Hola, ¿Que Pasa? Katie here (@outlawson), Fauxgerty West Coast Brand Ambassador living in Long Beach, by way of LAX- because I’m also a flight attendant! I’ll be dropping in from time to time with #FauxOnTheGo, a travel series where I share transit tips and wander guides to cities in the US and beyond. Spring has sprung, and if you weren’t able to sneak in a little spring break getaway can I make a suggestion for your next excursion?
Mexico City! It’s an ideal destination for those whose work schedule won’t allow for more than four days off in a row- being no more than a five-hour flight, you’ll spend less time in transit and more time on the ground getting a quick fix for your International itch.
¿Habla español? I don’t, and was able to get along just fine. I mean, okay, most of the time I didn’t know what anybody was saying, and it was really embarrassing so I just nodded, looked confused and smiled, all while blushing a lot- and this is precisely why travel is good for you. Language barriers pave paths to goofy grins that have the ability to transport you even further from your initial destination- in a good way. Roll with it. Also, many food service and shop clerks seamlessly switch over to English once they perceive your Spanish struggle is actually real. Sometimes humanity is just too kind. Google translate is cool too though.
Do you want the hustle and bustle of downtown or a serene neighborhood on the outskirts? Mexico City is the most populated city in North America. There are more people living in CDMX than NYC, and the traffic is worse than LA. I always opt to stay in an Airbnb in a neighborhood on the cusp of where all the action is, that way I can take everything in and decompress it as I walk to and from wherever I want to be. So yeah, you should probably just stay in Roma Norte or Condesa. These laid-back urban pockets are similar in rhythm to the West Village in NYC or The Marais in Paris, and are where you’ll be trying to get to from downtown anyway. Uber is the most convenient and efficient transportation option.
Rosetta - Enchanting ambiance with a rustic, lush interior, alongside a pastel and mint green color scheme of dreams. Food-wise, there’s a new menu each week due to the strict seasonality of produce. The fare is traditional with a modern, minimal, ingredient-focused flair. Proprietor and chef Elena Reygadas received the 2014 Veuve Clicquot Prize for Latin America’s Best Woman Chef. I shed a tear into my pasta after the first bite because it surpassed my comprehension of astonishing.
Panaderia Rosetta - Pastries both sweet and savory casually brought to you by the proprietor of Rosetta. Coffee is exclusively sourced from small, Mexican producers. This cafe is more of a grab and go establishment unless you can snag a seat at the bustling counter or at one of the benches out front.
Pujol - The restaurant that put Mexico City on the world wide culinary map by James Beard recognized chef, Enrique Olvera. Save yourself a headache and make your reservation months in advance. Known for Mole Madre, a mole negro sauce that has been “kept alive” for more than two years. If you’re unable to dine at Pujol, try Eno, an unfussy lunch spot from the same chef.
Churros el Moro - So, you've got to eat a churro, and this place has many ways to customize them! These folks have been making cinnamon and sugar-coated pastries since 1935 starting with one single cart, and are now in brick and mortar spaces speckled throughout the city.
Ojo de Agua - Casually hip breakfast and brunch spot. A neighborhood anchor- many patrons were working on laptops or engaged in meetings. Best acai bowl I’ve ever had in my life. They also have a juice bar. It does get busy, so if you don’t like to wait, get there early or try another of their multiple locations!
Los Loosers - Kind of want Mexican, but also craving Asian? And you’re vegan? No problem, this place has got you covered. Everything is cooked from scratch each morning, and the menu changes daily.
Mercado Roma - Trendy food hall in Roma Norte with a variety of eateries. Ideal if you’re with a group of people because there are so many dining options.
La Merced - The largest traditional public market in Mexico City with plently of produce, sweets, butchers, spices, and food vendors. Prepare to be overwhelmed and unable to walk its entirety. You might consider getting a tour guide to take you through the market to its most notable stalls, especially if you’re short on time or have any dietary restrictions that you may not be able to convey clearly in Spanish.
Coffee - There is an abundance of artisanal coffee shops roasting locally sourced beans throughout the city. Some of my favorites are Forte Bread & Coffee (try the Kouign-Amann), Buna 42, Dosis Cafe, Casa Cardinal, and Cucurucho.
Bosforo Mezcaleria - An unintimidating speakeasy. You’ll know you are at the right place if you are standing in front of an unmarked black metal garage door. Dark and divey meets candle-lit and classy. Known for purveying small batched Mezcal that is so rare you’ll likely never have an opportunity to encounter it again. Housed in a cozy space, it will be standing room only if you don’t head there before dusk. Let their passionate waitstaff place the perfect flavor profile in your hands. Bosforo is an intimate bar that really knows it’s stuff.
Licorería Limantour - Extensive menu of classic craft cocktails, accentuated by locally made liquors and seasonal ingredients. Clean, unpretentious art deco atmosphere.
Carla Fernandez - This designer works directly with Mexican artisans who hand dye and weave textiles to create contemporary garments inspired by indigenous clothing. It’s a winning attempt to preserve traditional Mexican culture by pushing it forward to intersect with the innovative future of design. An all-around beautiful message, and by far my favorite place in CDMX to shop.
Goodbye Folk - Killer, well-curated vintage. Styles for every look or occasion. Custom made shoes. A notable selection of hats.
Ciudadela Market - Artisanal folk market great for wares and colorful goods that scream “Mexico!” without being cheaply made or touristy. Think handcrafted hammocks, linens, baskets, children’s toys, copper utensils, etc. It too is a massive labyrinth. I wasn’t able to conquer the entirety of the place even after two visits. Oh, and don’t be afraid to barter!
Teotihuacan Pyramids - Established in 100 BCE, this was the largest urban center of Mesoamerica before the Aztecs. The location contains its original city structures which feature multi-family residential compounds and pyramids named after the sun and moon. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most visited archeological point in Mexico. The pyramids are located 25 miles northeast of Mexico City, about an hour bus ride from the Northern MXC bus station.
Chapultepec Castle - Built in the mid 1700’s, this is the only royal castle in the Americas. It is still completely furnished, and lavish beyond belief. The space also contains The National Museum of Cultures which serves as a great lesson on the history of Mexico. I later learned it was also featured as the Capulet Mansion in the 1996 blockbuster William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. So, like, Leonardo DiCaprio was there.
Casa de los Azulejos - There’s an age-old debate about the reason behind why there are tiles on the House Of Blue Tiles, but all you really need to know is that it’s entirely stunning and painful to walk past without stopping for an Instagram picture.
Palacio Postal Palace Office - Near Casa de los Azulejos and at the historic center of the city, this palace is worth strolling through just to peek around at its marble floors, winding staircases, and Spanish Rococo/Art Nouveau architecture.
Airbnb Experiences - Airbnb has partnered up with natives in select cities to bring you a variety of experiences and activities designed and led by local hosts. These events give immense insight into the community and culture of an area, and there is something for everyone! (Examples include: walking, photography, or market tours, artist workshops, community dinners or tastings, etc.) I attended a Mezcal class, and thoroughly enjoyed every drop. If you do book one of these events, I’d recommend planning it for the first or second day or your trip. Everyone becomes buddy-buddy and shares the highlights of their travels so far. By attending the experience first, you can carve space into your itinerary to check out other recommendations.
It does go without saying that part of the charm of travel is to not know where you’ll end up. Exploring a far-flung foreign city with too many destinations on your bucket list can quickly start to feel like less of a vacation and more like a chore. Make some plans to not have plans, and always follow your internal magnet. I hope you get a little lost in the right direction.
Blue skies & tailwinds,