Stepping Out: Mexico City

By Cayla Mihalovich 

Palacio de Bellas Artes.

The vibrant capital of Mexico is one of the world’s largest cities, with more than 20 million people, or approximately one-sixth of the country’s total population. Mexico City provides a kaleidoscope of politics, culture, and rich history. But despite the vast breadth of the city’s geography and populace, the composition of quaint neighborhoods—from Condesa to the Centro Histórico—makes it feel accessible to travelers.

The city is a natural wonder. Built atop a dried lake bed and surrounded by the Cordillera Neo-Volcánica—or the Neovolcanic Range—it basks in year-round tropical temperatures that nurture a unique biodiversity. Fir and pine forests. Cacti. Pepper trees. Jacaranda. And the confluence of world-class museums, dining, shopping, parks, and history mean that Ciudad de México, or CDMX as it’s nicknamed, promises a lively, varied destination.

Flavors of the city

Whether you want to dine on a rooftop or grab a quick bite of street food, Mexico City serves up an array of delicious cuisine. For a luxurious, inventive meal in a charming environment, start with Enrique Olvera’s award-winning restaurant Pujol. Find other flavors to satisfy your palate at Quintonil, which offers a sophisticated modern take on Mexican tradition. For reliably superb tacos, visit Taquería Orinoco, Tacos de Suadero, or El Hidalguense, to name just a few.


Dive into art, anthropology, architecture, and more at the city’s wealth of museums. Standouts include Palacio de Bellas ArtesMuseo Nacional de Historia, the vast and wide-ranging Museo Nacional
de Antropología
, and Museo Frida Kahlo, in the vivid blue former home of the iconic artist, filled with her paintings, colorful decor, and dramatic dresses. If you’re in a playful mood, check out the Museo del Chocolate (MUCHO)—the origins and history of cacao, native to Mexico, are deliciously fascinating—or the Museo del Juguete Antiguo México, the largest toy collection in the world. Without even entering a museum, it’s possible you’ll stumble across seminal public murals, which tell a history of their own; wander the courtyards of the Secretaría de Educación Pública for an astonishing series by renowned muralist Diego Rivera.


If you need a break from the urban hustle, kick back in one of the city’s heavenly parks. The popular, expansive Bosque de Chapultepec spans nearly 1,700 acres of trees, fountains, museums, a zoo, and more, including a cinema in the middle of a lake accessible only by pedal boat (which becomes your movie seat). In the cosmopolitan Condesa neighborhood, the 22-acre Parque México offers terrain for walking, skating, or a lively game of soccer. For a longer day trip, check out Desierto de los Leones, located on the outskirts of Mexico City. Despite its name, it’s neither desert nor populated with lions but is a forested national park with stunning views and gardens. DW

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