Next Up

Mexico City Travel Guide: 16+ Things to See and Do

Find out where to stay, what to eat, and the best ways to experience this beautiful, vibrant city.

1 / 26
Photo: Shutterstock/Ramiro Reyna Jr.

Mexico City's Palace of Fine Arts

Traveling to Mexico City feels more like visiting a cosmopolitan, culture-rich European city (with no jet lag, and a blissfully short 3-hour travel time from my home base in Atlanta) than like the tourist-centric resorts Mexico is more often known for. Gay couples openly hold hands on the street, fashionable types in black leather and sky-high heels duck into trendy shops and restaurants; luxury chains and car dealerships dot the chic Polanco and hipster-thick Condesa neighborhoods and an incredible array of street art and sculpture demonstrate locals’ high regard for weaving art into daily life.

Speaking of the arts, the gorgeous Mexico City Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes), shown here, is the city's premier cultural center and houses a collection of art and plays host to a number of cultural events. Its stunning gold-domed exterior incorporates art deco and art nouveau styles.

More photos after this Ad

2 / 26
Photo: Shutterstock

Angel of Independence Statue in Mexico City

Some American travelers experience a certain level of trepidation when thinking about travel to Mexico. Beyond the usual resorts like Cancun and Cozumel, the rest of the country can feel like unknown territory. Television news stories of drug cartels and kidnappings haven’t helped reassure travelers. I received plenty of concerned looks from strangers and my own teenage son when sharing news of a trip to Mexico City. And while I appreciated their concern and desire not to see my face on the front page of the New York Times, I can report after five days in this incredible city, that I would return in a heartbeat, with son and husband in tow.

Editor's Note: If you are concerned about travel to Mexico or any other country, check in regularly at the State Department's website.

More photos after this Ad

3 / 26

Mexico City's Glamorous St. Regis Hotel

The 189–room skyscraper that houses the St. Regis offers stunning city views and a location at the center of all the action in one of Central America’s most vibrant, fun-packed cities.

The hotel offers a little bit of two worlds, both luxurious and dynamic. The hotel's location is close to some of Mexico City’s most interesting neighborhoods and the staff rightly describes this soothing, service-centric oasis as a resort within the city. With an in-house Remede spa and one floor given over to an array of health club offerings, including a juice bar, weight room, swimming pool and Kinesis and Pilates studios this is the kind of amenity-rich location that can make it tempting to hole up like a pampered rock-star-in-recovery and just treat mind and body to some amazing food and spa treatments.

You’ll also be in good company at the St. Regis Mexico City: Bono, Madonna, Christoph Waltz, Monica Bellucci, Daniel Craig, Gerard Butler, Sofia Vergara and Colin Farrell have all stayed at the hotel.

More photos after this Ad

4 / 26
Photo: Shutterstock/Mathilde Marest

Casa Pedregal

A stunning private home built by one of Mexico's most renowned architects, Luis Barragán (winner of the top prize in architecture, the Pritzker Prize, in 1980), Casa Pedregal is located in the tony Jardines del Pedregal suburb. The space is open for small appointment-only tours during limited hours thanks to its generous owner, art collector César Cervantes, who allows the public to appreciate this iconic Modernist masterwork. Built between 1947-1950, the home is one of Barragan's few residential projects (he only designed one residential project every 10 years). Resting on a bed of volcanic stone, the pink home is a symphony of light, space and rooms that feel both epic in their dimensions but genuinely warm and inviting in their character.

Stop by the equally impressive restaurant Tetetlan next door, the former horse stables for Casa Pedregal. The restaurant is many things in one; an architectural wonder with glass floors (the better to see the volanic rock underneath), a menu of delicious Mesoamerican dishes and a gift shop featuring high-end craft and design from Mexico and beyond.

More photos after this Ad