WORDS: MARIA JOSE ORELLANA //
Hi! My name is María José Orellana and I’m a 25 year old freelance graphic designer and sometimes photographer and I’ll show you a three-day guide of the best places to visit in Mexico City. All pictures were taken using my iPhone 6s + olloclip Active Lens.
Mexico City, formerly known as Distrito Federal, is the capital of the country and one of the largest and most populated cities in the world. It’s full of cultural and gastronomical wealth/riches, that’s why it could be a challenge to get to know it in no time, therefore, you have to plan very well the days of stay, activities and places to visit.
I started my day and at 9:30 am I was in one of the most traditional restaurants in the historic center, which features classic dishes of mexican cuisine, Café de Tacuba. As a starter, I chose a concha and latte, then, as a main course I had some delicious chicken chilaquiles. This colorful place will delight you by it’s beautiful architecture, distinguished gastronomy, excellent service and the melodies of the estudiantina and mariachi.
After breakfast, I walked towards the Plaza de la Constitución or better known as El Zócalo.This place is located in the heart of the historic center and, also, is the city’s main public square, being the second largest in the world after Moscow’s Red Square.
Around El Zócalo, is the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City, the Palacio Nacional home to the president's offices, the Templo Mayor Museum, the pedestrian street Madero, as well as commercial and administrative buildings, hotels and restaurants.
One of the places with the best view to appreciate El Zócalo and it's surroundings is the Gran Hotel Ciudad de México, built in 1899 with Art Nouveau architecture. This hotel is carefully preserved and has a magnificent terrace that allows you to admire the cityscape of the capital.
Then, I walked towards the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City. This emblematic temple was built between 1573 and 1813 on the site of an ancient Aztec enclosure after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire. It is characterized by combining renaissance, baroque and neoclassical architectural styles.
Behind the Cathedral is the Templo Mayor that before Spanish colonization, served as a religious and political center, as well as a place to give offerings to the Aztec gods.
Leaving the Templo Mayor, I walked a few blocks and arrived at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. This building houses temporary art exhibitions, is home to different cultural events and has murals of some of Mexico’s most famous artists, including Diego RIvera, José Clemente Orozco and Rufino Tamayo.
Later on, I walked 15 minutes towards the Monumento a la Revolución, this site had been constructed with the purpose of being a legislative palace but the construction was interrupted by the Mexican Revolution. For a time, it was spoken to demolish it but instead was modified and was given a new role.
In 1936, a decree was issued that granted the function of funerary enclosure and at the moment the tombs of Francisco I. Madero, Venustiano Carranza, Francisco Villa, Plutarco Elías Calles y Lázaro Cárdenas can be found there.
I was hungry and thirsty so I headed eight blocks from the Monumento a la Revolución to a restaurant that I really like for the quality and freshness in each of its healthy dishes, Ojo de Agua. I ordered a spicy tuna sandwich and I accompanied with a fresh water of cucumber and lemon.
When I finished eating, I walked six blocks to the shopping center Reforma 222, it was around 6:45 pm and there was already the turibus that would take me to the wrestling in the Arena Mexico (I bought the tickets a day earlier on the internet). This sport-show is part of the popular culture of the country since the 1950s.
Inside the Arena the atmosphere is amazing with a lot of good vibes, there is a large mural depicting the most famous characters in the fight, attended by many families, groups of friends, couples and foreigners.
Once the fights begin I recommend ordering a beer and some snacks and letting yourself be carried away by this folkloric event. At the end, it's time to go home to rest and prepare for day two.
I arrived in Colonia Roma, one of the city's most bohemian/hipster neighborhoods, full of restaurants, bars, clubs, shops, coffee shops and galleries. In this neighborhood you can find the restaurants of the top chefs of Mexico such as: Maximo Bistrot, Rosetta, Fonda Fina, Delirio, Casa Virginia, Huset, among others.
After breakfast you can wander the streets of this area, enjoy a good coffee and get to know Mercado Medellín. Also, on the weekends you can visit Alvaro Obregon street there are markets for clothes, art and antiques or you can simply sit on a bench and hang out.
From the Colonia Roma I walked 15 minutes towards the Ángel de la Independencia, monument inaugurated in 1910 to commemorate the centennial of the Independence of Mexico. This is located in Paseo de la Reforma which is the most important and emblematic avenue of Mexico City.
Later, I took a bus that left me at the entrance of the Bosque de Chapultepec, the largest park in the capital and home to several important sites such as Chapultepec Castle, Botanical Garden, Museum of Modern Art, Tamayo Museum and Museum National Anthropology.
I toured Chapultepec Castle which is the only royal castle in America and houses the National History Museum. This place is full of history since it was built in the time of the Viceroyalty as Viceroy's summer house, it was a gunpowder and military academy as well as the official residence of Emperor Maximiliano I. of Mexico.
At the end of the tour, I just crossed the street and arrived at the National Museum of Anthropology, this place is very interesting because it was designed to exhibit the archaeological legacy of the peoples of Mesoamerica, as well as to show the ethnic diversity of the country.
Later on, I took an Uber back to the Colonia Roma and this time I arrived at Mercado Roma to eat and refresh myself after the long journey. This gourmet market has different stands with varied food and organic and artisan products as well as an outdoor terrace to enjoy some good drinks with your partner or friends.
At the end of my meal, I took an Uber to Plaza Garibaldi which is famous for the groups of mariachi, norteño and veracruzana music that come together, dressed in their typical traditional costumes.
Inside the plaza you will find Salón Tenampa, a traditional canteen known as the cathedral of the mariachi. This place is ideal to have a good tequila, try some national drink or beer, hire a mariachi and try some of the Mexican food dishes offered.
After some tequilas, it's time to go home, to hydrate and rest very well for the next day.
As many people say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so I got up and went to the center of Coyoacán. This colony is an old, picturesque, intellectual and bohemian neighborhood, home to such personalities as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Octavio Paz, Leon Trotsky used to be some of its illustrious inhabitants.
I arrived at the Coyoacán food market and I ordered some quesadillas from a small restaurant named the Las Dietéticas de Coyoacán, if you have the opportunity to go to that establishment I assure you that you will not regret it.
After a delicious breakfast, I walked through the main square called Jardín Centenario, this one shows a fountain with coyotes (Coyoacán means place of coyotes) and around you can find the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, mimes, organilleros, restaurants, boutiques, churros and hot chocolate stores.
It is a place where you can walk and spend several hours enjoying the beautiful mexican scene. Some recommendations for lunch and dinner are Los Danzantes restaurant and La Coyoacana canteen.
I walked ten minutes from the Jardín Centenario to the House of Frida Kahlo or also known as La Casa Azul, the property belonged to the Kahlo family since 1904 and four years after the painter's death, it was converted into a museum.
This place is full of history since many great artists gathered there, such as Leon Trotsky, Henry Moore, Remedios Varo and André Breton. During the tour you can transport yourself to the time when the painter lived, to know, feel and understand her life more deeply.
When I finished my tour of La Casa Azul, I took an Uber and headed to the trajineras located in Xochimilco, in the south of the city. Xochimilco is a word of Nahuatl origin that means "where flowers grow" and is named after the chinampas that are cane rafts where peasants used to grow fruits, vegetables and flowers.
Today, it has become a tourist attraction because of the trajineras, which are flat-bottomed rafts with mexican folk decoration that take passengers through the water canals of Xochimilco.
The fun of this tour is to go with your partner or a group of friends, buy food or snacks, beers and put your favorite music. You can hire the tour for one or four hours and let yourself be carried through this "Mexican Venice".
This ends my three-day guide to Mexico City, I hope you have enjoyed it and give yourself a chance to get to know this amazing city, it’s surroundings and it’s people, you won’t regret it.
Thank you olloclip for this incredible opportunity and for providing me with the fantastic active lens for this escapade. If you want to keep up with photos of my adventures and travels be sure to follow me on Instagram @mariajoseorellanag.