I had never given too much thought to Mexico City. After all, I’d done the beaches in Cancun and Cabo and the border was 30 minutes from my house. But after a couple of layovers there and hearing more and more good things about it, we decided to look at flights. $115 round trip from Tijuana. Done.
Before I get into all of the things we ate and did, here are a few tips I have:
- We went to Mexico City in July which is part of the rainy season. (Yeah, living in San Diego I tend not to consider those things). I was a bit dismayed checking the forecast before we went but don’t let the “rainy season” stop you from traveling there. It was pleasant during the day, sometimes hot and even sunny. The rain would start between 4pm and 5pm and every day we were there it wouldn’t last too long. It also happened to rain whenever we were heading back to the hotel for a nap, shower, or watching Lucha Libre so it didn’t bother us in the slightest.
- If you’ve read about Mexico City at all you’ll know to expect traffic. And you should. But if you don’t mind walking and are staying in a central location you don’t always have to hop in a car or bus. We didn’t take the Metro but did take Uber every time we needed transportation – it’s ridiculously cheap and felt safer than trying to catch a cab.
- Mexico City sits at about 7,500 feet. Altitude affects (and doesn’t affect) everyone differently but I would just remember that you’re pretty high up there! We tried to drink as much water as possible (this also may have been because we were also drinking beer, wine, and mezcal).
- There is not a whole lot going on in Mexico City on Sunday night. I didn’t find Monday night to be too much better. We knew this going into our trip so planned accordingly and still had some great meals, but just something to be aware of – 90% of the bars and restaurants you might be looking to go to will not be open (if they’re open on Sundays they’ll be closing early).
Where to Stay
We opted to save a few bucks and used points at the Sheraton Maria Isabel which I’d recommend. It’s a really central location with nice rooms that you’d expect from a nice Sheraton. Apparently, there is a second tower that hasn’t been updated yet but since we didn’t stay there I can’t speak to that. If you want to splurge a bit the Four Seasons and St. Regis are down the road and really, at under $300 a night (at the time we visited) not a splurge for the fact that they are the Four Seasons and St. Regis. Or, you can find plenty of great Airbnbs for low prices if you’d rather go that route.
Where to Eat (and Drink)
La Docena – not only was this place delicious, it’s open on Sunday nights! And near the arena where you can catch a Lucha Libre match. La Docena is known for their oysters but they plenty of other seafood and meat dishes too. But…their oysters…now, I honestly don’t get what the big deal is over a raw oyster but these…these were smoked with tuna crudo on top. They were not only the best oysters I will probably ever have in my life, but just generally a really great dish. We also had some yummy mussels, a tuna special, and summer wine (whatever that is) mixed with vodka served in a penguin.
Seneri – Seneri is a contemporary Mexican restaurant that sits above Mercado Roma (which looked delicious itself). I definitely recommend if you’re looking for a nice dinner date. They took their time bringing out our food and we had a nice night with a bottle of wine from Guadalupe Valley.
Fonda Fina – another restaurant in Roma Norte, this place was a bit more casual but still definitely delicious. We had pork belly sope, a squash blossom salad, and a flank streak. After the small plates and salads you get to pick your meat (or fish), sauce, and side. Try the mezcal ice cream to end your meal. Also…they’re open on Mondays!
Lardo – we walked here for brunch on Sunday. Expect to wait a bit (perhaps not during the week). You can buy a coffee and pastry while you wait. We ended up sitting at the bar and had two good egg dishes and some mimosas. I thought the food was pretty good and I wasn’t feeling all that adventurous with my order so it would be worth going back to.
Parian Condesa – we checked out this food hall on Tuesday afternoon. It was pretty empty so we were able to get a seat out on the back patio and they have waiters that serve you from any of the stalls in the food hall. We ended up ordering some delicious guacamole and had a few tacos as well, but they had all kinds of varieties of food if you need a break from Mexican!
El Califa – located just a couple of blocks from the Sheraton – we had a variety of delicious tacos with lots of cheese, guacamole, and a few beers. The tacos definitely differentiate in price and I think there are definitely cheaper taco places out there, but this was really good!
El Farolito – located in Polanco, this was another delicious taco stop. I felt like I overate at El Califa so tried a little bit less here, but overall I think I preferred El Califa. This stop did finally bring us to the neighborhood of Polanco so we spent some time walking around after and checking things out after that.
Due to the fact that we arrived on Saturday and Sundays and Mondays are completely dead, we didn’t have a chance to check out as many places as I would have liked.
Felina Bar – a small, dark, hipster bar that made us feel like we were in Brooklyn or San Francisco. You could tell the bartenders put a lot of love into making their drinks (and a lot of time). We had a fun time here the drinks were yummy but if small, dark, hipster bar isn’t your scene I would probably skip it.
Licorera Limantour – we found seats at the bar here on a Saturday night and tried a couple of different signature cocktails. Delicious! I definitely recommend coming here for a drink. They also played amazing old school hip hop music the entire time we were there adding to the greatness.
La Cerveceria de Barrio Condesa – we stopped here for a drink and to take in some people watching. Located on the corner of a cute street with shops and restaurants, you can grab a beer and a variety of Mexican food (we went with some tuna which seemed to be one of the themes of the weekend). Definitely a nice stop on an afternoon walk!
Teotihuacan – these Aztec ruins are located about 45 minutes outside of the city. We spent about 2 1/2 hours there walking around and hiking up and down pyramids. We went on a Monday morning, which I’d definitely recommend — or at least, I wouldn’t recommend going on a Sunday when it’s free for Mexicans so more crowded, and by the time we were heading out a little after 1pm it had gotten a lot more crowded than when we arrived at 10:30am. Be prepared to walk! We probably walked around 5 miles when we were there and climbed A LOT of flights of stairs – but the ruins were cool and it was definitely nice to get a break from the city.
Chapultepec Park – this huge park is in walking distance from the Sheraton. We checked out the castle which was pretty cool and just spent some time walking around the park. We also found Alas de la Ciudad (the wings of the city) which is fun for a photo op! We heard the Anthropology Museum was great as well, but didn’t make it there.
Luche Libre – so, so entertaining. We ended up going on Sunday at 5pm which was perfect because 1) it ended up raining while we were at the match 2) it was close to La Docena which is open on Sunday nights for dinner. I think we might have paid around $15 for tickets and then got cheap giant Coronas and random snacks. There were 5 matches and the entire thing lasted for 5 hours. They don’t have matches every night but if you’re in town when they do, it’s definitely an entertaining (and cheap) two hours.
Walk around! La Condesa, Roma Norte, Zona Rosa, Polanco – there are so many restaurants, bars, and shops to check out and when it’s a nice day, it’s nice to just walk!
Casa Azul (Frida Kahlo Museum) – our experience at the Frida Kahlo Museum wasn’t the best – the whole experience was completely unorganized and crowded and I’m not sure if I can recommend it (perhaps I just wasn’t appreciating it enough). But, it did bring us to the area of Coyoacan which felt like a small town worlds away from Mexico City. If you’re in the area on Saturday there is a big market – there were still a handful of stalls open when we were there on a Tuesday. Note: closed on Mondays (as most museums are).
All in all we had a great time in Mexico City, and for the price of flights and hotels, we would definitely go back – but probably make sure to leave by Sunday evening next time. There are so many more delicious restaurants and bars to check out! In addition to where we went, we plan to go back and try out Tacqueria el Greco, Volver, Quintonil, Maximo, Pujol, Peua, and Guzina Oaxaca for food and Gin Gin, Baltra Bar, La Mascota, Bosforo, Maison Artemisa, Romita Comedor for drinks!