This is Mexico City!

It has been a few years since we all traveled to Mexico City, but we are still talking about it! It remains one of my favorite destinations and I can’t wait to go back. I recall, at the time, that it was challenging to find many guidebooks—we cobbled together an itinerary using magazine articles and a few blog posts.

Around that same time, I started following Abby Clawson Low’s move to Mexico City on Instagram, wishing I’d had all of the geotags when we were doing our planning. I could only have dreamed of actually having all of her suggestions in a published book as our guide—which is exactly what we will be using on our next visit!

Her This is Mexico City has just been released—a visual and descriptive guide with an emphasis on design, art, architecture, and culture, showcasing the best museums (both traditional and off-the-beaten-path), old-school mercados, public art, locals’ favorite restaurants, and more.

I asked Abby if she would share the inspiration for writing This is Mexico City, along with some of the questions would-be travelers ask her most often…

What was the impetus for writing This is Mexico City
Because I have three young sons, when we were recent arrivals in Mexico we went out to see all of the sights to keep busy and to get to know the city. I have an Instagram account that I maintain as a visual record (@abbyclawsonlow). My Instagram quickly became a visual love letter to Mexico City — full of images of the patterns, architecture, colors, public art, and culture that I encountered daily. From the photos I took, I made a list keeping track of all of the places I had seen, the ones I wanted to see, and the places I had been told about by local friends. This list grew to over 450 places – and there could have been even more! The things to see and experience in Mexico City are endless. And then I went out every day when my boys were in school and visited each place. I met shop owners, home owners, artisans, artists, designers, architects, museum directors on these visits. It was exciting to get out and see as much of the city as I could.

Our family visited over three years ago, and yet it’s one of the places I get asked most about traveling to. I’m curious what questions you hear most from would-be visitors—and I’d love to know the answers! 

Is it safe?
This is kind of funny because I got the same question from friends and family when I lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn! Which is to say that I felt just as safe in Mexico City as I did in New York City. Of course, you should use common sense and be street smart. If I was in a neighborhood or street where I didn’t feel comfortable or safe I would cross the street, turn around, or leave. Be aware of your surroundings, don’t wear flashy jewelry or clothing out and about, and use Uber to get around—which is unbelievably inexpensive — a fraction of what rides cost in the U.S.!).

It’s hot there, right?
Nope! Mexico City isn’t the Mexico that most people know — it is densely lush and green in parts, hilly at 8,000 feet above sea level, and situated in a dried lake bed high in the mountains. It has a climate very similar to San Francisco and Seattle. There is a rainy season that lasts from around May to October — which makes the other six months of the year a great time to visit!

What are your favorite places to visit?
I can’t pick just one — that’s too difficult! But I highly recommend all of the Luis Barragán-designed houses. I also love visiting Audiorama in Bosque de Chapultepec, the shops selling cleaning products and housewares near La Merced, the basket vendors in the Mercado de Jamaica annex, Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura, the Cárcomo de Dolores, the massive painted sculptures along La Ruta de La Amistad, and the incredible Ballet Folklórico at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. I could go on and on…

Thank you, Abby! Congratulations on your beautiful This is Mexico City!

Abby Clawson Low is a design director whose projects include work for The New York Times Magazine, Penguin Random House, Domino Magazine, Chance, J.Crew/Madewell, August Journal, Abrams, and New York Magazine. Abby got her start in NYC working for Design MW, Martha Stewart Living, and the Kate Spade & Jack Spade brands. She has taught at the Fashion Institute of Technology and was selected as one of the Art Directors Club ‘Young Guns’ in its fifth biennial showcase. Abby recently relocated to Dallas after living in Mexico City for three years with her husband and three young sons.

P.S. Our Mexico City Travelogue (the kids were so little!), as well as a much more detailed account of our neighborhood while we were in Mexico City, La Condesa, and our day touring the Mercado la Merced.


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