Before going to Mexico City, I had heard from several people how great they found the city to be.
“It’s amazing!” I kept hearing. I also knew it was a food city with a number of great dining options.
All that said, I still had zero expectations going there. Literally, none. Nada. Mostly because I sometimes find that places that other people really love don’t necessarily resonate with me (and vice versa). So I went to Mexico City mostly just anticipating all the tacos (my favorite food group after chocolate), and that was it.
Over the last few weeks, I went to Mexico City twice – once before going to a friend’s beautiful wedding in San Miguel de Allende (more on that magical weekend in a later post) and then I returned a week later for work (with time spent in Florida in between – all part of my ongoing snowbird plans).
The verdict: Mexico City is my new favorite place!
I went from having NO expectations to being OBSESSED with this city. And I didn’t even get to do everything I wanted to do. I didn’t see entire neighborhoods I wanted to see, but I’m still obsessed. In fact, my flight leaving Mexico City was delayed by more than two hours, and I had this secret desire that it would just be canceled and I’d have to spend another night there (or several). That’s how much I wanted to stay (especially when the weather was literally perfect!).
Here are the top five reasons why CDMX (Ciudad de México) is my new favorite place:
1. The food
I think I have to start with the food because I ate so exceptionally well in Mexico City that I can’t resist talking about it immediately. This truly is a food city with incredible dining that ranges from the cheapest of the cheap to very fine dining and everything in between. My favorite meals include the al pastor taco at El Farolito; the fish and shrimp tacos at La Casa de Los Tacos; the tuna tostada at Contramar; my friend’s mushroom and cheese mole enchiladas (sorry, you have to befriend her to get this); the crab tostada, braised oxtail with almond cream, and mamey panna cotta at Quintonil; and the grilled artichoke, duck confit and mushroom ravioli, and steak tenderloin with truffled potatoes at Blanco Colima. I know; it’s a lot. But, of course, no regrets.
2. The people
Despite knowing about 5-7% of the Spanish language, I found Mexico City so easy to enjoy, in large part because of the people. Though I couldn’t communicate in complete (or even half) sentences in Spanish, I did what I could and I felt like it was appreciated. I was also fortunate to be there partly for work, so I met a number of coworkers born and raised in Mexico City who told me more about the city and the neighborhoods they lived in. Everyone was welcoming and friendly, no matter where I went. From the bus driver who waited until I took a picture of a church across the street before continuing to drive in front of me (who then winked and smiled once I realized what he did and thanked him), to my coworkers and all the people I met along the way, I always felt like people were being genuinely warm and friendly.
3. The neighborhoods
So...I already know where I’m getting my imaginary apartment in Mexico City: right smack dab in the heart of Roma Norte. Why? Because I fell for that neighborhood about five seconds after walking through it. Not only do I love Roma Norte, there are so many other great neighborhoods that I enjoyed exploring, like Condesa (my second favorite neighborhood), Coyoacan, Polanco, Zona Rosa, Juárez... and these are just the neighborhoods I saw. I know there are others I didn’t see that I’m sure I would love. Roma Norte and Condesa have gorgeous buildings and tree-lined streets and dogs… lots and lots of dogs (always a good thing). I also love that all of the neighborhoods I listed are vibrant with cute restaurants and bars that make it almost impossible to choose where to go. All this to say I’ll be moving there soon, and you can find me in my imaginary soon-to-be-real apartment.
4. The variety of things to do
A pretty city will only get you so far, in my opinion. Just like a pretty person with no personality (amirite?). Fortunately, Mexico City has both pretty neighborhoods AND a ton of things to do. So much to do, in fact, that I didn’t get to do all the things I wanted to. Like I sadly didn’t make it to the Centro Historico neighborhood, so I missed out on seeing the Palacio de Bellas Artes, which is first on my list to visit for a performance the next time I’m in Mexico City. Aside from that, there are countless parks, shows, museums, day trips and other activities for many to enjoy. While there, I visited the Frida Kahlo museum, did a day trip to the Teotihuacán Pyramids and I went to a Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling match (performance?), which was...different...heh. Like many other cities, CDMX offers up so much to do that I don’t think one could ever get bored.
5. The affordability
I realize I’m saying this as an American who lives in one of the most expensive cities in the world so my view of what’s “affordable” is skewed and privileged. That said, from my perspective, Mexico City is a very affordable destination, especially when compared to cities in Europe. I just found that you get so much bang for your buck across the board for pretty much everything: lodging, food, activities and so much more. My finest dining experience at Quintonil still came out to be much less than an equivalent dining experience would be in places like New York, Paris or London. And I compare Mexico City to those places because I think it’s just as cosmopolitan with just as many great options for visitors.
All this to say, I am already in Mexico City withdrawal and cannot wait until the day I return. To furnish my imaginary apartment, of course.
Muchas gracias, Mexico City. No walls over here, just love ❤️
Have you ever been to Mexico City? If so, what did you think?