When we decided to go to Mexico City this summer, we asked around for neighborhood recommendations. The majority suggested we seek something out in the particularly fashionable neighborhoods of Roma, Polanco, or Condesa. We considered hotels—there’s something so comforting about the convenience of a bell desk where you can ask questions and arrange taxis—but ultimately decided we’d rather have the space of an apartment. There were actually lots of appealing options on AirBnB, but we chose a large, light-filled apartment in La Condesa—a residential, somewhat hip neighborhood just 4 or 5 km south of the Zócalo—for our five nights, and we were thrilled when we arrived.
One of the benefits of renting an apartment is that there is often some additional flexibility as to arrival and departure times. Our flight arrived around 7am (having departed Sacramento at 1am), but we were able to go inside and drop our bags, change the kids out of their pajamas, and get our bearings before heading out for the morning.
There were 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms—more than we needed, particularly considering how little time we spent inside—and they were lovely. I almost hesitate to share the listing because I could see returning time and time again (we loved it and the city).
It was a Saturday morning and the streets around the apartment were relatively quiet—occupied mostly by people out walking their dogs. Everyone had dogs—often multiple ones. Hudson was in heaven: “Hola! Can I pet your dog?” We saw a few dog-walkers, but most dogs were off leash, so the furry fellas would usually stop for Hudson just as the words left his mouth (and just as Skyler would begin squealing).
La Condesa is known for its Art Deco architecture and its parks—Parque España and Parque Mexico. But the whole neighborhood is lush and green. Larger streets had medians filled with plants, lined for pedestrians.
Every time we’d head out, I’d think how I could spend an entire week (or more) in this just area. It was as captivating as any cool neighborhood in any large city might be—with its sidewalk cafes, its bike shares, its well-dressed residents, and its little boutiques—and felt like a village within the bounds of an absolutely enormous city (the second largest in the world).
We ate out a fair amount in this neighborhood, as we’d often choose to start and end our day close to the apartment.
Cafe Toscana, with its prime position at the triangular intersection of two large avenues, beside a small mercado, was a favorite stop in the morning. (Note the banana with peanut butter—Hudson’s staple wherever we go—made possible by the fruit stalls at the adjacent market. The same kid who loved trying bugs is hard to budge from that morning routine.)
La Buena Tierra, where we stopped on our first morning, was also delicious.
We just asked for the server’s recommendations and everything was so good: eggs smothered in thick mole, fresh plates of fruit and smoothies, a cup of drinking chocolate, and a basket of fresh pastries came with really friendly service and a high chair for Skyler.
We spent the majority of our first day here, just admiring the parks and architecture and letting the kids roam for a bit (Hudson had fun photographing the neighborhood himself and I put his best work in an album on Facebook), before the travel caught up with them and knocked them out at nap time.
That was actually the only day we came back for a nap at the apartment despite having planned to use the apartment as a mid-day respite.
There was always just too much to see!
Other highlights of the colonia La Condesa:
Avenida Michoacán is the main street. Many of the city’s great restaurants and shops are found here or on streets that cross.
Parque Mexico and Parque Espana are shady and lovely—perfect for picnics. And, reportedly, Jacarandas that bloom throughout in the spring and are not to be missed.
Great bookstores include El Péndulo (pictured) and one at the Centro Cultural Bella y Librería Fonda de Cultura Económica Rosario Castellanos. It’s the largest bookstore in Mexico, housed in a cultural center.
Eateries that came recommended: El Forolito and El Kaliman for tacos; Frutos Prohibidos, The Green Corner, and La Buena Tierra for juices; Merotoro for seafood; and Neveria Roxy for ice cream. The hotel Condesa DF is supposed to have a great roof deck for cocktails.
And Sunday mornings when some of the avenues close to automobile traffic and the streets fill with cyclists.
P.S. Skyler fell in love with the little dolls in the apartment. We looked all over for them at the markets, to no avail; thank goodness the owner let us purchase one as a souvenir!
Also from Mexico City: Touring the Mercado la Merced.