Just got back from a quick weekend getaway to Mexico City for my birthday. Thank you to my boyfriend, Trevor for making my 30th so special!
For those who have watched Roma (Academy Award-winning movie for Best Picture) on Netflix, the movie is based in the La Roma district where we stayed. We fell in love with Mexico City in such a short amount of time being there. The city was filled with rich culture, history, museums, and AMAZING FOOD. Yes, if you want to travel for the culinary experience, Mexico City will not disappoint.
Why is Mexico City amazing?
- Affordable food – street food, five tacos al pastor cost $1 to $2. Don’t get me started on fine dining.
- UBER, UBER everywhere. For a 30 minute car ride, it was roughly $5. Imagine commuting like that everywhere in the states. I’d arrive to work in an Uber black car everyday…
- Beautiful weather – in February it was a mild 70 degrees with ZERO humidity.
- The Mexican capital has an effervescent art scene – from street murals to fashion to contemporary art.
The biggest setback for us was the language barrier– BUT thank goodness for technology! I highly recommend downloading SpanishDict and GoogleTranslate. Both apps work offline and they are able to conjugate thousands of verbs with sentence examples. Available in both iOS and android devices.
This area is definitely hipster central. Every corner has a coffee shop and beautiful parks (plazas) to wander around in. The plaza in Roma is surrounded by a number of old mansions as well as modern architecture. You can catch live music and people chatting away with their friends at taco stands. Roma is filled with brightly colored facades spanning the entire rainbow and tree lined streets that makes you forget you’re in one of the most populated cities in Latin America. It is such a beautiful (and safe) place to walk around in without feeling like you’re in a congested neighborhood.
Things to do in Roma
- Do a mural tour, I highly recommend it! We had an amazing tour exploring current street art murals in Roma with our guide, Abril. She was knowledgeable and explained each piece of art with political and social context of CDMX. The murals that stuck out to me the most were the ones dedicated to the victims from the Earthquake last year.
Where to eat in Roma
- Buna – Grab a salmon-avocado toast with delicious coffee outdoors.
- Lalo! – Hip brunch spot in the city with casual atmosphere. The huevos con escamoles were delicious. Check out the mural by Belgian artist Deve Derop inside the restaurant!
- El Moro – Grab some delicious churros with small dips of your choice (dulce de lecho o chocolate).
- La Tecla – French cuisine based on Mexican recipes, this restaurant was private and intimate. Trevor ordered parmesan crusted sea bass, which was so savory and tasty! We also grabbed meringue cookies with berries and vanilla ice cream for dessert.
- Zanaya – if you want to be fancy, dine at Zanaya at the Four Seasons hotel for the experience! This garden courtyard is surrounded by greenery, romantic string lights, and a tranquil fountain at the center. The food is delicious and they have a variety of mezcals to try out.
The Coyoacán neighborhood is best known for being the home of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera. This was definitely one of the biggest highlights for me because I studied her life and her artwork when I minored in art history. Being in the presence of her home was unreal, I cannot explain it. She lived such a painful, traumatic life– but through her art, she found resilience and strength to keep going. Though the museum is a main tourist attraction, I was very happy to be there on my 30th birthday.
Things to do in Coyoacán
- Friday Kahlo Museum (La Casa Azul) – You can’t miss the beautiful stark cobalt-blue walls. This museum was dedicated to Frida’s life and work. Make sure you pre-order tickets online in advance or it can be a one-hour to two-hour wait.
- Mercados – If you walk further down the neighborhood, you will run into a few craft markets with vendors selling artwork, jewelry, crafts and more. Be sure to sit down for some toscados when you’re on your break.
The central neighborhood in Mexico City. We didn’t get to explore the city as much as we liked, but I did learn a few history lessons about the Cathedral Metropolitana. During the Aztec period, Mexico City was initially built in the center of a lake. The Aztecs built an artificial island, Tenochtitlan, by dumping soil into the lagoon. When the Spanish conquistadors, led by Hernán Cortés, arrived in 1521, they destroyed the Aztecs’ constructions and used most of the stones to build their churches. So basically the ruins of the ancient Aztec temple is underneath the cathedral! Due to population increase and flooding concerns, the decision was made to drain the surrounding lake water. After the lake disappeared, the composition of the soil under the city remained spongy– which is why the cathedral appears to be leaning. Today, Mexico’s Cathedral is sinking at a rate of 15-20 inches a year. O_O What.
Things to do in Centro Histórico
- Terraza – See the panoramic view of the historic center with a drink or two at Terraza. When you enter into the Gran Hotel, just mention that you’re there for drinks at the rooftop and a host/hostess will escort you upstairs.