I’m going to start this post off by admitting that Mexico had never been particularly high on my long travel bucket list. Growing up in a southern suburb of Sydney, Australia meant there weren’t any Mexicans near me, resulting in a non-existent exposure to Latin culture. My disinterest in visiting this country only grew further the older I got, with the media portraying Mexico as an extremely dangerous and drug-fuelled country to visit.
However, if you were considering visiting this country you will be glad to know that I am here to contest this theory. With every city I visited in Mexico, I was greeted with warm, smiling faces, an incredibly vibrant aura, a delicious and interesting cuisine and most importantly, I felt safe. So, if you’re wondering whether or not to visit, I hope after reading this post, you jump on and book your flights!
As of 2018, 21.3 million people live in the Mexican capital; making it one of the largest metropolis in the world! I barely even touched the surface of all that CDMX has to offer during my visit. I am a person who loves art, architecture, fashion and food so these are the things I hunt out in any city that I travel to.
Here’s what I got up to in my four days in Mexico City:
- Free walking tour through freetour.com.During the walking tour, you will walk through the most important streets of the Centro Histórico. These include the Zócalo, Catedral Metropolitana, Templo Mayor and Palacio de Bellas Artes.
- When I first arrive in a new city, the first thing I like to do is go on a walking tour to help me get my bearings of the city and to learn about the history of the city.
- Ate dinner at Los Loosers. This was a trendy restaurant serving vegan Mexican cuisine in Roma Condesa.
- Try a dish with Mole sauce for an authentic Mexican experience.
- Breakfast at Tetetlan in Pedregal. The building of this restaurant was originally the horse stables of a home designed by Mexico’s most influential architect, Luis Barragán. The space was restored by the art collector living next door, who transformed it into a multi-purpose building. It serves as a cafe with shade-grown local coffee, a restaurant with creative Meso-American dishes, a showroom for local designers, a yoga studio and a listening library. The design space is truly breathtaking with glass floors that look onto local purple-black volcanic rock.
- Be sure to try the dish with cactus and cheese.
- Visited the markets at Bazar Sabadl in San Angel and Coyoacán. The markets are filled with works from artists, ceramicists, jewellers and painters who have come to display and sell their art. These markets are quite fancy compared to a local Mexican market.
- Taste test Esquites from a street vendor.
- Brunch at Cicatriz in Juarez.
- Anthropology Museum: a national museum located in the area between Paseo de la Reforma and Chapultepec Park. It provides a great historical background to the Indigenous inhabitants of Mexico and how the country became the Mexico we know today. There are hundreds of fascinating artefacts and relics in the museum.
- Give yourself 3-4 hours here.
- It is free for Mexicans, but tourists must pay 64 MXN (approx. $5AUD)
- Frida Karlo Museum: a historic house museum dedicated to the life and work of the iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. This museum was a fascinating insight into the painful life of Kahlo, showcasing her trials and tribulations through her art. The museum is located in the Colonia del Carmen neighbourhood of Coyoacán.
- You can only visit the museum in allotted times, to ensure it doesn’t get too crowded. I recommend booking ahead of time, so you don’t waste precious travel time standing outside the museum.
- You can opt for a guided tour, which is available in Spanish or English at 700 MXN ($55AUD)
- You can visit and stroll through at your own leisure for 230 MXN ($19AUD)
- Dinner at Brassi in Polanco. Enjoy a good bottle of wine, listen to live jazz, and savour every mouthful over great dinner conversation. A great way to end any day!
- Brunch at Dosis. Get the avo toast. Costing 42MXN ($3AUD).
- Churreria el Moro for the most delicious churros.
- Avenue Reforma
- This is where you can find the Alebrijes. The Alebrijes are mythical creatures that have elements from different animals such as dragon bodies, bat wings, wolf teeth and dog eyes. Colourfully painted, they were originally made with papier mache but nowadays they are wood carved. Although these distinctive cultural artefacts are often assumed to represent a long-established tradition of Mexican folk art, they only began to appear in the 1940s. They come alive in the city during Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead).
- Shopping: Mexico City is one cool city and you’d be a damn fool not to set aside some time to check out the shops!
- Casa Bosques for a trendy book store
- Tuza for boutique shopping and crafty candles
- Goodbye Folk for amazing vintage finds
- I would recommend a minimum of four days in the capital. It is a truly bustling city with many museums, art galleries, restaurants and shops! Plus you will need time for a walking tour and to wander around on your own.
- Most of the museums are closed on Mondays- so check ahead of time when planning your itinerary!
- Go to the Sears across the road from Palacio de Bellas Artes, and go upstairs to the cafe for great views.
- Wifi is useful and cheap. You can purchase a SIM card at most convenience stores.
- Be sure to taste Jamaica tea! It is made from Hibiscus flowers and is extremely tasty.
Safety in Mexico City:
I found that visiting Mexico City was just like visiting any other major city. Sure, there are areas to stay away from and I wouldn’t gallivant around solo at night, but those are precautions I always take regardless of the destination.
Be smart, don’t flash expensive electronics/jewellery, and be extra aware/cautious at night (especially if travelling alone) or if taking public transport. You will be fine! Just stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Dodgy things can happen anywhere, it is up to us as travellers to trust our gut and be diligent in where we choose to visit.
How to get around Mexico City:
I chose not to take any public transport as an added measure of precaution and opted to use Uber as it was cheap. An Uber would cost anywhere between $3-10 to get across town, depending on how far you wanted to go from destination to destination.
When to visit Mexico City:
In all honesty, there’s no bad time to visit Mexico City. The weather is fairly consistent year-round, with a mild temperature around 24-27 degrees celsius.
Summer (May through September) does experience more rain with frequent downpours and winter (November through February/March) can be slightly colder with frequent downpours as well.
I visited in November and wore jeans and a t-shirt every day. It rained every late-afternoon, and I would wear a denim jacket or knit jumper out at night.