If you're a couple whose idea of romance isn't necessarily tied to a beach, Mexico City is a thrilling destination worth at least a few days. You can even tack it onto a coastal getaway. Art and history buffs, adventurous foodies, and lovers of late nights will have a ball in the always-exciting 7,000-foot-high city. Carefully plan your days, since it's spread out — Condesa, Roma, and Polanco are key neighborhoods — and try to walk as much as possible, since many of the city's best outings revolve around eating and drinking.
Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Carlota
Afternoon: Glimpse Mexico City's colorful character and LA-style congestion (and smog) en route from the airport to your accommodations: Hotel Carlota for a hip, modern boutique-style stay in the up-and-coming Colonia Juárez area, or the St. Regis Mexico City for a supremely plush room with city and mountain views, where your own butler will make sure it's pure luxury all the way. Head to the gourmet public food hall Mercado Roma (Mexico's answer to Eataly) in the nearby gallery- and shop-centric district of Roma for a grazing lunch of tacos, burgers and even macarons. Super healthy, organic, and vegan alternatives are available at Casa Quimera, a similar — but mellower — concept in a renovated hacienda nearby.
Evening: Indulge in a glass of Krug Champagne before dinner at the sleek, contemporary J&G Grill (named for top chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten), where it should be required that guests order the chef's impeccable, falling-apart nine-hour braised short rib with potato mousseline and sorrel. After dinner, it's time for mezcal, which far overshadows Corona and tequila as the drink of choice for locals. Limosneros has a selection of the best artisanal varieties to sip out of thin, carved cups. If you need something to soak up the booze, try a late night stop at El Califa for their highly addictive tacos al pastor.
Photo: Kathryn Romeyn
Morning: Before heading out for a day of culture and history, fuel up with a vanilla bean cream-filled donut, almond croissant or ocho pastry — or all three — at Panadéria Rosetta, known as the best bakery in the city.
Afternoon: It's off to the Zócalo, where you can indulge in photo ops of performers dressed in indigenous costume before learning all about the Aztecs and their great, ancient temple and pyramid at the Museo del Templo Mayor. A 15 minute walk away, the Palacio de Bellas Artes is worth seeing for both its eclectic blend of neoclassical and art nouveau architecture with art deco interiors and significant collection of Diego Rivera murals.
Visit El Mayor on the roof of Libreria Porrua for a coffee or a bite with dynamic views of the downtown area and ruins, or try lunch at Fonda Mayora, a newish hot spot for authentic homestyle Mexican cuisine such as mole and sopes. Order the guacamole, which is made table-side in a giant molcajete and comes with fresh, hot tortillas. Afterward, walk through halls of artifacts at the National Museum of Anthropology, view art at one of the couple museums or stroll the botanical gardens or zoo in the peaceful, forested Chapultepec Park.
Evening: In a city full of exceptional restaurants, the pink-hued Dulce Patria offers one of the most unique experiences. Start with margaritas — the rims are festooned with tiny edible flower petals. Specials could include "quail with water and chocolate in honor of love," and you can't go wrong with any of their flavorful moles. Save room for dessert, the plating of which promises to wow and will probably feature edible glitter. For an after-dinner drink, try Gin Gin around the corner, with its coolly minimalist, succulent-heavy ambience, DJ and lengthy list of cocktails featuring the other "It" spirit.
Photo: Kathryn Romeyn
Morning: Mexico City is notoriously late to rise on weekend mornings. The day after a night of drinking oftentimes starts with a bowl of pozole, a thick soup made of pork and hominy from Aztec times — look for the verde version. Try to get to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera's famous cobalt-hued La Casa Azul early, as there's usually a line. The museum created in the famously eclectic painter's home, complete with personal effects and wardrobe, is fascinating to peruse.
Afternoon: Make it a totally blue day, with a relaxing meal on Azul Histórico's magical shady patio, surrounded by boutiques, or stay closer to the Kahlo house and check out blocks and blocks of markets, crafts, street food and an array of global cuisine at the bustling and mouthwatering Mercado del Carmen.
Evening: Wrap up your cosmopolitan adventures with a slow, muscle-melting Swedish Treatment at the Remède Spa or, if you have any room left, a bite at one of the city's most iconic restaurants, Pujol. You might try a dish incorporating insects and, believe it or not, love it.