Perfect Getaway: La Condesa, Mexico City

Make this neighborhood your home base for the big city.
Casa Comtesse offers a tour to the pyramids of Teotihuacan. Photograph by Juliana Barquero

La Condesa is the ideal spot for exploring sprawling Mexico City—a short walk to artsy Roma and a quick cab ride from Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul. But stay and you’ll enjoy the abundant charms of Condesa. The district is a dynamic mix of old and new, where historic buildings house fashionable boutiques, coffee shops, and art galleries. This month, the tropical lushness of the tree-lined streets erupts in a riot of color as golden marigolds and strands of vibrant papel picado herald the arrival of Day of the Dead.

Make Yourself at Home

Feel like a local when you stay at Casa Comtesse, a B&B housed in a 1943 mansion. The decor is eclectic Condesa chic in the seven rooms, each of which has a private bathroom ($39 and up). Enjoy breakfast before heading out for the day, either exploring the neighborhood or taking one of Casa Comtesse’s tours to the pyramids of Teotihuacan. At night, sample a drink at the B&B’s mezcal bar and relax in the landscaped courtyard.

Dog Day Afternoon 

Pick up an order of fresh churros from Churrería El Moro ($2 for four) and walk across the street to Parque México. This verdant park is a popular gathering spot in Condesa, especially for dog owners who bring their pups here to play in the dog park or chase balls in the Lindbergh Forum plaza. The urban oasis is also an ideal spot for quiet reflection: Stroll among the fountains and stop in the audiorama, a meditative space screened in by bamboo trees where you can relax in chairs made by local artisans and read a book from the little on-site library.

Perk Up Your Morning

Cucurucho honors coffee growers throughout the nation by showcasing flavorful beans in ritualistic pour-overs meant to be savored in a bright space inspired by Japanese tearooms. Order the Espresso con Panal de Abeja ($4), which is poured over a chunk of honeycomb in the bottom of the cup, for a sweet start to your morning. Buy a bag of beans to take home.

Travel Back in Time

At more than 1,700 acres, Bosque de Chapultepec is one of the largest urban parks in the world and one of the most important public spaces in Mexico City. But it also has a rich historical legacy that dates back centuries to the region’s earliest settlers. Explore Mexico’s storied past at the Museo Nacional de Historia (National Museum of History, $4.25), which is housed in the hilltop Castillo de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Castle), a landmark site in the Mexican-American War. The park is also home to the Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Museum of Anthropology) and its extensive collection of art and artifacts ($4.25).

Tacos Every Day

Exploring the neighborhood taquerias is one of the joys of a Mexico City visit. There are plenty of delicious discoveries to be found in Condesa, but start at Tacos Hola El Güero, a local landmark since 1968. The specialty here is the guisado taco ($1.15), with fillings such as chicken tinga or chorizo verde that are stew-like in consistency. Once you’ve had your fill, take a stroll along the pedestrian median on Avenida Amsterdam, its oval route a remnant of its former life as a horse racetrack.

A light, airy vibe abounds at Casa Decu. Patio Photograph by Jaime Navarro, Courtesy of Casa Decu

Su Casa in Condesa

Casa Decu Condesa takes design inspiration from its vintage art deco building and gives it a smart, modern spin. The 27 rooms and suites are light and airy; they’re also equipped with kitchenettes that are useful for longer stays ($125 and up). Take advantage of the rooftop deck, which has a gym area as well as a space for lounging and enjoying snacks while the sun sets.

Bring Home a Souvenir

Save room in your suitcase if you visit what’s been dubbed the Condesa Design Corner at Atlixco and Fernando Montes de Oca. At Cardōn and Columpio, you’ll find men’s and women’s clothing with clean, simple silhouettes, as well as unique jewelry and accessories—all created by Mexican design houses. These shops bookend Mooni, a gallery that showcases emerging artists working in paint, ceramics, papier-mâché, textiles, and other media. 

Mark Your Calendar

Nov. 1 and 2: Día de los Muertos happens now, and celebrations start in the days leading up to it, including the eye-popping Day of the Dead Parade that starts in the Zócalo.

Be amazed by the Day of the Dead parade at Zócalo. Day of the Dead Photograph by Fili Santillann