It’s hard to believe that the largest Spanish speaking city in the world, a city with +20 million residents, has been a best-kept secret. With all the great neighborhoods, restaurants, street food, museums and parks it will just be a matter of time before others figure out the secret.
Mexico City is massive and diverse. Ranked in the top 20 richest cities in the world, it’s home to the second largest number of museums in the world, right after London, many of them world-class. Besides art and museums, the city offers high-end boutiques and exclusive restaurants.
Yet, between those +20 million citizens I never had a feeling of suffocation, rather the contrary. Areas such as Roma, Condesa and Polanco have a very relaxed feel over them. It was great to stroll around, discover new restaurants and small boutiques. With only 5 days in Mexico City, only a few museums and restaurants made it to the list, but they all offered great experiences. Mexico City, I’ll be back.
WHAT TO DO
Except for strolling around enjoying the architecture, beautiful lanes and great parks?
Art/Museums: With over 186 recognized museums and 200 ‘others’, you can spend over a year’s worth in daily visits. But the National Museum of Anthropology, Chapultepec Castle and Palacio de Bellas Artes should be on your list.
The historic center, including Zócalo.
Party. The weekend starts on Thursday or “juebebes” (= little Fridays). You’ll find everything from exclusive clubs, local Salsa or Cumbia clubs, designer bars & lounges, or a party on a boat in the middle of a lake. But whatever you decide to do, forget about Tequila and go for the more quality options being mezcal or pulque.
WHERE TO STAY
Areas of Roma, Condesa or Polanco.
La Valise Hotel: Funky and exclusive boutique hotel in Roma Norte.
Las Alcobas DF: Polanco area, right on the most exclusive (shopping) street in Mexico City and surrounded by some of the best bars and restaurants.
AIRBNB, various options from rooms to basic studios and exclusive penthouses in the Polanco area.
Basically everywhere. You’ll find cheap street food on every corner as well as many great restaurants and eateries. My recommendations:
Pujol – Fusion. Pujol is ranked number 16 on the top 50 restaurants in the world. Cheap compared to the same level of restaurants in Europe or the US.
El Cardenal– Mexican
Yuban– Traditional ingredients with a twist. And great Mezcal based cocktails.
Founded in 1325, Mexico City is the oldest capital city of the Americas.
The city is sinking. It has sunk 10 meters (32.80 feet) in the last 60 years.
Mexico City has one of the highest police to resident ratios in the world. While there are certainly areas which are not recommended to go for an evening walk, the city feels very safe. Mexico City did a great job putting more police on the street and cleaning up their act.
Every year, the huge Zócalo square becomes on of the largest ice skating rink in the world.
In 2013, Mexico City won a prize at the City Climate Leadership Awards for its global leadership in public policies aimed at improving the quality of the air.
If you are into art and performance, the city has over 186 museums, 100 art galleries, 30 concert halls and the 4th highest number of theaters in the world.
Mexico City is one of the wealthiest cities of the world, its economic growth is one of the highest and according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ estimates its economy is set to double by 2020, putting it in 7th place after Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Paris and London.
The city is located on mountains, 2.2 kilometers above sea level, and its weather is mild rather than warm.
The central square of the city, commonly known as “Zócalo”, is the second largest of the world.
Chapultepec’s park is twice the size of New York’s Central Park.