What makes Mexico City have that makes it so special?
If you ask our Spotters they would tell you it’s the incredibly diverse population, that brings a unique type of beauty to the daily life in Mexico City; it’s that there is a story hidden behind every corner; it’s the how the city is so diverse in its colors, lights and flavors that it will never cease to amaze and surprise you; it’s the mix between old and new, beautiful and ugly that keeps the city dynamic and vibrant.
Here are some of our picks for some of the most unique, locals gems in Mexico City, in the words of our very own team of Spotters.
Hidden oasis in an urban world
Urban gardens are a great concept in themselves since it can be a welcome contrast with concrete big city life. Huerto Roma Verde is one of these hidden pearls. It is not just a hidden garden, but also has other extra’s to offer from selling your own organic cosmetics to festivals.
The beauty of the place is that it is actually in the middle of the city, quite literally the city’s green and beating heart. It runs mostly on donations and thrives on the community. So if you’re ever in need of a little break or if you are interested in one of their events don’t hesitate to visit!
If I must choose, my favorite part about Huerto Roma Verde is “El Gatario” that could be translated as “a place for cats”. This is a space dedicated to the care and the protection of animals — Cris Guasch
Cinema lovers unite
I love myself a good cinema, and as a student, I’m always on a pretty low budget. So thank god for places like Cineteca Nacional, where the ticket prices are low! These accessible prices are possible since it’s a public institution, which also means there are discounts for students, teachers, kids and seniors! The place was built in 1984 (wow!), and got renovated in 2012. New cinemas were added, but also other fun stuff like restaurants, cafés and book & film shops!
The cinema doesn’t just show the big block busters but has a wide variety of movies and genres. They show a lot of amazing non-commercial films, old classics, documentaries, shorts and works from up-and-coming filmmakers from all over the globe.
I love spending a Sunday at the Cineteca Nacional with friends, lying down on the grass before enjoying a film, and then having some drinks and dinner at this cool place called “La Chicha”, all that in the same place — Armando Tovar
Intimate theatre performances
Teatro en Corto (close-up theatre) is a very special theatre in Mexico City. It’s a house with rooms that are adapted to be theatres, each of them housing their own little performance! Don’t forget to bring something to drink as the rooms tend to get quite hot. The rooms are quite small but do draw lots of people during the day. Since the rooms are so small it makes for a nice, intimate setting and it kind of feels like you are part of the performance.
The plays are quite short and they have different genres such as comedy and horror. Lucky for us it’s also not expensive, so well worth a little visit!
I would say that Teatro en Corto is a perfect plan for a Saturday night, and after that, I love to have dinner in the area – there are very nice places closeby — Cris Guasch
A market by local entrepreneurs
At the weekend bazars at Doméstico (a house-restaurant in the Condesa neighborhood) you will find many different types of products offered by local entrepreneurs. You can find anything from honey-based shampoo to cute bunny sneakers. The businesses change every weekend, so you will find something different every time you visit! Next to products you can also find some fun activities on offer, think of small adoption centers for animals or gigs with local artists!
It’s a great way to see the things that the future of businesses in Mexico City will bring. Next to that it’s a great place to make friends, have a nice chat with locals or even network. Mexicans have recently been working to shift their consumption trends in order to stimulate local and national production.
Surely you will find a great product and will be supporting the dreams of an entrepreneur with your purchase — Andre Maldonado
Reconnect with your inner child
Papalote is a very well-known museum for Mexican children, and although we’re considered adults now this place is still fun to visit, especially on Thursday nights. The special thing about Thursday nights at this place is that it opens its doors to adults! You will find special activities, artists and other experiences to keep that inner child inside you alive! Honestly places like these can be a really refreshing change from serious adult life.
The museum offers theme nights and various activities such as drawing nights, bands, romantic evenings, artistic interventions and even singles’ nights.
Learning and playing does not have to end at a certain age — Cris Guasch
Go back in time and have a drink
This place is perfect for people that love ‘80s, ‘90s, goth and rock music (and for the adventurous people amongst us). The Unión de Trabajo Autogestivo Bar (U.T.A BAR) started of as a place for goths to meet and has later grown into a place for a mix of urban tribes. It’s inside a big old house with 4 different rooms spread over 2 floors. Each room having their own unique vibe because they all play different music.
They have nice cheap beers and the entrance is 40 pesos if you go after 19:00. Fridays and Saturdays are often the best days to come and enjoy music. But on weekdays they often have activities too, like free movies on the last Thursday of the month.
On the first level, the party in the main room starts at around 23:30 – at that time you get possessed by a dancing spirit — Rafael Murrieta
Hidden in the forest
When taking a walk in Chapultepec Forest you might stumble upon this pretty hidden gem. Cárcamo de Dolores has both an inside and outside space to explore. It was created by architect Ricardo Rivas, and famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera.
Outside you’ll find an enormous fountain dedicated to the Prehispanic god of water, Tlaloc. The fountain is actually so big, you can see it from an airplane! The indoor space is a museum established in a functionalist buildig, decorated with an amazing mural by Rivera. The paintings tell the story, issues and flow of water through Mexico City. The museum also features a sound installlation by Mexican artist and musician Ariel Guzik. Sound bounces off all the walls and every corner, making for an interesting atmosphere.
It was nice to recognise the importance of water in our everyday life and also to think about the subaquatic world. It is perhaps my most important discovery this year — Maria Fernanda Garcia
A little bit of mother nature combined with human effort
The Espacio Escultórico of UNAM is a place that connects the beautiful nature from mother earth and manmade architectural art. It was epened in 1977 as an attempt by sculptor Frederico Silva to shape the geometric sculptural movement of that time.
The main complex consists of multiple triangular structures, and on a circular platform between the triangles you can find 4 spaces that are oriented towards the 4 cardinal points. These 4 cardinal points represent the worldview of Pre-Hispanic cultures. The nature surrounding the architecture is naturally composed by volcanic stone, endemic trees and plants from the Pedregal area. The second part of this place consists of 6 smaller sculptures, just as beautiful as the main one.
You can discover the place however you want, whether it be by climbing the sculptures or entering the circle in the volcanic environment. Just make sure to be respectful of the environment.
Walking around the place, and especially climbing one of the triangles of 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 in it — Rafael Murrieta
The Vasconcelos Library in Mexico City is not your average library. It’s named after Jose Vasconcelos due to his contribution to education in Mexico. The place is a true cultural fairytale home to a variety of different spaces and activities, think of a nice garden to musical instruments you can play. It has one of the most complete collections of books, eat your heart out here because you will find something you like in every genre.
Activity-wise they have a children’s area with games and books, but also a place to learn Braille (something that has been on my bucket list for forever)! If you’re looking for something more active to do I recommend checking out their website where they advertise different workshops, conferences, movies and concerts (for free!).
Even the building itself is impressive, the architecture is gorgeous and they have a nice garden to relax in.
Why not get up-to-date by reading one of their newspapers and magazines? — Rafael Murrieta
There is always time for tea
Shaktea is a tiny little place, with only four tables surrounded by cushions to sit on. This place is a true gem for tea lovers! The vibe is very quiet and peaceful due to the attention to detail, from nice plants to incense and books about tea. The menu offers special pure teas and some blends, all served with meticulous care and love. They even use different types of tea-ware according to their different types of teas.
Ordering tea here is not just like ordering tea here, you get a real experience here. When ordering tea you are presented with a little tea ceremony. The tea-ware gets purified with hot water and the tea gets ‘awoken’ with an infusion. Afterward the tea is prepared and served, enjoy!
One of the aspects I love most about tea is how many things it can makes us feel, and Shaktea is the perfect place to discover tea in new ways — Andrea Maldonado
Electronic, minimalistic hotspot
Foro Normandië hosts all types of events, but they’re usual is electronic music from both local and international DJs. But that’s not all they do, you can also go there for art exhibitions, fashion runways, stand-up nights and all kinds of parties. Check out their facebook page to see what’s happening!
Next to hosting great events, the architecture of the place is also amazing, and it benefits the sound of the music played. They have a nice minimalistic vibe going that’s very on trend right now, and makes for some good photo ops!
Between the dancing and the crowded events, this venue gets really warm, so try to wear a light outfit – you will thank me later — Cris Guasch
A burst of color in the city
At the Saturday Bazaar you will find a rich assortment of colors and textures to feast your eyes upon. Even if you don’t feel like buying anything, it’s great just to stroll around at this bazaar. The place is located in the heart of San Ángel.
You can find a large range of products made by independent artists such as paintings, sculptures and jewelry. The great thing is that they’re made according to current trends, but also keep traditional crafts alive.
For many years, I have visited this site and I just like it — it puts me in a good mood — Cris Guasch
For more hidden gems, check out the Mexico City city blog.