Mexico City a.k.a Mexico D.F. (short for Distrito Federal) holds the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere with a population of 21.2 million people. To give you a rough idea and a visual of the magnitude of this population, the City of San Diego is about 375 sq. miles and holds a population of 1.3 million people while Mexico City is only 200 sq. miles larger. Are you mind blown? My reaction was the same. It holds 20 times more traffic, 20 times more businesses, and 20 times more everyday day activities. To say the least (and excuse my french) it can be a bit of a shit show but let’s keep calm and read on to ease the anxiety.
Like any other foreign city it can be a bit overwhelming, but the wonders that it holds compensates for all of it. Trust Me. I had been to Mexico City plenty of times (since I have family that lives there) but I had never felt the excitement I felt for this particular visit. First of all, it was my first trip of the year and Mexico City had just been chosen by the NY Times as the #1 city to visit in 2016. So many things to do, so many things to see.
I had originally planned this trip to attend a wedding but decided to stay a couple of extra days to be a tourist. Sadly, I did not get a chance to see even half of what Mexico City has to offer due to time constrains but I tried to squeeze in as much as I could and accommodate the thousands of recommendations I received. I simply will have to narrow it down to my favorite 3 places from this visit, otherwise this blog could continue forever.
Situated in New Polanco, Museo Soumaya is what I like to call a well-rounded art experience where you can enjoy art from all over the world and different eras. Best part? FREE entrance. With over 66,000 pieces of art, anything from surrealism to impressionism to renaissance art to contemporary pieces the Soumaya holds an elaborate art collection. During my visit I got to experience a temporary exhibit of Rodin’s sculptural pieces in bronze that were simply stunning. The most beautiful part of this Museum is the architecture by Fernando Romero and its exterior hexagon tile shell. A must see in Mexico City even if it is just from the outside.
Museo Rufino Tamayo
Before attending The Tamayo built by Architect Rufino Tamayo in 1981, I was warned that if the exhibits were not completely breath taking the building design would distract me from the art. The museum itself is small but if you are an architecture enthusiast you will very likely appreciate this building and the use of natural light, lines and various forms. Simplicity and minimalism makes this museum a true piece of art on its own. At the entrance of the museum sits their most prominent exhibit and in this case it did not disappoint. The exhibit “Hand Me Down” by Nairy Baghramian is a large scale installation that is just astounding upon arrival. This exhibit will reside at Museo Rufino Tamayo until March 20th 2016.
Mercado Roma is like our version of a farmer’s market only that it is permanent and oh boy! the food and design is AMAZING, everything from the communal sitting areas to the bathrooms to the flooring and typography. This space consists of three levels, one restaurant, two bars and has everything from local wine, food, beer, body products and merchandise. This is the ideal place to relax with friends and pick up glass of wine or a local beer and walk through a maze of dessert, cheese, sushi, and taco stands to later on enjoy in the communal sitting areas. Another option is to head to the roof top on the third level and enjoy specialty cocktails and ambient music in the mixology bar.
I have to say that I am not disappointed with my express trip to Mexico City, but I must return to finish what I started. Hopefully this can happen sooner than later since Mexico City is growing at an exponential rate. I would suggest a minimum of 7 days to fully experience what this metropolitan city has to offer and enjoy the curiosities of its food, people and culture.