With a rich history of world-class art and cuisine, loud and lively Mexico City is the ideal place to not only feast your eyes, but also stuff your face. Although each neighborhood has its own unique flavor, the City of Palaces is sure to offer something for everyone. Here are six neighborhoods we think you’ll love for its great stays, dining and art:
Perhaps the most famous artistic neighborhood in Mexico City, vibrant and quaint Coyoacan was once home to artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and Marxist revolutionary Leon Trotsky. After stopping by the Diego Rivera House and Museum, walk through a 16th-century arch at the entryway to Plaza de Coyoacan, where you’ll find the bright blue Museum of Frida Kahlo, appropriately known as La Casa Azul (Londres 247, Del Carmen). Just a few blocks away, stop by Mercado de Coyoacan for homemade tostadas Coyoacan, and rest at the Holiday Inn Plaza Universidad (Parroquia 1056), within walking distance of the Leon Trotsky Museum.
Named after the thoroughbred race track that first opened in 1943, Hipodromo is a funky area that gets off its high horse when it comes to art. Known as much for its gritty street art and graffiti as its boutique galleries, you’ll find a little of both around Parque Mexico, at the center of the neighborhood. For ever-rotating exhibits by emerging latinx artists, stop by grassroots ArtSpace Mexico (Campeche 281) or Tinta Naranja (Amsterdam 254). And after an afternoon of perusing, grab a bite at La Capital (Nuevo Leon 137), known for its upscale modern fare and creative cocktails. Stay at AR 218 (Alfonso Reyes 218) on the southern end of Parque Mexico to enjoy modernist décor and a lovely rooftop terrace.
The historic center at the heart of Mexico City includes La Alameda Park and the Zocalo, the central square. Next to La Alameda, you’ll find the white marble neoclassical Palacio de Bellas Artes, where you can admire larger-than-life murals by Diego Rivera. Just a block away, the Museo Nacional de Arte, or MUNAL, is home to an expansive collection of Jose Maria Velasco’s landscapes capturing 19th-century Mexico. And if it’s a Sunday, you’re in luck—most museums are free to visitors. Chow down at trendy MUMEDI (Mexican Museum of Design) Café, where you’ll be surrounded by wall after wall of work by up-and-coming artists and designers. Then, kick up your feet at Art Noveau Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico (Av 16 De Septiembre N 82), conveniently located next to the Zocalo.
Chapultepec and Polanco
The largest park in Mexico City, Chapultepec was designated a public space by Aztec rulers in the 15th century. Together with neighboring Polanco to the north, you’ll find a zoo, museums, shops, restaurants and nightlife. Check out Museo de Arte Moderno, with 20th-century favorites like Francisco Toledo, and international gallery Luis Adelantado for up-and-coming artists with in-situ exhibits. Splurge at experimental fine dining restaurant Pujol (Calle Francisco Petrarca 254), known to serve anything from ant larvae to molecular gastronomy—just make sure you have a reservation. Finally, relax at boutique hotel Busue, with an ornately decorated ceramic entrance and rustic wood accents.
Condesa and Roma
Bohemian sister neighborhoods Condesa and Roma, just south of the Zona Rosa, feature some of the city’s trendiest cafes, bars, and Art Deco architecture with European flair. Grab lunch at Mercado Roma (Queretaro 225), where you can grab small plates at food stalls crafting pozole, cactus tacos and churros—then wash it all down at the rooftop beer garden. Spend the day roaming the streets of Amsterdam and Nuevo Leon, lined with brightly painted facades and beautifully restored 1920s buildings. On Saturday afternoons, check out Mercado Alvaro Obregon, where local artisans sell handicrafts, table sculptures, and paintings. Stay at Condesa Df, the neighborhood’s landmark hotel, built in 1928 and recently restored to its French Neoclassical splendor.
Last but not least, Colonia Juarez is a relative newcomer to the art scene, experiencing a revival after the 1985 earthquake destroyed its majestic French-inspired homes. Eat at Milan 44, a hip food court-style complex featuring tapas, ice cream and even an industrial pizzeria. Several independent art galleries have popped up in Juarez as the neighborhood has grown, including Marso and Galeria Ethra. Finish the day with a dip in one of two pools at the Mexico City Marriott Reforma Hotel, just a short walk from everything Colonia Juarez has to offer.
Art and cuisine go hand-in-hand with any city’s cultural heritage. And whether you’re in search of traditional, modernist or surrealist art—or just some eye candy and equally as delicious food—Mexico City won’t disappoint.