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This post was edited by Cicci at 2012-4-5 13:09|
NightlifeRagga and Joy Room
Are you ready for the big time? Don’t be fooled by its in-mall location: this high-end nightlife complex (Ragga is the dance club, Joy the lounge), in the city’s poshest district, is a prime “meet market” for the DF’s most well turned out, prosperous and hottest young singles.
Rivaling anything in New York, Miami or Ibiza, the elegant setting, till-dawn grooves and -- we repeat -- a crowd that’s very easy on the eyes justifies the hype.
Dress up and bring lots of money.
Ejército Nacional 83-B, Colonia Polanco (in the Antara Polanco shopping mall); +52 55 5281 3181; no website
Keep an eye on your date or you might find her in other hands.
Bar San Luis
As close to Havana ’59 as you’re likely to get, BSL features live Cuban band music (more Ricky Ricardo than Buena Vista Social Club) and a dance floor that’s always crowded with a slightly older, slightly seedy, entirely fabulous posse of ballroom aficionados.
The infectious energy spares no one. Service evinces a sort of cosa nostra-style formality, but you’ll soon see it’s all in good fun.
Gentlemen, establish a loan-out policy with your date before you go -- strangers will ask her to dance.
San Luis Potosí 28, between Mérida and Frontera, Colonia Roma; no phone or website
Yes, he knows "La Cucaracha." Just don't make him play it.
Cantina Tío Pepe
A best of Mexico City time capsule from the late-19th century (which might include the customers), Tío Pepe is for many the DF’s most authentic, old school cantina.
Swank it ain’t, but its faded glory is hard to resist, featuring a massive mahogany bar, rickety red vinyl booths and a nonplussed staff that seems to have seen it all.
Full disclosure: foreigners and women may attract (completely harmless) attention -- at least until someone pulls out a guitar and regulars start their heartfelt, tone-deaf singing.
Independencia 26 at Dolores, Centro Histórico, no phone or website
Touristy, in the best possible way.
Miralto (atop the Torre Latinoamericana)
The decor could be smarter and the music can be too loud, especially weekend nights. Still, there’s no better way to appreciate the sheer immensity of Mexico City than by enjoying a well-prepared drink at the top of the city’s first and most emblematic skyscraper (beloved like a local version of the Empire State Building).
Nighttime visits have you floating on an immense sea of stars, and if you’re there on a clear day, you can almost see forever. Touristy, but awe inspiring.
Note: Bar/restaurant patrons don’t have to pay to use the elevator; simply check in with the lobby hostess.
Francisco I. Madero 1 at Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas; 41/F, Centro Histórico; +52 55 5518 1710; www.miralto.com.mx
Men without hats. Tragic.
Salón Tenampa at Plaza Garibaldi
Just north of downtown lies authentically tourist tacky Plaza Garibaldi, where (especially late nights) dozens of mariachi musicians and hundreds of revelers (in varying states of sobriety) gather to appreciate the pageantry, pathos and brass of this traditional Mexican music.
Hire your band right on the plaza, or pay them just to play a song or two while you drink a cerveza, or slide into El Tenampa, a circa-1940s nightclub featuring strolling bands, where all the greats, past and present, have played. The bar is right on the plaza.
You’ll be amazed at the cacophony, yet somehow it works. We dare you not to love it.
Plaza Garibaldi 12, Centro Histórico; +52 55 5526 6176; www.salontenampa.com
Shopping / Attractions
The original pottery barn.
With various ample and attractive branches in neighborhoods you’re sure to visit, Fonart stores gather cut-above (often superb) artisan work from every region in Mexico.
You’ll find indigenous textiles fashioned into shawls and dresses; hand-blown glassware in styles you know and some you don’t; baskets and pottery; rustic-chic furniture and some impossibly elaborate but nonetheless exquisite objêts d’art.
Visit often as inventory is one-of-kind and therefore constantly changing.
Avenida Juárez 89, Colonia Centro; +52 55 5521 0171
Paseo de la Reforma 116, Zona Rosa; +52 55 5328 5000
As well as five additional branches throughout the city.
Pineda Covalin. Gorgeous fashion, unique souvenirs.
The Hermès of Mexico. With boutiques throughout the city, PC sells silk accessories (plus other items ranging from eyewear to furniture) in its signature eye-catching, highly chromatic regional motifs: scarves in “monarch butterfly,” purses and wallets in gorgeous silk versions of indigenous textiles, neckties emblazoned with frolicking Day of the Dead skeletons, and on and on.
In this best of Mexico City shop you’ll find beautiful items, with a wink of irony -- the perfect souvenir for that luxury-goods lover back home.
Campos Elíseos 215, Colonia Polanco; +52 55 5282 2720; www.pinedacovalin.com
Isabel la Católica 30, Centro Histórico; +52 55 5510 4421; www.pinedacovalin.com
Polish sold separately.
Centuries ago, the discovery of silver helped turn Mexico into Spain’s wealthiest overseas colony. The precious metal continues to be a favorite medium for some of the country’s most creative artists and designers.
Much of the city’s most exquisite work is sold at two Polanco galleries. Taller Ballesteros is an outpost of the famed Taxco workshop, known for traditional design in everything from luxe jewelry to baroque candelabras.
Works at nearby Tane evince a more contemporary feel, in pieces ranging from delicate gewgaws and chic tableware to mind-blowing silver sculpture.
Taller Ballesteros, Presidente Masaryk 126, Colonia Chapultepec Polanco; +52 55 5545 4109; www.ballesteros.net
Tane, Presidente Masaryk 430, Colonia Chapultepec Polanco; +52 55 5282 6200; www.tane.com.mx
Makes you feel sorta patriotic ... even you aren't Mexican.
It’s obvious, and right there, but that’s no excuse to miss it. Visiting Mexico City’s historic downtown is the perfect crash course in the city’s seven centuries of urban life.
The main plaza, known as the Zócalo, is the logical starting place. Perennial attractions include the massive baroque/neo-classical Cathedral and its next-door neighbor, the ruins of the Aztecs’ main temple.
Around the corner lies the Palacio Nacional, whose striking Diego Rivera murals are a best of Mexico City attraction.
If you have 20 minutes or so, walk all the way down pedestrian-only Madero Street to take in the magnificent Palacio de Bellas Artes concert hall. As you walk, a delightful urban pageant -- featuring denizens high and low, traditional and freaky -- provides excellent free entertainment.
The Mexican icon lived, suffered and created greatness behind these walls.
Coyocán/Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul
A pleasant urban breather awaits in the outlying neighborhood called Coyoacán, a once-separate municipality that retains traces of its small town past.
Two adjacent plazas filled with at-ease locals, surrounded by quaint restaurants, cantinas and ice cream parlors, constitute ground zero.
From here you walk past an inviting greenmarket to Casa Azul (Blue House), iconic artist Frida Kahlo’s birthplace as well as the house she shared (off and on) with husband Diego Rivera.
Casa Azul’s museum features a number of her most celebrated paintings, along with furniture and artifacts that offer fascinating insights into Mexico’s 20th-century intellectual and bohemian life.
Casa Azul, Londres 247, Colonia Coyoacán; +52 55 5554 5999; US$6 adults, US$3 students; www.museofridakahlo.org.mx