Mexico City is often synonymous with drug trafficking and corruption; however, there is much more than violence to this bustling city. Culture buffs, who venture to the largest city in North America, will be rewarded with an incredible amount of art, culture, archaeological sites, historical buildings and much more. From a tour of the Teotihuacan Pyramids to spending a day in the Museo Rufino Tamayo, there are a number of ways to—safely—make the best of Mexico City.
WHERE TO STAY
By far, the best hotel to truly enjoy the art scene in Mexico City is the Starwood Hotel brand Le Méridien Mexico City. Nestled on the corner of Paseo de la Reforma, Le Méridien Mexico City features a number of conveniences that will satisfy any art junkie’s appetite.
Upon entrance, guests are greeted by the brand’s arrival artwork, a unique black chandelier, created by Gwen Vanhee, creative developer at Little Miss Robot. To the left hand side, there is artwork projected on the wall of Le Méridien .The pieces are a collection of videos and photos shot by fine art photographer Gray Malin. Once you’re all checked in, guests enter the property’s elevator where they can enjoy a curated soundtrack created specifically for Le Méridien hotels by Nouvelle Vague, French cover band led by musicians Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux.
The newly renovated property features 160 suites. Classic Suites as well as Superior Suites offer the choice of one king-size or two double beds, with breathtaking views of Paseo de la Reforma and the city’s skyline. Premier Suites has more space and a king-size bed. For longer stays, prospective guests should opt for the expansive Corner Suites, which boast larger bathrooms and two closets. If you’re traveling with children, we urge parents to take advantage of Le Méridien’s partnership with the LEGO Group. Children up to age 12 will receive a LEGO toy to enjoy during their stay and take home as a keepsake. If you’re traveling with your furry friends, the hotel is pet-friendly. Feel free to request a bed for your pet.
The property also features complimentary signature breakfast with distinct flavors from local cuisine as well as Eye Openers, a shot of unconventional ingredient pairings that expose you to the most intriguing local flavor.
Through a unique program called Unlock Art, the hotel offers guests the opportunity to explore local cultural institutions. Not only is your hotel keycard a work of art, but also it provides you access to the city’s leading cultural centers.
WHAT TO DO
Balloon Ride Over the Teotihuacan
Just 31 miles northeast of Mexico City is the Teotihuacan, the city of Gods. One of the most visited archeological sites in the country, the ancient ruins is also one of the most important civilizations in Mesoamerica.
Start your tour from a height of over 950 feet, on a sunrise balloon ride over the ancient civilization. Once you descend, head over to a Teotihuacan artisans shop. There you will be able to purchase unique souvenirs indigenous to the area such as ponchos, table clothes, organic almond and cinnamon tequila, the first alcoholic wine (it’s also an aphrodisiac) and much more. Finally, during your tour of the complex making up the city of Teotihuacan, climb 243 steps to get to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun, the highest construction in the complex.
Tour the Museo Rufino Tamayo
Founded in 1981, the Museo Tamayo produces original exhibitions of the international contemporary art scene. In addition, the museum features modern and contemporary art collections as well as the oeuvre of its founder, the artist Rufino Tamayo. Guests of Le Méridien will have complimentary access to view a number of artworks from the likes of Rufino Tamayo, Pablo Picasso Wolfgang Tillmans, and Isamu Noguchi, just to name a few.
Recognized as a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), downtown Mexico City is a mixture of XVII century with industrial architecture. We highly recommend visiting the Palacio Nacional and the Mexico City Cathedral.
Bonus locations to visit:
Ballet Folklorico de Mexico
Museo Memoria y Tolerancia
WHERE TO EAT
Tori Tori in La Condesa
Don’t be fooled, you may be in Mexico City, but you can still devour traditional sushi and authentic Japanese cuisine. Perched on a round about at Amsterdam 219, Tori Tori features not only amazing Japanese fare, but also beautiful views of La Condesa.
La Buena Barra in Polanco
As you enter this ultra-chic eatery in the plush neighborhood of Polanco, it is easy to forget you’re in Mexico City and not New York City’s swanky Meatpacking District. With chart-topping music blasting from the restaurant’s speaker and impeccable service La Buena Barra is, by far, a must-visit. Spend the night satisfying your taste buds with an assortment of fare or simply enjoy the view of Polanco while sipping on delicious signature cocktails.
You cannot visit Mexico City without indulging your taste buds in local fare. Located in the heart of the hustle and bustle of downtown, Café de Tacuba has quite an interesting history behind its inception. Once a convent, restaurant-goers will see reimagined portraits of the nuns who once dedicated their life to the religious community. Still facing the Café there is a church belonging to the convent of Santa Clara, Library of Congress.
While relishing at the unique artwork, one can enjoy decadent Mexican cuisine. We highly recommend the chile en nogada.
All the aforementioned locations, minus the Teotihuacan, are in close proximity of Le Méridien Mexico City. After an exciting trip to Mexico City, it officially has our stamp of approval.