I'm going where? Mexico city? And Oaxaca?
April 23, 2016 2:46 PM   Subscribe

I am. I leave in two weeks. I have never been to either and I don't speak much Spanish. I would like to spend a little bit of time in the Capital—maybe a day or two at either end—but most of my time in Oaxaca. Maybe in Oaxaca city. Maybe on the coast. No sé.

I have read through some related posts and was hoping to garner some fresh insight.

Additional information: I'm traveling with two others, one of which is fluent in Spanish. All three of us work in bars and restaurants. We all enjoy Mezcal.

I'm never really interested in touristy things; but I'm not when sure I'll be in Mexico again. Exceptions could be made.

To be clear, if I ended up sitting in restaurants and bars and met lovely people, I would be happy; but I don't want to squander this opportunity.
posted by Time To Sharpen Our Knives to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I went to Mexico city and Oaxaca in February for 9 days and honestly I could have spent the whole time in Mexico City. Great restaurants and bars, museums and neighborhoods and Teotihuacan is an hour bus ride right outside the city so that's a day right there in and of itself. Don't shortchange it.
posted by geegollygosh at 2:56 PM on April 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Not to say that Oaxaca wasn't great as well...
posted by geegollygosh at 2:57 PM on April 23, 2016

I lived in Mexico City for about 6 months and loved it.

Roma Norte and Condesa are the hip parts and have tons of awesome restaurants/music venues/bars. Check out Pata Negre if you like dancing.

Riding a boat on the canals at Xochimilco is awesome. The boats are really big and usually have tables. You can bring friends and food for a floating picnic.

Chapultepec is like the central park of Mexico City, and has a neat castle and a ton of cool museums.

Lots of awesome stuff in Mexico City. I recommend checking out the Chilango magazine for more info. It's a hip Mexico City specific publication with great restaurants and events in it.
posted by mosschief at 4:39 PM on April 23, 2016

Best answer: I also just got back from Mexico City and Oaxaca City and had an amazing time. Basically you can't go wrong. I agree that Mexico City is really wonderful in and of itself so don't short change your time there. I loved walking around the Roma and Condesa neighbourhoods and stopping in at hip bars and cafes. Azul Condesa is an excellent restaurant in the Condesa neighbourhood, don't miss the National Anthropology Museum, pass on the Museum of Modern Art. Teotihuacan is amazing but a long hot day of travel and walking. We went out on the boats at Xochimilco on our last day were super glad we did, like Venice with mariachis and vendors selling beer food and trinkets to you from boats.

I didn't leave Oaxaca City in Oaxaca but am told the beaches can be very busy. If you are going to the coast, stop off in San Jose del Pacifico for incredible views, vibes, and magic mushrooms if you are into that. Oaxaca City itself is incredibly walkable in the downtown Historic district, I definitely recommend sticking around there. We took a communal (shared) taxi to a nearby town famous for paper making, there are a number of such worthwhile day trips, but as soon as you leave the old town things become much less navigable on foot. You may already know this but for mescal you must do a tasting at La Mezcaloteca, you need to book in advance but they can do the tasting in English. Extremely informative and they offer mescals produced in very small batches that you can't find anywhere else, and you can buy bottles to take away. For mescal I also loved Los Amantes which is in a square just off the major pedestrian street near the church uphill from the Zocalo. The pedestrian street also had a large covered market area filled with tiny stalls selling pottery and clothing made in each the towns of Oaxaca, each unique in style. The large food market, a short walk from the Zocalo, is also a great experience and great place to eat.

The Vice Guide to Oaxaca is actually a pretty good video series primer, I think we went to many places featured there in the end, including the stone soup (hot rock boiling soup in your bowl) place just outside town. If you go there, walk or cab a bit further down the highway to Tule to see the largest tree in the world and have a meal or snack at a wonderful Zapotecan (indigenous) meal at place at 311 Cristial Colon.

Basically just don't worry, drink all the mescal and have a great time. It's good you have a Spanish speaker with you as that will really open up possibilities -- most people speak little to no English, although those that do will be enthusiastic to converse. Enjoy!
posted by kaspen at 4:41 PM on April 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Oh, I also highly recommend checking out some of the markets. Some very cool stuff. Lagunilla on Sunday is very awesome.
posted by mosschief at 4:42 PM on April 23, 2016

I really liked Mt Alban, just outside Oaxaca city. It's historic and touristy, so maybe not your thing, but it is an easy half day trip if you are there.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:34 PM on April 23, 2016

And Mitla (in Oaxaca). I was there 54 years ago, but I doubt it has changed much. Incredible designs.
posted by hexatron at 7:09 PM on April 23, 2016

My friend spent three. years. convincing me that all the detective novels I read were wrong and Mexico City was ok, and last year we went. I fell in love with the place, specifically Condesa, but also Chapultepec Park - and we took the Metro one fine night through some really scary places, yet the people were kind and solicitous and they have a sense of humor I associate with Italy too. So spend a generous amount of time in Mexico City. It is fun, it is gritty, it is festive, it's full of people who will surprise you in a good way.
posted by jet_silver at 9:52 PM on April 24, 2016

Response by poster: Thank you Metafilterites. This is exactly what I was looking for!
posted by Time To Sharpen Our Knives at 2:49 PM on April 25, 2016

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