Luis Barragán House and Studio
The former home and studio of Pritzker-Prize-winning architect Luis Barragán has been transformed into a museum in Mexico City’s Hidalgo District. Architecture and design lovers frequent the estate to study the artist’s ingenious use of color, light, shadow, form, and texture. From the street, you’d never guess the personality that lies inside: The stark-gray façade humbly blends in with neighboring homes, but walk to the interior of the estate and you’ll find striking walls in a kaleidoscope of bright colors, fountains, and pools.
The Juarez neighborhood has evolved in recent years. Once gritty, the area is now teeming with great boutiques, bars, parks, and restaurants like Masala y Maiz, which blends Mexican and Indian cuisines, and Niddo, a sunny corner spot that serves a divine brunch. There are loads of hotspots around the leafy central Plaza Washington: La Rifa for artisanal chocolates, Loose Blues for vinyls and vintage denim, and Cicatriz Café for natural wines and bright bites like basil bean salads.
Gran Hotel Ciudad de México
Even if you’re not staying at this hotel on the Zócalo, it’s worth stopping just to see the jaw-dropping interior. The building originally opened as a department store in 1899. Since then, its art nouveau bones have been carefully maintained: The curving staircase is a replica of the one at Paris’s Le Bon Marché, and the antique elevator, made of iron and concrete, was the first of its kind in Mexico City. But the pièce de résistance is the incredible Tiffany stained-glass ceiling, imported from France in 1908.
Diego Rivera’s famous mural The History of Mexico, showcases the Aztec era to the conquest to the Revolution to the development of industry. It’s grandiose and captivating, a unique opportunity to learn about Mexico’s past. Not to mention it’s free: The mural is housed in a distinguished building east of the Zócalo that operates as a government office. Among the office workers milling about, you’ll see a mix of local, national, and international tourists who come to be awe-stricken by Rivera’s masterpiece.