It would be easy to spend a week exploring the vast metropolis of Mexico City, but if you only have a day, here’s an itinerary that will let you sample the tastes and culture of this beautiful city. A clean, efficient and inexpensive public transportation system makes maneuvering around the city fairly easy.

 

 

Pastelería Ideal

flickr Yusuke Kawasaki Pasteleria Ideal

Photo by: flickr/Yusuke Kawasaki under license CC BY 2.0

With its high ceilings, chandeliers, security guards and line of cashiers along the walls, Pastelería Ideal has the feel of an old-world bank. But instead of piles of gold, there are piles of pastries, breads, buns and cakes heaped on tables throughout the expansive interior. Grab a tray and go hunting for your favorite sweet and savory treats. When you’re satisfied, bring it to one of the cashiers and have them wrapped in a vintage-looking box that looks like it was designed when the bakery first opened in 1927. At less than dollar apiece, the pastries are as affordable as they are delicious.

 

Museo Frida Kahlo

flickr momo Museo Frida Kahlo

Photo by: flickr/momo under license CC BY 2.0

This meticulously preserved house and garden was the home of legendary Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, for most of her life. A brutal trolley accident she endured as a young girl rendered the artist bedridden and in severe pain for a large part of her life, so she completed many of her masterful self-portraits lying on her back in bed. That same bed and mirror can be seen up close in the bedroom where she spent so much of her time.

 

Mercado de Coyoacán

Flickr Flying CrimsonPig Coyoacan

Photo by: flickr/FlyingCrimsonPig under license CC BY 2.0

Located just a short walk from the Frida Kahlo museum is Mercado de Coyoacán, a labyrinthine market where locals buy everything from produce to party favors under one roof. Explore the winding aisles and let your nose guide you to one of the food stands in the center. There, you can ask an attendant to build you the taco of your dreams.

 

Museo Nacional de Antropología

flickr Antony Stanley Museo Nacional de Antropología

Photo by: flickr/Antony Stanley under license CC BY-SA 2.0

Housed in a stunning mid-century building on the edge of Chapultapec Park, Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology is packed with murals, dioramas, artifacts and recreations that span pre-Columbian times to present day. Even those who’ve never considered themselves archeology aficionados will find something fascinating in this comprehensive museum. Spend some time peering at the meticulous dioramas that make ancient life feel visceral and alive, and then relax for a bit by the multi-story tree fountain and reflecting pool.

 

El Pialadero de Guadalajara

El Pialadero de Guadalajara

Photo by: Sara Huneke

Qué rico. You might have to wait for a table at this popular restaurant down the road from the Museum of Anthropology, but you’ll be glad you did. Specializing in cuisine from Jalisco, El Pialadero serves some of the best tortas ahogadas and ceviches outside of Guadalajara. Wash it all down with a michelada, the popular Mexican beer-based cocktail that’s served in a salt-rimmed glass.

 

La Botica

flickr alejandro de la cruz La Botica

Photo by: flickr/Alejandro De La Cruz under license CC BY-NC 2.0

Mmmmm mezcal. The smoky liquor made from a form of agave native to Mexico has enjoyed a surge in popularity throughout the country. And there’s no better place to try the drink than at La Botica, a hole-in-the-wall mezclaría located not too far from El Pialadero. You can sample one of dozens of varieties of the liquor each with its own story, flavor profile and tanginess.