Destination Debrief: Mexico City

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Fora Author Fora

The Modern Travel Agency


    a white door on an old baby-blue city façade

    Image courtesy of La Valise Mexico City

    Mexico City, a 7,000-foot-high metropolis, was built atop the ruins of the impressive island-city of Tenochtitlán. Hernán Cortés and his army conquered the glistening Aztec capital in the early 16th century. 

    Today, CDMX bears its long, complex and dynamic history. Aztec ruins sit beside Spanish cathedrals, which in turn sit beside modern art museums — some of the best in the world. The city is a vibrant mélange of stunning architecture, leafy green spaces, excellent shopping and out-of-this-world cuisine. In short, Mexico City enchants. 

    Below is a taste of all Mexico’s capital has to offer. The sprawling city is one of the world’s largest — both in terms of size and population. There is so much to do here. You’ll likely find yourself returning more than a few times. Connect with Fora for a tailored itinerary based on your unique interests, style, taste and budget. We'll help you get the most out of your trip (and each one thereafter).

    Need to know:

    Currency: $, Mexican peso (MXN)

    Language: Spanish

    Airport: Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez (MEX)

    Transportation: Stick to official taxis (go to a designated taxi stand or have your restaurant or hotel call one for you) and Uber Black (the lower categories are not as reliable).

    Best time to visit: Mexico City is beautiful year-round. 

    Ideal length of stay: You can spend a long time here, but it’s great for a three- or four-night stay — or even a long weekend. You could also easily add it on as part of a longer Mexico trip.

    Signature dishes: tacos al pastor (pork tacos commonly served with onion, cilantro and pineapple), frutas en tacha (syrup-covered fruit), tlacoyos (thick corn tortillas stuffed with cheese and beans), elote (corn on a stick), peneques (deep-fried, cheese-filled masa boats bathed in tomato broth), pozole (a warming soup made with hominy)

    Key phrases: hola (hello), mucho gusto (nice to meet you), estuvo delicioso (it was delicious), qué tal (what’s up), gracias (thank you), por favor (please), salud (cheers)

    Dress code: Trendy and chic — something fun and artsy. Bring light layers for mild evenings spent on romantic outdoor terraces.

    Where to stay in Mexico City

    a luxe hotel room with floor-to-ceiling windows flanked by drapes

    Images courtesy of Casa Polanco

    Casa Polanco: A sleek, contemporary 19-room mansion with beautiful outdoor spaces. Fora’s VIP perks include $100 food / beverage credit, breakfast daily, an upgrade and extended check-in/out whenever possible. 

    Brick Hotel: A moody, chic and sexy 19-room stunner. Fora Perks include $25 food / beverage credit, a welcome amenity, an upgrade and late check-out whenever possible.

    Hotel San Fernando: Hip, youthful and effortlessly cool. Fora’s Standard Secret Agent partner perks include $25 food / beverage credit for stays of at least three nights.

    La Valise Mexico City: An eight-room hidden gem in Roma, where each room is a single, design-forward floor. Fora Perks include welcome amenities, complimentary minibar beverages and an upgrade whenever possible.

    Las Alcobas, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Mexico City: An intimate boutique option great for couples and solo travelers. Fora’s Marriott STARS partner perks include $100 hotel credit, a welcome amenity, breakfast daily, an upgrade and extended check-in/out whenever possible.

    Condesa DF: A 20-room hotel with a historic façade and a contemporary interior. Fora Perks include welcome amenities, breakfast daily, an upgrade and extended check-in/out whenever possible.

    a stylish dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows framing a leafy garden

    Image courtesy of Brick Hotel

    Sofitel Mexico City Reforma: A modern glass building with spacious rooms and massive bathtubs. Fora’s Accor Preferred by HERA partner perks include $100 hotel credit, breakfast daily, an upgrade and extended check-in/out whenever possible.

    Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City: A Mexico City classic with a central courtyard and fantastic restaurants. Book with Fora to snag exclusive Four Seasons Preferred partner perks.

    The St. Regis Mexico City: Big and luxurious, with beautiful views. Fora’s Marriott STARS partner perks include $100 hotel credit, a welcome amenity, breakfast daily, an upgrade and extended check-in/out whenever possible.

    Andaz Condesa Mexico City: Vibrant and modern, with an Art Deco flair. Fora’s Hyatt Privé partner perks include $100 hotel credit, a welcome amenity, breakfast daily, an upgrade and early check-in whenever possible.

    Hyatt Regency Mexico City: A comfortable stay with an approachable price point, in the heart of the lively Polanco neighborhood. Fora’s Hyatt Privé partner perks include $100 hotel credit, a welcome amenity, breakfast daily, an upgrade and early check-in whenever possible.

    Mondrian Mexico City Condesa: A stylish bold stay at the intersection of Condesa and Roma. Fora’s Accor Preferred by HERA partner perks include $100 hotel credit, breakfast daily, an upgrade and extended check-in/out whenever possible. 

    Colima 71: An art-forward boutique getaway in Roma. Fora’s partner perks include a complimentary one-way airport transfer, a welcome amenity, an upgrade whenever possible and guaranteed late check-out.

    What to do in Mexico City

    a staircase leads up to a gold square hanging on a sparse white wall

    Casa Estudio Luis Barragán & Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo

    Mexico City’s museum scene is among the best in the world. Many are found near Chapultepec Park, the city’s main green space. You could easily spend hours upon hours at the Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico’s most-visited museum. It covers Mexico’s vast pre-Hispanic history. (It also has an excellent gift shop, like most of the museums in CDMX.) For additional history, check out the Museo Nacional de Historia Castillo de Chapultepec, Mexico’s national history museum, housed in the 18th-century hilltop Chapultepec Castle. Also near Chapultepec is El Museo Tamayo, a contemporary art museum named after the Mexican muralist Rufino Tamayo.

    Reserve half a day for a visit to the city’s Miguel Hidalgo district, chiefly to explore Casa Estudio Luis Barragán, the house and workshop of its eponymous architect, and its neighboring galleries. The mid-20th-century site is a sleek concrete structure with modern interiors, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just next door is the Galería Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura, a tranquil gallery displaying the beauty of everyday design. Complete the modern-design trifecta with the edgy contemporary-art gallery LABOR. Other can’t-miss museums include the David Chipperfield-designed modern-art museum Museo Jumex and Museo Soumaya, which displays the ever-rotating private collection of Carlos Slim.

    You could easily spend a whole day in Coyoacán, which used to be separate from Mexico City proper. But the country’s capital has since grown to encompass the area. You’ll find both Casa Azul, Frida Khalo’s former home, and Museo Anahuacalli, Diego Rivera’s former studio, here. Round out your Frida-and-Diego fix at Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, in San Ángel, the pair’s shared home designed by their friend, the muralist Juan O'Gorman. Afterward, grab a margarita at the San Ángel Inn across the street. Another great option is Museo Dolores Olmedo, the former estate of its namesake Mexican businesswoman (and rumored lover of both Diego and Frida), which also shows the artists’ work. 

    Mexico City’s history is vast. It’s one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. To immerse yourself in its dynamic past, the Centro Histórico neighborhood, centered on the Zócalo plaza, is the place to be. This is where you’ll find the Metropolitan Cathedral and the ruins of Templo Mayor, which was the main Aztec temple of Tenochtitlan. Check out the beautiful Art Nouveau Palacio de Bellas Artes, an expansive museum and event space, as well as the Palacio Nacional, home to some of Diego Rivera’s most famous murals. If the latter’s a bit too crowded, or if you’re after a more intimate experience, opt for the Museo Mural Diego Rivera.

    For something especially fun, relish in the spectacle of the masked luchadores, Mexican wrestlers, during a Lucha Libre match. You can pop in and out as you please. There are several places to witness the tradition throughout the city. Also consider an eco-tour in Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco, where you can explore the area’s canals. Xochimilco is the lake on which the Aztecs built their chinampas, or floating agricultural gardens. 

    Mexico City is also home to numerous incredible markets. A couple favorites include the hip, gourmet Mercado Roma and El Bazaar Sábado, a Saturday market in San Ángel selling everything from flowers and crafts to art and food.

    Where to eat in Mexico City

    a square wooden table surrounded by black chairs in a sleek restaurant dining room


    Mexico City is a foodie’s paradise. There’s the sleek, tasting-menu hotspot Quintonil, helmed by the übertalented Alejandra Flores and her husband, chef Jorge Vallejo. Enrique Olivera’s Pujol is equally memorable, and serves an exquisite tasting menu in chic environs. Savor additional excellent Mexican food at the leafy, local Botánico, as well as at the hip gourmet cantina El Tigre Silencioso. If you’re around Zócalo, Azul Histórico is a fun place to refuel.

    Try the cozy, dimly lit Em for seasonal fare sourced from small local producers, and Galanga for great Thai food in a cool, casual space. The trendy Sartoria is perfect for refined Italian cuisine, as is the Michelin-Starred Rosetta, where top-tier Mexican ingredients take center stage. If you’re craving pizza, Pizzería della Madonna is a must. If you want French, head to the sophisticated Havre 77. Restaurante Máximo offers Mexican food with a French flair. And for a delicious breakfast, you can’t go wrong with the lovely, rustic-chic Lardo. Finally, a trip to CDMX would not be complete without visiting Páramo, a lively cantina with great tacos, great music and the best vibes.

    Ready to travel? Connect with Fora to plan and book your dream CDMX getaway today.

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    Furnished room behind open barn style doors