drinkables.

  • *Pujol  – Best restaurant in Mexico City, #15 restaurant in the world. Good to go early like 6 or 7. It’s about $120/person for 7 course dinner plus drinks and well worth it – the food is phenomenal. The dessert course is extra special. // Calle Francisco Petrarca 254, Miguel Hidalgo, Chapultepec Morales, 11570 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
  • Marisqueria El Caguamo –  Seafood street cart that has been around for over 40 years. Recommend the mixed-fish quesadilla or the fried-fish filet slathered in mayo and topped with salsa and creamy avocado. // Marisqueria El Caguamo, Ayuntamiento at the corner of López 82 and 83 (Centro Historico)
  • *Maximo Bistro – Chef Eduardo Garcia has cooked in New York’s Le Bernadin as well as Pujol. Less traditional Mexican fare, more European techniques. Very San Fran-esque *Reservation recommended. //Tonala 133, Colonia Roma
  • Duo – Breakfast spot with some of the best desserts in the City. // Av. Amsterdam 53, Distrito Federal, Mexico
  • *Mercado Roma – Hip, indoor, open market-like spot with 15-20 different “restaurants” inside. It’s counter style food, all different types of cuisine, small bar height triangle spots wrapped around kitchens. Juice bar upstairs, big patio in the back, always packed, cheap and fun spot to hit a couple times at any time of day. (Roma Norte neighborhood) // Calle Querétaro 225, Cuauhtémoc, Roma Norte, 06700 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
  • *Rosetta: bomb Italian food, highly suggest the ravioli // Calle Colima, 166, Delegación Cuauhtémoc, Col. Roma Norte
  • *Lardo: number one restaurant on the Eater heat map, great wines by the glass, one block from my apartment, love this place, you can make a reservation on opentable // Agustín Melgar 6, Cuauhtemoc, Condesa
  • *Churrería El Moro –  Dessert spot and cafe famous for its fritters, churros, and chocolate. Coffee looks great too. **5 minute walk from Airbnb // Río Lerma 165, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
  • *Contramar – Known for its amazing seafood and hip vibe in La Condesa neighborhood. Open from 12p – 6pm only. // Durango 200, Cuauhtémoc, C. U. Benito Juárez, 06700 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
  • *Romita Comedor – Great restaurant on the third floor of an old building in Roma. Lots of great restaurants and bars on the same street, especially if you head West from this restaurant back towards Condesa. // Avenida Álvaro Obregón 49, Cuahutemoc, Roma Norte, 06700 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
  • El Beso Huasteco  – Traditional Huastecan food, which is an indigenous group of Mexicans. Great spot for lunch and order the platter to share. This restaurant is in Roma Norte with interesting décor (and everything is for sale). // Calle Córdoba 146, Roma Nte., 06700 D.F., Mexico
  • Delirio – Run by a famous chef in the city but not traditional Mexican food. Also on Avenida Alvaro Obregon in Roma Norte. Great place for lunch. // Colima No. 114, Cuauhtemoc, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
  • Blanco Colima – Located in a house in Colonia Roma, with good design and nice lighting. Good service, delicious food and very good music. // Colima 168, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico

Places to Get a Cocktail:

  • Hotel Carlota – 15 minute walk from Airbnb. Apparently the margaritas are great! Very modern, cool boutique hotel with a cube pool that you overlook at the bar. // Río Amazonas 73, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico 
  • Bosforo – A super small, dark mezcal cantina with strong drinks. It’s attached to a restaurant next door—order the grasshopper quesadilla.  Great views, must do! // Luis Moya 31, Col Centro.
  • *Felina Bar – Quiet, dimly lit spot, with great cocktails. Good DJ comes on late night. // Calle Ometusco 87, Hipódromo, 06100 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico  
  • *Hotel Condesa DF – Rooftop bar (go at sunset) at a beautiful hotel. The drinks are sort of pricey and they serve Japanese food – just go for the view. // Av Veracruz nº 102, Condesa, 06700 Delegación Cuauhtemoc, D.F., Mexico
  • Limontour – Art deco, cocktail hot spot in Roma Norte near Romita Comedor. // Álvaro Obregón 106, Cuauhtémoc, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
  • *Scotchspeakeasy hot spot //Calle Julio Verne 110, Miguel Hidalgo, Polanco
  • *Aurora– make a great gin cocktail, good house tunes, happy hour spot // 126 Avenida Alvaro Obregon

Museums/Tourist Sites/Galleries: 

It has a very light interior as well

Mexican architect Fernando Romero designed the Soumaya Museum.

  • *Museum of Anthropology – Noteworthy museum of pre-Hispanic art thoroughly covers each region of Mexico and its history, displaying beautiful and historical pieces of art and artifacts. Get there early—there’s a lot of ground to cover. Beautiful architecture // Av Paseo de la Reforma & Calzada Gandhi S/N, Chapultepec Polanco, Miguel Hidalgo, 11560
  • *La Casa Azul -Frida Kahlo Museum – After touring Frida’s house, head to the Coyoacan market nearby for some tostadas. // Londres 247, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100
  • *Museo Casa Luis Barragan Famous contemporary architect. Must book English tour in advance and expect to pay 500 peso camera fee. Tour lasts about 30 minutes and opens at 10am. // General Francisco Ramírez 12-14, Miguel Hidalgo, Ampliación Daniel Garza, 11840 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
  • House of Gaga –Contemporary art gallery in cool neighborhood.  // Av Amsterdam 123, Hipódromo
  • Museo Rufino Tamayo – Very contemporary art in Chapultepec Park but apparently the building is better than the actual exhibits. Can do in under an hour. // Paseo de la Reforma y Gandhi s/n Bosque de Chapultepec I, Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico City 11580,Mexic0
  • Museo Soumaya – Very modern and interesting building housing the art collection of Carlos Slim, free to get in. Worth checking out the building, inside and out. Can take anywhere from two to four hours to do the entire museum. Entrance is free and opens at 10:30am. // Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303, Granada, Miguel Hidalgo, 11529 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
  • Museo Jumex – Right next to Museo Soumaya, houses only contemporary art. // Via Morelos 272, Sta Maria Tulpetlac, 55400 Ecatepec de Morelos, Méx., Mexico 
  • Teotihuacan2000 year-old pyramids about one hour outside the city. Get there early, bring water, good workout walking to the top pf the pyramids.
  • Basilica of Our Lady of GuadalupeBig catholic shrine/complex of churches and beautiful gardens on a hill overlooking the city. Stop here on the way back from Teotihuacan. 
  • Bellas Artes – Beautiful old building surrounded by some nice gardens.
  • Casa de Correos – Old post office across the street from Bellas Artes, which is over the top opulent on the inside, in an old school kind of way, but worth walking in.
  • Chapultepec Park – Huge park right next to Condesa with a lot of museums (Natural History Museum, Anthropolgy Museum, Modern Art Museum,  Museo Rufino Tamayo, etc.)
  • *Castillo de Chapultepec – Big castle built on the hill overlooking Chapultepec  Park when Mexico was ruled by the Hapsburgs. Worth a visit if you have time.
  • *Floating Gardens of Xochimilco – Boat tour takes about an hour, go to the  calmer and smaller entrance – Emabarcadero Cuemanco. Can bring food and drink from outside or purchase there.

Markets: 

  • San Camilito Gastronomic Market  – Near Plaza Garibaldi is the Mercado San Camilito. There are a ton of different stalls that all pretty much sell the same local food – carne asada, tacos, enchiladas, etc. but go there for the soup/pozole. We literally just walked into the first one that had the most people in it (always a good sign) and got birria (lamb soup) and the best hibiscus juice ever.
  • *San Juan Market (also called Ernesto Pugibet) – This is the place for foodlovers!  There is a really good coffee spot in the market – it’s famous.  Another thing to get there, if you’re craving an Italian style sandwich, is at a stall called La Jersey, they sell baguettes filled with cheeses and meats.
  • Mercado de la Merced – Big indoor market that has food stalls and everything else you can expect in a local market.
  • Mercado Sonora – Near the Mercado de la Merced and is pretty similar but kind of weird, like they sell snakes and stuff. More stuff from shamans and medicines, too. Kind of interesting to walk through.
  • Mercado de la Ciudadela – Craft market.
  • *Mercado La Lagunilla- Antiques market and my personal favorite.  They play classic rock from all the old record players.

Going Out Spots:

M.N. Roy is a stylish bar.

M.N. Roy is a stylish bar.

  • *Leonor  – Bar in front is very small and then the back dance floor (with disco ball) opens up late maybe 11pm or so . It’s part of archipelago group which also owns Mono. Claire and I LOVE this place, super fun dance spot  // Nuevo León 16306140 México, D.F. Mexico
  • Mono – The spot to go! Whether after Leonor or whatever else you do this is the spot to be and somewhat of a scene. Don’t go before 1am. // Calle Versalles 64, Cuahutémoc, Juárez, 06600 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
  • Pulqueria Los Insurgentes – This place is weird. It’s 5 stories maybe with fertility art on the walls and above the restrooms it says “pulque is the viagra of mexico.” Be sure to grab a drink at the bottom and then follow the stairs to the top. The drink is some kind of energy alcohol slushy. It’s worth checking out just don’t plan on staying long. The drink made us jittery and almost high feeling, I think it’s just packed with B vitamins ha. It’s fermented sap of agave plants. // Av. de los Insurgentes Sur 226, Cuauhtémoc, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
  • *M.N. Roy – Exclusive club. The door (a deceptively decrepit pink façade of an ice-cream parlor) is presided over by a transgender beauty named Zemmoa, who is notoriously picky about who gets past the velvet rope. It’s technically a private club—and a bit of a scene.  Designed by a really cool architect and always playing cool electronic/house music. // Mérida 186, Cuauhtémoc, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
  • Jules Basement – M.N. ROY’s sister speakeasy-style bar is hidden behind a fridge door in the basement of the hip cantina La Surtidora. The interiors are courtesy of French architecture and design collaborative Chic by Accident (glass tables with white skull bases, black walls) and make for a great place to sip a cocktail while listening to blues-and-funk-inspired tunes spun by the resident DJ. // Julio Verne 93, Miguel Hidalgo, Polanco Reforma, 11560 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
  • Patrick Miller: dance off spot that only serves beer…I’ve never been but I hear it’s quite the experience // Calle Mérida 17, Cuauhtémoc, Roma Nte
  • *Café Paraiso: hipster Mexican spot and my personal favorite.  Don’t arrive before midnight, but there may be a line.  Bottle service is very cheap and the way to make it in quicker.  I love this place…happy vibes, fun music
Share this Post 👇

Comments

comments

Join my Friends Newsletter

Every few weeks, I send out a short email with the coolest gadgets, travel hacks, and best articles I've found. Add your email to stay up to date.