A week in Mexico City is still probably not enough to explore every detail that this amazing city has to offer! If you have only one day, where shall you start? What is hot and what is not?
Well, let me show you five things that will allow you to leave town AND have the feeling, that you have made the best out of the short amount of time you had.
1. Torre Latinoamericana
At first sight, this Mexico City landmark seems just like any other ugly skyscraper, but Torre Latinoamericana is the world´s first major skyscraper built on highly active seismic land. It is not the city´s first highrise as some people might think, but its solid structure even withstood the horrible 1985 earthquake without any damage, making it one of the world´s most recognized and acknowledged structures! Built in 1956 and with a height of 188 metres (597 feet, 44 floors), Torre Latinoamericana belongs to Mexico City´s skyline ever since just like the famous cathedral or the Plaza de la Constitutión. And: It holds a restaurant and a bar up on the 44th floor from where you enjoy an amazing vista over the city. On clear days, you can even see the impressive Popocatépetl volcano with the snow-capped top! So why not enjoy an ice-cold beer up here to take a well deserved break in between? Definitely one of my favourite spots in town!
2. Zócalo (Plaza de la Constitutión)
Mexico City´s main square is huge and a gathering place. Even the Aztecs have used this area as main ceremonial center for Tenochtitlan, which ruins can still be found close the cathedral. There is tons of roof top restaurants around the square offering an amazing view over Plaza de la Constitutión and the surrounding. I like strolling around the areas behind the Palacio Nacional, 10 de Mayo and Penitenciaría. Life in the streets is bustling and very, very colourful. Millions of little markets and stands invite for window shopping and soaking up the local life. You will get a very authentic impression of what life is like in one of the largest metropoles on this globe.
3. Bellas Artes
One of the most beautiful buildings in Mexico City and adjacent to Alameda Central, Palacio de Bellas Artes is a great starting point to explore the city. I haven´t done it so far, but it must be a great experience to eye-witness this amazing architecture from the inside while seeing one of the many cultural performances. Alameda Central, on the other hand, is one of the metropolitans most popular recreational areas downtown apart from Chapultepec Park. Particularly important on the weekends for large picnics or simply sunbathing. Just a stones throw away lies Mexico City´s probably most famous landmark, Casa de los Azulejos, the House of Tiles. This 18th century palace is on the outside completely covered with blue and white hand painted tiles from Puebla state. You must step inside! The interiors host these days a restaurant, but you can take the stairs up onto the gallery from where you have an excellent view.
4. La Vasconia Bakery
You cannot leave downtown before not at least stepping into Panificadora La Vasconia on Calle de Tacuba. This bakery will melt even the strongest and disciplined mind and WILL ruin your diet! Trust me. But even if you manage to stay strong, it is pure visual inspiration and one of the cutest and most authentic places I know. Gosh, just looking at the pics and thinking about the smell inside makes my stomach rumble… ATTENTION! Highly addictive!
5. Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico
I found this lavishly decorated Art Nouveau gem by chance during my last visit to Mexico City about two years ago. The hotel entrance, even though dominated by a huge chandelier, lies unobtrusive in between shops and can easily be overseen if in a hurry. The giant stained-glass ceiling towering above the open lobby is simply breathtaking! The hotel was actually featured in the latest James Bond movie Spectre and is since then a crowd puller. Unfortunately this has led to the hotel implementing security staff right at the entrance, making it almost impossible to enter if not a hotel guest. But for 50 or 100 Pesos, exceptions may be made:) Maybe :).