A city full of culture, bright colors and the 2nd largest accumulation of museums in the world (behind Paris), Mexico City should be on everyone’s bucket list. From mezcal, to a vibrant restaurant scene, to Lucha Libre, this city will please anyone.
I love big cities and the more chaotic and grittier they are, the more I’m in love with them. Naturally, Mexico City, known to most as CDMX, was on my bucket list. Upon arrival to the airport, it was chaotic with people running about grabbing bags, hailing cabs or meeting their Uber drivers. I could feel the energy and knew this was going to be a wonderful trip to remember.
Since this was our first trip to Mexico City, we decided to use the car transfer service, Carey International. Used mainly by business travelers, this car service is becoming a regular go-to by the leisure market. The drivers are experienced, vetted and regularly drug tested. We found our driver patiently waiting for us in the arrival hall with my name on a sign. He was nicely dressed and knew a bit of English to have a few conversations. Upon entering the hectic traffic, I immediately equated it with Bangkok traffic. From the airport to our destination in the Paseo de La Reforma neighborhood, it took about an hour due to traffic.
Once checked in, we immediately started exploring the area. The first order of business and my main reason for visiting was to experience true Mexican food! The streets were teeming with people and filled with wonderful smells of grilled meats, fresh tortillas and sweet treats. After stopping at our first local restaurant, El Turix, I knew this was going to be a successful, food coma weekend.
El Turix is known for its chicken pibil smothered in sauce and purple onions. The chicken was tender, the onions cooked to perfection and the tortilla was delicately fried and topped with all the yummy goodness.
Another must eat – tacos! There is an endless variety of local delicacies to try in CDMX besides tacos, but these were fantastic. I stumbled upon Tacos Don Güero as I was walking through the city looking for more delicious food. I noticed a line of business professionals and knew this must be a popular lunch stop. It did not disappoint. The tacos were filled with spicy meat, onions, tomatoes and topped with a spicy green sauce that drips down your hands onto the plate with every bite. They were a perfect combination of pure happiness and contentment in one sitting.
Pro travel tip: Always look for the local crowds forming long lines outside of a restaurant and you are sure to have found one of the best restaurants in the city.
Food tours are a must when visiting CDMX. Knowing what to order can be a frustrating and trying experience. A food tour remedies this situation and generates great insight from the locals. I registered our group of four with Eat Like a Local, Mexico City Food Safaris. The owner, Rocio, runs an all-female operated business and gives back to the community by providing English lessons and utilizing local vendors for her business. Each tour is carefully curated and limited to a max of six people to provide an intimate experience. The passion and knowledge she exudes for her business and city is amazing. And when she is not managing tours, she travels the world learning about other cultures. She integrates their customs into her tours and teaches her students what amazing things the world has to offer. Her students are from improvised backgrounds, so she feels strongly that someone needs to show them they can create a life outside of crime and poverty.
By going on this tour, we were able to meet locals and go to restaurants we would have never found on our own. The food was truly amazing, and the conversations were inspirational, but this isn’t the only thing you will enjoy. You will also get a history lesson with each stop and some amazing cocktails at the end of the tour.
If you have a day or two to spare, make sure to take some day trips to see other historical parts of the area. A must visit, the Teotihuacan Pyramids, 25 miles northeast of the city. You can hire a private driver for the day to transport you to the park (which I highly recommend) or you may join one of the tour buses that transports loads of tourists to see the pyramids. The downside with the tour buses is that you are on everyone else’s time, escorted like a herd of cattle and you can’t leave when you are ready.
The pyramids are a marvel in themselves as they were founded as early as 300 A.D. By the time the Aztecs found the city in the 1400s, the city had been abandoned for centuries. The history of the origins still remains a mystery to this day. You are allowed to climb the pyramids (bring your hiking shoes), take photos and enjoy the local scenery.
Pro tip: Start your day early to beat the crowds and the heat.
After you trek around the pyramids and feel like you can star in your own adventure movie, a cold beverage and some delicious food are in order. La Nacional is the perfect place to quench your thirst in the adorable Condesa neighborhood. A notable standout are the mole enchiladas, a margarita and a shot of mezcal. The mole was incredibly delicious, creamy and chocolatey without being overwhelming.
If you have the need for a sweet treat after eating, drinking and walking around the city, El Moro Churrería will feed that craving. Established in 1935, known for churros made only from flour, salt and water - they are the perfect dessert as they are crispy and chewy with a sweet taste that keeps you longing for more. Each plate of churro comes with a side of delicate chocolate dipping sauce.
I relish in the memory of my long weekend in Mexico City and I could have easily spent a few more days taking in the splendor of the streets. I recommend going for at least 5-7 days for a chance to visit the markets, catch a Lucha Libre fight or simply go to the multitude of museums.
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