How to do Mexico City Like a Local

Check out the can't-miss attractions, restaurants and more in CDMX.

If anyone knows Mexico City, it's Gina Lozada, co-owner of Ignacia Guest House in the heart of the trendy Colonia Roma neighborhood. The exclusive guesthouse, which has just five exquisite suites, is actually a renovated mansion from 1913, named for a housekeeper who worked there for more than 70 years.

We asked Gina to share her picks for the can't-miss attractions, restaurants and more in Mexico City. Grab your passport and head for the border.

Chapultepec Park

Chapultepec
A panoramic view of the city from Chapultepec Castle, the only royal castle in the Americas, located at the top of Chapultepec Hill. Getty Images

Chapultepec is the oldest and largest urban park in Latin America, and one of the oldest urban parks in the world. "They call it one of the city lungs," says Gina. "It's a huge green space just at the heart of the city."

A breathtaking 1,700 acres, Chapultepec is home to a zoo, the National Museum of Anthropology and Lago Menor ("small lake"), where boats are available to rent.

Between Paseo de La Reforma, Circuito Interior and Av. Constituyentes.

The National Museum of Anthropology

National Museum of Anthropology
The fountain at the entrance of the National Museum of Anthropology, with Mayan and Aztec jaguar and eagle motifs. Designed by Pedro Ramirez Vasquez, the museum houses artifacts representing all major regional Mexican cultural and ethnic group, with world-class displays and architecture. Getty Images

​Mexico's largest museum, el Museo Nacional de Antropología is also the most visited. It houses a singular collection of art, crafts and relics from ancient civilizations—like the Mayan, Toltec and Teotihuacan—to current indigenous peoples. "Their ground-floor halls are dedicated to pre-Hispanic Mexico and there's so much to see," says Gina. "Don't miss the opportunity to visit."

Av. Paseo de la Reforma s/n, Polanco, Bosque de Chapultepec I Secc 11560​

Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) in Alameda Central Park near Mexico City Historic Center (Zocalo) on December 2, 2018. Getty Images

The stunning exterior of the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Alameda Central is carved from white Carrara marble and features murals by some of Mexico's finest artists, including Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and Siqueiros. "It's a venue with so much history," says Gina, "but it's also an artistic center and a museum."

The Palace has hosted some of the most notable performances in the county's history as well as important painting, sculpture and photography from both Mexico and abroad. It's a work of art itself, incorporating breathtaking elements of Art Deco and Art Nouveau.

Av. Juárez, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, 06050

Mercado Jamaica

mercado jamaica best of mexico city
Getty Images

For Instagrammers, Gina says this vibrant flower market is a must. (In Spanish, jamaica means hibiscus flower.) There's more than 5,000 types of flowers and plants here, plus an array of spices, fruits, vegetables, meats and ample souvenirs.

Mercado Jamaica is also a popular place to buy piñatas, especially during Las Posadas, the pre-Christmas celebration in Mexico. Most are cardboard covered in crepe paper, but you can also find traditional ones with a clay pot in the center.

Guillermo Prieto 45, Jamaica, 15800

Contramar

contramar
Contramar

Come to Contramar for amazing seafood, like tuna tostada, sautéed octopus tacos and fresh fresh served with salsa verde and roja. Gina suggests finishing your meal with a shaken carajillo, a sweet-but-potent espresso cocktail that's Mexico City's unofficial party drink.

Durango 200, Col. Roma, 06700

Restaurante Nicos

Nicos
Nicos

Regularly topping "Best Restaurants" lists, Nicos serves "traditional Mexican food taken to the next level," according to Gina. Founded as a small cafeteria in 1957, this slow-food haven evolved into a citywide favorite that balances formalness with festivity. Chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo is known for favoring locally sourced ingredients and unique dishes like the sopa seca de natas ("dry cream soup"), full of chicken, tomatoes and baked poblano.

Avenida Cuitláhuac 3102, Colonia Clavería, 02080​

Xinu

XINU_PERFUMES_21-1-1024x685
Xinu

Xinu ("nose" in the Otomi language) carries ethnobotanical perfumes incorporating materials and fragrances native to the Americas. Definitely worth a visit just to see the showroom, located above a "secret" garden in the posh Polanco district.

161, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, 11560

How to do Mexico City Like a Local | Culture