Bar

Why go?

Hot, sultry and vast, Mexico City is the beating heart of Central America and one of the world’s great (and largest) cities. Home to more than 21 million people, it encapsulates the vivacious spirit of the nation, with bustling street markets, historic landmarks and lush gardens never more than a stroll away.

What to do

At the very core of the Historic Centre district – named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1987 – the Plaza de la Constitucion, or Zócalo, acts as a meeting point for locals and visitors alike. One of the world’s largest city squares, the vast plaza is a regular venue for free concerts, staged against a backdrop of 16th-century architecture and an imposing national flag that billows outside the gothic Catedral Metropolitana. Home to the president’s office, El Palacio Nacional on the square’s south side is covered with post-impressionist artist Diego Rivera’s dizzying and vibrant murals, which depict the history of Mexico. To the west, the affluent neighbourhood of New Polanco is a maze of jewellery and shoe boutiques where you’ll find a mix of designer brands, traditional Aztec craftsmanship and heels as high as the price tags. Covadonga cantina in nearby Roma is a good spot for tired shoppers to refuel with a sangrita – Mexico’s take on a Bloody Mary – while watching domino-playing regulars locked in fierce battle (00 52 55 33 29 22). South of Roma on the edge of Lake Texcoco, Xochimilco gardens are a welcome green space just 20km from the city centre. At weekends fiesta spirit takes hold with mariachi (street entertainers) serenading the visitors that clamber into canoes along the canal, while quesadilla vendors float alongside, cooking up fresh snacks from waterborne grills.

Where to stay

Bringing a sense of fun to the hotel scene, the W Hotel is one of the city’s most vibrant properties (00 52 55 91 38 18 00, starwoodhotels.com). Rooms are stylish and decadent with bold colours and pillow menus, while the bathrooms have walk-in rainforest showers and hammocks. For small-scale style, try Las Alcobas hotel in Polanco (00 52 55 33 00 39 00, lasalcobas.com). Award-winning interior design studio Yabu Pushelberg has turned a rather drab 1950s apartment building into a 35-room boutique hotel complete with spa, which uses natural ingredients favoured by the Aztec and Olmec peoples. Try the purifying Avena y Agave Scrub, which gives the skin a boost using a treatment that blends agave syrup, basil oil and oatmeal. Alternatively, stay at the plush Habita Hotel, a modern, illuminated building made from sandblasted glass (00 52 55 52 82 21 99, hotelhabita.com).

Where to eat and drink

Tacos are mandatory while you’re here and with stands on every street corner, there’s no shortage of options. One of the best is El Vilsito on Avenida Universidad, which locals flock to for tacos al pastor: pork marinated in a spicy sauce of peppers, nuts and annatto seeds. For Mexican cuisine with a little more flair, try Hacienda de los Morales (00 52 55 52 83 30 00, haciendadelosmorales.com), a grand dining room with stone pillars, domed ceiling and garden fountains. Relatively new on the scene, Quintonil offers bespoke tasting menus – try the wagyu beef tongue with black Oaxacan mole (00 52 52 80 26 80, quintonil.com). For something creamy and sweet, stop by Neveria Roxy (00 52 55 52 86 12 58, neveriaroxy.com.mx), an ice cream parlour popular for its fruity flavours. As night falls, try a shot or two of mezcal, the popular, locally distilled spirit. La Botica (00 52 55 52 11 60 45, labotica.com.mx) is a trendy bar in Condesa that
serves more than 30 varieties of the potent brew, including mezcal infused with bananas and chicken.

Time running out?

Pick up authentic handicrafts at Mercado de la Ciudadela in the Historic Centre district or high-end antiques and
art at El Bazar del Sábado in San Ángel. Prepare to haggle: opening prices often start at twice the product’s value.

Map

Travel Information

Travel Information

Currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN). Mexico City is six hours behind GMT and is a 12-hour flight from London.

Getting There

Aeromexico (aeromexico.com) flies direct to Mexico City from London Heathrow.
British Airways (britishairways.com) flies from London Heathrow to Mexico City.

Resources

Mexico Tourist Office (visitmexico.com) provides advice on travelling to and around Mexico, activities and sightseeing.

Average daily temperatures and rainfall

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Max Temp232527282826252524242423
mm000124444200

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