Many of Mexico City‘s visitors spend a lot of their time visiting the “must-sees” like Zócalo, the Templo Mayor, and the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlán; the amazing museums, the palaces. While these things are worth seeing, it is important not to spend too much time queuing with fellow tourists!
Our Spotters would love you to learn more about the incredibly diverse population; that there is a story hidden behind every corner; how diverse the city is in its colors, lights and flavors, never ceasing to amaze and surprise you; and how it’s the mix between old and new, beautiful and ugly that keeps the city dynamic. To help you explore these complementary and complex layers the next time you visit, here is a selection of 12 unique gems spotted by locals in Mexico City. Enjoy!
Hidden oasis in an urban world
Huerto Roma Verde is a wonderfully versatile urban garden. Organic cosmetics for sale, a space for animal protection, summer courses and festivals are only a few of the things you’ll find here. It’s a great initiative, especially in a city where green conscience is still quite rare (although this is starting to change). Another charm of the place is that it is located in the city center, but is relatively little-known – a true hidden gem.
The garden is powered by the community, and is supported mainly by donations and the events that take place within it. It’s a great place and a little lung in the heart of the city that strives to improve and enrich our lives through a connection with the earth.
Contemporary art in the city
Museo Junex was opened by Eugenio López Alonso, the owner of the biggest juice company in Mexico (Jumex). It houses his private collection of contemporary art as well as temporary exhibitions that change every few months. The museum is located in the Polanco neighborhood (next door you can also find Museo Sumaya, another architectural icon in the city).
Apart from all the big-name exhibitions, the cool thing about Museo Jumex is that it’s seriously investing in the local scene. It sponsors and commissions works by local artists, and supports local arts publications and galleries.
A zero-waste bazaar
Mercado Cero is a monthly bazaar that was born in 2018 when four amazing women decided to create a space for like-minded people who wanted to join the zero-waste movement. The project itself and all the products on offer were created by passionate and creative people. This really becomes tangible when you talk with stall owners about what they are doing, why they are doing it and what they would like to accomplish.
At Mercado Cero, you will find everything you need to become a zero-waste expert and do so in style. Products offered at this place are of high quality and have trendy designs. You can find an incredible variety of items, too, from bamboo toothbrushes to biodegradable coffins.
Local entrepreneurs’ market
There are so many wonderul bazaars in Mexico City, we couldn’t help but add another one to the list. Mexicans have been working on shifting their consumption trends to support local production, so local markets and bazaars are becoming more common and interesting as time goes by. The Weekend Bazaars held at the house/restaurant Doméstico are another good example.
Each weekend, a different bazaar is hosted at Doméstico, and chances are you’ll find very different products every time you visit. Items range from honey-based shampoos to bunny sneakers and everything in between, and all are created by locally-based and truly passionate entrepreneurs.
Go back in time and have a drink
This place is perfect for people who love ’80s, ’90s, goth and rock music. The Unión de Trabajo Autogestivo Bar started off as a place for goths to meet, but has since grown to welcome a mix of urban tribes. It’s located inside a big old house with four different rooms, each with its own unique vibe and a different genre of music. And perhaps best of all, entrance and drinks are fairly cheap!
Don’t be afraid of how the street looks at night – there are a lot of bars in the area. However, if you are from a foreign country, please do not walk with your cell phone texting in the streets as if you were Little Red Riding Hood – this applies to all of Mexico City.
A story about water
In the middle of Chapultepec Forest you might stumble across an unexpected hidden place called Cárcamo de Dolores. It’s a space created by the architect Ricardo Rivas and the well-known Mexican artist Diego Rivera, dedicated to the history and issues of water in Mexico City.
Outside lies a huge fountain dedicated to Tlaloc, the pre-Hispanic god of water. Indoors, the museum is decorated with a tremendous mural painted by Rivera that tells the story of the flow of water through the city. There is also a sound installation by the Mexican artist and musician Ariel Guzik, giving a unique and eerie atmosphere to the space. Entering feels like stepping back into a city of old Mexico, far from modern chaos and close to nature.
A hidden gallery with all-day breakfast
Yume is simply an all-round chill and comfortable spot. Behind huge glass doors you’ll find an international food restaurant and coffee bar, a small bookstore, and a beautiful art gallery. The gallery’s name is Pimpa and the people in charge have really nice taste, featuring a variety of Mexican artists. Yume is also a good place to work. It has a big table with lots of plugs, and you can sit there for hours without anyone bothering you.
And as for the food – Yume has a large breakfast menu that you can ask for at any time. For lunch there’s a menu of homemade vegan and non-vegan sandwiches. And don’t hesitate to try a dessert: their specialties like cookies and vegan matcha brownies are delicious.
Mother nature united with human creation
The Espacio Escultórico honors the balance between a natural landscape and the beauty of human architectural art. It was inaugurated in 1977 as an attempt by the sculptor Federico Silva to shape the geometric sculptural movement that existed at the time.
The site is naturally composed by volcanic stone, endemic trees, and plants from the Pedregal area. There are several sculptures of different shapes, and which encompass natural elements such as the four cardinal directions. Walking around the place, and even climbing on the sculptures, gives a sense of connection with both the surrounding nature and the geometric universe and certainly makes us reflect on the tiny place we occupy within it.
The Vasconcelos Library, named in honor of Jose Vasconcelos for his contributions to education in Mexico, is not just a library. It is a cultural palace where you can find everything from a nice garden away from the noisy city, to musical instruments like a guitar, piano, and violin.
The library has one of the most complete collections of books in town: whether you want to read some world literature, a science book, or get into the history of Mexico with a storybook, the library has it all and more. It also hosts free concerts, movies and workshops. Besides its great cultural wealth, the library’s architecture is impressive, and you can get a nice view of the surroundings through the large windows.
There is always time for tea
Shaktea is a paradise for tea lovers, where the second most consumed beverage on the planet is served with passion, care and love. It is a tiny space, with only four tables, but has a relaxed vibe due to details like live plants, incense and shelves of tea books.
The tea menu at Shaktea includes special pure teas and a few blends. After making a selection, you are presented with a tiny tea ceremony: the tea-ware is purified with hot water, then the tea is “awoken” with a very brief infusion, letting the scent fill the air. The personal attention that goes into the preparation makes for one of the best tea experiences anyone can have.
Electronic hot spot
Foro Normandie hosts a variety of events: while it is primarily an electronic music club featuring both local and international DJs, you’ll also find art exhibitions, fashion runways and stand-up nights here.
The venue has a very interesting architectural style, and the interior is structured in a way that benefits the spread of sound. The minimalist vibe makes the space feel like “a blank piece of paper ready to be filled each night”, in the words of Spotter Cris.
A lovely and historic street
Avenida Francisco Sosa is the main street of Coyoacán, a neighborhood that stands out from the rest of the city because of its traditional and colorful atmosphere. Originally, it was part of the pre-Hispanic road network of the city, meaning it is a street with more than 500 years of history.
Here you will find one of the few colonial bridges that are still standing, the Fonoteca Nacional (a music library) with its lovely garden, Plaza Santa Catarina, and the great churros of Churrería General de la República. Take your time walking along this lovely street and discover what it hides behind its heavy trees and colorful facades.