Pesos, Quesos, and Besos: Mexican Culture comes alive in CDMX

This past week, we spent 5 days in Mexico City (or CDMX – “Ciudad de Mexico”) and it was one of our absolute best trips yet! From the vibrant culture to the friendly locals to the very, very low cost, CDMX checked off so many items on our wish list and a few more we didn’t even know we had.

So, let’s dive right in and we’ll share why we think Mexico City should be next on your travel list!

Culture and Language

Mexico City exudes culture. Almost every street corner has a mural on it and even their construction fences are adorned with a mix of surrealist and Dia de Los Muertos artwork. The colors are bright and vibrant and showcase the excellent talent of the local street artists.

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Hi Frida!

In addition to art, music and dancing are a huge part of the Mexico City culture.  On our first full day, we strolled out of our Airbnb onto Av. Paseo de la Reforma (a main street in the city) and stumbled directly into a free dance exercise class.  Of course, we had to join in!

Markets or Mercados are also a large part of the CDMX culture.  You can find a huge open-air market near the Palacio de Bellas Artes, a beautiful art museum modeled after the opera house in Paris.

At these markets, you can find pretty much everything you need from clothes to souvenirs to hand-made goods.  And all of it is very cheap.  Take the price you think it will be and divide by 2 or 3 and it’s likely that’s how much it costs.

We’ll talk more about the exchange rate later!

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Don’t speak much (or any) Spanish? 

Don’t worry, CDMX is definitely still a great place to visit.  Many restaurants have English menus and many locals speak at least some English.

However, we’d still recommend learning some basic expressions so you can find the bathroom, say thank you/how are you doing, and order another drink! (the important things, of course…)

We also had a great time and tons of exposure to local culture on our Airbnb Experience with a local host named Rafa, where we visited 3 local cantinas.  We learned history and interesting facts about the city we would never would have learned otherwise. We would highly recommend this experience and even made a few friends!

 

Finally, we highly recommend stopping by the Anthropology Museum, which not only has great exhibits on Mexican culture (including very cool Incan and Mayan sections) but also features a beautiful open-air plaza with plenty of shaded area.

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Cost

Mexico City is incredibly affordable. As of today, one US dollar = about 19 Mexican Pesos.

Here are a few of our costs for the trip (in USD to keep things simple):

  • Uber rides: $2-$5 for a 10-20 minute ride
  • Meals: $15 for an average lunch with drinks for 2 (our most expensive dinner was $40 for 2)
  • Airbnb: $58/night (modern, new apartment in a desirable area)
  • Massages: $70 for 2 for 90 minutes (!)

Food and Drinks

Food and drink are an integral part of Mexican culture and we certainly took advantage of both while we were in the city.

It should be no surprise that tacos in Mexico City are amazing.  You really can’t go wrong here, but make sure you walk a little bit beyond the tourist spots to find where the locals eat.

Also, you can find street food on almost every corner. Do not shy away – try some of the amazing and cheap food that is offered. The smells are incredible and the food was some of the tastiest we had all trip!

Also, make sure you order a Michelada (beer with lime juice and a salted/spiced rim of the glass).  You won’t regret it!

P.S. Don’t miss the churros!

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Neighborhoods We Loved

Roma

The Roma neighborhood is a favorite of ex-pats and is dotted with tons of indoor/outdoor restaurants and bars.  If you have a nice day and want to eat outside, we highly recommend choosing a restaurant on the Fuente de Cibeles circle.  It was absolutely beautiful and relaxing. We also scored a free beer to wash down lunch!

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Coyoacán

Coyoacán is best known for being the home to Frida Kahlo, a Mexican painter who has developed a very strong cult following lately.  The museum was closed when we visited the neighborhood, but we really enjoyed the local market, great bars and restaurants, and beautiful scenery. Most museums are closed on Monday so make sure to note this if traveling during the week,

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Take the 20-minute uber ride from downtown to this neighborhood, you won’t regret it!

La Condesa

La Condesa is located only a short walk from Roma and is equally worth a visit.  In this neighborhood, you’ll also find the massive and beautiful Bosque de Chapultepec and the Chapultepec Castle. It is the CDMX equivalent to Central Park in NYC.

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If you’re looking for somewhere to run, exercise, or stroll, this park is for you!

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Book Your Trip!

We did not have much planned ahead for this trip and we are so glad we left our plans relaxed. CDMX is massive and there is SO much to see and do. We mostly walked around and explored all the culture and beauty this city has to offer.

So what are you waiting for?

Book that trip to Mexico City and experience a beautiful, vibrant, affordable city and culture!

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