John Nielsen travelled to Mexico city to find a capital filled with culture, great hotels and restaurants.
It was never high on my list of countries or cities to visit, but wow what a great
city! It now has leapfrogged a few other great cities on my list writes John
Nielsen on a recent visit to the country and city!
A relative made the statement last year that “she had to visit the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City before she died” …… well that statement got a few ofthoughts going and plans were put in motion to actually make this happen! BUT first I had to look up what this museum actually was all about…
Getting there is easy than I thought. Mexico has plenty of international direct
flights from major cities, be they London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong or LAX (but that Iwould avoid). The national airline Aero Mexico is part of the Sky Team alliance withKLM and Air France if you are coming from Europe and in the US & Asia Delta serves most big cities, so plenty of options and few excuses!
The airport is located very centrally and is only a 25 to 30 minuets drive into the city.
Temperatures reach between 25 and 30 degrees in the summer and the air is fresh
giving plenty of growth to a wonderful fauna and flowers. Mexico City lies 2500
metres above sea-level and I was advised to be careful being in a city so high above sea-level, but I must admit this never became an issue for any of our fellow
Where to stay?
As one of the world’s largest cities with a population of 22 million people Mexico City is spread out, but surprisingly easy to get around in. A good friend had
recommended the area of Polanco which is home to a great range leading domestic & international hotels and serviced apartments including: Hyatt Regency, JW Marriott, InterContinental, Holiday Inn. They proved a great place to stay.
The “village” is an affluent neighbourhood and has gained a strong reputation for style and safety where embassies, designer boutiques and excellent restaurants. It is only a short distance from key museums. The tree lined streets are a delight to walk around and gives you the feel you could be in the southern European capitals of Madrid, Paris or Lisbon.
Other places to stay
The next suburb towards downtown is the financial centre of Mexico City, where most leading banks and hotels including Four Seasons, St Regis, Sheraton are located along the stylish Avenue Paseo de la Reforma that extends through the city.
Home of culture.
The city has an amazing number of gorgeous museums that are rich in history and
superb artworks. Mexico has a wonderful history dating back many hundred years, which is displayed at the brilliant National Museum of Anthropology. Superbly designed by architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and opened in 1964 the museum covers 33,000 square meters of gallery space and takes you on a journey through the 10 tribes who ruled and laid the foundations for Mexico and the many artefacts that were restored and saved are now on display.
Location of the Museum
Located in the Bosque de Chapultepec park which is also home to the other attractions including the zoo, it sprawls over 1700 acres. This is wonderful park to walk around or go for a morning run. You will need a good few hours to fully appreciate the history and move around the many beautiful displays.
The museum opening times
The museum Opens at 9.00AM until 7.00PM and it is worth getting in early so you can avoid the rush around midday, tickets are 75 Mexican Pesos or US$5 and the museum is closed every Monday, as are many museums in Mexico City, so make sure if you are planning a more cultural trip to the city you take this into consideration.
More Art and Culture in Mexico City
If you need more art and history then head to the modern art museum and explore works from leading artist including the famed national artist Diego Rivera who even has his own boutique museum “Museo Mural Diego Rivera” in the Alameda park.
This is home to the 20-metre-long mural that was brought across from the now Hilton Hotel, when Mexico City was struck by the huge earthquake in 1985. Other ideas include sightseeing along the main walking streets to the Plaza de la Constitución, the massive main square also known as the Zócalo, which is home to the main cathedral and the Presidential palace.
To complete the Diego Rivera art-theme, you must visit and do make an online booking at Museo frida kahlo the “blue house”, the home and birthplace of the wonderful Mexican artist Frida Kahlo who was married twice to Diego Rivera. As a tribute to their love and her life the house was converted into a tribute museum to his love of his life. The blue-house gives you a great sense of their
life and the wonderful art created inspired by the deep love for each other and the
world of art.
The Fridah Kahlo museum is located in the Colonia del Carmen neighbourhood of Coyoacán and is a good 20-minuets drive from downtown. Make sure you arrive well in advance so you can take in the sights of the town, which has a stunning church and a couple of excellent pastry shops!
Have a great meal or three!!
Mexico’s dining scene is in general very good. The area of Polanco is home to
plenty of excellent dining options, including Harry’s Grill, Saks and for wonderful
seafood and a really great Margarita and service, try Agua & Sal seafood restaurant, located just opposite Hyatt Regency’s main entrance.
The other surprise for many is the quality of the local wines, which are mainly grown in northern Mexico. The restaurants wine list offer a great selection of wines from Argentina, Chile and California, so a good opportunity to explore wines that you may not think to try.
Take a boat and visit the University.
The canals of Xochimilco are located a good 25-minute drive from the city centre.
Here you can find traditional riverboats that take you on a small trip past the many gardens along the river. The boats are like Mexico, full of colour and life, with musicians playing traditional Mexican music and locals doing their part to create a floating party.
As you head towards the river-cruise make sure you stop and admire the University of Mexico, which as a centre piece has the library building. It has a huge mural designed and created by none other than Mr. Diego Rivera. The university is home to 300,000 students and has a 90,000-seater soccer stadium… so by all means not the average university!
Go and explore the coastline.
Mexico is of course a country with two huge coastlines that have been a key reason and basis of the tourism industry. With famous holiday spots as Acapulco, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Los Cabos to name a few, there is plenty of opportunity to combine your visit to Mexico with a stay at one of the many resort towns.
The resort towns are well serviced by flights and most leading hotel chains offer a great variety of accommodation. The only slight strange thing is how “Americanised” some of the resorts spots have become with often menu’s in restaurants displaying only American prices, but oddly enough in the wine list prices are in local currency!
Overall Mexico offers travellers a wonderful array of diversity and was a real
pleasant surprise. The amazing colours, friendly warm people, great dining and
hospitality is really what Mexico is about. We agreed that our image was far flung from what we actually experienced.
The trip has given us further reasons to returnand explore more of both the fascinating city of Mexico, but also coast and the many superb resorts that are on offer.
John Nielsen has spent 20-years living in Melbourne and over 30 years in
the global hospitality industry having worked across three continents and in 12
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