- 4:00pm: Arrive in Mexico (MEX) and take the half hour uber ride to La Condesa. La Condesa is similar to the West Village neighborhood in New York. It’s full of amazing bars, restaurants and has some amazing colonial architecture encompassed by many tree-lined streets.
- 7:00pm: Stop at Cerveceria in the main roundabout at La Condesa (check) get both a Michelda with a Tostado de Atun. It’s seared ahi tuna on top of a bed of alioli covered tostado topped with sliced avocado and deep fried onion shavings. Absolutely delicious – we had about 10 of these throughout our trip.
- 8:00pm: Dinner at Azul Condesa is a must. One of the best Mexican restaurant I’ve eaten at, and (while expensive in Mexico), a full dinner with a bottle of wine for 2 is under $90 USD total. Get the guacamole with grasshoppers, you won’t regret this as well as the tortilla soup as appetizer. They rotate the menu so when we were there, we had the stuffed chile pepper with lobster, the special at the time.
9:30pm: Stop at Gin Gin – an amazing (you guessed it), Gin Bar. Sexy, lush atmosphere filled with plenty of foliage and delicious cocktails. Quick Tip: In regards to tipping in Mexico City, they will bring you the bill and ask you directly how much you want to add for “service” when you pay via credit card. This can be a little awkward but normally 10-20% is recommended. (Other bars to check out: 50 meet, Jules, Alexander, Artemis)
- 8:00am: Coffee at one of the several cozy coffee shops or “panaderias” in La Condesa, called Rosetta. Get a latte and some poached eggs + granola. Super cute bakery with outside and upstairs seating in a brick building that smells absolutely fantastic when you walk in.
- 9:30am: Head to the Centro district in Mexico City to Templo Mayor to check out the ruins of an enormous Aztec temple. Walking through the walkway amongst the ruins takes approximately 20 minutes and there is also a museum inside featuring exhibits of items recovered during excavations. Numerous offerings to the gods were recovered which were arranged strategically and many times involved human skulls from war prisoners.
Quick Tip: Entrance fee is 65 pesos and they do not allow sunscreen, water, etc. so you’ll have to deposit them on the side of the entrance and retrieve after exiting.
- 10:45am: Go stop by the National Palace. It’s a brief line where you’ll have to exchange your ID for entry. Inside, you will find find a large Diego Rivera mural, a famous traditional mask exhibit and the site of the old parliament.
- 11:00am: Go inside the Catedral Metropolitana in the main square. Masses are normally in session when you walk in, which is nice as you’ll be greeted by the beautiful sounds of the enormous organ in the cathedral. Masses are held in the center, and you can actually walk behind the alter on either side.
- 11:15am: Quickly stop at the Gran Hotel de Ciudad Mexico, where they filmed the opening scene in the recent James Bond Movie, Spectre.
- 12:00pm: Take an uber to Xochimilco to take a ride on the famous water gondolas. It’s Mexico‘s version of “little venice”. They charge 350 pesos for an hour, you can buy beer on board, and ideally you bring a lunch with you as you ride your gondola along the river. As you float along, there will be mariachi’s offering to put on a show for you for 50 pesos and many vendors on their boats selling corn, jewelry, etc. Very relaxing way to spend an hour.
- 2:00pm: Head to the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Bosque de Chapultepec (Mexican version of Central Park). It’s a beautiful museum where they have numerous exhibits depicting the history of the early humans and evolution of the indigenous groups of early Mexico. They also have a room that features The Stone of the Sun aka Aztec Calendar Stone.
- 3:30pm: Lunch (or dinner) at Puerto Madero, a Argentinian Grill with fabulous seafood and meat dishes. Great wine from Mendoza. You’ll definitely need to make a reservation for dinner as it gets quite busy.
- 4:30pm: Enter the Bosque de “Chej” through the south entrance, pass the statue of defenses (so) and make the 10 minute hike up to the Castillo de Chapultepec.
Quick Tip: On Wednesday nights, museum entrance is free. However, you will have to be part of guided tour to re-enter. We used the opportunity to take some pictures from the Castillo garden outdoors, which featured stunning, tree-covered views of Mexico City.
- 8:00pm: Have a drink at Biergarten, an outdoor third floor beer garden that serves a variety of beers by the bottle and specialty cocktails. Nice vibe with hanging plants covering the ceiling, picnic table decor, all covered by a string of lights that give it a nice ambience. There’s also a fuss ball table in the back as well.
- 9:15pm: Dinner at La Broka, a nice tapas place walking distance from the Biergarten. The appetizers are quite good, especially the tuna tostadas. They have a list of 12+ gin cocktails as well. The entry is somewhat discrete, with the actual restaurant requiring you to walk through a portion of the kitchen to get to. But once inside, you’ll be greeted by a nice colonial setting that looks like you are inside a Mexican palace decorated with lush bamboo and nice evening lighting. Price range is moderate: $25 per person with a drink.
- 10:30pm: Head to the Pulqueria Los Insurgentes. They play live music on Wednesdays and its a great opportunity to try the traditional drink, “Pulque” which is actually made from the fermented sap of an agave plant. When we went inside, they offered us samples of each flavor in a shot glass from Strawberry to Celery. At the end of the day, we realized the actual, “natural” Pulque is quite harsh to drink, and we’d prefer beer (probably why Pulque has lost its popularity among non-tourists) but definitely a “must-try”
- 8:00am: Hop in a cab to the Frida Kahla Museum. Buy your tickets in advance online (opening is at 10am, except 11am on Wednesdays) as they will have two lines once you arrive – it gets busy, but with advance Ticket purchase it won’t be a problem if you arrive 5 minutes before opening. Once inside the Casa Azul, you can check out several rooms that contain a series of her paintings in addition to her studio, kitchen, and bedroom. The history is special, and definitely something worth checking out.
- 9:30am: Have breakfast at Restaurante Villa Coral walking distance from the museum. The waiter there, Guillermo is hilarious. Not only did he give us an abundance of hugs while leaving, but several free coffees and tortillas. Best dining for a grand total of 19 USD for four people.
- 12:00pm: One good place for traditional tacos is Panchos near el Centro. You’ll be greeted by a variety of spicy to mile salsas along with pickled vegetables to “dress” your tacos. We got the carnitas tacos, which were generously loaded with meat. After some guacamole and sparkling water, we were full for a few hours…next stop, Tepoztlan for Kyle and Natasha’s wedding!