A Weekend Guide to Mexico City
K traveled to Mexico City over a long weekend in February + instantly fell in love! Mexico City was the perfect mix for her. The markets reminded her of the market places in Jerusalem, the architecture + city square was reminiscent of Europe, all while having a Latin flair + being 80 degrees in the middle of winter - what more could you want!? If you’ve been around for a while, you know that we are huge proponents of making the most of the vacation days you have - don’t let a short weekend stop you from seeing somewhere new!
where to stay
Polanco - Polanco is a trendy, upscale neighborhood on the northern side of Chapultepec Park + is filled with some of the best restaurants + bars (this is where K had the best margarita she’s ever had…keep reading to find out where)! When K returns to Mexico City, she’d consider staying here. It is a little further away from some of the tourist attractions in the city center, but metro + Uber don’t make that a problem!
Condesa - Located on the southern side of Chapultepec Park, there’s a slightly more European feel to the streets of Condesa. Like Polanco, Condesa has so many great bars + restaurants to choose from.
City Center - This is where K stayed in an Airbnb (if you’re a first time user, use our link to get $40 off your first stay!) + it was the perfect location for her weekend. It was walking distance to most of the “tourist” attractions she wanted to see, like Zocalo Square + Palacio Nacional, + anywhere that was a little too far to walk was only a $2 Uber away!
what to do
Palacio Nacional - The National Palace is free to enter + will give you the opportunity to see one of Diego Rivera’s most famous murals - The History of Mexico. Beyond the impressive artwork, the structure itself is beautiful + there is so much history to be learned once inside!
Zocalo Square - The city’s main square is a great place to pass through + is also central to many tourist stops, such as the Palacio Nacional. While K was visiting there were installations to celebrate Valentine’s Day + huge flower arrangements in the shape of flowers.
Chapultepec Park - The largest park in the city, this is Mexico City’s Central Park. Once inside the park, be sure to stop by the Angel Wings on Reforma to snap a picture + visit the castle (but be sure to check out closing time - we got there just a minute too late!)
Frida Kahlo Museum - The Blue House stands out on the street, as will the droves of tourists there to visit the famous museum. Be sure to purchase your tickets online in advance - we tried weeks before visiting + they wouldn’t accept our Chase cards. When we got there the at opening the line was already 3 hours just to buy tickets before standing in line to be admitted. Since we were short on time we decided to skip it + walked the neighborhood only to find ourselves in…
Coyoacan Market - After our letdown of not visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum, we stumbled upon this marketplace + got lost for several hours winding our way through the merchants. This was a great place for us to pick up our souvenirs for everyone on our list. We also visited the Artisan Market (Mercado de Artesanias) + would recommend both!
Xochimilco Canal Tour - Somewhere between the Venice Gondolas + Thailand’s Floating Market lies Xochimilco. We stopped by a grocery store, picked up beer + snacks + passed the afternoon floating down the canals, listening to mariachi bands + people watching. While now looking back, I’m not sure this is the best use of a short, first time trip to Mexico City, I would definitely recommend it for larger groups or if you’re spending longer in the city!
Note: Do NOT follow any people on bicycles who try to tell you that the main embarcadero is closed. This is not true + they are part of a tourist group trying to lure you to a different, smaller dock. Our Uber driver followed them + it put us in what could have potentially been an unsafe situation where our “tour guide” would not stop following us + insisting we get in a boat with him. If you are in an Uber or taxi, be firm + insist that they take you to Embarcadero Nuevo Nativitas - even if they are told it is closed or the streets are blocked!
where to eat + drink
Street Food - I know some people would be hesitant on this, but I’m a firm believer in using your best judgment + this led me to one of the best tacos I’ve had! I didn’t get too adventurous in what I was eating + stuck with meats that I recognized. I also made sure that the food was cooked through properly. I ate street food every day of the trip + didn’t have a negative experience once!
Limantour - K’s college roommate + friend has lived in Mexico City + recommended this place to K + OMG. it was the best! The margarita was to die for, as were the appetizers. To top it all off, the setting was just perfect + there’s sidewalk seating!
La Unica - K stopped in here for a quick drink after Limantour + while K can’t comment on the food, the drinks were good + the restaurant is very Insta friendly!
Cafe de Tacuba - Another rec from K’s friend, who described it as “an all time classic” + that held true for K! This is where K ate dinner on her last night + it was a great + classic way to say goodbye to a city known for good food!
Nivel 40 SkyBar - Located on the 40th floor of the Latin America Tower, Nivel 40 was a great way to kick off K’s trip with great views of the city. While the views are great, K found that there wasn’t a great ambience here + wouldn’t spend more time than a quick drink for the views. The prices are quite reasonable considering it’s location.
Terraza Catedral - A rooftop bar located right in front of the cathedral, Terraza Catedral gave K some incredible views of Mexico City on her last night! It is, however, a little hard to find as it’s located on the roof of a hostel (Mundo Joven). There’s also no food available here, but it was a great place to stop in after a day of sightseeing for a few drinks before heading to dinner.
Mexico City was K’s first venture to Mexico (we know, we know, it took way too long!) + she absolutely loved it! It was made all the more better by traveling with her friend, a Spanish teacher at the school where she teaches, so she had a built in translator for the trip! Mexico City was everything K could have wanted + more + she’s already planning another trip back!