ESSENTIALS

  • Don’t call it Mexico City – locals refer to the capital as D.F. (‘de’ ‘efe’) for Distrito Federal
  • Transportation – use only authorized taxis & the metro system is easy, cheap and efficient
  • Lunch is the big meal of the day and can last a few hours. Propinas are expected so tip around 15% 
  • Street food is cheap, safe & tasty – sample agua frescas, empanadas, fruit salad, and tacos al pastor
  • It’s the oldest (founded in 1325) and highest (7,350 feet) metropolis in North America with the largest population (estimated 22 million) in the Western hemisphere
Mexico City
"I was born a bitch. I was born a painter." - Frida Kahlo

SHORTLIST

  1. Pay a visit to the impressive Museo Soumaya
  2. Tuna tostadas and micheladas at Contramar
  3. Luxury shopping in Polanco
  4. Rooftop sunset at Condesa DF
  5. Dinner at Pujol, one of the world’s best restaurants
  6. Gallery and cafe hopping in Roma
  7. Sip on pulque in a working-class drinking hole
  8. Souvenir shopping at El Bazaar Sábado
  9. Afternoon stroll through the Chapultepec park 
  10. A refreshing agua fresca from a street cart

STAY

Modern B&B
$-$$
Charming residential inn
$$-$$$
Contemporary boutique hotel
$$$

ITINERARY

Friday

  • Panadería Rosetta | Stop by this low-ceiling charming little bakery for a croissant and coffee to start your day. Grab a seat if you can find one at the tiny bar or take it para llevar to the nearby Plaza Rio de Janeiro.
  • Roma | The once gritty neighborhood is experiencing a rebirth with places like MODO (standing for ‘Object of the Object Museum’ in Spanish) with 30,000 or so ordinary objects collected by one man for over forty years. Goodbye Folk is a vintage boutique with a barbershop in the back. Just off the square, Galería OMR is an interesting space housed in a Colonia Roma house. The quirky exhibits are definitely worth a visit and the gallery has international presence in the art world. The new Mercado Roma is emulating the latest big city trend (think Eataly in NYC) by setting up a market for specialty vendors and products. It’s modern and stylish with a rooftop beer garden.
  • Contramar | Get ready to taste some of the most incredible tuna tostadas of your life. I love everything about this place. It’s bright, bustling and casual, popular with fashionable locals and the perfect place to spend a lingering lunch with micheladas. Do not miss this spot!
  • Tout Chocolat | Satisfy your sweet tooth at this charming chocolate shop.
  • Kurimanzutto Gallery | Visit the premier contemporary gallery of the city featuring both international and local artists. Founded by a husband and wife team, the impressive art gallery was founded in 2008.
  • Cantina del Bosque | Stop by the traditional cantina for an afternoon mint julep or an afternoon taco de lengua.
  • Bosque de Chapultepec | Within the 1,600 acre green park, you’ll find the site of what was once an Aztec palace, where the Mexican people made one of their last stands against the Spaniards. The Castillo is beautiful and boasts views of the city from atop the ‘Grasshopper Hill’. The rooms are filled with furniture carved from malachite, beautiful artwork and chandeliers.
  • Anthropology Museum | Designed by Architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez’s, this is one of the finest archaeological collections in the world. Each room of the museum displays artifacts from a specific geographic region or culture. There is so much to explore, you could easily spend a full day here.
  • Maximo Bistrot Local | Enjoy a farm-to-table dinner by Chef Eduardo Garcia who worked in the kitchens of Pujol & Le Bernardin in NY. The rustic bistro is set in a former medical supply store in La Roma. Dishes combine local ingredients with European preparation.
  • Condesa DF | Head to the super hip hotel for a cocktail with the artsy crowd. The terrace nestled among the treetops offers views of La Condesa’s Parque España.

Saturday

  • San Angel Inn | Enjoy breakfast on the terrace of this 17th century monastery next to the Diego Rivera museum. The gardens are beautifully adorned with stone fountains and blooming flowers. The restaurant feels worlds away from the bustling city.
  • Diego Rivera Studio Museum | Across from the San Angel is the 1930’s home Rivera built for himself and Frida. Some of his last paintings are still resting on easels & a denim jacket hangs over a chair as if the artist is going to return at any moment. (10-6 pm, closed Mon)
  • El Bazaar Sábado | Hundreds of vendors set up stalls on the streets surrounding the colonial mansion. Inside the mansion there are higher quality goods including papier-mâché flowers, alebrijes (intricately painted wooden animals from Oaxaca) and textiles. Don’t miss the upstairs room filled with beautiful ceramic dishware.
  • Casa Azul | Visit the house where artist Frida Kahlo was born, lived with her husband Diego Rivera and eventually died. There are few of her original paintings, but the house serves as more of a shrine to the artist. Note the canopy bed with a huge mirror so that she could paint herself when bedridden. (10-5:45 pm, closed Mon)
  • Corazón de Maguey | Grab lunch at the mezcalería serving queso fundido, aguachile de camarón (shrimp cooked in lime and chile) and salbutes (puffed deep fried tortilla topped with meat).
  • Polanco Shopping | Often compared to the Parisian concept store Colette, COMMON PEOPLE has clothing & accessories by Comme des Garcons, Alexis Bittar jewelery and Vitra furniture. Grab an afternoon tea on the small terrace of the Hungrian Cafe upstairs. Nearby Cafe Biscottino serves excellent coffee for the posh crowd. Stroll along Presidente Masaryk for high-end stores like Louis Vuitton and Cartier. Stop by the open-air shopping mall Antara for upscale brands.
  • Museo Soumaya | Inside the massive structure covered in thousands of hexagon aluminum tiles is a 66,000-piece collection of billionaire philanthropist Carlos Slim. Similar to the Guggenheim in NYC, visitors walk up the curved ramps to get from one floor to the next. The museo features sculptures by Rodin and Dalí, as well as work by Rivera, El Greco, Picasso and da Vinci. The building cost approximately $70 million to build. (10:30-6:30 pm daily, admission free)
  • Pujol | Named one of the 50 Best Restaurants in the World (currently #20), Chef Enrique Olvera’s restaurant does not disappoint. Authentic flavors & ingredients are used to reinvent classic Mexican dishes. It’s elegant & artful with exquisite presentations. The $95 prix fixe is worth every penny. 

 

Sunday

  • Delirio | Stop by this gourmet ‘foodie’ shop for a breakfast pastry and coffee. A few blocks over, Abarrotes Delirio offers more of a take-away option in a super hip setting.
  • Casa Lamm | A cultural center specializing in art research and consultation, this small 1800’s mansion  has three exhibition spaces, a library and an excellent bookstore.
  • Plaza Garibaldi | Known for its mariachis performing at all times of day, use caution in this part of town as the surrounding areas are not the safest.
  • Palacio de Bellas Artes | Head to the massive white-marble opera house built in 1904 to see Diego River’s mural El Hombre en el Cruce de Caminos. The mural was originally commissioned for the Rockefeller Center but deemed to controversial and eventually destroyed. He recreated the mural on a smaller scale using photographs of the original work.
  • Palacio Postal | A beautiful example of Renaissance Revival, the post office is beautiful and ornate. Great place for photos!
  • Dulcería de Celaya | Founded in 1874, pop into this candy shop to sample candied guava and cajeta, a thick caramelized milk.
  • Palacio Nacional | The building dating from 1693 is worth a visit solely for Diego Rivera’s epic murals on the second floor. Rivera and his assistants worked on the murals for more than 20 years and used techniques from Renaissance Italian fresco painting.
  • Templo Mayor | The ruins of this Aztec empire were accidentally discovered in 1978 by telephone repairmen. The temple has since been turned into an archaeological site and museum.
  • Fonda El Refugio | Fill up on a hearty lunch of caldo tlalpeño (chicken soup) or huachinango (red snapper) at a traditional restaurant serving authentic Mexican food. It’s simple, tasty and the bright colors offer a cheerful environment.
  • Las Duelistas | Follow up a traditional dining experience by sampling the traditional working-class drink called pulque. Made from the same plant used for making mezcal (maguey), the mildly alcoholic drink is made by fermenting the fresh sap. It’s become popular among the younger crowd recently.
  • Mercado San Juan | A foodie’s heaven, this local market is an experience that should not be missed. Vendors are friendly and offer samples of locally-grown produce and spices. It’s a great place to try chapulines (grasshoppers) seasoned with garlic, lime juice and salt!
  • Quintonil | Ranked 21st on the list of Latin America’s Best Restaurants, the former Pujol Chef, Jorge Vallejo, source indigenous ingredients like quintonil (amaranth greens) to elevate classic dishes. It’s cosy and relaxed with flavors you’ve unlikely tasted. 
  • Jules Basement | Just around the corner you’ll find a speakeasy in the basement of an unassuming taco joint. Attracting a designer crowd, the impressive space serves classic cocktails with a twist. Try a ‘Mezcal Negroni’ or a ‘Guatemala Sazerac’ and enjoy a design-centric bar that represents all that D.F. has to offer.

PACKING LIST

ROADMAP

Includes every location mentioned above
Lauren Greenberg
Itinerary By

Founder of The Weekender

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