My family and I recently visited Mexico City, a destination on my wish list for years. With graceful Spanish colonial architecture, edgy design hotels and cafes on every corner, it’s a beautiful and sophisticated city. We learned about the country’s history at the National Museum of History, strolled through Alameda Central beneath blooming jacaranda trees and devoured everything from street tacos at family-run Tacos Hola El Güero to the legendary tuna tostada at Contramar. Here’s where to go in Mexico City with kids.
We stayed at Condesa DF, a Grupo Habita design hotel on a tree-lined street in well-heeled Condesa. Our room had two queen beds, and the rate included continental breakfast. The boys loved picking out their pastries and cereals each morning. You can also order egg dishes like huevos rancheros and chilaquiles for an extra charge. Condesa DF is across the street from a park with a large playground.
Beautiful and sophisticated design hotels are springing up in every corner of the city, from La Valise Mexico City, within walking distance to artist Frieda Kalo’s former home, to the new Casa Polanco. Owner Octavio Aguilar spent more than three years expanding and transforming the 1940s Spanish colonial revival mansion into an urban refuge where contemporary Mexican artworks, including photographs by Graciela Iturbide and paintings by Ricardo Mazal, decorate the walls.
Hilltop Chapultepec Castle, which doubles as the National History Museum, is one of Mexico City’s most iconic landmarks and a beautiful example of neo-classical architecture. We especially loved exploring the glass-enclosed portion of the palace with a rooftop garden and elegant rooms still furnished as they would have been around the turn of the century. We also let the boys stretch their legs in Chapultepec Park, Latin America’s oldest and largest urban park, before and after the visit. While we didn’t visit this time, there’s also a zoo in the park and a National Anthropology Museum.
Guillermo Tovar de Teresa Museum in a meticulously renovated 1911 mansion is free to enter and a treasure trove of rare 19th-century books, art and furniture. We were allowed to take our children in, but they were not supposed to touch anything.
The boys loved splashing in the Alameda Central fountains on our way to Zócalo Plaza, the city’s historic center. We went inside the grand Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral (entry is free), took a peek at the Templo Mayor ruins, one of the main temples of the former capital of the Aztec empire, and hopped in a cab back to Condesa.
Two museums in 18th-century landmarks opened recently, including Foro Museo Valparaíso, in a former palace where the 20th-century galleries feature Diego Rivera’s 1942 Calla Lily Vendor and the Kaluz Museum, which showcases a private collection within the renovated Antiguo Hospicio de Tomás de Villanueva.
At Siembra Comedor, the cornerstone is excellent tortillas using high-quality grains from the milpas of Tlaxcala. Chefs Karina Mejía and Israel Montero have been trying to rescue native corn since 2019 at their taqueria Siembra Taquería. At the new fine dining restaurant next door, diners can order the day’s catch with green mole, tortillas and beans, organic duck breast lacquered in honey and spice and lingua with mole negro. It’s also family-friendly. Our boys lapped up everything and loved the Caesar salad made tableside, the empanadas and, of course, dessert that included a chocolate tamale with vanilla and cocoa nibs.
A bakery to rival the best boulangeries in Paris, Panaderia Rosetta in Roma Norte has lines out the door every morning—everything is fabulous, including the honey croissants, guava rolls and baguette sandwiches with Manchego and ham.
Contramar, the restaurant credited with sparking Mexico City’s restaurant revival, is still relevant and serves the freshest fish in town. The service is unfussy, and they serve crispy French fries, grilled fish, tacos, ceviches, and excellent cocktails like tamarind and mezcal margaritas. The bustling environment is a perfect cover for sometimes noisy children.
When you need a quick lunch in Condesa with kids, head to Tacos Hola El Güero in Condesa. At the casual taqueria, you can choose from about a dozen guisados, braised meats and vegetables in large clay casseroles and add your own fixings.
Chef Jair Tellez’s Baja-Med restaurant in Juárez, Amaya, serves the kind of food our boys love: ceviche tostada with fried squid, house-made sausages with potato salad and roast chicken. My husband and I loved the natural wine selection.
While I didn’t subject the boys to this, I had to do a little shopping. I popped into the flagship boutique shared by designers Francisco Cancino and Cynthia Buttenklepper, who draw inspiration from Mexico’s history and architectural forms in designer linen dresses and sustainably made leather ponchos.
If you’re in Mexico City kid-free or can arrange a sitter, make a reservation at Rayo Cocktail Bar, one of the 50 Best Bars in North America, for cocktails that are sweet, savory and works of art like Mexico Through the Senses. The concoction features the traditional Mayan spirit Dondante pox, as well as tequila, purple sweet potato, and lime.