Gohomo - A queer travel guide to Mexico City
Mexico City! The home of sun gods and moon goddesses! Also the home of amazing architecture, museums, bike lanes, gay bars, queer raves, and tacos. We recently visited the impressive city for the first time and were blown away by how safe, cheap, and queer it is. This is not a definitive list, just some things we experienced and loved. We highly recommend finding a seat sale and getting your culo down there ahora!
// INSIDE SCOOP
Some basic tips to help you navigate upon arrival and throughout your trip:
The visitor’s visa
After landing at Mexico City airport, be sure to keep the visitor’s visa that they’ll have you fill out on the plane. You’ll need to present that slip when you leave the country.
Uber everywhere, uber uber everywhere
Grab an Uber from the airport! They pick you up at Door 3 (there are information desks inside the airport if you’re lost) and will take you where you need to go. Uber is the way to go in CDMX. They are ultra cheap, and this way you don’t need to worry about getting lost in translation in a cab.
Tipping in this city is 15 to 20 percent at restaurants and about 15 percent at bars. Basically the same as in Toronto but in pesos.
Some gay words worth noting: nmaricon, which means faggot; mariposa, which means butterfly and is slang for gay; and activo (top) and pasivo (bottom).
Where you want to stay
Airbnb zones worth considering are La Zona Rosa (their gay neighbourhood), Roma, and La Condesa.
Though we didn’t take the bus or rent public bikes or scooters, they’re everywhere, totally safe, and there are amazing bike lanes in the core of the city.
Hotels have filtered water, as do most restaurants, but just be safe and drink bottled water when you can. If you’re going to be douching, we recommend you also use bottled water. Eh hem.
Don’t forget you’re operating at a much higher altitude in this city, so sprinting is not an option. The air is sometime dense with smog; it won’t have you choking, but blowing your nose at the end of a full day out can be colourful. Asthma inhalers are readily available at farmacías around the city.
We brought a bottle of Metamucil pills and took five a couple times a day, as well as a travel-edition probiotic to help with digestion throughout the trip.
Viagra (yes, that’s an actual tip)
If you’re looking for over-the-counter drugs you can’t get in Canada, all farmacías have many Viagra-type brands. We bought a bunch but haven’t tried them yet. We’ll report back.
// THE CHECKLIST (must-sees/must-dos)
We recommend the following experiences from our visit. It should be noted that all activities were dotted with margaritas or cheap, cheap local beer when possible.
Take a few hours and hang out there. It’s super touristy but undeniably stunning, and it’s ancient! Walk around, grab a bracelet, walk inside any of the old cathedrals, and take it all in. You won’t need a full afternoon here; a couple of exploratory hours will do.
Visit. This. Park. It’s one of the largest inner-city parks you’ll ever experience, and it’s the lungs of Mexico CIty, providing a massive filter of trees in the smoggy city. It’s truly stunning, so take a couple of hours to relax and walk around. It’s a forest, it’s a park, there are bodies of water, plants, a market, and, most impressively, Chapultepec Castle. Perched atop a hill, this was once residence to heads of state and is over-the-top eleganza. Worth a visit. It’s free for Mexican residents, but visitors pay a small entrance fee.
Located in Mexico City’s main square, this political palace is worth a visit for its stunning courtyard, super cute cactus garden, and ridiculously beautiful (and important) Diego Rivera murals. They tell the entire history of Mexico City. It’s jaw-dropping stuff and a great way to learn about this city’s herstory.
This is a half-day to most-of-your-day trip. Take an Uber (YES! They’re that cheap!) to these mesmerizing Aztec pyramids; it’ll take you about an hour to get there. Enter at Gate 5 as a good starting point. There are two main pyramids to check out, Sun and Moon (we personally love Moon, with all its female energy), and then a few smaller things worth seeing. We spent a few hours here and found we had seen enough, but by all means, take the day. It’s an ancient fucking city! Be sure to check out the small but super helpful museum at Gate 5 as a historical starter.
If you get hungry, walk out the main gates of the pyramid area to La Gruta restaurant. They serve super local food and it’s inside an actual cave. Worth going even for a snack and a cocktail.
There are so many cool museums to check out. We only had time to see a few, but this is why CDMX requires repeat visits. On your first visit, the Frida Kahlo Museum is like a rite of passage, so do it. It’s a 30-minute ride out of the core, and you can book your tickets online ahead of time to avoid the inevitable line. Honestly, book ahead. The museum used to be Frida and Diego Rivera’s house, and it’s adorable and powerful. Once you’re done there, walk around the part of town called Coyoacán. There’s a perfect little plaza and park, a market rammed with tostadas, cute shops (including some very touristy ones you should avoid), and a cutie little coffee spot called Café Negro. Pop in there for a quick double espresso and then wonder.
Head to this next-level museum to learn all about Mexican culture and history. It’s brutal and beautiful and provides endless angles for Instagram photos. Take a couple of hours here. It’s right next to Bosque de Chapultepec if you want to turn that into a day.
Take an afternoon and walk around this bourgie neighbourhood. It’s where you’ll find stores like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Zara (which carry the same shit as Canada, so don’t get too excited). But it’s the Avenida Presidente Masaryk at its centre that will capture your fancy heart. This is sort of like what Yorkville could and should be. It’s super pretty, but you only need about an hour here, as it’s kind of boring and too rich for our blood.
// WINE AND DINE
The food options in Mexico City are truly incredible, and there are dozens of helpful guides to help you navigate, but the following are a few we really loved and recommend.
Get ready for a small line situation, but every minute you wait is worth it for Lalo!, nestled into the lovely Roma neighbourhood. Helmed by Mexico City favourites chef Eduardo García and his wife/business partner Gabriela López-Cruz, this adorable brunch spot and pizzeria hits the spot with local flavours, great coffee, and a cute, airy, laid-back atmosphere.
The food is OK, the coffee is weird, and it’s an overall strange experience, but breakfast here one day during your trip is essential. The setting is unreal and endless. Live Mexican music wafts through the halls, rooms, and courtyards of this restaurant, one of the oldest in the city. It’s a former convent, the wait staff wear giant white bows in their hair, and the recipes haven’t changed in 50 years.
Taco culture in this city is off the goddamn charts. It’s hard to tell where to find the greatest one, and many lists will tell you all kinds of different things. We tried some stands here and there, and they were yummy, but we popped into the (super clean) central El Califa, a local chain, and fell in love. Try the chicken, steak, and pork taco with all the side options, including local beer.
This spot is the talk of the gay town. It’s inside a regal colonial Roma townhouse and is dripping with fresh flowers and covered in beautiful wallpapers. It has multiple rooms, a courtyard, and absolutely delicious French/Mexican cuisine. Rosetta is best known for its bakery, but this restaurant is making waves. Everything is made in house, including the bread (duh), so eat all of it.
We chose this simple and sweet wine bar because they could accommodate a big group but also because of its simple Italian-style menu, mezcal selection, and general easiness. It’s small, sweet, the staff is super friendly, and it attracts a good-looking clientele. It’s nothing crazy exciting, but it’s a great spot to fill your belly if you need a break from all those salsas, enchiladas, and tortillas.
A late night taco spot that is not to be missed, this spot is lit by only a few lights on an otherwise pretty dark street and serves up basically every animal party imaginable in a grilled taco. They’re rich and delicious, we had the Cabeza taco, which translates to head, and it was yummy. Order at the counter and then sit on a bench outside to eat them up.
// Gay bars
This is a very strange place. There is very little room for dancing, but there is always a DJ. There are usually naked men dancing on the bar at some point, there is a dark room in the back, and you get a few drink tickets when you pay cover at the door. It’s a cruising vibe, but Tuesday is the night to go: It’s stripper night, and that means a non-stop barrage of nude Mexican daddies and muscle queens waving their wares for all to see. The dark room really comes to life that night as well.
Two floors of over-the-top drag, wild and silly dance music, lights, fancy and basic drinks, and dancing. This is a guaranteed party.
OK, we didn’t end up going here, but it’s a Britney Spears–themed gay bar so, just do it?
This is a local queer collective that creates radical parties around the city. Follow them on Instagram in case you’re in town when they’re throwing a bash.
This is another local party collective. They throw dance parties with a different lineup of DJs about twice a month. It’s a mixed crowd, but just the right mix. Very queer-friendly, affordable, and secretive. We went to an afternoon rooftop party near the historical district from 2pm till midnight one day and lived our truest Mexican-goddess lives.
// Grindr/Scruff rating
Grindr and Scruff are very much alive in CDMX. Folx are friendly and forward, sending mostly face pics accompanied by a dick. They aren’t shy, and there’s something for everyone. Just make sure that if you’re meeting up, someone knows where you are or that you have someone coming over to be safe.