Mexico City is a paradise for lovers of food, fashion, and art. Here's how to maximize your time there.
There's so much to see and do in Mexico City that it can be overwhelming to plan a short trip that covers it all. We've compiled the best art, shopping, and food into a three-day itinerary that will give you a taste of what the capital has to offer. Do as locals do and refer to the city as D.F., short for Distrito Federal. You'll fit right in among the fashionable set at these hot spots.
Check in: The Condesa DF (doubles from $205) is a longtime favorite of the city’s fashion set. The 40-room hotel, decorated by Paris-based designer India Mahdavi, overlooks the pretty Parque España. The rooftop terrace is always buzzing with guest DJs. Or for a taste of the burgeoning Juárez district, there’s the Carlota (doubles from $150), a 1970s budget motel that has been reimagined as a sleek urban hideaway. It has a dramatic glass-walled dining room and art-filled guest rooms.
Dine and drink: Grab a table at the Carlota’s modern Mexican restaurant, led by two alums from the city’s legendary Pujol. There are plenty of drinking options here, so head to the ultra-exclusive Hanky Panky for a nightcap. In true speakeasy fashion, there’s no address listed for this cozy bar—reservations must be made on Facebook or by phone. Try the namesake cocktail of vermouth, gin, and Fernet Branca, first created at London’s Savoy hotel.
Gallery-hop: While the city has important art museums like the Museo Jumex and the Museo Soumaya, the gallery scene is becoming more vibrant. Check out Parque Galería, one of the city’s newer spaces (housed in a former strip club), which focuses on politically tinged work from emerging talent like the multimedia Camel Collective and Mexico City–born video artist Yoshua Okón. The blue-chip power-house Kurimanzutto has a roster of internationally prominent artists, including two of Mexico’s best known: Gabriel Orozco and Damián Ortega. Housed in an elegant building in the financial district, Arredondo \ Arozarena champions up-and-coming Mexican talents like watercolorist Daphné Bally and video artist Daniel Monroy Cuevas.
Lunch and browse: Check out the buzzing Blanco Colima (entrées $9– $22). This historic mansion offers a traditional Mexican restaurant and a cocktail lounge that often features live music and DJs. Afterward, visit the gallery and peruse the art books and magazines in the shop.
Dine and drink: If you’re lucky you might score a reservation at the newly relocated Pujol (tasting menu $95). Star chef Enrique Olvera opened his groundbreaking haute-Mexican restaurant in 2000 but has finally moved to a larger space, complete with a terrace, a wood-fired oven, and a taco omakase. The night is young, so head over to the stylish Xaman bar and try the Curandero, with mezcal, Aperol, dry curaçao, chili powder, and agave syrup. “It’s a mini-Mexico in your mouth,” says co-owner Anthony Zamora.
Shop and snack: The city’s emerging fashion and design scene is a refreshing complement to its old-world craft markets. Start your spree at Taxonomía, a lifestyle shop in the lobby of the Carlota hotel. Pick up a colorful poncho by Pay’s, a set of minimalist mezcal cups by Lagos del Mundo, or colorful onesies by VeoVeo. Ángulo Cero is a design gallery that features unique pieces by artists from all over the globe, including Ana Gómez’s collage-like tableware and Fernando Laposse’s whimsical corn-husk lamps. The layout of Uncommon Market suggests one of Mexico’s traditional markets: the men’s-wear section is found in the blue-tiled fish market; shoes are displayed on wooden crates in the cheese shop; and the barbershop is set inside a butcher’s shop. Masaryk, a luxurious thoroughfare in Polanco, is a great place to window-shop for high fashion. A highlight is Lorena Saravia’s new flagship store. This emerging women’s-wear designer is known for her avant-garde pieces—a slit here, an oversize lapel there. Along the way, stop for sustenance—a taco, of course. There are hundreds of taquerias in the city, but some of the best carnitas can be found at La Reina de la Roma (106 Calle Campeche, 52-55-5564-1303), in Roma.
Dine and drink: Finish the trip at Casa Virginia (entrées $12–$24), an elegant French restaurant housed in an Art Deco building. Dishes like warm tomato tart and braised lamb with honey and spices are a tribute to the meals that chef Mónica Patiño’s grandmother used to prepare. And you can’t leave town without a final nightcap at Salón Covadonga. This modest cantina is a beloved institution among old-timers and young scenesters alike.