Visiting Museums in Mexico City

If you ever find yourself in Mexico City, visiting a museum or two is a must. CDMX has a plethora of museums, and I read that it has more museums than any other city on Earth. I had an opportunity to visit six of them during my trip.

Here a few things to note about Mexico City’s museums:

  • They are free to residents on Sundays, so it tends to be crowded on that day.
  • Most of the museums are closed on Mondays. There are still a few, like the Soumaya Museum, that are open on Mondays.
  • There is usually a separate fee to take photos inside the museum.

Museo Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo

Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo is located in the San Angel neighborhood of Mexico City, and the property is bordered with cacti. The museum is a combination of three homes belonging to Diego, Frida (the blue one), and architect Juan O’Gorman. ​Frida and Juan’s homes have basically been cleared and used for exhibits, while Diego’s home still has his studio. This is an area in Frida’s home that showcases her love letters to Diego. Despite the multiple affairs between them both, they loved one another. Juan’s home focuses on the design of all of the buildings.

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My Mexico City Eats

There was food all around me, but I didn’t eat as much as I expected in Mexico City. I was looking forward to tamales, chilaquiles, pozole, tortas, tacos, mole, atole, and everything else the city had to offer in terms of food. There were so many traditional Mexican foods that I wanted to try, but there was no way I could try everything in one visit. Overall, I had some big hits and some minor misses. One thing that was consistent at every place that I visited in Mexico was the service. The hosts and waitstaff were all very attentive and genuinely appreciative of my business.

UberEATS seems to be a big business in Mexico City, and I noticed quite a few of the delivery drivers on their motorcycles. I had never used UberEATS in the States because it is not yet available in my city. Since I was sick and shut in a couple of nights because of the altitude and smog, I took advantage of it. The selections varied from fast food chains to local family restaurants, and the cuisine varied from sushi to traditional Mexican. I ordered a burger from Carl’s Jr. one night, and a hot dog from Easy Frank Barranca del Muerto another night. The only issue that I had with the food was that it wasn’t super hot, but that was to be expected.

Street food was abundant in Mexico City as well, and I would recommend checking out what the vendors have to offer. I had a few cold treats and breakfast pastries, and enjoyed them all. The only thing I observed with street food that appeared weird to me was a vendor selling mangos with mustard and weird seasonings. I heard of mangos and vinegar in Miami, and I could partially understand that concept. However, mangos and mustard was new to me, and I did not try it because my tastebuds probably would not have been able to comprehend it.

My favorite thing about Mexico City was the fresh juices. I often forget that fresh squeezed orange juice tastes nothing like what the sell in the stores nowadays. Don’t get me wrong. I love me some Simply Orange, but it doesn’t compare to the real thing. It was so pleasing to taste orange, mango, and papaya juice that actually tasted like it came from a fruit that was picked recently and squeezed just moments before being served to me.

Milanesa at Don Asado

Milanesa de Pollo at Don Asado

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El Bazaar Sabado in Mexico City

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Every Saturday on Plaza San Jacinto in the San Angel neighborhood of Mexico City, artists gather to display and sell their designs. Here, one can find just about anything like pottery, paintings, jewelry, perfume, purses, clothing, food, and other handmade trinkets. The prices vary by vendor and level of skill, but there is something available within anyone’s price range. It really is the perfect place to find a souvenir or that one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry, so I encourage all visitors of Mexico City to check it out.

The weather on the day of my visit was perfect, and I could have easily spent the entire afternoon browsing each vendor’s offerings. The main attractions were in an indoor area, but there were vendors outside in the park as well. Several of the vendors had signs posted about photography being unallowed, so I respected their wishes. Take my word for it, though. The pieces available for purchase were phenomenal.

I’m not a big fan of jewelry, but I was in awe of some of the designs. I purchased a bracelet and a piece of pottery at reasonable prices, but I would have considered purchasing much more if I had the available space in my luggage.

Spending an afternoon browsing art can be exhausting, but there were restaurants and street food vendors on site as well. The smells coming from the restaurant inside the bar was really good, and it looked like a great place for a meal. I had already enjoyed brunch at San Angel Inn before I arrived, but I did buy a frozen mango treat that was very refreshing.

Below are some photos of the areas outside in the park.

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Teotihuacan Without at Tour

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Pyramid of the Moon

In the spirit of adventure, I traveled to Teotihuacan on the bus and navigated the site without a guide. Sure, I could have purchased a tour from Mexico City, but I decided to live a little. Most of the tours were all day affairs that included a visit to the Basilica of Our Lady Guadeloupe, and I had zero interest in visiting what I couldn’t grasp to be more than a beautifully designed building. Furthermore, I was having problems with Mexico City’s altitude and smog, so I needed the freedom to walk at my own slow pace.

The site opened at 9 AM, and I wanted to get there early before the influx of tourists and the unbearable sun (there’s hardly any shade there). I took the Mexico City Metro to the bus terminal first thing in the morning. I left my Airbnb, and stopped by a vendor for a breakfast pastry on my way to the metro station. I took line 3 north to the La Raza stop, and transferred to Line 12 and got off at the Autobuses del Norte stop. Once I exited, I crossed the street to the bus terminal. All the way to left near gate 8 was a ticket booth selling tickets for to Teotihuacan. I purchased a roundtrip ticket for 100 pesos (about $5 USD). The ticket agent directed me to gate 8, and told me to take bus number 7.

Past gate 8, I went through security check. Outside, I found the line for bus number 7. It was pretty much the only line with non-locals in it. Looking for the tourist (i.e. white people) has been my go-to survival tip for travel. If I’m not exactly sure where to go, I go where they go.

I handed the driver my ticket, and got on the first bus to Teotihuacan, which is about an hour outside of CDMX. The entire process was pretty simple, and the bus arrived on the southern end of the pyramids at Puerta 1 right after opening. It made a few stops along the way to pick up other travelers, but didn’t stop longer than a minute.

I purchased my ticket at the gate for 70 pesos (about $3.5 USD), and walked inside. There were guides outside offering their services for the day, but I chose to wing it. There were signs providing information about each area, and there was also free wifi so I could google any topic of interest (or check social media).

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The site is quite easy to navigate. The main attractions are along the Avenue of the Dead. There four main attractions are the Pyramid of the Sun, Pyramid of the Moon, Quetzalcoatl  Palace, and the Teotihuacan Museum. I visited on a Monday, so the museum was closed. That wasn’t a big deal to me since I had visited the Anthropology Museum the day before in Mexico City, and learned quite a bit about Teotihuacan already. The Pyramid of the Sun was the tallest pyramid at the site, so my plan was to get there first before the sun became unbearable.

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in front of the Pyramid of the Sun

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Pyramid of the Sun

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view from Pyramid of the Sun

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the climb

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the top of the Pyramid of the Sun

I won’t even pretend this wasn’t rough for me. Like I mentioned earlier, I began having problems with the altitude and the smog on the day before. I would walk around the corner, and could barely breathe. I just couldn’t get enough oxygen in my system, and I got really dizzy. I spent the rest of that day relaxing because making it to Teotihuacan was nonnegotiable for me. This was supposed to be the highlight of my trip, and I needed to be well enough to make it.

I climbed the 240+ steps to the top of the pyramid with three small breaks. The view was beautiful, and well worth my panting. Sitting at the top of the Pyramid of the Sun, I realized that my energy was dwindling. It was around 11:00 AM, and the sun was starting to really beam. I brought an umbrella to block the sun, but felt too weak to hold it up. I decided that I didn’t have enough energy to make it to the Pyramid of the Moon and the Palacio de Quetzalpapálotl, and all the way back to my departure gate on the other end of the site.

I mentally prepared myself for the climb back down, and decided that it was best for me to head back home. Somehow, I made it to the departure gate after walking ever so slowly. When I finally got to the bus, I collapsed into my seat and fell asleep. When I woke up, we had arrived back at the bus terminal in Mexico City, and everyone was getting off the bus. I threw my backpack across my shoulders and headed back across the street to the metro station to make it home.

Teotihuacan did not go as planned, but it was still an experience that I would recommend to everyone. With or without a guide, there was so much to see and so much to learn.

Navigating the Mexico City Metro

IMG_8112.jpgGetting around via public transportation is my personal choice when traveling. Mexico City’s Metro was a bit intimidating for me to handle alone, so I planned to use Uber for the duration of my visit instead. That plan changed on my first night in CDMX, when I agreed to tag along to a Lucha Libre match with a couple of new friends.

“Do you mind if we take the subway?” Sarah asked as we walked outside of my loft. I didn’t mind at all, since I could rely on her to show me the ropes. We began our short trek to the station closest to us, Zapata, and chatted about #45 along the way.

My Airbnb host had left me with a rechargeable metro card with enough for one fare. The cost to ride the metro in CDMX is 5 pesos (about $0.25 USD), the cheapest metro fare I’ve ever paid. Additionally, there is no charge to transfer to a new line. I placed my card to the reader and it let me know my new available balance of zero pesos. Once past the entrance, we followed the signs for Line 3’s northbound train. We only waited a few minutes before it arrived. When it began approaching, I was surprised by the crowded cars. It was about eight o’clock on a Friday evening, and locals were packed inside like sardines. We quickly stepped inside to head to our destination.

Of course no seats were available, so we stood shoulder to shoulder, surrounded mostly by men. The first few cars of the subway were designated for women and children only, but we didn’t use it since we had a guy with us. I later sat in these for a few of the rides throughout my visit. There was a police officer monitoring the area to ensure that no men go inside. On times when I rode in a regular car, I had no problems with aggressive men.

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