Two Weeks in Mexico City

So, we recently spent two weeks in Mexico City. It was fantastic. Clean, safe, and plenty to do. So, what should you do there? Well, here are a few of our favorite things.

Eat. Yes, eat. The food is fantastic. You can go low-end and eat amazing street tacos at places like El Huequito. You can get slightly more elevated street tacos at places like El Auténtico Pato Manila (duck tacos) or El Habanerito (cochinita pibil tacos). You can get high end Mexican at places like Azul Condessa (where Robert had amazing enchiladas in mole sauce) and Aleli (which would have been Robert’s favorite restaurant if only he wasn’t suffering from food poisoning when we visited) and Limosneros. And, you can get really good Italian at places like Belforno. But, you know what you don’t seem to be able to get? That is right. Really good pizza. Oh well, the amazing tacos we had nearly daily made up for the lack of pizza.

Cooking up the al pastor at Taqueria Alvaro Obregon.

Visit the National Museum of Anthropology. I’m going to warn you right now. Many of the signs are not in English so the visit will be a struggle if you don’t read Spanish. And, the first room is beyond boring. Boring enough that we were considering leaving after the first room (or, at least I was). But neither of those things matter, as the rest of the museum is absolutely amazing. We spent nearly four hours at the museum. Let me repeat that — we spent nearly four hours at a MUSEUM. We never do that. Especially on a beautiful sunny day. So, just go. Trust us.

A statue at the Anthropology Museum.

Take a taco tour. Yes, I know, that is eating. But tours are different than just plain eating. We took an amazing taco and mezcal tour that introduced us to some amazing tacos and also a wide variety of mezcals.

We somehow managed to fail to take a single photo during the taco tour. So, enjoy this photo of all the bits and pieces you never want to eat ready to be served at Los Cocuyos (one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite places).

Wander around Chapultepec Park, apparently the oldest and largest urban park in Central America. When we visited, there was a fantastic display of insect photographs. And, there were super friendly squirrels. They would run right up to us, figure out we didn’t have anything to feed them, and then run to somebody else who would feed them.

A squirrel in Chapultepec Park.

Try bugs. Um, yes, bugs. Bugs are historically a significant source of protein in this part of the world and, when in Rome . . . . And, yes, I know I am right back to talking about eating. And, yes, Robert really wishes I was this adventurous when we were in the US. We were offered grasshoppers on our Tacos and Mazcal Tour and grasshoppers, crickets, and worms on a market tour.

A selection of insects available for sale at Mercado San Juan in Mexico City.

If you have time, visit Teotihuacan, an ancient city settled way back somewhere around 400 BC. I will admit, both of us were a bit underwhelmed after seeing places like Angkor Wat and the Egyptian pyramids. (Yes, our privilege is showing.) But, we are still glad we visited. It is UNESCO World Heritage Site, so we kind of had to visit it. If you do go, please, please don’t book a group tour. We stupidly did and it was absolutely awful. The tour arrived at precisely the wrong time to get decent photos, the guide was terrible and spent most of the “tour” in silence, and we finished the tour at an overpriced gift shop and tourist trap restaurant that microwaved (seriously!) my meal. How we wish we had just hired an Uber or taken a bus and explored on our own.

Pyramid of the Moon (I think) at Teotihuacan.

Take the “Bikes and Munchies” tour. Again, eating, I know. But this might be one of the best tours we have ever taken. Our guide was great, the food was great, the cycling was fun, and, most importantly, the group was great. We tried so many different foods on this tour and ended the day completely stuffed. And, without this tour we would have never in a million years tried cranberry tamales and learned that they are shockingly good (even though they violate my no cooked fruit rule).

Street tacos on the Bikes and Munchies tour. These had fried potatoes on top. Yum!

If you have time, visit Xochimilco. Xochimilco is on the edge of Mexico City and is known for the canals used to transport goods and the artificial islands used to grow fruits and vegetables. Today, highly decorated party boats known as trajineras travel the canals. Mariachi bands are available for hire, and michelada (kind of like a Bloody Mary but with beer instead of vodka) vendors are everywhere. Is it touristy? Absolutely. Is it crowded? You bet. But, you know what? It was still fun.

Boats on the canal at Xochimilco.

Take a cooking class. One of the things Robert most wanted to do was take a cooking class. Of course, he was horribly sick with food poisoning the day of the class and I had to go on my own. And, anyone who knows me well knows I don’t cook. But, the market tour was still interesting and the cooking class was still fun (even if there were onions in everything and I didn’t actually eat anything we cooked).

Fancy meats, cheeses, and some bugs at Mercado San Juan.

Visit the sculpture garden at the museum of modern art. It isn’t huge, but there was some fun art and the area is well-shaded, which can be super important on a hot Mexico City day.

Cabeza de Leon Filipe at the sculpture garden. I had to google Leon Filipe — he was an anti-fascist Spanish poet.

Drink Mexican wine at a place called fittingly enough the Wine Bar. No pictures of this one. Nobody needs to see us drink yet another bottle of wine on an outdoor patio. But we would 100% go back.

Visit the botanic gardens. The gardens themselves are small, but there are some amazing sculptures.

An insect sculpture at the botanic gardens.

Take another taco tour. Yep, we actually took two taco tours (in addition to the Bikes and Munchies tour). This one was entirely different from the first one and well worth the time and money.

A HUGE fish taco. This one had smoked marlin and shrimp on it, and Robert says it was delicious.

Enjoy the art. There is a ton of street art. Shockingly, there were very few street art tours and the one we took we would absolutely not recommend. I think that might be because much of the street art is in some of the sketchier neighborhoods — so much so that a guide on our taco tour was shocked to hear we had gone to one of the neighborhoods we visited on the street art tour. That said, there is plenty of street art in the nicer neighborhoods too.

Street art in Mexico City.

There is a ton of more traditional art in Mexico City too. There are statues everywhere.

The Angel of Independence.

Mexico City is a lovely place and we can’t wait to go back.

About theschneiduks

Lisa has a degree in biology and another in law and has spent the last 20 years working as a patent litigator. She is a voracious reader of young adult dystopian fiction and watches far too much bad tv. She loves pretty much anything to do with zombies, and doesn’t think there is anything weird about setting an alarm at 6 am on a weekend to stumble to a pub to watch her beloved Chelsea boys. Robert has had many professions, including a chef, a salesman, an IT guy and most recently, a stay at home dog dad. He speaks Italian and hopes to learn Spanish on this trip. He loves nothing more than a day spent sailing, hopes to do more scuba diving, and rues the day he introduced Lisa to football (i.e., soccer).
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