Coyoacán, an artsy barrio south of Mexico City’s historic center is known for colorful houses, quirky cafés, and the large-looming legacy of Frida Kahlo. However, there’s more to the charming neighborhood than art alone and with our 48-hour weekend itinerary, you can experience the best of culture — think pre-Hispanic cuisine, underrated museums, and books galore — in Coyoacán, Mexico City.
Photo Courtesy: museofridakahlo
Start your day with the most popular attraction in Coyoacán, Frida Kahlo’s Blue House, an expansive house-museum replete with personal artifacts and artworks by Mexico’s favorite monobrowed icon. Well-known, well-loved, and well-Instagrammed, the Casa Azul is also over-subscribed, so it’s best to get there early (it opens at 10am most days) unless you plan on spending an hour or more in line. However, once you’re inside, this is one tourist trap which surpasses expectations.
If you want to get a feel for her husband Diego Rivera’s aesthetic inclinations too (or if you’re interested in pre-Hispanic artwork), buy a combo ticket to both the Casa Azul and Casa Anahuacalli.
Photo Courtesy: bradmsutton
Once you’ve finished with the museum, it’s probably time for lunch. Wander over to the nearby Mercado de Coyoacán and pick up some freshly made food to tide you over into the afternoon. Everyone recommends the tostadas, but they’re overrated. Look instead for tlacoyos, oval-shaped blue corn discs stuffed with beans, cheese, or meats, and smeared with sauce, cheese, and sliced cactus. Once you’ve eaten your fill, take some time to look at the other fresh produce, mole sauces, and artesanías for sale, before picking up a souvenir or two to take home.
Chapulines (grasshoppers), huitlacoche, criollos avocados, quelites (leafy greens), dried chilaca chilies
Photo Courtesy: Cafe Ruta de la Seda
After lunch, spend the afternoon strolling around Coyoacán. Let yourself get lost on the winding streets of the historic center and put away the GPS for a while. You’ll surely be rewarded with some cool street art, quirky crumbling facades, and great photo opportunities. However, if you’re itching to inject a bit of order to your wanderings, then make a note to head down the supposedly-haunted Callejón del Aguacate and stop by the Capilla de Santa Catarina. The nearby Café Ruta de la Seda makes for an ideal caffeine-fueled pick-me-up-pitstop too.
Matcha latte, Kyoto cake, rico chai, Cuban sandwich, beet muffins
Photo Courtesy: Casa de los Tacos
Round out your first day in Coyoacán with dinner at La Casa de los Tacos. While tacos are often best enjoyed from street vendors, this is one sit-down spot that won’t disappoint when it comes to tortilla-wrapped treats. Notably, La Casa de los Tacos specialize in pre-Hispanic fillings, so skip the usual options in place of sampling anything from crickets to scorpions. Or go for the green chorizo.
Red maguey worms, meculents, zucchini stuffed with poblano chili in a pulque sauce, green sausage tacos, wild boar
Photo Courtesy: Carazon de Maguey
Still not tired? Make a final Saturday evening stop at popular restaurant Corazón de Maguey and try their pulque-based cocktail, the Curadito Mayahuel. Blending white wine, mezcal, and pulque (the fermented, slightly fizzy, sometimes slimy, sap of the maguey plant) with sal de gusano (aka agave worm salt), it’s the perfect nightcap.
Baby shark quesadillas, beef tongue, slow-cooked pulled pork, seafood mole, pay de limon
Photo Courtesy: gess.8
Take it easy this morning and start your day at the cool Café Negro, which lies on Calle Centenario, right at the core of Coyoacán’s centro histórico. Popular with tourists and locals alike — but mainly tourists, if we’re being honest — the staff speak great English and the leafy, minimal décor is the ideal backdrop for social media snaps (it’s OK, we all take them). We highly recommend their iced lattes, accompanied by a sticky cinnamon roll. Try to grab a window seat if you can.
Moka, chocolate puff pastry, turkey sandwich, muffins
Photo Courtesy: Museo Case de Leon Trotsky
Once you’ve refueled, head to the Museo León Trotsky, a.k.a. Trotsky’s House. No, Frida Kahlo wasn’t the only famous former resident of the neighborhood, as Russian revolutionary Trotsky also set up home there after being exiled. Not only that, he even stayed with Kahlo for a time (and had an affair with her). As you’d imagine, his former home-turned-museum now makes for a fascinating stop on any Coyoacán itinerary.
Photo Courtesy: barbara_masih
After the morning’s exploration, take some time to rest in the two neighboring plazas — Plaza Hidalgo and Jardín Hidalgo — which constitute the core of Coyoacán’s historic center. While Sunday is always the most chaotic day to visit, it can often be the most fun, so order a mayonnaise and cheese covered elote (corn on the cob) for lunch, find yourself a bench in the shade, and people-watch the afternoon away.
If you want to try your hand at something new while you’re there, check out the Fuentes Rojas embroidery collective — look for the strings of fluttering handkerchiefs — and ask if you can join in. The participants hand-stitch hankies in Coyoacán every Sunday to memorialize homicide and femicide victims in Mexico.
Photo Courtesy: Centro Cultural Elena Guerro
Afterwards, pop over to the Centro Cultural Elena Garro. This vast store is a book lover’s dream and undoubtedly one of the must-see literary highlights of the capital as a whole. In fact, it’s so enormous, there’s even a tree growing right in the center, extending out of the ceiling. The selection of books — mainly in Spanish — is also one of the best in the city, particularly if you’re looking to pick up some literature for the little ones in your life.
Photo Courtesy: El Jarocho
Finally, before the weekend’s over, take yourself over to the original Café El Jarocho branch on the corner of Calles Allende and Cuauhtémoc and order the coffee of your choosing (the moka is our go-to). Known for long lines and low prices, this has been a staple of the neighborhood for over half a century and business shows no sign of slowing. Skip their pastries though and head to the Churrería General de la República for a comforting, sugar-coated churro instead.
Veracruz coffee blends, crepes, churros, Cafe de Olla
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