Dan Schlosser / travel /

Mexico City, Summer 2021

Mexico City, Summer 2021

Visiting Mexico City from August 13 to August 21, 2021.

There was a magic time, in the summer of 2021, where it felt like Covid was really getting under control. People were getting vaccinated and all the bad numbers were dropping. International travel was beginning to open up and my wanderlust was peaking. I had learned my lesson from Alaska, though. While working at a startup, being unplugged for an extended trip was tricky. There was a lot to do!

With all of this in mind, my friend Diane and I came up with the plan to spend a week working from Mexico City. We could both work remotely (Diane at Google and me at Ambrook), so it fit perfectly. Mexico City checked all the boxes: great food and rich cultural history in a big enough city to have good Wi-Fi and in a US-friendly timezone. And, with New York experiencing peak-gross-heat, August was a perfect time to escape. We booked our flights and a fantastic Airbnb (a 2-bedroom penthouse with a roof deck for less than $75/night per person) and set off!

Roma norte airbnb
Our Airbnb had a generous roof deck connecting the bedrooms to the living room.

We were working during the week, so most of our exploration of Mexico City took place on bookended weekends. I was excited to see Mexico City architecture for myself, exploring various neighborhoods and parks.

Yellow church
Mexico City was unafraid of bold colors, a welcome change from New York.
We walked from Coyoacán to San Ángel, stopping to enjoy the architecture.
After walking for an hour or two, we stumbled upon the Alfredo Guati Rojo National Watercolor Museum.
Library yard
We stopped by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) to see the university library, which is covered on all sides in mural.
The mural, by Juan O'Gorman, depicts a narrative history of Mexico and UNAM.
Frida kahlo garden
On the second attempt, we made it inside the Frida Kahlo museum, an cobalt-colored complex surrounding a beautiful courtyard.
Frida kahlo steps
The museum was converted from Kahlo's former home.
Trotsky tombstone
Appropriately proximate to the Firda Kahlo museum was the former home and museum of León Trotsky.
Trotsky's home also surrounds a central garden.
Palacio bellas artes mural
Closer to the downtown Mexico City, we visited the Palacio de Bellas Artes, to see the Diego Rivera murals they have on permanent display.
The building interior is executed in striking marble.
Soumaya exterior
Across town, the Soumaya Museum impressed on the outside more than the inside.
While the collection of sculpture and decorative art was impressive, the curation was lacking.
Soumaya train tracks
Outside, a High Line-inspired park led us back towards our apartment.
Roma norte architecture
Across the street from our Airbnb was a cafe with a beautiful view of the sky.

In the center of the city is Chapultepec park, the second-largest park in Latin America. At its center is Chapultepec Castle, which sits on top of a hill, and is accessible only by a spiraling ramp.

Park walkway
Unlike central park which has much more meandering paths, Chapultepec park feels far more man-made.
Chapultepec garden 2
At the top of Chapultepec Castle, we enjoyed an open-air garden.
Chapultepec stained glass
On the east side of the residence, a floor-to-ceiling stain glassed wall lets light into an otherwise typical corridor.
The weather was quite crummy during our visit, but it didn't keep us from exploring the castle.
Chapultepec gallary
In front of the castle, a guards quarters and military training camp has been turned into a museum.
At the end of our visit, we were treated to some fantastic views of the surrounding Mexico City.

Food

One of the biggest draws to visit Mexico City was the food. We enjoyed all sorts of meals in our week, from street tacos to upscale tasting menus. With respect to fine dining, we got extremely lucky, with last minute reservations opening up at Pujol, Quintonil, Sud 777, and Lorea.

Pujol patio
Pujol's garden was beautiful at night. We enjoyed our meal at the bar, and dessert outside.
Our taco tasting menu at Pujol included a delicious mushroom pizza and a dish of pure mole.
Even though Pujol was supposed to be the best restaurant in Mexico City, we enjoyed Quintonil more. The vegetable dishes and wine were especially tasty.
At Lorea, I enjoyed the ceviche and the fried blossoms.
Restaurant from above
Sud 777 was located above a Japanese restaurant, which we didn't get to visit.
The duck and fish were my favorite dishes.
Roma norte lunch
While we ate our fancier meals on nights and weekend, I also enjoyed some delicious lunches from local restaurants near our Airbnb.

Teotihuacán

After some time exploring the city, we also made the trip to Teotihuacán, about an hour outside of Mexico City. The site is an archeological site of an ancient Mesoamerican city. With dozens of partial structures, staircases, and two massive stepped pyramids, Teotihuacán was by far the most impressive site like this I've seen in the world.

Teotihuacan stepped pyramid
There were several stepped pyramids across the site.
Teotihuacan tourists
Although we got in early, Teotihuacán was quickly flooded with tourists.
Left: Several stepped structures surround a central courtyard. Right: Gargoyle-like structures guard some of the larger pyramids.
While the Sun and Moon pyramids were closed due to COVID, this closure let us take better pictures of the pyramids from the ground.
Teotihuacan moon 2
The strong lines of the Pyramid of the Moon were striking.