Mexico City: A Colorful, Vibrant First Visit

As someone who follows a lot of travel-related Instagram accounts, one thing I’ve noticed is that, periodically, certain destinations become “cool,” with everyone in my feed seeming to make a trip there. And, as a testament to the power of Instagram, I must confess that, on more than one occasion, seeing beautiful snaps of a destination on the ‘gram has moved it right to the top of my “must visit” list. Mexico City was one of those places.

Mexico City was my very first introduction to Mexico. As an American, that’s perhaps surprising; I feel like most people make their way to the beachy resort towns long before they ever consider Mexico’s capital. In my book, however, this big, sprawling, vibrant city is not to be missed.

During the first part of my trip, I was based in the Centro Histórico, aka the historic center of Mexico City. While you get a lot of bang for your sightseeing buck in this neighborhood, on my next visit, I’m definitely looking forward to staying in an area that feels more “neighborhood-y,” than touristy. Even so, I cannot deny that the architecture of this area is stately and stunning.

In addition to some beautiful architecture, I also found myself admiring all the colors and patterns of Mexico City. One of the best examples of this was Casa de los Azulejos – the house of tiles! This building is, as it name might suggest, covered in beautiful blue and white tiles.

I have to confess that I popped into the Palacio de Bellas Artes for practical reasons: it was really, really hot when I visited Mexico City, and sometimes a girl just needs some shade. That said, this building is definitely worth a stop. The outside is stunning: a huge, gleaming white marble facade. And the inside? It features murals by none other than Diego Rivera. Not too shabby for a sun break.

For yet more Diego murals, I headed to Palacio Nacional. This is basically Mexico’s White House – in other words, it’s the seat of the federal executive. In addition to housing some stunning, several stories high Rivera murals, this building has a beautiful courtyard and gardens. And by “beautiful gardens,” what I mean is: “I took a ton of cactus photos here.”

Museo Soumaya features a collection of Mexican art spanning centuries. It was fun to explore all the different art inside the museum but, to be honest, here, the exterior is the real attraction. Its dramatically curving tiles are a stunner, plain and simple.

Nearby the Museo Soumaya, I found a gigantic plant wall – and you know I always brake for those. I also stumbled into a random shopping center – Antara Fashion Hall – and it featured yet another gorgeous plant wall. Sometimes it pays to wander.

One thing that became abundantly clear during my short time in Mexico City was that I was only ever going to be able to scratch the surface of this city on my first visit. There are many restaurants, attractions, and even entire neighborhoods that I didn’t get a chance to explore: off the top of my head, I didn’t make it to Frida Kahlo’s house (I forgot to pre-book a ticket online, and the line was a nightmare), the anthropology museum, and a couple of the uber-famous, Michelin-starred restaurants. And while I was pretty bummed to miss out on those, Mexico City is close enough – not to mention affordable enough – that I have no doubt I’ll revisit it soon.

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