Love exploring cities? Here’s a perfect travel guide to Mexico City.
You guys know how much I love Mexico. My love of Sayulita actually started my travel writing career. This time around, I was able to explore a very different side of the country than the coasts. With just a 4.5 hour flight from NYC, less from LA, head to this amazing cosmopolitan city for some fun, fashion and fulfillment. Here’s my perfect long weekend travel guide to Mexico City to get you started.
W Mexico City invited @skinnywashere, @troprouge, @lexiconofstyle, @catcherinthestyle, @neivy, @so.shauna, and me, @nneya to explore their city, bursting back to life after the pandemic. Seemingly unstoppable cities around the world went sleepy, but if this is Mexico City just waking up, wow! Vibrant, fun, cultured, sexy are just a few ways to describe this city, so naturally, we fit right in.
I missed exploring countries around the world. We all did. And while Americans have been going to Mexico during the pandemic, travel has been more escapism. Nightlife, restaurants, theatre, the pulse of cities were shuttered; people looked to get away from city life when they traveled. It was amazing to feel the energy of another city. Mexico City just feels good.
People are masked up, hand sanitizer is offered abundantly, temperature checks are done before when entering businesses. Most of us were vaccinated but wore masks around anyway to comply with local rules and regulations. Even in outdoor tourist attractions, like our visit to Chapultepec Castle, mask wearing was heavily enforced. Plastic safety barriers, and masks didn’t prevent you from feeling the smiles and warm welcome of the W team.
W Mexico City set the tone, welcoming us to our Secret Floor in the hotel.
Think vintage real world Las vegas vibes except no one’s running to claim a bed. There’s more than enough room for everyone, plus a gaming area, private spa room, dining area with a terrace, and movie room. Still pod traveling? You and your crew should do it in style, like us. Now that we set the mood, let’s get into it!
It’s going to be a lot of fun!
Mexico City has some of the best nightlife in the world and though the pandemic has dampened it, you can still enjoy a safe night out if you know where to look. Think roaring 20s fun. Ask W Mexico City’s W Insider, Diego Martinez, he’ll have you covered. 😉 We may have gone to a speakeasy….. Here are some great places to eat and drink while you’re in town.
Mexico is the only place I go that I actively seek out Mexican food as soon as I return home!
W’s room service is super delicious. We arrived late and the first thing I ordered was a shrimp cocktail. I also had a yummy tuna ceviche during my stay there as well as chilaquiles for breakfast.
Try the lush and vibey restaurant Puerto Prendes (Calle de Durango 175, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700) in Roma Norte. It has high ceilings and is dripping with flora and fauna like a Babylonian garden, definitely make your way here for drinks and shared tapas. Aguachile is my favorite Mexican dish that is so hard to find done well at restaurants in New York, so per Diego’s recommendation I tried it at Puerto Prendes. Delicious.
Let’s get back to that aguachile. After some vintage shopping in Roma I met Christina at a sunny plaza side restaurant, Cabrera 7 (Plaza Luis Cabrera 7, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700). Perfect for people watching and an eclectic cool design, this restaurant had the winning aguachile of the trip: a yummy aguachile negro — with squid ink!
Alexandra and Christina also visited nearby Madre Café (Orizaba 131, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700) and they highly recommended it.
For a great lounge specializing in delicious gin based cocktails, head to Gin Gin Kitchenbar (Oaxaca 87, Roma)
Eating and drinking is absolutely my idea of fun, but let’s get into those pinch yourself moments, huh?
Where once in a lifetime becomes, every once in a while.
Life in Mexico City seems to really be lived; composed of a series of once in a lifetime experiences that become a way of living. As a New Yorker, I get it. Bucket list living. A hot air balloon over the Teotihuacan pyramids, a Temazcal ritual performed by a shamana in your hotel, a Xochimilco floating gardens tour and sunset dinner in our short weekend we seemed to check off a list of must dos in Mexico City, but believe it or not, it seemed like the natural flow.
Watching the sun come up in a hot air balloon is such an incredible experience. All I will say is that it’s a pretty smooth ride until the landing.
So colorful and vibrant we could have spent hours taking photos on the dock. We all joked that Venice should be like this and cut the romance: make canal rides fun! You might think these colorful music and booze filled rides only attract tourists but you’d be wrong. When I posted on my insta-stories friends from Mexico City replied, “Yes! That’s the way to do Mexico City! I miss this with my friends!”
Now let’s talk fashion — no travel guide to Mexico City would be complete with our the high fashion coming out of the metropolis!
Mexico City has amazing shopping. Rugs, bags, lots of hats, arts, jewelry, markets and luxury shops. We shopped them all! We did a walking tour of the San Ángel neighborhood, cruised by the famed Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo House Studio Museum, the landmark Iglesia de San Jacinto and the tianguis, Saturday’s open air markets. If you’re anything like me and shopping and bargaining works up an appetite, snag a taco from a street vendor like our guide Ricardo suggested to Neivy and I or a delicious iced coffee at open air food and shopping hall Mercado Del Carmen. I definitely made use of the Whatever, Whenever button in my hotel room and the team at W perfectly packed my newly purchased rug making it easy for check in.
Sometimes hotels are in hotel districts, or more touristy areas, cut off from the city locals but W Mexico City is nestled in the posh Polanco area surrounded by highrises, posh boutiques and the ornate Colonial Californiano and Spanish Colonial Revival style villas.
Less than a five minute walk away from W, down a leafy block, is Avenida Presidente Masaryk; be sure to check it out for amazing people watching and world-class concept stores. Compared to LA’s Rodeo Drive or New York’s Fifth Ave. Avenida Presidente Masaryk is chic and seemingly attracts the well heeled of Mexico City. I love visiting concept stores in my travels and was happy to find two new favorites. Visit Lago DF (Av. Pdte. Masaryk 310, Polanco) or Ikal (Av. Pdte. Masaryk 340A, Polanco) and shop high end made in Mexico designers in stunning clothing, jewelry and home decor.
Into vintage shopping? Check out Good Bye Folk (Córdoba 55, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700) in Roma. Three floors of amazing finds.
Fulfillment. It’s easy to embrace the pride of Mexico’s ancient civilization, even in a bustling metropolis. A Mexico City travel guide wouldn’t be complete without some reflection.
When the W team suggested the option of a thousands of years old traditional Mexican ceremonial sweat lodge, I couldn’t wait. The temazcal ritual. The first shock was the actual temazcal: a traditional structure on the spa floor of the hotel! The shape of a temazcal is to symbolize a womb and it happened to work out that we had an all women ritual. Our shamana Coco took us through 5 stages – having us channel that eagerness and naivety from birth, empowering us to present day. I cried, deep breathed, ached, sweated my weight and felt energized by the ladies surrounding me. I felt empowered in my purpose and set MY GOALS, MY INTENTIONS. She said things I absolutely needed to hear. Though I couldn’t understand all of her chanting, I was so moved.
How fitting that on my first press trip back, the excitement, the energy of returning to travel and exploration that I experience this rejuvenation. I then took a COOOOOOLD shower back in my room.
Our last night
At a certain point of the weekend I began to feel like I was a contestant on a reality TV show and the W was just crafting experiences for us to jump up and down to. Our Farewell Dinner at the EWOW Suite was one of those moments. Wow. Incredible views of the sunsetting over Mexico City and a room that was so decadent and glam that you wonder, how could one stay here and ever leave the room? We dressed to impress and content, content, content! And laughs, delicious food. This wasn’t a staged shoot. We were really enjoying each other’s company that much — I’ve never had a trip like this!
It was hard to say goodbye to what became our home away from home for the weekend but W Mexico City even made traveling during Covid times easy for us. To return to the US, you need a negative test within two days of your flight and the team arranged for a concierge lab to test all of us at the hotel. Talk about service!
A note on getting around. Getting around was easy, I Ubered and walked everywhere for really great rates. Would absolutely recommend.
So, when are you booking your trip?
All photos of me by Skinny (Karston Tannis)