Is Mexico City the new Iceland?
Are you someone who likes to travel and have “authentic” experiences even if you know that “authenticity” is a slippery concept? Are you the type of person who loves street food but is also charmed by the prospect of an “avocado pizza”?
Do you like Instagram?
You should go to Mexico City. There is great art and food and architecture—and history too if you care about that sort of thing. The weather is usually sunny and public transportation is extremely—extremely!—inexpensive. (Like 25-cents-a-ride inexpensive. But don’t worry: Uber works great there too.)
You might say, But all my friends have already been there! And I will say: Wow—Brooklyn really is such a bubble. You might also say, But shouldn’t I go to Tulum or Todos Santos? And I will say: be less basic. (Also your parents might ask, Is it safe? And you will tell them: Yes, particularly if you stick to the more tourist-friendly areas.)
The point is this: Mexico City is a very good place to visit right now. Take a Friday or a Monday (or both!) off from work, book a cheap flight on Volaris or Interjet, and get down there. This is what you have to look forward to.
Where to Stay
You’ll want to stay in Condesa, a collection of three smaller neighborhoods or colonias called “Colonia Condesa,” “Colonia Hipódromo,” and “Colonia Hipódromo Condesa.” To a weekend visitor like you, this is a distinction without a difference. You will love the tree-lined streets. You will fantasize about purchasing a pied-a-terre in one of the many beautiful Art Deco buildings lining these tree-lined streets.
The issue with Condesa is that it’s a perfect launching pad for all your Mexico City adventures but you will not want to leave the area. Spend some time wandering through Parque Mexico, the “lungs” of the neighborhood. On a Saturday morning the park is a hive of activity: cute families strolling with expensive dogs, scruffy-hot dudes with their girlfriends who somehow make platform sneakers seem like a good idea, old people already napping on park benches. You’ll want to be all of them but keep going—there is more to do.
Where to Eat
Condesa has many beautiful places to sit outside with beautiful/interesting people and drink a juice but you can do that in New York or Los Angeles or wherever you’re from. Instead, start your day at Tacos Hola, a sliver of a taqueria just a block from Parque Mexico, that specializes in guisados, or stewed tacos. Consult the picture menu lining one wall or peer into the cazuelas lining the other and follow your bliss—there are no bad decisions here.
Lunch is at Contramar, Gabriella Camara’s famed seafood restaurant a short walk away in Roma Norte. Get a table outside and watch the scene. Contramar is the rare restaurant that attracts tourists, tourists who don’t want to seem like tourists, businessmen who keep the valet busy, and eight-tops of extended families out for a casual blowout lunch.