Mexico City is truly one of the most amazing cities in the world with a mixture of both the old and new world. From the moment your plane starts to descend into this vast city with millions of inhabitants, historical locations, and wonderful scenery you know that your trip will be quite an adventure.
It’s important to always use authorized taxi’s when leaving the airport and of course make sure that your driver knows exactly where you’re going before you leave. Once in your taxi and the moment you leave the airport you are amazed at the massive amount of traffic and the seemingly non-existent traffic laws. The speed of traffic isn’t high, but the sheer volume can be stressful to some.
The “Paseo de la Reforma” is one of the major tourist and business areas in Mexico City with many high quality hotels only walking distance from great restaurants and other tourist attractions. The only problem you will have is trying to see all of these sites during your vacation time.
When you arrive at your hotel the first thing you should always do is lock up your valuables in you room safe and only take as much money as you need for the day.
One of the most popular attractions in this area is the National Museum of Anthropology. There are thousands of artifacts on display showing the history of the area and numerous items found from the many Aztec sites in the area.
Across the street from the museum is the Castillo de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Castle) which was once inhabited by Emperor Maximilian and Empress Carlota. It later became a Military Academy which was a prominent site in the Mexican-American war. It’s also a good idea to take the train up the hill to where the castle is located as the hill is steep. It’s important to keep in mind that Mexico City is over 7000 feet above sea level and some it difficult to breath when walking.
The Mexico City zoo is also located along Reforma is a great place to spend an afternoon, just be careful not to carry too much cash or credit cards as the children that wander around the zoo are often pickpockets.
If you want to visit a traditional Mexico market you can take a taxi to the Coyoacan market during the evening on a weekend. It’s a great place to get some cheap souvenirs to bring back home and to enjoy some traditional Mexican cuisine such as tacos al pastor. These are tacos with pork, onion and pinapple. However, make sure you are careful where you eat and that the meat is well cooked and there is refridgeration on
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Mexico City unmasked
These 20 insider tips demystify the gleaming metropolis
Article taken from NBC for further or more information go there
The view of Centro’s Palacio de Bellas Artes from Torre Latinoamericana.
1. It’s actually not impossible to navigate
Known locally as D.F., for Distrito Federal, Mexico City sprawls across almost 600 square miles—it’s roughly the size of Houston but packs in four times as many people. Still, if you plan your itinerary by colonia, or neighborhood, it’s easy to get a handle on things. Some of the most popular sites are in perpetually thronged Centro as well as in hipper districts southwest of it, like Condesa and Roma.
2. Art appreciation is an all-ages affair
At the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, you can expect to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with students, young families, and skeptical-seeming abuelas, who examine the mixed-media installations as carefully as they do melons at the market. Insurgentes Sur 3000, Ciudad Universitaria, 011-52/55-5622-6972, muac.unam.mx, admission $2.25.
3. Traditional textiles are getting a new life
Designer Carmen Rion was working with artisans in Chiapas five years ago when inspiration struck. With a few creative modifications, they could turn the beautiful fabrics the weavers made on old-fashioned waist looms into modern, one-of-a-kind garments. Rion’s sliver of a shop in Condesa shows off the results: black evening dresses covered in elaborate pleats, and floor-length gowns swirling with hand-painted prints. While a few pieces top $3,000, there’s something in here for everyone, such as woven-fabric handbags with leather straps (from $117) or necklaces made of brightly colored needlepoint circles knit by one of her salesclerks ($28). Michoacán 30-A, Hipódromo Condesa, 011-52/55-5264-6179, carmenrion.com.mx .
4. Real margaritas that don’t have umbrellas
Don’t be deceived by the thimble-size glasses: The Fonda El Refugio‘s decidedly potent signature drink is one of the city’s best. (The perfect ratio of fresh lime to tequila accounts for the dangerously smooth sipping.) Fortify yourself with regional dishes such as huachinango a la Veracruzana (red snapper in a spicy-tomato-and-olive sauce) before ordering a second round. Liverpool 166, Zona Rosa, 011-52/55-5207-2732, fondaelrefugio.com.mx , entrées from $18.75.
5. Day-after medicine that goes down easy
Contramar, an airy, white-walled lunch spot in Roma that’s favored by businesspeople and creative types, has a valuable secret of its own: the caldo de camarón, a rich broth bobbing with shrimp. According to lore, it’s a surefire cure for a hangover. Durango 200, Roma Norte, 011-52/55-5514-9217, contramar.com.mx , soup from $4.25.
6. Down-home snacks in a swanky setting
On sidewalks all over the city, you’ll see vendors selling fried chapulines, or grasshoppers—a salty, crunchy treat doled out of grimy plastic buckets and doused with fresh lime. For those who want a less dodgy source of pre-Hispanic finger foods, there’s Restaurante El Cardenal, which has uniformed waiters, stone columns, and stained-glass windows. Escamoles, served in a mortar, look like grains of rice swimming in butter. Spread them across a warm tortilla, add guacamole, and take a bite. You’ll never guess that the slightly sweet granules erupting in your mouth are ant larvae; they taste just like popcorn. Palma 23, Centro, 011-52/55-5521-8815, restauranteelcardenal.com , escamoles $9.25, entrées from $13.25.
7. A Mexican design hotel done right
Wherever Grupo Habita goes, a scene is sure to follow. And the splurge-worthy CondesaDF outpost from the country’s champion of hip hotel design is no exception: Weekend brunches in the turquoise-walled breakfast room draw local aesthetes looking to unwind on cowhide-covered banquettes. And the 40 mostly white guest rooms are equipped with iPods loaded with indie rock (from Cat Power to The Killers) and have sliding walnut screens for extra soundproofing. But the design doesn’t come with attitude. Don’t be surprised if staffers start calling you by name 15 minutes after you arrive—and the resident chocolate Lab, Conde, stands at the ready to welcome you. Veracruz 102, Condesa, 011-52/55-5241-2600,condesadf.com , doubles from $195.
8. A chain-hotel alternative with style
Bridging the gap between cookie-cutter franchises and tiny B&Bs is Hotel La Casona, a 29-room inn in a 1923 beaux arts mansion just a few blocks northeast of Condesa. Polished details such as black-and-white-checkered marble tile, framed architectural engravings, and crown moldings show off the inherent grace of the high-ceilinged structure. Plus, the included breakfast (cappuccinos, cooked-to-order omelets) puts the old banana-and-a-roll routine to shame. Durango 280, Roma Norte, 011-52/55-5286-3001, hotellacasona.com.mx , doubles from $140.
9. Candy you can’t find anywhere else
The recipes for the handmade sweets at Dulcería de Celaya—itself a confection of mirrors and swirling belle epoque paneling—were handed down by the original owners of the shop, established in 1874. Six generations later, the Guízar family sells the same sugary treats that lined the shelves on opening day: crumbly jamoncillo made from milk, candied-sweet-potato-paste rolls called camotes, and suspiros, chewy, multicolored coconut bonbons. 5 de Mayo 39, Centro, 011-52/55-5521-1787, candies from 50¢.
10. A befitting home for Diego Rivera
There’s no shortage of places to see Rivera’s paintings, but only one destination showcases his lesser-known architectural achievement: the Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli, completed to the artist’s plans in 1963. A hybrid Aztec-Mayan pyramid reimagined through the lens of mid-century modernism, it’s made of glass and black-lava stone and spans 12,916 square feet, looming over a reproduction 10th-century Toltec ball court. Inside, a maze of shadowy rooms showcases Rivera’s own vast collection of pre-Hispanic pottery, sculpture, and artifacts. Museo 150, San Pablo Tepetlapa, 011-52/55-5617-4310, museoanahuacalli.org.mx , admission $1.50.
11. Lunch can last until 7 p.m.
Chilangos, as locals are known, have a continental sense of time: Work begins at 10 a.m., no one thinks about lunch until 3 p.m., and once they sit down to la comida, it can take hours. Although many restaurants are technically open only for the midday meal, it’s not unusual to walk by at 7 p.m. and see people still huddled around what must be a 10th round of drinks—turning tables means nothing to Mexicans.
12. Independent fashion has a suitable site
With its glossy black-steel-and-glass exterior, Sicario may seem out of place on a grungy strip of Roma, but inside, the tightly edited selection of distressed jeans and blue-suede shoes from Mexican labels like Yakuza and Paola Hernández is a natural fit. Adding to the ambience: plywood displays, street art, and a lively soundtrack (the collective that runs the place also promotes emerging DJ acts like Beat Buffet and The Wookies. Colima 124, Roma Norte, 011-52/55-5511-0396, sicario.tv .
13. Even bread has its own institution
Follow the smell of baking bread wafting down a Centro sidewalk into Pastelería Ideal, founded in 1927—a vast, chandelier-lit room where tables are piled high with every Mexican pastry imaginable. It’s self-serve, so grab a tray and load up on goodies like cochitos, gingerbread cookies shaped like pigs, or the sugar-encrusted buns known as conchas, which locals like to eat for breakfast. Be forewarned: When a baker emerges from the back with a batch fresh from the oven, stand back or risk being trampled. República de Uruguay 74, Centro, 011-52/55-5512-2522, pasteleriaideal.com.mx , pastries from 25¢.
14. The best view $3 can buy
Just above the wood-paneled Librería Porrúa downtown, El Mayor, a sunny rooftop café bordered by succulents, provides a crowd-free vista of the Aztec-era Templo Mayor and the bell towers of the 18th-century Metropolitan Cathedral. Take it all in for a minor fee: the roughly $2.75 cost of a michelada, beer spiked with lime, salt, and, often, spices. República de Argentina 15, Centro, 011-52/55-5704-7580, porrua.com/elmayor .
15. A gourmet meal at a taco-stand price
Get beyond the school-cafeteria vibe and you’ll see that Café Azul y Oro, in an institutional 1970s-era building on the campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Coyoacán, serves some of the best meals—and deals—in town. Food writer and chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita is on a mission to make high-minded food affordable to students (and anyone who values taste over atmosphere). With dishes like salpicón de venado, a vinegar-laced venison salad, and duck ravioli stacked in a pyramid and strewn with blackberries and mole sauce, you’ll eat as well as you would at any of the city’s top restaurants—all for well under the $15 mark. Insurgentes Sur 3000, Ciudad Universitaria, 011-52/55-5623-3500 ext. 1065, entrées from $6.50.
16. You never know what’s hidden in an office building
Walk through a perfume shop, up three flights of stairs, and down a deserted, fluorescent-lit hallway to find the capital’s best source for native handicrafts. Founded in 1944 by artist Víctor Fosado Contreras, Víctor Artes Populares Mexicanas is now run by his daughter, Pilar Fosado Vázquez. She stocks colorful, museum-quality pieces, such as beaded Huichol bowls from Jalisco, papier-mâché Day of the Dead dolls from Guanajuato, and hand-painted glass pitchers from Puebla. Francisco I. Madero 10, Suite 305, 3rd Fl., Centro, 011-52/55-5512-1263, artespopularesvictor.com.
17. Unparalleled people-watching
The patio tables at Vucciria, an Italian restaurant across from the Parque México, look out on a compelling weekly parade: yuppies in Barbour coats walking Weimaraners, hipsters in skinny jeans, fashionistas with messy hair tottering by in heels. Get there by 3 p.m. on a Sunday to score a spot and settle in for an afternoon of grazing on carciofi fritti, a perfect cure for taco fatigue. México 157, Hipódromo Condesa, 011-52/55-5564-7441, entrées from $10.
18. The other flea market
You could easily skip La Lagunilla, the famed blocks-long market, in favor of the weekend stalls at Plaza del Ángel, set up in the arcades of a Zona Rosa shopping plaza. Easier to manage, it’s the go-to spot for many of the city’s antiques dealers, who come for the wildly varied selection of antiques and pop culture souvenirs, from lucha libre piggy banks and busts of Aztec princes to folding wooden klismos chairs. Arrive by 10 a.m. to get a shot at the good stuff. Londres 161, Zona Rosa.
19. There’s more to the design scene than handicrafts
Gurú, a graphic-arts gallery and store, is ground zero for objects by up-and-coming Mexican artists, especially ones with a sense of humor. Think patchwork stuffed animals by Toloache Peluche ($40), cartoonish vinyl figurines from Francisco Herrera ($59), and geometric ceramic rings by El Uno y el Todo ($27). Colima 143, Roma Norte, 011-52/55-5533-7140, gurugalleryshop.com .
20. The Mexican Starbucks
A café, gallery, and bookstore in a century-old town house, Conejo Blanco is a popular meet-up spot for all, including families drawn to the former nursery for its fitting focus on kids’ books. Ámsterdam 67, Hipódromo Condesa, 011-52/55-5286-7430, coffee from $2.
On foot: As in any urban environment, it pays to take commonsense precautions in Mexico City. Be aware of your surroundings, avoid walking alone at night, use ATMs inside banks during business hours, and leave the flashy jewelry at home.
By cab: Outside of their own local shopping districts, residents don’t really walk. Fortunately, taxis are cheap and plentiful. Just avoid hailing, as rogue drivers have been known to mug their passengers. Instead, call a taxi de sitio (one from a private company). Taxi Mex is among the best, with metered cars, quick pickups, and registered drivers (whose license and photo should be on display). 011-52/ 55-5634-9912, taximex.com.mx .
In a rental car: One of the secrets of driving in Mexico City is knowing when not to do it—specifically, on Fridays. Weekends unofficially begin Friday afternoon, and many office workers take off after lunch. Three-hour snarls are an unfortunate probability—even more painful if you’re heading to the airport to catch a flight.
On the subway: For the times when driving isn’t recommended (or even an option), there’s a handy Metro system. But be aware that train cars and platforms can be a hotbed for pickpockets and petty criminals. www.metro.df.gob.mx , 25¢ one way, including transfers.
Article taken from NBC for further or more information go there.
For housing and apart-hotel services please contact us. We have Suites from 1 to 4 rooms and prices from 45 to 140 dollars. Also we give special prices for groups or long-term stays. www.khsuites.com
Experience the Ten Best Things To Do in Mexico’s Largest City
Mexico City is a city like no other. Many visitors come expecting pollution and crime and are amazed to find so much history and culture. Also, for one of world’s biggest cities, it is surprisingly easy to get around on public transport. Mexico City is the ultimate clash of civilisations, where Spanish cathedrals were built literally on top of Aztec temples. Now the people, art, culture and music of Mexico City reflects this mix of indigenous and Spanish heritage.
The Zocalo and the Templo Mayor
In the heart of Mexico City lies the Zocalo. The huge cathedral towers over the square, displaying the might of the Spanish empire. On the weekends, there are indigenous dancers and people performing smoke ceremonies around the exterior of the cathedral, along with many stalls selling clothes and jewellery. Next to the Zocalo is the site of the Aztec’s Templo Mayor, which was the principal temple of their city, named Tenochtitlan. Until recently the temple lay forgotten under buildings, but now it is a museum that allows you to walk among the ruins, close enough to touch them. There is also an excellent museum on the site, displaying some of the Aztec treasures found around the temple.
The Palacio National
The Palacio National on the Zocalo is a collection of government buildings and would be of little interest if not for the incredible Diego Rivera mural inside. In one of his biggest and most ambitious murals, Rivera tells the story of the history of Mexico on these walls. The scope of his vision is truly outstanding and it is worth paying for guide to explain the details of the mural. Entry is free but official ID such as a passport is required on entry.
This decadent opera house is a great place to see the work of a variety of Mexican muralists, including Rivera, Orozco and Siqueiros. The walls of the opera house give insight into the Mexican muralist movement, with dozens of stunning works painted onto the walls and stairwells. There is free entry to the murals on Sundays, but there are often queues.
The Alameda and the Museum of Diego Rivera
Strolling through the Alameda Park in the historic centre on a sunny Sunday is a great place to see all manner of street performers, food stalls and free concerts. Just to the side of the park is the Museum of Diego Rivera. This is really just one Rivera mural called Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park. In this mural, Rivera depicts the famous figures of Mexican history all together in the park. A key to the mural explains who is who.
Garibaldi is the place to go to in Mexico City to see mariachis. visitors will know they are close to the square because on a weekend night because the mariachis can been seen and heard blocks away. It costs around 80-100 pesos a song to be serenaded by a group of about eight exemplary musicians. There are also groups performing banda and norteña music. One word of warning though: some of the bars around the square often take advantage of foreigners with unfair charges to the bill, so be careful.
The Pyramids of Teotihuacan
When most people think of pyramids, they think of Egypt. For this reason it can be starting to learn that the world’s second and third largest pyramids are in fact in Mexico. The pyramids are a day trip, about an hour and a half out of the city. Leave early to beat the heat, wear some sunscreen and take plenty of water and food: there are not a lot of either for sale at the pyramids themselves. There are two main pyramids to climb, the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. Both afford great views of the area and give a small glimpse of the culture that constructed these pyramids so long ago.
Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in Coyoacan
No trip to Mexico City would be complete without a trip to the bohemian Spanish-style suburb of Coyoacan. Frida Kahlo’s house, named the Casa Azul, is a short walk from the main square. Paintings aside, the house itself is a work of art. The striking blue is contrasted with the green of the plants and the colours of the paintings and artesian items inside. Frida grew up in his house, and eventually lived with her husband Diego Rivera. Wandering through her living space gives a sense of the Frida’s troubled life and her passion for Mexico. However, despite the title, the museum doesn’t contain many of Frida’s paintings as you might expect. Real Frida fans need to go to Dolores Olmeda museum.
The Trotsky Museum
But for a few mishaps of history, Leon Trotsky would have been the leader of Russia instead of Stalin. However, when Stalin took power Trotsky had to flee and ended up living out his last years in Mexico City, until he was eventually murdered by Stalinists. The museum shows us Trotsky’s humble home and documents his life, including his strange connection to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. It is a short walk from the Casa Azul in Coyoacan and so it makes sense to visit the two museums in one day.
The Anthropology Museum
If visitors only see one museum in Mexico City, it should be this one. This museum houses Latin America’s foremost collection of pre-Hispanic culture and artefacts. It is organised into a collection of rooms, covering the different periods and civilisations of Mexico. The sheer scope of the collection can be daunting, and so take a break in the café after exploring a few of the rooms. Renting some headsets greatly enhances the museum experience, as it de-mystifies the exhibits and explains the different points of interest in each room. The Aztec or Mexica room is the home of the huge sunstone, displaying the Aztec calendar. This is one of the most impressive rooms in the museum and it is a good room to start your tour.
The Dolores Olmeda Patino Museum
This little visited museum in the south of the city is the hidden gem of Mexico City art museums. It takes a bit of organisation to get there but it is well worth the effort. Dolores Olmeda Patino was a prolific collector, patron of the arts and friend of Diego and Frida. The museum was once her house and is full of her collections of pre-Hispanic artesian items and Diego’s paintings. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the collection are the twenty-five Frida Kahlo paintings, the biggest collection of her work in the world. The house itself is a former Spanish hacienda with huge grounds is home to peacocks and strange pre-Hispanic hairless dogs.
An award-winning chef and Mexico City native, Roberto Santibañez knows a thing or two about the best cuisine in Mexico’s capital. Now based in New York City, Santibañez trained at Paris’s renowned Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and opened several restaurants in Mexico City before spending four years as executive chef at Fonda San Miguel in Austin, Texas. In 2002, he became culinary director for Rosa Mexicano restaurants. Today, Santibañez is the culinary mastermind behind Fonda, a stylish restaurant in Brooklyn, New York that specializes in contemporary Mexican urban cuisine.
Santibañez still visits Mexico City, of course. So where does he go in the D.F. when he wants a truly satisfying meal? Here are his top five choices (and for even more about Santibañez and his creations, you can also visit his own site).
1. El Bajio
“I like the original located in Azcapotzalco. If you want real and traditional flavors that leave you with an impression, this is the place to go.”
Avenida Cuitlahuac #2709, Azcapotzalco; tel. +52-55-5234-3763
2. El Cardenal
“I like the original one located in Palma Street in the Centro Histórico, but the other two locations are equally good too. This is the best place in the city for breakfast in a sit-down, full-service setting. Try the freshly baked sweet rolls with clotted cream.”
Calle de la Palma #23 and Avenida Juárez #70; tel. +52-55-5521-8815 and +52-55-5518-6632
3. Casa Merlos
“I like it for its traditional moles and other dishes from central Mexico.”
Victoriano Zepeda #80, Col. Observatorio; tel. +52-55-5277-4360
Avenida Insurgentes Sur 3000; tel. +52-55-5622-7135
Francisco Petrarca 254, Col. Polanco; tel. +52-55-5545-3507
This hip, colorfully painted shipping container city recently sprung up just outside of Mexico city. Created by a small community of businesses, the project features restaurants, gallery space, bars, funky stores and even living spaces constructed completely out of recycled shipping containers.
Container City is located about two hours outside of Mexico City in Cholula, and is comprised of about 50 standard shipping containers. The developers took 4500 sq meters (48,500sq.ft) of space and plopped down the containers, stacking them to create courtyards, alleys and streets. The containers were then painted bright colors and outfitted with lighting, kitchens, dining areas and more. There is even an open public area with ping pong tables where people can go and hang out.
The city consists of restaurants, juice bars, normal bars, funky little shops, bookstores, art galleries as well as a few residential apartments. There’s plenty of outdoor space to sit around and hang out and there are events and bands scheduled all the time. Container City is open Monday thru Saturday from 10am-8pm and Sundays from 11am-6pm.
- Information taken and more info at Inhabitat
Crafts for sale at the Plaza San Jacinto in San Ángel.
POOR Mexico City. Just as it was luring back travelers with cool new hotels, a flourishing contemporary art scene and semi-endurable pollution levels, Mexico’s escalating drug violence became front-page news. Then the capital became a swine flu epicenter. Suddenly, a run for the border didn’t seem like such a smart idea. Ready for the truth? The time to visit this megacity — about 20 million people live in the metropolitan area — has rarely been better. Eager to attract people again, luxury hotels are offering specials that slash room rates by up to 65 percent. More restaurants, hotels and art galleries have sprung up in chic neighborhoods like Condesa and Roma. And Mexico City has probably never been this clean: even the street vendors now cart around big bottles of hand sanitizer.
1) AZTEC ASSIMILATION
A stroll through Condesa, the lush neighborhood where Paris Hilton frolicked when she visited (don’t hold that against it), will quickly vanquish the stereotype of Mexico City as an unsafe eyesore. Start at Parque Mexico (intersection of Avenida Sonora and Avenida Mexico), where locals and their dogs mix with hipsters en route to sidewalk espresso bars. A Macarena dance contest (irony included) was in full swing in the band shell on a recent weekend. Atlixco, a side street nearby, is becoming a hub for boutiques. Soho Condesa (Atlixco 100B; 52-55-5553-1730) serves up funky sunglasses on fur-lined shelves, while Milagro (Atlixco 38, www.collection-milagro.com) has colorful handbags embroidered by local artists.
2) RESTAURANT ROW
The posh district of Polanco, with its leafy streets named after famous writers, is the center of the city’s foodie scene. There are newer restaurants — Astrid & Gastón (Tennyson 117; 52-55-5282-2666; astridygaston.com), the latest from the Peruvian restaurateur Gastón Acurio, opened with a splash about a year ago. But the young, moneyed crowd still flocks to an older favorite: Ivoire (Emilio Castelar 95; 52-55-5280-0477). The French-Mexican menu can be hit and miss (try the lobster risotto with azafrán for 250 pesos, or $20 at 12.5 pesos to the dollar), but the buzzy rooftop bar with candle-lit views makes up for it.
3) NO WORM, JUST CHICKEN
Mezcal, once spurned as the poor man’s tequila in Mexico and historically sold in the United States with a gimmicky worm floating inside, was embraced by trend setters here a few years ago and the craze continues. La Botica (Campeche 396, Condesa; 52-55-5211-6045; labotica.com.mx) serves up over 30 varieties, including one steeped with chicken breasts during distillation. Locals insist that the chicken softens the alcohol’s smoky flavor, and they are right. Sip, don’t slam.
4) ART INJECTION
Two stars of the contemporary art world — Gabriel Orozco and Miguel Calderón — have been nurtured by the quirky Kurimanzutto Gallery (Rafael Rebollar 94; 52-55-5256-2408; kurimanzutto.com), which moved into a renovated lumber yard in San Miguel last fall. Older galleries are clustered in the adjacent Roma district, including OMR (Plaza Rio de Janeiro 54; 52-55-5207-1080; galeriaomr.com), which handles artists like Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, known for working with electronics and sound.
5) NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Visiting art dealers and collectors often head to Contramar (Durango 200, Roma; 52-55-5514-3169; contramar.com.mx) for lunch, feasting on raw-tuna-topped tostadas and basking in the see-and-be-seen atmosphere. Another lunch spot, which has landed on several best-new-restaurant lists, is Fonda la Veracruzana (Medellín 198, Roma; 52-55-5574-0474). Decorated with white- and green-checkered tablecloths, it serves impossibly fresh Peruvian seafood dishes at bargain prices (44 pesos for a “small” portion of the ceviche, which came in a giant sundae glass). The salty fried shrimp with garlic (110 pesos) was good, too.
6) BIZARRE BAZAAR
You’ve done high art, now go low. Bazar del Sábado (Plaza de San Jacinto, San Ángel) is a Saturday flea market where locals and tourists alike go to haggle for deals on handicrafts (blankets, baskets, jewelry) and chat with street artists. Pick up a glittery, kitschy Our Lady of Guadalupe box shrine (about 155 pesos) and don’t miss the adjacent flower market, a dank but fascinating rabbit warren of cement stalls displaying over-the-top arrangements like a lion’s head made out of yellow spider mums.
7) OUR LADY FRIDA
Homage must be paid to Frida Kahlo, the seemingly ubiquitous unibrowed painter and wife of the muralist Diego Rivera. Most visitors head to her former home, now Museo Frida Kahlo (Londres 247, Coyoacan; 52-55-5554-5999; www.museofridakahlo.org.mx). In the former home of a socialite art collector, the Museo Dolores Olmedo is a less touristy gem (Avenida Mexico 5843, Xochimilco; 52-55-5555-1221; museodoloresolmedo.org.mx) where some of Kahlo’s famous canvases hang. Look for the self-portrait depicting her spine as a broken stone column.
8 ) PARADE, FLOAT
Get in touch with your inner Aztec with a visit to the nearby “floating gardens” of Xochimilco (www.xochimilco.df.gob.mx). This network of shallow canals, where early settlers farmed on artificial islands, is a remnant of the lake that once covered part of the valley where Mexico City rests. Locals arrive on weekends for raucous fiestas on trajineras, wooden boats painted in wild colors that can seat as many as 20 people. Hire your own boat for about 160 pesos an hour . Other boats sell food (tacos, circles of jicama on a stick) and beer. Feel like joining the party? Hire a mariachi band (prices vary) to sail with you.
9) GASTRONOMIC GLITZ
Rejoin the 21st century at Distrito Capital (Juan Salvador Agraz 37; 52-55-5257-1300; hoteldistritocapital.com), a sleek restaurant that opened last year in a skyscraper in the ritzy Santa Fe business district. The chef Enrique Olvera — the force behind Pujol, one of the city’s fanciest restaurants — serves up a more casual menu here of surf (sea bass marinated with guajillo peppers and garlic in a pineapple sauce, 195 pesos) and turf (New York steak with guacamole and prickly pears, 250 pesos). If it’s a clear night, the hotel offers spectacular views of the volcanoes beyond the city.
10) IT’S (NOT) A DRAG
The Ballet Folklórico? That’s for wimps. Downtown — still a shady area at night, so leave the jewelry behind — is a cabaret show that is as outlandish and bizarre as it is exhilarating. At itty-bitty La Perla (República de Cuba 44, Centro; 52-55-1997-7695), drag queens bedazzled within an inch of their lives entertain a multigenerational crowd of (mostly heterosexual) locals. Couples dance salsa between shows; the cover is 120 pesos. Have your picture taken with the impersonator Lupita D’Alessio, the Liza Minnelli of Mexico.
11) FREE RIDE
After a busy Saturday, unwind on a bicycle: the government lends them free (with helmet) from kiosks along the Paseo de la Reforma, although you may want to skip the line and rent one from vendors set up in front of the National Museum of Anthropology (Paseo de la Reforma at Gandhi; 52-55-5553-6381; mna.inah.gob.mx). The Paseo de la Reforma, modeled in part on the Champs-Élysées, is closed to cars on Sundays until early afternoon to accommodate bicyclists. It’s liberating to zoom through the circular plaza marking the Mexican War of Independence — and not only because it is usually choked with traffic. A good pit stop is the entrance to the Bosque de Chapultepec, the city’s largest park, where vendors sell freshly peeled, spice-covered oranges for a few pesos.
12) CACAO MEXICAN STYLE
Reward yourself with Mexican chocolates from Princesse Cacao (Fernando Montes de Oca 81, Condesa; 52-55-5211-0276). The newish chocolatier specializes in artisanal candy from Tabasco and Chiapas, the two southern Mexican states where some historians say chocolate was invented, or at least refined (about 13 pesos apiece). Fabuloso!
Continental, Delta and AeroMexico fly to Mexico City from New York, starting at $434, according to a recent online search. For safety reasons, avoid hailing a cab when you arrive at the airport. Rather, arrange for a pickup from your hotel ahead of time. If you forget, hire a licensed taxi from inside the airport.
The Four Seasons (Paseo de la Reforma 500; 52-55-5230-1818; fourseasons.com/mexico) is the roost of choice for luxury travelers. Aside from its well-coordinated car service, the hotel is known for its azalea- and myrtle-filled central courtyard. Special weekend rates start at about 2,125 pesos, or about $170 at 12.5 pesos to the dollar.
The hipper-than-thou Condesa DF (Avenida Veracruz, N. 102; 52-55-5241-2600; condesadf.com) opened five years ago and is still ground zero for urban cool and celebrities, who flock to its atrium bar. Bring earplugs. Rooms start at 2,066 pesos.
***Also if you need a 1, 2 or 3 room apartment at Polanco, Lomas de Chapultepec, Tecamachalco or Zona Rosa, you could stay with us. Check our webpage www.khsuites.com *** (Info added by the editor of this blog, but it could suit your needs.)
Article take from: NY Times Also more info here.
By Geri Smith
Eclectic, Unusual Architecture
Visitors to Mexico City are often surprised by its breadth of architectural styles, from 16th century churches to oddly shaped skyscrapers of the past decade. The result: an eclectic collection of unusual buildings, including a few that architecture professor José Maria Nava of the Iberoamerican University called “vedette buildings”—movie-star structures that stand apart and aloof from their surroundings. The latest addition will be the 183,000 square-foot Soumaya Museum, shown above, designed to house the art collection of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. The stretched, twisted aluminum cube is due to be inaugurated before the end of 2010. Here, take a virtual tour of some of Mexico City’s other architectural head-turners.
Conjunto Arcos Bosques
Architects: Teodoro González de León, Francisco Serrano, Carlos Tejeda
When the first, twin-legged tower of the Arcos Bosques office complex was inaugurated in 1996, it immediately became known as the Torre del Pantalón—the Trousers Building. In 2008, the complex got a second building, which has two separate towers linked by a dagger-like central walkway. In keeping with Mexico’s wacky zoning, they’re smack in the middle of one of Mexico City’s most upscale residential neighborhoods, Bosques de las Lomas.
Architect: Agustín Hernández Navarro
Officially named Calakmul, after an important pre-Hispanic Mayan civilization, the building is known locally as the Washing Machine. The structure, inaugurated in 1997, is also at the center of the capital’s newest and wealthiest neighborhoods, Santa Fé. The area originally was a strip-mining zone and later a major garbage dump before being reclaimed by the city government.
Hoteles Fiesta Inn y Fiesta Americana Santa Fe
Architect: Picciotto Arquitectos
As one U.S. architectural engineer who has worked in Mexico says, “Mexicans are capable of building anything—just draw a design on a napkin, and they’ll build it for you.” That appears to be the case with this unusual hotel complex in the Santa Fé area of Mexico City, completed in 2006. One tower is a conventional glass-and-steel tower. But the second could be a corrugated steel barrel resting on its side.
Architect: Bernardo Gómez-Pimienta and Enrique Norten
This boutique hotel, remodeled in 2000, had been a derelict, five-story apartment building from the 1950s. It was redesigned by a pair of Mexico’s leading architects when they were partners in TEN Arquitectos. Located in Polanco, one of Mexico City’s traditional residential and commercial neighborhoods, this minimalist building has won several international awards, including the BusinessWeek/Architectural Record award in 2003.
Fire Station “Phoenix Bird”
Architect: Bernardo Gómez-Pimienta, Julio Amezcua, Francisco Pardo, and Hugo Sánchez
The work of architects from at. 103 and bgp arquitectos, this 2006 structure houses a fire station and a separate section for the general public to learn about firefighting. By day the station’s aluminum facade reflects the sky. By night it’s accented by a vertical pattern of internal lights and the red-flashing lights of emergency vehicles. Inside, fire-engine-red transparent walls and classic fireman’s poles remind visitors of the building’s main mission.
Architect: Zeidler Partnership Architects and Adamson Associates Architects
The tallest building in Latin America, Torre Mayor rises 738 feet above Mexico City’s most important avenue, Paseo de la Reforma. Built by Toronto developer Paul Reichmann and inaugurated in 2003, it was downtown Mexico City’s first important skyscraper since the devastating 1985 earthquake. The green-glass and stone tower features 98 mammoth shock absorbers to protect the structure from a temblor of up to 8.5 on the Richter scale.
Architect: Ricardo Legorreta
Some of Mexico City’s best-loved buildings are decades old. Case in point: the Camino Real, which opened in 1968, just in time for the Olympics Games hosted by Mexico. Designed by renowned Mexican architect Legorreta, now 78, the 712-room, five-star hotel is one of the best examples of Mexican modern architecture. Legorreta is known for his use of bright colors—pink, purple, yellow, blue—the interplay of light and shadow, and bold geometric shapes.
Monterrey Institute of Technology & Higher Education Santa Fé Campus
Architect: Legorreta + Legorreta
The Santa Fé campus in Mexico City of the Tec de Monterrey was designed by Legorreta + Legorreta, the father-son team of Ricardo and Victor Legorreta. It was completed in 2001, nearly four decades after Legorreta senior founded his architecture practice in 1963.
Plaza Juarez Complex
Architect: Legorreta + Legorreta
This complex filled in a site that had been badly damaged by Mexico City’s 1985 earthquake. It includes two midrise office towers for the government’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and Superior Court. They form a modern backdrop for the restored, colonial-era Corpus Christi church. The most eye-catching piece may be a “water mirror” containing more than 1,000 partially submerged pyramids made of red concrete.
Architect: Rogers, Stirk Harbour Partners, and Legorreta + Legorreta
Legorreta also has had a hand in designing this 50-story tower, which will be located near the Torre Mayor building on Paseo de la Reforma and Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park. The high-rise, to be completed in 2013, will boast gardens on every ninth floor and will serve as the new headquarters of BBVA Bancomer, Mexico’s largest commercial bank, which is owned by Spain’s BBVA.
Architect: Fernando Romero
Scheduled to open by year-end, the Soumaya Museum will house Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s fast-growing collection of 66,000 art objects. Designed by Slim’s 38-year-old son-in-law, the building is part of an office-residential-cultural complex in a former industrial zone of Mexico City. The building’s facade will be covered with more than 16,000 hexagonal plates made of shiny aluminum.
Information taken from BusinessWeek