Mexico City Guide.
Last month I met my best friend in Mexico City to celebrate my 30th birthday and had the most amazing time eating, drinking and exploring our way through Mexico’s capital city. The trip was booked on a bit of a whim, fueled by cheap flights and my I want to go everywhere attitude but it ended up being the perfect destination for a long weekend trip with really easy travel.
Overall I can’t recommend Mexico City enough – it’s a HUGE city full of culture and so much variety in terms of things to do, see and eat, so there’s definitely something for everyone!
Know Before You Go:
First and foremost, CDMX is huge. Like massive. So you need to plan ahead and be strategic about what each day’s activities include so you’re not running all over the city. Some other general tips to know before you go:
- Earthquakes Happen: We had a pretty big earthquake during our first day in Mexico City while we were hanging out back at the apartment before dinner. I heard the seismic alarms go off, followed by tons of dogs barking but didn’t connect the dots quickly enough before the shaking started – luckily there wasn’t any damage to our apartment (or really anywhere in CDMX) but it was a big reminder of how often and severe earthquakes can be there. Just be prepared and know what to do in an earthquake so you’re able to manage the situation safely in case of emergency.
- Uber is Awesome: While individual neighborhoods are super walkable, the city is huge and things can be pretty spread out so Uber was a total lifesaver to easily get around the city. All of our Uber rides were also insanely affordable and it helped us navigate the language barrier and feel safe by being able to enter our location’s address and not have to worry about giving directions.
- Prepare for Altitude: I hadn’t realized that Mexico City was such a high-altitude city until we got there and were getting settled in. Be prepared to hydrate like crazy to help combat altitude sickness and bring some Advil for any likely headaches. Luckily it wasn’t a big issue for us but we were definitely a bit ambitious with plans on our first morning and ended up exhausted, so give yourself some time to acclimate when planning your trip’s itinerary.
We stayed in an amazing Airbnb apartment in Roma Norte and LOVED both the space and the neighborhood. Mexico City had a ton of really amazing Airbnb options that were very well designed and really affordable (ours was a 2 bedroom that could sleep 4 and was around $120/night). Roma Norte was such a cute neighborhood with lots of options for shopping, dining and bar hopping, plus we always felt safe walking around, even late at night.
To Eat & Drink:
This trip should really be titled eating our way through CDMX – Sam and I are both foodies and love nothing more than a great meal and a long walk so we planned our days around where to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and had some incredible meals along the way. A rundown of where we dined and had drinks during the trip:
- Rosetta: We had a fancy dinner at Rosetta on our final night and loved the atmosphere and phenomenal service. The building was also absolutely beautiful (we joked how romantic it was!) AND the restaurant has a badass female chef. Their menu changes often so I’d recommend ordering from the evening specials list and making a reservation online to ensure you’re able to snag a table.
- Rooftop Drinks at Hotel Condesa: The rooftop bar at Hotel Condesa is a perfectly swanky spot to grab a cocktail before dinner. The hotel design is really well done and the vibe on the roof feels a bit LA without being too pretentious. Cocktails were good and the music was really fun, but don’t bother with the food.
- Resi: Delicious homestyle Mexican food with HUGE portions and really great service. I ordered about 3X more food than it was physically possible for us to eat and our waiter was so sweet and warned us about the size of their plates, even packaging up a take-home bag for us with snacks for later of the items that would best keep. Bonus points for super delicious mango margaritas!
- Kura: Sushi in Mexico seems a bit crazy but CDMX really had it all so we went for it. Everything we had at Kura was super fresh, with amazing nigiri and a really fun, lively vibe.
- Lardo: Brunch at Lardo was the one restaurant on every single list of recommendations we received from friends before visiting and it did not disappoint. A really fun, trendy spot with everything you could ever want for brunch and beautiful decor.
- Churreria El Moro: BEST CHURROS OF MY LIFE. We feasted on churros after a few cocktails and they were incredible, and the churro ice cream sandwich situation is not to be missed.
- Blend Station: Sam and I are both coffee addicts and slightly snobby about our coffee and Blend Station ended up being the spot we went to every day (sometimes multiple times a day). The space is really light and airy with wifi making it a great spot to hang out and get shit done while enjoying some amazing coffee.
- Orale Arepa: I hadn’t had arepas since visiting Cartagena last year and Orale Arepa was a great lunch option with awesome cocktails and tasty arepas. The restaurant had a bit of a hipster vibe with a menu with tons of options to snack on and share.
- La Docena: Really great seafood spot with a huge variety of fresh oysters and ceviche options. Beware of the overly sweet cocktails and stick to wine or champagne.
- Taqueria Alvaro Obregon: We stumbled upon this spot while bar hopping one night and had the best Al Pastor tacos of our life. The perfect spot to grab a bite to eat while out late – the tacos were insanely cheap and totally hit the spot.
- Seven Buddhas: Really yummy juice and acai bowl spot right around the corner from our apartment that did the trick on hangover mornings ;)
- Meroma: We arrived in CDMX on my birthday and headed directly from the airport to a surprise dinner reservation at Meroma (I’m the luckiest girl to have a friend like her) and I was obsessed. We sat outside on their balcony and the food, wine and service were all incredible. It’s a new restaurant that should not be missed!
- Freims Sandwiches Cuadriculados: A trendy brunch spot with a cute outdoor patio area and amazing coffee. Very Instagram worthy with tons of dogs hanging around (aka heaven for me).
- Limantour: We were obsessed with this cocktail spot and ended up going back a second time. The cocktails were unexpected twists on the classics and were insanely good! Grab a seat outside for some prime people watching.
To Do & See:
While we really only scratched the surface of Mexico City, we definitely spent our fair share of time hanging out in the city’s many parks and soaking up some of the city’s rich history in as many museums as we could fit into our schedule.
- Museo Soumaya: I’ll admit that Instagram first drew me to Soumaya (the building’s architecture is insane!) but we were actually blown away by how cool the museum was AND the fact that entry was free. The art is a pretty eclectic mix and the museum’s spiral layout was really fun to explore with a great collection of Rodin pieces.
- Museo Frida Kahlo: First bit of advice, buy tickets online ahead of time, but in case you’re not able to grab tickets for the time slot you need ’em, do not fret. Sam uncovered some sort of magical hack where you buy combo tickets to the Frida Kahlo house + Museo Anahuacalli (Diego Rivera’s museum) and you’re able to skip the huge line and access the museum immediately. It was incredible to learn more about Frida’s lifetime of struggles and see where she healed and painted throughout various medical ailments in her lifetime.
- Mueso Nacional de Antropologia: This museum is huge with a massive collection of artifacts and art tied to Mexico’s rich history. We started our trip with a visit to this museum on our first day which really helped understand how massive Mexico is and just how far back its history dates.
- Parque Mexico & Parque Espana: So. Many. Dogs. Mexico City has tons of dogs in general and the luxe nearby neighborhoods make these two parks dog heaven during the day with dog walkers and trainers herding massive groups of insanely well-behaved pups. Beyond the dog factor the parks are both really well maintained and are a great place to hang out and relax.
Is Mexico City on your travel list? If you’ve been, what were some of your favorites?