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Here’s why you should visit Mexico City – Ciudad de México

Getting Started

Have you wanted to go to Mexico City – Ciudad de México? Mexico city is one of the largest capital cities in the world. Internationally, Mexico City has become one of them most exciting travel destinations with trendy chefs and fashion designers making a world class mark. Traditional and haut cuisine are abundant and delicious. And you’ll discover the joys of mezcal and premium tequila at trendy bars.

DISTANCE FROM YVR

4813 km

ESTIMATED FLIGHT TIME

5 hr 30 min

ELEVATION

2240 m

TRENDING

Inexpensive, Cultural, Sophisticated

Mexico City sits at 2240 km (7,350 feet — that is more than 2,000 feet higher than Denver). And as Vancouver, BC is 0–501 ft, that means there’s a little bit of huffy-puffy the first few days. If you plan to climb the pyramids in Teotihuacán, do it a few days after you’ve acclimatized to the elevation.

Trip Gallery

Mexico City is has one of the most exciting food scenes in the world. Culturally you won’t want for awe inspiring museums, galleries and art. It also has iconic and sophisticated hotels, historic public sites, abundant street food, and very elegant and trendy bars.

I’ve seen zero evidence of any nation on Earth other than Mexico even remotely having the slightest clue what Mexican food is about or even come close to reproducing it. It is perhaps the most misunderstood country and cuisine on Earth. 

Anthony Bourdain

What to see in Mexico City

Wow, so many things! So many great museums, art galleries, theatre, music, markets, archeological sites, street food, restaurants and bars. Whatever you’re interested in, you’ll find it.

  1. Museo Nacional de Antropología – National Museum of Anthropology.
    The Museo Nacional de Antropología is a treasure of the cultural artifacts and history of Mexico. In addition to the gobsmacking artifacts, the architecture is also breathtaking. I spent 5 fascinating hours there, and didn’t see everything, and I had to take a refreshment break at the very nice open air patio restaurant at the museum.
    Admission is $75 pesos.
  2. Frida Kahlo Museum Casa Azul and Coyoacán.
    If you have any interest in Frida Kahlo, then, Yes, the Museo Frida Kahlo is a must! It offers that real life, tangible experience to walk around her life. To see first hand, her art, her studio, her and Diegos house. Be warned though, it is so crowded! It’s best to buy tickets to the Frida Kahlo Museum online in advance, to save 20-30 minute wait outside the entrance in the hot sun.  
    Admission is $250 pesos. 
  3. Mercado de Coyoacán – Coyoacán Market
    While you’re in Coyoacán, visit the Coyoacán Market, just two blocks away from the Frida Kahlo Museum. The Coyoacán Market is a lovely market, not too big, but vibrant with flowers, meats, dry goods (try the spicy peanut mixes and the sal & lemon crickets!!), crafts, and market foods!! I wish I’d stayed longer, and bought all my souvenirs here! Coyoacán is a beautiful neighbourhood to just explore.
  4. Castillo de Chapultepec – Chapultepec Castle
    If you want to stretch your legs and get above it all, visit Chapultepec Castle. It was build in 1841 as the summer house for the viceroy. It now houses the Museo Nacional de Historia (National Museum of History). More than the historic paintings and objects, the pleasure is in strolling the extensive grounds and taking in the views of Mexico City.  
    Admission is $75 pesos.
  5. The Zócalo, Plaza de la Constitución
    The Zócalo is the main square in the centre of Mexico City. In pre-colonial times, it was the centre of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan. Important buildings along the Zócalo plaza include the Catedral Metropolitana to the north, the National Palace to the east, the Federal District buildings to the south and the Old Portal de Mercaderes to the west, the Nacional Monte de Piedad building at the north-west corner, and the Templo Mayor archeological site to the northeast is just north by the Catedral.
  6. Street Food in Mexico City
    My only advice is, if you see a line up of 3 or more people at a food vendor, get in line and enjoy the food! Along with fantastic tacos and tamales available from street vendors, some of my new found favourites are Tlacoyo, Sopes and Churros. El Mora Churrerio es muy rica!

Mexico City is a huge city, with a huge population of around 9 million. The population encompassing the whole metropolitan area is around 22 million people. I felt safe while I was there. I did not carry anything except my phone, my driving license, and a day’s worth of cash with me. No purse or jewelry, I just carried a canvas bag to hold things I purchased during the day. I did not witness any crimes while I was there.

Getting There

From Vancouver, BC there are a few direct non-stop service options. Aeroméxico and Air Canada both offer nonstop flight. A nonstop flight YVR-MEX is approximately 5.5 hours travel time.

The cost for economy is anywhere from $650-$1000 return, and can be as low as $450 CAD. I traveled Business Class (Clase Premier) Aeroméxico. Both Air Canada and Aeroméxico Business Class non-stop service are around $1600 CAD YVR-MEX on a Boeing 737-800. My seat was in row 3, and was super comfy recliner with a leg rest. Aeroméxico along with Delta are part of the Skyteam air alliance. Perks for flying Aeroméxico in Business class meant I got access to the new Skyteam Lounge at YVR, and of course the usual priority boarding and theoretically priority baggage!

Traveling Around

Ay, Dios mío! The traffic!! Be prepared to sit in stand-still traffic. We used Uber extensively. The convenience of being able to enter the destination online, and pay online took the hassle out of haggling in Spanish. (There was no Lyft when I visited.) The total for our 8 days using Uber to and from the airport, several rides from the city centre to accommodations, and a few city trips across to different areas all totalled up to under $70 CAD. I understand that the Metro is very good, direct and inexpensive, but I was a little apprehensive to try it. 

Where To Stay

I stayed in the Historic Centre for a few nights at the classic Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de México, to visit the plethora of fantastic museums and historic sites downtown. Here is my review of the Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de México.

Later moved to an AirBnB in Roma Norte to experience some of the quieter and more hip parts of town. Where hotels offer pampering, iconic architecture, and prime locations, Airbnb’s offer a quieter, self sufficient, blending experience. There are a neighbourhoods in Mexico City that are safe, exciting, and very interesting for visitors. La Condesa, Roma Norte, and Polanco are a few popular areas that are popular with travelers. I chose Roma Norte, mostly arbitrarily because of the Airbnb suite I found, and because there are a lot of great restaurants and bars in the area. I was not disappointed. In fact Roma Norte was crawling with english speaking foreigners. Swank restaurants catered to a majority of visitors, and the prices reflected that. So you can go super gourmet if you like, or you can stick to street tacos, and be very satisfied. In the evenings, I loved strolling past the trendy bars along Colima street, as well as promenading along the wide Av. Álvaro Obregón where there were a number of established and louder restaurants and bars.

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