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24 hours in Mexico City

View from Mirador Torre Latino

Before the world stopped earlier in 2020, I had the chance to take a quick business trip to Mexico City. I was there for three days, but in only one of them was I free to explore some places in the city that surprised me so much.

I didn't have a lot of time to research and organize my itinerary(only four days between the confirmation of my departure and the flight, plus a lot of preparation for my actual work presentation in the middle), but having a friend who lived there for l an exchange program and the 9-hour long flight with wi-fi helped optimize my short time in the city.


There is nothing like starting the day at Zócalo, the historic center of Mexico City. I went straight to the Metropolitan Cathedral to thank for the unexpected opportunity to visit it, and to admire the grand Baroque construction with five altars and 14 chapels.

Metropolitan Cathedral

Then, I passed by Casa de los Azulejos and tried to go to the Museo de Bellas Artes, but on Sundays entrance is free and the line was going around the corner. So I decided to change my perspective and see the city from above. The Mirador Torre Latino is the tallest building in the city center and in the 1950s, when it was built, it became the tallest building in Latin America. There are 44 floors and a panoramic view of a city that stretches for many kilometers, since it is in an area of high seismic risk. The mountains and the volcano around the city can also be seen on clear sky days. I left the observatory thinking if I would have enough time to get back to see the sunset, which is certainly stunning.

Casa de los Azulejos (House of tiles)


As I got hungry, I was still in the City's historic area, and I grabbed the opportunity to eat at the centenary Cafe de Tacuba. Crowded, but huge, the place is charming. Its colorful decor, friendly mariachis and spectacular food make it a must go. On top of all this, it is open daily from 8 am to 11 pm. Oh… and they say that breakfast there is also a must.

Cafe de Tacuba

I took a brief look at the menu, but decided to trust the waiters' recommendation. I ended up starting with a drink made with the traditional Jamaican water (an iced hibiscus tea) and mezcal. The main dish, however, exceeded all my expectations. It's called Cuatro Cositas and, although not so visually interesting, it is worth each of the many bites of chicken tamale, chicken taco, enchilada, guacamole and beans. If you have company, share and ask for a smaller option, like tacos, to complete the meal.

After the banquet, I needed a long walk. I then went to the Bosque de Chapultepec, where the castle of the same name is located, and also where the Museo Nacional de Antropología lies - the only place that I would not give up on the trip. I was right, the Museo is a required stop. However, here's the warning: take your time! Set aside a few good hours to calmly visit each room. With each step I took in the exhibition, I felt more connected to the history unveiled there and more aware that, despite the language differences, Brazilians are deeply Latin American.

Anthropology National Museum


It was already night when II ended up leaving the museum and the park. I took the opportunity to buy some goodies at a market fair there and had a quick and surprisingly delicious dinner at La Casa de Toño, a kind of Mexican fast food that was close to the hotel. Great for a simple meal after a tiring day or even a quick lunch between one tourist attraction and another. I ended the tour early, as I needed to prepare for the next day of work. Were it not for that, I would have visited Licorería Limantour, one of the best cocktail bars in the world.


After wrapping up work , I decided to optimize my time between the checkout at the hotel and the departure to the airport. I really wanted to see one of the two museums related to Frida Kahlo and the choice was not easy. As I also wanted to have lunch, and had gotten a recommendation for a place near the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, I went there. I have to confess, I was surprised by the huge and traditional houses at the region. This ends up making it easy to identify what was once the artists' home, almost an affront to the elegant neighborhood.

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo House Study Museum

The construction is divided into three distinct buildings that served as a studio, photographic studio and housing for the artist couple in the 1930s, and where Rivera remained until his death. In addition to the studio and personal objects, the architecture of the house, signed by the Mexican Juan O'Gorman, also makes it worth the visit, which is a short one, ideal for those with limited time.

For a completely different experience, go across the street and get a table in the inner courtyard of the San Angel Inn restaurant, once the site of a colonial farm and a Carmelite monastery. On a Tuesday, I didn't have to queue for lunch, but the waiters warned me that the place is usually quite busy on weekends and nights for romantic dinners. The price is a little higher than average, but the service is superior and the menu is sensational. Highlight for the Aztec Soup and the Acapulqueño Ceviche.


As it was close to my office in the city, I stayed in the Colonia Juárez neighborhood which was a pleasant surprise. It is a safe neighborhood, and I felt safe; it is close to the historic center and the Bosque de Chapultepec, which made getting around very efficient for a person with limited time.

As I couldn't afford to get lost on the subway, I took an Uber and went straight to the places that interested me. At the beginning of February, although life was still going on normally, Mexico City already had confirmed cases of Covid-19, which reinforced my decision to avoid public transport.


The limited time also forced me to skip several sights I wanted to get to, keeping them on my wish list. I'll be back soon (preferably on vacation), to calmly explore the Museo Frida Kahlo, the Basilica de Guadalupe, and Teotihuacán, the oldest city in the Americas and a UNESCO heritage site. Ah! Another round of Cuatro Cositas is also planned, of course!

Is there anything missing in my list? Tell me in the comments!

To learn more:

Mexico City historical map

The complete paintings of Frida Kahlo

Forever Frida

Frida for beginner readers

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