When you think of Mexico do you think of tequila shots, hot, sandy beaches, and laying in the sun relaxing? Well, Mexico City is about to change all that. This is the most vibrant, exciting city in the world- at least for us. The people are amazing, the food is spectacular and the price is unbeatable. If you want to travel, and I mean travel, not vacation, this is the best city for it.
This blog is an email I send to all of my friends when they mention they want to visit CDMX. So I invite you, my new friend, to a behind the scenes post of our favorite city, unedited and full of secrets.
BEGIN FORWARD MESSAGE:
CDMX- You're going to LOVE it here! Very walkable and safe. Easy to uber. We metro everywhere bc it’s 13 cents, but Ubers are very cheap and so easy, best to get an Uber from the airport for sure. All the street food is safe and the salsa on taco carts is the best. This city is green, like a jungle. It is GORGEOUS, you can spend days just wandering the walking paths and enjoying the trees, flowers, and parks. There are busy, busy streets. but in the middle are waling paths surrounded by trees that transport you to your own world, unlike any large city we've ever been to.
You’ll need pesos so get some before you leave or just at the atm when you arrive and change at the airport for small bills you’ll want 20 peso bills bc everything is cheap-cheap and NOBODY has change, you can also get change at every bank in town. You’ll feel welcome everywhere and everyone assumes you speak Spanish bc there’s not a lot if gringos vacationing there so just jump right in and try your best. They will laugh but with you not at you and they will appreciate your attempted Spanish more than you know.
Always, always, always take the CBX tunnel from San Diego to Tijuana and fly from there. It will save you hundreds! CBX is the cross border express tunnel, you park and enter on the San Diego side, check in, TSA and customs then walk through a nice tunnel directly into the TJ airport. ProTip: there is free street parking on the streets around the CBX terminal. We have left our car on the streets for 5 nights and no problems, there are no signs, and many people parking to cross over. Obvi make sure you car doesn't have things visable to be broken into and if you want to be safe, you can uber and get dropped off or just pay for parking directly a CBX for $20/day. The CBX tunnel is extra on top of your flight but totally worth it, like best ever. Cost is $33-$45 round trip, but you save so much money booking a flight from Tijuana it's def worth it. We book our CBX tickets separate from our flights bc if we have to change or cancel it can be a pain through the airline. We usually book Volaris or Aeromexico, we have flown VivaAerobus but that's a Spirit-type so be prepared to pay for all the extras. Flights have never cost us more that $110 round trip. It's insane how cheap it is if you are a little flexible.
Food: Taquiera Orinoco- it’s like the In & Out of tacos- I dream of these tacos. Get 3 pastor tacos and 1 especial campechana to share for 2 peeps. There will most likely be a line but it’s worth it, also eat it there, don’t order it togo. The have like 3 locations now which is crazy when we lived there in early 2020 there was only 1, I’m so happy for them! Our fave is the OG at Avenida Insurgentes S 253 Contramar: this is the place every website and travel magazine will tell you to go, the price has gone up insanely, if you have the money it’s worth it but if not save it for your next trip bc this place isn’t going anywhere. If you do go order the grilled Pescado Contramar style and tuna tostadas to share and ask to sit outside, go for lunch not dinner.
Food market: right outside contramar on Wednesday and Sunday only. Best things are ice cream you must find the ice cream lady- sometimes she’s out the market on the round about street sometimes she’s inside try a few flavors I love her. Inside find the tortas and lamb Birria tacos. There’s only 1 lamb lady sometimes she’s not there bummer, there’s a few torta guys- look for the salsa on the tables decide which looks best then eat there.
Hamburguesa Mateleon: same little round about in Condesa as the market and Contramar. great hamburgers fun vibe- dive barish but great for a burger and beer
El pescadito- multiple locations we like the one in Zona Rosa area, get a chile relleno and a marlin taco- order light these are huge, very easy to order too much
MOG- Japanese- we haven’t been able to ever get a table to wait is too long but everyone we meet there raves about it.
Clara y Ema: cute breakfast sandwich shop- cool neighborhood to walk around
El Moro: everyone says to go here- we’ve never liked it. The place is cute but The churros are cold the line is long it is overpriced, you’re better off finding churros during morning traffic in the streets or a night vendor, maybe worth it for the insta pic tho.
La casa de Toño- famous for us white people ha. The pozole is good the flautas are bomb and the guac is good. Not one of our favorite places but it’s on the must do list so if you pass by it may as well stop in- almost always a line bc it’s that popular- it’s bright and kinda looks like dennys Mexican food vibe but the food is great and the service is great.
La esquina de chiliquiles: street food only Spanish- order uno de verde y uno de rojo- is plenty to share for 4 people. The line is long and it’s intimidating but it’s must do if you can get there early enough before they sell out. There’s a ton of YouTube videos on these ladies it’s a cool story. They’re a bit out of the way and we’ve never made it there before they sold out haha.
Tacontento: in Zona Rosa “boys town” the gay part of CDMX. Great tacos and cheap beer. Also a good spot to people watch.
Our favorite street vendors can be found at the following addresses, I’ve literally saved them on google maps so type it in and you should be able to find them. Again you’ll need small bills and they always ask you if you have something smaller- like if tacos are 45 pesos and you give them 60 they’ll ask do you have change- it’s fine you don’t but try and get change wherever you go at the OXXO or gas stations when buying water or the metro when buying tickets are the easiest places to give them 100 pesos and get smaller bills for change
•Calle Colma 340 Roma Norte
These guys has been our favorite since we first went and we were so happy they made it through covid and are still there- they have a black banner and tons of cilantro to look pretty- they have a poster that says 5 x 30- it’s 5 mini tacos for 30 pesos- we love the pastor and suadero and the consume, they have our favorite hot hot salsa ever. We usually eat 5 each and consume.
•Woolworth- if you google the department store Woolworth follow directions, there are a TON of street food outside the like 4 blocks. All are great. Look for flautas- they’re the best. Flautas come one by one or order or 3
•Calle Chipas 182
Another guy selling tacos- these are tacos de canasta- you’ll see them usually with an orange table with a basket and a picnic blanket over the basket usually with a green salsa and red onions on the table- worth getting to try, we like the frijol, chicharrones and carne, not a big fan of the papas- most tacos de canasta are 6-8 pesos each we usually eat 3 each.
•Esquites: these usually come out after dark. You’ll see a lady with a huge pot and a tub of may. I prefer entero on the cob brandon likes en vaso in the cup. Usually 20-30 pesos again after dark you’ll see them outside the OXXO or grocery stores or gas stations.
—-Always get everything and just a heads up the names of things are a little different in CDMX so just ask if you’re unsure- like quesadillas don’t have queso there it’s a weird thing haha but everything is good you won’t be disappointed.
•Landina: Brandon’s fave in the city- quiet dark great bartenders amazing cocktails.
•La Lavandería- My fave- get the aguacate cocktail and the queso. You have to order food with your drinks here so do the queso. Make sure you both get a different cocktail to try, they have 4 house special cocktails if you’re down order them all they’re all great
•Torre Lantinoamerico- take the elevator to the bar a must do for the view- don’t pay or do the museum just ask for the bar- cocktails are good and you can try chapulines- you must try them!
A few itineraries id suggest to make the most of your days:
Day 1- head out and find some tacos de canasta. Then just walk. Keep walking and turning and explore until you see more food you want. The main roads have beautiful middle medians for passenger walking and you can just walk and walk and walk. There are parks everywhere you turn and food everywhere. Find a cute coffee shop have a coffee and a donut until you’re hungry fro more tacos. Most tacos de canasta are breakfast and lunch tacos get going around 1pm. Head to the Angel of Independence and explore the Zona Rosa area- this is also “boys town” so a bit more lively and crazy. This will be a good walk from where you stay to a destination. Eat at Tacos Orinoco after you see the angel, then walk some more.
Calle Amsterdam is worth cruising around, it’s a peaceful street around Parque Mexica with restaurants and tons of locals and so many dogs.
Day2- walk to Clara y Ema for breakfast and coffee- be sure to try the spicy mustard! From there walk to the biblioteca de ciudadela- cool library, great park and cool Mercado to walk around. (The market used to be open everyday pre covid we haven’t been since.) From there take the metro stop at BALDERAS the pink line two stops to PINO SUAREZ. You can also walk no need to metro but this is an easy one to try it out. Follow google maps to the Zocolo. Take a peek inside the Cathedral. And google map your way to Templo Mayor- no need to go inside the museum you can see the ruins from above- just ask if you can’t find it. It’s a cool view, we’re not big museum people so this was cool to look onto. Walk back toward the Zocolo, walk down the busy busy street Calle Francisco Madero it’s crazy and overpriced so just walk but worth seeing the mad amounts of people. Keep walking until you see the Palacio de Bella Artes, take some photos then google Chinatown. It’s only like 3 blocks but it’s a very cool area and some cool Mexican Asian street food. By this time it should be time for a drink so walk back toward the Bella Artes and find the elevator for Toree LatinoAmericano. Go here get a snack and a few drinks and enjoy sunset. Then head back out you can uber back toward the Airbnb and find some tacos or pick a spot for dinner. ToreeLA is quite expensive for food so id go with something cheaper. You’ll be spent after this day but it’s all in the same neighborhood so it’s worth doing together
Day 3- Chapultepec castle or zoo or lake rental or just explore the park . This park is huge- be sure you eat a big breakfast pack some chips and water. Just walking the park entrance to the castle or zoo or lake is 20 minutes. Look up Lalo! For breakfast, great French toast and so cute- a little expensive comparative to other places but cute. Or walk around until you see a cute spot! Be sure to eat tho, not tons of stuff in the park that isn’t chips, hotdogs and candy. This is definitely worth the uber. We have metro’d and walked and always gotten lost. You want the uber to take you to the Starbucks next to Lago de Chapultepec. From there figure out if you want to go to the market across the street first or jump right into the park. Im (I’m not sure if the market is everyday.)The lake is worth a view- and if you’re into it a paddle boat rental. We never have but people are always doing it. The castle is way cool and a sick sick view of the entire city. You can pay for a ride to the top or walk it for free- we walked it. It’s cost like $7 or something to go in- we quickly cruised it and enjoyed the views then made our way back down to the zoo. The zoo is free. You can’t take bags in but you can bring water, you can check your bags out front safely for 20 pesos. There’s tons of snack vendors on the walk from the castle to the zoo and there’s food in the zoo if you’re hungry. We cruise the zoo pretty quick there are so way cool tigers and of course the pandas which like free pandas who can pass up. When you finish the zoo there’s so much more to explore in the park or you can google your way to the nearest street depending what side of the park you are on and call an uber. Again a big day of walking so figure out what you want for food- maybe go home, rest and change then to La Lavandería for delish cocktails and find some food. A few things-
It’s a dark city at night but VERY SAFE. We have never felt unsafe ever, like ever. There a few streetlights but very safe. When at restaurants kids will always ask you for money. Always acknowledge them, say sorry, good luck. And they’ll be on their way. People in the more touristy parts will be yelling “come here try this hello” again acknowledge them say no thanks and keep going. We always smile and say no thanks. It’s not like cabo or Cancun with the soliciting but in the tourist parts it can be a lot, again we have never had a problem smiling and saying no. Masks: these people are crazy masking, inside outside social distanced at the table everywhere. They all have their masks on waking the streets alone. It’s whatever, we got used to it. They also are sanitizing and temp checking everywhere. So just go with it. No one is every trying to rip you off. CDMX is more a Mexican vacation spot than any gringos so the price is never gringo prices like beach cities. They never gouge you and they are always so pumped to see white people explore their city and their food and speaking their language. Speak as much Spanish as you can, keep trying they appreciate it so much. CDMX has some of the greatest people we’ve ever encountered while traveling. You’re going to love it. So save places in your maps for the next time so you remember where you loved. There’s so much to see and eat even if you do nothing on this list you’ll have a fabulous time. Also send me all the photos.
Cheers!!! Have so much fun!