10 Things to Do: Mexico City
Mexico City continues to reinvent itself. Along with world-class museums, architectural gems from its Spanish colonial and Aztec past, and a vibrant urban culture, it is also a favorite destination for foodies and modern art collectors.
1. Bike La Reforma
On Sundays, Paseo de la Reforma, the artery that traverses the city center, is closed to traffic — and becomes a haven for bicyclists and people-watchers. Watch for the quinceañera parties that crowd the Angel of Independence statue.
2. See the heart of Mexico
The Plaza de la Constitución, dubbed the Zócalo, takes up an entire block in the city center, where the National Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral sit alongside the ruins of the pre-Hispanic city Tenochtitlan. Enjoy a panoramic view from the Zócalo Central Hotel rooftop.
3. Experience time travel
Immerse yourself in Aztec and Mayan history at the National Museum of Anthropology in Chapultepec Park. Don’t miss the original Aztec Sun Stone — the Pre-Columbian calendar system. ($3 entry)
4. Call on Frida
See why the Coyoacán neighborhood, in the southern part of the city, was deemed a “magic barrio” by city authorities. Evocative of a classic Mexican village, it is also the location of the Frida Kahlo museum, the artist’s former home. ($6 entry for foreigners)
5. Hang with hipsters
Once home to the Mexican bourgeoisie, the Roma and Condesa districts are now popular hangouts for young artists, musicians, filmmakers and chefs. Cocktail bars, trendy restaurants and art galleries line the streets. Try Licorería Limantour for specialty drinks, and El Parnita for gourmet tacos. ($10 drink; $20 entrée)
6. Climb to the Sun
One hour northeast of Mexico City, you can see the monuments of one of the most powerful civilizations of the Classic Period: Teotihuacán. Be prepared to climb hundreds of steps, but the view from the top of the Pyramid of the Sun is remarkable. ($3 entry, $5 for round-trip bus ticket)
7. Go mod
For fans of modern art, the Jumex Museum in Polanco is a must-visit. The museum features pieces by Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois and Yayoi Kusama, among others. ($3 entry for foreigners)
8. Revel in Rivera and Rufino
The Palace of Fine Arts is an architectural landmark that showcases some of Mexico’s greatest painters. The white marble palace houses works by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo and many others. ($3 entry)
9. Refresh your taste buds
Any gastronomical tour should include a wide variety of reworked traditional dishes. Stop by Dulce Patria in Polanco for empanadas, ceviche and stuffed chiles reinterpreted by chef Martha Ortíz. (Entrees start at $30)
10. Make it a mezcal
Skip the tequila and order the smokier mezcal, best served with an orange slice doused with sal de gusano (worm salt). On Fridays, try the Talismán de Motolinia in the Historic Center for mezcal, traditional dishes and live music. ($4 shot)
Olman is based in Mexico City