It feels like Mexico City has been having a moment for well, a while now. But, we’d argue it’s only getting hotter.
The obvious draw here is the food, but it’s more than delectable pulquerías (though, we are obsessed with those, too). It’s the palpable energy coursing through the city’s markets, galleries and vibrant cocktail scene that keeps us coming back for more. Plus, with weather that’s enjoyable all year round, there’s no bad time to go.
Join us as we take you through our favorite spots the city has to offer, from museums to yes, inevitably, a very extensive list of cafés, restaurants, bars and clubs.
Four Seasons Hotel, Mexico City is best described as an urban oasis. Guests will experience a respite from city life with a stroll through the idyllic garden courtyard, surrounded by lush jungle greenery and complete with strings of lights. Order a drink from Fifty Mils, take a seat along the colonnade, and mingle with friends both old and new. When you’re ready to finally step out, the hotel is in close proximity to tons of incredible restaurants and within a few minutes to the best museums by taxi. It’s a great fit for the sophisticated traveler who wants a relaxing retreat in the middle of bustling DF.
Alternatively, Casa Polanco offers a more boutique vibe with apartment-style accommodations. The hotel’s mix of modern and classic Spanish colonial architecture makes you feel as if you’re staying in the plush home of a family friend. La Verdana is their outdoor dining, offering fine gourmet cuisine all day as well as afternoon tea. You can also take advantage of the spa’s various therapies, such as jet-lag massage therapy and classic deep tissue.
For panoramic views of the city, look no further than The Ritz-Carlton, Mexico City. With 58 rooms overlooking Chapultepec Park, this classic hotel blends classic Mexican culture with Ritz-Carlton’s signature sophistication. This can be particularly felt in their dining scene, which features exclusively Mexican cuisine sourced by local farmers and curators. We’d also be remiss not to mention Sofitel Mexico City Reforma, an expansive property featuring 275 guest rooms, 56 of which are suites that overlook the entirety of the city. The hotel is home to five different bars and restaurants, as well as a spa in collaboration with L’Occitane, making this stay particularly well-suited for groups and team retreats.
This city is the art and architecture lovers’ paradise, with no shortage of museums to check out as you explore. While it’s tough to narrow it down, here are a few of our favorites.
- Museo Nacional de Antropología – A visit here is your chance to see unique artifacts from different cultures of the Americas in a beautifully laid out space with seamless indoor and outdoor spaces. We advise planning to spend at least two hours here due to its sheer size alone.
- Castillo de Chapultepec – Offering some of the best views of the city, this castle is a great place to “escape” the city and spend an afternoon. A visible reminder of Mexico’s bygone aristocracy, it stands atop Chapultepec Hill, once acting as the home of Emperor Maximilian and Empress Carlota when arrived in 1864 and refurbished it as their residence. The east end of the castle preserves their palace, where you can view the sumptuously furnished salons.
- Casa Gilardi – Available to be viewed by appointment only, your guide will be your key to viewing this unique structure, built for the Gilardi family in 1976 by the Mexican architect Luis Barragan. Located in the San Miguel Chapultepec neighborhood, it’s considered one of the main works of the famed architect. Not only is the design stunning, but be sure to take in the colors, textures and overall arrangement of spaces.
- Soumaya Museum – Recognized by Vogue as one of the most iconic museum buildings in the world, the exterior of this architectural gem alone warrants a visit; upon arrival, you’ll marvel that it’s covered by more than 16,000 hexagonal plates, with no visible openings besides the entrance door. Inside, view 140 of Rodin’s works as well as the masterful paintings of Diego Rivera, Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso.
- Frida Kahlo Museum – First thing’s first, you need to pre-book tickets to visit, which of course, your travel advisor can facilitate. We advise going around lunchtime so that you can maximize being nearby so many fabulous restaurants (detailed below). Meander through the Blue House, the creative universe where Frida was born and where she died. During your visit, you’ll learn more about the intense correlations between Frida, her work, and her house.
- Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo– A separate entity from the museum, this stop showcases home Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo lived in on and off for twenty years. The two artists notoriously needed a lot of space from one another, so here you’ll see the separate buildings built for each of them united by a drawbridge. It’s a quick stop that’s notable both for the architecture and symbolism of the famous works created here.
- Museo Jumex – Whether it’s Cartier or edgy performance art, this museum showcases four floors of experimental exhibitions. The building – designed by Sir David Chipperfield – also features a library and terrace for you to unwind in during or after your visit.
We love exploring the shops in the Polanco neighborhood where exclusive boutiques offer everything from Huichol pieces to beautiful fabrics from Tenango can be found. Aside from this trendy spot, there are also several markets with collections of artisan goods ranging that make for perfect souvenirs or gifts.
- El Bazaar Sábado – This cute market is located in an area that used to be a little village. Now, every Saturday they have art there and unique items ranging from paper flowers, embroidered blouses, carved Pepita glass and more to buy from 10am to 5pm. Based on its location, this is great to combine with brunch at San Angel Inn (see below) and a visit to Diego and Frida’s houses.
- Utilitario Mexicano – At its core, this brand is a celebration of traditional Mexican decor with a modern twist. Utilitario Mexicano sells over 1,500 well-loved objects in their collection, from ceramics to blacksmithing to carpentry. Founders Libia Moreno and Enrique Arellano curated a network of local traders from across Mexico City to help them continue to locate goods made to last, whether it’s enamel tableware or electrical appliances.
- Carla Fernández – This Mexico City-based fashion house blends indigenous and mestizo Mexican art with avant-garde textiles. Inspired by her visits to the country’s many artisinal communities, Fernández continues to collaborate with indigenous communities from pre-Hispanic times to dream up new designs. She also invites guests to attend workshops led by these artisans, from clay toys to Wixárika beadwork.
- Sandra Weil – Known as the “SW Universe” by in-the-know fashionistas, Weil’s collections have a distinctly latin flair with vibrant colors and bold silhouettes. From dresses to jumpsuits, a piece from this store is sure to make a splash and blur the line between day and eveningwear.
- Kingfisher – Named after the rare, tropical bird, this store should be on anyone’s list for elegant, earthy home goods. Curated by personal stylist Caroline Rooney, her process involves curating a collection of goods made to last and transcend the trend cycle. Come in, grab a coffee, and get lost in this hidden CDMX gem.
- The Pack / VARON – Founded by Aaron Changpo, this jewelry designer followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and began creating contemporary statement pieces. Changpo has thought of every way to put his own personal spin on popular items, down to the individual links on a chain necklace and the stones floating inside their resin cuff bracelets.
- Marsella 68 – Edgy and inventive are the first two words that come to mind when walking into this shop. We love this store for its combination of playful cuts and youthful designs. If avant-garde and Y2K had a love child, it would be the items found on Marsella’s shelves.
- Roma Quince – Located in a restored mansion in the Roma, this is a concept store that features an abundance of locally-made home goods and clothing. Think white-glazed tableware and airy, sustainably-designed summerwear.
- SELECCIÓN MARSELLA – If you’re looking for a curated selection of aesthetic home decor, then check out SELECCIÓN MARSELLA. Handpicked by Erick Ramirez and Sergio Delgado, the two designers bring their personal mood boards to life with showrooms filled with products from & Jacob, Le Creuset, and more.
Basically, you’re going to Mexico City to eat. So, excuse us while we break down the spots on a meal-by-meal basis (and we totally won’t judge if you double up on a couple lunches or dinners…actually, we encourage it).
- Lalo! – This graffiti-covered casual spot comes from Chef Enrique “Lalo” García, who is doing amazing things both at here and at sister restaurant, Maximo Bistrot (we’ll get there later). They have one communal table, inviting a cozy vibe to all that sit down. The almond croissant here is life-changing. No reservations needed, just go!
- San Angel Inn – A classic, lively Mexican restaurant across the street from the home (now museum) of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, this is a great place for brunch while experiencing authentic local culture. If you’re dying for a margarita in Mexico City – this is your spot. Plus, it’s open on Sundays, which many places are not. There is also a bazaar here on Sundays, which is another reason to go this day!
- Contramar – First thing’s first, this place should be at the top of your list. The team is doing seafood right here – everything is fresh and simple – but there truly is no wrong order! We love sitting outside and ordering the fish of the day “Contramar style” which comes whole-roasted with two different rubs.
Restaurants here are definitely trending towards high-quality food in casual environments.
- Rokai – Serving the best sushi in Mexico City, this is a really cool space that’s small size alone warrants a reservation. In addition to incredible sushi, they have other Japanese dishes including a delicious a la carte ramen menu.
- Máximo – With the same chef as Lalo!, you can’t go wrong with dinner here. We were told by “foodie” locals this would be their one dinner if they had to pick. Make a reservation in advance, they book up!