Visiting Mexico City, a Gem of the Americas

Vivid colours, distinctive flavours and many layers of history make Mexico City one of the most exciting metropolises to explore! Mexico City is the cultural hub of Mexico, one of the largest cities in the world and an exciting place to visit!

Known for delicious food, ancient archaeological parks, colourful murals and art, Ciudad de Mexico, the Capital of Mexico, is the most populous city in North America.

catrinas in mexico city

I would be caught dead in Mexico City!

As one of two capital cities founded by indigenous peoples, this historical community is full of interesting sites and deep-rooted culture. For example, the Day of the Dead (or “Dia de los Muertos” in Spanish) traces its roots back to pre-Columbian times! Once an Aztec holiday for the entire month of August, this holiday has assimilated into the Christian tradition and is held on 1-2 November each year. 

Featured in the 2015 James Bond film, “Spectre”, life now imitates art with an annual colourful parade celebrating this ancient tradition.

Here’s a Pro-Tip: The currency used is the Mexican Peso. About 30 pesos is equal to one British Pound, although the rate fluctuates depending upon the US Dollar rate.

Mexico City’s international airport, Benito Juárez International Airport (MEX), is located about 11km (nearly 7mi) outside of the city centre. There are multiple options for transport from the airport to the city; taxis, ride-shares, bus or metro. The traffic in Mexico City can be grid-locked so times into the city will vary – except with the metro that requires about 50 minutes with frequent stops. When traveling around this large city, the metro is an economical and fairly simple to use option, although I recommend avoiding it during rush hour and at night. Always select a taxi from a hotel or licensed taxi stand and don’t hail a taxi from off the street.

While in Mexico City, here is what you shouldn’t miss:

 Zócalo – The main square in central Mexico City, and the heart of the Historic Centre of Mexico City in Xochimilco, this has been a gathering place since Aztec times. It is bordered by many notable buildings that are certainly worth a visit including the Cathedral Metropolitana, the National Palace and the Templo Mayor.

 Museo Nacional de Antropología – Located in Chapultepec Park, or Bosque de Chapultepec (also known as the “lungs of Mexico City”), this museum is the largest and most visited in Mexico. It displays important archaeological and anthropological relics.

You can view exhibits about the preceding communities of modern-day Mexico City including the Mayans and Aztecs.

Pirámides de Teotihuacán – Just outside the city, this ancient Aztec site is home to several Mesoamerican pyramids. You can take a tour of the area to see some of the well-preserved murals, plazas and the brilliant Sun Pyramid and Moon Pyramid.

Frida Kahlo Museum (Casa Azul) – Based in Frida Kahlo’s birthplace and home, this historic house and art museum features the works of this renowned Mexican artist as well as some of her husband’s, Diego Rivera, and others. Enjoy the tranquil gardens and the displays of the couple’s memorabilia throughout the house.

virgen de guadalupe mexico city

My view of the iconic Palacio de Bellas Artes from the Cloud

Palacio de Bellas Artes – This eye-catching, architecturally diverse building is the main cultural centre of Mexico City. However, it is not only outwardly beautiful, it is just as impressive on the inside! It hosts cultural events from literature to opera and houses a collection of impressive murals!

Teotihuacan, mexico

The Pyramid of the Sun showcases the City’s ancient heritage

Floating Gardens of Xochimilco – For a break from the bustle of the city, enjoy floating down the canals of these scenic gardens while enjoying food, drink and live entertainment in the surrounding areas.

Here’s another Pro-Tip: The tap water is not safe to drink in Mexico City, so also be cautious about ice cubes and salads (as they may have been washed in tap water).

Although Mexican cuisine is largely influenced by worldwide flavours, native staples including corn, beans, tomatoes, cacao and chili pepper are still widely used in some of Mexico’s favourite dishes. Tacos, tortas and tamales are classic foods that I highly recommend trying while in Mexico City. Mole, which is a traditional sauce typically containing fruit, chili peppers and nuts (plus additional spices such as cinnamon or cumin) is another amazing and flavourful Mexican fare that you should try! For sit-down restaurants, here are some fabulous suggestions:

  • Pujol – Known to some as the best restaurant in North America, this stylish restaurant offers beautifully presented classic Mexican dishes with indigenous ingredients and a modern twist.
  • Hacienda des los Morales – An oasis in the city located in a historic building, this restaurant serves elegant Mexican food accompanied by wonderful live music.
  • Angelopolitano – A trendy and alluring establishment specializing in mole and authentic Mexican flavours.
mexican food, tacos

Taco-bout delicious food!

There is an exciting energy to Mexico City’s nightlife! The Polanco, Roma and Juárez (specifically Zona Rosa) neighbourhoods are the best areas for nightlife in the city with many varied bar atmospheres. The possibilities are abundant with dance clubs, speakeasys and breweries nearby! Here are my top choice evening spots:

Mexico City - Tequila

Sip, sip, hooray!

  • Fifty Mils – Located in the Four Seasons Hotel in Juárez, this sophisticated bar offers quality, detailed beverages and scheduled DJ sets.
  • Xaman Bar – A dimly lit, Southwestern themed speakeasy serving a variety of cocktails made with mostly local ingredients.
  • Felina Bar – A vibrant, fun and cosy space known for rums and mezcals, featuring weekly DJ’s.

Here’s a final Pro-Tip: It is customary in Mexico City to sip your tequila, not to take shots. Savour the flavour of tequilas and mezcals and taste their complexity.

With so many different neighbourhoods with energies ranging from bustling city to slow- paced village, there are many different hotel options. Here are my recommendations:

  • Villa Condesa – Light and airy with lots of natural light, this converted mansion is located in the district of La Condesa, a fabulous cityscape location.
  • W – Located in the trendy neighbourhood of Polanco, this modern accommodation by Marriott offers lovely spa services including age-old healing practices.
  • Casa Goliana – Cosy, modern and polished, this boutique hotel in Roma is a perfectly quite stay on a rather busy street.

 

With its food, arts, ancient culture and a modern vibe, Mexico City is one of my favourite places to visit any time of the year!

 

Love,

Isabella

 

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Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Museo Nacional de Antropología, Pirámides de Teotihuacán, Palacio de Bellas Artes (http://cdmxtravel.com/en/)

Where to eat: Pujol, Hacienda des los Morales, Angelopolitan (http://pujol.com.mx/en/, https://www.haciendadelosmorales.com/restaurante.html)

Where to party: Fifty Mils, Xaman Bar, Felina Bar (https://www.fourseasons.com/mexico/dining/lounges/fifty_mils/, https://xaman.bar/)

Where to stay: Villa Condesa, W, Casa Goliana (https://www.villacondesa.com.mx/en-gb, https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mexwm-w-mexico-city, https://www.casagoliana.com/)

What to buy: Mole paste and local crafts from markets like La Cuidadela, Casa Fusion and Mercado Del Carmen

I love getting to know Mexico City!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Museo Nacional de Antropología, Pirámides de Teotihuacán, Palacio de Bellas Artes (http://cdmxtravel.com/en/)

Where to eat: Pujol, Hacienda des los Morales, Angelopolitan (http://pujol.com.mx/en/, https://www.haciendadelosmorales.com/restaurante.html)

Where to party: Fifty Mils, Xaman Bar, Felina Bar (https://www.fourseasons.com/mexico/dining/lounges/fifty_mils/, https://xaman.bar/)

Where to stay: Villa Condesa, W, Casa Goliana (https://www.villacondesa.com.mx/en-gb, https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mexwm-w-mexico-city, https://www.casagoliana.com/)

What to buy: Mole paste and local crafts from markets like La Cuidadela, Casa Fusion and Mercado Del Carmen

I love getting to know Mexico City!

10 Comments to “Visiting Mexico City, a Gem of the Americas”

  1. you have all the greats of mexico city in this post! my absolute favorite was the anthropological museum. so many amazing exhibits there! let’s also not forget the food. soooo good!

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    lannie travels at 1:46 pm
    1. Thank you for your comment, Lannie! I agree, the history in Mexico City is so interesting and the museums do a great job of exhibiting it. Oh gosh, definitely can’t forget the food! Did someone say tacos?!

      Love,
      Isabella and Katie

      0
      Katie L at 5:44 am
  2. My first international trip was to Mexico City at age 11. That’s where I caught the travel bug I’ve had ever since. At a young age I discovered the joys of soaking up a different culture. Nice overview of a great place!

    0
    Steven Jepson at 3:20 pm
    1. Hi Steven!
      Thank you so much for sharing, it sounds like Mexico City is quite special to you! What a fabulous destination to soak up the culture, too.

      Love,
      Isabella and Katie

      0
      Katie L at 5:46 am
  3. I’d enjoy trying out the tequila in those bars you mentioned. They sound like a lot of fun. There seems like a lot to see there too.

    0
    Wendy at 8:01 am
    1. The tequila or mezcal are definitely worth a shot! 😉 It is a very fun and exciting city, never a dull moment!

      Love,
      Isabella and Katie

      0
      Katie L at 5:34 am
  4. Looks like a place with plenty to do and lots of rich history to uncover!

    0
    Hannah at 1:52 pm
    1. It is true! Always something exciting around the corner. Fun for everyone 🙂

      Love,
      Isabella and Katie

      0
      Katie L at 6:01 am
  5. Another beautiful guide on another city on my bucket list. You are awesome at churning out these guides.

    0
    John Carpediemeire at 5:25 pm
    1. Thank you John! It is a pleasure to do so, I am so glad that you enjoy them!

      Love,
      Isabella and Katie

      0
      Katie L at 6:00 am

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