The colossal central square – the Zócalo – is an inspiring place to start your Mexico City short break. Take in the incense-heavy Aztec rituals and make your way north to the ornate Catedral Metropolitana. Dramatic Diego Rivera murals, mapping the rich history of Mexico civilization, line the staircases of the nearby Palacio National. From here, cobblestone colonial-era streets lead east towards the neo-classical gem of Palacio de Bellas Artes.
Nearest Metro Zócalo
After a traditional Mexican comida (lazy lunch) near the Zócalo, take a bus down majestic Avenida Reforma to one of the world’s finest showcases of indigenous artifacts – the National Museum of Anthropology. All Mexico’s distinct civilizations are spectacularly represented here – from the proud warrior-like Toltecas to the spiritual mystics of the ancient Maya. Allow a whole afternoon to explore the museum’s stone carvings, elaborate headdresses and bejeweled masks.
Start: Avenida Reforma
Nearest Metro Bellas Artes
Just a short stroll from the National Museum of Anthropology lies the resplendent Polanco district, a chic neighborhood ideal for early evening window-shopping. Here, luxury boutiques cluster around manicured squares, which branch off onto leafy avenues and sedate side streets. Eavesdrop on the gossip of wealthy locals while enjoying Mexican nouvelle cuisine at one of the area’s many elegant dining options.
Start: National Museum of Anthropology
Nearest Metro Chapultepec
Start your day in the charming 18th century surroundings of the San Ángel quarter, exploring the area’s colorful Saturday market – a bargain-hunters delight crammed with exquisite handcrafted jewelry, wood carvings and traditional ceramics. Away from the market, quaint antique shops and bric-a-brac stalls fill the narrow alleys leading toward palm-fringed Plaza del Carmen. Eat a light lunch in the courtyard of the lavish ex-hacienda, the San Ángel Inn, and then have a rich “Ángelic” desserts.
Start: San Ángel
Nearest Metrobus Dr. Gálvez
From the San Ángel Inn, a short cab ride east takes you to the Plaza Hidalgo, the vibrant heart of colonial Coyoacán. Musicians, students and mime artists jostle for attention in the wonderfully preserved plazas and arcades of this bohemian neighborhood. Stroll north from here to visit the artist Frida Kahlo’s museum. At one of the area’s famous food markets, pick up a quesadilla de flor de calabaza (cheese-stuffed, pumpkin-flower quesadillas).
Start: San Ángel
Nearest Metrobus Altavista
Recharge your batteries at your Mexico City hotel before heading out for dinner and dancing, near the city center, at La Condesa’s fashionable nightspots. Michoacán and Tamaulipas streets throng with fashionably dressed couples but for a more laid-back ambiance try the relaxed cafés a couple of blocks north on Parque Mexico. Chilangos (Mexico City residents) love music – whether it be cutting-edge beats or traditional Latin danzon – and La Condesa overflows with choices to dance the night away.
Nearest Metro Viveros
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