On my way to Cuba (Yes, Cuba! More on that trip coming soon…), I had an overnight layover in Mexico City. Twelve hours didn’t allow much time to see the city, especially when seven of them were spent sleeping, but I managed to see quite a bit during my brief visit.
From the gorgeous Palacio de Bellas Artes to the quirky Frida Kahlo Museum to some cool neighborhood parks and restaurants, these were the sights I will remember most from my quick visit to Ciudad de Mexico.
Palacio De Bellas Artes
My travel friend found this beautiful structure and insisted we visit the Palacio de Bellas Artes. This palace of fine arts has an impressive exterior.
Wandering the nearby streets in this area uncovered some charming alleys with neatly-tiled buildings.
It was a great area for old buildings with character and presence.
Riot police were waiting on the street next to Bellas Artes. This didn’t make sense at the time, since there was nothing going on. But apparently there have been many protests at that location from teachers unions in the past.
Roma Norte and Condesa neighborhoods
I stayed in an AirBnb on the cusp of the Roma Norte and Condesa neighborhoods. These are described as cool, modern areas, and that was certainly the case. I saw plenty of gourmet cupcake and gelato shops in the area. It felt just like a hip part of any U.S. city.
Any good hipster neighborhood has to have some unusual street art.
One shop that caught my attention was a store dedicated entirely to the Beatles! They sold memorabilia, music, and other collectibles.
Soooo much fresh fruit.
The night was chilly and rainy. For dinner, we ended up at La Clandestina, a mezcal bar around the corner from our room that lived up to its good reviews. (Yelp is solid in Mexico City, in case you were wondering.)
Frida Kahlo Museum
Anyone who is familiar with Mexican art knows the name Frida Kahlo. The famous painter (1907-1954) spent most of her life in Mexico City in a house that is now the Frida Kahlo Museum. She grew up here, lived here with her husband Diego Rivera, and died here.
The museum features her work and the work of others. Many of its rooms have been preserved to show how she and her husband lived.
A word to the wise: Get here early if you plan on visiting. The line gets very long very fast.
Parque Mexico is one of the biggest green spaces in the city. It had duck ponds, an outdoor exercise gym, a dog park, and a big open plaza where dozens of kids were playing soccer.
Nearby was Plaza Popocatepetl, another green space smaller and closer to where I stayed.
More Mexico City sights from around the city
Having already been to Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Tijuana, and northern Mexico along the Texas border, Mexico City was the last major region I hadn’t yet explored. I’ve been wanting to go there forever, and this trip gave me just a tiny taste.
Now I can’t wait to go back. I’m considering moving there for a month or two in early 2017 and working as a digital nomad!
Mexico City was extremely modern. Every park had composting bins, and even Burger King (I always visit foreign fast food joints out of curiosity, don’t judge) had recycling bins. Bike sharing pods were everywhere, and the Mexico City subway is extensive with several different lines across the city.
I wasn’t expecting to see a mural of someone like Mumia Abu-Jamal in Mexico City, but there it was.
I like how the crosswalk dudes wore hats and walked dogs.
This guy played music at an intersection using one of those old-timey carnival instruments.
A few more random sights from around the city.