Mexico City’s official nickname may be D.F. (for the federal district in which it sits), but the Spanish pronunciation (“deh effeh”) is often heard as el jefe (the chief).
Either way, it’s boss. Click through for our top destinations in the swirling arts, intellectual, food, and design mecca.
The intimate/extensive Cafebrería el Péndulo reading haven is one of dozens, but the downstairs coffee counter, upstairs restaurant, and consistent hot-shopper-to-vintage-book ratio makes it worth checking out.
Mobile art library The Book Truck is the four-wheeled love child of a local design firm and nonprofit dedicated to cultural literacy.
The Museo Frida Kahlo isn’t just a museum — it’s the famed painter’s former home. Step into the lofty studio she once shared with lifelong lover/tormenter/artistic rival Diego Rivera.
Art nouveau artifacts hub El Museo del Objeto (The Museum of the Object) is devoted to all things beautiful, innovative, and downright nerdy about industrial design, from wagon wheels to street sneakers.
Book it to the St. Regis Mexico City for over-the-top views, personal butler services, and a fresh juice bar at the fifteenth-floor spa.
Then again there’s nothing wrong with saving your pesos for a rainy day (or shopping). A one-bed room at Hostal Boutique la Tercia (some with private terraces, all with free Wi-Fi) averages $40 per night.
There’s nothing like a communist meeting den backstory to solidify a nightspot’s status. Lounge of the moment M.N. Roy was named for a Mexican party founder and converted using timber beams and polished stone pyramids. (Hit taco stand Taquerias el Farolito for late-night sustenance before the 5 a.m. fun begins.)
Drinking and biking? No. Biking and biking? Sí. Procure rental rides along Avenida Amsterdam. (Look to the tip of Parque México for the rental garage.)
Forget everything you’ve heard about eating faux Italian at a tourist-packed Cancún resort — sometimes you’re not in the mood for local fare. Well-traveled eaters (and our own editor Danielle Bufalini) can attest to the handmade pasta and rustic Tuscan digs at Rosetta.
For dirt-cheap Coronas, impromptu discussions, and flavored tequila shots with zero-pretense chasers, hit daytime watering hole mezcaleria La Botica.
Stateside food bloggers are still drooling over spiked horchata, but D.F. tastemakers have been imbibing pulque — a milky, infusion-friendly sipper derived from agave — for years. Stretch your palate at Pulquería La Bella Hortensia, just a skip from the Museum of Mezcal and Tequila on Plaza Garibaldi.
Gamine-friendly boutique 180 Degrees stocks locally designed minidresses, jumpers, and coffee-table books alongside spunky cruiser bikes and a working vintage jukebox.
Fledgling artists, food cart vendors, and stylists all converge on La Lonja Mercantil, a quarterly open-air market that’s as welcoming to creative upstarts as it is to seasoned hagglers.
For cheap deadstock clothing and incredibly cool handcrafted footwear (we’re talking royal blue patent leather spectators you’ll never want to take off), hoof it to trendy vintage trove Goodbye Folk.
The coast-hopping duo behind concept art, media, and decor brand DFC often call Mexico City home. Find their brick-and-mortar extension (and commission a luchador mask while you’re at it) just west of the city’s historic center in Colonia Roma.