#1. Meet DF’s hipsters at Bahia Bar
Whether you are a hipster yourself or you just like to stare at them, the #1 hipster hangout in Mexico City is Bahia Bar, located just around the corner from Balderas metro station. Expect hipster music, hipster dancing, hipster clothing, and hipster facial hair. Y’know, hipster stuff.
#2. Eat ice cream at Neveria Roxy
Neveria Roxy is an iconic ice cream joint located in the Condesa neighbourhood of DF. It’s been serving locals ice creams and sorbets since 1946 and I highly recommend trying one of the Mexican fruit flavours like mamey or zapote. Or go balls out, and order yourself a banana split. Yums.
#3. Go gay clubbing at El Marrakech Salon
My very favourite of all the gay clubs in Mexico City, this place is super sweaty and super cheap. You can expect a mix of Mexican songs and upbeat English dance numbers, and a whole lot of action on the dance floor. Go midweek for 15 peso beers!
#4. Watch a Lucha Libre wrestling match
Pumped up men wearing shiny nylon costumes and beating the crap out of each other! What on earth could possible go wrong? The arena has shows on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and you can grab yourself tickets from as little as 35 pesos.
#5. Sip on a chamoyada
If you get bored with the same old fruit smoothies, it’s about time that you take your smoothie drinking experience up a notch by consuming a chamoyada (otherwise known as a raspa). This uniquely Mexican beverage is essentially a smoothie (mango is particularly popular) but with added chilli, salt, and other spices. Enjoy.
#6. Go boating on Chapultepec Lake
In the middle of Chapultepec Park (the largest city park in all of Latin America, I will have you know) there is a glorious lake where you can go boating. When the sun is shining on a sunny Sunday afternoon, there is nothing better than taking a boy (or girl) you fancy for a smoochy boat ride.
#7. Visit Frida Kahlo’s House
You can’t miss this iconic bright blue house in the middle of Coyoacan. For a small fee, you can tour the home where Frida Kahlo spent her days growing up, where she spent years sick in bed, and where she lived with her husband, Diego Rivera, in her adult years.
Frida’s desk, innit.
#8. Eat tacos from the street
Like, obviously. And don’t listen to all of those “you’ll get a rumbly tummy” types. Put those tacos in your mouth thick and fast. If you don’t understand the ingredients in Spanish, point to something and eat in ignorant bliss.
#9. Get steamy at Sodome gay sauna
The premier gay sauna in Mexico City, and probably in all of Mexico, a sauna experience here is more than a fumble in the dark in some steamy, mouldy, alley way. This place is plush, it has a nice bar (albeit with somewhat overpriced drinks) and the go go dancers come out after midnight.
#10. Eat late night churros at El Moro
Why doesn’t every city in the world have a 24 hour churro place? Because not every city in the world is as hella awesome as DF. Choose between three varieties of equally delicious hot chocolate to eat your churros with, and be merry.
#11. Sip on a Paloma at your nearest bar
And ‘What is a Paloma?’ I hear you cry. It is the delicious combination of tequila and grapefruit soda, which is great for somebody like me who finds tequila a little difficult to drink straight. But it still gets you real squiffy.
#12. Climb the Angel of Independence
The Angel of Independence, or El Angel, is one of the most iconic structures in the whole city. Built to mark the 100th anniversary of Mexico’s War of Independence, my favourite thing about El Angel is that you can climb it! And at that height you get an awesome view of this vast metropolis.
#13. Learn to cook like a Mexican
While you are eating all of the Mexican deliciousness that DF’s street vendors have to offer, spare a thought for how miserable you will be when you are back home without any yummy Mexican food to eat. This is why you should book a Mexican cooking lesson at a reputable school or restaurant like Pujol or Escuela de Gastronomia Mexicana.
14. Rent an EcoBici
If the traffic in DF doesn’t entirely terrify you, then renting a bike using the city’s EcoBici system is an awesome way of getting round the city. It only costs around 400 pesos (£20) for the year, so if you are in the city for a while, it’s also a very economical way of getting around.
#15. Take in the view at a rooftop bar
La Terraza in the trendy Condesa district has earned a reputation as the best rooftop bar in Mexico City, because, well, it is. Lounge under the huge parasols, order yourself one of the delicious cocktails on offer, and enjoy the view out over this beautiful part of DF.
#16. Enjoy some fine dining at Restaurante Pujol
Yes, Mexico City street food is unbelievably amazing, but this is a capital city, and it doesn’t hurt to occasionally treat yourself to a slap up meal. For somewhere extra special, but still definitely Mexican, head to Resaturante Pujol and order the lobster tacos.
#17. Eat a tlacoyo
This is a typical Mexico City street food, and surprise surprise, it’s 100% delicious. You may also be surprised to find that it is made from corn – gasp. These oval shaped, thick tortilla like things are often made with blue corn and typically come with nopales (cactus) and cheese on the top. These are cooked dry on the comal so they are actually pretty healthy too.
Ate half my tlacoyo before remembering to take a snap – oops.
#18. Dance like a Mexican
The Mexicans are such good dancers! Head to any plaza on the weekend and you are sure to find people dancing on the street, and of course, you’ll find plenty of dancing in the clubs as well. I’m not a terrible dancer but I find the intricate Mexican moves so hard to get down! Won’t stop me trying though…
#19. Visit the only Royal castle in North America
As I’m from the UK, I have seen my fair share of castles. But in Mexico, there are not so many on the ground. Chapultepec Castle is not just a beauty of a building, but it was the home of actual Royalty. Learn all about Mexico’s Royal past at this must see in Chapultepec Park…
#20. Visit Trotsky’s house
As you may or may not know, Trotsky sought political asylum in Mexico way back when, in an escape from Stalin’s regime. For a while he lived with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, but he also lived in a house with his wife in Coyoacan. That house now acts as a museum that honours Trotsky’s legacy and promotes political asylum.
#21. Listen to Mariachi music
For an evening of Mariachi amazingness, you need to head to Plaza Garibaldi where all of the Mariachi bands play. The restaurants here can be a little pricey, but if you are short of dolla then simply hang around in the plaza and soak up the not so relaxing sounds of accordions and trumpets.
#22. Go antique shopping at La Lagunilla
Mexico City is full of amazing markets where you can buy all kinds of tat to take home with you. For that extra special purchase head to La Lagunilla market on a Sunday, which has tonnes of antique items, and many of them are actually really beautiful. It’s better than taking home a sombrero (which *nobody* wears) and a litre of tequila, right?
#23. Learn some Spanish
I know, I am one to talk – mi espanol es muy terrible. But the least you can do is learn a few simple phrases. In fact, you’re gonna need them because not everybody here speaks English and you’ll need a few handy phrases to order all of that delicious DF street grub.
#24. Eat yummy sweets at Dulceria De Celaya
I think it’s fair to say that the average Mexican is not shy when it comes to indulging a sweet tooth. If you’re into everything sugary, Dulceria De Celaya needs to be #1 on your agenda. This place has been standing since 1874, yo – it’s a genuine institution. Order the cornbread pudding as though your life depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES.
#25. Dance your socks off at Patrick Miller
I don’t know who this Patrick Miller guy is, but I sure do like the choons that he spins. This is one of the most popular nightclubs in DF, which usually spins 80s and 90s tracks. The beer is cheap, the dance floor is always full, and the crowd are always out for a good time.
#26. Get arty at Soumaya Museum
This is one of the most impressive buildings in the city, that kinda looks like is been dropped into DF from another planet. A structure of swirling aluminium, the museum plays host to a huge number of European art works. And admission is free!
#27. Consume too many ceviche tostadas at Coyoacan’s market
Seafood fan? Then you will not want to miss the market in Coyoacan, where there is a stall famous for selling seafood tostadas. The ceviche is particularly delightful and the pulpo (octopus) also seems to be a hit with the local crowd.
#28. Introduce yourself to pulque
You’ve heard of tequila, you’ve heard of mescal – but have you heard of pulque? This is an alcoholic beverage also made from the agave plant, and it resembles fruit flavoured semen. Don’t say I didn’t warn you but do be sure to check out the many hip pulquerias in Mexico City.
#29. Watch a movie at the Cineteca
When I was living in DF, this very quickly became one of my favourite spots. If you love movies, you will love it hard, and if you don’t, you’ll probably still love it. This place screens movies from all around the world and there are often outdoor screenings too. And at 40 pesos a ticket, the price cannot be beaten.
#30. Listen to classical music in Chapultepec Park
Mexico City is not that crazy, I promise you. But big city life is big city life and when you feel like you need to escape the honking of horns and the smell of car fumes on the streets, head to the Audiorama. This is a small section of Chapultepec Park that has classical music pumped into it, and where you can sit and simply let those worries slide off your shoulders.
#31. Get literary at Jose Vasconcelos library
I love me a bit of library action, and Jose Vasconcelos may just be the very best library I’ve ever been to. It cost a cool $100 million to build, and it kinda looks like it did. This structure is emphatically modern and an awesome place to browse through some books (durr) or get some work done.
#32. Do some fancy shopping in Polanco
If you are a fancy pants type with money to burn, I have absolutely no idea how you made it to my humble little website. But the place you need to indulge in a little retail therapy is the neighbourhood of Polanco. Just north of Chapultepec Park, this is where you’ll find all of Mexico’s pricey designer fashion boutiques.
#33. Get to know the local fruits
I don’t have a sweet tooth but I do love fruit. I eat it at breakfast every morning, and I love to try new local fruits wherever I am. In Mexico, I’ve encountered fruits here that I’ve never even heard of before, like mamey and chicozapote. Do yourself a favour, head to a market, and gobble them down.
#34. Eat a torta de tamal for breakfast
You’ve heard of tamales right? Delicious corn mush and other delicious things wrapped up in a corn husk and steamed. Well, in Mexico City it is very common to put that corn mush deliciousness inside a bread roll and eat it for breakfast. It’s a filling start to the day that is sure to give you plenty of energy until lunchtime.
#35. Climb a freakin’ volcano
Yup, that’s right, you can climb a volcano in Mexico City. Alright, it’s not exactly *in* the city but it’s not far out, and if you love to hike or climb then this is an awesome day trip. Iztaccihuatl, the name of the volcano, is pretty much impossible to say, but you can call it the sleeping woman, and it’s the third highest mountain in all of Mexico.
#36. Spend a day boating in Xochimilco
Xochimilco is an area in the south of the city that is most famous for its network of canals and the boat trips you can take there – think of it as the Venice of Central America. Let your guide paddle you gently along the canal as you sip on a beer and listen to mariachi music.
#37. Eat a tortilla fresh from the tortilleria
Mexico City’s street food is out of this world. While you are in DF, I advise you to eat everything you see, and don’t overlook the basics like tortillas. Eating a tortilla solo might seem kinda plain, but when it is fresh out of the tortilleria, there is nothing quite like it. Shake on a little salt and eat away.
#38. Get lost in La Merced market
I love market culture, but in all honesty, La Merced terrified me on my first visit. That was on Christmas Eve and the place was heaving with people trying to buy Christmas gifts and the ingredients for their Christmas dinners. But like a rash, this place grew on me. I got to understand the labyrinthine walkways and it became my go-to place for shopping because you can find *everything* there.
#39. See a tonne of animals at Chapultepec Zoo
Nothing makes me feel like a big kid quite like a day at the zoo. Head to Chapultepec Park and you will find a zoo that is full of animals from all over the world. And the best part? There is absolutely no admission fee.
#40. Buy something on the Metro
The Metro that covers all of Mexico City is a wondrous thing. As well as being a convenient, reliable, and inexpensive way of getting around, you can also purchase tonnes of swag on your journeys. The sellers tout their wares illegally, of course, but in spite of this they have their own union – I love it!
#41. Eat Pozole like it is going out of fashion
One of the greatest foods to come out of this great country is pozole – a soup/stew affair that can be served in the white, red, or green variety, and that usually contains pork meat. Pozolerias can be found all over the city, so grab a table and tuck in.
#42. Admire Diego Rivera’s frescas at Bellas Artes
Even the most art adverse people have heard of Diego Rivera, and you shouldn’t leave Mexico City before you take a close up look at his works. At Bellas Artes in the city centre, you can admire some of his most celebrated frescas.
#43. Eat Tacos al Pastor when you are super drunk
Every city has its drunk food. In London, you are likely to grab a doner kebab when you are steamin’ but in Mexico City it has to be tacos al pastor. This is spiced pork meat that is layered on a spit and cooked. The meat is then sliced and placed on top of tacos, often with a piece of pineapple to boot.
#44. Experience pre-Columbian Mexico in Teotihuacan
Mexico is a country full of history and if you like yourself some ruins, you sure are in luck. Dating back to the Aztec centuries, these are the most significant pyramids in all of Mesoamerica. Just don’t go on a Sunday because that’s when Mexicans can go for free and it’s hella busy.
#45. Visit Luis Barragan’s house and studio
“Why do I wanna visit some dead dude’s house?” I hear you ask. Well, this is not just a house but the house of one of Mexico’s most important architects, and his design aesthetics are reflected throughout. It even got that UNESCO wotsit in 2004. One for architect buffs, for sure.
#46. Feast on ants’ eggs
That’s right – ants’ eggs. If you think of them as the caviar of Mexico, you might swallow more easily. Harvested from the roots of the agave plant, these eggs are considered a delicacy in Mexico. Order with garlic and butter, and chow down.
#47. Buy original art in San Angel
San Angel is a cute neighbourhood just a stone’s throw from Coyoacan. On weekends, the leafy streets and small plazas fill up with art sellers. It’s a wonderful sight to see so many brightly coloured artworks lining the streets, even if you decide not to make a purchase.
#48. Pick up some Mexican swear words
The Spanish language does not begin and end with Buenos Dias and Buenas Noches. To communicate like a Mexican, you have to swear like a Mexican. Find a Mexican chum and ask them what “Cogete un burro!” means.
#49. Drink coffee at El Jarocho
The one thing that I wish Mexico City had more of is a café culture. This city is more about the street food than the cafes, but one place where you can get an awesome cup of coffee is El Jarocho in Coyoacan. With outdoor seating and late night opening hours, this is the place to hang out when you don’t know what to do with yourself on a Sunday night.
#50. Get all artsy at the Museo Jumex
Mexico has an incredible arts culture and Mexico City sits right at the heart of that culture. The Jumex collection is spread over five floors and is thought to be one of the most important art collections in Latin America. Hop along on a Friday for free admission!
So, tell me – where is your favourite place to hang out, grab a bite, and experience incredible Mexico City?
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