Alberto Macedo, 36-year-old creative director, drives us through the taquerias and seats us next to highly spirited 80-year-old women at Las Luchas Libres.
Brief bio, occupation:
Brazilian-born Alberto Levy is a computer engineer and digital artist, currently serving as executive director of Estudio Creativo, a multidisciplinary creative team responsible for generating innovative concepts for music festivals, promotions and brand spaces all over Mexico.
How long you’ve lived in your city: 7 years
EAT & DRINK
Favorite high-end restaurant:
Pujol, Calle Francisco Petrarca 254, Colonia Polanco.
One of the best restaurants in town, featuring Mexican cocina de autor by Chef Enrique Olvera, who has a very creative approach to Mexican cuisine. Every dish is a tasty adventure. The restaurant offers à la carte options as well as a nine-course tasting menu.
Best deal restaurant:
Casa D´Italia, Agustín Melgar 6, Colonia Condesa.
A small restaurant in la Condesa owned by the chef, Luigi. It’s a charming Italian restaurant using fresh ingredients and offering a yummy selection of food. It’s always crowded, so call before visiting. Closed on Sundays.
Best street food:
Tacos are the real Mexican democracy—the only place you find people from different socioeconomic backgrounds are in street taquerias. You know it’s a good taqueria if you see executives eating while standing—no need for chairs. Tacos are consumed everyday, at any time—even as a hangover treatment!
Two of my favorites:
El Borrego Viudo, Avenida Revolución 241, Viaducto Colonia Tacubaya.
This is the drive-in of taquerías, with taqueros taking your order from your parked car. They offer great tacos al pastor (pork, seasoned with achiote), tacos de moronga (blood sausage) and chicharrón (fried pork skin). Open 24 hours a day.
El Chupacabras, Rio Churubusco and Universidad Colonia Coyoacan.
Named after the mythical “goat sucker,” this is a mega taco booth and the best choice if you are in the southern part of the city. Try the papitas de la cazuela (potatoes), beans, nopales (cactus leafs), and the green spicy sauce.
Ixchel, Medellín 65, Colonia Roma.
This bar has a great atmosphere and a young crowd with money to spend. Sumptuous chandeliers and white leather seats set the mood. It’s worth getting there early to have dinner (Mex-Mediterranean) and stay for the party.
Centro Culural Bella Epoca, Libreria Rosario Castellanos, Tamaulipas 202, Colonia Condesa.
Over 1000 sq. meters, the Libreria Rosario Castellanos is located in the former Cine Lido, a 1940’s art deco movie theater, and carries over 5000 titles. A cozy café and an arthouse screening room brings a young and hip crowd. The valet parking saves you the trouble of trying to find parking.
Best magazine stand:
In front of the Immigration Department on Av. Ejército Nacional.
Although this magazine stand has a limited selection, it has all the legal forms needed for immigration (and a service to fill out them out for you), stationery, and a copy machine illegally connected to a nearby lamppost. Stopping here saves multiple trips to the government office.
5 L Mento, Cuernavaca 79, Colonia Condesa.
A cool store that sells clothing, furniture, curiosities, and collectibles from local and famous designers. A great place to spend some time finding interesting gifts. It’s also known for having great bicycles.
The best way to get to know the city is to get on “El Turibus,” a double-decker that crosses the city and shows the most important attractions and their history.
Best touristy thing to do:
Plaza Garibaldi, Centro Historico.
The biggest concentration of mariachis per square meter is in Plaza Garibaldi. They literally chase your car offering their services. Another peculiar activity is to take shocks! Holding hands with a friend, a current is passed and the first to let go pays for the next round of tequila.
Best place to people watch:
Alameda, Centro Historico.
The Historic Center downtown is a great example of how chaotic and diverse the city can be. Extending from the Bellas Artes Palace to the Laboratorio de Arte Alameda you find the Alameda, a big square with monuments, water fountains, and people—lots of people.
Favorite art space/gallery/museum:
In the Paseo de la Reforma, there’s an art loop with great museums, including the Museo Rufino Tamayo (Contemporary Art) and Museo de Arte Moderno (Modern Art).
The Museo Nacional de Antropología (Paseo de la Reforma, corner of Gandhi) is the largest in Latin America and is considered one of the most important with the largest collection of pre-Colombian art in the world. Besides the wonders you find inside, the museum’s architecture itself is noteworthy.
Only local does or knows about:
Great parties are unadvertised and thrown in downtown nightclubs away from the traditional mainstream discos.
The best clubs are:
Pasaguero, Motolinia 33, Centro Historico.
Underground rock club with live local bands and ipod nights.
Pasaje America, 5 de Mayo 7, Centro Historico.
Trendy chic club where the best DJs of the world come to play.
UTA (Unión del Trabajo Autogestivo), Donceles 56 y 58, Centro Historico.
The best punk place in town. Here you find punks, goths, darks, zombies, gore lovers, anarchists, and freaks, in perfect harmony.
Photo by Sergio Villasenor
The must-see thing in your city:
Las Luchas Libres Arenas, 189 Calle R. Lavista, Colonia Doctores.
Where can you find an 80-year-old lady and a 9-year-old boy screaming their guts out at a masked midget? Only in Las Luchas Libres, caramba! The holy temple of the Luchadores is the Arena Mexico, constructed in 1933 with 16,000 seats (and no maintenance since, I guess). The Arena hosts Friday wrestling with 4-5 team fights engaged in the age-old battle of good (Tecnicos, playing by the rules) versus bad (Rudos, the heels). You pick your side.
The surreal “Mexican Venice” is a place where you go to drink and spend some time with friends by renting a trajinera, a small boat steered by a bamboo rudder. While your group navigates over 200km of canal, boats with mariachis approach to enrich your day with music. Small canoes sell all types of food—grilled Mexican-style corn on the cob, chapulines (crickets), fruit, cheese, and tacos.
Best events in each season?
Día de Muertos
The Day of the Dead has been celebrated for more than 3,000 years. The city is filled with colorful altars with offers to the dead (even in cinema lobbies). Many houses are open to the public so you can see altars to the deceased and peculiar offerings like favorite foods of the dead and sugar skulls. Typical food for the festival is pan de muerto, you have to try it!
On September 15th Mexicans celebrate their independence and the city is covered with the red, white, and green of the flag—face paint, flags, street banners, and bumper stickers. El Grito is a tradition where the President praises the Heroes of Independence ending with ¡Viva Mexico! to the crowd’s ecstasy. Mexicans proudly celebrate El Grito de la Independencia which culminates at the National Palace square with public concerts, performances, and fireworks.
Festival de México en el Centro Historico
During two weeks in Spring, the Festival de Mexico brings culture and art to the masses. Art exhibits, workshops, music, theater, cinema, circus acts, dance, and more than 900 artists from all over the world. The activities are presented around the clock in the Historic Center bringing music, color and fun.
Best website for local info: