Visit Coyoacan and San Angel neighborhoods; until the middle of XXth century they were small towns outside the metropolitan area (about 15km south of downtown), which later engulfed them. They have preserved a more traditional little-town Mexican architecture with (mostly) quiet streets. Walk over Francisco Sosa Street to watch traditional balconies and stop in Santa Catarina Garden. The house of the painter Frida Kahlo, now a museum, is located on 247 Londres St. (almost at the corner of Allende St.); it can be an interesting place from an etnological point of view, however if you want to watch her paintings you should go to the Museum of Modern Art in Chapultepec Park; the house has very few paintings.
For those interested in literature: This neighborhood was the home of Gabriel Garcia Marquez when he lived in Mexico City; One hundred years of solitude was written here.
In my opinion, to see Mexico City start on the Zocalo. There is lots to see within easy walking distance. (National palace, Catedral, Templo Mayor, Alemeda park, Bellas Artes, Garibaldi Plaza and much more.) This is the cultural and political center of the city. I would suggest a hotel on the Zocalo if you have the money or within a few blocks which allows you to see these things at your leasure.
Fondest memory: Was it the day I was locked in the Ministry of Education with the Diego Rivera paintings and 15 classes of elementary school children? Or was it the night and early morning when I learned you should not avoid a high quality club when it might have the four most beautiful flamenco dancers from Grenada (usually there is only one out of a group four who can dance and is beautiful), Or was it the evening with 3 mariachi bands playing three different songs simultaneously in the Tenampa club on the mariachi plaza with the patrons singing along with the band closest to their table. Or was it when the fat lady patron sang to us at the restaurant "Fondo de Recuerdos" at 3 in the afternoon on a Monday before a flight home. I have years of these and other memories, and I could never chose the best.
Favorite thing: Spend a Saturday walking from Coyoacan to San Angel. Coyoacan has a beautiful, diverse, and exceptionally clean covered market. The central square always has a festive atmosphere, and there are often Reggae bands playing (though primarily on Sundays). The Frida Kahlo 'Blue House' should not be missed. The walk to San Angel is about 30-40 minutes, but a nice change from the hustle of central Mexico City. Once in San Angel, the artist markets will take up most of your time. Restaurant La Mora, on the left just past Plaza San Jacinto, is a great way to get a birds-eye view of the markets while eating tasty, inexpensive Mexican food.
Favorite thing: I always enjoy roaming the markets, though I rarely ever buy anything. Mexico City has many, many markets of course, but I really like the market area that spreads north, south, and east from the Templo Mayor. It is very big and often very crowded with lots of nik-nak to check out.
Modernism was characterized by magnificent skyscrapers that sprung up in neighborhoods such as Polanco, one of the most exclusive and famous neighborhoods of Mexico City.
This zone is a large residential area west from downtown - across from Chapultepec Park - and distinguished by its cultural diversity, because in this zone live foreign comunities mainly from Europe and Middle East.
Mexican culture in all its manifestations can be admired at the quality museums that can be found in Polanco, Also, this neighborhood offers the visitor entertainment possibilities during the day and at night.
In addition, its sophisticated way of life is carachterizated by the amount of trendy restaurants, nightspots, shopping malls, designer shops, art galleries, chic boutiques and the first class hotels that gives to this zone a cosmopolitan character.
The longest avenue in whole Latin America starts in Basilica zone, north edge of the city, to lead us to the Tlalpan District, south edge of the city, and it is often intersected by other important streets, so you will find heavy traffic at all times.
It is one of the most important avenues of the city, that has parks, public squares and monuments, shopping centers, restaurants and bars, offices and bussines centers, hotels, apartments and residences, schools and universities, theatres, cinemas, museums, cultural centers and exhibition halls...
From downtown to the north there are a lot of popular, even dangerous, nighborhoods and the only one important place for a tourist travel could be the Basilica de Guadalupe (Basilica of Guadalupe).
There are many important neighborhoods and Districts along and arround Insurgentes Av. from downtown to the south such as Del Valle and N?poles, Roma, Hip?dromo, Condesa, Escand?n, Mixcoac, Guadalupe Inn, San Angel and others.
There is also the Ciudad Universitaria (University City) and the Cuicuilco archeological site.
Some of this neighborhoods have turned into the most prestigious of Mexico City thanks to its central location and pleasant mood that reflect the cosmopolitan air of the zone. Others have a traditional mood and ancient history, others a bohemian air or an intelectual character.
To sume up, Insurgentes Av. is a place to discover and enjoy Mexico City in a friendly way.
Wherever you go, whatever you do, sampling the local beer is definite must!!!
What do the locals drink, what beer is most popular, which beer is hardest to find, does it come in a half pint glass just like grandma used to drink…or better still, a full pint glass like I drink??? These are all good questions that need to be answered...
Politicians and Partisans aside, raise a beer to the Mexican Flag… Although my all time favorite Mexican beer is Tecate, which I particularly like ice cold and from a can, I found myself hitting the Negra Modelo quite often during my last trip through Mexico…
It seems there are two major Mexican breweries crafting a variety of brands in Mexico; Modelo (Corona, Modelo, etc.) and Moctezuma (Sol, Dos Equis, etc.). So, whichever brewery happens to sponsor the bar you happen to be in will dictate which brands are available….
For some reason, I was always in a bar controlled by Modelo....whether I was drinking in the hard rock club Mundo Corona in Cd. del Carmen, Campeche, an even more seedy strip club in Paraiso, Tabasco or the Salon Corona in the D.F., Negra Modelo was there and it was my friend…
Here I am at the Alameda on Avenida Juarez.
The park was created in 1592. It has sparkling fountains, monuments and shady trees.
At one time heretics were burned here by the Inquisition.
A typical Sunday afternoon at the Alameda will offer live music, markets and food stalls.
Favorite thing: Mexico City shouldn't be missed. It has so much to offer. From a relaxing boat ride in Xochimilco (see pic) to a stroll in Chapultepec. It has so many nice museums that you can spend a week in here without seeing them all. I would definitly suggest a visit to Museo Nacional de Antropologia. Speaking of museums, check out the local newspapers for the free days. This may change once in a while, but when I went there I got free access to several museum on Sunday.
Visit the Santo Domingo Plaza, the second most important colonial square after the “Zócalo”.
The old plaza was twice officially renamed in the 20th century: first as the Corregidora’s Garden (in honour of Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, an independence patriot), then as the May 23 Plaza (in commemoration of the National University’s autonomy, won in 1929). However, for the public the name has always been simply “Santo Domingo Plaza”. It is one Mexico City’s loveliest public squares, partly because it is surrounded by a number of buildings having great architectural and historical significance. The Santo Domingo Convent, the Palace of the Inquisition, the old Customs House and the Evangelist Arcade were all nerve centres in Mexico’s spiritual, economic and social life in colonial times. In addition, the Plaza is all the more significant because all buildings around it date from the same period, making it one of the capital’s most homogeneous squares.
For more info and pictures look at my Santo Domingo Plaza travelogue please…
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