Prior to our visit, I really had no burning desire to visit Mexico City and had the perception that the city was just a massive, overcrowded mess. As usual, I was wrong with my preconceived notions. We spent a full week in Mexico City and the visit exceeded our expectations. There are some big ciites that you leave knowing that you’ll come back, and Mexico City is one of them. We do plan to return to visit other states in Mexico that we did not get a chance to visit on this go around. And, any return visit to Mexico in the future will surely include Mexico City. It would be a travesty to pass on the best tasting tacos on planet earth that this city has on tap.
Mexico City is a sprawling city but extremely manageable to explore with the right strategy. It was a similar strategy that we implemented on our visit to Tokyo. The secret to effectively and efficiently tackle Mexico City, is by focusing on the five (5) most desirable neighborhoods. Those being, La Condesa, Roma Norte, Centro Historico, Polanco, Zona Rosa, Coyoacan. Whenever we visit large cities, we usually rely on the cheap and efficient public transportation. In this case, we did not even bother figuring out the public transportation system and simply relied on Uber which was dirt cheap. What I really love most about Uber is that you do not have to overcome the communication barrier with the driver attempting to articulate the precise location of your destination.
There’s a ton of street action, with each neighborhood having their own relaxed urban vibe. One thing I took note of, the locals throughout the city had an unusual relaxed look for big city dwellers. The locals were not walking around with that stressed out look on their faces which is typical in large densely populated cities like Manhattan. A look like their insurance just expired.
After much consideration, we elected to stay at an Airbnb in the quieter La Condesa district away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. In La Condesa, there were tons of sidewalk cafes, trendy bistros, parks and amazing taco joints dotting the area. The area is full of greenery and tree lined streets which had a very distinctive European hipster vibe. At night, La Condesa really comes alive with the younger crowd partying in all the local bars and clubs. It is also in walking distance to the city’s massive Chapultepec Park which is the largest park in the western hemisphere.
One of the big spectator activities that was high on our list, was to attend the Lucha Libre crazy masked Mexican wrestling matches. It doesn’t matter if you’re into wrestling or not — I’m not! Lucha Libre is for everyone. Whether you’re a wrestling fan or not, it was an experience that I would unequivocally suggest to anyone visiting Mexico City.
The spectators were getting smashed on cervaza and everyone in attendance had one thing in common……. have a fun time. While the fighters were focused on delivering some amazing acrobatics, these ridiculous antics happening in the ring really made us laugh.
So what did we do in our week in Mexico City?
1) Lucha Libre – checked out this hilarious wresting event.
2) Mercado San Juan – our fav market to wander and eat with the locals.
3) Hipodromo de Las Americas Racetrack – had to hit up a track, right?
4) Soccer Match – never made it to the soccer game which would have been fun.
5) Coyoacan Area – real festive on the Sunday we visited.
6) Centro Historico Area – wandered around bustling downtown city centre street action.
7) Zona Rosa Area – Paseo de la Reforma is closed to cars on Sundays for bike riding.
8) La Condesa Area – our home base where we wandered about daily.
9) Polanco Area – most upscale area in Mexico City.
10) Taco Joints – ate almost every meal at Mexico City’s many renowned taco joints.
TOP TACO JOINTS – MEXICO CITY
(Note, we had a bunch more places on our list but did not have the time despite our full week in Mexico City)
La Condesa Area:
El Tizoncito – 2 locations, may fav was the one on Av. Tamaulipas
El Huequito – near Chapultepec Park
Taqueria El Califa –
La Guera Tortas de Chilaquiles – tiny pop up food cart serves tortas until Noon.
Tacos Don Juan –
El Autentico Pato Manila –
Center Historico Area:
El Huequito – tiny streetside stand.
El Moro – not tacos but great churros. Cafe du Monde type experience.
Roma Norte –
MEXICO SUMMARY –
Our 3 month journey around Mexico exceeded our expectations. I knew when we first began planning our trip to Mexico that we would love the country because it ticked all the boxes. The greens are good and plentiful, the food is awesome, the dollar is strong, the arrechera and al pastor is amazing, the horchata is delicious. To top it all off, the mexicans put tasty melted cheese on anything you desire.
We covered a good chunk of the most desirable states of Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Nayarit, Jalisco and Mexico City. However, there are definitely states we missed (Oaxaca and Chiapas) which we will cover on our next go around. It was one of the most festive and colorful of all the countries we have visited during our RTW. The locals always seemed to find an excuse to celebrate and party with music seemingly playing around every corner. It was just so fun living in a culture like that. We knew there would be a huge language barrier with very little english spoken in many non-touristy parts of the country. However, in this country, all you really need to know are a few key spanish words along with the customary travel body & hand language signs. The locals were so patient with our 3 month old dialect.