Mexico City: Jet-Away (MEX)
I love Mexico City - and everything it has to offer. If you are looking for a place with some of the best museums, restaurants and sites to explore - -Mexico City fits the bill!
It's a short flight away from most North American cities - but when you arrive you are going to think you are in a whole new world. The size and expanse of this metropolis is really next to none -- and it is brimming with history, energy, and a mix of hipster/colonial charm! There is so much to see in this city -that I can't cover all of it in this post. Here are some of the highlights - -but no matter what, make sure you leave ample time to explore this destination!
My favorite part of town to stay in is Polanco. It's a charming neighborhood - and well positioned to explore the rest of the city. It has some of the best eateries and shopping as well. Make sure you stroll along some of its streets -- - where you will find all kinds of impressive mansions and colonial buildings. Polanco is also situated right next to Chapultepec Park which is home to some of the most impressive museums in the world - - namely the National Museum of Anthropology. This is a complete show-stopper and is filled to the brim with Aztec and Mayan treasures - -most of which are jaw dropping. You can't visit Mexico without stopping there.
For lovers of Pre-Colombian history - the next stop should be the Templo Mayor in the heart of downtown. This is the site of the most important religious complex in the Aztec Empire - and it shows. The scope is impressive - - and it is well worth the price of admission. Besides the actual museum - you can walk on an elevated path over the excavations, temples, and centuries old buildings. There are sites right out of Indiana Jones- -including the ghoulish Wall of Skulls!
Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral
The Templo Mayor is right next door to the massive Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, which was built on top of many former Aztec religious sites. And your eyes aren't playing tricks on you when you look at the building -- it is actually lopsided and sinking! Pop inside to view the impressive Altar of Forgiveness.
One of my favorite spots in the whole city is the National Palace -- where you can see some of the grandest murals by Diego Rivera. You could literally spend hours pouring over these paintings, which adorn the stairwells of the palace. They depict the history of Mexico and they are truly breath taking! A must see for any lover of art - or aficionado of Mexico's past.
Finally, there is a relative new kid on the block when it comes to museums - -and that's the Soumaya Museum. I am a complete fan of modern architecture - and this place made me gasp! It is right out of Star Wars - and would look at home in Dubai. I could have spent two hours outside - - just admiring the building. The inside has a lot to offer as well. Besides showcasing the largest collection of Rodin sculptures outside of France, it has a stellar interior design and layout. There are a series of wrapping, continuous ramps, which are reminiscent of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
SANBORNS - LA CASA DE LOS AZULEJOS
It might sound odd to recommend what is essentially the Denny's of Mexico - - but you can't visit Mexico City without grabbing a bite at this popular eatery. The chain's flagship restaurant is located in the 18th century palace La Casa de los Azulejos - in the heart of downtown. The building's facade is covered in 1000's of blue tiles - hence the name. The restaurant itself is located in an impressive central courtyard. Diners can enjoy popular Mexican dishes including Enchiladas Suiza and Chilaquiles Verdes (my personal favorite and must have each time I visit).
DANZA DE LOS VOLADORES
If you visit Chapultepec Park or the National Musuem - save some time to watch the Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers). This is a enthralling ancient Mesoamerican ceremony where 4 men twirl upside-down off a 30 meter pole - -while a fifth plays a flute at the top. It is definitely death-defying and fun to watch. Once the flyers have hit the ground they mingle with the audience, which gives you a good chance to see their native attire and meet them up-close. There is no charge, but a tip is expected - -and performances occur throughout the day. The Voladores installation is directly opposite the entrance to the National Museum.