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Destination- Mexico City

August 06, 2019

Destination- Mexico City

21.2 million people may seem like a lot, but Mexico City’s hustle is fluid, accepted and understood by locals, and easily maneuvered by visitors. What is known to locals as D.F. is the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world and sits at an altitude of 2,240 meters, so give yourself the first day in town to take it slow and acclimate.

Cutting through the Bosque de Chapultepec can take 30 minutes or 3 hours, depending on how many benches you stop at and museums you pop into. The 1,600+ acre park is one of the largest city-based green spaces in the western hemisphere. Within it’s criss-crossing pathways, fountains, lakes, and rows of vendors are multiple museums, two are must-sees. The Castillo Chapultepec which was once the home of Emperor of Mexico, Maximilian I and his wife, Empress Carlota, and today houses the Museo Nacional de Historia. In another area of the park, off of Paseo de la Reforma, lies the Museo Nacional de Antropología. This massive structure houses thousands of artifacts from Mexico’s rich pre-Columbian heritage. Continuing down Paseo de la Reforma will bring you to the Ángel de la Independencia. Topped by the Greek Goddess of Victory, Nike, the monument is dedicated to those who fought for independence and revolution.

Aside from the Frida Kahlo house in the Coyoacán neighborhood, other cultural hot spots not to miss are the Palacio de Bellas Artes and of course, the Zocaló. As a gathering place since the Aztec times, the great square is surrounded by historical structures on all sides and serves as the center piece of the Centro Historico. The Catedral Metropolitana sits on it’s northern side, built on top of and with stones from the ancient Aztec Templo Mayor.

Mexico itself is known for it’s delicious cuisine and CDMX backs that by touting some of the most inventive and rising-star chef restaurants in the country. Tacos al pastor are the main event in Mexico City and the long list of great al pastor spots grows everyday. Locals have their favorites of course, but none will disappoint. For breakfast, be sure to try chilaquiles or molletes from any number of restaurants, especially those in La Roma, a youthful neighborhood that is also an artistically thriving community. 

One-off boutiques and coffee shops line the streets of La Roma and Condesa, two neighborhoods not to skip over. A slice of lush jungle in the middle of the city encircles central Condesa and Parque Mexico with a pedestrian tree-lined walkway. Take advantage of the intense golden hour that occurs daily with a long walk through these parts. If you’re lucky, or just have eyes, you will run into multiple packs of dogs. These are domestic dogs that dog walkers take out 10-15 at a time. All better behaved than the next, and each enjoying the afternoon right along with you.

After buying your tickets online ahead of time and skipping the line at Casa Azul (Frida Kahlo Museum) venture through the markets in Coyoacán. Be sure to pick up quesadillas at the stall closest to the street and elotes from a street vendor. The central plazas also makes for a relaxing spot to eat these delicious items.

Depending on how many days you have, a trip outside the city may also be worth your while. Head south to Xochimilco which is known for its canals you glide down in trajineras, colorful-gondola-like boats that pass by chinampas (man-made islands) while enjoying great company. Another option is a hot air balloon trip over Teotihuacan. It is an early start but absolutely worth it. Post-balloon, be sure to walk around the Mesoamerican pyramids.

Boutique and high-end hotels are abundant in and around Condesa, Centro Historica, and the financial district; however, Airbnbs are a stylish and usually better priced option. No matter which neighborhood you wind up in, public transportation is efficient in Mexico City and should be taken advantage of. Explore as much as you can and take in the ever-changing City of Palaces.






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