Mexico City Travel Guide

Mexico City Travel Guide

Casey Siemasko

For a fascinating cosmopolitan getaway, Mexico City is the place to be. This world-class capital is home to innovative cuisine, design-conscious boutique hotels, and more museums than anywhere else in the world. Plus, with a rich history that dates back to an ancient Aztec empire, Mexico City is bursting with rich cultural encounters all within a unique urban landscape.

Sure, there’s a smog problem, and traffic in the sprawling capital can be a nightmare at rush hour. But don’t let that turn you off from this far too often misunderstood destination. Discerning gay travellers will be in awe by all there is to see in Mexico City. Wondering what to do in Mexico City? Mr Hudson will get you started.

 

The best hotels in Mexico City

With an ideal location in Mexico City’s Centro Historico, Hotel Downtown strikes a perfect balance between elegant colonial charm and local indigenous design. The rooftop terrace makes for an ideal place to soak in the beauty of the surrounding historic buildings while the verdant garden patio feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the vibrant centre.

Hotel Carlota is a new hotel in Mexico City’s realm of boutique accommodation. Renowned Mexican architect Javier Sanchez took on the project, and the result is a stunning industrial design hotel with handcrafted furniture and work from up-and-coming Mexican artists. Don’t miss a visit to the mouth-watering restaurant on-site.

Set in the vibrant and artsy neighbourhood of La Condesa is Casa Nuevo Leon. This contemporary hotel is simple in design, but that’s all part of its charm. The must-visit Castillo de Chapultepec is just a few kilometres away.

The elegant, tree-lined neighbourhood of Polanco is home to some of Mexico City’s ritziest hotels. Skip the chains while still enjoying the location with a stay at Las Alcobas—named one of the top 25 hotels in Mexico. Enjoy expansive views of Mexico City from your private terrace, and don’t forget to stop by award-winning restaurant Dulce Patria.

Hotel Downtown | Photo: Undine Pröhl

Hotel Downtown | Photo: Undine Pröhl

Things to do in Mexico City

The neighbourhoods of La Condesa and La Roma are often considered Mexico City’s trendiest. Here you’ll find plenty of Bohemian boutiques, hip galleries, tree-lined sidewalks, and innovative mezcalerias. La Condesa is also home to many of the city’s best bars and nightlife; as such, don’t expect too much activity before 9:00 am. While you’re exploring, hop into Perfida Bistro Cafe for a leisurely brunch. The University City campus, Mexico’s largest public university, is also a must-visit to view sweeping murals from artists such as Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

If you’re interesting in cultural Mexico City points of interest, start by exploring the most visited museum in Mexico, the Museo Nacional de Antropologia. Located in lovely Bosque de Chapultepec, the extensive museum displays one of the largest collections of archaeological artefacts from pre-hispanic Mayan civilisations. A visit is a must to even begin to understand Mexico’s long, rich history. After your museum visit, stroll through Bosque de Chapultepec. The walk will take you past lovely lakes and local vendors to the striking Chapultepec Castle. The castle was once an imperial palace and presidential residence; today it is home to the National History Museum.

Art enthusiasts won’t want to miss Museo Dolores Olmedo. The museum boasts a fantastic collection of Diego Rivera pieces, as well as a room dedicated to Frida Kahlo’s paintings. For more on Frida Kahlo, visit her home-turned-museum, Casa Azul.

Photo: Dan Moore

Photo: Dan Moore

Where to eat in Mexico City

Trust us: you’ll want to arrive in Mexico City ravenous, ready to chow down on the delectable culinary scene. Start with lunch at Agua y Sal. The bright restaurant serves up fantastic ceviche; try the Ceviche Tasting Menu for four of the restaurant’s most exceptional ceviche picks. Then, make reservations at Pujol, voted one of the world’s 50 best restaurants. Renowned Chef Enrique Olvera uses authentic ingredients in contemporary ways to create acclaimed, modern Mexican cuisine.

Another award-winner on the prestigious list of 50 Best Restaurants in the World, Quintonil is all about fresh seasonal produce and indigenous ingredients. Fruits and vegetables feature on the menu, many of which come from the restaurant’s very own urban orchard.

For international cuisine, Tori Tori is a fantastic choice. This Japanese restaurant is housed in a stunning building with unique architecture and design that is worth the visit alone. Alternatively, Rosetta is an elegant Italian restaurant in a lovely converted mansion. Chef Elena Reygades spent extensive time studying in Italy before creating her own twist on authentic recipes.

Limantour offers world-class cocktails in a posh environment. The mixologists regularly change up the menu to offer their latest innovative concoctions; we recommend anything with mezcal. Speakeasy-style Jules Basement is another great choice for sublime cocktails best enjoyed over intimate conversation.

If you prefer to dance the night away, you won’t have any trouble finding bars and nightclubs, many of which cater specifically to gay men. Traditional gay bars can be found in the city’s Zona Rosa, the heart of Mexico City’s gay community, but most bars in Condesa and Roma are gay-friendly nowadays. Recommended options include the recently opened, upmarket Saint and popular Guilt, both in Polanco.

Pujol | Photo: Araceli Paz

Pujol | Photo: Araceli Paz

Shopping in Mexico City

HECHO is a new Mexican men’s accessory brand specialising in pareos, totes and slip-on shoes, all locally made, and said to be inspired by ‘Modernist and Functionalist Mexican architectural design’. Be one of the first to get in on the up-and-coming line. Casablanca Atelier is another upscale men’s store featuring top-of-the-line accessories and a luxe barbershop.

If you have your eye on furniture shopping while in Mexico City, don’t miss a stop to MOB, a premier design house with contemporary Mexican pieces and accessories. Alternatively, Atelier Central boasts striking furniture made from organic materials.

The Saturday Bazar, a part open-air flea market, is the best place to pick up local handicrafts from Mexican artisans. From woodwork to textiles, you’ll find it all while ambling around the myriad of stalls in Centro de San Angel.

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