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Mexico City, Mexico 72-Hour Vacation

 

Mexican Fiesta
Living it up South of the Border


The grand Palacio de Bellas Artes is a Mexico City landmark
Palacio de Bellas Artes

DAY 3

Today's itinerary takes you to the edge of Mexico City—a 40-minute ride from the sites that have now become your local haunts—but the trip is well worth it. Take the Metrobus to the Ciudad Universitaria, or University City. Ciudad Universitaria is a city within a city, and it's much more than just the largest university in Latin America; it's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the reasons this part of the city claims such a coveted honor is because it's an exceptional example of 20th-century modernism, uniting modern design principles with symbols of classical Mexican architecture and geography. The stadium, for instance, mimics a volcano rising from the earth. It's also home to Azul y Oro, a restaurant that has been awarded time and again for reinventing boring campus food to such heights that the general public stops in for meals. Azul y Oro begins serving breakfast at 10 a.m.

A mural at the Castillo de Chapultepec in Mexico City
Mural at Castillo de Chapultepec

After you've fortified yourself with breakfast, take a stroll through the university's botanical and sculpture gardens, stop by the Olympic Stadium, or view the impressive murals at the university's library and the Rector Tower. On Rector Tower, famous Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros painted three murals, and Diego Rivera, the husband of painter Frida Kahlo, also decorated the university with his murals, depicting the history of sports in pre-Hispanic Mexico.

Make your way back into the center of the city and enter the neighborhood of Polanco, home to Mexico City's neighborhood for the upwardly mobile. Avenida Presidente Masaryk is lined with high-end shops for the tourist who has deep pockets or a deep love for window-shopping. When you're ready for lunch, you have a host of options, including the popular Biko ("experimental molecular" food à la Ferran Adriá).

Pujol, a Mexico City hot spot, is an excellent choice for dinner
Pujol is a popular Mexico City restaurant

After lunch, be sure to schedule a leisurely stop at the rooftop bar of Hotel Habita. With a pool on one level of the roof and a fantastic view of the city from the other level, the Habita's bars don't just offer good drinks, they also offer good photo ops.

On your last day in the city, be sure to take in any of the sites from day 1 or day 2 that you might have missed. If you're in town on a Sunday, consider visiting Plaza Mexico, where you can watch the 4 p.m. bull fight for approximately $3 USD. If it's a Saturday, head back to Avenida Reforma and people-watch as families take advantage of the city's car-free Saturdays program by rollerblading and biking down an avenue that's typically traffic-choked. You can also head to the top of the Angel statue and enjoy a bird's eye view of the capital.

For your last dinner in the city, be sure to visit Pujol or D.O. Denominacion de Origen, two more of the city's bumper crop of hot restaurants.

For more information, visit the Mexico Tourism Board at www.visitmexico.com.

MORE MEXICO CITY INFORMATION

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* Images courtesy of Mexico Tourism Board; Mural by Carlosr chill

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(Updated: 04/19/11 NW)

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