Mexico City aka Distrito Federal (DF) has been on my radar for about a year now, but prior to that I never thought it would be a place I'd visit, let alone learn that I love. Like many, I've heard not so great things about Mexico City. I've been told it's dangerous, drug violence is everywhere and that kidnappings are frequent. Some of those things could be true to an extent, but they're also true for many other cities. It's not 100% safe to walk down certain streets in New York late at night.

As long as you're aware of your surroundings and use common sense you'll be fine in Mexico City, and the same goes for any other large city. I'm happy to report that I didn't feel unsafe once during my time in the DF and I highly recommend you add this gem to your travel bucket list! Mexico City is absolutely chock full with things to do. My guide features Mexico City's trendy spots...restaurants, bars, places to see and super cool hotels that are sure to offer a great first experience in the DF (and help you snap the perfect Instagram photo!). Before heading to the city I had no idea there were "hipster" neighborhoods or serene residential streets lined with leafy trees or super chic bars that would fit in on Bedford Ave in Williamsburg. Everyone knows about the Frida Kahlo museum (and it's certainly a must-do) but I want to focus on the trendy, modern, cool spots that will make you look at your time in Mexico City in a way you'd never imagine. This vibrant city is experiencing a cultural explosion and tourism boom... it has a special kind of energy about it that's not to be missed.

Mexico City is one of the largest, most densely populated cities in the world. It's the capital of Mexico and the cultural hub of Latin America. It's also a very liberal city. Same-sex marriage is legal, as is abortion and there is a huge feminist movement taking place. Geographically, the DF is situated in the middle of the country at an altitude of over 7,000 feet (if you're sensitive to altitude sickness you may want to be prepared with meds). The weather is relatively mild year-round which makes it a great destination any time of the year.  

Mexico City has SO much to offer travelers- foodies, design lovers and art history buffs will especially fall in love. It boasts the second-highest number of museums in the world (surpassed only by Paris) and is home to more than 40,000 restaurants. Mexico City is more tourist-friendly now than ever before; new boutique hotels and trendy restaurants are sprouting up and some of the world's best chefs are coming from the city. The DF is also incredibly inexpensive, easy to get to and makes a perfect long weekend destination.

Since Mexico City is a capital and international business hub, direct flights are easy to come by. We flew on Interjet, a Mexican airline, direct from JFK. It was an easy and inexpensive 5-hour trip.

- Take Ubers everywhere! They are incredibly cheap, easy to track via the app and in our experience, were never more than 5 minutes away. 
- Only drink bottled water, but bring stomach medication anyway. It's incredibly common to get an upset stomach or "funny tummy" in Mexico. Follow standard food precautions when traveling in Latin America (purified water, be careful with street food) but have meds on hand incase you feel ill.
- Learn some basic Spanish. Not a lot of people spoke English outside of the bigger restaurants and hotels. Knowing basic Spanish phrases and words was helpful and the locals appreciated our effort.

There’s no shortage of gorgeous luxury chain hotels and trendy boutique offerings in the DF. When doing hotel research I was immediately drawn to Hotel Carlota for its modern decor,  central location (important in such a big city!) and gorgeous pool. We really enjoyed our time at this boutique hotel and while we were out touring the city a lot, we did spend some time relaxing by the pool with margaritas. Condesa DF was my second choice hotel and next time we're in the city I plan to try it out. It has super chic furnishings and one of the city's top bars on its roof.

Lalo- One of the top breakfast spots in the super cool Roma Norte neighborhood. The café is friendly, open and colorful with a huge cartoon mural covering one wall. The food is amazing with delicious egg dishes, fresh juices and house-baked treats.

Panaderia Rosetta- The best bakery in Mexico City. Not only is it a gorgeous space, but the food is out of this world and rivals the best bakeries in Europe. You can't go wrong here but the guava danishes are amazing.

Contramar or Entremar- These two sister restaurants have the same menu so if you can’t get a reservation at one try the other. They focus on fresh seafood and modern Mexican cuisine in a gorgeous, trendy setting. The tuna tostadas are a not-miss.

Mercado Roma- This is a modern food hall jam packed with some of the city's best restaurants, dessert spots and bars under one roof. It can be a little intimidating (packed and not a lot of people speak English) but it's worth it.

Pujol and Quintonil- These are two of Mexico City's (and the world's) top restaurants. Full disclosure, I wasn't able to get a reservation, and I reached out weeks in advance! So learn my lesson and book FAR in advance!

El Moro- Churros are long, tubes of fried dough topped with cinnamon sugar and often dipped in Chocolate. They originated in Spain but can be found all over Latin America. The best place to indulge in churros in the DF is El Moro. This "Churrería" has been around for over 80 years and has locations throughout the city. The original El Moro is in the city center and is open 24 hours! Aside from their amazing treats, I loved the blue and white decor!

La Michoacana- An ice cream chain throughout the city that sells refreshing whole fruit popsicles.

Rooftop at Condesa DF Hotel- The rooftop bar at the chic Condesa DF hotel is a great spot for sweeping city views, delicious cocktails and a robust menu of modern Mexican bites and sushi. It's a romantic spot perfect for ending  a busy day with your significant other.

Licorera Limantour- This is one of the top cocktail bars in the DF. The atmosphere is sophisticated yet hip and the cocktail menu is very creative with not only unique drinks but unique vessels to serve them in too.

La Clandestina- A dive mezcal bar sans sign, making it a little tricky to find. The menu is intense with a wide range of mezcal offerings from across the region. 

Roma and Condesa- The two trendiest neighborhoods in the DF are Roma and Condesa. Roma is more Williamsburg/hipster while Condesa is more upscale and chic. Both boast streets lined with trees and colorful homes, lively restaurants and cute boutiques. I recommend just wandering around the neighborhoods (they're next to each other) and seeing what you find. One afternoon while strolling in Condesa we came upon a little food truck area with picnic tables, an outdoor bar and twinkling lights.

Architecture- Mexico City has an amazing mix of colonial and modern architecture. I loved walking in neighborhoods like Roma and Condesa and photographing the colorful homes. The work of famed Mexican architect Luis Barragán can be seen throughout the city, too. His work is modern, sleak and colorful. Barragán's home is a museum in the DF open for tours. The work of Barragán disciple Ricardo Legorreta can also be seen throughout the city, including at the Camino Real Hotel.

Street Art Tour- It's no surprise Mexico City is an incredibly colorful, artsy place. After all Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera called the DF home. Street art is a huge part of Mexico City culture and there's no better way to see the city's best murals than through a walking tour.

Visit Markets- Mexico City's many markets are more than just places to shop- they're deeply rooted in the culture of the country and serve as a social center for residents. There are markets that focus on certain foods and produce, flowers, clothing... anything you can think of. If you're looking for a real authentic taste of local cuisine the food stands within these markets will hit the spot. We went to Mercado de San Juan and Mercado de Medellín, but La Merced Market is the city's, and Latin America's, largest.

Have you ever been to Mexico City? Do you want to visit? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!


  1. Wow I never knew that Mexico city had so much to offer! I'm only a short plan ride away, so I definitely want to plan a trip especially for those churros 😂

  2. My mom's from Mexico City and my family still lives there. It's magic! I love how you laid out the post. Makes me want to visit soon!

  3. This looks like a great place to visit and your hotel looks fabulous!
    Thanks for sharing your tips - it's good to know that Ubers are easily available and I love churros!
    Julia x

  4. Going to Mexico City next month and definitely going to be using this guide!!

  5. I love this! Mexico City is incredible, you'd never expect all you'll see and everything you find there.