Four Days in Mexico City

For Thanksgiving we flitted off to Mexico City. More than a few people questioned our choice of vacation spot. Some were concerned about safety. I'm not even sure why I chose it.. my uncle had gone some months ago and since then I guess it was on my mind.

So let me tell you, Mexico City surprised us in a couple ways. 
1. It was so freaking clean! There was never a time that we didn't see workers sweeping and cleaning. 
2. It was also so green.. there were trees and plants along every street. The larger roads had walking/bike paths in the middle also lined with trees and plants!
3. There are fountains everywhere. The fountains are also cleaned regularly.. no gunky water.
4. A large population was still masking. 
5. There are paid turnstyle type public bathrooms everywhere. You pay six pesos to get in. They too were remarkably clean. 
6. The city had many parks and many playgrounds. In Paris we had struggled to find even one playground but here we had to bribe the kids out of the many many playgrounds.
7. Not a positive thing but there was a very large police presence. Especially in the historic area where we were staying. It made us a little nervous initially but the locals seemed unbothered so I suppose it is a norm. Though while we were there there was a protest for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. There were roadblocks and boarded up windows but everything seemed to be peaceful nonetheless.  

Now on to our trip. The flight for this one was tricky, we usually prefer a red eye so as to not waste too much of our waking hours in transit. That did not work and we were forced to take an afternoon flight, the boys got off their buses and straight into the car. We were cutting it close. But a huge timesaver if you travel a lot is to apply for global entry. It is worth every penny. We were able to zip through TSA, grab some overpriced food at the airport and be ready for our flight. We arrived at night and went to bed right after checking in. The dollar to peso exchange rate was really good so most of our Uber's cost around $10. We chose to stay at the Hilton Reforma which was in the Historical neighborhood. 

Day 1 - Historic Area

We started our day with breakfast at Cafe De Tacuba. It is a century old restaurant with old paintings and beautiful tiles and woodwork. It was a nice introduction to Mexican food. Unfortunately the language barrier did make it a little difficult at times. Especially since D has allergies and we do not consume any pig products or alcohol. The refried beans we mostly tried to stay away from. 






I had the eggs in red sauce and M had scrambled eggs while the boys shared some hot cakes. It was a decent first meal. We may not have ordered correctly. 

Someone thing to note in most of the traditional restaurants we went to.. they will come by your table with a platter of baked goods; those are for purchase not complimentary. Also they seemed to bring food out as it was ready and not all at the same time. 


Afterwards we started to wander. We stopped at Plaza De Santo Domingo and the Palacio Postal, which was a very fancy post office. Then some more walking and we found ourselves in an outdoor market.. tons of vendors. It was not Mexican crafts.. more like cheap China/Dollar store type stuff.. the more we walked the deeper we got.


We soon realized we had lost track of where we wanted to be.. so rerouted. We do a lot of wandering and only use the gps when we have a destination in mind or feel like we have wandered too far.


We stumbled upon a Chinatown. Before we knew it our stomachs were starting to grumble. We had our first tacos! Deliciosa



The tacos come out bare, just the tortilla and your choice of protein and an array of sauces so you can make them as you like.. mmm.. my mouth is watering just thinking about them. 

Next stop was Mercado de ArtesanĂ­as La Ciudadela. Such a gorgeous market full of handicrafts.




All three boys bought t shirts and we bought an ornament for my sister in laws daughter. I could have bought so many more things.. but I restrained myself. I was entranced by all the vibrants colors and especially the Alebrijes (Mexican spirit guides as seen in the movie Coco) I didn't see the no photo sign.. oops. 


I did end up buying a peacock Alebrijes at another market.

Time for more sustenance.. the sweet sugary kind this time. We stopped at the renowned  ChurrerĂ­a El Moro


I'd have to say, unfortunately, that we have had better churros. The coffee was great.. in fact we didn't drink a bad cup of coffee our whole trip. I did make the mistake of ordering spiced coffee just to mix things up and while I had no issues with the spice it was just too sweet for my liking. 

Next we headed back to the historical area because we felt we hadn't seen much of it especially after we had wandered off in the wrong direction.


Fountain in Alameda Park


Ahead was the Plaza de la Constitution.. there were many people camping out in tents there and it seemed to be some sort of a protest against police corruption.. we didn't spend to much time there.


Behind us is the Metropolitan Cathedral

 

In this above picture you can see the line forming.. people were lining up for a ceremony called a ‘limpia’ (spiritual cleansing). You must buy a bunch of herbs and then an Aztec shaman healer takes those herbs and rubs them on the bodies of those being cleansed. He then holds a large silver cup full of smoke in his hand that blows toward the person. The rubbing of herbs expels the evil and hostile forces  from their body. Once the ritual was complete the person is to stomp on the herbs which signified crushing the evil and hostile forces that had just been eliminated from the body.

We ended the day with dinner at La Casa De Tono. It looked like a cafeteria and I was on the fence about it but a few locals around us were singing it's praise. They gave us an order sheet to fill in our own order. While H claimed it was the best quesadilla he had ever had.. they forgot to bring out my meal. Since they don't bring everyone's food out at the same time we just kept waiting and waiting.. and then when we finally asked they couldn't find our order sheet and basically no food for me. It was too late to order for myself now.. oh well.

Day 2 - Coyoacan and Xochimilco

We started the next day with a 40 minute uber ride to the neighborhood of Coyoacan and had breakfast at El Beneficio Bistro. D got the waffles, M the french toast and I continued with the local breakfast and tried the chilaquiles. Everything was so beautifully presented.. great coffee but man the chilaquiles. They made up for the missing dinner. They were the favorite thing D ate on the whole trip.





Afterwards we wandered the Coyoacan area and headed to the market. The Coyoacan Mercado unlike yesterday's market was mainly food based. 






We bought some yummy spicy watermelon, mango and tamarind fruit snacks to munch on now and to bring back home. 

Next stop the Frida Khalo museum. Tickets had to be bought online in advance. It cost us $13 per adult and the kids were free. 







The museum is set in what is famously called Casa Azul for it's cobalt blue color. It was the house Frida was born in and the house she died in. 

Afterwards we headed back to Coyoacan Mercado to eat their famous tostadas. 




And fresh coconut juice


Those insects are not fake. Dried grasshoppers, worms and ant eggs are a common snack and even meal in many restaurants.


We also had some ice cream at Helados Y Paletas Gloria. They had so many amazing flavors to choose from I was stumped!

Afterwards we grabbed another Uber and made an hour long trek to Xochimilco. The famous canals of Xochimilco, the last remnants of a vast water transport system built by the Aztecs. Colorful gondola-like boats take visitors on cruises while food vendors, artisans and mariachi bands float past. The atmosphere is festive, especially on weekends. Tourists can also visit the eerie, purportedly haunted Island of the Dolls. We paid $40 for 2 hours. 




I also made a reel on Instagram if you want to check it out. 

Now time for the truth.. this was the longest most boring two hours we have ever spent! I had read multiple blogs and travel posts about this.. they said on the weekends it was over crowded with loud, drunk young people so I opted for a weekday. BAD IDEA! While on this late Thursday afternoon there were many people on many boats it was very quiet. We couldn't booze it up like the others so we just sat there. lol. We had promised the boys vendors and food and snacks. One guy floated by with corn. And while that corn looks delicious it was hard.. chewing it was like a mouth exercise.  So my tip.. go but either go with a large group or go on the weekend. 

We ended the day with dinner in a taqueria near our hotel, Taqueria el Caifan. They were decent, not as good as the tacos we ate the day before. 

Day 3 - Chapultepec Park

Initially we were going to go to the Teotihuacan pyramids outside Mexico City. The last couple of years the government has placed restrictions on climbing the pyramids. Which is fine but M and I talked about it the night before wondering if it was worth going an hour away just to see them (we are not history buffs) and if the kids would be bored, especially after yesterday's boat ride. So we scrapped the plan the night before and instead went to Chapultepec Park.

Chapultepec Park, more commonly called the "Bosque de Chapultepec" in Mexico City, is one of the largest city parks in Mexico. In fact it is the the oldest and largest urban park in all of Latin America. It is two times bigger than Central Park. Within the park there is a castle, a zoo, multiple museums, a botanical garden.. I could keep going. The park was also full of food vendors. 



But first we had breakfast at El Cardenal. How beautiful is that zucchini flower omelette. 

Our uber dropped us off at one of the entrances and the first thing we spotted was a lady selling spicy mango! Mexico City was a wonderful place for people who love spicy food. 



and then spicy potato chips




And fruit roll ups


and a yummy Dorito themed concoction called Doricolos. 

We stopped by the castle but the lines for the tickets was too long.


We went on a paddle boat instead




Then visited their FREE zoo. We thought we do an hour walk through.. but nope. It was a huge zoo.. so many types of animals and free.. how incredible is that.

We managed to spend most of the day in the park and we barely explored 1/4 of it.

For dinner we choose an Italian restaurant called Non Solo. It was very good. 

Day 4 - Roma - Condesa - Polanco

We took an Uber down to Roma and had breakfast at a funky place called Biocot Cafe. There drink menu was expansive but we stuck to our Americano's. The lighting was weird in the cafe so no good food pictures but the food was good. 

Then we wandered around

       


We bought some Tamarind Chili Oil from an old man at this pop up bazaar.



Stopped at the bakery Panderia Rosetta to pick up some sweet treats which we later ate in a park with a fountain


BTW the monkey on H's head was bought from the zoo. It sprays water out of its tail.


and no vacation is complete without a stop at a bookstore. This one was called Cafebreria El Pendulo and as the name suggests it was a cafe and bookstore. 

From Roma we continued to Condesa. Stopped at Parque Mexico and then stopped for lunch at Senor Taco. These were hands down the best tacos of the trip..


and then we arrived at our last stop, Palanco. This is considered the more upscale neighborhood. Tons of designer brands and fancy restaurants. 


I had made reservations to a fancy place called Chambao but it kind of slipped our minds when we were getting dressed that morning and especially M ended up being severely underdressed. The meal was fantastic. 
 
And with that we ended our Mexico City adventure. 

      
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Comments

  1. Hello,
    Wonderful trip report. I have never been to Mexico City, I enjoyed your tour, seeing the markets, zoo and the paddle boats look fun. The food looks delicious. I love tacos. Great photos. Have a great new week ahead.

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  2. Beautiful photos (as always) of your travels! Mexico City looks so colourful and fabulous. You guys are real jet-setters!

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  3. Your boys are getting to see the world. The smiling faces say it all!

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  4. This sounds amazing! I've never been to Mexico!

    Jennifer
    Curated by Jennifer

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  5. The tilework is amazing, and that cup of hot cocoa!

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  6. wow...what a beautiful vacation!! i too was surprised when you said mexico but clearly it was a good choice. all of the 7 things about mexico were quite surprising...this does not sound or look like a place people should be trying to get out of!!

    nice to have authentic mexican food, it all looked delicious!!!

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  7. What a wonderful adventure with lots of yummy looking food and treats!
    My boss hails from Mexico City, so it's nice to see the city through your eyes! xxx

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  8. You guys were really able to do a lot in just four days. The tacos look and sound amazing there.

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  9. ack! I just borrowed from the library, Frida's biography - how cool. Your trip looks like such a fun sunny visit, I love all the bright cheerful colors everywhere you go!

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  10. It sounds like a busy four days. Lots to see. Glad you had a good time.

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  11. How beautiful! I love the cute shops and the food looks amazing!

    Shauna

    www.lipglossandlace.net

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  12. Gosh, what a great place to get away for the short holiday. I love how clean it was and the food !!
    I would love to visit Frida's museum. We have one of her pieces at our AZ art museum.
    OXOX
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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  13. I enjoy reading about your trips and seeing all your pictures!! Thanks for sharing!

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  14. Yet another fabulous trip despite some small glitches. How I would love to see the Frida Kahlo museum...

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  15. Oh wow! Such a vibrant city for sure! Everyone I know has been to Mexico except for me....waaaaaah. I'm a Frida Kahlo fan, so would love to see that museum some day. Thanks for sharing as always, Hena:) And I love that peacock you got.

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  16. It looks wonderful there!

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  17. What a wonderful trip! I'm so glad that you went to Mexico City and had a good time...it's been a long time since I've heard anyone go there, and I liked what you said about safety and cleanliness.

    The food photos are especially amazing.

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  18. Anonymous12/05/2022

    Wow!
    What a wonderful four-day trip.
    Loved your photographs and narration.
    The tilework is amazing.

    All the best Jan
    http://thelowcarbdiabetic.blogspot.com/

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  19. I was so glad to see you comment on my post - I lost everything when my computer crashed and I am working my way back.
    I loved your trip to Mexico - and wish I had the money to go - your pics were gorgeous.
    Have you ever watched Somebody Feed Phil? We take trips like this with him - I think it is on Netflix.

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  20. What a great trip - love all the shop, colorful clothes, and the yummy food!

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  21. I would love to visit Mexico City! Love all your pics and the food looks incredible.

    https://www.kathrineeldridge.com

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  22. I love all of the traveling that your family is able to do. It looks like this was a wonderful trip!

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  23. You did all that in 4 days?!?! We have never been that far into Mexico, just border towns but the markets look pretty much the same. It would be cool to visit those old churches though! Barb would love all the authentic Mexican cuisine. Me, not so much.

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  24. Sounds like a wonderful trip!
    Happy Tuesday, Hena!

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  25. What a fantastic trip to Mexico City. And the food looks so delicious. I love that Mexican pastry. My friend used to sell it in her Mexican restaurant, and I would often have it growing up. The atmosphere here is colorful, festive, and lively. It looks like you had a wonderful time.

    ~Sheri

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  26. The food looks so good and it's so colorful. I've never been south of the border and that looks like a terrific trip. Your "surprises" surprised me, too!

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  27. What an adventure! Such a different culture for me. I enjoyed your trip!

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  28. I have really enjoyed spending time on your blog and traveling along with you! Thanks for sharing and also for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice comment! Enjoy your week!

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  29. So nice to see a detailed trip summary for a city I have not been at. Awesome pics. I'd love to try thosr tostados. Probably not the bugs though :)

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  30. What a fantastic way to spend the holiday! I learned about that haunted doll isle just recently, but I'm not sure it would be worth the journey to see, IMO. I've always thought of real Mexican food as being different from Tex-Mex. All this looks delicious! Well, maybe not the bugs. The looks your boys are giving them are priceless!

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  31. It looks like you had a great trip. I like all the bright colors and the photos of your beautiful family.

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  32. Anonymous12/06/2022

    What a neat trip! My brother went to Mexico City many years ago and loved it. Ohh, I wish I could have a little sample of each of your food photos!

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

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  33. restaurant interiors look so wonderful.... and clean...
    Thank you to write your travel in details ....

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  34. Great post!! I have not read too many blogs about Mexico or Mexico City and I always wondered why. In high school, back when the earth's crust was still coolling down, I went with a group to Mexico City for two weeks and loved it. Great city, halfway friendly people, the food was wonderful. We saw lots of things including some of Chapultepec, the pyramids at Teotihuacan, but mainly I loved just walking around the city.

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  35. Wow! Great trip. The food, colors, everything looks fantastic. There's so much to do there, the park sounds like a vacation in itself.
    Love your sunglasses

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  36. Oh WOW how cool to take a trip for Thanksgiving! And I so recognized Frida's clothes I saw an exhibit of her clothing in Paris!

    Allie of
    www.allienyc.com

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  37. You really packed it in over four days! What an amazing trip!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

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  38. A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. shopping

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  39. It looks like an amazing vacation, the food looks incredible.

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  40. Wonderful to see you and your family enjoying this trip to Mexico City. So many marvelous photos too. I enjoyed each and every one of them. Thank you so much for sharing and for visiting my blog. I look forward to coming back. Happy Holidays!

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  41. Whoa, that spiritual cleansing sounds interesting! I'm always intrigued by the "woo woo" stuff in life, ha. Those tacos look amazing. And I also learned something! I know of this band, Cafe Tacuba, who are from Mexico, and they are indeed named for the actual, physical Cafe Tacuba! :)

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  42. Wow, another amazing adventure! I've never been to Mexico City but have always been curious about it so thanks for sharing so many wonderful photos from your visit.

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  43. HI Hena, What a great review and trip! Great suggestions! One of my tennis teammates is from Mexico City and Martha always extends an invite to us when she goes down in February. I just loved your opinions, suggestions and observations. Great post! laura in Colorado

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  44. Yikes did my comment go through? I love this review. What an great review with observations, suggestions etc. A tennis teammate is from Mexico City and always extends an invite. Might need to add it to a bucket list with friends! Great review Hena!

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  45. This trip looked amazing! It's a place I want to visit. I'm drooling over all of the food. I want that spicy mango!! Thank you for sharing. The boys are getting tall!

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  46. Hi Hena, Sharing on the Weekend Edit.

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