The modern marvel of Latin America is one of the top destinations for the discerning traveller. While a mere 24 hours is woefully insufficient to absorb centuries of culture and decades of distinction, it would be criminal not to try. Our below compiled (compact) itinerary will tickle the travel-buds of every palate, including art and culture; foodie and fine dining; scenic and sensational; as well as tranquil and immersive.
As Mexico City’s main square, it is festooned with eateries and coffee shops. This buzzing social hive is a perfect introduction to the beautiful city and a hearty breakfast. It is easily reached via the metro.
A note on getting around: The Mexico City metro rivals that of New York City and (unlike public transport in the U.K.) is infinitely affordable at 5 pesos (about R3.20) a ticket. Discounting busses and (pink) taxis, Uber is thriving in Mexico City and is both a convenient and bespoke way of getting around. But the best way to enjoy the immersive experience is still on foot, as seen here below.
From Zócalo, strike out West on the badly marked Francisco I Madero Avenue. Though little more than a kilometer long, it is an excellent place to stroll and shop. It neatly bisects the Historic Quarter. The Madero (as it is known) was converted from a thoroughfare to a promenade in 2009, much to the chagrin of the local shop owners. In an unsurprising reversal, the explosion of foot traffic served the many large boutiques and small vendors exceedingly well.
The Madero offers a plethora of distractions along the way, including the Temple of San Felipe Neri (a hybrid 17th/18th century Baroque cathedral); the Palacio de Iturbide (a mansion-cum-fine arts museum); the Casa de los Azulejos (the House of Tiles is today a restaurant with the most beautiful mosaics both inside and out); and the Torre Latinoamericana (a 44 floor skyscraper with a rich history, restaurant and observation deck - perfect for sundowners).
This brings one to the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Situated on the cusp of the palatial Alameda Central park, the Palace of Fine Art (also called the Cathedral of Art in Mexico) is at the center of the Historic Quarter. It houses the definitive examples of Diego Rivera’s murals and art by other acclaimed artists both local and international. It also plays host to various theatrical-, musical- and operatic productions and might be worth returning to after sundown.
Head South-West down the Paseo de la Reforma (a 4 kilometer- / one hour walk) to the idyllic Chapultepec Park (or take the metro there). The park is enormous and encompasses its own attractions, such as the Chapultepec zoo (housing more than 2000 animals). Chapultepec Castle dominates the park from its hilltop. This fortification is the only royal residence in the Americas and served as the Capulet Mansion in the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet starring Leo DiCaprio. Serving as the National Museum of History, it is a trove of culture and art. The National Museum of Anthropology is also buried in the park and hides artifacts dating from the Mayan civilization.
Another 5 kilometer walk (or the metro) to the East brings one to old Colonia Roma, a cultural hotspot and culinary melting pot. Take this opportunity to capitalize on coffee. As a bean producing country, Mexican baristas are to coffee what South African sommeliers are to wine. The authenticity of the speciality coffee culture, especially in this culturally burgeoning neighborhood, will leave any caffeine connoisseur shaking.
If there are any daylight hours left, consider taking the metro South to Coyoacán, one of the most popular tourist centres in Mexico City - with good reason. The Coyoacan Market provides an authentic shopping experience and is located close to the Frida Kahlo museum: a must-see for any adherent of the fine arts or feminism.
With the sun having set, Mexico City comes alive. With a choice of classic gin bars, verdant beer gardens, mamba speakeasies and jumping nightclubs there is something for everyone. Although, we suspect, having followed the above itinerary, a traveller’s experience of these will be short lived indeed.
For twenty four hours or more in the magical Mexico City, contact your TravelManor consultant today - before even more must-see items are crammed into our itinerary.