Travel Guide: Mexico City
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A couple weekends ago, Nick and i accompanied some friends to Mexico City. Neither of us had been before. Heck, I’ve barely been to Mexico! I had been once on a cruise (which doesn’t really count in my opinion) and then Nick took me to Tulum for my birthday last year. I had thought of visiting Mexico City before, but never really made it happen.
Palacio de las Artes
Floating Gardens in Xochimilco
Let me tell ya 1) put Mexico City on your To Visit list and 2) put any notions of Cabo and Cancun, etc out of your mind. It is not like that at all. Mexico City is actually more European feeling (so I’m told - still on my list to visit!) than anything resort like. It is a big city with lots of people - I believe the pilot said something like 24 million people?! Honestly, with the traffic, I believe it.
We spent a long weekend in Mexico City - left on Thursday afternoon and arrived back in Dallas on Sunday evening. While it was the perfect amount of time to enjoy the city and get a taste of all it has to offer, we could have spent so many more day there and already want to go back!
I will say we spent a lot of time in Downtown proper, but there’s a ton of things to do within in driving distance as well! I encourage you to spend at least some time in Downtown because although I loved visiting places like the Polanco neighborhood, I think it’s important to get a feel of what life is actually like there and spend time amongst its people! First I’ll go through what our itinerary looked like, then give you a full fledged recommendation list including places we visited, but also ideas from some of our friends who are from CDMX and who have visited, so you know they’re legit!
Lunch at El Charco de las Ranas
The yummiest app at La Azotea
Thursday: Arrived - had a very late dinner at La Casa de Toño (quick, easy, and yummy!) and then stopped in for a drink at the house of tile before heading back to our rooms. The House of Tile (Casa de los Azulejos) is made of …tile (lol) and is actually sinking because of it. It’s really cool to even just look at if you don’t want to go in and eat/drink.
Friday: We had breakfast at El Cardenal (indulge in their sweet breads!0, then ventured to Xochimilco around 11 am to do the floating gardens -we had lunch/margaritas on the boat and it was one of our favorite meals. We should have done Frida’s house when were out here, but didn’t. Next time though!! We got some churros at El Moro, then went back to the hotel and relaxed before we had a drink/appetizer at La Azotea, the rooftop bar at Chaya. That night we had dinner at Azul 70. It had great views and I got the cream of cilantro soup which was fabulous. It was just kind of a weird experience because we were the only people in the restaurant on a Friday evening. We went back to Chaya and had drinks at the Mezcal bar located under the hotel, before calling it a night.
Saturday: We spent most of this day in the city! We had breakfast at Chaya, then walked to the Zócalo (main square). It is huge and is neat just to stand there and look out, as it faces a cathedral. It was also fun to recount history there, as it used to serve as the main ceremonial center in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. There are several restaurants around that overlook it, so we stopped in for a quick little drink, before going to lunch at El Charco de las Ranas. Next we went to Panadaria Ideal. If you love carbs, you need to go here. They have trays and trays of bread, cakes, empanadas, cookies, etc. We bought some to enjoy then and to take back as gifts. SO GOOD. You’ll see people carrying around their goodies from there, as they wrap it in this pretty blue/white paper and tie it with string for you to hold. Next we went back to the hotel to change for dinner! We took an Uber to Polanco for the evening. We stopped at El Palacio de Hierro and had a drink on their rooftop bar area, then tried out luck at getting into Pujol. We were on the waitlist and never made it on the dinner list, but we did have a drink and some bites there. It was actually my favorite margarita of the trip! We had dinner at Dante, and dessert at Ivoire, then headed back to the hotel.
Sunday: Another morning, another amazing breakfast at Chaya! We left this day, so it was a bit short. We walked to the Diego Rivera museum (which was free - it may be a Sunday thing) and then to the Palacio de Bellas Artes (also free!) to see some more art. We wish we could have seen the baile folklorico, but it was an afterthought. After that, we packed up our stuff and went to the airport to head back to Dallas!
My favorite margarita of the trip at Pujol
The churro at Pujol
The flag at the zocalo
Having a drink overlooking the zocalo
Monument in the Alameda
WHERE TO STAY:
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK: (I was going to separate “bars” from “restaurants”, but all the bar food we had amazing so you really can’t go wrong!)
Churrería el Moro
El charco de las ranas
La Casa de Tono
Mi Gusto Es
Terraza Cha Cha Cha
Inside a pretty cathedral
The cutest sign in Polanco
A portion of a Diego Rivera mural
WHAT TO DO:
Neighborhoods to explore:
Castillo de Chapultepec
Diego Rivera Mural Museum
Museo de Antropología
Museo de Arte Moderno
Museo Casa Diego y Frida
Museo Dolores Olmedo
Museo Frida Kahlo (The Blue House)
Museo Templo Mayor
Palacio de Bellas Artes
El Palacio de Hierro
Mercado de Coyoacán
Churros at El Moro
-Leave nice jewelry at home. I left my wedding bands and engagement rings at home. I honestly never felt like they would have been an issue, but better safe than sorry.
-Layer. We went in February when it was obviously still winter, but Mexico in general can be warm during the day and cold at night. I’m going to do a whole blog post on what to wear in Mexico City, but basically just know that layers are your friend! As someone who is usually on the colder side, I wore a tee and had a jacket ready for the wind/if it was cloudy. ALSO keep in mind they dress more European..not the bright colors you think of wearing to Cabo or Cancun.
-Water. Drink bottled water!! Also don’t forget about the ice. Nick and I had ice and we had to run to the bathroom frequently for a week. Apparently it is kind of normal for that to happen and eventually your body gets used to it? Either way , avoid Mexican water and ice if all possible!
-Money. The American dollar is really strong, so you might be surprised how little things will cost! Use this to your benefit for sure!! We split a lot of stuff with the couple we traveled with and I think the most money on dinner per couple was $50. And that was for a nice dinner! Try and share food if you can, because you’ll get to try a lot more if you do. Also helps with the budget ;)
Overall we could not recommend Mexico City more and we already want to go back! I had people ask me if it would be good for a family trip, couples trip, and even a bachelorette party. My answer? YES!!! Do it. There’s so much culture, food and fun to be had here. A must-visit for sure! Do you have a favorite I missed? Mostly i just want to make sure to get a reservation at Pujol, see Frida’s house and explore more neighborhoods next time!!
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