Mexico City, Mexico

Given that we were heading to Cancun for a wedding at Nizuc Resort & Spa and it was Melanie’s 30th birthday, we decided to extend our stay in Mexico and fly from Cancun to Mexico City! Given that Mexico City has become a popular destination recently, we received many recommendations. For those planning a trip to Mexico City, here is our compiled list of recommendations.

There are two great neighborhoods to stay in – La Condesa and Roma Norte. We stayed in La Condesa at a boutique hotel called Casa Decu. We loved it! It had a little gym that we used in the mornings and a great rooftop.

Activities

Museo Nacional de Antropología: This is known to be the largest and most visited museum in Mexico. The museum tells the story of Mexico from pre-historic times to the current day through archeological evidence.

Free Walking Tour: As we do in most cities we visit, we found a free walking tour! The tour was ~3 hours and took place mostly in the historic center. The tour guide explained the complicated history of Mexico City and led us to an ancient temple that was discovered in the 1990s while the city was building its subway system. Some other spots we saw and learned about were the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Palace, the Postal Palace, Santo Domingo Square, House of Tiles, and the Palace of Fine Arts.

Visit Teotihuacán: Teotihuacán is an archaeological complex located to the northeast of Mexico City. To see these ruins, we booked a Tour and Balloon Ride over Teotihuacán. We were a little hesitant about the balloon ride, but it far exceeded our expectations! The day began at 5:00am, when our tour guide picked us up from our hotel and drove us to the ancient city. There we met our hot air balloon pilot and crew and within minutes we were hovering at ~2,000 ft in the air toward the pyramids! After ~1 hour in the sky, we had a very soft landing (right next to a cacti field!), ate some breakfast, and went to the ruins. A private guide led us around the ruins, explained the history of the pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, and led us on “the Path of the Dead.” We learned about how the early archaeologists used dynamite when excavating, which led to massive damage and complications in restoration. After ~2 hours at the ruins, we were driven back to our hotel in La Condesa.

Food

Ojo de Agua: We stumbled across this spot near our hotel in La Condesa. It is a very fresh (and always very crowded!) breakfast spot. The juices were yummy!

El Tizoncito: Our friends recently visited Mexico City and had the best time doing a food tour with The Taco Mensch. We weren’t able to book a tour with The Taco Mensch because timing and dates didn’t work out. Instead, our friends gave us the list of spots that The Taco Mensch brought them to and El Tizoncito was one of them. This place was casual, had very quick service, and the Al Pastor tacos (which they are known for) were deeeeelish!

Carlotta Reforma Sky Bar: One night before dinner, we went to the bar at the Ritz Carlton. The views of the city from here are great and the cocktails are delicious and creative!

Toledo Rooftop: This spot was recommended by a few friends, so we popped by when we had some time to kill before a late lunch reservation. We got a little confused finding the entrance, but once we found it we grabbed a drink, watched some soccer, and enjoyed the sunshine!

Em: Lucho Martinez’s newest endeavor, Em, is definitely high-end and accessible (i.e. it is said be an alternative to Pujol, which requires a two-months-in-advance reservation). With a farm-to-table-focused menu, this spot offers a wide range of interesting and fun dishes. Our favorite dishes were the fish collars and the baby corn.

Contramar: We had so much fun at Contramar! This buzzy and vibrant seafood restaurant from chef and restaurateur Gabriela Cámara is the ideal spot for a long lunch. We had a lunch reservation at 12pm, but happened to be in the area so decided to walk in early. We were so glad that we went early because Mexico was playing in the World Cup and the restaurant was filled with very loud and rowdy locals. The grilled fish with two sauces and the tuna tostadas are just as good as everyone says!

Máximo Bistrot: Chef Eduardo García is among Mexico’s best culinary talents. In 2020, his flagship fine dining restaurant, Máximo Bistrot, moved to a brand new location, a beautifully designed space filled with natural light. This move provided a chance to revisit the menu, improving his classic dishes and creating new ones that celebrate Mexican flavors with a French twist. This was one of our favorite meals during our stay in Mexico City. The bread was served with goat cheese butter and the crab tostada were out of this world! Also, the homemade Nutella for dessert was amazing.

Rosetta: This is a refined venue crafting elevated local cuisine in a restored villa that has a plant-filled courtyard. The vibe and food were incredible. This Goop review describes the restaurant perfectly. If you go here, make sure to save room for lots of incredible bread!

Panadería Rosetta: This tiny bakery is an extension of the Rosetta restaurant and it serves incredible pastries and ice cream. The croissants, cinnamon rolls, ricotta rolls, and focaccias are pretty perfect, and a nice break from the traditional Mexican classics. Supposedly the guava pastry is very popular (we didn’t get it). We ordered a vanilla bean soft serve in a croissant cone, which Cody continues to dream about!

Lardo: Lardo is run by the same people as Rosetta and is a hip Mexican-Mediterranean fusion spot. We went for brunch on Melanie’s birthday and absolutely loved it. As recommended by The Infatuation, we got the octopus. Also, we don’t typically love carrot cake, but the carrot cake from here was SO GOOD!

Shopping

Carla Fernández: This spot was recommended by Melanie’s friend from grad school who grew up in Mexico City. Carla Fernández is a Mexican fashion designer dedicated to preserving and revitalizing the textile legacy of indigenous and mestizo communities of Mexico. We enjoyed walking through the store looking at the unique clothing and bags.

home Mexico: This spot had a bunch of great home goods made in Mexico.

HAPPENING Roma Norte: This was another spot recommended by Melanie’s friend from grad school who grew up in Mexico City. This store was in a lovely part of Roma Norte, had a great selection of pottery and jewelry, and also had adorable baby clothes! We enjoyed spending time in this store and purchased some Mexican pottery.

Básicos de México: We stumbled upon this store when walking throughout La Condesa one morning. Cody bought some high-quality, well-priced t-shirts and Melanie bought a set of marble candle holders made in Mexico.

We absolutely loved our time in Mexico City. We felt very safe, took many Ubers (Ubers were ~$3 USD for a 15-20min ride), and loved the unlimited options of activities and food to choose from. We definitely want to go back to Mexico City and stay for a lot longer (4 nights was no where near enough time)!

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