...HELLO- HOLA...GOODBYE- ADIOS...PLEASE- POR FAVOR...THANK YOU- GRACIAS...
WHERE TO SLEEP
The Red Tree House
They say staying at The Red Tree House is like staying with friends and I didn't necessarily buy that until I actually stayed there. This B&B in La Condesa neighborhood definitely has a cult-like following thanks to the amazing breakfast (think enchiladas, sopes, chilaquiles...) the happy hour and the unbeatable hospitality. On day two of my first stay there I felt like family already despite being in the minority by being a "first-timer." There is a variety of guestrooms to choose from and the main house is super comfy with plush sofas, beautiful art and fireplaces lit in the cooler months. The environment lends itself well to guests and staff mingling and most guests end up at dinner together or making plans for the following day to sightsee. I feel like once you stay here you can NEVER stay anywhere else in DF, unless of course you didn't book early... they are popular after all. When you check-in send my love to the house pup, Romeo!
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
A little bit south of La Condesa lies this funky little taqueria. Seating maybe 25 people makes this space cozy and intimate but worth the wait if you have to. Specializing in blue corn tacos, some with traditional flavors and some with a modern twist. The way to go here (in my opinion) is definitely the pork belly taco with garlic confit and black radishes, the charred avocado entrada and if in season the squash taco with bacon and roasted sweet potato.
This mezcaleria/restaurant became our favorite spot in town, so much so that we ate there 3 times in 6 days! Serving some amazing artisan mezcals, many of which you can sample in 1 or 2 ounce pours. They also have a great cocktail menu and awesome Oaxacan food. Don't miss the tacos dorados de jamaica or the molotes de platano.
A recommendation from Alejandro and Ernesto at The Red Tree House was to check out this locally beloved taqueria in La Roma. To say I wished I had eaten more here would be an understatement. The entire vibe in this restaurant is great, the decor is fun, the staff is attentive and friendly and the owner, Bertha is always coming over to chat and check on you. The must haves here are the sautéed flor de calabaza tacos with pickled red onions and avocado, any of the tlacoyitos and some spicy jicama. A beer from the microbrewery, Colima is the way to go here.
It is all about the seafood here. Everything from pulpo tostadas to camaron aguachiles for starters to pescado al pastor tacos and pulpo a las brasas with adobo sauce and sweet potatoes to follow. Our meal here was so incredibly flavorful and colorful that I didn't want to stop ordering more! If you love seafood, this is your place... you can't be disappointed. Also try the margarita con mezcal!
I feel like I can't say much more than what has already been said about the amazing meal at Pujol. This restaurant ranks no. 20 on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list so needless to say, they work very hard to please your palate. For those who may be unfamiliar, Enrique Olvera has a talent to taking traditional Mexican street food and elevating it beyond your expectations. The tasting menu is incredible, my favorite dish here was a tie between the mole madre which came with tortillas con hoja santa and the lobster and chorizo infladita. To quote my husband after that meal, "I feel like this is what I've been living my life for up until now." This is great restaurant to try some gorgeous Mexican wines from Baja too!
This café has a few locations around town but my go-to was a few blocks from The Red Tree House next door to Alipús. With only a few tables and chairs this coffee spot may seem unassuming but they are cranking out some of the best coffee in the city. They also have yummy sandwiches and pastries, if you need a break from tacos ;)
The coffee beans I brought back home from this Condesa coffee shop have been hands-down the best I have had to date. Not only is the coffee phenomenal but it is super cute in this café and they have a nice selection of baked goods and breakfast-y items to choose from.
Churreria El Moro
I have to admit I did not try churros anywhere else in CDMX however the ones from El Moro are pretty amazing. Around since 1935 and with multiple locations around the city you can feed your churro fix any time of day. I liked to pair one of their many flavored hot chocolates and some cajeta dipping sauce with my order.
This mezcaleria serves up great, modern takes on Oaxacan food as well as tasty cocktails and of course an extensive selection of mezcals. Located on the edge of Jardin Centenario in the middle of Coyoacan, this is a great lunch stop when visiting Casa Azul or the neighboring San Angel barrio. Order the mole tasting, it is a fun start to the meal.
If you are still craving El Parnita but they have shut down for the day, fear not, their sister bar opens up just as they are closing. Above Parnita is a beautiful space lush with plants and decorated with colored string lights. This is a spot where you could easily come for a pre-dinner drink or find yourself lost in conversation, on your third mezcal and 3 tacos deep. Some say they prefer it to Parnita, but I disagree- you can't get those flor de calabaza tacos upstairs.
Looking to take a break from mezcal for a night? This natural wine bar nestled into the tree lined streets of La Roma is a great place to take a night off. I recommend ordering a bottle of Bichi (a winery in Baja) and a few small plates and relax in this quaint and cozy oasis.
Masala y Maiz
Combining flavors and cultures from the two owners home countries, this restaurant offers an incredible menu that makes you feel like you’ve been to India and Mexico in one meal. They offer a wonderful natural wine selection and delicious brunch, lunch in a dinner in a beautiful and intimate space near Chapultepec park and Casa Gilardi. Don’t sleep on this spot, they only seem to be getting more press and popular by the minute so make sure to book a reservation well in advance.
WHERE TO SHOP
This Roma boutique specializes in handmade, beautiful shoes and boots for both men and women. They also have a great vintage collection and even some vintage reproductions. Their new shop (only 3 blocks from their old location) is super slick but still very inviting and comfortable.
If you are looking for some extra special mezcals to bring home, look no further. Check out this mezcaleria in Condesa for unique bottles from different regions and producers in Mexico. If you aren't too sure which bottle is right for you, they will gladly pour you a sample or two.
Don't discount bringing home some great Mexican wine as well. This boutique wine shop in La Roma specializes in wines produced in Mexico. I found some of my favorite bottles here!
This huge market is home to over 350 vendors from 22 different states selling Mexican crafts, folk art, textiles and jewelry. Opening in 1965 and the first of its kind in Mexico, La Ciudadela still has one of the biggest and most complete collections of Mexican handcrafts in the whole country. This is a market not to be missed.
Mercado de Coyoacan
When visiting Frida's house make sure to pop into this neighborhood market for lunch. They have a few awesome tostada spots as well as fresh fruits, nuts, meat, moles etc. Also, check out the HUGE piñatas! Too bad those doesn't fit in the overhead bins.
Another great Roma boutique that has a rad selection of men's and women's wear as well as accessories. They carry a number of Mexican brands and small designers so you can be assured that almost no one else back home will have the same thing.
In my opinion, this is a must-go shop... the owners/designers have taken to preserving the beautiful, useful objects typically found in Mexican households that are in danger of being replaced by modern inventions. Working with local blacksmiths, carpenters and ceramic workshops to recreate everything from a funnel to a tortilla press to a nutcracker. In their words- it is a brand that portrays our country, their homes, and its history. The storefront itself is intelligently laid out and so much fun to shop in.
Condesa Oaxaqueña- Region
Well this is definitely more a coffee shop than a boutique, and I am ashamed to say I haven't tried the coffee, but.... they have a small and unique collection of well-made Mexican clothing as well as ceramics and bags all sourced by the ethical and sustainable company Region. They source everything directly from the makers and artisans and help them generate sustainable jobs that will improve their quality of life by adding value to their products. It is a souvenir you can feel good about purchasing.
El Bazar Sabado
I feel like you can never go to too many craft markets in Mexico City, even though many of them have similar items you are bound to find one thing at each one that wasn't at another. This Saturday market is not as big as La Ciudadela but is worth coming to if you are in San Angel. There are vendors lining all the streets and into the square selling Mexican handmade crafts, paintings and food.
WHAT TO DO
Museo Frida Kahlo
What can I say that you probably don't already know about Frida? Well maybe something but it would be a spoiler for when you visit Casa Azul, her beautiful home-turned-museum in Coyoacan. The museum houses a small collection of Frida's work as well as some Diego Rivera paintings, and the gardens are incredible! I recommend purchasing tickets in advance online because the line wraps around the block if you want to purchase on site.
Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo
Diego and Frida commissioned architect Juan O'Gorman to design two of the three buildings that comprise the museum. One was for Frida to use as a studio, the other for Diego. Built in 1932 but not occupied by the couple until 1934, they both resided here for 6 years until Frida moved back to Casa Azul. This is a wonderful museum to visit that isn't half as packed as Museo Frida Kahlo and has works from multiple artists on display.
Museo Nacional de Antropologia
Considered one of the best museums of its kind in the world, the Anthropology Museum in Chapultepec Park is not only crazy informative but beautifully laid out and curated. I left feeling like prior to my visit I had known nothing about Mexico. At all. It was embarrassing... and enlightening! The collection is so large you won't be able to see it all in one day but I highly recommend the ones I saw- Maya, Puebla and Oaxaca. Note: almost everything is in Spanish so if you can't read Español you may want to get the audio tour.
Casa Luis Barragán
I came across this famous Mexican architect's name while doing research for my trip and decided to take a chance on touring his studio and house. This may have been my favorite thing I did in DF. If you are at all into architecture you HAVE to make time to come here, the use of color and lighting as well as the jungle-like garden is so jaw dropping. Booking tours online is essential since you can not just show up and poke around. If you can't get a tour time in your preferred language check out one of the buildings he has designed around Mexico City.
Haven't gotten enough of Luis Barragán? Well lucky you, he designed a whole slew of buildings around Mexico City. Casa Gilardi is a private residence (not far from his studio/house) that is still in use but you can easily make an appointment to tour this gorgeous house just by emailing the owners. I won't spoil too much of the tour for you but I will mention, this is the last house Barragán designed before his death.
This park is over 1,600 acres making it one of the largest parks in the world. It is home to the Zoo, the Anthropology Museum, Chapultepec Castle, the Modern Art Museum, the Rufino Tamayo Museum, and amusement park, a cemetery, a lake... well you get the point. Just like the city itself it is huge so don't try to conquer it all, but DO visit a museum (or three) and walk around or picnic amongst the beautiful flora and fauna.
Kiosco Morisco de Santa Maria La Ribera
I discovered this amazing architectural masterpiece in the Santa Maria La Ribera neighborhood by scrolling through Instagram one day. I never would have placed it in CDMX though, from the look of it it seems to belong in Seville or Granada. This Moorish-inspired kiosk was designed to represent Mexico on an international level at (ironically) the New Orleans International Expo in 1884 and then on to the Missouri Fair in St. Louis in 1904. It finally made its way back to Mexico City in 1906. This is worth the quick Uber ride to check out and while in the neighborhood I've heard that there is a great coffee shop, Camino a Comala.