Wanderluxe Home’s Guide to Exploring Mexico City
When we visit Mexico to meet with our artisans for Wanderluxe Home, our first stop is the capital, Mexico City. The city is home to over 21 million people, more than double New York City, and the highest populated city in North America. With that many people comes history, diverse culture, and much to explore!
Just last week they found historic Aztec ruins right near the central Plaza del Zócalo! They believe it is a courtyard from the Palace of Axayácatl dating back to the early-1400s. Generally a discovery like this isn’t something you’d hear about in most cities, but is one of the things that makes Mexico City so unique.
While exploring Mexico City, we love searching for foodie finds (who doesn’t love Mexican food!?), as well as exploring history and culture across the city. We want to share with you a round-up of some of our favorite places to visit and dine when staying in this fascinating capital city.
Devouring Culinary Delicacies
Food and culture go hand-in-hand in Mexico, as recipes and cooking methods are almost always passed down. Food is a large part of what keeps Mexican traditions and culture alive. Mexico City is now recognized as an international foodie destination. You can find everything from elevated dining featuring modern takes on old traditions to street food staples.
When traveling, you must try it all for a true taste of the city.
Pujol | Tennyson 133, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11550 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Each dish at Pujol is a work of art. Opened in 2000, the restaurant has been charming diners one plate at a time. They are consistently on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list for good reason. Their dishes feature complex flavors and a modern take on both Mexican and international cuisine. Be sure to make a reservation in advance!
Quintonil | Av. Isaac Newton 55, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11560 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Quintonil is another award-winning Mexico City restaurant, also earning a place on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. They focus on creating elevated Mexican dishes with unique flair and varied ingredients. Chefs Vallejo and Flores are a husband-wife duo who put emphasis on sourcing locally and utilizing classic techniques to create modern takes on Mexican flavors. Another spot where you must make a reservation in advance!
Contramar | Calle de Durango 200, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
While seafood may not be the first thing you think of when you think Mexico City, this is a spot you do not want to miss. Contramar earns praise as the spot with the freshest seafood consistently which is noted by magazines like Bon Appetit, a well-deserved honor. Locals say to order the typical dish Pescado a la talla, or whole fish, as it’s the best in the city and also the house special.
Agua y Sal | Campos Elíseos 199-A, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11560 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Agua y Sal is a unique ode to the fishing villages of Mexico. A traditional cebichería, they specialize in fresh ceviche with bold flavors and only the finest ingredients. They celebrate the simplicity and beauty of a dish like ceviche, so uncomplicated but so incredibly flavorful.
Street food and food stalls are a staple in Mexico City. They are extremely popular with locals and typically an ideal spot to get a taste of real Mexican food. One good way to choose which stall to try first is the line. The longer the line, the more popular the food. It may not be in your best interest to try one that has no customers! Around lunchtime and late-night stalls are busiest, sometimes even more so than dine-in restaurants.
Here are a few spots we love:
El Caguamo | Ayuntamiento 18, Colonia Centro, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Centro, CDMX, Mexico
Generally speaking, there is nothing fancy about El Caguamo, but they serve up some of the most flavorful and well-known seafood dishes in Mexico City. For over forty-years, this family-owned institution has been crafting simple, fresh dishes for locals and tourists alike. As always, with every visit, the character of the city shines through as you wait in line with a mix of regulars and tourists from across the globe.
El Borrego Viudo | Av. Revolución 241, Tacubaya, Miguel Hidalgo, 11870 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
A late-night staple in Mexico City, El Borrego Viudo serves up some of the best al pastor tacos in the city. The best part? They won’t run you over $1 USD each. Firstly, order all the tacos. But next make sure to grab a tepache to drink on the side. It’s a sweet drink made from fermented pineapple rinds and cinnamon, and it’s super tasty.
Tostadas Coyoacán | Mercado de Coyoacán, Ignacio Allende No.49, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 CDMX, Mexico
One of the most famous spots for tostadas, Tostadas Coyoacán are life changing. They’ve been a staple in the Mercado de Coyoacán for years and have helped put the market on the map. Favorite toppings include mole chicken, mushrooms, shrimp, cochinita and more! Order a few to sample all the flavors.
Taqueria Los Parados | Monterrey 333, Roma Sur, Cuauhtémoc, 06760 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Like Tostadas Coyoacan, Taqueria Los Parados is as a Mexico City staple, serving delicious, simple tacos in a hurry. Of course, that’s saying a lot when you’re talking about the birthplace of tacos. The quick, no frills service ensures you have a plate in front of you in no time.
One way to get an insider view of the city via their cuisine is to take a food tour. EatMexico offers a Beginner’s Guide to Street Food which will take you through six different stalls to taste the biggest staples!
The culture of Mexico City is born from its rich and diverse history that dates back to the early-1300s. For years, it served as the capital for the Aztec empire. There were elaborate temples, palaces, a ceremonial square, homes for the community, and more. Then, in the 1500s the Spanish conquered the Aztecs, which is shown today through the historic colonial buildings and mix of cultures found in the city.
While there is so much to do and see in Mexico City, these are a few of our favorite spots to explore.
Frida Kahlo Museum | Londres 247, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Frida Kahlo is a famous Mexican painter who despite her great struggles in life, became a master artisan. The Frida Kahlo Museum is in her childhood home, named the “Blue House” after its rich blue walls. When you’re walking down the street there is no way you can miss the building and its colorful presence! The home holds her belongings, which allows visitors a unique look into her life, her struggles, and her passions. Taking a guided tour will give you a detailed understanding of her story.
Museo Nacional de Antropología | Av. Paseo de la Reforma s/n, Polanco, Bosque de Chapultepec I Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11560 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
The National Museum of Anthropology is the largest museum in Mexico. It is home to artifacts that explore and explain the history and pre-Colombian and pre-Hispanic culture of Mexico. A must-see for anyone looking to get a true feel for Mexican history.
Teotihuacan | 55800 San Juan Teotihuacán, State of Mexico, Mexico
When exploring the area around Mexico City, you will find the ruins of Teotihuacan only one hour away. Teotihuacan means “the place where the Gods were created” (Source). It was named by the Aztecs, although it was built well before their arrival. This city was sacred to the ancient Mayans. Now, it is home to three pyramids that still stand, along with a museum to explore. You can easily take a public bus or go on a tour bus!
If you’ve ever seen a show about Mexico City, they probably introduced you to Xochimilco. When exploring the area you can rent a colorful boat, which is similar to an Italian gondola ride. The ride will take you through the vibrant canals for a different view of the city. While floating down the river, you’ll enjoy the sounds of mariachi bands playing from nearby boats! Here’s a great guide with tips for your visit.
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe | Fray Juan de Zumárraga No. 2, Villa Gustavo A. Madero, Gustavo A. Madero, 07050 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
This stunning Catholic church was restored to its current glory in the late-1970s but has a rich history. It serves as the National Shrine and is a pilgrimage location that welcomes over 12 million visitors a year!
Chapultepec Park | Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico City, Mexico
Surprisingly more than twice the size of Central Park, Chapultepec Park is an oasis in the center of the city. It is also the oldest park in Latin America! You’ll find museums, zoos, space to picnic, calming water features, and more. Once you’re settled, spend a day or two discovering all this park has to offer.
Explore Mexican Culture from Your Home with Wanderluxe Home
Although traveling may not be on the table right now, that does not mean exploring other cultures has to stop! Wanderluxe Home will soon be launching a line of ethically sourced, sustainable homewares handcrafted by Mexican artisans. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know about new product releases!