Mexico City

Why we’re obsessed with the capital city.

By Jenn Rose Smith
Jenn Rose Smith, Claire Zinnecker, and Kristen Kilpatrick at Casa Luis Barragan

The idea to go to Mexico City happened on a whim; it seemed that almost without warning, I was on a direct flight to CDMX. It was a trip that was meant to be for Claire ZinneckerKristen Kilpatrick and me. The three of us were all recently out of long-term relationships and in serious need of a little fun. For a last-minute trip that we spent virtually zero time planning, our time in Mexico City was full of unexpected magical moments and so beautiful that we’re already planning to go back. We had a hard time not oversharing on social media (I pushed hard for the hashtag #brokenheartsclub but we ended up settling on #theThreeAmigasCDMX.) With incredible historic architecture and a world-renowned food scene, it was hard to believe that this very European feeling city is just a few hours south of the United States. After three days of shopping, museums and food, we considered our mission accomplished. It was truly impossible to think about love lost when we were in a place so energetic, so cosmopolitan, and above all, colorful.

photographed by kristen kilpatrick, jenn rose smith and claire zinnecker



When we arrived in Mexico City, we went straight to Chaya B&B to check in to our rooms. The hotel is located right on Alameda Central, the gorgeous central park near the city center. From the rooftop we could see the steeple of the old San Juan de Dios monastery and hospital, which has now been converted into the Museo Franz Mayer, a museum housing the largest collection of decorative arts in Latin America.

I’m a ritualistic bather, so I pretty much flipped out when I saw this in my room at Chaya B&B. Heaven!

photo by life as a vagabond

The hotel is located on the top floor of a renovated art deco building, which is now full of shops and restaurants. I explained it to a friend like this: imagine being inside of an 80’s mall, with a courtyard in the middle, except that every single shop is so curated and amazing. There are vintage shops, coffee shops, a skate shop, and even a tattoo parlor all inside this of this one building!

Speaking of shopping, one of the first things on our Mexico City bucket list was finding a great market. Lucky for us, the Chaya concierge tipped us off about El Bazaar Sábado, a huge outdoor art collective that gathers to sell textiles and art every Saturday in the San Ángel neighborhood.

Thankfully the all neutral trend has not caught on when it comes to Mexican embroidery. We couldn’t stop gushing over the beautiful dresses, table cloths, pillows, and blankets on sale at the bazaar.

I mentioned earlier several unexpected magical moments during our trip, and our visit to Frida Kahlo’s house was definitely one of them. We’d been told we couldn’t miss a visit to the famed artist’s house so we booked our tickets online and called an Uber. We didn’t know it was Frida’s birthday (she would have been 110!) until we arrived at the museum to see a line wrapped all the way around the famed “Blue House”. Everyone was so excited to be there, and the mood was so festive. All the women were putting on bright red lipstick to honor Frida, and we happily joined in the tradition ourselves. (Luckily Kristen had a bright red lipstick in her bag!)

Inside the museum, we saw many original works by Frida (as well as a few by her husband, Diego Rivera.) But our favorite part of the Museo Frida Kahlo tour was viewing her studio, which is still completely in tact with her paints, pastels, and wheelchair pulled up to the easel where she painted.


photo by kyle magnuson

The facade of The Blue House is painted an intense, saturated cobalt blue. Throughout the house and on the exterior there are inscriptions created by Frida featuring her name and Diego’s. If you aren’t already familiar with Frida and her deeply emotional body of work, touring the Blue House will make you want to learn more. It’s an absolutely can’t-miss stop on your first trip to Mexico City.

The next day, each of the three amigas (Kristen, Claire, and myself) chose one place that we absolutely had to go. Kristen chose Dulce Patria, a restaurant in Polanco she had read about in GOOP’s guide to Mexico City.

When we arrived, the posh feminine interior had us gasping (definitely Gwyneth-worthy!). Claire (an interior designer) was obsessed with the pink concrete and brass staircase in the entryway.

Chef Martha Ortiz is known for her artistic presentation of food — she says “passion is the most important ingredient.” We couldn’t help but feel that Frida’s artistic spirit was very present in Dulce Patria. Eating there is truly like theater… our desert came on a tiny miniature ferris wheel! Everything tasted as good as it looks, which is pretty remarkable when you think about it.

My must-d0 pick on our trip was a visit to the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest cathedral in all of the Americas. The interior is astounding — gilded altars that reach the ceilings, two incredible 18th century organs, and fourteen different chapels open to the public. I have an interest in things that are gothic, old, spiritual… so this was basically like my dream come true. I could have spent hours just soaking in all the details, but we had a whole city to see!

Claire’s wish was to visit Casa Luis Barragán, home to the famed Mexican architect and engineer. When we arrived, the museum was shutting down for the day and they weren’t giving any more tours. But Claire wouldn’t take no for an answer and somehow sweet talked the docents into giving the three of us a private tour of the house. I know, I know… how lucky can you get?

An architecture major, it had been a dream of Claire’s to visit this house for a long time. I grabbed a pic of her upstairs on the terrace when she wasn’t looking — she couldn’t have been happier!

For our third night in the city, we moved over to Hotel Condesa DF in the posh Condesa neighborhood. The vibe of the hotel is sophisticated and well-designed. Planes of aqua paint, globe pendants, and plenty of glossy white furniture make the hotel feel futuristic, utopian.

image by thrillist

Our last night in the city we spent exploring the Condesa neighborhood, and even finding a secret bar in the back of a restaurant where you enter through the fridge door. I’m serious. I won’t tell you where it is, but I will say that if you dine at La Surtidora Don Batiz, you’re getting warm.

On Sunday we stopped back in Chaya for one last margarita before heading back to Texas. It was an incredible trip that left us longing for more… until next time, Mexico City. You are a dream.