A Stroll through Condesa and Roma, Mexico City

Whether studying in Mexico City or visiting on holiday, you’re guaranteed to have a grand old time: in addition to all the history and culture to soak up, there are also several hip neighbourhoods for going out. Perhaps the top two of the moment are fashionable La Condesa and neighbouring, somewhat more bohemian Roma. Grab a cab (either by phone or at a recognised taxi stand, rather than those cruising the streets) and off you go!

Get an early start with breakfast at one of Condesa’s stylish cafés, where you can save a few pesos by ordering a paquete (breakfast menu) at bakeries such as La Maque (Avenida Ozuluama 4, Hipódromo Condesa). Its huitlacoche omelet is tasty indeed – and please don’t be put off by its main ingredient, which is, er, corn fungus – but not as nasty as it sounds, we swear (if you are, however, the cream of pumpkin soup is another winner). The main even comes with a small fruit juice, two cups of coffee, four sweet rolls, and a little savoury something. Enjoy!

Thus fortified, continue on to the main charm of Condesa, which is mostly to simply wander – get lost, even – in its delightfully disordered streets and byways, legacy of its origins as a racetrack complex (most particularly demonstrated by circular Calle Amsterdam). Along the way, you’ll notice various distinctive façades, as well as businesses including chic restaurants and designer boutiques. Sooner or later you’ll also come across Parque México, a quiet, leafy park favoured by locals for contemplative moments and dog walking.

Keep going, past the 18th-century Cibeles Fountain (depicting the Roman goddess of fertility Cybele, and an exact replica of the original in downtown Madrid) and you’ll find yourself in next-door Roma, whose grandiose buildings fell into decline but have made a gentrified comeback in recent years. A key anchor is Casa Lamm Cultural Centre (Álvaro Obregón 99, Roma Norte), a lovely oasis of tranquility with an attractive restaurant. Continuing on, another local restaurant of note is Rosetta (Calle Colima 166), with romantic floral décor; nearby, you can take a selfie with a life-size statue of Michelangelo in the magical Plaza Río de Janeiro. Another restaurant farther along, Breakfast (Guadalupe Victoria 131) does indeed specialise in breakfast, all day long, and is housed in a particularly impressive building worth a gawk for that reason alone.

Because when in Roma, do as the hipsters do! And how do hipster move? Bikes, right? Well then, while in Mexico City… you’ll have to try the Ciclotaxis! 😉

Photo | Alejandro de la Cruz