- Stroll through the early 20th century art deco architecture
Roma is one of my favorite spots in Mexico City, a washed up art deco neighbourhood, once covered in graffiti, twice rocked by earthquakes, and now half-gentrified and made famous by a Hollywood movie that portrayed the colourful streets in monotone. Though Alfonso Cuaron’s historical/personal narrative of eponymous name was a great Mexico City movie, it speaks to a place (his Roma) that no longer exists in 2019. Today’s Roma is chill, flooded with ex-pats and rich kids, those privileged enough to live a laid back lifestyle in Mexico’s Capital.
2. Have an espresso at one of the cafes in Roma, CDMX
3. Check out the street art, murals and graffiti
I’m pretty sure there are outfits that give street art tours, which you could search up if organized tour are your kind of thing. There’s also dedicated instagram accounts for CDMX street artists, that will tell you where to find murals in Roma, Mexico City.
4. Lunch, Brunch, Lounge on a sidewalk patio
There are a bunch of beautiful little spots to eat in Roma. The more tourists and ex-pats and money that arrive, the more cafes and restaurants open. I like to imagine it has that run of the century Paris feel, when everyone was an artist living in the eye of the storm between the two world wars.
And lest you forget, for most of the years I was living in Mexico during the 00s and early 10s, it was the most violent country in the world. More people were getting killed every year here, than in Iraq. And if you’re under the impression that it’s gotten less violent, you are mistaken. It’s just fairly safe if you’re a foreigner, or a tourist, only staying for a while and hanging out in a posh part of town.
5. Maxim Bistrot
6. Visit one of the galleries spattered around Roma
There are a ton of little galleries around Roma, niche places selling art to the uber wealthy socialites and consignment places, where artists are trying to make a buck shelling the work from their studios.
7. Mercado Roma
Mercado Roma is both everything that is ridiculous and wrong with a gentrifying neighbourhood, if gentrification is the kind of thing that bugs you, or you’re into resisting, and yet surprisingly lovely. A wonderful spot to tuck into an overpriced afternoon beer or salt-rimmed cocktail.
8. Street food: puestas, taquerias, pan, enchiladas, quesadillas
As in the rest of the city, the street food in Roma is often better than the food in the restaurants. People setup stalls for a specific number of hours or days of the week, so you might not find your favourite taco from Saturday when you go back Monday, but the food is hot, fresh and delicious when it’s being cranked out. Your best bet is to walk down Avenida Alvaro Obregon, then turn off one of the side streets, Calle Frontera, or Calle Merida or on the weekend head to Jardin Pushkin and Calle Morelia, where there is actually an amazing Hamburger stand. There are also some good stands farther north, near Glorieta de los Insurgentes, by the corner of calles Puebla and Orizaba.
9. Get out your camera, your sketchbook, or just open your eyes
The Roma that I love and lived in for a while, when I had nothing to do, no distractions and no bills to pay, had just graduated from school and was wandering around looking for love, is not going to last forever. Nothing ever does. So you better just go down there and take it all in before it gets swallowed up by earthquake-proofed condos, or a terremoto swallows the whole city.
10. La Bodeguito del Medio, Mojitos & Salsa (the dancing kind)
This Cuban spot, a spin off of the place made famous in Havana, has been visited by anyone and everyone, and lasted through several reincarnations of Roma and Condesa and the whole surrounding area. It’s walls are covered in vintage photos and handwritten love notes, and I was heres… it’s the right kind of sentimental, and I used to live in the alleyway behind the restaurant, so I could hear the sound of salsa music and cocineros smoking cigarettes drifting up and into my bedroom window. Don’t blink.
As always, contact me to purchase a print of any of my artwork.