Mexico City has been one of my favorite cities to travel to. The city is diverse in food and entertainment, the people are welcoming, helpful and kind, and the culture is so vibrant. I always feel more alive and spontaneous when I visit Mexico City. When I travel, I prefer to have few plans and go day by day so that instead of sticking to tourist locales, I save myself the opportunity to explore, wander and get a little lost. Mexico City is separated into neighborhoods, much like New York City, and each neighborhood has a different feel. On our last trip we stayed in the Polanco area so my tips will be based on that neighborhood. Read along for tips I have for staying and falling in love with Mexico City.
- Use airbnb or find a boutique hotel. In the past, I have stayed at great boutique hotels in Mexico and found that they offer more personal experiences for your stay. I have friends who swear by airbnb and have had wonderful experiences with it.
- Grab a map and go for a walk! We couldn't use our phones since international data is expensive so we had a good ole' fashioned map and wandered around the Polanco area.
- Use your first day to explore, shop the local grocery store and get your bearings. We had no plans for our first day in Mexico City so we went to eat at a nearby Mexican restaurant, walked to the grocery store to pick up snacks, and shopped in some of our favorite stores like Massimo Dutti and Zara.
- If you enjoy museums, carve out some time to visit the National Museum of Anthropology. The architecture of the building and outdoor area alone is impressive but the artifacts they have are incredible! I'm an archaeology nerd so to see the cast of the remains of Lucy, one of the first hominins discovered, was worth it. They also have replicas of Mayan temples and the stone Mayan calendar.
- If you enjoy zoos, take half a day to visit the Chapultepec Zoo located in the Bosque de Chapultepec. The park itself is one of the largest parks in the Western Hemisphere, covering roughly 1,695 acres. The zoo is located within the park and holds about 280 species of animals, including pandas! The park was only a block away from our hotel so everything was easily within walking distance.
- After the zoo, walk along the street and sample some of the Mexican street food from the vendors. The chips with lemon juice and salt were my favorite. Alex tried the spicier version, which was good, but a bit too spicy for my liking (I'm a wimp).
- There are hundreds of restaurants in Mexico City and the food choices are diverse. Some days we preferred to walk around and find a place when we were hungry and other days we preferred to research online a bit before heading out. Both ways worked well for us.
- If you enjoy finer dining, but with a Mexican twist, you should visit Quintonil. It ended up being one of my favorite restaurants from the trip. We found it after searching online for Mexico Cities best restaurants. Original article here. The restaurant was a few blocks from our hotel so we skipped the cab and enjoyed a warm evening walk to the restaurant. The tasting menu looked phenomenal, but we were not able to share it so we chose a small dish, two entrees, and a dessert to share. The food was packed with traditional Mexican flavors in surprising ways and the dessert was a perfect nightcap. I enjoyed the Spanish based wine list, as they had my favorite Albariño to enjoy.