Expedia Expert: Mexico City
Gabriel, Director of Strategy and Business Development, ANZ and LatAm, shares his top tips for a trip to his home town, Mexico City.
Mexico City is full of culture, energy and everything your senses could possibly ask. Here are my must visit spots.
Strolling through Zócalo
You have to go to Zócalo. You just have to. This is the city’s main plaza, located in the historic downtown. It’s also close to the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, the Plaza of the Three Cultures. You have a beautiful cathedral and an archaeological site all in the same place. You’ll see Aztec, Spanish and the blended cultures all together. It’s very much about walking around and visiting. Sometimes there will be festivals or events in the plaza and a fantastic restaurant nearby is Azul Historico. It serves Mexican cuisine, but not as you know it!
Exploring Colonia Roma and Colonia Condesa
These suburbs have transformed over the years from a traditional residential area into a cool bohemian spot full of little restaurants and bars. If hipsters are not your thing, then think it twice as you’ll find your fair share around here. Seafood lovers should definitely go to Contra Mar for traditional Mexican seafood dishes such as ceviche, tostadas y tacos de pescado.
Eat at the markets of Centro de Coyoacan
This is like stepping into a beautiful Colonial town in the middle of Mexico City. The architecture is fascinating and worth a wander. Make sure you’re hungry – the markets here are a great spot to try traditional Mexican food. The fresh, handmade tortillas . A market is a good spot to try traditional food. For a fancy meal, try Los Danzantes. If you’re interested in art, the nearby Frida Kahlo Museum is definitely worthwhile.
Visit Museo de Antropología
This is one of my favourite museums all over the world. If you want to learn about the history of Mexico from the very beginning, to see how all the different Indigenous cultures evolved, from the Aztecs to Mayans, it’s a must. The museum is suitable for kids and adults – it’s not catering especially for children but older kids will still get a lot out of it.
Try a taco al pastor
You’ll find this street food all over Mexico, not just in Mexico City. And it’s not something to miss. You can identify them by the kebab-style set up – essentially meat is sliced from the spit into a tortilla. The taquero is the person slicing the meat straight onto the taco. There are plenty of places to try tacos but but to keep your belly safe avoid street stands. El Califa if you are in La Condesa is a great option.
Visit the Teotihuacan Pyramids
This must-visit spot is about an hour and a half drive from Mexico City and is a fascinating archaeological site that dates back to 300 BC. It’s a great spot to gain incredible insight into the Aztec culture, so give yourself a half or full day. Make sure you have enough time to go all the way up to the Piramide del Sol, the Sun Pyramid. It is the third largest pyramid in the world.
Go for a ride in Xochimilco
This suburb is home to a canal river system where you jump on a Trajinera – colourful flat boats filled with flowers with tables. You go here with friends; you sit, eat and drink as you’re polled through the canals. You don’t do the rowing, it’s similar to a ride on a gondola in Venice.
Take the kids to Papalote Museum
This is a museum for kids. It has a technological, interactive theme. There’s a few Mexican-themed exhibitions but a lot of the displays are science based projects. Guaranteed fun for a few hours with the little ones.
Listen to Mariachi
What is a visit to Mexico without hearing a Mariachi band? Plaza Garibaldi is a good spot to sit at a bar, drink tequila and listen to this traditional folk music.
Try Tequila and Mezcal
Mexico’s national drink is served in every bar around town. But extend your horizons and try mezcal as well. La Condesa, La Roma and Polanco are all home to plenty of cool restaurants and bars. Puebla 109 and Artemisa in Colonia Roma and Jules Basement in Polanco are a few of my favourites.
Forget the stereotype
Mexico is known for not being a safe place but as long as you’re sensible and don’t flaunt wealth, you’ll be fine. Mexico City is a big city, the same as other big cities so just be aware.
Take taxis. They’re cheap. For someone that is backpacking, or on a tight budget, you can take public transport. But the taxis are cheap. Make sure you take one from a Taxi Rank. They should have meters. Sometimes they won’t have a meter but they’ll have established rates you agree on beforehand. Uber works very well in Mexico City too!