Take in colonial architecture and Frida Kahlo’s home or monumental archaeological wonders before lunching in a sublime garden setting.
Mexico City is hot, and the foodies and hotel-erati are buzzing. Even the jaded art world is aflutter. And why not: You will find avant-garde galleries, high-style design outposts, stunning boutique-styled hostelries, innovative restaurants, shopping that ranges from colorful markets to global brands and more than 150 museums. Plus, there’s a definite edge and a forward-thinking POV—all rolled up in 500 years of history. And now that the country is celebrating its bicentennial, there’s no better time to join this far-reaching fiesta.
Here’s the lay of the land.
Mexico City offers plenty of high-octane excitement. Take in colonial architecture and Frida Kahlo’s home or monumental archaeological wonders before lunching in a sublime garden setting. Round out your day at chic department store El Palacio de Hierro or Gucci or Louis Vuitton before kicking it up at a white-hot club until the morning hours. Mexico City is more than margaritas and mariachis.
On the hotel front, there are three options that lead the pack. The Cesar Pelli-designed, glass-skinned St. Regis, situated right on the Paseo de la Reforma, is slick and chic—all beige and soothing with every modern convenience. The hotel doesn’t feel Mexican in the least, but it’s global luxe courtesy of global design team Yabu Pushelberg. In the heart of the Polanco shopping district—Mexico City’s version of Madison Avenue, albeit with taco carts stationed in front of Chanel—the intimate, low-slung Las Alcobas offers a welcoming retreat with rich woods and bespoke details, also courtesy of Yabu Pushelberg. Try the hotel’s buzzy Dulce Patria restaurant, where chef Marta Ortiz crafts contemporary Mexican fare. Grupo Habita’s Condesa DF in the central, yet residential, Condesa nabe is very Wallpaper cool and favors hipsters: The hotel houses loftlike bedrooms and a glorious central patio, where D&G sunglasses at night are de rigueur. It’s as popular with downtown New Yorkers as it is with style-setting Chilangos, aka locals.
Here’s a quick cheat-sheet for exploring the city. Walk to the Centro Histórico and visit the Zócalo (main plaza), the cathedral and the ruins of the Templo Mayor. Have lunch in the glorious covered courtyard at the Sanborns five-and-dime outpost in the stunning, tile-covered Casa de los Azulejos. Shop for candies at Dulcería de Celaya. Wander through the slew of museums, including the Franz Mayer’s collection of decorative arts, the National Museum of Anthropology and the amazing Fundación/Colección Jumex. Take lunch at the Fonda el Refugio. Dine at Izote. Check out the stunning ruins of Teotihuacan. Wind down with a cocktail on the rooftop terrace at the Condesa DF and savor the pleasures of hipster-meets-historic.