May 1, 2021
8 min read
A City Guide to Mexico City
Mexico City is a place with immense design-forward thinking and cultural activity, plus a culinary scene that has taken the world by storm. The population has always been diverse, and that’s the draw that keeps people moving here, for a community that’s a constantly evolving.
We could spend our entire visit to Mexico City alternating between taco stands and progressive restaurants. In fact, we have. Though there is so much more to do, from museums to exhibitions, shops and parties. Plus, all the walking and dancing helps balance out the eating. It’s a win win.
Below, find a few of our favorite spots in Mexico City that you may or may not have heard about. ¡Vamos!
Where to stay in Mexico City
Nima Local House Hotel
This is a four-room boutique hotel that you should definitely consider booking in advance. Housed in one of the prettiest townhouses in Roma Norte, each room is designed with its own style and most have windows opening up onto a quiet street. The lobby is covered in greenery and makes for a perfect place for a drink or coffee. It’s the type of place you never want to leave.
Located right in the middle of the chic Condesa neighborhood, Condesa DF is one ofGrupo Habita
‘s top hotels. The modern interior serves as a contrast to the colonial exterior. The rooms aren’t large, but they are perfectly done. Definitely head to the roof for a cocktail.
The Wild Oscar
Situated in the posh Polanco neighborhood, this boutique hotel caters to those looking to mix business with luxury travel. The eclectic, modern design creates an upscale but comfortable atmosphere. We suggest springing for a higher-tier room to also enjoy a large private terrace.
Where to eat in Mexico City
Masala y Maíz
As the name suggests, this restaurant is a Mexican and Indian fusion that results in truly amazing food. The concept was born out of two friends – one Indian, one Mexican – putting together a menu for a dinner party and finding the similarities between the two cuisines. Order the uttapam, along with a bottle from the natural wine list.
When you walk into Casa Virginia you’ll notice the white table cloths and well-dressed waiters. This is perfectly complemented by the untouched, old mansion the restaurant lives in. The entire menu is excellent and the simplicity of the space only adds to the atmosphere. It isn’t the tacos or mole you might be craving, but it’s really good for a nice meal out.
, and we aren’t saying that La Docena is a replacement, but if you want less 3pm power lunch and more laid-back cool, this is your place. The seafood is what Docena is known for, and we love the music as much as we love the food. It’s also good for a group.
Enrique Olvera, chef and founder of famed restaurantPujol
(which we, of course, expect you to have a reservation at already, hence why we aren’t including it on this list), opened up this daytime cafe near his flagship restaurant. It’s delicious, considerably more affordable, and should be where you head for your first breakfast in Mexico City.
This taco stand will give you the gift of truly fantastic late-night al pastor. The fact that it’s next to a car wash should only solidify the fact that it is the real deal.
Where to shop in Mexico City
Macolen is a print shop that functions as a commercial press, where locals send their work to be professionally printed,
a cute shop selling its own designs and illustrations. There are varied drawings done by artists from around the world. And you can feel good about the prints you buy, because Macolen is committed to sending half the proceeds back to the artist.
This fashion-forward shop in Roma Norte is a bit on the edgier side, and that’s what we love about it.
Weil’s gorgeous designs are all inspired by Latin culture. Here, you’ll find long silk dresses, trousers, and textiles that ring true to high-end Mexican fashion.
This concept store carries a great selection of Mexican designers. We love their clothing selection, but you will also find jewelry, objects, and homeware.
Where to get coffee in Mexico City
This beautiful Juaréz coffee shop seems like a Belle Époque wonder you might stumble upon in Paris. But because you’re in Mexico City, it’s even better. If you leave here without a pastry, you’re doing it wrong.
We’re including Café Negro because it’s a solid coffee spot in the Coyoacán neighborhood (ie: not the usual focus of Condesa, Roma, or Juaréz). They roast all their own beans and have a commitment to small coffee producers. Order your coffee black and grab a pastry here, too.
Buna Coffee is some of our favorite coffee in Mexico; we always bring back a few bags of beans in our luggage. Their super sleek, minimalist shop is perfect for an afternoon pick me up – not a place you can lounge all day, but 100% worth the visit.
Ojo de Agua
If coffee isn’t your thing, come to Ojo de Agua for juice. Right off the beautiful Calle Amsterdam, this adorable cafe has some great fruity options while you’re shopping around Condesa.
Where to drink
This mezcal bar in the city’s Centro district is one of our favorites. Once you make your way through a curtained door, you’ll find a small, concrete-walled bar, bringing all the right kind of heat.
We love Cicatriz during the day, when it serves good bowl food and coffee, but we love it more at night when the cocktails come out. It’s a true neighborhood spot for a cool, young, local crowd.
For all intents and purposes, Páramo is a restaurant. That said, we use it more as a bar. That isn’t because the food isn’t great (it is), but the drinks are even better. We love the high ceilings, long wooden tables, and perfect lighting, and it’s a great place to come for a birthday. It’s loud enough to make you feel like you’re somewhere worth being, but quiet enough so you can have a conversation.
Where to dance in Mexico City
Leonor is an underground club in the middle of the city. There is no sign on the door, and if we weren’t visiting local friends who frequent this sweaty underground dance fest, we would have missed it altogether. The space isn’t big, but there is a disco ball, strong drinks, and great music.
There is usually a line to get into Café Paraíso, but once you walk down the stairs and see the neon signage and tropical style decor, you will understand why. The space feels a bit like Miami, but better. We love the music and the DJs.
Note that this party only goes off on Fridays. The dance moves are serious, there are two floors to appreciate the full scale of the fiesta, and you will find people from all over enjoying the music. No need for heels or dress shoes, but make sure to not wear anything too warm as you will end up getting sweaty.
Where to work
This is a beautiful co-working space with three different locations in Mexico City. We love the Condesa location, but all three are perfect places to sit down and get some work done; and there are meeting rooms, a cafe, a bar, and even photo studios.
Librería de Porrúa
This beautiful little bookstore is located in Bosque de Chapultepec park. With a store and cafe at the entrance, and stairs down to a patio that overlooks the park lake, it would be hard to find a more peaceful place to work in the city.
Courtyard of Nima Local House
If you need to find a quiet place to focus, stay in at the Nima Local House Hotel. The courtyard is surrounded by greenery, and you can make yourself comfortable in one of the banquets for a while.
What to do in Mexico City
El Bazar Sábado
On Saturday’s, a square in the San Ángel neighborhood turns into a full market of craft vendors. You will find artists selling higher-end goods, so don’t forget to bring along extra cash. It’s also a great excuse to explore this beautiful neighborhood south of the city center.
One of our favorite markets in Mexico City, La Lagunilla happens on Sundays. If you are a first-time visitor and aren’t familiar with getting around or the language, try to go with someone who is a bit more local. You will find exceptional antiques, great accessories, and perfect gifts to take home.
If you have seen your friends on colorful boats, drinking beer, listening to mariachi music… they were at Xochimilco. Set on a series of canals, you can rent a gondola and have food vendors and other bands float up to your boat. It’s absolutely a tourist experience, but a fun one nevertheless.
Where to get your hit of culture
Luis Barragán’s Architecture Tours
Whether you make an appointment to visitCasa Luis Barragán
or choose to visitCasa Giraldi
(which are privately owned, but you can pay to visit), you can’t leave Mexico City without experiencing the work of Barragán. He is arguably the most famous architect of all-time here, and his style has defined much of what we think of as Mexico City design.
The Frida Kahlo Museum is located in her home in the center of Coyoacán. Make sure to buy tickets beforehand as the time slots sell out. We could go on and on about this amazing museum, but we will just let you experience it for yourself.
Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo
The Frida tour does not end at Casa Azul. Head to San Ángel to check out the studios that were shared by her and Diego Rivera. The architecture is just as impressive as the interior features.
Museo Nacional de Antropología
In a city filled with museums (all of which you should visit), the Museo Nacional de Antropología is our top pick. It houses pre-Columbian relics that are truly out of this world, but what makes it stand out is the architecture. Take a good look at the “rain tower” from the courtyard; and enjoy the walk up the museum via theBosque de Chapultepec
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