Mexico City, I could not possibly love you any more.
Mexico City, a sprawling metropolis filled with millions upon millions of people, seriously good restaurants and a vast variety of museums to ignite that cultural spark. The city gets a bad rap, but not once did I feel unsafe walking down the streets alone, much less in my apartment. Once you do a little research, you will find that Mexico City is perfectly safe and has really turned into a vivacious, booming city over the past several years.
That being said, you will definitely need more than just a few days to explore this city if you want to attempt to hit everything on the ‘must-do’ list. It’s seriously THAT big, and that full of adventure.
One huge bonus IMO: this place is not touristy at all, which helps to keep prices down. I kid you not, 6 of us could go to a nice dinner and full on indulge in apps, entrees, bottles upon bottles of wine and wind up paying $30 USD (or $600 pesos) per person. You tell me a spot in NYC where you can find prices like that and I will love you forever.
One high recommendation: avoid taxi’s and opt for Uber. The fare will be extremely cheap, with great and fast service. This is essentially the only way to travel around the city. Most places you venture to will have access to WiFi, so plan accordingly prior to stepping out.
WHERE TO STAY:
As I was traveling with a group of 6, and over New Year’s, we opted to stay in an AirB&B so that we could all be together to get our party on. Our penthouse was located in San Miguel Chapultepec, which boarders La Roma and Condesa – all of which are considered to be the best (and safest) neighborhoods in Mexico City. These three areas can be compared to that of a Williamsburg or East Village in New York City. Restaurants, shops and cafes make up the majority of the tree-lined street fronts. It was perfect for what we were looking for and would highly recommend to anyone traveling in a group.
WHERE TO EAT:
- Rosetta – Best meal and cutest ambiance in Mexico City, hands down. Be sure to make a reservation for either lunch or dinner well in advance.
- Pujol – Words cannot describe the Pujol experience. Pronounced ‘Pu-yol’ not to be confused with ‘Pu-hol’. As this is listed as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, you will want to make a reservation here for either the lunch or dinner seating the second they are available for the date you are after – at least 2 weeks in advance. This meal will run you a pretty penny, but you will indulge in 7+ courses, all phenomenal and surprisingly large.
- Los Panchos – Authentic Mexican food. Enough said.
- Panaderia Rosetta – An adorable cafe owned and operated by the same people that run Rosetta. They are also just down the block from each other, so worth it to stop in for a snack prior to your meal.
- Cancino San Miguel – Located in San Miguel Chapultepec, this was one that we just so happened to stumble upon. The atmosphere is absolutely adorable – very garden-esque with plants, cool lighting, and private rooms for larger groups. They serve quinoa salads and pizzas. Perfect for a more casual dinner.
- Street Meat – Okay, okay. I know what you are probably thinking…no way I am eating meat off the streets of Mexico City. But, let me just tell you. The tacos al pastor from the street vendors are some of the best I have ever tried. They are typically less than $.50 for one and pack some serious flavor. Be on the lookout for meat on a spick, that’s a tell tale sign that it’s fresh and okay to consume.
WHERE TO DRINK:
- Hotel Condesa DF – Rooftop bars are and forever will be my jam. The rooftop bar of this hotel is seriously cool – stop by before dinner for a cocktail and enjoy the city views. I would highly recommend drinking as much Mezcal as possible in Mexico City. Some people hate it, but omg I can’t get enough.
- Departamento Bar – This upstairs bar is very quaint with a live music/DJ stage, and lounge areas throughout. They may charge you a cover, but it’s worth the stop in for a drink post dinner.
WHAT TO DO:
- Frida Kahlo Museum – This is very obviously a must-do while in Mexico City. Buy tickets online in advance to avoid the lines. There will be lines, trust me. The website tells you that you will need to print the tickets, however, you can show them on your phone at the door and it will work like a charm.
- Chapultepec Castle – Located in El Bosque de Chapultepec, this castle sits high above the city, giving you major 360 views. The grounds are unbelievably gorgeous and museum equally as impressive. Get here early or you will find yourself at the back of a very long line.
- National Museum of Anthropology – This museum is the largest in the Western Hemisphere and is an absolute must if you ever find yourself in Mexico City. The progression through time is outstanding and wonderfully executed. There are some epic ruins as well. Located just off El Bosque de Chapultepec, it would be timely to stop here after the Chapultepec Castle.
- Zocalo – The main area of the city. A large square surrounded by shopping, bars and MASS amounts of people. Honestly, it was a swarm of humans. An experience unlike anything I have encountered.
- Casa de los Azulejos – Located just several blocks from Zocalo, this is a house that rings true to it’s name – covered in tiles. Mexican tiles aligning so closely with the culture, it’s a great sight to see.
- La Ciudadela – Shopping! La Ciudadela is a massive artisan market featuring everything from silver, textiles and pottery. Located just Southwest of Zocalo & The House of Tiles, it’s worth a trip…especially if you are a sucker for a bargain.