I wasn't particularly excited to visit a city of over 21 million people. The thought of nearly the population of Canada in one city kind of freaked me out. I've always been keen on visiting the small towns when i'm travelling... However, what I discovered was that one week here was not enough time.
We drove from the coast in San Pancho to Guadalajara with some friends we met along the way before catching a flight to Mexico City the next day. I remember banking left over the city before we landed, it was so big, I couldn't see where it began and where it ended. After leaving a relaxing week on the coast, we were quick to sharpen up our senses and stayed alert for scammers or pick pocketers, something I had heard about the city was to be aware of your belongings and to be careful who you trust.
We took an Uber to our AirBnB, a beautiful loft above a cute café in a nice neighbourhood. There are a few districts in Mexico City that have been gentrified with upscale restaurants, stores and you get a sense of the division here between wealthy and poor... It also happens to be the epicentre of modern art, culture and design in the city. It's best to either UBER or bike around between neighbourhoods as they span over quite a few miles. We spend a lot of our time in Roma Norté, La Condesa & Polanco.
Where to eat
Some of the best restaurants i've ever been to were in Mexico City... we ate pretty cheap meals for breakfast and lunch, and splurged out out dinners at high-end restaurants, which equivalently were about the same price as a decent meal in Canada or the US.
We only ate here for appetizers and drinks, but it was one of my favourite restaurants... The food was amazing, the service was top notch and the atmosphere was relaxing. My only regret is not coming hungry for a full dinner. The owner also owns a few other places in the city that are also incredible. Make a reservation before you go, you won't regret it.
Beautiful outdoor seating under a maze of string lights. We only stayed for a cocktail, but the menu looked incredible... the drinks were top notch!
Some of the best tacos we had in Mexico City... if your Spanish is as bad as ours, you might have a tough time ordering. I'd suggest looking at what other people order and pointing at it.
Italian restaurant in the heart of Condesa, the type of architecture that would never meet building codes in Canada, the type of food that makes you wish you could eat more. We did a full course meal with wine pairing and it might have been the best Italian food i've experienced outside of Italy.
Where to drink :
Cocktails, atmosphere, location. This place has it all. If you want to try your hands at some hard to find Mezcal or an award winning classic cocktail, this is your joint... If you don't show up early, you won't find a seat... For good reason.
This place came from a suggestion from a tourist from New York, who happened to be the judge of the international cocktail competition that was happening in Mexico City. There is no real sign to find this bar, it's down a set of stairs in a unassuming neighbourhood. When you make your way into the dark basement, you find a dimly lit bar that feels like a 1960's tiki bar meets a shaman's house. Cocktails are served in a variety of ways, with unique herbs, spices, flavours and glassware. One cocktail came served with a beaded panther skull done by the Huichol people, served with a bamboo straw erecting from the mouth of the panther.
Local tips :
Parts of Mexico City are still unsafe for tourists, check online before heading into neighbourhoods.
Do not leave your wallet, purse, phone etc unattended at bars and restaurants, it will disappear
rent a bike!
UBER is pretty cheap for getting around also