For the first city guide in this new venture I hope to inspire you and encourage you to travel well while focusing on your overall health and wellbeing. I will share city specific tips, favorite restaurants, things to do, hidden gems, and wellness advice.
I'm constantly inspired by culture, adventure, art, music, and food. Whether it's staying at a five star hotel and eating at a Michelin rated restaurant or renting an AirBnb and sipping coffee with the locals, I want to share it ALL with you.
When the time comes for you to plan your next trip, you’ll have a resource of hidden gems and my personal favorites from all areas of the world that you can reference and plan your own adventure with while still feeling good doing it!
Before we get started I want to share with you that I was told my numerous people (friends, family members, and strangers) NOT to go to Mexico City. It was considered “dangerous” and “risky” but despite all the negative commentary surrounding my travel plans I still moved forward with it. Mexico City has been on my list of places to visit for years and I am SO GLAD I didn't listen to anyone. Mexico City was one of my favorite cities that we have visited. The people were gracious and warm and helpful. We never once felt unsafe walking around and we walked about 8 miles through the city on our first day. So if you are wanting to visit, I say do it. My only tip to just be cautious and leave your valuables at home, like with any foreign city, you need to have some street smarts. Avoid high crime areas and don't go walking around with wads of cash sticking out of your purse and you'll be fine.
Mexico City is full of street carts, cafes, and restaurants. Every corner you turn your senses are overwhelmed with the smell of fresh tortillas and local spices. There is no doubt that Mexico City has an abundance of delicious food and talented chefs. Exploring the local cuisine is the perfect opportunity to indulge in Mexican culture and local produce. I've done the research for you so whatever route you choose you're guaranteed a culinary experience.
Quintonil - Polanco. This restaurant gives the famous Pujol quite the competition. I recommend their tasting menu and sitting at the counter where you can watch them prepare the dishes. Dinner is about 3 hours and goes by quickly as the tasting never leaves you without food for long. Make reservations in advance because they fill up quickly.
Rosetta - Roma Norte. The food is amazing, the vibes are even better. Rosetta gives “deep respect” to Mexican ingredients. I haven't visited the bar on the second floor but it was very busy when we left and I have heard great things. I loved everything about this space and the food. If you are staying close by I recommend visiting their bakery!
Pujol- Polanco. Prepare to have your senses blown from the moment you step inside the lush atmosphere of Pujol. Chef Enrique Olvera's dishes are always evolving and shifting. He tells stories through his food and his signature dish, Mole Madre, Mole Nuevo may be the best thing I have ever tasted. Frank and I enjoyed the traditional tasting menu but I heard from others that the taco tasting is spectacular.
Contramar - Roma Norte. This is the “hot spot” for lunch and was recommended by a few friends/locals. I recommend sitting out front to people watch and ordering their tuna loin tostadas. Do watch out for them selling you on extra appetizers if you don't speak the language well.
Some other places on my list but we didn't get to visit: Rosetta Bakery, Lalo, El Moro Churerria, Tori Tori, Eno, Lardo, Masala y Maiz, Carmela y Sal, El Turix, Taqueria Orinoco, Pasillo de Humo.
Bou- Roma Norte. We stopped here on a whim and grabbed coffees but ended up staying for the ambience. I found that most cafe's had milk alternatives but you have to ask!
Raku Cafe - Roma Norte. Raku means ‘joy’ in Japanese and after sipping a
Vietnamita, I get it. Raku is a small cafe that can easily be missed if you're not paying attention. The inside is cozy and the coffee is amazing. If you're hungry you can also grab a bite to eat here although the menu is limited.
Pan Dulce - Juarez. Located inside the Four Seasons but it feels like a small French cafe with ALL the sweets you could ever want or dream about. They have gluten free sweets as well which was my favorite part!
There is a cafe on every block in Mexico City and you can't go wrong with stopping into one that sparks your interest as you walk around the city. If you're a coffee fan like Frank and I, I highly recommend booking a coffee tasting with Ricardo on AirBnb.
There are multiple definitions that take shape when someone thinks of the word ‘hotel’. These days a hotel could be someone's house, a boutique building with only a few rooms, a boat house, treehouse, or a luxury resort. A hotel is so much more than “just a place to sleep”, it's the feeling you get as you are welcomed into a new town or city. It's the warm welcome of the owners showing you around the neighborhood or a cocktail waiting behind the front desk. From the music and smell to the thoughtful design and decor; it's the smallest of details that make a hotel extra special. I’ve compiled a collection of my favorite hotels in Mexico City for whenever your curiousity takes you there.
Condesa DF - Condesa. Hidden away between historic facades on a tree-lined street in Mexico City's chic Condesa neighborhood and designed by the famous architect, Javier Sanchez, the hotel resides inside a building with a lot of history. The design takes on a French bohemian vibe with a bit of Mexican flair.
La Vilise - Roma Norte. La Vilise is located in a very discreet 1920's french-style townhouse and each space is thoughtfully garnished with Mexican antiques. Each suite has a personal terrace and their La Terraza suite has a special feature with a bed that glides out and allows you to sleep under the stars.
Four Seasons - Juarez. A prime location in between some of the best neighborhoods and walking distance to the Bosque de Chapultepec, one of the largest city parks in the western hemisphere (a must see when you are here). The rooms are located around a serene fountain courtyard brimming with ivy and singing birds. We chose to stay here during our trip because of their covid policy. I would 100% recommend but I would not stay here the entire trip next time.
Quetzalcoatl's Nest AirBnB - Naucalpan de Juárez. This 16th century farmhouse has been carefully renovated and is set amidst olive groves and vineyards in the Puglian countryside. At Masseria Potenti, guests converge around a common table for dinner under the stars. The host, Patricia, is simply wonderful and if you book your stay here, let me know!
Ignacia Guest House - Roma Norte. A boutique hotel made up for 5 suites. Ignacia is decorated with local Mexican art and is truly an oasis in the heart of Mexico City. The blurb on their website describes it best, “Feel the sun, hear the silence, be seduced by the kitchen. Between adventures, find time to read, connect or just be. Welcome to our perfect little guest house in bustling, surreal Mexico City.”
THINGS TO DO
Mexico City is always lively anytime of year you go. You may be drawn to mid-summer when it's rainy season and everything is lush and green or late October when Mexico celebrates Day of the Dead. There is no wrong time to go and expect to spend ample time here as there is an overwhelming amount to see and do.
Casa Organica - Naucalpan de Juárez. Born from the idea of creating a space adapted to man and taking into account its origin in nature and its historical background. Javier Senosiain designed the house with a single bedroom, however, as the family grew it was necessary to expand it and the addition is now connected by a tunnel. Tip: Buy tickets well in advance.
Museo Nacional de Antropología - Polanco. 22 rooms and more than 45 thousand square meters of construction make it the largest museum in Mexico and one of the most outstanding in the world. Tip: This is a must see while you are here but give yourself plenty of time.
Museo Jumex - Colonia Granada. Mr. Eugenio López Rodea and Mrs. Isabel Alonso de López wanted to readily familiarize themselves with the work of internationally renowned contemporary artists. Through its exhibitions and public programs, Museo Jumex aspires to become a relevant institution in the field of art.
Biblioteca Vasconcelos - Buenavista. The library's general and reference collection is distributed in more than 40 thousand linear meters of hanging steel shelves open to the public. The biblioteca has been called the most important contemporary building in Mexico. ‘This is a library where building and garden, climate and book, learning and resting, are understood as fundamental to the act of reading and thinking as the physical materials themselves’ -Daniel Goldin
El Nido de Quetzalcoatl - Naucalpan de Juárez. Designed by the same Mexican architect, Javier Senosiain. A tour here takes about 4-5 hours to cover the entire grounds and the public currently cannot access it. Helpful tip: We got access through our Four Seasons concierge whom developed a relationship with Patricia, a longtime friend of the architect. Tip: If you even stay one night at the FS to see this place, I highly recommend it. This was 100% the highlight of our trip and cannot be put into words until you see if for yourself.
Teotihuacan Pyramids - Teotihuacan. Located about 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, Teotihuacan was one of the largest urban centers in the ancient world. A walk through the valley of the dead has you imagining what it was like for those living here and those being sacrificed to the Gods. Tip: The best way to see the pyramids is by a guide and arrive early so that you beat the crowd and the heat.
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe - Villa Gustavo Madero. The church was erected near the spot where two apparitions of the Virgin are said to have appeared to Juan Diego in December 1531 and commanded that a church be built. The Basilica is one of the world's most-visited holy sites and is not to be missed. Tip: visit both the pyramids and the Basilica in the same day.
More things to do/places to visit: Museo Soumaya, Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Chapultepec Castle, Zocalo, and Casa Gilardi.
There are so many beautiful communities within Mexico City. Unfortunately, Frank and I were only here for 4 full days so we did not get to see everything that we wanted to. The second day we walked 8 miles around the city and luckily we explored some of the highly recommended neighborhoods like Roma Norte, Polanco, Juarez and Condesa. I would also recommend taking an Uber to Coyoacán
Roma Norte- Filled with mansions and stunning architecture. Home to hipsters and stylish professionals. Roma Norte's tree lined streets are filled with outdoor cafes and is the spot for a foodie lovers dream.
Polanco - Known as the “Beverly Hills” of Mexico City. Polanco's Avenida Presidente Masaryk is home to premier brands like Hermes, Gucci and other world famous brands. Don't let the glitz deter you from visiting this neighborhood. Polanco is also known for it's mouthwatering cuisine and modern architecture.
Condesa - Roma Norte's more upscale sibling. Simply stunning around every turn.
Coyoacán - Known as the “historic center” of Mexico City but also famous for its cobblestone streets and colonial architecture.This neighborhood is home to Frida Kahlo's famous Blue House and other colorful homes that adorn the streets. I heard Saturday is the best day to visit here because of the artisan markets (Mercado de Artesanias and the Mercado de Coyoacán).
HEALTH + WELLNESS
I was happy to find that healthy eating is pretty easy in Mexico City. There is no shortage of healthy restaurants, cafes that offer milk alternatives, and vegan options. Below are some additional tips for you when preparing
Always ask for bottled water - it's best to drink water from a bottle while in Mexico City. It is estimated that approximately 70% of the water supply in Mexico City has at least one contaminant. These contaminants range from the natural elements to human contamination from a variety of causes.😬
Eat a balanced meal - stick to traditional foods, fruits, vegetables and tacos. The best food to eat when traveling to another country is whatever is local although if you have a weak stomach, stay away from street food. Make sure the food you are eating is cooked well and avoid raw or undercooked foods.
Prepare for a high altitude - Mexico City is around 7,300 feet above sea level. It's best to have any meds you need handy and to make sure to stay hydrated.
Bring snacks - when in doubt pack your own snacks to enjoy in between meals or as an emergency meal in case you can't find a place to grab a quick bite.