After the recent earthquake in Mexico, we were reminded what a resilient country with such open and giving people it is. In these current times of such extreme polarization and uncertainty, we were moved to write something about Mexico City – one of the most vibrant and exciting cities that we’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. We have included links to different organizations that are doing very good work to rebuild the city and surrounding areas, but this city guide aims to celebrate the vibrant culture, incredible food scene and hidden gems of the DF. See below for how to help Mexico rebuild.
Mexican actors Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal put together a campaign with Ambulante and Omaze to help the victims of the earthquake in Mexico. Anything donated will go directly to the people of Mexico. On their donation page it is stated: “Ambulante will receive and distribute 100 percent of the funds directly to local organizations and social initiatives dedicated to helping those most affected by this catastrophe.” It’s nice knowing that your money is going specifically to organizations that need them.
Referencia: Brigada de Rescate Topos Tlaltelolco, A.C.
This is a well known and beloved baker, located in a beautifully decorated old town house–don’t forget to check out the bathrooms, replete with quirky details. They have some of the best pastries and breads in the whole city and it’s also a wonderful spot to have a long lunch on a weekend.
Lardo, which has the same owners as Rosetta, has healthy breakfasts, juices, pastries and gourmet coffee. They do hearty Italian tapas for lunch and dinner and they have an extensive and well-curated wine list making this a good locale to sit and chill for hours at a time.
This is a juice and plant based diet lover’s paradise. It’s colorful array of fresh vegetables and refreshing juices are a perfect pitstop before heading out for a day wandering around Condesa or Polanco (there are two locations, check their website for details).
This storied restaurant is the destination to try if you’re a seafood lover. They only serve lunch so make sure you carve out a good couple of hours in the lunch hour to go. Their tuna tostadas and fish “a la talla” are so good you’ll want to go back for a repeat. Not to be missed.
This is a classic destination for traditional Mexican food. Go for breakfast! You’ll have the most authentic chilaquiles and huevos rancheros you’ve ever tasted.
This 17th Century Hacienda is worth it for the setting alone, in the past it was a monastery as well as a pulque (cactus alcohol) factory. It has a colonial air about it–stop by for a Sunday lunch or just have a tamarindo margarita in one of the airy corridors.
This food market is the real deal: it’s where the local chefs go to get all the top gourmet ingredients for their restaurants. Even if you’re not in the mood to pick up anything to cook yourself, it’s worth it to just have a wander around and witness the wide array of Mexico’s spices and rarities.
This Oaxacan restaurant is on the main square in Coyoacan, and is a good option if you’re going to visit Frida Kahlo’s house. Go for dinner after a day in Coyoacan and get the tortilla soup, then check out the local bars playing live music.
Dulce Patria adds to Mexico City’s reputation for a gastronomic paradise. Helmed by chef Martha Ortiz, tts menu is one of the most original you might ever have the good fortune of trying. It was recently listed as one of the 50 best Latin American restaurants and with good reason: it’s a creative take on Mexican classics like tostada, quesadillas and ceviche.
This speakeasy jazz bar has a rotating series of live music and unbelievably delicious drinks. After you’ve had a few of their famous martinis, head to the diner in the front and order the truffle fries and cheeseburger. You will not be disappointed and your hangover will thank you.
This is really the only late night club worth its salt in Mexico City. Whenever famous DJs or artists hit the city, they’ll either have a residency here or at least do a couple of shows. It’s where basically the whole city ends up after-hours.
If you’re into mezcal, this off the beaten track bar is definitely a must-try. It’s small, candlelit and romantic–and it feels like a total hidden treasure.
When a bar is in a weird and wonderful locale, that’s when we jump for joy. There’s just something so exciting about drinking in a place that it wasn’t originally intended for. It’s a jazz bar inside ancient bank vaults. The most attractive thing, though, about Zinco, is how excellent the music is and it draws a wide ranging crowd: from: bohemians to students and intellectuals to businessmen.
This is a small boutique hotel inside a 1920s townhouse designed by arthitect Emmanuel PIcault. The design details are extraordinarily unique, and it’s a good place to stay if you’re looking for a great location in La Roma. There is even the option to stay in a room where you can roll the bed on to a terrace and project films on to the wall.
This B&B is located right next to the architectural gem Alameda park, and is right next to some of the cities coolest boutiques and restaurants. They have spacious and elegant rooms, you’ll feel at home in a bohemian lover’s paradise. It’s self described “for travelers by travelers”, and lends itself well to solo adventurers hoping to be in a friendly atmosphere.
This hotel has a lot going for it: housing on of those unicorns, a rooftop pool that also doesn’t break the bank! It’s exactly what you might need on hot summer days after pounding the pavement sightseeing, plus there are a great selection of shops in the courtyard and a very unique “green wall”, replete with bicycle. You have to see it for yourself.
If you want to get some very high quality Mexican artisanal goods as gifts, make sure you put Onora at the top of your list. The found, Maggie Dalton, has worked with many of Mexico’s indigenous communities in order to create ethical items. Everything is so beautiful you may wish you could bring the whole shop home.
Incredible bookstore where you can literally get lost for hours, with both new books and vintage treasures. Make sure you go with enough space in your suitcase to take home some special finds.
These are the two studios and Frida and Diego would spend each day, side by side (in separate buildings), creating art. The house was designed by architect Juan O’Gorman, and are linked by a small terrace. The compact and utilitarian design fit perfectly into the lore of their relationship.
No trip to Mexico City would be complete without a trip to Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in Coyoacan. It was donated to the government after her death and many of her most famous pieces are housed here. It’s a step back in time, as well, many of the rooms have been preserved perfectly as is.
This cinema is a local favourite, if you’re interested in seeing some of the best contemporary Mexican films from new talent this is the place to go. They also host concerts, workshops and comedy nights and have a whole host of other programming available too!
This is the city’s main concert and arts hall, with a rotating selection of events throughout the year. It’s worth a visit anytime though, Rufino Tamayo and Diego Rivera used this building as a venue for some of their most impressive and politically charged murals.
This sprawling museum has an impressive collection of some of Mexico’s rarest artefacts. It will take you hours to pore through all of it, but it’s an incredible study in the varied and stunning history of mexico and its many cultures, languages and peoples.
El Jumex is a contemporary art museum with a huge collective of Latin American contemporary art. The impressive building alone, designed by David Chipperfield, makes this worth the visit but the collection is also exciting and innovative.