When I first started planning a trip to CDMX , everyone I knew and their mother would just tell me to “Be Safe”. Coming from a Latin American country, I know what precautions to take when traveling, but I really had no idea what to expect from Mexico City.
With the recent earthquake, I was also a bit weary of how the city’s infrastructure was going to be. Would we have trouble getting around? Would the city be as picturesque as before the earthquake? Would tourists feel welcome during this time of grief?
As soon as I landed in this colorful city, I quickly realized that news reports have clouded our perception of this country and that we are quite misinformed when it comes to Mexico City.
CDMX is a vibrant, sophisticated, chic and cultured city. This place has so much to offer its visitors; from fabulous residential neighborhoods, to a world-class culinary scene, unique architectural structures throughout the whole city, and a fascinating culture.
Getting to Mexico City from New Orleans (and from most of the U.S) is surprisingly cheap! Depending on the season, you can get a roundtrip ticket for $200-300.
It’s also a pretty quick trip. We left New Orleans at 5:30 AM and we landed in Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez around 9 AM.
#BabesTip: If you’re an adventurer like us, once in Mexico City you can also travel to other locations in Mexico on their regional carriers (Interjet, Aeromar, Volarios, etc) for cheap.
Where To Stay
Condesa is one of CDMX’s coolest neighborhoods right now. Condesa has a young, stylish and hip vibe to it and it’s not completely unaffordable for us twenty-something travelers. It was tough to pick a spot to stay in Mexico City because there were so many options, but after much research we fell in love with the concept at The Red Tree House.
This unique bed and breakfast is not a luxury hotel by any means, but rather it feels like you’re staying with friends and family. The rooms are spacious and chic, the staff is among the friendliest people we’ve ever met, and they offer an amazing breakfast buffet with traditional Mexican food and a happy hour every day.
Aside from being a wonderful B&B, another perk about staying at The Red Tree House is that you’ll be in an area surrounded by beautiful parks, great restaurants and you can walk to many of the city’s hot spots.
We landed quite early, and by the time we got out of the airport, got to The Red Tree and checked in it was time for lunch. Picking places to eat in Mexico City is not easy, there’s so much good food and amazing restaurants in this city! Thankfully, after much research and spending hours on Instagram we found the perfect lunch spot in Roma Norte, another one of Mexico City’s coolest neighborhoods.
Lunch at Aleli
06700, Sinaloa 141, Roma Nte., Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Aleli is not your traditional breakfast and lunch restaurant, it’s so much better. They are fascinated by the way people eat and how they eat at different times of the day. They create different menus daily, and they base their menu on the different comfort foods patrons enjoy at breakfast and lunch, as well as by the seasonality of local ingredients.
When we first walked in to Aleli, we were greeted by Karla, a kind and cheerful server. When we asked for the wine list, instead of just bringing the menu, she brought all of the different white wine bottles they had available that day and gave us a tasting. To our surprise, our favorite wine was a Mexican wine from a vineyard in Baja California.
We knew we were in for a treat as soon as Karla started going over the menu of the day. Words don’t do justice to all we ate at Aleli, but these photos will:
Aside from the food we were also enamored by Aleli’s social consciousness, as they were a part of a group of restaurants in the area who provided free meals to those affected by earthquake, and those who were helping rescue people in the affected buildings in the area.
Visit Museums in Polanco
After all the tasty food, you’ll need to walk it off. What better way to walk it off than walking through an art museum with an impressive collection? Just an Uber ride away, you’ll find the urban upscale district of Polanco which houses two museums: Soumaya and Museo Jumex.
The Museo Soumaya was designed by the Mexican architect Fernando Romero and it is a work of art itself. The entrance is free and in here you’ll find Carlos Slim’s private collection of art; including Rodin, Diego Rivera, El Greco, Van Gogh, Matisse, Degas, Picasso and more.
If you’re more into Modern Art, The Museo Jumex has rotating exhibitions and their entrance fee is under $5. A must see if you find yourself in Polanco.
Walk Around Condesa and Roma Norte
Early in the 20th century, Condesa and Roma were affluent neighborhoods, populated by the artistic upper class, but in the 1970s, the wealthy moved away, and the 1985 earthquake damaged both neighborhoods.
Years after, the low rents attracted the creatives of CDMX once again, and because these areas already had great architecture from their wealthy past, these neighborhoods are now home to a young and hip generation.
Condesa is great to walk around, see Art Deco mansions, parks and lots of dogs. In Roma you’ll see more of a hipster vibe, with tons of quirky shops, boutiques and coffee shops.
Dinner At Nudo Negro
Zacatecas, 139, Colonia Roma Norte, 06700 Cuauhtémoc, CDMX, Mexico
You’ll be very hungry after all the walking. Have dinner at the trendy Nudo Negro, one of Chef Daniel Ovadia‘s many great restaurants. Prepare to be amazed by the fantastic service and unique culinary creations.
We were seated in a table towards the middle of the restaurant, and we could see the outside happenings of the neighborhood. This dinner was particularly memorable because it took place during Dia De Los Muertos, so we could see kids “pidiendo calavera” (the equivalent of trick or treating), and people marching with candles and bands playing funeral marches.
We watched all the action while sipping on amazing cocktails. Impressive does not even being to describe the extensive cocktail menu at Nudo Negro. Since we were in Mexico, we obviously opted for a classic Margarita. This wasn’t your average Margarita though, each time they would serve us another round, the Margarita came with a tiny bit of fire.
After ordering our appetizers, we were invited to the kitchen to have an amuse-bouche as an official welcoming to Nudo Negro. This lagniappe course was one of our favorites.
Nudo Negro is a place where flavors from around the world come together, from Mexican inspired dishes to the best cauliflower hummus we’ve ever had (sorry, Shaya), you’ll be fascinated by this menu and by each bite you take.
Your second day in CDMX should be spent exploring and eating a little more of course, this time around we added a bit more tequila to the mix.
Start With Breakfast At The Red Tree House
Waking up at The Red Tree House in is like waking up at your parents house. You’ll be awoken by the smell of fresh coffee and delicious food being prepared. Have breakfast at the B&B and prepare for a day of adventure!
Visit The Frida Kahlo Museum
Take an Uber to The Frida Kahlo Museum, where you’ll find some of her and Diego Riveras’ best work.
#BabesTip: Purchase your tickets in advance and reserve a time for your tour. Otherwise, you’ll be in line for 2-3 hours. Also, if you want to take photos inside of the museum, you’ll have to pay an additional fee.
Rent A Trajinera In Xochimilco
Time to party a little. You’re in Mexico after all!
A 30 min – 1 hour Uber ride away (depending on traffic), you’ll find the famous canals of Xochimilco, these are the very last remnants of a vast water transport system built by the Aztecs. Here, you can rent a colorful boat that will take you on the canal while food vendors, bars, artisans and mariachi bands float next to you.
This was by far the most fun activity we had in our 2 day getaway. Hop on a boat for 1-2 hours, order michelada and a few tequila shots and enjoy the ride.
#BabesTip: Bring cash, pesos not dollars. The boat renting process is quite simple, as the prices are regulated by the government. We suggest you plan at least 3-4 hours for this activity.
Visit El Centro Histórico
Xochimilco (and all that tequila) can be quite exhausting. If you still have the energy, be sure to make it out to El Centro Historico of Mexico City. #DoItForTheInsta
Be warned, traffic in Mexico City is usually pretty bad. AT ALL TIMES. So plan to be in your Uber for a while.
The Grand Finale At Lorea
Sinaloa 141, Roma Norte, 06700 Cuahutemoc, CDMX, Mexico
Save the best for last. Seriously.
Lorea is part of the same restaurant group as Aleli (Lorea is right upstairs). Their concepts are pretty different but the food is just as great, and for the 3-4 hours you spend having dinner at Lorea you’ll be transported to a whole other world.
When we first walked in to the restaurant, we were amazed by the architecture and the look of the place. Lorea looks like you’re stepping in to someone’s hip and modern condo in Mexico City.
Lorea’s menu is created daily and based on seasonal ingredients. Each night, the kitchen creates a personalized menu for each table and lets you pick from two formats: a shorter one and a longer one, depending on how much time you’d like to spend at the restaurant. We went all in and opted for the long menu.
As soon as we sat down, we were greeted with a fantastic cocktail menu and a personalized letter describing the culinary journey we were about to embark on.
As each dish came to the table, we were amazed by the presentation and each of the local flavors we were served. The night ended with a house-made chocolate bar and two glasses of champagne.
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think back to that dinner experience.
Gracias, México, you were amazing to us! We’ll be back very soon
Special thanks to Elizabeth Chichino, the team at Aleli and Lorea; Miguel Verduzco, and the team at Nudo Negro for the wondeful hospitality in CDMX.