IFLY tips Mexico City
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El Balcon del Zócalo (1 hr)
If you like to have a great view at the Plaza de la Constitución o Zócalo, the big square in the historic centre, you should go up to have a drink or dinner at one of the roof top terraces.
A great one is El balcon del Zócalo. This is located at the 6th floor of the Holiday inn hotel. The entrance of the hotel is at Av. 5 de Mayo number 61. In the lobby you take the elevator to the 6th floor.
Mercado de artesanias de la Ciudadela (1-2 hrs)
One of the city's most colourful handicrafts markets with stalls and workshops built around a central courtyard is Mercado de artesanias de la Ciudadela.
At this market you can buy your Mexican souvenirs like leather belts, guitars, tile-framed mirrors, hammocks, silverware, papier-mâché skeletons, rugs, trays from Olinalá, sombreros and a lot of decorative articles.
If you don't want the buy the touristy stuff, stroll through the small streets around where you will find different workshops where they sell handmade guitars and ukelele's for example. On Sundays fans of salsa and danzón gather for group dance sessions at the adjacent park.
The market opens at 10 am but not all shops are open immediately. The shops close at 7 pm and on Sundays at 6 pm. The address is Calle Balderas 97. This is in walking distance of Alameda Central in the historic centre. The nearest metro station is Juarez.
Hacienda de los Morales (1-3 hrs)
The 16th century Hacienda de los Morales in the Polanco neighbourhood is home to an excellent international restaurant, adorned with gardens and arches.
Specialities include duck carnitas, the classic soufflé and English roast beef. The restaurant has really good service and excellent chefs and this is the place where posh Mexicans go for the Sunday lunch. So it could be advisable to make a reservation at +52 55 5283 3028.
The address is Juan Vazquez de Mella 525. The opening hours are seven days a week from 1 pm to 12 am. The hacienda is in walking distance of Museo Soumaya, so that could be a combination for a lovely day out.
Coyoacan: Jardin Centenario & Plaza Hidalgo (1-3 hrs)
Coyoacan is a posh and relatively safe neighbourhood in the south of Mexico City. The historic heart of this neighbourhood can be found around Jardin Centenario and Plaza Hidalgo.
Around this square and park you will find many small restaurants, bars, terraces and boutiques. Also in the streets around you will find many wonderful places and a roofed market where you can buy fresh products and lovely local decoration articles.
The restaurants around the square are open from early morning to late evening. You can go there by metro to station Coyoacan. Via Av Mexico you can walk to the centre of this distinct and bohemian neighbourhood in about ten minutes.
At Plaza Hidalgo you can visit a beautiful church as well, Iglesia de San Juan Bautista. A visit to this neighbourhood is perfect in combination with the nearby Frida Kahlo museum, which you can find in our Activities & Sights section.
Catholic shopping centre: Pasaje Catedral (1-2 hrs)
You will find many area’s where you can do your shopping in Mexico City, but a really special shopping centre in the heart of Mexico City is Pasaje Catedral, which is a religious shopping mall.
If you are at Zocalo in front of the Catherdal, you will find this indoor shopping alley just behind the cathedral. At six floors you can buy your catholic items like statues, crucifixes, dresses, Christmas cribs, really all religious pieces you could wish.
You can go there by metro, get off at station Zocalo. The shops are open from Monday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 7:15 pm. Some shops close at 18:00.
La Casa de los Azulejos (1½ hr)
La Casa de los Azulejos, or The House of Tiles, is a beautiful house in the historic centre of Mexico City. The façade is at three sides covered in azulejos (blue and white tiles) from the state of Puebla. This wonderful building was built in the 16th century and the mansion has an interesting history. In 1737 the Count and Countess of Orizaba ordered the renovation of their home and the placement of the tiles. From 1881 it functioned as a private men's club.
In 1917 it was converted into a drug store and soda fountain, which eventually evolved into Sanborn's, a chain of restaurants and department stores, which is what it is today.
This is a good place to stop for lunch, dinner or just a drink, while you enjoy the beauty of the building. Even the toilets are worth a visit.
You can enter the building from two sides. From the big shopping street Francisco Madero you can walk directly into the restaurant. If you enter from 5 de Mayo, you will see some small shops and bakeries first before you enter the restaurant. The address is Francisco Madero Street number 4. The nearest metro station is Bellas Artes.
Gorgeous local food at Mercado San Camilito (1 hr)
Just off Plaza Garibaldi you will find Mercado San Camilito. Normally a Mexican Mercado is a huge indoor and outdoor place consisting of hundreds of small stores specializing on clothes, crafts, vegetables or meats. But Mercado San Camilito is a wonderful market with mostly restaurants. And there are really a lot of small restaurants. To help you decide, hosts quickly walk up to passersby and tell them what makes their place special or offer you discounts on the menu prizes, or both.
This is a great place to eat real local Mexican food for a very reasonable price. You can go here for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The locals, including the Mariachis will have their food here as well, so if you’re lucky, you’ll get a free gig.
Restaurant Los Vegetarianos (1-2 hrs)
Mexican food is often greasy and consists mainly of beef and chicken. So if you want it healthier but still typical Mexican, go to restaurant Los Vegetarianos.
Los Vegetarianos is located in the pedestrian area in the historic centre at Madero 56. You will find the place at the second floor. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner but closes at 8 pm.
Don't expect a fancy restaurant, but at least it is something different. The staff speaks proper English and treats you like a friend.
Mercado Insurgentes (1-2 hrs)
Mercado Insurgentes is a crafts market tucked into the Zona Rosa. You will find a lot of goods here, like silver objects, jewellry, clothes, decoration and a lot of Mexican souvenirs.
Vendors in the maze of stalls are eager to bargain, and good buys aren't hard to come by. The market is open from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm and on Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. There are several exits of the market, but the official address is Calle Londres 154, Zona Rosa. The nearest metro is Insurgentes.
Gaudi Restaurant (2 hrs)
Hotel Imperial Reforma is a beautiful classic hotel at Paseo de la Reforma 64 with only 50 rooms and 15 suites. For more than 100 years important personages of the history in Mexico have been lodged in this majestic building.
One of the biggest attractions of the hotel is the Gaudi Restaurant. They serve dishes from high Spanish cuisine. You can enjoy the great service while you enjoy live music.
The restaurant is open seven days a week from 1 pm to 10 pm. Reservations can be made by phone: (55) 57054911.
China Bistro (1½ hr)
If you had enough Mexican food and like to try something else, go to P.F. Chang’s China Bistro at Paseo de la Reforma 222. The restaurant is part of a chain of over 200 restaurants mostly in the USA. Outside the USA are only two locations, and one of them is in Mexico City.
The restaurant was founded by Shanghai born Philip Chiang. The interior is very modern with classic elements. The place is decorated with copy statues of the terracotta army in Xi’an in China.
They serve food from different regions in China. If you like to check their menu first, click here.
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Language of the world
Of course you like to speak a few words of the local language onboard the plane or at your destination. Here you find some simple basics of the main language spoken in Mexico City.