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Mexico City, Mexico 72-Hour Vacation


Mexican Fiesta
Living it up South of the Border

El Bosque de Chapultepec is a large, lush urban park in the heart of Mexico City
Lake at El Bosque de Chapultepec


Now that you've eased your way into the spirit and rhythm of the city, go a little deeper by buying breakfast like a local. Vendors pushing or riding bike-carts sell all sorts of sweet pastries that are great for a grab-and-go breakfast. These local confections, such as pan con azucar (bread dusted with sugar), go well with a strong black coffee or café con leche. One place where you'll find these carts without fail between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. is at the intersection of Avenida Reforma and Versalles, which is convenient because the first activity of the day is located there as well!

Since the morning temperatures are so friendly, take advantage of some early activity by renting a Segway, a two-wheeled upright motor scooter, and exploring the Reforma neighborhood with an authorized guide. Along your route you're likely to see the peaceful demonstrations of campesinos that come to the city to raise grievances with federal politicians. The nude and nearly nude protestors who comprise the 400 Pueblos movement are especially interesting. Be sure to bring your camera, for Avenida Reforma is home to a number of other sites of interest, including the iconic Estatua de la Angel (Angel Statue) and the U.S. Embassy, among others. Tours are 2-3 hours and cost $50.

The iconic Estatua de la Angel in Mexico City
Estatua de la Angel

While you're in the neighborhood, don't miss La Ciudadela, a large arts and crafts market. Here, you'll find textiles, ceramics, jewelry, woodwork (including beautiful masks), and iron, tin and aluminum work. Once you've purchased your souvenirs, you can continue along the perimeter of the market, enjoy the older couples dancing in the park across the street, or take in the latest exhibit of national and international photography at the Centro de la Imagen, which is also in the park.

Hungry? Make your way to the Roma neighborhood for lunch at Le Cordon Bleu, the famous French culinary institute's Mexico outpost. Lunch is served from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the indoor dining room or on the outdoor terrace.

If you haven't had enough shopping yet, be sure to check out the antiques market on nearby Londres Street. Jewelry, postcards, woodwork, books, and other relics of Mexico's history are on sale in this large indoor market. But if you're all shopped out, catch a taxi, which will have you at El Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City 's Central Park, within five to ten minutes minutes—depending on traffic. The park offers numerous options, and in addition to simply walking through this green oasis, you can rent a boat and tour the lake, visit the Castle of Chapultepec, or spend time at any of the museums that surround the park's borders: the Museum of Modern Art, the National Anthropology Museum, or the Tamayo Museum.

El Patio at Condesa df offers contemporary fusion dishes in a laidback setting in Mexico City
El Patio at Condesa df

From the Bosque de Chapultepec, you're just a short cab ride away from two excellent dinner options. The first is the restaurant at Casa Lamm, a cultural center in the Roma neighborhood. Casa Lamm's restaurant specializes in Mexican fusion. Start with the trio of ceviches, a fish appetizer, or the Yucatecan lime soup. Try the steak stuffed with corn and chile poblano for an entrée and any of the rich chocolate cakes for dessert. In addition to the restaurant, Casa Lamm has an impressive art gallery with rotating exhibits from Mexico and abroad, a nice jewelry shop, and a well-stocked bookstore.

Another alternative is Condesa df's restaurant, El Patio, which serves contemporary fusion dishes in a laid back, intimate environment. If you eat at El Patio, be sure to take in a drink and a spectacular view of the city from the rooftop bar, La Terraza. The open air bar is one of the city's best, and it's great for a romantic evening—the heat lamps, blankets, and love seats help set a warm mood!

If you still have energy left and want to dive into Mexico City's nightlife, you're not far away from the fantastic nightclub, Mama Rosa. With some of Latin America's hottest acts, Mama Rosa offers live music, dancing, and mojitos to locals and visitors who are willing to brave the tightly packed dance floor.

Continue to Day 3


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* Images courtesy of Mexico Tourism Board; El Patio from Condesa df
Updated: (04/19/11 NW)

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