Hello and welcome!
Today, I figured I’d draw up a short guide to Mexico City, my adopted home.
We’re talking places to eat, places to drink, safety, language, weather, transportation…all the things a prospective tourist might want to know before arriving.
Now, this list is far from comprehensive. This city is gigantic, after all, and, the more you get to know it, the more you realize you don’t really know it at all!
That said, if you’re completely green to CDMX (Mexico City), and plan on doing a week or two long trip, my guide should prove more than sufficient.
Let’s do this thing.
(and if any Mexico City gurus are reading this, feel free to post additional suggestions in the comments below!)
Pujol - Tennyson 133, Polanco, Polanco IV
Maximo Bistrot - Calle Tonalá 133, Roma Norte
Contramar - Calle de Durango 200, Roma Nte.
El Cardenal - Av. Juárez 70, Centro
Quintonil - Av. Isaac Newton 55, Polanco, Polanco IV
El Parnita - Av. Yucatan 84, Roma Nte.
El Hidalguense - Campeche 155, Roma Sur
Balcón del Zócalo - Av. 5 de Mayo 61, Centro
Cabanna - Av. Pdte. Masaryk 134, Polanco, Polanco V
Corazon De Maguey- Parque Centenario 9A, Coyoacán
Ojo de Agua- Calle Citlaltepetl, Condesa 23
La Casa de Toño - Lots of them everywhere
Taquería Orinoco- Insurgentes Sur 253, Roma Nte
Churrería El Moro- Lots of them
El Huequito- A few of them in different places
Lucerna Comedor-Calle Lucerna 51 | Esq Lisboa, Col Juarez
El Tizoncito-Tamaulipas Numero. 122 | Colonia Condesa
Panaderia Rosetta- Colima 179, Colonia Roma
*tons of good street food as well - there is food everywhere here.
Bars & Clubs
Joy Room- Av Ejército Nacional 843, Granada, Polanco
Hyde- Privado 02, Paseo de Los Tamarindos 90, Bosques de las Lomas,
La Santa Masaryk- Privado 02, Paseo de Los Tamarindos 90, Bosques de las Lomas
SENS- Paseo de Los Tamarindos, 90, Privado 1, Bosques de las Lomas
República- Masaryk 407, Polanco
Cafe Paraiso- Plaza Villa de Madrid 17, Roma Norte
El Departamento - Alvaro Obregon 154, Roma Norte
Phoenix - Cadereyta 16, Condesa
Leonor - Nuevo León 163
GIN GIN - Av Oaxaca 87, Roma Nte
Limantour - Av. Álvaro Obregón 106
Felix -Álvaro Obregón 64, Roma Norte
Aurora - Av. Álvaro Obregón 126
La Clandestina - Avenida Álvaro Obregón 298
Baltra - Iztaccihuatl 36D, Condesa
Apotheke - Calle de Durango 205, Roma Nte
Xampañería - Av Nuevo León 66, Condesa
Xaman - Copenhague 6, Juárez
La Botica - Alfonso Reyes 120, Hipódromo Condesa
Luciferina - Calle Lucerna 34, Juárez,
Parker & Lennox - Calle Milan 14, Juárez
Pata Negra - Av. Tamaulipas 30
Mr. Duck - Avenida Francisco I. Madero 20 3er piso
Bar Milan - Calle Milan 18, Juárez
Pulquería Los Insurgentes - Insurgentes Sur 226
La Opera - 5 de Mayo 10, Centro
El Gallo de Oro - Calle de Venustiano Carranza 35
El Tío Pepe - Independiencia # 26 Centro
La Faena - Calle de Venustiano Carranza 49, Centro
***Last 4 budget choices I’ve listed are cantinas: traditional Mexican bars. It’s worth it to go to at least one.
Possible Tourist Activities
Teotihuacan (ancient pyramids. Impressive, but will take most of the day)
Xochimilco (network of canals and artificial islands)
Lucha Libre at Arena Mexico (Mexican wrestling)
The Metropolitan Cathedral (worth a look)
The National Palace (a lot about Mexican history)
The Museum of Anthropology (best museum in the city)
Plaza Garibaldi (mariachi music + drinking!)
Frida Kahlo Museum/Coyoacan (it’s OK. If you’re not into Frida it won’t do much for you).
Chapultepec Park/Castle (one of the largest parks in the Western hemisphere)
Torre Latinoamericana (incredible view of the city)
Soumaya Museum (art museum. More modern art, in my experience)
Mercado Medellin (Mexican market)
Mercado San Juan (another market. Exotic foods; a couple good restaurants)
Bellas Artes (an impressive building; a not-so-impressive museum)
Ciudadela Market (for souvenirs)
UNAM (biggest university in the Americas)
Museo Memoria y Tolerancia (good museum)
Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe (churches. Very famous among Catholics)
Paseo de Reforma (to see the angel).
Safety And Security:
The city isn’t as dangerous as most people seem to think. Its exaggeratedly-sordid reputation is a hangover from the 1990s, when Mexico fell into an economic crisis and crime skyrocketed in the capital. It’s said that during this time it was difficult to find someone who didn’t at least know someone who’d been a victim of an express kidnapping, if they were lucky enough not to have been a victim themselves.
Mexico City is much safer now than it was back then! Taking normal precautions will all but ensure you have a trouble-free trip.
I recommend staying in one of the following neighbourhoods: Polanco, Condesa, Santa Fe, Roma Norte, Cuauhtémoc.
These aren’t the only safe neighbourhoods, of course, but they are among the best with plenty of tourist offerings.
For much more information on safety in Mexico City, check out this article.
Cost Of Living
Mexico City is a very affordable travel destination. A good hotel in a nice area costs less than $100 USD/night. Street food is astonishingly cheap - a full plate of tacos might cost you $3.00 USD.
Restaurant prices are also reasonable. You can eat very well for no more than $15.00 USD/head
For most items, grocery store prices aren’t much cheaper than you’ll find in the United States.
Nightlife is very reasonable. Bottle service can be as little as $50.00 USD, depending on the spot, and beers typically range from $2.00-$4.00.
Uber will almost never exceed 10.00 USD within the city limits, and if you opt for public transportation, you’ll pay only 0.30/trip!
In other words, Mexico City is a destination that won’t break your bank.
The weather is pleasant year round, with temperatures rarely exceeding 30 Celsius, and rarely dropping below 15 Celsius.
However, keep in mind that June through September is the rainy season. This means that you can expect rain most days for 1-3 hours (usually in the evening).
It’s not a big deal, but if you’d rather not see any rain, best visit October through May.
Taxi drivers can be assholes here and will often overcharge you. Taxis also - to be honest - aren’t 100% safe, particularly at night. I’d suggest downloading the UBER app.
Assuming your phone is unlocked, it is best to purchase a local SIM card with data (you can do this at any mall), which will allow you to use the Uber app (and other apps) while you’re out and about. It may sound unnecessary for a short trip, but I’d say it’s worth it.
UBER is the way to go here (the locals all use it), particularly if you’ll be returning home late nights.
Often the fastest way to get around because the traffic is quite bad, but can be miserable if there are a lot of people (they cram people into the metro/metrobus).
You can buy a reloadable card at any metrobus station for less than $1.00.
At the time of writing, it costs $0.30 USD to ride the metrobus and metro.
The neighbourhoods of Polanco, Roma and Condesa are all very walkable and safe during the day.
Surprisingly, not many people speak English here. Young people often do, but older folks often don’t. If you don’t speak Spanish, don’t let this deter you - in the nicer restaurants, hotels, museums etc., they’ll speak English.
Also, when it comes to restaurant menus and markets, pointing to what you want goes a long way.
In the event you opt for a taxi instead of UBER, have the complete address written down on a piece of paper and that should be good (because your taxi driver likely won’t speak English).
Arriving from the Airport
You’ll probably get harassed by random dudes asking if you want a taxi. Best to ignore them and get a licensed one from any one of the booths that say “taxi”.
It’s more secure.
Or, if you have data, get an Uber! It will be cheaper.
Again, Uber will be your best option for getting around Mexico City.
Well, that’s a start.
I’ll update and republish this guide periodically as I think of new things to add.
I hope ya’ll decide to come down!
This guide will be here for when you do.
Thanks for listening.
Until next time,