Tips and Tricks of Xploring In and Around Mexico City

Mexico City tour poster 1935We are constantly XPLORING Mexico City and discovering new things. The best places to see, eat, and experience.  This information will grow and evolve over time.  Check back for the latest.  Send me emails with your mind blowing discoveries, questions or corrections HERE.





Must See Museums (Art, Anthropology, and Archeology):
(Museums are closed on Mondays)

Franz Mayer

Templo Mayor Museum (The Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlán-The Aztec City in the lake)

The Museum of Anthropology

Museum of Modern Art

Chapultepec Castle

Soumaya Museum

Frida Kahlo Museum (Coyoacan)

Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli (Pedregal area, south of the city)

Museo Esudio Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo (San Angel area)

Museo Dolores Olmedo

Optional:  The Mexico City Zoo and the Surrounding Gardens in Chapultepec Park are outstanding.

Points of Interest (Mexico City and Surrounding Area):

Start Here:
Hospital de Jesús Nazareno buildings and church (Downtown). Founded in 1524 by Hernán Cortés to care for wounded and sick native indians. Here you will see one of the only busts for Cortés in the entire city. In the church, to the left of the alter, there is an orange plaque for Cortés’ final resting place. This location is supposed to have been THE PLACE where Cortés and Montezuma met for the first time. The beginning of the causeway that led to the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, now downtown Mexico City. Walk out of the church, down to the main cathedral and Zócalo.

Next door to Mexico City’s main cathedral (to the right and back a little) is the Templo Mayor Museum. The center of the Aztec Empire. (Downtown)

The Secretary of Public Education (SEP) building is about a block up from the Templo Mayor Museum. This building underwent extensive restoration and is outstanding. And the best part is the restored Diego Rivera murals inside. Few people seem to find this amazing place. Entrance is free. Well worth seeing. Close to everything.

The National Palace is in the Zócalo. Just across from the main cathedral. This building occupies the site of Montezuma’s II very big palace and zoo. Inside are some of the most famous of Diego Rivera’s murals on the 2nd level. Also, inside the courtyard is the building that at one time housed the foundry and mint for all the gold and silver flowing out of Mexico to Spain. And there is more…

The original Post Office Building. Highly impressive interior imported from Italy. Across the street from Balles Artes. Downtown.

The original Sanborns restaurant. Next to The Latina American Tower and behind a little to the left. Outside of building is all blue talavera tile.  Go inside and look around.  Very nice bathrooms.

Gran Hotel Cuidad De Mexico. Amazing terrace and views. Amazing lobby. Old school. Enormous stained glass ceiling in lobby.  Stunning.  Filmed some the the James Bond “Spectre” movie there.

Best Western Hotel Majestic. Very old. Loaded with Talavera Tile. Great terrace for views. 80+ year old manually operated elevator. Worth checking out.

Mercado San Juan. Filled with amazing gourmet foods. A real treat.  Clean.  Nice food stands to try out.

Sears building 8th floor café. Across the street from Bellas Artes. Fantastic view of Bellas Artes from there. Great place for a coffee, drink or snack.  You can get great photos there of Bellas Artes.

Latin American Tower. Go to the top. 360 degree amazing views of downtown Mexico City.  Totally worth it.  Cafe/Restaurant is on top too.

Coyocan area. Once a small town waaaay outside the city. In the main plaza is one of the most beautiful churches in the city, San Juan Batista, near by to Frida Kahlo house/museum. Great place to explore.

Bazar de Sabado. (On Saturday) San Angel (Plaza Jacinto) part of the city. One of the best Bazar’s in the city. Tons of art, crafts, food and much more. Terrific restasurants.  Well worth visiting. Only on Saturdays. It gets very crowded. Get there early!

Food Alert: Best places to eat here (San Angel) are: Saks and Bistro 83 (There are several Saks locations, all are very good). There are many other places to eat there as well. It is hard to go wrong.

Ex-Convento del Carmen and Museum, San Angel. Across the street from the Bazar. Great place to visit. There are 12 mummies in the basement and much more to see!

Food Alert: Next to del Carmen is a very nice hot chocolate and Churros place. Yum. Other nearby places just a few steps a way are, Cluny’s (French & Crepes), El Cardenal (Very Nice), and Puerto Madero (The highest of high-end Argentinian restaurants…fantastic!)  There are many terrific places to eat at on Avenida de la Paz.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (La Villa) 20+ million people pilgrimage to the place every year. It is a very BIG deal.  It is the most visited holy site in the world.

Enjoy this YouTube video about Our Lady of Guadalupe:

The largest pyramids in Mexico (except for Cholula). Huge, vast, profound place. At least 3,500 years old. Called “The Egypt” of Latin America.

Food Alert: The must eat at place, La Gruta, is located in a cave behind the Pyramid of the Sun. In business since 1909. Amazing place, great food.

La Gruta:

Tepoztlán, Morelos

A place where many Mexicans have weekend homes. Incredible town full of spas, boutique hotels, hiking, great restaurants, and one of the best markets around.

Las Estacas.  Famous eco-water park powered by large natural spring.  Best on warm days.  For swimming.  Excellent on-site restaurant and facilities.

Best Terraces (Places with a view…that are worth it!)

The Latin American Tower. High up. 360 degree views of downtown Mexico City. Café and Restaurant up high as well. Totally worth it.

Hotel Majestic (Best Western). The Zócalo, downtown, Mexico City. Very old hotel. Covered on the inside with Talavera Tile. Stunning. 84+ year old elevator, operator run. Great terrace with views.

Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico, the Zócalo. Downtown Mexico City. Insane, enourmous stained glass ceiling in the lobby. Filmed some of the James Bond Movie, “Spectre” in this location.

La Casa de las Sirenas. Right behind the main cathedral. Great view, libations and food. In a very old, tilty building. Love it!  Great views!

Domingo Santo Hotel  Terrace  (Santo Domingo Plaza, Downtown)  Very nice.  Good food and drink!

8th Floor Café of Sears Building directly across from Bellas Artes. Great place for coffee, or refreshing drink. Best view of Bellas Artes. Get some great photos!!

Librería Porrúa (Book Store) with café/restaurant terrace. Fantastic view of the Templo Mayor and Cathedral. They have recently opened up this area. One of my new favorite places to hang. Right next to Templo Mayor museum. Very nice book store.

St. Regis Hotel.  Reforma. Great terrace/patio that overlooks the fountain of Diana the Huntress on Reforma, Mexico City.  The perfect place to have a tasty libation and cigar. It’s also a pretty sweet place to stay!

Food/Eating: (Buen Provecho!)

These are all places I frequent. Lucky me! In Mexico City there are easily 1000’s of awesome places to dine and experience phenomenal cuisine. These are some of the very best. This list will surely grow and evolve over time as I get out more. Feel free to let me know what you have discovered! Cheers and Buen Provecho!

Before we start the meal, we say, “Buen Provecho” (aka Bon Appetit) and when we toast we say, “Salud” (and look each other in the eye…very important.)

Best Coffeeshops

These are places with multiple locations.  Always a safe haven.  Good food and nice bathrooms.

VIPS:  Many locations, decent food, a lot like Denny’s.
TOK’s:  Very nice restaurants.  They have all been remodeled or are new.  Many locations. Good food selection.
SAKS:  The highest end of high end coffee shops.  Very, very nice.  Very good food.
Sanborns:  Very nice restaurants.  Great place to meet with people. A zillion locations. The also have bakery, pharmacy, electronics, books, and much more.
Los Bisquets Bisquets Obregón:  Many locations.  Famous for their biscuits.  Good food. Nice places.
Starbucks:  Very nice.  A zillion locations.

Downtown Mexico City area (El Centro)

La Hosteria de Santo Domingo (Famous for their Chiles en Nogada) Since 1860.

Roldan 37 (Downtown) Very awesome place. Off the beaten track. Lunch. One of my favorites! The building of the chef/owner has been in his family for over 100 years.

Limosneros (Downtown) One of my favorites. Great food and mezcals and wine. Just around the corner from the Café Tacuba – Best place for breakfast in downtown Mexico City. Same owners too.

El Huequito Tacos and Salsas (Downtown and Condesa).  Seriously good. Best tacos and food in Mexico City.  Several locations.

Mercado Independencia. Lots of great food options and coffee. More food and Mezcal and Mixology Bar on terrace. Very nice.

Café Tacuba (For Breakfast, Downtown. THE Best place for breakfast in Mexico City) Famous for their Café con leche and bread/pastry. They give you a large glass, and start filling it with coffee concentrate, you tell them when to stop, then they fill the rest of the glass with hot, steaming milk. With a certain amount of fanfare. Sweet!

La Casa de las Sirenas.  Located behind the main Cathedral downtown. Very nice terrace. Great food. Great views. Very unique, very old building.

El Cardenal (on Palma Street) The original and best of the El Cardenal restaurants.

La Opera Bar/Restaurant (Downtown). Famous. Very old school. Great place. Bullet hole in the ceiling from Zapata. They have a black circle around it so you can see it. Close to Bellas Artes.

Original Sanborns-Downtown. The original in the Blue Tile Building. Food is good. Atmosphere is amazing! Another great place for breakfast or lunch. It is an upscale coffee shop. One of the most famous buildings in downtown Mexico City. There are many, many Sanborns locations in Mexico. It is also a general merchandise/book store. The building and interior are highly impressive and a must-see. It is worth eating in the central courtyard for that reason. Even if you don’t eat there, go inside and look around. They have nice bathrooms. Sanborns are always reliable stopping places and safe haven in Mexico.

El Charco de La Ranas. One of THE BEST taco places in the city. They have three locations. Always very good. A good place to get your “taco-on”!

Azul Historico – Downtown. Awesome place and food within a boutique hotel with many very nice shops (Tiendas). The owner/chef is a tremendous foodie. You’ll find offerings here not available anywhere else.

Casino Espanol.   If nothing else, go inside this amazing building and drool. One of the best interiors downtown. Excellent, old school Spanish cuisine. 2nd Floor.

Restuarante Danubio. Another excellent Spanish Cuisine restaurant. Very close to Latin American Tower.

Bar El Sella.  Very old school cantina.  Best Chamorro in town.  Off the beaten track.  You would not even know it is there.  Has been in business since the 1940’s.  Very good Spanish style food.  Did I mention the Chamorro?  Incredible.

Polanco Area

La Hacienda de los Morelos— Old Hacienda, now amazing place to hang out and eat. One of the best places in the city.

Cambalache- Argentinian Restaurant. Great for Big Steaks and other food. There are several locations. All of them very good.

Casa Merlos.  Off the beaten path.  Only open Thrusday-Sunday 1-6pm.  CASH ONLY. Speciality is original recipe moles from early Spanish days.  A very unique place for serious foodies, and others who want to experience excellent food.

Puerto Madero. The highest end of high end Argentinian cuisine. Think meat. Some of the best in the city.

Los Arcos (Seafood). Justifiably famous for their Tacos Gobernador. Everything there is excellent. 3 locations in Mexico City.

Other top/hot restaurants in the Polanco area include: Butcher and Sons, Quintonil, Pujol, and Sir Winston Churchill’s.


South Part of Mexico City (San Angel area)

San Angel Inn. (Across the street from Museo Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo)  Classic. Converted convent.  Stunning setting and ambiance.  Great food.  One of the best in the city.

El Cardenal (San Angel location) Very, very nice place.

Cluny, French and Crepes. Have been coming here for over 23 years. Always terrific.

Puerto Madero. The highest end of high end Argentinian cuisine. Think meat. Some of the best in the city.

SAKS for breakfast. Incredible corn muffins! There are several locations. This one is spectacular — renovated old home. Come early (8:30-9am) Saturday morning, then enjoy the Bazar del Sabado. Very much worth it. The mummies ad much more are nearby at the Ex Convento del Carmen. (My wife’s parents were married in that church!)

Further South Part of the City

Arroyo Resturant. Restaurante Arroyo is the world’s largest single Mexican restaurant, located in the Tlalpan area of Mexico City. The restaurant has seating for 2,200 patrons in 9 dining rooms and parking for 600 cars. Some of the best food in the city, especially the carnitas. Incredible place.

Condesa/Roma Area

Lardo (In Condesa) Great place for lunch. Get there early or make a reservation.

Rosetta. One of the finest restaurants of Mexico City founded by Chef Elena Reygadas (owner of Lardo). Here you will find a unique gastronomic proposal with an ever changing seasonal menu. Enjoy.

Matisse (on Avenida Amsterdam, in Condesa) (There are two of them, go the one on Avenida Amsterdam)   Great place for breakfast!

Casa Virginia. Upstairs dining in restored colonial home.  One of the best places in the city. Fantastic setting and ambiance.  This is French oriented, high cuisine.  Highly recommended.

El Rincon Tarasco. This is where it gets seriously real.  Incredible carnitas (and the rest of the pig), tacos and more.  All the reviews on-line are in Spanish.  This is were the locals go who know what’s best.  Nothing fancy.  Incredible food.  The real deal.  No web site, no Facebook page for this place.  Does not need it.



World Trade Center Area

Puerto Geraria Spanish Restaurant.  Excellent food and dining experience.  Next to World Trade Center.  I go there for the Callos a la Madrileña.  This is basically a Spanish stew, but I think it is the best in the city!  (Note: It is not always on the menu) Everything I have tried there has been excellent.  Enjoy!

Tortas El Capricho.  Still my most favorite Torta shop.  They are huge!  One torta is easily two meals.  But they now offer smaller sizes. I mostly get the Cubana.  All are excellent.  Come hungry!  Get some to go for later!

Tortas El Capricho


Mid-Town/Reforma Area

Like Jazz and Live Music?

Parker & Lenox – Jazz Club, get there before 8:30. Make reservation if possible. Amaya Restaurant is across the street. Eat at Amaya, then go to Parker and Lenox.

Amaya (Great Place for amazing food, wine and Mezcal. Right across the street from Parker & Lenox)

Zona Rosa

Bellinghausen (Zona Rosa) Been in business there over 100 years. Very old school. Awesome place for lunch.

Coyoacan Area

Los Danzantes in the Coyoacan part of the city. Great food and they make their own Mezcal, and have plenty of others to choose from. Very, very good. Great place to go after you visit the Frida Kahlo Museum which is close by.

La Coyoacana Cantina.  Fantastic food and garden setting.  Large portions.  Great value.

El Rincon de la Lechuza. Maybe the best Tacos Al Pastor in Mexico City, Coyoacan.
If you order Tacos al Pastor anywhere, always ask for “mas planchado, por favor”. This way they take the meat and gill it so it is crispy and yummy.

Outside Mexico City

City of Cuenavaca

La Mañanitas – Hotel Garden, Restaurant & Spa. Stunning setting. Terrific food.  Voted one of the best in the world.  I believe it.  (After there, walk a few shorts blocks down the the Palace of Cortés.  Well worth it.  You can see the steps of the old pyramid coming up to where the new building starts.  Fantastic Diego Rivera murals inside.  Great museum.

Casa Manzano. Excellent setting. Fantastic food.

In Tepoztlan (Top Choices)

Juanito’s. Excellent, very casual. Nice garden setting. Chef Timothy prepares awesome pasta and the best burgers around. Can’t be beat. I always stop by when I am in town.

Posada del Tepozteco (Boutique Hotel & Restaurant). The best views and setting around. One of my favorite places for breakfast! Great place to stay as well.

La Buena Vibra (The Good Vibe), and they are not kidding. Incredible grounds and setting. Another of my favorite breakfast places.

Los Colorines. 100% Traditional (off the meter amazing) Mexico Food. Amazing, multilevel setting. They don’t advertise much of have a website. They are that well known. Get there early. The best mole around.

El Ciruelo. Great setting and ambiance, nice bar, very good food. One of the best in Tepoztlan.


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