Depending on who you’re talking to, Mexico City can get a bad rap. It’s too dangerous. There’s too much pollution… the list goes on. As with any large city, there’s going to be some bad sprinkled in with the good.
Fortunately, in Mexico City, there is A LOT of good going on! Uxibal employee and Thread Caravan founder Caitlin Ahern made a quick pit stop in Mexico City en route to Thread Caravan’s recent trip to Oaxaca. Here are her highlights…
I’ll first preface by saying 24 hours is NOT enough time in Mexico City. A week would not even be enough time. It’s a large city, flowing with energy and people and many nooks to uncover. But, if you’re like me and like to extend your layovers to explore a place, here are the must-dos for Mexico City.
Where to Stay:
This boutique hotel provides a much-needed calming respite from the bustling streets. Located in a very central spot near Alameda Park, the b&b is within walking distance from tons of restaurants, cafes, museums, metro stations + more. With hammocks on the rooftop, cozy handmade furnishings and bathtubs surrounded by plants, the one downside of staying here is that you may not want to leave to experience the rest of the city.
What to Do:
On the other side of Alameda Park is Belles Artes, a central neighborhood with beautiful historic buildings. It’s said that you could hear Frida Kahlo as she walked to Belles Artes by the sound of her silver bracelets jingling up her arms.
Zocalo + Templo Mayor
Many people talk of Mexico City’s Zocalo, or central park. Highlights include a massive Mexican flag, and ancient ruins available for touring. The area is intensely busy, but also worth seeing, even if only for a brief moment. The streets surrounding the Zocalo are filled with Jacaranda trees, museums and old buildings.
Popular Art Museum
I didn’t actually get a chance to go the pop art museum, or ¨Museo de Arte Popular¨ but when I told people of my interest in textiles, many recommended going here. With over 150 museums, Mexico City has more museums than any other place in the world. So I think it’s a telling sign that of over 150 museums, this one came recommended frequently. A spot for my next trip!
Frida Kahlo’s House
Aside from enjoying Chayabnb, visiting Frida Kahlo’s house was my favorite activity in Mexico City. The house is relatively far from the center of town in Cayaocan, a mostly residential neighborhood. I would recommend taking the metro and walking to her house. It will take about 45 minutes to metro from the city center to her neighborhood, and then about another 30 minutes walking — but totally worth it to get to peruse the colorful Mexican Cayaocan streets.
Frida’s house is divided up into sections – one displaying some of her paintings, another displaying her photos, and another preserving important parts of her house like her painting studio and kitchen.
The neighboring house functions as a rotating exhibit. Her wardrobe was being showcased when I was there. It was fascinating to see the juxtaposition of her orthopedic corsets and undergarments (which look like medieval torture devices) with her flowing feminine outer garments.
Where to Eat
Rather than seeking out specific places to eat, I just found food close to other things I was doing. I’m of the opinion that the food in Mexico is good everywhere, so it’s hard to go wrong.
Specifically I would recommend street tacos and also hitting up the Condesa and Roma neighborhoods. These neighboring barrios are full of cafes, restaurants and bars. Since these neighborhoods have particularly good nightlife, I’d recommend heading over for dinner and staying into the night.
*Tip* People eat dinner late in Mexico City (close to 9 or 10pm), so either eat a late lunch or get some afternoon street food to hold you over until dinner.
Getting There, Away + Around
If you’re flying to Mexico City, you can take taxi or metro train into town. Like many metropoles, Mexico City is known for its bad traffic. While taxis are affordable, and Uber is now a convenient option, I recommend taking the metro train system. It’s very efficient and goes almost anywhere you could need to go. Plus, it’s super cheap and will connect you more to the local vibe of the city.
If you’re interested in venturing to other places in Mexico, the ADO charter bus line is a convenient and affordable option. There are 4 main bus stations in Mexico City, located in the 4 cardinal directions and each with their own corresponding metro station.
And a final parting tip: If you’re flying to or from the south of Mexico City, sit on the side of the plane facing the west. You will hopefully get a nice view of this: