Mexico City: World Class Jewel

If you’ve never visited Mexico City (CDMX) or researched it, what are some images that pop into your head? Before our first visit in October 2017, despite researching and talking to friends who had previously visited, I just never imagined how lush, vibrant and satiating it would be to step foot on this street food and cultural mecca.

Mexico City No Car Sunday
Streets closed to cars on Sunday

Mexico City spans the gamut of qualities that make it highly liveable and a special treat to visit. Sure, like most large cities, it has problems related to crime, income and opportunity inequities, and pollution. Yet, trek through the city, and you’ll see families enjoying the vast green spaces, architecture, public arts and the head-turning array of culinary delights. The locals are more than friendly. That the word amigo/friend is part of the colloquial is not an accident; family and friendships are core to their sense of identity.

Mexico City Metro
Extensive metro system

One of our favorite aspects of Mexico City is the extensive and cheap* 5-peso per ride metro. After our flight from LAX, we were tired and had thought about taking an Uber, but it looked like it would have taken the same amount of time via metro to get to our hotel in Polanco. So for us, it was a no-brainer to spend 5 pesos vs 145-180 pesos. More taco money!! I notated the “cheap” above because while 5 pesos was about 30 cents, as a proportion of the Mexican average hourly wage of ~31 pesos, it’s more than a small amount for a large swath of locals. Click to read this article for more insight.

Mexico City Modern City
The city’s modern side

Our 2017 visit was shortly after the major earthquake. We saw fallen buildings and closed off sections, especially in Roma and Condessa neighborhoods where many foreigners tend to visit. We also were reminded that one must continue to carry on as people were still out and going about with their day.

Mexico City Park in Roma
Our friends are shy

Almost 1 year later, we had our second visit to celebrate our friend’s 40th birthday, and while there were remnants of the damages, one could hardly imagine what had taken place before. I didn’t read up on how the disaster recovery process went so I’m simply relaying my observations.

Mexico City Food Stall
First food stall of the morning

No mention of Mexico City would be complete without a brief on its copious street food. Certainly for us, it was one of my main goals to meander and taste as food stall after food stall. Ryan always seems to get extra appreciation from the locals as he loves the less common parts e.g. ears, brains, eyes, stomach and loads up on the spicier sauces.

One last taco before airport

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