Optimal Trip Time: 7 days
Get ready for a ride! When you think of cities that never sleep, what ones come to mind? New York! Tokyo! London!….Mexico City? Not usually the top of the list. But, it should be! The city is vibrant, energetic, and always up for a rooftop drink and some house music. We saw proof of this first hand when we arrived in the D.F. (Distrito Federal is the common name for Mexico City by locals) at 6 am on a Sunday. In our short taxi cab from the airport, we saw not one, but many party goers heading home for the evening.
Aside from the party vibes, Mexico City is filled with more culture and heritage than you would normally expect for a sprawling city with 9 million inhabitants. A very brief neighborhood overview: Polanco is filled with contemporary Mexican culture, with boutique hotels, high-end shopping, and museums. San Angel is located south of the city, and is filled with cobblestone streets, colonial style homes, and museums! There is an amazing market on Saturday, appropriately named Bazar del Sabado, where you can hunt for antique treasures. We stayed in Roma Norte, sister neighborhood to Condesa, both known for their bohemian vibes. The neighborhoods are filled with contemporary new restaurants and cool, quirky shops. We stayed at super cute Airbnb, walkable to subway stations! From the airport, a taxi cost us $250 Mexico Pesos. After that, we stuck to subway rides around the city!
We only stayed for 3 days, but here is our list of our favorite things to do, see and of course, eat + drink!
This place is everything. It feels authentic and real, almost like you’ve been transported back in time. And of course, the music is great! It is located in the center of the city, a short Uber ride (yes, they use Uber!) from northern neighborhoods. Pro tip – its only open Wed – Saturday!
Seeing as most people were just rolling home when we arrived Sunday morning, not many establishments open before 9 am. Nervous that we would need to settle for Starbucks for our early morning caffeine fix, we scoured the internet to find a local spot. We weaved our way in and out of the streets of Roma Norte and at the end, found Lalo! Not only was the cappuccino one of the best I’ve ever had (strong statement), but the chilaquiles (traditional Mexican breakfast with an egg on top!), were out of this world. I still often dream about that breakfast.
A small coffee company that started roasting on a rooftop, just a few years ago. This little cafe, located in Roma, has a small sitting area for workers, strong espresso, and coffee beans by the bag for sale.
Hip new market with beer garden on the roof, and a dozen boutique food vendors for you to get a taste of everything! Definitely on the high-end side as far as market goes, but a great way to try lots of local cuisine at once.
A much more local market experience. Great place to go if you want to buy fruits, vegetables and Mexican spices. Often, there are women hand making fresh tortillas and serving up $1 tacos.
After a few days in Mexico City, we headed south to the state of Oaxaca for more exploring. By plane, the trip to Oaxaca City from Mexico City is just over an hour, and about $130 roundtrip. But if you have the time, want to save money, and enjoy long rural bus rides, then there is another option for you! Buses leave from TAPO station, cost about $20, and take about 7 hours. Pro tip: Pack snacks, because the bus does not make stops! No fear, there is a bathroom on board.
We stayed at a lovely little hotel, Hotel Casa Del Sotano, which was about a 5-10 minute walk from anywhere you would need to go in town! It had a lovely patio, good breakfast, and very reasonable prices.
Oaxaca is a city that you take by foot. You could spend hours roaming the cobblestone streets and brightly colored architecture. In between your adventuring, take breaks for the food. Oh the food! While in Oaxaca, we ate mole for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Great place to start your relationship with mole. They offer a sampler where you can taste them all: green, red, black, yellow!
The most knowledgable staff in the city for everything you need to know about mezcal. We had a two hour tasting, learned an extensive amount about the history and production of the alcohol, sampled eight mezcals, and even broke our “never check baggage rule,” to buy a few to bring home.
Wide selection of creative drinks, made of course with tequila and mezcal. Great apps and cute bar seating! Perfect for happy hour.
Outside of eating and drinking, the surrounding areas of the city are filled with ancient ruins and culture. Our favorite was the World Heritage Site Monte Albán, one of the earliest cities of Mesoamerica. Its only a few miles out of the city, and an easy half day trip.
And of course, during the trip we spent quality time with our artisan partners, and we will be sharing more on their workspaces soon!