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Mexico City

After Seattle and Tepoztlán, we spent the last day and a half of our vacation exploring Mexico City.  Wow, what a place.

The expansiveness of it all is pretty mind boggling.  Even though we made sure only to travel during non-peak times, the subways (3 pesos per ride = 23 US cents!) were unbelievably crowded.  We also traveled often by cab because of the reasonable prices, but even then we avoided traveling between 5pm and 9pm because of the traffic.

We stayed in the Roma/Condesa neighborhood with an Art Deco vibe and spent the majority of our time there and in Coyoacán, which has a rather bohemian feel to it.  Both neighborhoods were fantastic and I’d recommend them if you’re trying to pinpoint a culturally stimulating and lovely homebase for your travels to Mexico City.  But keep in mind, in contrast to other places in Mexico (like Tepoztlán), restaurant prices are on par with what one might expect in Europe!

View from Torre Latinoamericana
View from Torre Latinoamericana

Frida Kahlo

My top wish was a visit to Frida Kahlo‘s house in Coyoacán.  Her house, where she both grew up and also lived during her marriage to Diego Rivera, is well maintained, colorful and full of her private belongings — including her painting supplies, which were arranged exactly as they were when she was alive.  If you don’t already know her personal and professional history and/or admire her work, you might be disappointed by the limited amount of her paintings on display.  But for admirers, La Casa Azul is fantastic and a real insight into her private suffering.  If you travel to Mexico City, I highly recommend a visit!

Frida Kahlo House
Frida Kahlo’s paints
Frida Kahlo House
Frida Kahlo’s dining table

Diego Rivera

We also spent a bit of time in the Zócalo, or central plaza of the city, but our main goal was to make it to the Palacio de Bellas Artes, which houses a number of famous murals by Diego Rivera and other Mexican artists.

Palacio de Bellas Artes
Palacio de Bellas Artes

Perhaps the most impressive was Rivera’s “Man, Controller of the Universe“, which was originally painted in Rockefeller Center in 1933, but eventually rejected and painted over because of  its hints towards socialism and communism.  Rivera eventually repainted it at the Palacio about a year later.

Man, Controller of the Universe by Diego Rivera
Man, Controller of the Universe by Diego Rivera

I must say I was way more impressed with Mexico City than I expected to be.  It’s a vibrant cultural center with a lot of energy and a million museums and sights to enjoy.  If you visit, make sure you leave yourself enough time to take it all in.  Unfortunately, we were limited by time, but I’m still glad that I got a small taste of what the city has to offer.  The next time I travel to Mexico, I’ll make sure to spend a few more days there!

The complete set of photos of our visit can be found here.

Have you been to Mexico City?  What were your impressions?

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