DESTINATION GUIDE

Mexico City

Loco in all the good ways!

By Hamzeh Alfarahneh and Amulya Hiremath, edited by Tansy Kaschak on 6.02.22

Mexico City is changing, evolving, reshaping itself… and we are here for it! All the things that made this centuries-old city bustle, are just a tad better now. The newly renamed CDMXoffers endless moments, opportunities and things to do. From strolling the tree-lined boulevards of Condesa, sampling artisanal mezcal at the city’s many mezcalerías, to breaking bread with new friends, there is something here for everyone whether it’s art, food — some of the best in the world! —adventure or history.     

 

Getting Around

Whilst most of the places our friends recommend are in the triad Roma-Condesa-Polanco or in the central Zócalo area, Mexico City is vast, really vast. It’s home to 21 million people and, similar to New York’s boroughs, it is divided into 16 districts or alcaldias with more than 350 colonias or neighborhoods. Take advantage of the affordable ridesharing apps’ fares, well connected public transport network or rent a bike via CDMX’s Ecobici program.  

 

When to Visit

Mexico City is bustling all year round. Consider visiting from March to May to experience the jacarandas blooms turning the city’s boulevards into a sea of violet. If street celebrations tickle your fancy, visit mid-September for Grito de Dolores (Independence Day) or late October for  Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

 

Where to Stay

Mainly in the Roma / Condesa and Downtown areas. Mexico City has an evolving home-grown hospitality offering, which focuses on concepts that bring various aspects of Mexican culture to the forefront. We rounded up the best hotels that Mexico City has to offer. 

Façade of Circulo Mexicano
Façade of Circulo Mexicano
Terrace suite at  Condesa DF
Terrace suite at Condesa DF

Condesa DF

This Design Hotel property lives up to our expectations. Situated in Condesa, the 1928 neo-classical heritage building was refurbished by designer India Mahdavi with the intention to introduce the feel of Europe to Mexicans and the sense of Mexico to foreigners, keeping in mind the comings and goings of the neighborhood. The result is a place this is much more than just a hotel.

Check out Sydney Lima’s review of Condesa DF on A Hotel Life. 

Address: 102 Avenida Veracruz, Condesa
Starting Rate: $265
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Circulo Mexicano

Focused on the “informed traveler,” Circulo Mexicano is a hotel like no other. Situated downtown, Circulo brings together a selection of Mexico’s leading figures from food, fashion, and design – offering guests a curated glimpse into contemporary Mexican culture. Hosting a market on the ground floor of the renovated 19th-century residential building features 25 guest rooms, a pop-up culinary experience, and a rooftop terrace. 

Check out Albie Alexander’s review of Circulo Mexicano on A Hotel Life.

Address: 20 República de Guatemala, Centro Histórico
Starting Rate: $180
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Garden inspired by the forests of Guerrero, Ignacia Guest House
Charming entrance, La Valise

Ignacia Guest House

This century-old and newly built estate house get its name from Ignacia, the housekeeper for 70 years of the estate in its past life. The guest house cleverly juxtaposes Mexican artisan tradition with contemporary design orchestrated by architecture firm Factor Eficiencia. Who wanted to reflect the personality and history of Ignacia, from the chromatic color palette to the gardens inspired by the forests of Guerrero – Ignacia’s home state. The result is an oasis of modern design smartly contrasting the rich history of the property’s past. 

Address: 208 Jalapa, Roma
Starting Rate: $220 
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La Valise

This elegant 1920’s French-style townhouse is a hub of Mexico’s social scene. La Valise is a home away from home adorned with Mexican antiques and one-of-a-kind artifacts and objects. The property is a favorite after-party watering hole. Suppose you are one for seeing and being seen. In that case, La Valise is for you.

Check out Pandora Graessl’s review of Downtown on A Hotel Life.

Address: 53 Tonalá, Roma
Starting Rate: $380
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Aerial image of the terrace at Downtown, featuring the monumental fresco “the holocaust” by the muralist Manuel Rodriguez

Downtown 

Nested in Mexico City’s historical center, The Downtown is entrenched in history. The building is fashioned in the Mexican vice-regal style – think red volcanic rock walls, ornate facade, and stone-forged staircase. But above all, what makes this property a must added stop in your itinerary are the monumental fresco “the holocaust” by the muralist Manuel Rodriguez Lozano and the hotel’s restaurant Azul Histórico. 

Check out Victoria Alexander’s review of Downtown on A Hotel Life.

Address: 30 Isabel La Catolica, Centro Histórico
Starting Rate: $178
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Where to Eat

Considered one of the most vibrant gastronomical destinations in the world. Mexico City’s restaurant landscape offering is rooted in authentic Mexican cuisine or a mix of European and Mediterranean-inspired flavors. The city offers endless choices from the world’s top chefs and restaurants, casual eateries, and street food. Rest assured, you will eat very, VERY well! 

Interior at Máximo Bistrot
Interior at Máximo Bistrot
A blend of Mexican and Italian cuisine at Rosetta
A blend of Mexican and Italian cuisine at Rosetta

Rosetta

One among World’s 50 Restaurants, there is little to no reason why you wouldn’t want to swing by Rosetta. A blend of Mexican and Italian cuisine, the house-made pasta is a work of art, the interior’s pastel and the experience of it all, just about worth it. Located inside a dated townhouse, Rosetta is one of chef Elena Reygadas’s three restaurants in Mexico City.

Address: 166 Colima, Roma
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Maximo Bistrot

The oeuvre on the plate is different when the freshest of ingredients are handpicked to make a dish. Eduardo García does just that at Máximo Bistrot. A fancy French affair, you get the technique, the elegance, the flavor, the quiet — all of the haute, delivered to your table.

Address: 65 Av. Álvaro Obregón, Roma
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Contramar

You know you can trust the place when reservations are recommended. And why wouldn’t they be if the place serves top notch seafood? From grilled fish to “legendary” tuna tostadas, Contramar has quite a few dishes that have gained fame in their own right. Chef and owner Gabriela Camara’s creativity attracts glamourous locals and internationals alike. Remember, reservations are recommended.

Address: 200 Calle de Durango, Roma
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Lalo!

If there is one thing that gets you up bright and early in Mexico City, it has to be the breakfast at Lalo! Not only does it have the usual continental fare — the eggs, the toast, the granola — elevated,but also spins on Mexican favorites, not to forget the sweet, sweet baked goods. Lalo! also encourages a communal experience with one central table running across the length of the restaurant. So, shake off your nightcap and grab a seat at the table for an early morning culinary delight.

Address: 173 Zacatecas, Roma Sur
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Pujol

A cult classic, Pujol’s reputation is a result of over 15 years of being THE quintessential fine dining experience in Mexico City, helmed by Enrique Olvera. Award winning, world’s top ranking, elevated and celebrated, the frills are endless. Olvera’s creativity lies in his fusion of contemporary and traditional Mexican cuisine, translating them into a six-course tasting menu. From street food to a thousand-day-aged mother mole, the menu is as interesting as it is outstanding. Now in a new redecorated and revived space, Pujol is all the more inviting.

Address: 133 Tennyson,, Polanco IV Secc
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The dining room and open kitchen at Lardo
The dining room and open kitchen at Lardo

Lardo

Chef Elena Reygadas channels her bakery expertise at Lardo, delivering a simple fare whipped up from top quality ingredients. Located in Condesa, it is an Italian-Mediterranean-inspired café, worth a visit for breakfast and lunch. With interiors reminiscent of trademark New York City café hip, Lardo is familiar yet distinct in its approach to food and vibe.

Address: 6 Agustín Melgar, Condesa
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Tetetlan

Tetetlan resists fitting into a box, simply because there are too many things at once. An architectural piece by Luis Barragán, one of Mexico’s most influential architects, a café, a restaurant, a library, a cultural hub of sorts, Tetetlan is a contemporary art collector, Cesar Cervantes’ playground. From glass floors underneath which sit volcanic rocks, to coral pink rafters, every nook and corner is noteworthy and of significance. Located in Jardines del Pedregal, this is one spot you want to visit because there are no duplicates.

Address: 180 – B  Av. de Las Fuentes, Jardines del Pedregal
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 Hugo wine bar, known for its exquisite wine list
Hugo wine bar, known for its exquisite wine list
Entrance at Elly's in Roma
Entrance at Elly's in Roma

Where to Drink

The city offers vast culinary options, from fine dining to informal meals. Our friends recommend that you check out two Roma-based bars, Hugo, a wine bar known for its exquisite wine list and a selection of small French-inspired plates – try the schnitzel. It is yum! And, Tacobar combines great tacos with a rough around the edges bar. For something sexy, head downtown to Taverna. This bar recreates the tastes of the Mediterranean using local ingredients combined with odd yet tasty pairings of wine and spirits. Finally, other honorable mentions are Elly’s in Roma, for a fantastic selection of Amaros, Bar Loupe, Bruja, and Cafe Ocampo

 

Where to shop

It comes as no surprise that Mexico City offers endless shopping options. If you are looking for luxury brands, head over to Avenida Presidente Masaryk in Polanco. Galerie Esthete in Condesa offers curated artisanal designers that are off the track and beat. Check out Carla Fernandez,  Roberto Sánchez, and BARRAGAN for local fashion. Another local favorite is Zii Ropa, a brand that marries coastal and city living with natural fabrics. Casa Bosques is a bookstore in the Roma neighborhood known for sourcing hard-to-find design and lifestyle magazines and books. Yet, Mercado Medellin and Mercado Roma are marketplaces boasting modern gastronomy for food shopping. The communal atmosphere instantly draws you in, each countertop equally tempting and harder to resist.

 

Where to dance

Dancing and nightlife are integral to Mexico City from legendary venues like Patrick Miller in Roma. Supra Roma rooftop has the city’s best views, not to mention the incredible sound. Club San Luis in Roma and Barba Azul Cabaret in Downtown offers an authentic glimpse into the local scene with live Salsa and Cumbia – these establishments only accept cash. M.N.ROY, also in Roma, is the once inhabited house of Mexico’s communist party founder, turned private nightclub. Departamento, Leonor, and Xaman Bar also make the cut. 

 

IMG_4692
A day at Parque Quetzalcoatl. Image by Tigre Escobar
Mexico City

– follow Tigre –

Meet the local: TIGRE ESCOBAR

Colombian photographer Tigre Escobar found photography by accident while at Art School. He recounts discovering color for the first time – through the photographs of William Eggleston. Informed from that moment, Escobar shaped his photography practice around the language of color. In his documentary project, ‘Proud Humans’ Escobar captures Latin America’s transgender community. The images are personal and unperformed portraits of the subject in their personal space, inviting a sense of familiarity to its viewer. Escobar is based between New York and Mexico City.

What is your earliest memory of Mexico City? 

Walking Amsterdam avenue for the first time and thinking how incredible it is to feel part of this colossal city and feel like this place could be home. 

What is your wildest memory of Mexico City? 

Nights on the dancefloor of M.N.Roy.

How would you describe Mexico City to someone that’s never been? 

An unpredictable yet familiar place with an unprecedented quality of life. Walking under ancient trees in neighborhoods that feel like little small towns with a sense of Latin identity will capture those who can see beyond the evident. 

How does Mexico City inspire your work and your creativity? 

There is fantastic momentum of creative synergy in Mexico City. You can share a standard frequency with people that arrive here and vibrate with the city. This shared experience is most stimulating. The town’s vibrant personality and the people allow you to flourish creatively and add to whatever purpose you have in life.

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Pola Weiss' video works as part of  'Beyond the trees' exhibition at the Tamayo Museum. Image courtesy of Tamayo Museum
Pola Weiss' video works as part of 'Beyond the trees' exhibition at the Tamayo Museum. Image courtesy of Tamayo Museum

Where to See Beauty and People

By Tigre Escobar

On the days that I need to be in front of the laptop, HAAB is a co-working space catering to Mexico City’s creative industry. Amsterdam avenue is my refuge. Go for a walk and wander into Parque Mexico to buy fresh mangos from the street vendors.     

One of my favorite spots for inspiration would be Parque Quetzalcoatl. Architect Javier Senosiain’s brainchild will take you on a ride of colors, curves, and nature. I would stop for the best coffee in La Roma, called Costela Cafe, on the way back. Then, stop at the Tienda MAP to shop for some hyper-local talent, and Cinemateca is a great movie theater for some R&R. 

For a dose of culture, visit  Museo Jumex, Tamayo Museum, and the National Museum of Anthropology. Check the opening nights at  Kurimanzutto Gallery in the San Miguel Chapultepec, where you would most likely run into the city’s most fantastic group of artists and curators. Kurimanzutto’s roster includes some of the most profound artists in Mexico.

Start with dinner at Botanico in la Condesa for a fun night out, set in a luscious garden. This spot is perfect for a fun dinner with plenty of people watching; once dinner is over, it is time to “brillar baldoza” – polish the dance floor. For me, the mandatory first stop would be the Club San Luis, an authentic Salsa and Cumbia spot, and end the night at M.N.Roy, which is just half a block walk from Club San Luis.  

 

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