T 5 - Ciudad de México
Fascinating Culture, Food, Nightlife
and Urban Adventure in Mexico’s
THE MEXICO CITY MINISTRY OF TOURISM (Sectur CDMX)
considers it a privilege to offer this special welcome to its lesbian,
gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender and intersexual visitors. We
think “CDMX” is soon to be one of your favorite places in the world.
Its cultural, social, gastronomic and nightlife options are as
diverse as you, ranging from grand historical spaces to fun bohemian
watering holes; edgy galleries and endless museums; hotels for every
budget, all manner of great restaurants, and incredible street life that
fires the imagination. Put together it adds up to tremendous fun and
sophisticated urban adventure.
Mexico City and Sectur CDMX’s commitment to the LGBTTI
community—for citizens and visitors alike—goes beyond flying
a rainbow flag in this or that place and advocating for tolerance.
Instead, it is reflected in progressive actions designed to enhance
equality for all members of sexually diverse communities, most
notably exemplified by Mexico City’s landmark 2010 legalization of
same-sex marriage, a first for any Latin American jurisdiction. Legal
adoption by same-sex couples was enacted the same year.
It is also reflected in this official guide to LGBT Mexico City.
The first ever of its kind, it focuses especially on the neighborhoods
and attractions that LGBT visitors most enjoy, and leads to art,
architecture and history amid seven centuries of urban culture in
the Centro Histórico; to the alternative charms of artsy enclaves like
Condesa and Roma; to the high-end good life and sophisticated style
that is Polanco; and not least of all, to the Zona Rosa, the cradle of
Mexico’s LGBT rights movement, and of course, home to some of the
best gay nightlife in the world. Along the way you’ll read about the
city’s hidden gems and less well-known neighborhoods, too.
Best of all, it is the people of Mexico City—smart, fun, friendly
and hospitable—who complete the mosaic of city life and support
its free, open spirit. Look for great insider tips in every section
from some of the city’s most fascinating young personalities.
They—alongside nearly ten million residents—join Sectur CDMX in
welcoming you to our spectacular urban celebration.
Mexico City Ministry of Tourism
MEXICO CITY GAY PRIDE PARADE
Where to begin when describing how much Mexico City appeals
to LGBT travelers? It helps that we love urban life. Because Mexico
City is Maximum City—and even more incredible when experienced
through the lens of queer creativity, wit and style.
Start with the history. The capital of the Aztec Empire from
1325, followed by three centuries as a viceregal Spanish city, and
Mexico’s center of intellectual, artistic and cultural life in every period
before and after independence, Mexico City has always thought big,
grand and palatial. Get ready for amazing architecture and a wild
combination of the old and the new, the high and the low, that makes
for pageantry, nostalgia, and fun, campy contrasts.
Then add style. Mexico City is at a high point when it comes to
design and the arts, with dozens of edgy galleries, museums that
challenge the boundaries, and hundreds of creators, established and
emerging, whose genius takes perennial inspiration from the city’s
dynamism, color and street life.
Then there are the pleasures. Food in infinite varieties,
impossibly delicious. Elegance and sophistication in hotels, smart
cocktail lounges and cutting-edge restaurants. Nightlife that only
ends when you call it quits.
And best of all, there’s the joy of city life. The great
conversations, the people-watching, the questions that only come
up when this many souls get together in one place. It’s also about the
LGBT community’s open existence and contributions; the characters
and the random encounters; making friends and maybe even some
flirt while you’re at it.
With all that in mind, we present the LGBT Guide to Mexico
City. A highly subjective invitation to take your place in the city’s
dazzling urban pageant. We hope it whets the appetite for more
exploration and adventure on this trip and on journeys yet to come.
AUTHOR AND EDITOR
LGBT GUIDE TO MEXICO CITY
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SAN RAFAEL/SANTA MARÍA LA RIBERA
IN THE FIELD: EXCURSIONS, SPORTS & ADVENTURES
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LGBT GUIDE MEXICO CITY..
Primera edición: 2015. © Travesías Editores, S.A. de C.V., Amatlán 33, col. Condesa, C.P. 06140, México D.F.
Queda prohibida la reproducción parcial o total de esta obra por cualquier medio —incluidos los electrónicos—
sin permiso escrito por parte del titular de los derechos.
THE TIME MACHINE
FEW NEIGHBORHOODS ON EARTH CONTAIN AS MUCH HISTORY,
architecture, culture and just plain life—high, low and otherwise—
as does Mexico City’s ancient downtown, the Centro Histórico.
From its legendary beginnings in the fourteenth century, until the
last years of the nineteenth, it was home to all of Mexico’s most
important government, religious and cultural institutions.
After some recent tough times, the Centro is reasserting its
central place in the urban fabric—and is an essential stop for
every LGBT visitor. Its narrow streets are jammed with incredible
architecture; great new hotels and restaurants join old-schoolers
that have been there forever; and the museum-going is tremendous.
Not least of all, LGBT nightlife is booming downtown.
The neighborhood’s intangible urbanity, seemingly lost in time, is
something that LGBT people truly appreciate: the city as a place of
surprises and freedom; a pageant of the grand and the humble; the temple
of high culture, next door to the dive-y corner bar.
REPÚBLICA DE PARAGU
REP. DE PERÚ
REP. DE GU
REP. DE UR
REP. DE EL
6 Cantina Tío Pepe
2 Palacio de Bellas Artes
3 Plaza Tolsá
8 San Ildefonso
Cantina La Ópera
4 Hotel Downtown México
9 Museo Franz Mayer
5 Salón Marrakech
10 Museo de la Ciudad de México
Start in Mexico City’s main square,
the Zócalo. This was where the
Aztecs founded the city when, it is
said, they spotted an eagle alighting
on a cactus, devouring a snake.
(Sound familiar? Check out the
Mexican flag). An augur foretold a
great city would rise where the eagle
landed. And just look what happened.
Zócalo highlights include the
Cathedral (don’t miss the immense
baroque pipe organ and the splendid
altarpiece) and to the right is the
Palacio Nacional, the seat of the
Begun by Cortés where Moctezuma’s
imperial residence once stood, the
Palacio Nacional now houses Diego
Rivera murals and other artifacts
from Mexican history. Between these
two structures—like a ghost between
church and state—lies the Templo
Mayor, i.e., the main Aztec temple,
where yes, the human sacrifices
happened. Today you explore its ruins
and extensive museum.
From the Zócalo, stroll down Madero
Street—the people-watching is great
as you pass several magnificent
buildings and churches. Madero
ends in front of a white-wedding
cake of an auditorium: the Palacio
de Bellas Artes. Its creamy art
nouveau exterior contrasts with a
fabulous dark-hued art deco interior;
if possible, see an event at the
Palacio and with luck, they’ll lower its
incredible Tiffany-glass fire curtain.
Outside, walk toward the rear of
Bellas Artes and cross over to
the Palacio Postal (at Tacuba
Street), the city’s main post office.
Check out what state-of-the-art
communications looked like in 1903,
including amazing grillwork and a
grand staircase that’s grand enough
for even you.
FROM THE ZÓCALO AND
THE PALACIO NACIONAL
TO BELLAS ARTES
AND PLAZA TOLSÁ
YOU COULD EXPLORE THE
CENTRO’S NARROW, BUSTLING
STREETS FOR DAYS AND RARELY
SEE THE SAME THING TWICE. THAT
SAID, THE FOLLOWING ROUTE LETS
YOU DO THE MUST-SEES IN A FEW
End your tour in Plaza Tolsá.
Highlights include the Palacio de
Minería (the classical pile right next
door), and Mexico’s National Art
Museum, worth a look-see for its
AZUL HISTÓRICO. Isabel la
Católica 30 (on the ground level of
the Hotel Downtown México); 5521
3295; azulhistorico.com. Mon-Sat 9
am-11 pm, Sun 9 am-6 pm. Refined,
“modern” Mexican fare served in a
leafy colonial courtyard amid a chic,
CAFÉ DE TACUBA. Tacuba 28;
5518 4950; cafedetacuba.com.
mx. Open daily 8 am-11:30 pm. A
classic, immaculate and kitschy
(like at Sanborns, dig the waitress
uniforms), featuring traditional
Mexican, like enchiladas and
tamales. From October 31st to
November 2nd habit-clad “nuns” hand
out breakfast pastries.
CASA DE LAS SIRENAS. República
de Guatemala 32; 5704 3345;
lacasadelassirenas.com.mx. MonSat 11 am-11 pm, Sun 11 am-6 pm.
Flavorful Mexican food in a lopsided
old townhouse; the terrace offers
marvelous views of the Cathedral.
Excellent tortillas prepared by old gals
that know what they’re doing.
CASINO ESPAÑOL. Isabel la Católica
29; 5521 8894. Mon-Sun 8 am-6 pm.
Impossibly palatial. Once you’ve
recovered from the grand staircase,
the soaring lobby and the 1000-lb
chandeliers, slip upstairs for Spanish
lunch with hard-coiffed señoras and
downtown fat-cats whose dining
companions look a little too young to
be their wives.
EL MAYOR. República de Argentina
17 (on the roof of the Librería Porrúa
bookstore); 5704 7580; porrua.com/
elmayor. Mon-Sun 9 am-6 pm. A chic
lunch spot with updated traditionals.
The views—from the Cathedral
to grand colonial palaces and the
namesake Aztec temple—are ghostly,
poetic and inspiring.
PUNTARENAS. Isabel la Católica
30 (on the ground level of the Hotel
Downtown México); 5510 2394;
bajodelatintorera.com. Mon-Thurs 8
am-11 pm; Fri-Sat 8-12 am. Mexican
classics and steaks with a hint of
French bistro, in the patio of an
ROLDÁN 37. Roldán 37; 5542 1951.
Mon-Sat 12-7 pm; Sun 9 am-6 pm.
A hidden gem, Roldán occupies a
restored townhouse on a street few
CAFÉ DE TACUBA
visitors reach. Make the pilgrimage for
refined Mexican iterations; the chic/
barrio combo is pure Mexico City.
SANBORNS (CASA DE LOS
AZULEJOS) Francisco I. Madero 4;
sanborns.com.mx. Open daily 7 am-1
am and SANBORNS (PALACIO
CONDES DE XALA). Venustiano
Carranza 73; 5518 1463; sanborns.
com.mx. Open daily 7 am-11 pm.
An essential experience, if only for
the waitress uniforms. The Azulejos
location’s dining room occupies
a fantastic colonial courtyard, a
routinely packed must-see; the
Xala outpost occupies a gorgeously
restored eighteenth-century palace.
Ideal for breakfast.
COMBO IS PURE
LOVE YOU, THEY JUST
DON’T GET STICKY
CHURROS EL MORO
OTHER NOTEWORTHY CENTRO
RESTAURANTS (IN BRIEF)
Al-Andalus. Mesones 171; 5522 2528.
Open daily 9 am-6 pm. Authentic
Middle-Eastern fare served in an old
townhouse, a social center for the
city’s Lebanese immigrants.
Café del Palacio. Avenida Juárez 1
(in the lobby of the Palacio de Bellas
Artes); 5512 2593. Mon 12 pm-5
pm, Tues-Sun check the Palacio
performance schedule. Smart lunches
and cocktails amid the Palacio de
Bellas Artes’s art deco splendors. Rub
elbows with artsy types who’d better
FABULOUS DIVES IN
AND AROUND PLAZA
Dazzling hotels, restaurants and
museums are all part of Mexico
City, but its sub-rosa, underground
pleasures are also great fun. Plaza
Garibaldi, downtown along Avenida
Lázaro Cárdenas, is the authentically
tourist-tacky heart of mariachi
music. Hanging out in the plaza is
fun (look for “cocktail bars” perched
start suffering if they’re going to
finish that symphony.
Churros El Moro. Lázaro Cárdenas
42; 5512 0896; elmoro.com.mx. Open
daily 24 hrs. Churro “doughnuts” and
the hot chocolate is to die for. The
crusty waitresses love you, they just
don’t get sticky about it.
Coox Hanal. Isabel la Católica 83;
5709 3613. Open daily 10:30 am-6:30
pm. Delicious Yucatán food in a
down-home atmosphere. Sundays
feature mind-blowing entertainment:
aging pop divas, EZ listening organ,
vintage-1947 “dirty” jokes…
on rolling carts); or go “classy” at
Salón El Tenampa (Plaza Garibaldi
12; 5526 6176; salontenampa.com.
Sun-Thurs 1 pm-2 am, Fri-Sat 1 pm-3
am), an old-school joint with strolling
mariachis. Check out the Museo del
Tequila y el Mezcal (Plaza Garibaldi
[no number] 5529 1238; Sun-Mon,
Wed 1-10 pm; Thurs-Sat 1 pm- 2:30
am; mutemgaribaldi.com.mx), that
celebrates the delicious, dangerous
elixirs. Finally, between the Centro and
Garibaldi, there are a series of gay
places that ride the line between hip
Danubio. República de Uruguay 3;
5512 0912; danubio.com.mx. MonSun 1-9 pm. Old—and we mean old—
school seafood. Traditional, yet
Hostería de Santo Domingo.
Belisario Domínguez 72; 5526 5276;
Mon-Sat 9 am-10 pm, Sun 9-9 pm.
Said to be the city’s oldest restaurant,
featuring classics like enchiladas,
carnitas, and carne asada—plus offkey live entertainment.
and abject: El 69 (Lázaro Cárdenas
15-A), El Tahúr (Belisario Domínguez
11; Tues-Sun 5 pm-2:30 am), and Go
(Colón 30 at the corner of Reforma)
are popular at this writing. Have fun,
but take reasonable precautions, i.e.,
don’t get fall-down drunk or try to
score something you know isn’t good
POSTER FROM MARÍA CANDELARIA (1944)
Three Must-See Classics from
the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema
From the post-WW II period until the mid-1960s, Mexican movies enjoyed
a golden age, and film studios such as Estudios Churubusco made Mexico
City the cinema capital of the Spanish-speaking world. We recommend three
essential, campy Mexico City-set pictures to get you started.
Aventurera (1950). After her father’s
lurid suicide, Elena (the fierce Ninón
Sevilla) decamps for the big city, only
to become ensnared in prostitution,
intrigue and nightclub superstardom.
Empowered, she sets out to avenge
all who have wronged her.
María Candelaria (1944) stars
Dolores del Río as a (fair-skinned?)
indigenous flower vendor in the
floating gardens of Xochimilco. She
can’t seem to get a break (the piglet!)
until a foreign artist makes her his
model, yet association with the
bohemian set leads to repercussions.
Gorgeous photography by Mexican
cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa.
Salón México (1949). To send her
sister to an exclusive boarding school,
Mercedes (Marga López) works as a
“taxi dancer” in a tawdry dancehall.
Yet Paco (Rodolfo Acosta), hot but
bad news, keeps coming around to
abuse, steal and generally screw
things up. Will Mercedes sacrifice all
to hide the truth from her sister?
LA FARÁNDULA: THEATRE
AND THE PERFORMING
Mexico City is a mecca for the
arts, with a breathtaking—if
not overwhelming—range of
options, often on the cheap.
On the high end there is what
happens at the Palacio de
Bellas Artes and other official
venues: ballet and orchestra,
opera and modern dance, pop
concerts and the world-famous
Ballet Folklórico, the colorful,
crowd pleasing, and quite
impressive traditional dance
show. Check out the “cartelera”
(i.e., “event calendar”)
sections on websites like
Bellas Artes’s bellasartes.
gob.mx or the Mexico City
Tourism Ministry’s mexicocity.
options include Spanishlanguage adaptations of
recent Broadway hits and
theatre by a new generation
of home-grown bards. The
mx has information on
blockbuster shows plus the
current theatrical offering,
including cabaret. Finally,
live music choices are nearly
infinite, ranging from old-style
bolero torch songs, danzón
or salsa, to folk music, and
even curious holdouts like
rockabilly, punk and metal.
for the latest listings and
BARS & CLUBS
BÓSFORO. Luis Moya 31; 5512
1991; Tues-Thurs 7 pm-1:30 am,
Fri-Sat 6 pm-3 am. What once was
an all but clandestine joint got hip
with neighborhood locals, artists,
musicians, journalists, writers… It’s
a sliver of a venue but good for a
solid mescal, excellent music and an
utterly attitude-free groove.
EL OASIS. República de Cuba 2-G;
5521 9740. Sun-Thurs 5 pm-3 am; FriSat 5 pm-3:30 am. Everyone is family
here, present for dancing, drag shows
and heartfelt karaoke. The crowd
spans from papa bears to twinks,
plus plenty of girls. More for fun than
hook-ups, but you never know…
EL VIENA. República de Cuba 2-E;
5512 0929. Mon-Sun 2 pm-2:30
am. The grandmama cantina of
the burgeoning Cuba Street scene.
Weeknights are tranquilo, but once
Thursday hits, everyone’s here for
fervent jukebox dancing and major
eye contact. Mostly men.
LA PERLA. República de Cuba 44;
1997 7695; Fri-Sat 8 pm-3 am. Said
to have opened in 1946 (last remodel
1963?), now everyone comes. Drag
performers range from pop-divas
and traditional señoritas to fierce
200-pounders and refugees from
German expressionism. Arrive early
(the place is tiny) or wait to get in.
LA PURÍSIMA. República de Cuba 17;
5704 1995. Thurs-Sat 6 pm-2:30 am.
Big-sister to Marrakech, La Purísima
gathers a cute, bohemian crew for
frenetic dancing, go-go boys, fun and
flirt—amid madhouse, Catholic-kitsch
appointments. Perennially packed,
there’s another bar upstairs with
more room for dancing.
MARRAKECH. República de
Cuba 18. Thurs-Sat 6 pm-3 am. A
bohemian hideaway that kicked
off the Cuba Street boom, typically
packed with artsy young men (and
women) who are easy on the eyes.
Camp décor and a friendly vibe
add to the charm.
Marrakech 2.0. Filomeno Mata 18H; Tues-Thurs 2 pm-2 am, Fri-Sat
1 pm-3 am. If you’ve had with the
original “Marra” because there’s no
space for shaking your tailfeathers,
you’ll dig 2.0. All the same charm
and good music, but in two
sections (one featuring tables and
food) plus higher ceilings.
OTHER CENTRO NIGHTLIFE
Bar La Ópera. Cinco de Mayo
10; 5512 8959; barlaopera.com.
Mon-Sat 1 pm-12 am, Sun 1-6
pm. More a gilded-age saloon
than mere cantina, style queens
love the art-nouveau and flocked
velvet wallpaper; sassy grrls thrill
to a bullet hole that Pancho Villa
left behind (ask a waiter to point
it out); and there’s tequila and
margaritas for all.
Cantina Tío Pepe. Independencia
26; 5521 9136. Mon-Thurs, Sat
12 pm-10 pm, Fri 12 pm-11 pm.
The working man’s La Ópera
(see above), with a stiff shot of
FUN AND FLIRT—
belle-époque (that’s taken a few
hard knocks). Trapped in time—
including the regulars—it ain’t
swank or chic, yet suitable for all
audiences (especially when the
crowd gets to singing its off-key
Hotel Downtown México
Rooftop. Isabel la Católica 30;
5130 6830; downtownmexico.
com. Mon-Thurs 12 pm-11 pm,
Fri-Sat 12 pm-2 am. The Centro’s
chicest address, the vibe is great
at cocktail hour, lounge-y and
relaxed; a highly-heeled, highlytanned crush hits later on.
Miralto. Madero 1 (the 41st floor of
the Torre Latinoamericana); 5518
1710; miralto.com.mx. Mon-Sat 9
am-11 pm; Sun 9 am-10 pm. The
lounge atop the city’s most beloved
skyscraper is more impressive than
strictly fabulous, but you cannot
argue with the views.
Mexico City’s Coolest Reveal Their Favorite Pleasures
MEMO MARTÍNEZ, Broadcast Journalist
Carla Fernández blends traditiion
with truly contemporary design
that’s interesting and after
something new. Isabel la Católica
30, 2nd fl., Centro; 5510 9624;
Arte Joyas. Currently no one is
producing the silver finishes their
pieces evince. And I’m absolutely
mad for their rings. Av. de la
Paz 40, San Ángel; 6588 6529;
Belmondo Polanco. Personal,
simple dishes, but all are unique
and delicious. Emilio Castelar
171, Polanco; 5280 4193; belmondo.
The Sonora Market. What you buy
there defines who you are and there’s
something for every budget. Plus you
can solve all your problems with a
stroll down the black-magic aisle. Fray
Servando Teresa de Mier 419, Merced
SOMA. This contemporary art space
is directed Yoshua Okón, whose work
I’ve admired and respected for going
on two decades. Calle 13 no. 25,
San Pedro de los Pinos; 5277 4974;
Memo Martínez is a media host and auctioneer, currently seen on Tu Casa
TV (Channel 52MX on MVS TV and Dish), and is a colloborator on Pasillo TV
(Channel 9, Televisa). He also works as a fashion producer.
ANTIGUO COLEGIO DE SAN
ILDEFONSO. Justo Sierra 16; 5702
2991; sanildefonso.org.mx. Tues 10
am-7:30pm; Wed-Sun 10 am-5:30 pm.
Arrayed around a series of tranquil
cloisters, this art museum is home
to dazzling temporary exhibitions
that skew to contemporary work
from Mexico and around the world.
And don’t miss “El Generalito,” a
seventeenth-century chapel featuring
incredible hand-carved mahogany
choir stalls, pulpits, etc.
MUSEO DE ARTE POPULAR.
Revillagigedo 11; 5510 2201; map.
df.gob.mx. Tues-Sun 10 am-6 pm; Wed
10 am-9 pm. Dazzling folk art housed
in a great art deco building.
MUSEO DEL PALACIO DE
BELLAS ARTES. Avenida Juárez
(no number; at the corner of
Avenida Lázaro Cárdenas); 5512
6655; bellasartes.gob.mx. TuesSun 10 am-6 pm. In addition to
DE SAN ILDEFONSO
MUSEO NACIONAL DE ARTE
its breathtaking concert hall
(see the stroll at the beginning
of this chapter), the Palacio de
Bellas Artes includes a museum
that often hosts international
blockbuster shows alongside
“brand name” murals by Orozco,
Siqueiros and Diego Rivera
MUSEO DE LA CIUDAD DE
MÉXICO. Pino Suárez 30; 5522
9936. Tues-Sun 10 am-5:30 pm.
Focused on urban history and
culture, it contrasts permanent
exhibitions with edgier temporary
art and photography shows. Don’t
miss the building’s cornerstone: an
Aztec deity “recycled” as a brick for
a conquistador’s mansion. Be sure
to ask after Joaquín Clausell’s studio,
a lesser-known exhibit that’s quite
worth a look-see.
MUSEO DEL ESTANQUILLO.
Isabel la Católica 26; 5521 3052;
museodelestanquillo.com. WedMon 10 am-6 pm. Late Mexican
writer Carlos Monsiváis’s brilliant
queer eye is the basis for a rotating
schedule of exhibits on everything
from cinema, history and design to
Mexican popular culture, mounted
from “treasures” Monsiváis culled on
trips to the city’s flea markets.
MUSEO MEMORIA Y TOLERANCIA.
Avenida Juárez (in front of the Benito
Juárez monument); 5130 5555;
memoriaytolerancia.org. Tues-Fri 9
am-6 pm, Sat-Sun 10 am-7 pm. This
museum of memory and tolerance
bears witness to the twentieth
century’s most violent genocides
and builds awareness of everyday,
MUSEO FRANZ MAYER. Avenida
Hidalgo 45; 5518 2266; franzmayer.
org.mx. Tues-Fri 10 am-5 pm; Sat-Sun
10 am-7 pm. A gracious colonial-era
hospital now houses a decorative
arts collection bursting with fab
16th to 19th-century furniture,
housewares, silver, ceramics,
tapestries, etc. Even the butchest will
catalogue decorating ideas.
MUSEO NACIONAL DE ARTE.
Tacuba 8; 8647 5430; munal.com.mx.
Tues-Sun 10 am-5:30 pm. Mexico’s
national art museum features an
almost exhausting collection of
painting, sculpture, etc., from colonial
times to the early twentieth century,
alongside increasingly notable
temporary exhibitions. And the
antique toy collection is irresistible.
Museo Mural Diego Rivera. Calle
Colón at the corner of Balderas;
1555 1900; museomuraldiegorivera.
org. Tues-Sun 10 am-6 pm. Its
mural centerpiece is a Diego Rivera
masterwork that’s a who’s-who of
Mexican history and society. Miss
Frida features prominently.
Museo Nacional de la Estampa.
Avenida Hidalgo 39; 8647 5220;
bellasartes.gob.mx. Tues-Sun 10 am-6
pm. Mexican printmaking and graphic
arts from the sixteenth century to the
Pinacoteca del Templo de la
Profesa. Isabel la Católica 21; 5521
8362. Sat 12-2 pm only. Worth working
around the odd hours: colonial-era
religious art that really goes for
baroque. Saints and martyrs for days!
museum itself—a mind-blowing neorenaissance, neo-baroque, neo-wedon’t-know-what-else pile—must be
seen to be believed.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY CENTRO
MUSEUMS (IN BRIEF)
Museo Archivo de la Fotografía.
República de Guatemala 34; 2616
6975. Tues-Sun 10 am-6 pm.
An immense photo archive in a
magnificent colonial townhouse.
Museo del Calzado. Bolívar 27
(upstairs); 5521 8380; museocalzado.
com. Mon-Sat 10 am-6 pm. Mexico
CIty’s shoe museum, for the diva in
Museo del Juguete Antiguo
México. Dr. Olvera 15,
Colonia Doctores; 5588 2100;
museodeljuguete.mx. Mon-Fri 9 am-6
pm, Sat-Sun 10 am-16 pm. Located
south of the Centro, this raffish
Hotel Downtown México,
Isabel la Católica 30; 5130
Hotel Downtown México is
the centerpiece of a grand
colonial palace said to have
belonged to Moctezuma’s
descendants (is that “old
money” enough?), and also
features two fashionable
eateries, a swinging rooftop
bar, high-end boutiques, etc.
Guest rooms are minimalist
to a monastic fault, with
chic, high/low design
appointments; if you can,
splurge on a deluxe suite,
which may be the biggest
hotel rooms we’ve ever seen.
“...A COLONIAL PALACE
SAID TO HAVE BELONGED
DESCENDANTS. IS THAT
MUSEO MEMORIA Y TOLERANCIA
‘OLD MONEY’ ENOUGH?”
THE ADJACENT NEIGHBORHOODS KNOWN AS ROMA AND CONDESA
encapsulate a lot of what people love most about Mexico City: the old/
new mix, walkable/bikeable neighborhoods, a burgeoning art scene and
an overall buena onda (i.e., good vibe) when it comes to life in general. You
feel it as you walk the area’s leafy streets and parks, chat in a smart café or
meet up for a drink in its kicky, bohemian boîtes.
Hard to believe now, but Mexico City’s devastating 1985 earthquake
wrought a terrible toll on the area. All but abandoned, rents fell, so artists,
free-spirited types and yes, LGBT people moved in. Funky and fabulous
was only a matter of time. Things started getting fixed up, restaurants and
galleries began to proliferate, and a boom—chic, flirty and irresistible—is in
full swing. All in all, it’s hard to imagine a more thoroughly pleasant set-up
for urban life.
E L IA
L D NC
6 Vértigo Galería
2 Bistrot Máximo
3 Tom’s Leather Bar
8 Cine Tonalá
4 Bar San Luis
9 El Parnita
10 Hotel Condesa df
Avenida Álvaro Obregón (between
Tonalá and Frontera Streets, Colonia
Roma). The Roma’s main commercial
drag, with its sculpture decorated
median, is home to some of the
city’s most popular restaurants
and bars, great old apartments and
soignée design boutiques. Stick
to neighborhood galleries if you’re
looking to acquire.
Avenida Ámsterdam. (One block
from Parque México in any direction,
Colonia Condesa). This elliptical
street is one of the city’s most
charming walks, home to interesting
architecture, restaurants, and the
city’s flirtiest dog walking.
Nuevo León (Colonia Condesa).
Here creative types, business
execs and ladies who lunch crowd
around sidewalk tables to see, be
seen, and participate in the urban
milieu. Venues range from old school
holdovers, now rediscovered, to
trendy spots that come and go, or
even a traditional market where tasty
basics like sandwiches and tacos are
had on the cheap.
Calle Colima (between Tonalá and
Frontera Streets, Colonia Roma). The
Roma street par excellence, quiet, yet
increasingly home to quirky shops
specializing in design, clothing and
accessories for local hipsters, artistes
and wannabes. Don’t miss the
spectacular residential architecture
as you perambulate.
Calle Orizaba (between Puebla and
Querétaro Streets, Colonia Roma).
A buzzy Roma axis bookended by
two lively, lovely plazas. Both feature
cafés, restaurants, all manner of
loitering lovers, adorable children and
dogs of varying adorability.
Parque España and Parque México.
(Parque España: where Avenida Nuevo
León meets Avenida Tamaulipas;
Parque México: surrounded by
Avenida México; Colonia Condesa).
For many, these two tidy gardens are
the true heart of the Condesa. Parque
México features pavilions, fountains
and pathways for taking a breather,
making out, or just general frolicking;
weekends are especially delightful.
ALEKZANDER. Álvaro Obregón
130, Colonia Roma; 5264 3843;
alekzander.mx. Sun-Mon 1 pm11:30 pm, Tues-Sat 1 pm-1:30
am. Can there really be room for
dining room in the Roma? At
Alekzander, yes, especially when
the surrounding appointments—and
denizens—evince such impeccable
style. A tight menu focuses on tapas,
salads and some entrées.
BELMONDO. Tabasco 109, Colonia
Roma; 6273 2079. Mon-Fri 1 pm-12
am, Sat-Sun 10 am-6 pm. Officially
inspired by the New York deli, but
more like New York Fashion Week,
the beautiful people (including
you) cram in, especially nights,
for artisanal sandwiches, salads,
and entrees plus sophisticated
cocktails and yummy desserts.
BROKA. Zacatecas 126, Colonia
Roma; 4437 4285. Mon-Sat 2 pm-1
am. Total tops beware: Broka has no
set menu; everything depends on
what looked good that morning at
local markets. If you’re willing to roll
with it, the rewards are great: tapas,
paninis, etc., in a cozy bar-like space.
CONTRAMAR. Durango 200, Colonia
Roma; 5514 3169; contramar.com.
mx. Thurs, Sat, Sun 12:30-6:30 pm;
Fri 12:30-8 pm. A hotspot that really
delivers, Contramar serves Mexicanstyle fish and shellfish. The peoplewatching is second only to the food’s
rich, yet delicate flavor.
DELIRIO. Monterrey 116-B, Roma;
5584 0870; delirio.mx; Tues-Wed 9
am-10 pm, Thurs-Sat 9-12 am, Sun
8 am-6 pm. Chef Mónica Patiño’s
more casual outpost occupies
the corner at Álvaro Obregón.
The menu is Medterranean with
a hint of the Mexican in seasonal,
ultra-fresh ingredients. Part of
the menu changes daily whereas
certain favorites—like the
yummy mascarpone cheescake
and the honeyed hibiscusade—are everyday staples.
EL CALIFA. Altata 22, Colonia
Condesa; 5271 7666; elcalifa.com.
mx. Daily 1 pm-4 am. A traditional
taco joint and not exactly chic, it’s a
resource—a very tasty resource—
when you stumble out of the bars,
wide-awake and ravenous. The later
it gets, the kookier the mix…be on
the lookout for bleary-eyed pop
EL PARNITA. Yucatán 84 stall E2,
Roma; 5264 7551; elparnita.com; TuesThurs 1-6 pm, Fri-Sat 1-7 pm, Sun 1-6
pm. The same Mexican faves, such as
tacos and tortas as found throughout
the city, yet here with their cooks’
magic touch. Make a reservation or
be prepared to wait for your table.
MÁXIMO BISTROT LOCAL.
Tonalá 133, Colonia Roma; 5264
Tues-Sat 1 pm-5 pm, 7 pm-12 am.
One of the city’s hottest tables,
living up to the hype. Hype about
exceedingly fresh, contemporary
recipes prepared with impeccable
local ingredients, plus warm service
and a cute bungalow setting.
“NIGHTS ARE JAMMED AND
FLIRTY, ALMOST DISCO-
LIKE, BUT AFTERNOONS
COULD BE BEST...”
MEROTORO. Amsterdam 204,
Colonia Condesa; 5564 7799;
merotoro.mx. Mon-Sat 1 pm-11 pm,
Sun 1 pm-6 pm. Merotoro blends
Mediterranean and Mexican using
artisanal ingredients from heirloom
farms. Refined in that rustic,
industrial way, subdued and intimate.
LA CAPITAL. Nuevo León 137, Colonia
Condesa; 5256 5159; lacapital.com.
Mon-Wed 1 pm-12 am, Wed-Sat 1 pm-1
am, Sun 1 pm-6 pm. A chic room
that alludes to mid-century
fabulous, serving up refined versions
of Mexican comfort foods along with
just the right amount of showmanship.
The service is almost humorously
ROMITA COMEDOR. Álvaro
Obregón 49, Colonia Roma; 5525
8975; romitacomedor.com. Tues-Sat
1 pm-2 am, Sun 2- 6 pm. Perched
atop a fin de siècle townhouse,
Romita is pretty close to stunning.
Nights are jammed and flirty,
almost disco-like, but afternoons
may be best of all, when the roof
is retracted and sunlight floods
the dining room. Updated Mexican
classics plus tons of cocktails that
skew fruity and girly.
ROSETTA. Colima 166, Colonia Roma;
5533 7804. Mon-Sat 1:30 pm-11:30
pm. Reckoned the city’s finest Italian,
delicately crafted and served with love
in a chic, antique-filled townhouse.
Wait for a table on the main floor; the
upstairs dining room is Siberia.
CASA LUIS BARRAGÁN
The spare yet somehow
baroque former residence of
modernist Mexican architect
Luis Barragán—a short taxi
ride from Colonia Condesa—
demonstrates why his work still
fascinates and influences the
world over. Its blend of natural
light, stark geometries and
spatial progression is masterful;
visitors see Barragan’s
furnishings, books and artworks
as they were originally placed
(and believe us, don Luis
accident). General Francisco
Ramírez 12-14, Colonia Apliación
Daniel Garza; 5515 4908;
casaluisbarragan.org. Mon-Fri 10
am-5 pm, Sat 10 am-1 pm. Tours
available in English; call ahead
for required reservations.
Mexico City’s Bicycle Culture
A REVOLUTION ON TWO WHEELS?
Once notorious for
its smog, traffic and
far too many private cars,
in recent years the city has
made great strides toward cleaner
skies, improved public transportation,
spiffier parks, and pedestrian-only
streets. Maybe the best change of
all is an increasing embrace of the
bicycle, kicked into high gear by the
popular, even fashionable Ecobici
shared-bike network, which residentsubscribers use for short hops in
Visitors can get in on the twowheeled fun Sundays from 8 am to 2
pm, when Mexico City’s grand Paseo
de la Reforma is closed to auto traffic.
Bicycle lending stations (separate
from Ecobici) line the avenue between
Chapultepec Park and the Centro,
and some of the grooviest hotels have
bikes you can borrow. Soon enough
you’re sailing through the city, next
to families, lovers of every stripe,
old folks, costumed oddities and of
course, their dogs, drawn from almost
every class and condition.
And did we mention how hot and
eco-friendly some of these locals
look astride their bikes? You’re sure
to smile as everyone tools around,
listens to music and just feels free.
NOW THAT YOU’RE COMPLETELY TUNED IN TO MEXICO CITY’S EDGY DESIGN
AND ARTS SCENE, you need the right souvenir to show off to bohemian
friends back home. There’s great stuff almost everywhere you turn, but avant
consumerism climaxes here in hipster heights, particularly along Colima and
Álvaro Obregón in the Roma. Check out our favorite alternative emporia.
DIME. Álvaro Obregón 185, Colonia
Roma; 2454 6790; dimetienda.com.
A little bit of everything, all of it cool:
bags, tees, apparel, accessories and
even retro bikes.
FASHION LOVERS. Álvaro Obregón
185, Colonia Roma; 5208 8290;
fashionlovers.com.mx. Forum for
Mexico City’s most innovative and
painfully chic fashionistas.
HEADQUARTER. Colima 244
(upstairs), Colonia Roma; 5511 1238;
headquarterstore.com. Casual, avant
togs plus books, toys and design
LEMUR. Jalapa 85 (at the corner of
Colima), Colonia Roma; 3547 2182.
Maybe it kicked off the whole Colima
boom, with edgy looks and that very
edgy (but harmless) guard dog.
Hotel Condesa df,
Veracruz 102; 5241 2600;
Still a fundamental Condesa
reference and obligatory
neighborhood stop. Rooms
are tight, but beautifully
appointed; a striking lobby
conjures up a louche, MiamiBeach ’61 feel that makes
everyone look like a star, even
if you can’t quite place them.
Best of all may be the rooftop
bar. On afternoons it’s like the
deck of a luxury liner, sailing
through magnificent trees;
nighttime brings fashionable,
fast-talking crowds and lots of
hotties, male and female.
THAT LOOK GREAT ON
YOUR SLIM, TWIGGY-LIKE
BARS & CLUBS
TOM’S LEATHER BAR. Insurgentes
357, Colonia Condesa; 5564 0728;
toms-mexico.com. Tues-Sun 9 pm2:30 am. Leather? Mostly found
on patrons’ feet. But beyond that,
Tom’s is wide-open, with blue
movies, immodest “interactive”
strippers and a raunchy backroom
(watch your valuables), set in
a Castle von Dracula meets
Prince Valiant setting. The crowd
skews late-twenties up and the
cruising is relentless. Men only.
NIGHTLIFE OF INTEREST
Bar San Luis. San Luis Potosí 26,
Colonia Roma. Mon-Sat 8 pm-4 am.
Havana before the Revolution in a
classically Mexico City, swank/dive
combo, Bar San Luis comes from
the old school, serving up live salsa
bands, taxi dancers and loungelizards who still know how to move.
Service evinces a harmless cosa
Cine Tonalá. Tonalá 261, Roma;
5264 4101; cinetonala-mx; open
daily 1 pm-12 am. Besides finding
pictures you won’t get at the
multiplex, the Tonalá has a nice
cocktail menu, good food at
reasonable prices, music and
stand-up shows, plus a quite
serviceable weekend brunch.
Recommended even if you’re not
taking in a flick.
Covadonga. Puebla 121,
Colonia Roma; 5533 2922;
“CHATTY PATRONS FILL
SMALL TABLES, DISPORT
THEMSELVES ON THRIFTSTORE SOFAS OR SPILL OUT
TO THE STREET.”
mx; Mon-Sun 1 pm-2:30 am.
When did fluorescent light get
hip? It looks like a VFW hall,
but late nights—particularly
Thursdays—Covadonga is catnip
for the city’s literary and media
types, who share space with
domino-slamming old-timers. Be
ready for table-hopping, intense
conversation, edgy fashions and
other bohemian follies.
Félix. Álvaro Obregón 64, Colonia
Roma; 5264 0318. Tues-Sat 6
pm-2 am. A sexy sliver of a bar
packed nightly with a mixed crew
of convivials. N.B.: The bartenders
pour ’em tall.
Lilit. Chihuahua 118, Colonia
Roma; 5264 2669; lilit.mx. TuesSat 6 pm-2 am. Cozy and packed
with vintage style, Lilit serves up
carefully crafted cocktails while
attractive, chatty patrons fill small
tables, disport themselves on
thrift-store sofas or spill out into
Mexico City’s Coolest Reveal Their Favorite Pleasures
JORGE TELLAECHE, Painter and Muralist
Munal. Every time go to this museum
I take pride in Mexico’s history—and I
love the experience besides. Tacuba 8,
Centro; 8647 5430; munal.com.mx
El Parnita. It’s the first place I enter
whenever I come back from a trip,
to eat a rellenito and a proper taco.
Yucatán 84, Roma; 5264 7551
Casa del Lago. The chamber music
concerts are fascinating—it’s an
intimate experience that takes me
away, as if living in another time.
Bosque de Chapultepec s/n, Primera
Sección, San Miguel Chapultepec; 5211 6093;
Ciudadela. I thrill to all the color and I
always leave with some sort of Huichol
artisanal craft or an alebrije figurine.
Balderas s/n, Centro; 5510 1828; laciudadala.
Teatro Milán. It’s a new theatre with
incredible stagings that never fail to
impress me. Lucerna 64, Juárez; 5535 4178;
Jorge Tellaeche is a painter and muralist who has been exhibiting his work
for over fifteen years; he has done murals in Mexico, London and New York.
Check out his latest adventures at tellaeche.com
Mexico City’s B&Bs—though
few in number—offer a more
intimate option that many
LGBT travelers especially
enjoy, with in-home settings
(typically a grand old
mansion) and hosts more akin
to fun new friends than hotel
staff. Here are some favorites.
Casa Comtesse. Benjamin
Franklin 197, Colonia Condesa;
5277 5418; casacomtesse.
com. Refined, immaculately
run, and perfectly placed in the
heart of Condesa.
Condesa Haus. Cuernavaca
142, Colonia Condesa; 5256
2494; condesahaus.com. Great
antiques and clean lines—plus
the staff couldn’t be nicer.
El Patio 77. Izcabaleta 77,
Colonia San Rafael; 5592
8452; elpatio77.com. Reduce
your footprint at the city’s
“Eco-B&B,” nestled in an edgy
up-and-coming area. Don’t
worry—they do hot water.
The Red Tree House.
Culiacán 6, Colonia Condesa;
5584 3829; theredtreehouse.
com. Warm and friendly,
just like the owners, and
in a gracious 30’s-era
house. Nightly wine tasting
means great conversation
with fellow travelers.
ARS GRATIA ARTIS:
TALENT AND IMAGINATION ON THE PART OF MEXICO CITY ARTISTS,
a lot of it on view in Roma/Condesa galleries, is one of the city’s most
extraordinary current-day superlatives. Some work presents revisionist
iterations of traditional muralism and twentieth-century graphic design, yet
now something entirely new. Other work advances the conceptual to create
humorous minimalism in contrast to the city’s chaos. Still other artists
take up eye-winking “realism” to concoct pure fantasy. In any case, bold,
passionate expressions—abstract and figurative, edgy and beautiful—are
never hard to find, especially in these, our favorite Roma/Condesa galleries.
Note: Gallery hours can be capricious; call ahead for best results.
CONTEMPORÁNEO. Plaza Río de
Janeiro 53, Colonia Roma; 5511 7965;
arroniz-arte.com. An influential
contemporary space, home to
work by Mexico’s most promising
CINE TONALÁ. Tonalá 261, Colonia
Roma Sur; 5264 4101; cinetonala.com.
A film forum featuring everything
from contemporary Mexican to
classics and cult favorites.
EDS GALERÍA. Atlixco 32, Colonia
Condesa; 5256 2316; edsgaleria.com.
Specialties include conceptual art,
photography and installation.
GAGA ARTE CONTEMPORÁNEO.
Amsterdam 123, Colonia Condesa;
6183 1219; houseofgaga.com. A
newcomer that promotes both
established and emerging artists.
Provocation is a prerequisite.
GALERÍA DESIRÉ SAINT PHALLE.
Colima 25A, Colonia Roma; 5207
2369; desiresaintphalle.com. A forum
for young and emerging artists and
the launch-pad for a number of
The City’s Flea Markets
For the queer eye that seeks the
unique, the beautiful, the nostalgic
or the kitschy, Mexico City’s flea
markets do not disappoint.
GALERÍA OMR. Plaza Río de
Janeiro 54, Colonia Roma; 5511 1179;
galeriaomr.com. One of the Roma’s
most prestigious, and a regular player
at international art fairs.
GURÚ. Colima 143, Colonia Roma;
5533 7140; gurugalleryshop.com.
Contemporary pop art, low-brow,
surrealism, tiki, retro; urban art with
design sense and humor.
TRAEGER & PINTO. Colima 179,
Colonia Roma; 5525 4500; traegerpinto.com. Contemporary Mexican
painting, with some exceptions, is the
focus, plus an emphasis on young
and emerging artists.
VÉRTIGO GALERÍA. Colima 23,
Roma; 5207 3590; vertigogaleria.com.
Home to some of the city’s finest
graphic design, a major force behind
the current street level (and above)
La Lagunilla. Sundays,
approximately 10 am-4 pm,
along the Paseo de la Refoma
between Comonfort and Jaime
Nunó Streets, northwest of the
Centro Histórico. Everything
from furniture and housewares
to artworks, vintage radios and
phonographs, eyeglasses, furs (!)
plus hats, books, toys, ephemera,
music... Not to be missed.
Mercado la Ciudadela. Balderas
at Emilio Donde, Centro; Mon-Sat
10 am-7pm; Sun 10 am-6pm.
Every possible souvenir, from
cheap magnets for the girls in the
office to guayabera shirts, jewelry
and silver candelabras that would
make Liberace blush.
Tianguis de Cuauhtémoc.
Saturdays and Sundays,
approximately 10 am to 5 pm, in
and around Dr. Ignacio Chávez
Plaza on Cuauhtémoc Avenue just
east of Colonia Roma. Originally
focused on books and toys,
there’s also ephemera, movie
memorabilia, eyeglasses and
artifacts from the high-design
1968 Mexico City Olympiad.
POLANCO IS HOME BASE, SHOPPING CENTER, PLAYGROUND AND
STAGE SET FOR SOME OF MEXICO CITY’S WEALTHIEST—and an
impressive urban tableau, even if you don’t spend a peso.
As with any five-star bubble, there are excesses and follies. At the
same time, the neighborhood enjoys a dense urban fabric; is a showcase
for much of the city’s most creative design, fashion, art and décor; and is
chock-a-block with comely, well-turned-out neighbors (plus pampered
pooches) that you’ve got to check out.
Not least of all, Polanco is home to a great many of Mexico City’s very
finest restaurants; so a splurge (or two) is essential. Polanco’s chefs
often make great food sublime, in glam surroundings that bring out the
superstar in us all.
ALFREDO DE MUSSET
JUAN VÁZQUEZ DE
LUIS G. UR
10 AV. PRESIDENTE MASARYK
1 Museo Soumaya
4 Dulce Patria/Hotel Las Alcobas
9 Common People
5 Patricia Conde Galería
10 Hotel Habita
AU PIED DE COCHON. Campos
Elíseos 218 (in the Hotel Presidente);
5327 7756; aupieddecochon.rest.
Open 24/7. More ostentatious than
chic, but where else can you get a
tasty coq au vin or steak frites at 4
in the morning? The wee hours are
best for spotting sloshy, misbehaving
BAR TOMATE. Emilio Castelar 229;
5280 6099; grupotragaluz.com. MonWed 1:30 pm-12 am, Thurs-Sun 1:30
pm-1 am, Sun 11:30 am-6 pm. Rise
above the frenetic dolce vita along
Emilio Castelar to Bar Tomate, a cool,
loft-like space that’s home to salty
tapas and every possible iteration
of the eponymous red fruit. A rich
antidote to the icy, flavorless tomato
currently found north of the border.
BIKO. Masaryk 407; 5282 2064; biko.
com.mx. Mon-Sat 1:30-5 pm and 8-11
pm. Everyone looks great against
Biko’s creamy contemporary lines. In
the kitchen, intense, fun-loving chefs
double-track traditional Basque
(isn’t it time you tried it?) plus the
latest flavors and techniques.
CENTRAL BRASSERIE. Masaryk
123; 5545 5628; centralbrasserie.
com. Mon-Sat 1 pm-12 am, Sun 1
pm-7 pm. Get your French bistro on,
in a gorgeous room that’s cozy and
sexy at once. Pricey yes, but we’ve
never been disappointed. And the
welcome couldn’t be warmer.
DULCE PATRIA. Anatole France 100;
3300 3999; dulcepatriamexico.com.
Mon-Sat 1:30-11:30 pm, Sun 1:30
pm-5:30 pm. Here’s to the ladies
who lunch—in their fur-clad, dearly
coiffed glory. They love it at Dulce
Patria, where nouvelle Mexican is
presented in colors and forms you
might sooner expect at an art gallery.
EL BAJÍO. Alejandro Dumas 7; 5281
Mon-Sat 8:30 am-11 pm, Sun 9 am-10
pm. El Bajío is fun and gaily-colored,
and the Mexican food they throw
down is pura tradición—rich, delicious
and delightfully comforting.
ENO. Francisco Petrarca 258; 5531
8300; eno.com.mx. Mon-Sat 9 am-10
pm, Sun 9 am-5 pm. Pujol’s celebrity
chef posits his Eno outpost as a
refined “corner store,” with artisanal
sandwiches plus soups, salads, fruit
ades, desserts and other “simple”
HACIENDA DE LOS MORALES.
Vázquez de Mella 525; 5283 3000;
daily 1:30 pm-12:30 am. Remember
lunch with mother at the Country
Club? Relive the moment at
this splendid hacienda awash in
conquistador chic. Who cares if you
and your date are the youngest ones
in the place?
LE MAT. Emilio Castelar 149; 5281
1962; lemat.com.mx. Tues-Sat 8 pm12 am, Sun-Mon 8 am-6 pm. Stylish
Le Mat highlights French-inspired
cuisine with no fear of cream, cheese
or butter (from which fellow diners
seem to suffer no weight gain). Frilly
tableware connects you with your
PUJOL. Francisco Petrarca 254;
5545 3507; pujol.com.mx. MonSat 1:30 pm-3 pm and 6:30 pm-10
pm. Routinely rated one of the top
restaurants on the planet, eating
is believing. Chef Enrique Olvera
never stops searching for the perfect
balance of ingredients, delicate
presentation and all kinds of Mexican
flavors. The results are extraordinary.
QUINTONIL. Newton 55; 5280 1600;
quintonil.com; Mon-Sat 1-5 pm and 7
pm-11 pm. Is Quintonil looking to give
“FRILLY TABLEWARE THAT
CONNECTS YOU WITH YOUR
“THE WEE HOURS ARE
BEST FOR SPOTTING
Pujol a run for its money? Imaginative
Mexican that delights as it dances
across the palate. And we love the
casual tables on the patio.
SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL’S.
Manuel A. Camacho 67; 5280 6070;
winstonchurchills.com; Mon-Sat 1
pm-11:30 pm. Prime rib and Yorkshire
pudding amid the campy pomp of an
Olde English manse. Absurd yes, but
delicious—better than what you last
ate in London.
TORI TORI. Temístocles 61; 5281
8112; toritori.com.mx; Mon-Sat 1-11:30
pm; Sun 1-7:30 pm. A spectacular
modernist “honeycomb” creates the
far-out setting that is Tori-Tori, one of
the city’s very best for sushi plus the
full slate of Japanese noodles, curries
Mexico City’s Coolest Reveal Their Favorite Pleasures
FRANCISCO CANCINO, Designer
Santa María la Ribera. The streets
of this lesser-visited district call up
culture, architecture and genuine
neighborhood life amid modern-day
Onora Casa. Maggie Galton
and María Eladia Hagerman
present an innovative project that
conserves artisanal traditions as
it re-fashions the great stuff we all
want in our homes. You’ll find the
highest quality Mexican products
and there’s a worthwhile social
effort behind it all. Pottery as well
as basket-design and -weaving
according to fair-trade guidelines.
Lope de Vega 330, Polanco; 5203
Linares. A casual, neighborhood
cantina where of course the food
is good, the music is great and the
service is even better, somehow this
tight space inspires starting—or
ending—a big night out. Traditional
beers are the best, as is the Mexican
food they serve, a great preamble
to an evening on the town. Orizaba
Trista. Mexican design for men
and women. Under the direction of
José Alfredo Silva, the showroom
presents a contemporary take
on local fashions in a wide variety
of materials and bold textile
experimentation. The styles evoke
nostalgia among clients in search of
unique design and experiences. San
Luis Potosí 77, Roma; 6819 9235;
Paseo de la Reforma. There’s
nothing better than a trip through
the heart of Mexico’s capital along
this grand boulevard—especially
the temporary art exhibitions on
the fence surrounding Chapultepec
Park, at the National Anthropology
Museum and at all sorts of other
options from Mexico’s past and
present. If you’re on a bike, I
recommend taking it all the way to the
Zócalo, a must-see for understanding
the history of Mexico City.
Francisco Cancino is Brand Creative Director at Yakampot. Originally from
de Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, he won Vogue Latinoamérica’s “Who’s On
Next” competition in 2014 and also received Fashion International Group’s
Creative Director of the Year prize.
Camino Real. Mariano
Escobedo 700; 5263 8888;
caminoreal.com. By architect
Ricardo Legorreta, built
for the 1968 Mexico City
Olympiad, the Camino Real
reflects an exuberant design
moment in Mexico, now
subject to re-appreciation.
Dig the fascinating, ocean-like
fountain at the porte-cochère
as well as the Rufino Tamayo
mural in the restaurant. Hot
pink and taxicab yellow are
your new favorite colors.
Habita. Presidente Masaryk
201; 5282 3100; hotelhabita.
com. Mexico’s first
design hotel and an early
manifestation of what led
to the city’s current design
rooms posit a marvelous zen,
but there is whimsy and sexy
where you least expect it. And
that scene on the roof just
Las Alcobas. Presidente
Masasryk 390; 3300 3900;
lasalcobas.com. Shop, then
drop, in this chic, warm,
creamy retreat enlivened by
bold furnishings and beautiful
burnished woods. No buyer’s
BOOM THE CONTEMPORARY
POLANCO ART SCENE
GALLERY GIRLS, ART QUEENS, AND AESTHETES
of every stripe discover another pole of the city’s art scene in Polanco. Its galleries
are a big part of the contemporary Latin American art boom that has so many
global collectors in a frenzy. And while bargains are hard to find, the work is edgy,
original and beautiful. Gallery hours can be capricious; call ahead for best results.
ANONYMOUS GALLERY. Lago
Erne 254, Pensil; 6728 6938;
anonymousgallery.com; Tues-Fri 12-6
pm, Sat 1-3 pm. A branch of the famed
New York gallery, largely focused on
Mexican urban artists.
GALERÍA ENRIQUE GUERRERO.
Horacio 1549, Polanco; 5280 5183;
galeriaenriqueguerrero.com. A winning
mix of emerging talent alongside
“name-brand” creators. Here you may
find anything—except boring.
GALERÍA LÓPEZ QUIROGA. Horacio
714, Polanco; 5280 1710; lopezquiroga.
com. Stellar works by twentiethcentury masters, particularly
KURIMANZUTTO. Gob. Rafael
Rebollar 94, San Miguel Chapultepec;
5256 2408; kurimanzutto.com. Now
considered one of the most influential
galleries in Latin America, the work is
routinely brilliant and always merits a
LABOR. General Francisco Ramírez
5, Ampliación Daniel Garza; 6304
8755; labor.org.mx. A transplant from
Colonia Roma, Labor adds an edgier,
often conceptual perspective to the
LUIS ADELANTADO MÉXICO.
Laguna de Términos 260,
Colonia Anáhuac; 5545 6645;
luisadelantadomexico.com. An outpost
of the famed Spanish gallery, the
emphasis is edgy and conceptual.
MUSEO SOUMAYA. Miguel de
Cervantes Saavedra 303, Colonia
Ampliación Granada (aka Polanco
Nuevo); 1103 9800; soumaya.
com.mx. The world’s richest
man, Mexican communications
magnate Carlos Slim, displays his
extensive art collection at the Museo
Soumaya. Some say its eclecticism
(antique furniture, oodles of Rodins,
some sketchy late Dalí, plus notuninteresting “second-tier” stuff)
makes it a glorified attic; others
defend a democratic gift (entry
is free) to those who normally
cannot afford museums. And the
Soumaya’s space-age structure
(an armored blender?) is worth
the “price of admission” alone.
PATRICIA CONDE GALERÍA.
Lafontaine 73, Polanco; 5290 6345;
sole gallery focused on photography,
the work shown is never less than
LUIS ADELANTADO MÉXICO
YOUR MONEY IS JUST AS GOOD AS ANYONE ELSE’S IN MEXICO CITY’S
flashiest, most glittering quarter. So if you’re the type who can’t go a
week without Saks, LV, Ferragamo or Gucci, Polanco’s main drag, Avenida
Presidente Masaryk, plus nearby malls like Plaza Antara, Plaza Moliere and
Plaza Carso have got you covered. And when you’re ready to act locally, check
out the following hometown boutiques for luxury that acts globally.
CAÑAMIEL. Edgar Allan Poe 308;
6387 2037; canamielmx.com; open
daily 11 am-8 pm. A “concept store”
featuring Mexican and Latin American
designers, there are togs for all—men,
women and the wee ones—plus
design objects, decorative items and
personal care products. They’re the
sole representatives for a number of
brands like Salar, Rolo and Ale (by
Mexican designer Rolando Santana)
plus Colombian bijoux by Paula
COMMON PEOPLE. Emilio Castelar
149; 5281 0800; commonpeole.com.
mx. Tues-Sat 11 am-9 pm, Sun 11 am-8
pm. A mansion-ful of the best, designer
stuff available, displayed with an
inspiring appreciation of the rococo.
PINEDA COVALÍN. Campos Elíseos
215 at Galileo (with branches
throughout the city); 5282 2720;
pinedacovalin.com. Mon-Sat 9 am to
8 pm. Silk accessories in a fusion of
Mexican motifs and Hermes-like luxe.
TALLER BALLESTEROS. Masaryk
126, Colonia Polanco; 5545 4109;
ballesteros.net. Mon-Sat 10 am-7 pm.
Wow ’em at your next event with TB’s
silver jewelry and tableware in the
TANE. Masaryk 430, Colonia
Polanco; 5282 6200; tane.com.mx.
Mon-Fri 11 am-8 pm, Sat 11 am-6
pm. Contemporary accessories and
jewelry in cool, refulgent silver.
TRISTA. 5250 3623 (by appointment
only); trista.com. Couture designs—
including menswear—are mad, edgy,
futuristic and totally badass.
Ask all those fit, well-dressed Polanco
boys and girls to dance weekends at
high-end neighborhood clubs. Lights
and sound are spectacular and the
crowd is hot; the hauteur is really
shyness—so make your move and let
the disco ball weave its magic spell.
Dress up (skip the shorts, tank tops and
baseball caps) and take money.
Guilt. Anatole France 120, Polanco;
04455 1378 0992; Sat only 10 pm-4am.
Is it the Saint for Saturday nights? Pop
music and disco divas in English—in
case you’re feeling homesick.
Saint. Campos Elíseos 290, Polanco;
1041 7245; Fri 11 pm-5 am. We can
now assert that with the demise of
Envy, it is indeed the poshest place
in the city. Once past the velvet rope
you’ll find pop tunes and eye-popping
boyflesh. Said to be the best Friday
night among those who like their
disco with a certain snob appeal.
Jules Basement. Julio Verne 93
(basement; enter at the rear of the
restaurant); 5280 1278; julesbasement.
com. Tues-Sat 8 pm-2 am. No one
enters, they say, who’s not on
the list; talk to concierges to get
in. Once inside, there’s flawless
décor, libations and patrons.
Revés. Virgilio 25; 5281 6775.
Wed-Sat 5 pm-2 am. Through
the looking glass with the city’s
jeunesse dorée, in a topsy-turvy
setting that out-gilds even them. The
vibe is lounge, luxe and louche.
(INCLUDING CHAPULTEPEC PARK)
STARTING IN THE 1980S, MEXICO’S GAY COMMUNITY BEGAN TO TAKE
shape in the Zona Rosa, in a handful of bars and at a scrappy pride
parade that began with fewer than 100 participants. Thirty years
later the neighborhood shows how far we’ve come, with innumerable
nightspots, great gay-friendly hotels, and a pride party that some say
is the city’s most widely attended public event. So if she looks a little
ragged around the edges, remember the old queen took her knocks so
you and millions of LGBT Mexicans could dance, romance, love—even
marry—this Saturday night.
2 Kinky Bar
3 Vaqueros Bar
8 Hotel Geneve
Nicho Bears & Bar
4 La Lanterna
9 La Fonda del Refugio
5 Botas Bar
10 El Almacén
BELLINGHAUSEN. Londres 95;
5207 6149; bellinghausen.mx.
Daily 1 pm-7 pm. Dating from the
Revolution, with steaks and chops
from the old school. Scurrying
waiters ultimately become live
BISTROT ARLEQUIN. Río Nilo
42, Colonia Cuauhtémoc; 5207
5616. Mon-Sat 1:30-11:30 pm; Sun
1:30-5:30 pm. A casual boîte,
but for many, the most authentic
French, including real-live waiters
from Gay Paree. Good wines
at decent prices, not always
easy to find in Mexico City.
BISTROT MOSAICO. Paseo
de la Reforma 316; 5514 0450;
bistrotmosaico.com.mx. Mon-Wed 10
am-11 pm, Thurs-Fri 10 am-12 am, Sat
10 am-11 pm. A smart French bistro,
“...ONE OF LIZ TAYLOR
AND RICHARD BURTON’S
STILL A CLASSIC.”
right on gorgeous Reforma Boulevard.
Casual but oh-so civilized.
CASA BELL. Praga 14; 5208 4290.
Daily 1 pm-7 pm. Traditional service
at a spiffy chophouse, with power
personalities, in a beautiful mansion
EL LAGO. Lago Mayor (no number),
Second Section of Chapultepec Park;
5515 9585; elago.com.mx. Mon-Sat
7:30 am-11 pm, Fri-Sat 7:30 am-11:45
pm, Sun 10 am-4:30 pm. A soaring,
elegant “international,” not unlike
a 60s-era world’s fair pavilion. Live
lounge music careens from “Moon
River” and “Flashdance” to theme
from “Star Wars.”
LA FONDA DEL REFUGIO. Liverpool
166; 5525 8128; fondaelrefugio.com.
mx. Daily 1-11 pm. A veteran from the
Zona Rosa’s glory days (one of Liz
Jet Set Mexicano
Taylor and Richard Burton’s favorite
places they say), yet still a classic for
yummy high-end Mexican.
PARKER & LENOX. Milán 14, Juárez;
5546 6979; Tues-Sun 1 pm-1 am. One
of the stars in this up-and-coming
corner of the area. The restaurant
slings delicious gringo-style recipes,
in gringo portions; the bar serves
up artisanal libations to live-jazz
GHOSTS OF THE ZONA ROSA
During the 1950s and 60s, the
Zona Rosa was one of the most
in all Latin America, jammed
with high-end nightclubs and
swanky, themed “international”
restaurants. Today much of the
glitter has faded, but hardcore
nostalgiacs should make the
pilgrimage to these campy
holdouts, practically forgotten,
soon to disappear.
Paseo de la Reforma
458; 5207 9969.
Mon-Sat 1-10:30 pm.
Italian, with wine
labels as wallpaper
and a “Bankamericard
Welcome” sticker on
the door. Someone at
the next table always
mentions being there
forty years ago.
Niza 38; 5525 7474. Mon-Sat 12 pm11 pm, Sun 12 pm-10 pm; luau.com.
mx. “Exotic” Chinese from the Fu
Manchu/Honolulu school. Snag a
table on the bamboo pavilion by the
koi and rubber starfish lagoon.
BARS & CLUBS
HERE IT IS: MEXICO’S LARGEST CONCENTRATION OF LGBT NIGHTLIFE,
high, low and otherwise, with something doing every night of the week plus
rainbow-colored madness on weekends. Start late and go late; be ready to
dance, dance, dance.
42 BAR. Amberes 4; 5208 0352. Tues
6-11 pm, Wed 6 pm-12 am, Thurs 6
pm-1:30 am, Fri 3 pm-2:30 am, Sat 4
pm-2:30 am. How many young’uns
can you pack into a disco ball? 42 is
determined to push the envelope.
BOTAS BAR. Niza 47; 04455 1298
8011; Thurs-Sun 9 pm-4 am. Fun
honky-tonk for boys and girls.
Emphasis on come-hither go-go boys
downstairs, plus dance and drag;
upstairs is officially lesbian, with gogo femmes and a hot sisterly vibe.
CABARETITO. The four clubs that
make up the Cabaretito “empire”
are neighborhood classics. More
sweat than swank, still, they’re
habitually packed with twinks (and
admirers) who love to dance and
flirt. All open Thurs-Sat. Cabaretito
Fusión: Londres 77; 5525 0439; 6
pm-3 am. Cabaretito Neón: Florencia
37-A; 6 pm-3 am. Cabaretito Punto
y Aparte: Amberes 61, upstairs; 6
pm-3 am. And their pulque bar:
Amberes 61, downstairs; 16-3.
CANDY BAR. Amberes 24; Sun-Wed
3 pm-2 am, Thurs-Sat 3 pm-3 am.
The erstwhile Macho Dance Bar, and
except for the name-change, all is
as it was before: lots of flirt, packed,
super fun. Wear your boogie shoes.
EL ALMACÉN. Florencia 37; 5207
9424. Mon-Sun 7 pm-2 am. One of the
very first gay spots in Latin America,
now pushing forty years in business.
Heavy on cruising; with strippers
weekends and bawdy burlesque on
GAYTA/PUSSY. Amberes 18; no
published phone. Daily 1 pm-2 am.
Bare bones, perennially popular.
Gayta for boogie boys; Pussy favors
the Sapphic sisters.
LA BOTICA. Amberes 1; 5511 1384;
labotica.com.mx. Tues-Sun 6 pm-2
am;. Vintage-look cantina and major
flirt zone, with a mixed boy/girl ratio
and a friendly, laid-back vibe.
“START LATE AND GO LATE;
BE READY TO DANCE,
LA SUITE CLUB. Amberes 21; no
published telephone. Wed-Sat 10
pm-5:30 am; Sun 8 pm-5 am. Disco
with a surprising amount of hook-up,
including some naughty dark areas
(libidinous boys should watch their
LE CIRQUE NUIT BAR. Amberes
12; no published phone; lecirquemx.
wix.com. Fri-Sun 5 pm-2 am.
Only illumined by video screens,
dark and sweaty, mad crowded—
and that’s why they love it.
KINKY BAR. Amberes 1; 5514 4920.
Wed-Sat 10 pm-5 am. The high-end
choice on Amberes with dancing,
lounge areas and a pop-music patio.
Handsome, well-heeled crowd of all
ages; Thursdays is ladies-who-doladies night.
LOLLIPOP. Amberes 14; 5207 5591.
Thurs-Sat 7:30 pm-2:30 am. Going
for a slightly higher tone (i.e., cover)
on multiple levels that range from
cabaret to thunka-thunka disco. Think
Cher’s joint in Burlesque.
NICHO BEARS AND BAR. Londres
182; 5208 1947; bearmex.com.
Thurs-Sun 8 pm-2 am;. The city’s
bear bar, fun, ultra-friendly, flirty;
with the full range of ursines, bearcubs and otters, all more cuddly
PAPI FUN BAR. Amberes 18;
5208 3755; Sun-Wed 3 pm-2 am,
Thurs-Sat 3 pm-3 am. Electric and
compact, filled with freshly-minted
eye-candy. Here they start early
and go late.
TOUCH. Amberes 11; 5511 9973.
Mon-Thurs 6 pm-2 am, Fri-Sat
6 pm-4 am. Flashy and loungy,
with rotating entertainment that
ranges from live rock to karaoke,
latin grooves and techno.
VAQUEROS BAR. Florencia 35; no
published phone. Daily 8 pm-3 am.
Heaven for those prowling the urban
cowboy, with infectious cumbia,
norteña and salsa dancing.
FIT FOR AN EMPRESS
PASEO DE LA REFORMA
AND CHAPULTEPEC PARK
As you explore the Zona Rosa, do
not miss the broad boulevard the
forms the neighborhood’s northern
border: Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico
City’s answer to the Champs-Elysees.
Originally built in honor of Mexico’s
Empress Carlota (see below), it is
now lined with imposing skyscrapers,
trees and monuments, particularly the
Monumento a la Independencia, a
beaux-arts column whose crowning
figure, popularly called El Ángel, is the
unofficial symbol of the city. Peoplewatching peaks at lunchtime or on
West of the Zona Rosa lies
Chapultepec Park, an expansive,
lively, and well-tended garden that
combines monuments and museums
with a marvelous human element.
Climb up to Chapultepec Castle,
preserved in all but name as a
shrine to Maximilian and Carlota,
the European-born Emperor and
Empress who ruled Mexico from
1863-1867. The pile is awash in
queenly delights like gilt carriages,
refulgent china, crystal, antiques,
and even her Majesty’s marble
water closet. Museo Nacional de
Historia; Tues-Sun 9 am-5 pm;
CHAPULTEPEC SITES (IN BRIEF)
Museo de Arte Moderno. Gandhi
at Reforma (no number) inside
Chapultepec Park; 5553 6233;
museodeartemoderno.com. TuesSun 10 am-5:30 pm. A sensual midcentury space houses classics you
know—Rivera and Siqueiros—plus
artworks you should know.
Museo Nacional de Antropología.
Gandhi at Reforma (no number)
inside Chapultepec Park; 5553
6332; mna.inah.gob.mx. Tues-Sun
9 am-7pm. The Vatican Museum of
Mexico’s pre-Colombian civilizations.
In a hurry? Jump to Maya and Aztec
galleries for greatest hits—but in
fact it’s all fascinating. The 1966
museum structure still impresses.
Museo Tamayo Arte
Contemporáneo. Paseo de
la Reforma 51; 4122 8200;
10 am-6 pm. The permanent
collection is home to contemporary
“names” like Rothko and Miró;
temporary shows are among Latin
Mexico City’s Coolest Reveal Their
PHELIA PASTRANA, Media Girl
Club Roshell. Where you’re a
cross-dresser, if only for the night.
Aragón 75, Álamos; (55) 4038 9125;
Cassius. A restaurant that’s
particularly welcoming to the LGBT
community. Orizaba 76, Roma;
6383 7050; cassius.com.mx
Cine Tonalá. They do the very best
stand-up comedy here. Tonalá 261,
Roma; 5264 4101; cinetonala.mx
Chez Moi. The very best place for a
queer makeover. Adolfo Prieto 213,
Del Valle; 6363 0360; chezmoi.mx
Ápeiron Teatro. Best underground
theatre venue in the city—and
it’s free! They ask for a donation
at the door but no one’s looking.
Monterrey 319, Roma; 5574 1418;
Ophelia Pastrana is a social media consultant and a digital culture
promoter who has collaborated with Vice, Platzi and Coca-Cola FM, among
other brands. Follow her at @OphCourse.
THE GAG REFLEX
This new party promoter (the-gag-reflex.com; FB:
thegaaagreflex) organizes big parties—Caballeros
and Fagswagg are current sensations—at
random bars, ancient mansions and other Centro
Histórico venues. The groove is like Marrakech and
other such watering holes, yet the music—and
the crowd—is said to be even hotter. They also
produce video and photography.
SAU N AS, BAT H H O US ES
& C I RCU I T PA RT I ES
MEXICO CITY’S LGBTFRIENDLIEST HOTELS
The legalization of samesex marriage in Mexico
City—along with its
increasing popularity as an
a lot of hotels, old and
new, are rolling out the
Hilton Mexico City Reforma.
Avenida Juárez 70, Centro; 5130
5300; hilton.com. Not unlike the
Hilton in Houston or Altanta—but
isn’t that the point? Great, nosurprises professionalism.
Holiday Inn Mexico
Londres 15, Zona Rosa; 5141 6020;
holidayinn.com. Cozy and well-run,
with the right location, and very
ready to host your wedding.
Hotel del Principado.
Londres 42, Zona Rosa; 5533
mx. Moderate prices and prime
Zona Rosa location just add to the
plusses. Immaculately clean with
Londres 130, Zona Rosa; 5080
0800; hotelgeneve.com.mx. Over
the top, campy grandeur and not
crazy expensive. In the heart of the
Zona Rosa with a Sanborns in the
lobby. LGBT heaven, right?
Hotel JW Marriott.
Andrés Bello 29, Polanco; 5999
Honeymoon in Polanco? Grand
and perfectly run, the JW Marriott
positions itself as one of the city’s
number-one spots for samesex marriage. In 2014 the JWM
snagged the Diversity Excellence
Award, a prize for its commitment
to diversity above and beyond
the Marriott chain’s already high
(by Room Mate Hotels).
Amberes 27, Zona Rosa; 5080
com. Ultra-kicky boutique, with
gaily-colored style on raucous
Amberes Street. The whole Zona
Rosa scene is right outside your
door. Promise you’ll visit other
W Mexico City.
Campos Elíseos 252, Polanco; 9138
1800; wmexicocity.com. Highmodern style, plus drama and a
hint of sex, just the way we like it.
With a discreet wink we’ll cop to what
everyone knows: its always fun to flirt
and play when you travel. All cities
are sexy, but it really hits a high gear
in Mexico City. Even if your Spanish
is muy malo, a smile and an “Hola!”
are usually all it takes to get the ball
rolling. From there you rely on nonverbal communication. Below are
some of the city’s hottest spots when
you’re feeling extra friendly.
Baños San Juan. López 120, Centro;
5521 3376; daily 6 am-8:30 pm.
Inelegant, but clean and very active
bathhouse, especially afternoons.
Skews older but there’s a little
something for every taste.
Sodome. Mariano Escobedo 716,
Polanco; 5250 6653; Mon, Wed 4 pm-12
am; Thurs 4 pm-2:30 am; Fri 4 pm-3
am; Sat 9 am-3 am; Sun 9 am-11:30
pm; sodome.com.mx. Luxurious,
immaculately clean, and hands down,
the very hottest men. Full bar nightly;
djs and strippers weekends.
The emphasis is on dance, but
naughty surprises seem always to
arise. Check websites like karmabeat.
com.mx or mejutoproducciones.
coms.mx to stay abreast of the evermorphing scene. The White Party,
held every November to support local
hiv/aids charities, is a yearly highlight.
This local publication puts on the
city’s edgiest revels, particularly their
famed Halloween party. Check their
website to see if your visit coincides
with one of their over-the-top
IN ADDITION TO ALL THE FUN AND CULTURE,
lgbt travelers will appreciate Mexico City’s notably
progressive attitude when it comes to sexual diversity.
Informally, few cities worldwide could better represent
the “live-and-let-live” attitude that is a (rarely remarked
upon) feature of Mexican culture in general, further
enhanced by the open-mindedness that city life supports.
The generally warm, chatty and convivial nature of the
Mexicans practically compels them to enjoy people as
people, nothing more or less. There’s a feeling that we’re
all in this together and a surprising lack of recourse to
labels. As you make your way through the city you’ll see
open expressions of sexual diversity, gestures of affection
and hand-holding that attract virtually no attention from
passers-by, even outside the Zona Rosa.
In recent years this street-level attitude has played
out in a series of city-wide legal reforms that are a source
of pride to many citizens, gay, straight or otherwise. Most
notably, in 2010 Mexico City (which acts like a state in
KEEPING IT LEGAL:
MEXICO CITY’S PROGRESSIVE
STANCE ON LGBT RIGHTS
Mexican politics) became the first jurisdiction in Latin America
to legalize same-sex marriage. Other progressive reforms have
included allowing transgender people to legally change their
sex on birth certificates and other legal records. Discrimination
based on sexual identity is illegal in any guise, and as of 2010,
same-sex couples can legally adopt children.
The government also maintains support centers for
the LGBT community such as its Centro Comunitario
de Atención a la Diversidad Sexual (Sexual Diversity
Community Service Center) Génova 30-H, Zona Rosa; 5533
6008; facebook.com/centro.comunitario.lgbt/info, which
focuses on guaranteeing community access to healthcare,
HIV testing, human rights, safety and justice, serves as a
referral to other public services and support, and even helps
process same-sex marriage licenses.
Naturally there is more work to do and activists push
for even greater advances; but in the meantime Mexico City’s
example might well serve other cities worldwide that seek to
enhance equality for their lgbt citizens.
TO ENJOY PEOPLE
FIRST SAME-SEX MARRIAGES,
CITY HALL (2010)
YOU COULD SPEND WEEKS EXPLORING ALL THAT MEXICO CITY’S MOST VISITED
then take it further, to great neighborhoods—well known and otherwise—and to in-the-field
adventures like no others on the planet.
NEIGHBORHOODS have to offer—and it would be a mere beginning. But if you’ve got the time,
ABOUT TEN KILOMETERS FROM
THE CENTRO, Coyoacán was once
a suburb of the city, clustered around
its own plaza and business district.
Its reputation as a the city’s Bohemia
surged in from the 1920s to the 40s,
largely around international artist/
celebrities Diego Rivera and Frida
Kahlo and their claque of exiles,
intellectuals and creators such as
Leon Trotsky, Lola Álvarez Bravo,
David Alfaro Siqueiros, Tina Modotti,
Juan O’Gorman, etc. (see “Mexico
City for Fridamaniacs,” right, for the
full immersion). The neighborhood’s
reputation as an intellectual center
was solidified when Mexico’s National
University moved to its present
campus, south of the area.
Some say bohemianism has
latterly morphed into a smoky hippie
hangover, but the fact remains that
Coyoacán is still one of the city’s most
beautiful and walkable districts, an oasis
of small town and genteel tradition.
Calle Allende stretches north from
Plaza Hidalgo to Londres Street
and the Casa Frida Kahlo. En route
you pass cafés, pocket parks and a
marvelous open market (where great
eating—especially seafood—is had on
Calle Francisco Sosa. Walk this
cobblestone street from the Jardín
Centenario to quiet, lovely Plaza
Santa Catarina (where there are two
or three cute places for a drink or
coffee). Along the way you’ll see some
(and fans of that
guy she was married to)
Nearly sixty years after her death, artist Frida Kahlo herself might not
understand how her work, life and image continue to fascinate, even
eclipsing her husband Diego Rivera’s career and reputation. Get your
Frida (and Diego) on at the following city-wide pilgrimage sites.
Museo Frida Kahlo (Casa Azul).
Londres 247, Colonia Coyoacán;
5554 5999; museofridakahlo.org.
mx. Tue 11 am-6 pm, Thurs-Sun 10
am-6 pm. Frida’s birthplace and
the house she shared with Diego.
Museo Estudio Diego Rivera.
Diego Rivera 2 at Altavista,
Colonia San Ángel Inn; 5550
10am-6 pm. An impressive
compound comprised of two
connected residences—one for
Diego and one for Frida.
Museo Dolores Olmedo
Patiño. Avenida México 5843,
Colonia La Noria; 5555 0891;
mx. Tue-Sun 10 am-6 pm. The
permanent collection holds
several Riveras and Kahlos, the
former largely being portraits of
the formidable Señora Olmedo
herself. Fans will not be happy to
know that “Lola” considered Frida
less than brilliant as an artist.
Palacio Nacional. Plaza
de la Constitución (no
number,) Colonia Centro;
No direct Frida connection, but
some have spotted a resemblance
to her in Diego’s depiction of
Cortés’s notorious mistress, la
Malinche, in one of the secondfloor murals.
Secretaría de Educación
Pública. Calle República de
Argentina 28, Colonia Centro;
sep.gob.mx. Mexico’s ministry of
public education houses another
extensive collection of Rivera
murals, including one in which
a revolutionary Frida hands out
rifles to the people.
Museo León Trotsky. Río
Churubusco 410, Colonia Del
Carmen Coyoacán; 5658 8732.
Tue-Sun 10 am-5 pm. Did Frida
carry out her notorious affair
with the exiled Bolshevik there?
If only the walls could talk.
Museo Mural Diego
Rivera. Colón at Balderas,
Colonia Centro; 1555 1900;
10 am-6 pm. Museum housing
a Rivera mural depicting a
promenade with Mexican heroes,
villains and celebrities. Can you
guess who gets a prominent spot
in the tableau?
COFFEE BREAK: Café El
134 at Allende; 5554 5418;
cafeeljarocho.com. SunThurs 6 am-1 am, Fri-Sat 6
am-2 am. The traditional
neighborhood fave, with
on-site roasting (whose
aroma you can’t resist).
LUNCH: El Morral. Allende
2; 5554 0298. Daily 8 am10 pm. An unassuming, but
cute spot for traditional
Mexican food. Heavenly
COCKTAIL HOUR: La
Bipolar. Malitzín 155; 5484
8230. Mon-Tue 1 pm-1 am,
Thurs-Sat 1 pm-2:30 am,
Sun 1 pm-11 pm. Stylish
neo-cantina that fills
with hipsters as the day
journeys into night; seek
a rooftop table on sunny
SPACE, COLOR, ART
of the city’s toniest—and costliest—
residential real estate.
Jardín Centenario/Plaza Hidalgo.
Coyoacán’s two manicured central
plazas—where streets like Allende,
Hidalgo and Francisco Sosa meet—is
the charming heart of the district, with
fountains, gazebos, ice cream parlors,
and promenading locals, plus craft
vendors redolent of herbs, legal and
OTHER NOTEWORTHY SITES NEAR
When Mexico’s Autonomous National
University—founded in 1910 and
Latin America’s largest—left the
Centro in the early 1950s, the Ciudad
Universitaria (CU) campus was
created as a symbol of Mexico’s
post-war prosperity and intellectual
ambitions. 60 years hence, its
utopian architectural vision—a
masterful combination of space,
color, art and landscape—cannot
fail to impress. The university’s
tall Rectoría, featuring murals by
Siqueiros, is superb, and the Central
Library’s Juan O’Gorman mosaics
are a true masterpiece, quite worth
your attentive contemplation.
A few kilometers (i.e., a taxi ride)
away, you’ll find the south campus’s
Espacio Escultórico sculpture garden,
whose trippy lava-scape and high
modernist pieces are like something
from outer space. And since you’ve
made it this far south, don’t miss
the Museo Universitario de Arte
Contemporáneo (Insurgentes Sur
3000; 5622 6972; muac.unam.mx.
Wed-Sun 10 am-6 pm), a stunning,
ambitious new art museum. Ciudad
Universitaria: approximately the 2600
block of Avenida Insurgentes Sur, before
reaching the Periférico Ring Road.
& Plaza San Jacinto
Not far from Coyoacán lies the
neighborhood known as San Ángel,
another colonial-style charmer,
with gamboling cobblestone
streets, traditional architecture and,
these days, higher-end retail and
restaurants. Its parish church dates
from 1564 and is well worth a looksee (especially the enclosed garden).
Consider visiting on Saturday, when
San Jacinto hosts the Bazar Sábado
market, featuring leather, pottery,
jewelry and clothing by talented local
artisans, along with higher-ticket
items like paintings and sculpture.
PLANNING YOUR MEXICO TRIP with
an LGBT-focused travel agency can
provide great benefits like access
to special themed tours and events,
recommendations tailored to your
particular interests, or help finding
LGBT-friendly hotels, resorts and
guesthouses throughout Mexico.
Here are seven of the best:
Aaquetzalli Gay Travel.
6383 0850; aaquetzalli.com.mx
Babylon Tours Travel Boutique
5705 1900; babylontours.com.mx
Divercity Travel Agency Gay México
Director General, José Luis Corro;
5264 3821; [email protected]
Mex Gay Vacation
Director General; Jaime Magallón
Vásquez; 5639 1204; [email protected]
Director General, Andrés Mejía; 5583
5533; [email protected]
Passion Fruit Lesbian Travel
04455 5183 7837 (celular)
Vetc Cool Travel
Director General, Mariano Osores;
5639 0152; [email protected]
Mexico City’s Coolest Reveal Their Favorite Pleasures
ALI GUA GUA, Lead Singer, Kumbia Queers
Los Chuchos. A deep dive off
Plaza Garibaldi with an excellent
jukebox. Trannie versions of
stars like Paquita la del Barrio
and Ana Gabriel are in the house.
República de Honduras 6, Centro.
Marrakech. The downtown
haunt of my favorite chacales—
“jackals,” those skinny, sexy
bad-boys that cluster by the bar.
I love the sweat, the smell, and
the Coyote Ugly-style, on-bar
dancing. República de Cuba 18,
El Under. Vampire seduction in
what is practically a backroom for
punks, goths and darks, dancing
to music by depressive English
bands. Wear nothing white.
Monterrey 80, Col. Roma; 5511
5475; Wed-Thurs 3-10 pm; Fri-Sun
3 pm-3 am; theunder.org.
El Bósforo. Never in the LGBT
guides because it cannot
be defined. Hetero-friendly
speakeasy? Whatever it is, the
music is sensual and I never get
out without kissing someone.
Luis Moya 31, Centro.
Musuko. Ladies get a discount
on Mondays and Thursdays
and the lesbians come out in
droves! Watch for neighborhood
celebrities. Nuevo León 160
(upstairs), Colonia Condesa;
Follow Ali Gua Gua and the Kumbia Queers at kumbiaqueers.com.ar
KIOSKO MORISCO, SANTA MARÍA LA RIBERA
NOTEWORTHY SAN RAFAEL/
SANTA MARÍA LA RIBERA SITES
The Alameda. At Santa María la
Ribera and Díaz Mirón Streets, Santa
María la Ribera. The neighborhood’s
quaint plaza has undergone a facelift
and is more inviting than ever. Its
centerpiece is the Kiosko Morisco—
“the Moorish Gazebo”—a filigreed
relic from a late-nineteenth century
world’s fair. Old-time cantinas and a
gloriously dusty museum of natural
history border the Alameda, sharing
space with an ever-increasing array of
Braniff Mansion. Sadi Carnot 57, San
Rafael. This impressive neo-classical
pile, dating from the 1890s, was—and
is—one of the city’s most imposing
mansions, originally owned by the
Braniff family (of later airline fame).
Its extravagant horizontality and
marvelous stone façade offer an idea
of San Rafael’s quondam grandeur.
Cine Ópera. Serapio Rendón 9, San
Rafael. Oh the humanity! What fun
it must have been to see classic
in this movie palace, nearly as
spectacular in complete ruin as it was
in its shiny heyday.
Microteatro. Roble 3, Santa María la
Ribera; 6390 5046; microteatro.mx;
Thurs-Fri 8-11:30 pm, Sat 7-10:30 pm,
Sun 6-9:30 pm. A concept that started
in Madrid and that has been replicated
in a number of Old- and New-World
cities, including the Mexico City. Miniworks lasting fifteen or fewer minutes
in spaces that accomodate a mere
fifteen spectators. Programs change
every 45 days, with thirteen new
Museo Experimental El Eco.
Sullivan 43, San Rafael; 5535 5186;
eleco.unam.mx. Tues-Sun 11 am-6
pm. Designed by German émigré
Matias Goeritz in 1953, El Eco is a
provocative modernist architectural
jewel. Stark, almost unnerving lines
create an exhibition space that often
outshines the art.
Museo Universitario El Chopo.
Dr. Enrique González Martínez
10, Santa María la Ribera; 5546
3471; chopo.unam.mx. Tues-Sun
10 am-7 pm. Another salvage job
from a world’s fair, El Chopo’s gothindustrial structure was brought
from Germany and reassembled in
Mexico from 1903 to 1905. Today it
is home to ultra edgy arts exhibitions
and is an anchor for neighborhood
IN SAN RAFAEL/SANTA
MARÍA LA RIBERA
THESE CLOSE-IN, ADJACENT
NEIGHBORHOODS DATE FROM
THE END OF THE NINETEENTH to
early twentieth centuries. As the city
grew, genteel families moved west,
through Roma/Condesa, to Polanco
and points beyond (a trend that
continues to this day). San Rafael
and Santa María declined, and are
just now beginning to show new
signs of life. Following the familiar
pattern, artists, bohos and queers
see the great old architecture,
the walkability and the cheapo
rents, then start moving in. The
“gentrification” is in its embryonic
phase, with a long way to go. But that
doesn’t mean you can’t scout for
hidden gems and get in on the fun
before the hordes arrive.
COFFEE BREAK: Café Gran
Premio. Antonio Caso 72 at
Sadi Carnot, San Rafael; 5535
0934. Mon-Sat 8 am-8 pm.
A trapped-in-time café that
not even the hipsters have
discovered—so get there fast.
LUNCH: La Casa de Toño.
Sabino 166, Santa María la
Rivera; 5386 1125. Mon-Sat 9
am-11 pm, Sun 9 am-10 pm.
Neighborhood classic for
pozole, the hearty pork and
hominy stew, in a great old
townhouse setting. Casual,
WEEKEND LUNCH: La Oveja
Negra. Sabino 215, Santa
María la Ribera; 5541 0405;
com.mx. Sat-Sun 7 am-6
pm. Succulent barbecued
mutton—some say the best in
the city—amid a down-home,
Don’t show up too late: when
the BBQ is gone, she’s gone.
COCKTAIL HOUR: Salón
París. Torres Bodet 152; 5547
3710. Mon-Sat 11-12 am, Sun
11 am-7 pm. From the old
school, with great art-deco
appointments. The food is
quite delicious, too.
TURIBUS: JUST DO IT
YES, WE GET YOU’RE NOT A WADDLING,
fanny-packed tourist. But that’s no reason to
skip a tour aboard the Turibus. Go to the upper
deck—palaces, monuments and other intriguing
sights take on a whole new air from twenty feet
up—and even cynics can’t resist. The downtown
route explores sites and neighborhoods
between the Centro and Chapultepec Park;
the “Ruta Sur” excursion hits Frida Kahlo’s
Coyoacán, colonial San Ángel, and the fabulous
fifties modernism of the National University. See
turibus.com.mx for details.
LET’S NOT FALL INTO GENDER
STEREOTYPES. The city’s outdoor/
sporting activities appeal to different
people for different reasons—and are
yet another way to celebrate Mexico
City’s infinite variety.
XOCHIMILCO. Xochimilco is
a wonderfully garish pleasure
garden that must not be missed.
Several shoving-off points (called
embarcaderos) offer by-the-hour
gondola rentals; food, drink and live
music can be floated right to your
boat. 4-hour-plus excursions take you
to the area’s “rural” canals (request
the “parte rural”), a relaxing idyll.
While there, thrill seekers should
ask to visit Isla de las Muñecas (doll
island), an entirely harmless though
creepy “island of misfit toys.” The
Floating Gardens of Xochimilco.
Located in the extreme south of the
city; any taxi driver will be able to take
SOCCER. A real Mexican passion, so
don’t expect to remain seated—and
watch for flying beers if the home
team doesn’t win. Plus the boys look
awfully cute as they romp about in
those shorts. Matches played from
August to December, start up again
in January and continue through
May at three local stadiums. Tickets
available through Ticketmaster.
com.mx. Estadio Azteca: Calzada
de Tlalpan 3465, Colonia Santa
Úrsuka Coapa; 5487 3100. Estadio
Azul: Indiana 225, Colonia Ciudad
de los Deportes. Estadio Olímpico:
Insurgentes Sur across from the
main UNAM campus.
CHARRERÍA EQUESTRIAN EVENTS
Mexican rodeo with fantastic
pageantry and derring-do,
featuring talented equestrians
and equestriennes, arrayed in
those haughty yet sexy black
“mariachi” suits. In the third section
of Chapultepec Park, the Lienzo
Charro de Constituyentes puts
on intermittent shows throughout
the year. Visit nacionaldecharros.
com for the current schedule and
other details. Constituyentes 500,
Puerta 4, Bosque de Chapultepec
Third Section; 4986 6585;
LUCHA LIBRE. Mexico’s masked
and melodramatic wrestling matches
are a low, guilty pleasure if ever there
were one, but thoroughly fun, a sort
of butch camp exercise if you will.
And the outfits! The Arena México,
near the Roma, gets regulars and an
increasing crop of local slummers;
downtown’s Coliseo auditorium
attracts a scrappier, but perfectly
harmless crowd. Arena México:
Dr. La Vista at Dr. Lucio, Colonia
Doctores; 5588 0508; cmll.com.
Matches 8:30 pm Fridays. Arena
Coliseo: República de Perú 77 near
República de Chile, Colonia Centro;
5526 1687; cmll.com. Matches Tues
8:30 pm and Sun 5 pm.
BULLFIGHTING. Not for your vegan
friends (the blood and death are
real) yet there’s nothing to compare
with its drama, danger, music and
spectacle. You’ll be glad you went
even if you never go again. Did we
mention the handsome, steely
matadors? Alternating Saturdays and
Sundays, at 4:30 pm, from November
to February at the Monumental
Plaza de Toros México. Augusto
Rodín 241, Colonia Ciudad de los
Deportes, just west of Insurgentes
Sur; 5611 4413; lamexico.com.
FOR GYM BUNNIES AND
IN THE FIELD
Late nights, too many enchiladas,
too much tequila. And yet you’ve
got to look good, shirt-free, on the
dance floor. So if your hotel has
no workout room, consider a day
pass at the following gyms/yoga
studios, among the city’s nicest
and most up-to date.
Bikram Yoga México
Seneca 35, Polanco; 5282
3595; call or see website for
class schedule. Detox, so you’re
ready to retox: the city’s bestregarded yoga studios.
Hard Candy Fitness
Bosque de Duraznos 47,
Bosques de las Lomas; 5245
7550; behardcandy.com; Mon
Fri 6 am-11 pm; Sat 8 am-4pm;
Sun 9 am-2 pm. Yep, Madonna’s
place…probably the toniest
sweatshop in town.
Ámsterdam 317, Colonia
Condesa; 5564 5888; centro-qi.
com.The gym to the telenovela
stars. And the trainers—
male and female—are pretty
Sports World Condesa
Sonora 180, Colonia
Condesa; 5378 4897;
Mon-Thurs 6 am-11 pm; Sat,
Sun and holidays 7 am to 5 pm.
The premiere workout in Hipster
Heights, modern, friendly and
immaculately maintained. (Note
only the Condesa location offers
Public Relations Director
Juan Martín Osorio
Rigoberto de la Rocha
Claudia Priani Saisó
Original Texts, Adaptations and Edition
Enrique Torre Medina
Claudia Priani Saisó
Lorenza Kuri Breña
Institutional Relations Coordinator
María Dolores Rivera / María José Flores
Juan Carlos Guzmán / Rodrigo López Orozco
/ Rigoberto de la Rocha
Photos by Sectur CDMX, Adrián Duchateau, Ale
Carbajal, Aníbal Barco, Arturo Limón, Atonatiuh
Bracho, Camilo Christen, Diego Berruecos, Felipe
Luna, Getty Images, Héctor Jiménez, Maureen M.
Evans, Proceso Foto y Rigo Rocha.
Special thanks to Annuska Angulo, Hugo Flores,
Gris Maldonado and Miriam Jiménez.
Edición a cargo de TRAVESÍAS MEDIA.
Travesías Editores, S. A. de C. V., Amatlán 33, col.
Condesa, México D.F., C.P. 06140.
T E M
P T A T
I O N
City of Cities