Cuidad de México: My New Favorite City
I may say this often, but I have found my new favorite city: Cuidad de México (CDMX), or Mexico City to those of us in the states!
It’s easy to get around this vibrant, bustling city. Simply take an Uber, which is über-affordable, but be prepared to hit pockets of traffic during rush hour, especially when traveling to popular destinations, such as Centro Historico.
Nonetheless, it was easy to overlook the traffic during peak hours, given how many interesting sites there are to take in, at every turn. I spied well-dressed locals and architecture with colonial roots. The rich culture of Mexico City seems to permeate throughout the people, food, and arts, in every neighborhood in this large, colorful city.
In fact, the city is so diverse in character and cuisine that there is something for everyone. The incredible cuisine ranges from mom-and-pop taco shops to culinary experiences hosted by top Michelin-Star chefs. And don’t forget to stop into one of the many mezcalerias to sip on a smoky mezcal libation, which the region is known for. Just be sure to take a sweater on your adventures because the city’s high altitude generally keeps things cool.
One of the lovely neighborhoods I visited was Polanco, an upscale area, which is home to the luxury boutique hotel, Las Alcobas. It’s also home to Pujol, one of the most famous restaurants in the city. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to experience Pujol this time around, but I look forward to enjoying this refined menu one day, which offers a playful, elevated take on street food.
In the city’s historical center, I roamed through Bellas Artes, an Art Deco-style building with a domed ceiling and some of the world’s most renowned murals, such as those by Diego Rivera. I recommend taking in a show before or after wandering the halls of what feels like a throwback to the Jazz Age.
After I visited the Palacio de Bellas Artes, I continued on to Zocalo, the largest square in the world and home to many vendors selling clothes, other regional goods, and of course, local delicacies such as crickets and ant larva for adventurous diners—eek!
A bit outside of Centro Historico, I strolled through Chapultepec Park, the city’s central park. I admit I’m not much of a museum junkie, but I was in awe of the Anthropology Museum that’s located in the park. I suggest planning about two hours to see all the exhibits in the museum, where you can learn about the captivating history of the Mayans and Aztecs. Then, spend the rest of your morning or afternoon enjoying the park’s foliage and other sites, such as a colonial palace.
Condessa and La Roma
Trendy millennials reside in and frequent these neighboring neighborhoods, filled with tree-lined streets and a seemingly endless choice of cool restaurants, cafes, and shops. In addition to Contamar, a fantastic seafood restaurant, you’ll also find the St. Regis Hotel as well as the newly renovated Four Seasons. I had a spectacular brunch at the latter, which I highly recommend. Plus, there are several unique boutique properties to check out, if you’d like to live how the locals in Condessa and La Roma would. When in (La) Roma!
Southern Mexico City
Heading south, I visited the famed home of Frida Kahlo, which serves as a museum dedicated to sharing her work and lifestyle—and even houses her ashes. When stepping into Kahlo’s home, I felt like I was getting a glimpse of her life; the museum does a great job of exhibiting her canonical pieces as well as explaining the influences behind each. The building is as vibrant and colorful as Kahlo herself. I can honestly say Museo Frida Kahlo is one of my top five favorite museums of all time!
In the southern part of the city, I also visited the Lenin Museum, which, with its Communist ties, has a very interesting history.
Finally, I had one of the best margaritas I’ve ever had (!) at San Angel Inn, an establishment that locals frequent for Sunday brunches and special celebrations.
If you want to live like the locals do, I suggest tasting an age-old mole recipe, sipping tequila’s brother, mezcal, and for those brave souls, crunching into chapulines, a tasty bar snack that is often served aside your favorite libation.
¡Hasta luego, mis amigos!