Mexico City is 2250 meters above sea level and is populated by about 22 million people. It doesn’t feel so populated though because it’s quite spread out. There’s lots of suburbs to visit as well as countryside. We quite liked the Centro Historico areas with colonial buildings, cobblestone streets and it’s nice to explore. You can stay in this area as there’s lots of hotels, restaurants and bars.
If you’re a tourist, stick to key areas. Polanco is a fancier area with upmarket hotels, designer stores and restaurants.
We would recommend La Condesa or Roma as they seem to appeal to a younger hipster crowd and plenty of places to eat and drink.
All of these suburbs feel very safe and there’s police around everywhere.
We always had our wits about us and only carried one credit card and a small amount of cash and refrained from wearing jewellery and designer clothes.
Most people speak little English here except in hotels, so be sure to have at least some basic Spanish to get by.
Where to stay
Suites Rio Elba
We stayed in Reforma area which is also a fine area to stay, close to La Condesa. Our hotel was called “Suites Rio Elba”, which was like an apartment.
Suites Rio Elba might not look much from outside, and it is very inconspicuous from outside. You will find it next to a Krispy Kreme store and opposite a Kwik E Mart. The area feels really safe, you can buy street food, there’s a few restaurants around and also a Starbucks and 7 eleven.
We arrived quite late and the receptionist was there to help us. He has very good English. They have a doorman working all hours to let you in, so it’s security conscious. They can sort shuttles out (it’s a little expensive, so we recommend Uber).
We were very grateful to receive the most awesome upgrade. We only booked a Junior Suite but got upgraded to a huge apartment with a kitchen, three rooms with double beds, two ensuite bathrooms and one more bathroom. There’s also a lounge room and dining table. All rooms have television, including the kitchen. The TVs only have one English Channel (American news). There is one safe provided.
The kitchen is complete with a fridge, stove, microwave and toaster.
The interiors look practically brand new and the mirrored dining table and velvet lounges are beautiful.
Where to visit
We were lucky to have a Mexican friend show us around the city, mostly driving, which meant we could see a few different areas, walk around the Central Park and see a few different buildings in Centro Historica such as:
– Palacis de bellas artes
– Colonial buildings in zocalo
– De mayo main plaza
– Templo mayor Aztec
– Hotel with a beautiful roof – Grand hotel cuidad
You could also head to Girabaldi Square for mariarchi shows but careful in this area.
We didn’t have the time to visit but there’s also the Museum of anthropology and a zoo in the Central Park.
As a history buff I was keen to visit here to see the history of Mesoamerica first hand. We planned to take a bus from Centro station using the directions recommended on this blog https://sightdoing.net/how-to-visit-teotihuacan-without-a-tour/
However, we got a taxi to the train station and the driver offered to drive us to and from Teotihuacan which wasn’t too expensive and made the whole day super easy.
After about an hour we arrived and paid the small entrance fee (70 peso). We arrived at 9:30 which was perfect because you miss the bus crowds (which we saw as we were leaving).
You can climb to the top of the temple of the Sun and half way up the temple of the moon. Be prepared as they’re steep climbs and Mexico City is at a relatively high altitude, which makes going a little tougher than usual. Teotihuacan is an interesting place to visit. There’s also elite palatial residences with some great frescoes to look at. You can learn about the history of the area through the dual language signs and take some good photos.
When you’re finished there’s a few cheap souvenir stores to look at. Nearby we also did a brief presentation at a shop about all the uses of the agave plant which the Aztecs devised, such as paper, needle and thread as well as tequila. Apparently this plant can make 2 litres in morning and afternoon and health wise it has honey water which contains proteins and minerals, which are good for the stomach. We also learned about their sculpture and uses of obsidian and other crafts. This was quite interesting and we didn’t feel pressure to buy anything.
Frida Kahlo House
We were lucky our driver also took us here, but it’s close enough to town to get a cheap taxi. The line was about an hour long so we would recommend buying tickets online first. The house is grand and it has been made into a museum of the house, and studio as well as her works. A magnificent artist, whose husband Diego Riveriera was also highly professional in the art field for murals, which can be seen around Mexico.
Leon Trotsky Museum
Leon Trosky was taken In by Frida Kahlo from exhile and lived with her and Riviera for two years before moving nearby. This is now a museum which you can explore to learn a bit more of the history.
This is Mexican Wrestling, held in Arena Mexico in Doctores. The area is notorious for crime so make sure to have a vehicle to get you there and back. We bought our tickets online via Ticketmaster (but you have to pick them up from an outlet before). There’s a variety of priced tickets but we got $20 tickets and were in the third row, so they’re very cheap. Buy yourself a mask (or you can when you arrive). The venue is an old stadium with staff who’ll take you to your seats, bring food and beers to you as requested, while the show is on. The show is very entertaining, with tag team match ups and many wrestlers putting on an athletic, gymnastic wrestling bout, complete with some crazy moves and a predominantly scripted element. Great value and highly recommended if you are visiting Mexico City.
Where to eat
Just like the City, the dining scene is wide and varying, from extremely extravagant restaurants rated amongst the best in the world, chain restaurants, local favourites and plenty of Street food vendors in between.
When you’re in Mexico, try some local food from any street shop or restaurant such as tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, Chile en nogada, Elote, Cuitlacoche, Sopeh, Gordita, Pambeso and Tortas. We really loved the traditional tacos and Torta (like a sandwich for lunch).
Chela Go was opposite our hotel and we tried it as we arrived late one night and it was open. It’s is like a beer house but we tried the Chile en Nogada here – it’s a capsicum stuffed with meat, topped with a sweet creamy sauce and pomegranates. We thought the sweet creamy sauce tasted like a cocktail, it was certainly an interesting.
We also tried a hot plate with pollo (chicken), nopal (cactus), queso (cheese), spring onion and sausage, adelicious local dish.
Las Cazuelas de Frida
This was nearby our hotel and we went each morning for a cheap breakfast. For approx 70-80 peso you can get a baguette, coffee, fruit and a breakfast dish. We mostly had variations of an omelette, huevos rancheros and also tried the huevos motulenos – a tortilla topped with Jamon, eggs and sauce. The service was friendly and efficient. A great spot for breakfast and some interesting and tasty food.
If you end up going to Mexico city, we hope you have an awesome time!