I think I’ve found my new favorite barrio in Mexico City, it’s called Coyoacán and I want to move there.
The village was home to conquistador Hernán Cortés and was used as the base for the Spanish while they took apart the Aztec Empire. Eventually it became the capital of New Spain and what was left behind is what you still see today, a colonial village of colorful buildings, cobbled streets, and beautiful churches.
It also has some of the best markets I’ve been to in the city so far. On our day out in Coyoacán we ate well, drank well, and feasted our eyes around every colorful corner.
This 18th century building was once the home of Octavio Paz, Mexico’s most celebrated poet. It is now the museum of sound. The best part of the museum is definitely the building itself. It is an excellently preserved example of ajaracas, bas-relief patterns that were popular during colonial times.
Plaza Santa Caterina
This small park just up Francisco Sosa, is a great place for people watching, especially on a Sunday. The church in this square is packed to the brim for Sunday services, often with people standing outside because there’s no more room inside. The square is surrounded by nice places to grab a coffee and a meal.
Casa de la Cultura Jesús Reyes Heroles
This little hidden gem across from Plaza Santa Caterina is a lovely community center. There is a cafe in the courtyard that does great coffee. The tiles and colonial architecture are worth the visit alone, but you can take up a salsa class here too.
El Jardín Centenario and Jardín Hidalgo
The main square is split into two parts, the Jardín Centenario and the Jardín Hidalgo. Both are great places to relax, to people watch, and to have a snack from one of the passing vendors. Here you’ll see the fountain of the coyotes, the animals from whom Coyoacán takes its name.
San Juan Bautista
A former convent, this church was built on top of a school for the children of the Aztec nobles. It’s over 300 years old, making it one of the oldest Catholic places of worship in Mexico City. It’s a baroque style cathedral with incredible frescos on both the walls and the ceiling. It has even been declared a national monument. The square outside the church is often filled with people pedaling balloons, snacks, bookmarks, pictures of the Virgin Mary, or simply asking for spare change.
Mercado de Antojitos
This is one of the best street food markets I’ve ever been to. On your left when you turn down Calle Higuera, this little covered market is the best spot to get yourself some fried quesadillas. Most vendors in there sell them, but #14 is always the busiest (and the one I’ve personally tried). Hover around someone who looks like they’re almost finished so that you can get a seat once your food arrives. Place your order on a piece of paper handed to you by one of the staff, write your name at the bottom and wait for it to be called. You’ll be so happy when it is.
Museo de Culturas Populares
A free museum that is packed with colorful art from around the country. The outside of the museum might be my favorite part. Each building is painted a different color and the murals and sculptures in the courtyard are a bright and intricate. It’s well worth a quick peak.
This market is a great stop on a tour of the town. It’s packed with furniture, shoes, leather, butchers, fish mongers, fresh produce, and some of the best tostadas in the city. There are two places right next to each other near puerta 8 and both have given themselves the same name, Tostadas Coyoacán. If you want the originals, make sure to sit at one of the bright yellow counters (not the pink ones). For a few dollars you can absolutely fill up.
Museo Frida Kahlo (La Casa Azul)
This bright blue house around the corner from the market is hard to miss. If not for it’s color, for the huge line that is always snaking from the entrance. This is where famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was born, where she spent most of her life, and indeed where she died. It’s full of her personal items – furniture, jewelry, clothing, artwork, as well as a small part of her personal collection of pre-hispanic art. Something to note: it’s close on Mondays and all public holidays.
Mercado Artesanal Mexicano
This is a great spot to end the day. It’s one of my favorite souvenir markets that I’ve found so far and I’ll definitely be going back. This two level market is packed with hand painted ceramics, water features, shoes, clothing, wallets with Coyoacán embossed on them. There are stalls to get scarves, hats, henna tattoos, and dreadlocks. Although I cannot attest to the quality of the market, it is definitely a great spot to pick up reasonably priced Mexicana.
Coyoacán has quickly made it’s way to the top of my list of places to visit in Mexico City. It’s definitely a must visit on your trip to Mexico City. You can take this itinerary along with you by grabbing my Coyoacán Excursion Plan.
This post is sponsored by Excursion App, but all love for Coyoacán and ceviche tostadas are my own.