Mexico City is one of the best cities to visit in the world.
It has boroughs of tightly knit communities filled with art, culture, history, and fine dining.
You can experience laid-back neighborhoods with a Bohemian vibe such as Condesa or if you prefer a fast-paced, urban feel then downtown Mexico City is where you need to be.
The city has the breezy-cool weather that I adored in San Francisco but without the large price tags of California living.
I spent four days in Mexico City and here are a few of the highlights.
For the first half of my trip, I stayed in Condesa, also known as “La Condesa,” a trendy and vibrant district located in the Cuauhtémoc borough of Mexico City.
It’s a popular area for young professionals, artists, and expats, and is known for its tree-lined streets, green parks, and lively cultural scene.
Walking through its streets is like taking a trip back in time to the early 20th century, with beautifully designed facades and unique architectural details.
Condesa is also a canvas for street artists, and you’ll find colorful murals and graffiti art throughout the neighborhood, adding to its vibrant atmosphere.
I visited the Condesa Farmers Market one morning and was pleased by the sight of many delicious gems such as huge mangos, bananas, sapote, and salsa macha.
Within walking distance of the farmers market is a woman who makes delicious chilaquiles, a traditional Mexican breakfast dish consisting of corn tortillas cut into quarters and lightly fried.
We also managed to find a small cafe that served some of the best churros I’ve had in my life.
Overall, Condesa is a must-visit neighborhood in Mexico City, offering a mix of culture, cuisine, and a relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere that appeals to both locals and tourists.
It’s a place where history and modernity coexist harmoniously, making it a favorite destination for many.
Bar Hopping at Three of the Top 50 Bars in the World
I was able to enjoy 3 of the 4 during my trip – Licorería Limantour, Hanky Panky, and Baltra Bar.
Licorería Limantour is ranked number 4 on the list for good reason.
The ambiance is incredible as soon as you walk in.
The staff was kind and accommodating, explaining the seasonal drink menu and giving us their recommendations.
The drink menu had a wide variety from sweet to strong, something for everyone’s palette.
Hanky Panky ranks number 13 on the list and reminded me of a movie as I walked in.
The bar has a speakeasy vibe where you enter through a curtain and exit through a refrigerator.
The ambiance is immaculate, with low lighting, plush booths, and music playing at the perfect volume.
Although their drinks were less unique than Licorería Limantour, they were equally delicious.
The experience was excellent and fulfilling after a long day of traveling throughout the city.
The last bar we visited was Baltra Bar – ranking number 32 out of 50 – has a Galapagos Islands theme.
The bar is on the smaller side in terms of seating and was packed on the night of our reservation. My travel group had to cram into a small table.
Baltra Bar often features mixologists who are highly acclaimed. Our featured mixologist was from the White House so I was excited to try her drinks.
Although the drinks were delicious, they still didn’t compare to the drinks at Licorería Limantour.
Food and Culture in Mexico City
Masala y Maiz Restuarant
The first thing you notice when you sit down are the strong political messages printed on the menu. After reading these, I knew I’d have an interesting meal.
This restaurant is a fusion of Indian, African, and Mexican components to create meals that are unique to the taste buds.
The restaurant itself is beautiful, using natural elements to highlight the beauty of the food.
The food was served family style, allowing 3 people to order multiple things off the menu to try. The menu is seasonal and uses local farmers’ harvests to dictate it.
The meal was delicious and we were longing for more.
The neighborhood surrounding Masala y Maiz was filled with beautiful shops & art galleries such as Hombre Necio.
Hombre Necio sells beautifully handcrafted garments such as shirts, dresses, and tote bags with various designs on them.
The owner sits in the back of the shop creating each one of her beautiful designs by hand.
Casa Bosques Bookstore
As we walked further we stumbled upon Casa Bosques Bookstore which had many interesting books on the art and culture of CDMX.
Club San Luis
The neighborhood has a more mature nightlife with clubs such as Club San Luis – a salsa club that offers lessons and the opportunity to watch others take the dance floor with the accompaniment of the live band.
Did I dance? Yes!
Did I know what I was doing? No.
But it didn’t matter because I had so much fun meeting new people and dancing the night away.
Among the city’s nightlife is a unique experience I would highly recommend – Lucha Libre or Mexican Professional Wrestling.
As a longtime fan of WWE, I was thrilled to experience professional wrestling in another country and I was blown away.
We went on a Tuesday night and were able to get very close to the ring without breaking the bank.
Everyone in my group became invested in the storylines and wrestlers very quickly and before we knew it we were cheering as if we had been watching for years.
Art and History in Mexico City
For the second half of my trip, I stayed in the city center at the Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral.
The Hostel was located across the street from the iconic Catedral Metropolitana de la Ciudad de México.
At the heart of the city, life is much quicker differing greatly from the quiet neighborhood of Condesa.
In this part of Mexico City, learned a lot about Mexico’s history and art.
Museo Nacional de Antropología
During this part of my trip, I experienced much more of the history of Mexico City by visiting the Museo Nacional de Antropología.
The museum’s building is a masterpiece of modernist architecture designed by Mexican architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and was inaugurated in 1964.
The architecture itself is a work of art, with a distinctive, umbrella-like roof supported by a single column, which represents an ancient Mesoamerican concept of the cosmos.
The Museo Nacional de Antropología houses an extensive and diverse collection of artifacts, archaeological finds, and ethnographic materials representing the indigenous cultures of Mexico.
The collection includes sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, and more, spanning from pre-Columbian civilizations to contemporary indigenous groups.
One of the most famous artifacts on display is the Aztec Stone of the Sun, also known as the Aztec Calendar Stone. This massive stone sculpture is an iconic representation of Aztec cosmology.
This museum walks you through the history of Mexican people featuring many different civilizations such as the Mayans, Aztecs, Teotihuacan, and more.
The Museo Nacional de Antropología is a cultural treasure that offers a deep and comprehensive exploration of Mexico’s diverse indigenous cultures, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in anthropology, archaeology, history, and Mexican culture.
It provides a unique opportunity to learn about the rich heritage of Mexico’s indigenous peoples and their contributions to the world.
Casa Azul de Frida Kahlo
Lastly, I was elated to have the opportunity to visit Museo Casa Azul de Frida Kahlo.
The Museo Casa Azul offers an immersive experience into the world of Frida Kahlo, allowing visitors to gain a deeper appreciation of her art and her impact on Mexican culture and the art world. It’s a must-visit for art enthusiasts and anyone interested in the life and legacy of this iconic artist.
The “Casa Azul” translates to “Blue House,” which is the nickname for the museum due to the vibrant blue color of the building’s exterior.
This museum was based in Frida Kahlo’s childhood home that she inherited in adulthood.
It tells the story of her upbringing, her growing interest in the arts, the tragedies surrounding her life, and the love she found with her husband, Diego Rivera.
The museum included beautiful gardens and courtyards with lush vegetation and pre-Hispanic artifacts. These outdoor spaces were also sources of inspiration for Kahlo’s artwork.
Inside the museum, I saw many of her iconic paintings, including “Las Dos Fridas” and “Viva la Vida,” her clothes and other artifacts, as well as works by her father and Diego Rivera.
It was incredibly intimate and heartbreaking to see how her life progressed. I was shocked by how emotional it made me and cannot recommend the experience enough.
Warning about Volcanoes in Mexico City
Mexico City itself is not located on or near any active volcanoes, but it is surrounded by several prominent volcanoes in the broader Mexico City metropolitan area.
One of these Popocatépetl, often referred to as “Popo,” is one of Mexico’s most iconic volcanoes and is located about 70 kilometers (43 miles) southeast of Mexico City. It is an active stratovolcano and has had several eruptions throughout history, with eruptions occurring periodically in recent years.
I had never experienced volcanic activity before and I was a bit frightened. Fortunately, it was not a major eruption and I was able to fly into Cancun after a 24-hour delay.
Remember that volcanic activity can change rapidly, so it’s crucial to stay alert and make informed decisions about your travel plans.
While visiting Mexico City during an active volcano situation can be a unique experience, your safety and well-being should always come first.
Final Thoughts About Mexico City
Mexico City is a beautiful city with so many things to do it is unlikely you will ever feel bored.
I cannot recommend it enough as a place for all ages but especially for young adults looking to travel somewhere for cheap!
Nia Goodall is a graduate of Howard University. She loves to travel and experience the world.