In the wake of the worst earthquake in thirty-two years, Mexico has been resilient, its citizens united and banding together to help where needed. Yet still, it's important to stand with them during this time, especially as a tourist.
As if there weren’t already a million reasons to visit, many of Mexico City's most popular destinations by the earthquake. “As the city gets back on its feet, we feel even more committed to shedding new light on the crucial role of design and architecture in the rebuilding of our city and our shared future,” said Emilio Cabrero, General Director of .
If you weren't aware, the city offers a global fusion of art and design suffused with local flavors and an ancient culture present at every turn. The food is delicious, the people are warm and friendly, and it only takes a walk through a park to be bowled over by the city’s impressive design heritage. In light of Mexico City's prestigious spot as the , we’ve compiled just a few of the million reasons why now is the time to visit.
The Food Is As Good As You’ve Heard
Whether you’re ordering cochinita pibil (Yucatán-style barbecued pork) off the menu at a local cantina, tucking into a four-course seafood feast at , or simply grabbing your morning cappuccino and a guayaba (guava) pastry from , Mexico City is a great place to bring your appetite.
At , a light and airy restaurant overlooking lush greenery, executive chef Josefina López Méndez serves up her own spin on fresh Mexican fare. Her aguachile, a type of Mexican ceviche native to the North of the country, is served with tuna rather than the customary shrimp; a suckling pig taco seems like quite the delicacy in Méndez's hands (though the kids across the table from me washed it down with Sprite.) Tostadas de escamoles, native to Pachuca state, are served with an avocado crema — a Mexican twist on avocado toast if ever there was one.
Escamoles, for those who don’t know, are ant larvae. And they are delicious. They’re on the menu at many CDMX hotspots, but sing on the menu at , one of chef Eduardo Garcia’s restaurants, where they’re reimagined as part of a balanced breakfast atop huevos rancheros. (Also, their French toast is unbelievable.)
Design Is In Their DNA
When you think Mexico City and architecture, you think Luis Barragán — and rightfully so. But there’s so much more to the design scene than day trips to Casa Gilardi.
Design Week Mexico’s Head of International Communications, Benoit Loiseau, recommends , a massive concept store he likens to Merci in Paris. The ground floor offers shoppers an Assouline bookshop as well as Café Eno, from superstar chef Enrique Olvera, while the second floor showrooms feature a mix of local and international designers including De la Espada, Neri & Hu, Apparatus, Souda and Artelinea.
“After the earthquake it became very clear that people have the ability to organize and build great things,” said Lucía Soto and Andrea Flores of the design firm . “We truly believe that teamwork is the key for rebuilding the city; [through] design we can rebuild our society and reinforce our love for one another."
Enter the city’s contemporary architects, helping to shape its present and future. , half of the design duo behind the city’s popular , walks me through one of his works-in-progress in the Condesa neighborhood where native volcanic stone and indigenous woods are used throughout. Mexico City native , co-founder of architecture firm , has completed multiple residential and commercial projects throughout the city for , a sustainable development company committed to urban regeneration.
Their marquee collaboration, , is a former derelict colonial mansion reimagined as a mixed-use residential and commercial creative hub, home to a popular French restaurant of the same name, as well as a hidden sushi restaurant, co-working space, shops and offices. (Housing units proved to be so popular that the architect himself couldn’t get one.)
Independent designers are also thriving in the city; co-founder Age Salajõe’s recently launched first collection, Sacred Ritual Objects, exploring religious belief and ritual through artisan craft — and it looks like you could find it in . “The past weeks have been extremely challenging, shocking and heartbreaking, but we are coming through it stronger than ever,” Salajõe says. “A lot of great minds are uniting to produce beautiful projects and moving Mexico City and the rest of the country forward with a more solid foundation.”
The Art World Turns Here
The art world is humming along in Mexico City, where new work from emerging and established local artists catches the eye of serious collectors from around the world. Aside from prominent museums like Museo Jumex, Museo Soumaya and Museo Tamayo there are a number of established contemporary art spaces worth seeking out.
One of the city’s most popular, , was founded by Mónica Manzutto, José Kuri and Gabriel Orozco in 1999 as a roaming gallery dedicated to spotlighting independent artists creating work that thwarted commercial viability. The gallery has been in its current location, which formerly housed a lumberyard and an industrial bakery, since 2008. “I believe the design and arts communities can both come up with solutions for reconstruction,” says the Kurimanzutto’s Julia Villaseñor, citing the work of , a group of architects working towards more sustainable building and conservation initiatives.
Cultural upstarts like , , and , a young gallery where early-career artists like Keke Vilabelda, Manuel Solanos, Kanako Namura and Ana Segovia take center stage also have room to flex their artistic muscles. And it’s not just local talent that’s on the scene; last year, New York-based curator and founder Karen Schaupeter held a residency with gallery and community space featuring the work of North American artists Marc Hundley, Ye Rin Mok, Winslow Laroche and more. Needless to say, there’s a lot to see down here.
The Suite Life Is Real
There are no shortage of great design hotels in Mexico City, awaiting travelers at both ends of the spectrum. At the absolute highest end you’ll find the ’s two-story Diego Rivera suite — the largest in Latin America — in the posh Polanco neighborhood. The very presidential digs will set you back about $14,000 a night for a space outfitted as if it were a private residence. There’s an indoor pool and spa amenities as well as a fully stocked bar on the patio for taking in the stunning view of the city 40 stories below.
Stay at the InterContinental Presidente Mexico City from $161 per night.
On the much, much more affordable end is the , in the city’s leafy Condesa district. Rooms boast interiors by India Mahdavi and start at the reasonable rate of $150 a night. The rooftop terrace overlooks the Castillo de Chapultepec gardens and comes alive in the late afternoons and evenings with a sociable crowd that wouldn’t be out of place in LA.
So, what are you waiting for?
Stay at the Hotel Condesa DF from $150.