Mexico City is one of my favorite cities, EVER. Growing up I was lucky enough to spend summers there visiting family. As a teen, I lived there seasonally as an understudy for the Ballet Folklorico of Amalia Hernandez (we can chat later about my previous life as a professional dancer). And as an adult, I have eaten (and drank) my way through it. This 500-year-old capital city is brimming with culture and tradition, but it is definitely not stuck in the past. D.F., short for Distrito Federal, blends its historic roots with today's modern sensibility – old fortress walls stand between sleek glass buildings, historic murals next to contemporary street art.
I recently had a friend who was going to be in Mexico City for one day. He asked what he should do. "24 hours is not enough!" I said. But it is all he had so I had to make sure the suggestions I made would leave him satisfied but hungry for more. To share this incredible place with him, I compiled a list of my favorite spots in a roundup for one perfect day that I'd like to share with you. Keep this up your sleeve for the next time you find yourself with 24 hours in D.F.
FIRST THINGS FIRST. COFFEE.
Start off just outside of the city in the Coyoacán District, a colorful little artist community known for its tree-lined cobblestone streets and colonial architecture. Be sure to stop by Café Negro for a caffeine boost – this quaint little coffee shop will get your day off on the right foot.
PAY A VISIT TO FRIDA
Just down the street is Casa Azul, the house where the famed artist, Frida Khalo, lived. You can’t miss the stunning cobalt-blue walls that surround the interior garden. Here, you can see work-in-progress paintings and walk through rooms just as she and Diego Rivera left them.
Get in an Uber and head to Polanco District, the Beverly Hills of Mexico City. You can get lost for hours just walking around this area, taking in all the parks, shopping, and restaurants. Stop in at Malamén for a bite – a beautifully designed restaurant that is as yummy as it is stunning.
GET SOME INSPIRATION
Next up, hop in an Uber to Chapultapec Park and make your way to the Luis Barragan House for a taste of Mexican, mid-century modern design at its finest. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a great stop on a rainy day. Book a tour in advance - it definitely helps to have someone walk you through the space.
TIME FOR A SNACK
Time for a little pick-me-up. Get in an Uber and head over to Mercado Roma in the Roma District. This cool, new multi-stand market features tons of eateries including El Moro Churreria. El Moro is an institution in Mexico. It is the oldest and best churro, vendor in Mexico and they now have a second outpost in Mercado Roma. Order a bag of churros and chocolate caliente.
IT'S COCKTAIL HOUR
If in the mood for a little something to wet your whistle, head over to Hanky Panky in the Juarez District. This speakeasy is by invitation only, so make sure to message them via Facebook in advance so you can get a reservation and get the address.
Chilango's (what you call people from el D.F.) eat fashionably late. So after cocktails, you could get back to your hotel to freshen up and rest a little before heading out to dinner. For dinner, go to Amaya. Order the dish of the day which is always something yummy. If you can't get a reservation there, you can also try Cocina Conchita or Maximo Bistrot Local.
If you still have it in you, head over to Le Tachinomi Desu in the Cuauhtémoc District. This little Japanese speakeasy is popular among local chefs. It has a beautiful selection of Japanese whiskeys, sake and natural wines.
Wake up and get yourself to Lalo for a bomb breakfast and to take in the cool artistry on the walls (restaurant shown above).
SOUVENIR SHOPPING - THE EDIBLE KIND After brunch, walk across the street to Sticky. A unique candy shop. Everything in the shop is made by hand in the shop. You'll probably see the candy makers at work when you enter.
TIME TO GO HOME Next, get in your Uber back to the airport and start planning your next trip to Mexico City.
Raquel Navarro is the founder of See.Eat.Love. a food and drink tour company that offers food lovers intimate culinary strolls through Oakland’s diverse neighborhoods. Raquel takes guests on gourmet adventures to meet the makers, and discover delicious edible treasures one bite and sip at a time. She lives in the Grand Lake District with her husband, three year old son, dog and three chickens, Louise, Gertrude and Agnes.