It is not an overstatement to say that Mexico City is a hotbed of style. The vibrant metropolis was named a Design Capital of the World — a bi-yearly designation awarded by the World Design Organization — in 2018 due to its rich culture, historic architecture and an impressive roster of emerging contemporary designers who are taking their well-deserved place on the global stage.
Design lovers will find themselves immersed in a creative hub with such varied offerings that you could fill days exploring its jewels. Our guide will give you a head start in scoping out the best places around the city.
Mexico City’s culinary scene is not just for foodies. Style aficionados also can visit restaurants that are as beautiful as they are delicious.
For a nice blend of past and present, go to new kid on the block Tetelán, where nationally sourced sustainable delights are served in a renovated Luis Barragán-designed house south of the city.
If your plan is to return home with some artsy souvenirs, the options are plentiful. Trendy local labels like 1/8 Takamura, Carla Fernandez and Fábrica Social are found in shops around the city. Sneak a peek at designer wares during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Mexico City, held each October.
To browse fashionable finds from local designers all in one place, plan a visit to Casa Fusión in the trendy Juarez district. Here, you’ll encounter, footwear, jewelry, cool children’s clothes and more. The neighborhood is lined with fabulous architectural gems and quaint little shops, too, so give yourself time to get lost here for an afternoon.
Interior design junkies should head over to Taller Lu’um in the up-and-coming San Rafael neighborhood. This sleek showroom is home to a collection of unique furniture, décor and objets d’art made in collaboration between Lu’um’s team of creatives across Mexico — think professionally finished pieces with the warmth of a handicraft.
Your first stop on a design-focused tour of Mexico City should be at one of the brightly hued houses by Luis Barragán. One of Mexico’s most famous architects, the enigmatic designer was known for his use of bright colors, plays on light and clean lines. Whether you head to his house and studio or one of the now-private homes he designed (like Casa Gilardi or Casa Pedregal), you will be in for a treat.
Another important architect and contemporary of Barragán, Irish-Mexican designer Juan O’Gorman imagined a second must-visit stop on your Mexico City tour: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s house and studio. Be sure to snap a picture of those landmarks as well as his other masterpiece — a huge mosaic mural adorning the library at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Those looking for something a little more cutting-edge should visit the Soumaya Museum and Jumex Museum. While both are architectural feats (and certainly Instagram-worthy), the adjacent buildings house exquisite exhibitions you’ll want to see. Through March 24, Jumex is showcasing “Scripted Reality: The Life and Art of Television,” while Soumaya houses a 66,000-piece permanent collection donated by one of the world’s richest men, Carlos Slim Helu.
For more contemporary works, visit Espacio CDMX, a design and architecture niche in the heart of Chapultepec Park. Run by two of the city’s top architects, Andrea Cesarman and Emilio Cabrero, the space serves as an incubator for emerging designers. Swing by to take in distinctive exhibits or to catch a seminar from a visiting artist.
No design tour of Mexico City would be complete without taking in at least a few Mesoamerican marvels. Start at the Aztec archeological site and modern-day museum of Templo Mayor. Look out for mother-of-pearl jewelry, ornate masks and other gorgeous artifacts.
While you’re downtown, pop your head into the Mexican Design Museum on the capital’s bustling shopping street, Madero. Stroll down this busy avenue before making your final stop at the stunning Palacio de Bellas Artes to soak up its interesting mix of art nouveau and art-deco design.
After all of the sightseeing, rest your weary feat at the stylish Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Las Alcobas, A Luxury Collection Hotel. Perched between Mexico City’s museums and Chapultepec Park, this boutique retreat boasts stylish touches (suede furnishings, wrought-iron doors and leather walls) around every corner. One in particular, the grand spiral staircase, makes an enviable backdrop for the perfect photo.