If Mexico City isn't already on your list of must-go travel destinations, you would do yourself a disservice to not add it to the top of your list. In all honesty it had never really been that high on mine until a wine-induced promise lead us to book plane tickets the next day.
Growing up in the Northeast, I didn't experience much Mexican culture at all, and I never realized how much I was missing. In the past two years I've traveled to Mexico three times and each time I go, I grow to love it more. It admittedly helps that one of my best girlfriends is Mexican, speaks fluent Spanish, and charismatically and enthusuatically played tour guide on two of the three trips. Mexico has endless wonders and gems to be discovered and Mexico City is SO damn cool.
We started our adventure at Quintonil - a restaurant that lands high on multiple lists of the best restaurants in the world. Sounds fancy... and it was, but the best part of traveling to Mexico City at that time was the conversion rate of USD to Pesos. This dinner didn't cost us much more than a nice night out in San Francisco, but the experience was a much more memorable one.
We stayed in the Condesa neighborhood which was both charming and also the perfect place to explore the city on foot. One of my favorite spots nearby was Blanco Colima - a gorgeous historic colonial building that serves as a hip brunch spot by day and a glamorous club scene at night.
No trip of ours is complete without Zack tracking down a place that makes elaborate (hipster!) coffee. Luckily our friends knew the owner of an amazing shop in our part of town, a cozy little spot called Dosis.
The Museo Nacional de Antropología was breathtaking. I've been to the Smithsonian many times but visiting an anthropological museum in a foreign country was really fascinating. We happened to be there at the same time as a temporary exhibit, "Lucy" - the worlds oldest woman. She was off to Europe next and seems to travel the world an impressive amount for someone aged 3.2 million years.
One day of our trip our friends all rallied for an adventure to the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco. The best way I can describe this experience was one of those beyond cheesy things that is so over the top that it's actually totally fabulous. Hundreds of brightly colored river boats wait to be hired to take you on a tour through the gardens and waterways - all while having boats pull up next to you offering freshly made tacos, micheladas, and whatever you could need in order to have a debaucherous float down the river.
About halfway down the river, we just couldn't resist inviting a full Mariachi band on board to play us a few songs.
Perhaps my favorite adventure, and something I will never forget, was visiting the home of Mexican architect, Luis Barragán. If you've never heard of him, this story is truly fascinating [READ THIS!].
This particular home of his is not open to the public and it took me some major digging to figure out how to visit, but it was completely worth it and nothing short of magic. I could have stayed and taken photos for hours, watching the shadows transform throughout the day against the strongly geometric and colorful backgrounds.
A few people had warned me about Mexico City being dangerous and while we visited this spot I became a bit panicked when I thought I had heard nearby gunshots. Of course it just turned out to be a local celebration for Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe and left me feeling rather silly and sheltered. The one thing I will say regarding safety is that I was careful here just as I would be traveling in any foreign place - I didn't go anywhere alone, didn't wear my engagement ring, and opted for Ubers over local cabs (which I've heard not-the-greatest stories about). Ubers are abundant in this city.
Perhaps the best possible ending to our trip was eating at the legendary and world renowned Pujol. As huge fans of the show Chef's Table (and this being our favorite episode) this was high on our list of things to do. Our friend pulled a few strings to get us in last minute and getting there turned out to be quite the adventure. Long story short - I got stuck in our rickety old elevator for over an hour, thought I would surely die, and ended up having to crawl out of it... but nothing a few tequila shots couldn't fix! The meal was incredibly elaborate and inspiring and we were even invited to tour the kitchen afterwards. I plan on dedicating a separate post to that experience because it was really special.
Below are my top favorite things that we did and enough suggestions to fill an entire trip! BON VOYAGE!
MEXICO CITY HIGHLIGHTS + Travel tips
Restaurants + Food
Pujol - best meal of my life
Mercado Roma - a fun marketplace with lots of food options
El Moro Churreria - churros!
Almanegra - coffee shop
El Parnita - best tacos EVER
Lardo- wonderful dinner spot
Fonda Mayora - delish casual breakfast
De mar a mar - amazing seafood!!!
Bars + Clubs
MN Roy - very very cool interior designed by a famous French architect, go early to be sure you get in (party doesn't start till 2am)
Departamento - cool bar, the vibe is that it's an "apartment"
Blanco Colima - gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous, considered the idea of having a wedding reception here!
Don't pay people in USD (you'll look like a gringo)
Use pesos and understand the value
Don't drink the water unless you are Mexican or accustomed to it - stick to bottled or purified
Speak Spanish as much as possible :)
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