It starts early… the sun rising over the skyscrapers; there is a momentary peace as you see how breathtakingly beautiful that sight is, the sun glinting off the mirrored buildings, a momentary silence as you step outside with a scalding hot café de olla and you inhale the city, just a moment before the hustle and bustle of Mexico’s magapolis wraps you up.
If you only have a day in Mexico City or ‘el DF’ as locals call it or a string of days to explore here are three perfect itineraries direct from a local.
Day 1: Historic Mexico
Start the day at one of Mexico’s most beloved & recognized historic restaurants ‘ The House of the Blue Tiles’ is the flagship store and restaurant for one of Mexicos famous department stores Samborns. The house has a history dating to 1773 originally belonging to The Count of Orizaba, it is a beautiful historic site. Here you will get breakfast along with a history lesson and if you feel like early shopping they also have a bookstore. La Casa de Los Azulejos
After breakfast you can walk off the calories by heading down to the main plaza square. El Zocalo is Mexicos most historic downtown. Here you will find The main Cathedral, the National Palace where the senate meets, the Federal Buildings, the main post office (also house in a beautiful palace) and blocks and blocks of stores of everything you can imagine.
To complete a historic Mexico walk you can walk back down Avenida Reforma which will take you the Angel de la Independencia. The Angel was built in 1910 and it resembles the July Column in Paris, which is only nessary since Avenida Paseo de la Reforma is Mexico’s answer to Champs Elysesses and was design by Ferdinand Rosenzweig von Drauwehr to resemble the French boulevards.
On the way, since it is a somewhat long walk I would recomend a stop at a hidden museum gem.
El museo Franz Mayer is a quiet art museum. It houses various collecions of European Art, Photography pieces of Franz Mayer, as well as being an active space for conventions, photography contests and art involvement.
And if by the time you’re done with the art exhbits you’ve racked up an appetite they have a wonderful al fresco cafe where the it’s so peaceful you will hardly believe you’re in Mexico City!
After finishing your walk and admiring the Angel take a cab down to the National Auditorium where you can take a guided tour of Mexicos historic cantinas for a night of safe fun, traditional drinks and the legends that go along with them. Touribus Mexico
Day 2: Posh Mexico
To ease up from all the walking and discovering an all food & shopping day is always necessary in Mexico.
Start with sweet bread, nata and hot chocolate at El Cardenal in Mexicos upscale San Angel neighboorhood. El Cardenal
After breakfast and before any shopping starts a visit to Mexico’s art diva Frida Kahlo’s home is a must.
It is a short exploration of her personal life, art and tumultuous relationship with muralists Diego Rivera.
Once done you can head over to another of Mexico’s chic neighboorhoods Polanco. Polanco has long been a business hub and place for both politicians and enterntaiment personalities to stay and play.
Here you will find all the major designers from Hermès to Tiffanys, if you want something more authentic to Mexico, many famous Mexican designers are also located here from Sergio Bustamante (sculptures), Pineda Covalin ( scarves and dresses in colorful prints) and Daniel Espinosa ( jewelry).
Wheather you window shop or shop till you drop you can end the day with a late dinner at the famous Hotel Presidente’s restaurat El Balmoral famous for home made pastries and aged steaks.El Balmoral
Day 3: The Views
Mexico City is all about perception, about the sweeping views, the contradictions and the history after all the Aztecs built the ‘Great Tenochtitlan’ believing it was the center of the universe.
What better place to see that than the Pyramids of Teotihuacan. Only about an hour from the city and a wonder to see and ponder it is a must in Mexico. http://www.teotihuacan.inah.gob.mx
If you dont want to make the day trip ~
Option two is the Castillo de Chapultepec hiddend in the Chapultepec forest. It is a beautiful building, dating back to Spanish Colonia times, now converted into a museum and smack in the middle of Mexico City.
Here you also get mesmerizing city views and quiet to wonder why you have leave Mexico.
Castillo de Chapultepec
Whichever option you choose you won’t be dissapointed and you’ll make plans to come back and finish exploring the city.
Fiish your trip with dinner at Mexicos only rotatory restaurant Bellini 50 floors avobe the city at the World Trade Center Tower. ( Reservations Highly Recommended) Bellini