As one of the largest metropolises in the world, Mexico City offers so many entertainment options that even locals and repeat visitors haven’t discovered everything in CDMX’s confines.
Whether you feel like you’ve checked off all of the capital’s obvious must-sees or want to experience the city in a different way, we’ve uncovered Mexico City’s five best-kept secrets and are willing to share.
Xochimilco at sunrise
Colorful flat-bottomed boats called trajineras have seen their fair share of revelers sailing Xochimilco’s well-trodden canals south of the city over the years. Loud, boisterous groups partying to the tune of live mariachi music may be the traditional way of experiencing Xochimilco, but novel alternatives to appreciate these ancient floating gardens have sprung up recently.
Anais Martínez of The Curious Mexican created a sunrise tour of the Xochimilco canals that avoids the crowds and provides a relaxed atmosphere to take in the sights. After sailing through the mist while learning about the ancient farming system, enjoy a farm-to-table meal cooked by a guest chef.
Cocktails at Handshake Speakeasy
Often hidden in plain sight, speakeasies feel like secret spots. Handshake Speakeasy not only delivers on the clandestine locale in a Mexico City hotel and atmosphere (deep shades of black and gold imbue the bar with a 1920s vibe), but the heralded bar also mixes up excellent cocktails.
Make a reservation in advance to get a seat at the venue for 90 minutes. But a new larger space in the back takes walk-ins. Each room features different cocktails on the menu, but all stand out thanks to unique ingredients like matcha powder, basil and tomato.
Foraging for mushrooms at Cubo
Foodies who love the great outdoors will be thrilled to discover a culinary experience like no other only 50 minutes west of Mexico City. In the Jilotzingo forest, a cubed-shaped building fittingly named Cubo serves as the focal point for a fine dining experience that includes foraging for mushrooms and other local seasonal ingredients.
Diners gather at two communal tables to savor a tasting menu prepared over a wood fire by a guest chef using the ingredients collected from the adjacent forest. Drinks come from visiting mixologists, who have included the bartender from the acclaimed Fifty Mills cocktail bar at Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City.
Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo House Studio Museum
Tourists flock to Frida Kahlo’s Blue House when they visit CDMX and for good reason. However, you can experience Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s legacy without long lines and thick crowds. Instead, visit the couple’s house studio museum in the San Angel neighborhood. Commissioned by Rivera and built by renowned architect Juan O’Gorman in 1931, the unusual structure consists of two separate houses (Kahlo’s is blue) connected by an elevated bridge. Kahlo and Rivera wanted separate spaces to remain independent from each other, making their house studio a perfect example of Mexican functionalist architecture. You can also see some of the artists’ personal items, such as collectibles and furniture.
Casa Lamm Cultural Center
On Álvaro Obregón 99, the main avenue traversing the beloved Roma neighborhood, a stately 1911 manor houses the Casa Lamm Cultural Center. While some may stumble upon the venue when they dine at 99 Bistro Mexicano, most miss the space’s other treasures, notably the cultural center’s free art exhibits, gorgeous hallways and manicured gardens.
Visitors who speak some Spanish may wish to check out its academic offerings, namely the shorter summer courses, ranging from art and photography workshops to Mexican history and popular Mexican art. Casa Lamm feels like a slice of Paris in modern Mexico.