Family-Friendly Guide to Mexico City
Arts & Culture
Food & Wine
There’s just something about Mexico City that reels you in. It’s not charming like Venice, exotic like Marrakech or romantic like Capri, but it has something else, something alluring. As if you just need to know more, stay a while longer, visit her back roads, eat all her street food, walk all her colorful streets, soak up her spirit. There is an energy that is synonymous with the Mexican culture as a whole, but it’s intensified here.
Family always comes first and I love watching the multi-generational packs of people who gather on the weekends in the city’s gorgeous parks to share a meal. Food and children are such a central part of Mexican culture.
The city’s colours, smells and the warmth of its inhabitants all contribute to making CDMX one of the world’s emerging cultural centres — replete with some of the best food, breathtaking public parks, playgrounds, art and a youthful energy to be enjoyed by the young and the young at heart. Uncover this special place with this family-friendly guide to Mexico City.
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Where to stay in Mexico City
Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City
Close to Chapuletepec Park, this polished hotel is a standout for the unflappable service and gorgeous public spaces, from the courtyard restaurant to the rooftop pool.
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As hip and colorful as its namesake neighborhood, this 40-room sleep attracts a cool crowd to its wood-clad rooms and alfresco cocktail bar overlooking Parque España.
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Things to do in Mexico City
Wander between the Condesa and Roma neighborhoods. There are fun boutiques and cafés to explore between the two, or hit up some museums. Museo Jumex has free Fridays and the neighboring Soumaya are both in Polanco. Try Museo Tamayo and the Museo de Arte Moderno both located in Chapultapec Park, which is another beautiful place to explore — our boys love watching the big kids at the skate park, or hitting the swings at the adjacent playground.
Frieda Kahlo Museum, Coyoacán. This borough of Mexico City’s Districto Federale was once its own outlying village where Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera painted and lived together. Their home (The Blue House) remains almost perfectly intact today and has been preserved as a beautiful museum. (SF).
Our kids love the Papalote Museo del Niño and always beg for more time here or blow their minds, with a visit to Kidzania, a mini city catered to mini humans. They can act out their police, firefighter, chef, race car driver or pilot fantasies in a Disney-like setting of a mini metropolitan.
Coming to Mexico City and not visiting the Centro Historico is like going to Paris and skipping the Eiffel Tower. Full of history and magnificent feats of architecture, it’s worth booking a walking tour to get a history debrief. Local intel alert: take in the view from La Terraza del Conquistador. It provides an incredible birds eye view minus the crowds.
If you go in the winter you MUST go skating on the massive ice rink in the Zocolo (main square of CDMX).
Chapultepec Park is another must. It’s México City’s answer to Central Park - with almost 1700 acres of beautiful forested grounds, playgrounds, museums, one castle (Castillo de Chapultepec) and even a palace (Los Piños was the former home to El Presidente but was opened to visitors when the new president took power). You could easily spend a full day (or more) here. We love to watch the skateboarders at the skate park near dusk, museum hop or pack a picnic lunch.
Day Trips from Mexico City
Go see the Luchadores battle it out at Arena Mexico.
Teotihuacán Pyramids: Worth the drive out of Mexico City to see these majestic feats of engineering. Very humbling. (BC)
El Ocho, Condesa: Coffee shop/cafe/bar with an endless collection of board games and leisure activities. Prepare to wait for a table, but then you won’t feel as bad when you settle up your $15 tab after taking up a table for two hours to finish your backgammon tournament. (SF)
Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo (MUAC): An intriguing collection of national and international contemporary art, the architecture alone is worth the visit!
Places to eat & drink in Mexico City
Where to eat breakfast in Mexico City
If luck is on your side and you are in town over a weekend, don’t miss the Sunday brunch at the Four Seasons. Or stop by Elena Reygadas Panadería for a pastry and cappuccino. This bustling bakery has a small bar to sit in and some recently added outdoor patio seating close to the expanded take-out area (usually jam-packed). We always love to grab our treats to go and enjoy them in nearby Plaza Rio de Janeiro. Older kids will dig the small playground adjacent to the central fountain.
Ciena is a a super chic all-day cafe that we particularly enjoy for breakfast with the morning sunlight streaming through the leafy neighborhood treetops. Blend Station makes a mean coffee and has a buzzy local morning scene.
Where to eat lunch in Mexico City
Contramar for a proper Mexican comida (that means late and long) of fresh seafood. Don’t miss the Mexican flag-colored fish (your kids will dig this - at least the presentation of it) and the tuna tartar tostadas will have you coming back again and again.
Another must for lunch is Mercado Roma, a former fruit and vegetable market that has been transformed into an architectural collection of micro restaurants all run by some of DF’s top chef’s. Weekdays and weekends it is full of families and a perfect stop to please multiple palettes thanks to all the booths and variety of cuisines. (CS)
Where to eat dinner in Mexico City
The Michellin starred Pujol (pronounced poo-yol) is a must for any self-respecting foodie (sadly, children are not welcome so be sure to get a sitter), but also be sure to try Botánico and Maximo Bistrot Local, Rosetta (helmed by Mexico’s top female chef), Casa Virginia, Marmota and Sesame, a tiny boite in Roma that looks more Parisian than Mexican serving Asian street food (of all things).
Also be sure to try Merotoro, Condesa, which has the same owners as Contramar so of course the food is exceptional. The menu is sort of a surf and turf theme. We loved the ceviche, organic chicken and arroz dishes. We’ll definitely go back for the cold beer and happening vibe! (CS)
Do not miss Helados Cometa in Colonia Roma for original flavors of house-made ice cream.
Sundays in Mexico are all about family and barbacoa: a particular type of bbq’d meat generally served only on this one day. The meat (usually sheep, goat or beef) is steam cooked in an underground oven until it is so tender it literally melts in your mouth. It is always served with fresh corn tortillas, lime, various salsas, pico de gallo, onions, cilantro and lots of hot sauce. El Hidalguense in Roma Sur is a locals-only spot and the best place for an authentic barbacoa.
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