Trendy shoppers should check out Mercado Roma, a gourmet market in Mexico City’s Roma Norte neighborhood. // © 2016 Mexico Tourism Board
Feature image (above): No matter your client’s mood, there are always plenty of options in bustling Mexico City. // © 2016 Mexico Tourism Board/ Ricardo Gomez Garrido
Mexico City is so big that it can seem overwhelming. Breaking it down by neighborhood can a good way to get a handle on what the destination has to offer. And since each area offers its own unique vibe, activities and attractions, it’s also a great way to find vacation recommendations for just about any personality type. When it comes to psychological matchmaking, here are just a few ways that Mexico City can be the perfect companion.
Personality Type: History Lover - Neighborhood: Centro Historico (Historic Center)
Mexico City’s historic center is a bustling, vibrant place packed with historic architecture and attractions. Start chronologically with a tour of Templo Mayor, which was one of the main Aztec temples in the former city of Tenochtitlan; the Spanish destroyed much of the structures, but a walk through the grounds provides a fascinating glimpse of pre-Hispanic civilization, and the museum has some worthwhile exhibits. Next door is Metropolitan Cathedral, which dates to 1573, with 14 chapels and a network of underground catacombs. The structure soars over the “zocalo,” one of the world’s largest city squares.
A daytime stroll down the pedestrian Madero street leads visitors past countless shops and many street performers before ending at Palacio de Bellas Artes, a gorgeous performing arts center that sits next to the pristine Alameda Central park. The palatial post office is another must-see landmark nearby.
Among the best upscale hotel choices in the neighborhood is Hilton Mexico City Reforma, which towers over Alameda Central and offers spectacular city views from its upper floors.
Personality Type: Museum Maven - Neighborhood: Bosque de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Forest)
As the city’s largest expanse of green, Chapultepec Forest can provide a peaceful break from the busy streets. It’s also a hub for culture, since it’s home to so many noteworthy museums. By far, the most important is the National Museum of Anthropology, which is the largest and most visited museum in Mexico — and widely regarded as one of the best anthropology museums in the world. You could easily spend a day or two here, tracing the history of Mexico’s civilization with its fascinating exhibits.
Also worthwhile is a visit to Chapultepec Castle, a former imperial palace that is architecturally beautiful and historically important; it’s home to the National Museum of History. Art lovers shouldn’t miss a visit to the Museum of Modern Art and Tamayo Museum, both of which exhibit contemporary works by Mexican and international artists.
Personality Type: Luxury Enthusiast - Neighborhood: Polanco
Fans of upscale international fashions and gourmet cuisine flock to Polanco, a swanky area next to Chapultepec Forest. A stroll down Avenida (Avenue) Presidente Masaryk reveals an impressive portfolio of international brand-name designers, while some of the city’s most celebrated restaurants dot the streets (many of them require reservations way in advance, so plan ahead). Among the top choices: Quintonil, which serves up modern Mexican cuisine; Pujol, which has an ever-evolving menu made with local products; and Biko, which stylishly blends international flavors.
Polanco is also home to some of the city’s best large luxury hotels, including JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City, Hyatt Regency Mexico City, InterContinental Presidente Mexico City, W Mexico City and Hotel Habita.
Personality: Trendy Shopper - Neighborhoods: Roma Norte and Condesa
These adjacent districts offer fun dining and shopping with a decidedly hip vibe. Avenida Alvaro Obregon is a main thoroughfare for peeking into tiny shops that overflow with the creations of Mexican clothing designers, while the neighborhood’s many cafes and restaurants serve everything from tacos and burgers to high-quality cuts of meat. Mercado Roma, for example, is a forward-thinking gourmet market with expertly prepared pastries, drinks and organic products.
For an artistic fix, stop at OMR or Arroniz, both of which are galleries that stock contemporary art. There aren’t many hotels in these neighborhoods, but the style-conscious Condesa DF and luxurious Hippodrome Hotel — both former apartment buildings that date to the early 20th century — are ideal places to stay.
Personality: Classic Bohemian - Neighborhoods: Coyoacan and San Angel
Ask any “gringo” to name a few Mexican artists, and they’ll likely say Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. To gain insight into what made this artistic couple tick, head to Coyoacan, a peaceful neighborhood known for its quiet streets and popular crafts market. Here, La Casa Azul (the Blue House) — the former home in which Kahlo lived and then died in 1954 — now houses the Frida Kahlo Museum. Not too far away by taxi or tour is San Angel, a neighborhood where Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo is a main attraction; it’s actually two attached homes and studios — one for Rivera and one for Kahlo. San Angel’s weekly Saturday market is a good place to buy high-quality crafts and jewelry.
Personality: Gay Nightlife Fan - Neighborhood: Zona Rosa
Mexico City is a progressive metropolis — in fact, it was the first Latin American city to legalize same-sex marriage. And the white-hot center of LGBT life is the Zona Rosa (the Pink Zone), a centrally located district with the city’s largest concentration of gay bars and dance clubs. The venues along Amberes street tend to attract a younger crowd, while the bars on nearby Florencia cater to a wider variety of ages and types — from the gay cowboys who frequent the appropriately named Vaqueros Bar to the occasionally leather-clad patrons at Nicho Bear & Bar. Galeria Plaza Reforma, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, and Room Mate Valentina, part of the Spanish Room Mate Hotels chain, are among the best-located hotels in the neighborhood.