Mexico City is massive and diverse, both in population and physical space. This is something I know, but am still constantly amazed by, especially when an 11 stop metro ride is able to make me feel like I've traveled for hours. This is the exact feeling David and I got when visiting Coyoacán this past weekend; a vibrant, colorful, and easygoing neighborhood only a few kilometers away from the chaos of the center of the city. Probably most famous as the birthplace and home of Frida Kahlo, Coyoacán is the perfect place to spend a Saturday or Sunday.
Part of what makes Coyoacán so special is that it once used to be its own city, with its own central plazas, and its own personality. As CDMX grew, Coyoacán became part of the larger metropolis, but has maintained much of its original culture. On the weekends, the two main squares are overrun with families, street vendors, and tourists all enjoying the beautiful scenery, low-key vibes, and delicious food.
So what should you do with your time?
1. Visit Casa Azul, the Frida Kahlo Museum
I know I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge museum fan, so take my word for it that if I'm recommending a museum here, it's pretty special. The museum is both a tribute to Kahlo's work, and a peek inside her life. Casa Azul is the home that her father built, and the home that Frida returned to as a young adult. The exhibits highlight her artwork, daily life, thoughts, and beliefs.
Tips for visiting the museum:
2. Visit the Leon Trotsky House Museum
Yes, I know! Another museum, so it must be good. Leon Trotsky was a Russian communist political figure who was exiled after Stalin came to power, and found refuge in Mexico with his wife. Their home, which is only a few blocks from Casa Azul has been turned into a small museum, which I promise is worth 30 minutes of your time. Just like Casa Azul, your visit will be more enjoyable if you brush up on your Russian history first (which I did not do). No need to buy tickets in advance here.
3. Stroll through Jardín Plaza Hidalgo and Jardín Centenario
The two main plazas in Coyoacán are actually connected, creating a large park area with plenty of green space, benches, and vendors. Take time to people watch on a shady bench, walk into the main cathedral on the side of Plaza Hidalgo, or visit the artists market for great souvenirs. David and I came back to this central area a few times during our day when we needed short sitting breaks. Not too far from the Plaza is Café Avellaneda, a small coffee shop serving high quality caffeine, and coffee cocktails.
4. Eat at Tostadas de Coyoacán
The best food is always found in local markets, and our lunch stop was no exception. Inside Mercado de Coyoacán is a very efficient, and budget friendly stall selling a variety of tostadas, which are basically personal tortilla chip pizzas. Flag down one of the waiters for a seat at what is now a collection of 4 or 5 different stands. The menus are posted all around on large banners, and all you have to do is fill out your menu card (mush like a sushi restaurant in the US). Each tostada is piled high with your choice of topping (meat, seafood, and veggie options), so for most people 2 is plenty for a filling meal. All automatically come with cheese, crema, and avocado, so make sure to tell them otherwise if there is something you don't want. Tostadas cost between MXN $30 - $50 each.
5. Other options
We only spent a 1/2 day in Coyoacán, but there are easily enough activities to fill an entire day. Other stops include:
Alternatively, you could visit Coyoacán on a Saturday, and split your day in half in order to also explore nearby San Ángel (read my post about it here). If you go this route, I would recommend starting your day in San Ángel, which is more metro accessible, and then taking an Uber to Coyoacán.
Getting to Coyoacán:
1. Uber/Beat - this is a perfectly reasonable option, as Coyoacán is not as easily accessible by public transit as other parts of the city. From the center of the city, a ride should only cost a few dollars, and will take about 30 minutes, but could be more with traffic.
2. If you want to take public transit, make you way to the Metro Linea 3, and ride until Viveros-Derechos Humanos, which is actually the stop after Coyoacán. After you exit the station, you will be walking for about 20 minutes before arriving to the center of the neighborhood.
Walking enthusiast, and kitchen experimenter currently living out my dream in Mexico City, Mexico.
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