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Coyoacan Mexico City: Museums, Restaurants, and More

  • Joel CZ 
  • 16 min read
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Coyoacan is a beautiful district in Mexico City with many good restaurants, cafes, parks, historic buildings, museums, bars, and lots of history.

Along with Roma and Condesa, Coyoacan is probably the best-known neighborhood in Mexico City.

Over the years, this historic district has become a haven for locals and tourists alike, where anyone can wander around without safety concerns.

Coming to Coyoacan is the typical weekend activity for families and friends looking to enjoy the street music, the food in its excellent restaurants, and the handicrafts in its gift shops.

Today, I will dive deep into all the best places to visit in Coyoacan, Mexico City. Take note and enjoy!

10 Best things to do in Coyoacan, Mexico City

coyoacan mexico city
Mexican candies in the Coyoacan Market – Source: Luis urquiza / flickr.com

1. Visit the Coyoacan Market (Mercado)

Something you can’t miss during your visit to Coyoacan is its “Mercado.”

It is a place that has traditionally been the grocery supply for families living near the area for many years.

The Mercado de Coyoacan also offers numerous options for food, handicrafts, clothing, flowers, toys, costumes, antiques, and other objects.

I recommend you try some of the Mexican snacks offered, observe the beautiful handcrafted pieces, and spend an enjoyable day buying some souvenirs in this great spot in Mexico City.

2. Admire the National Autonomous University of Mexico

coyoacan mexico city
Source: lauranazimiec / flickr.com

Don’t forget to visit the famous UNAM, the largest university in Latin America.

Within its grounds, you will find huge open spaces, among which you can observe the university buildings, many of which have been decorated with murals by great artists such as Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Juan Gorman, among others.

I recommend visiting the stupendous university stadium, which has hosted important games, events, and shows.

3. Experience the Day of the Dead Offering at Ciudad Universitaria

coyoacan mexico city
Day of the Day offering – Source: Ted McGrath / flickr.com

If your visit to Coyoacan, Mexico City, takes place at the end of October or the beginning of November, I recommend you observe the Day of the Dead offering event.

It is a tribute to outstanding personalities of Mexican history who have died.

Catholic traditions are mixed with other ancestral Mexican cultural facets during the celebration.

4. Go shopping at Galerias Insurgentes Sur

If you prefer to spend a day shopping, in Galerias Insurgentes Sur, you will find a wide variety of brand stores, including clothing, footwear, electronics, jewelry, handicrafts, and much more.

In addition, you will find a food court, which includes several options to choose the food you like the most.

An excellent place to spend the afternoon in the company of friends or have a meal with the family.

5. Visit the San Juan Bautista Church

coyoacan mexico city
Source: Anna & Jorge – – C@jig@ / flickr.com

This architectural jewel was built as a monastery for the Franciscan order in the sixteenth century.

It was restored in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, so it is preserved in all its splendor.

From the moment you arrive at the place, you will notice that its facade is a symbol of the era it represents, and once you walk through its central corridor, you will feel like you have traveled back in time.

6. Explore the Coyoacan Nurseries in Mexico City

mexico city coyoacan
Source: BlueBeam / flickr.com

This is the perfect place to spend a day outdoors, in your family’s company, or on a fun afternoon with friends.

Here you can hike or run through its trails.

You can also go with your bike, or if you prefer, you can just let yourself be carried away by the trees that refresh the area and make you feel like you’re in a forest in the heart of the big city.

7. Get souvenirs at the Mexican Artisan Market

The perfect place to find all kinds of crafts representative of Mexican culture.

Here you can get huipiles, shawls, Olinala boxes, huaraches, serape blankets, dresses, necklaces, and belts, among many other things.

I recommend you visit on Saturdays or Sundays when more shops are available.

8. National Arts Center

cenart
Source: hugomorenomv3 / flickr.com

If you like artistic activities such as painting, dance, theater, and music, I recommend you go to CENART during your visit to Coyoacan.

Here you can find various events related to these activities, with beautiful scenic forums, galleries, green areas, and cafes.

It also offers a range of courses and workshops, mainly aimed at children.

The experience offered by CENART is one of learning, entertainment, and recreation, so it’s best to come with your family.

9. Frida Kahlo Park

frida park
Source: Lance Meilech / flickr.com

Ideal for a quiet, relaxed outdoors day, the Frida Kahlo Park invites you to read your favorite book in the shade of a tree, take unique photographs, play with your children on the playground, take a walk through its beautiful gardens or enjoy a coffee with friends.

On weekends, you can find cultural, artistic, or sporting events for all ages.

10. Visit the Jardin Centenario Park in Coyoacan

Take a stroll through the different stores in the Garden Centenario.

In this place, you can enjoy delicious ice cream, coffee, an esquite, a drink with friends or business associates, or perhaps a meal with the family in one of the restaurants in the area.

Whether you come in the morning, afternoon, or evening, you can find all kinds of stalls and shops open, with excellent outdoor views and of course, the beautiful gardens.

TOP 10 Museums In Coyoacan, Mexico City

coyoacan mexico
National Museum of Interventions – Source: Secretaría de Cultura de la Ciudad de México / flickr.com

1. National Museum of Interventions

This museum, located in the former Convent of Our Lady of the Angels of Churubusco in Coyoacan, reviews the interventions Mexico has suffered from foreign forces, such as Spain, France, and the United States.

It has rooms for the Spanish intervention of 1829, after the Independence, for the French intervention of 1838, better known as the “Pastry War,” and for the American intervention of 1846, as a result of the annexation of Texas.

Likewise, the second French intervention that ended with the execution of Emperor Maximilian and the U.S. intervention that took place between 1914 and 1916 are recreated in the museum.

2. Alfredo Guati Rojo National Museum of Watercolors

watercolor museum
Source: Sergio Campos / flickr.com

The National Watercolor Museum, named after the Cuernavaca artist Alfredo Guati Rojo, is located at Salvador Novo 88 in the Santa Catarina neighborhood of Coyoacan.

It was the first museum in the world to specialize in watercolor painting and was directed by Guati Rojo until 2003, the year of his death.

The collection of this fascinating museum is about 1,500 watercolors, of which between two and three hundred are displayed.

The museum also promotes watercolor painting through different activities related to this pictorial technique.

3. Leon Trotsky’s House Museum

Leon Trotsky was a Russian leader from the early days of the Bolshevik Revolution who arrived in exile in Mexico in 1937, where he had the support of Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and other Mexican personalities.

After being a guest of the Rivera-Kahlo couple for two years, Trotsky had a dispute with the painter, supposedly because of an affair with Frida, and the Russian politician and his wife, Natalia Sedova, moved to the house in Coyoacan, where the museum is now located.

In that house, Trotsky was assassinated in 1940 by the Spaniard Ramón Mercader, who was following Stalin’s orders.

In 1990 the building was turned into a museum about the life of the famous politician.

4. University Museum of Contemporary Art

coyoacan mexico
Source: Moises bautista / flickr.com

This museum is located within the “city” of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and opened its doors in 2008, exhibiting works made from 1952 onwards.

Access to the museum is through a plaza where you can admire the sculpture La Espiga (The Spike) by Rufino Tamayo.

In addition to its nine exhibition halls, the museum has an area for training workshops, a place for conferences and debates on contemporary art, and the Espacio de Experimentación Sonora for promoting sound art.

The museum also houses the Arkheia Documentation Center, which provides documentary support for research on contemporary art.

5. National Museum of Popular Cultures

It is a small museum located on Hidalgo Avenue 289, conceived under the concept of chaining temporary exhibitions on the different popular cultures of Mexico, particularly those of its indigenous peoples.

The museum was founded in 1982 by the illustrious Mexican ethnologist and anthropologist Guillermo Bonfil Batalla, who was also its first director.

6. Universum

universum mexico
Source: Omar Barcena / flickr.com

This is UNAM’s Science Museum, which opened in 1992 to promote science and technology.

Universum has a permanent exhibition area of 12,000 m2 south of the university city.

Its exhibits are conceived and entertaining to make them understandable and enjoyable for the general public.

There are 13 permanent exhibitions covering fields as diverse as the universe, medicinal agriculture, urban horticulture, artificial intelligence, the structure of matter, the brain, mathematics, evolution, health, and sexuality.

Universum also presents temporary exhibitions, often in alliance with other universities and science and technology institutions.

7. Geles Cabrera Sculpture Museum

Geles Cabrera is a Mexican sculptor laureate born in 1926 and founder of the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana in 1949, an organization dedicated to promoting national contemporary art.

The museum that bears her name, located in Cicotencatl 181, Colonia del Carmen, exhibits 60 pieces of her work made since 1948 with different materials.

It was the first sculpture museum in America dedicated to an artist’s work.

The entrance is free and is ideal for putting children in contact with the art of sculpture, as they are allowed to touch the pieces.

In fact, one of the children’s favorite exhibitions is a swing that, when it moves, emits the sounds of a beating heart.

8. House of Coahuila

The Coahuilenses living in Mexico City founded this house in 1955 as an extension of their homeland in the capital territory.

The Casa de Coahuila is located at Prolongación Xicoténcatl 10 in San Diego Churubusco, in front of the former convent.

In it, the Coahuilenses hold exhibitions on cultural themes of their native state and enjoy the typical drinks and dishes of their gastronomy.

9. Frida Kahlo Museum, Coyoacan Mexico City

frida kahlo museum
Source: Daniel Kämpfe-Fehrle / flickr.com

The iconic Mexican artist has a museum in Coyoacan, located in the famous Casa Azul (blue house), the family house built by her parents where the painter was born and died.

In Casa Azul, Frida lived with her husband, Diego Rivera.

The couple accumulated a large amount of furniture and handicrafts to decorate the rooms, which have been preserved in the same layout in which the famous couple left them.

Above Frida’s maiden bed is her death mask and on the ceiling of the canopied bed is a mirror that her mother had installed so that the painter could work after the terrible traffic accident she suffered in 1925.

Among Frida’s belongings in the exhibition are her brushes, her easel specially designed to facilitate the arduous work of painting, and several other items.

Frida Kahlo’s ashes are kept in the Casa Azul, inside a pre-Hispanic urn in the shape of a toad.

10. Anahuacalli Museum

Diego Rivera also has a museum in Coyoacan, the Anahuacalli, located on Museum Street in the Colonia de San Pablo Tepetlapa.

The general architectural concept of the building was the work of Rivera himself, a fervent admirer of pre-Hispanic art, who took as a reference a teocalli, the pre-Hispanic pyramid topped by a temple.

The construction was made with volcanic stone extracted from the slopes of the Xitle Volcano.

The museum exhibits a vast collection of pre-Columbian art pieces and handicrafts accumulated by the artist.

8 Best Restaurants In Coyoacan, Mexico City

coyoacan mexico
Source: arimou0 / flickr.com

Time to eat! After touring the museums and other attractions in Coyoacan, I’m sure you’ll be hungry.

So here is my list of the eight best restaurants to try some of the best foods in the big city. Take note:

1. Corazon de Maguey

In the Plaza Jardín Centenario Historical Center is this mezcalería, one of the most well-known and frequented in Coyoacan.

Mezcalerías have become a reference of Mexican gastronomic culture, as places to taste cocktails based on the country’s traditional liquors while savoring typical foods.

You may want to read: How to Drink Mezcal Like a Pro: Tips and Guide

Corazon de Maguey offers a wide variety of mezcals, which is the house’s specialty.

Their signature cocktail is the Piñatepa Nacional, a delicious combination of mezcal with pineapple juice and ginger.

2. La Esquina de los Milagros

esquina de los milagros restaurant
Source: Ángela Ibáñez / flickr.com

In this “Coyoacanese” kitchen, they make true prodigies with Mexican products to turn them into contemporary dishes while preserving the spirit of the national cuisine.

Among their specialties are the following:

  • The Quechitos are deliciously grilled cheese tacos with chicharrón (pork rinds) stuffed with huitlacoche or mushrooms, sided with guacamole
  • Arrachera (flank steak) enchilada is marinated in dried chiles and served over grilled nopalitos
  • The Tuna Tostes is a piece of fish seared on the grill and caramelized with mango and chipotle sauce
  • The Cartera Rellena is a sheet of chicken stuffed with nopales, served with roasted Mexican squash

You can find this delicious corner at Jardín Centenario, Coyoacan, Mexico City.

3. El Guarache

The “huarache” is a typical Mexican shoe and also a traditional corn-based dish with beans whose shape is reminiscent of a sandal.

This restaurant has not been able to find a better emblem to identify the line of its cuisine, as they pride itself in preparing the best traditional Mexican food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Of course, their star dish is the huaraches, which they offer with meat, cheese, vegetables, and other ingredients, all topped with delicious salsa.

4. Cafe Coyote

The coyote is a very common mammal in the Mexican countryside and deserts. Its howls usually alert the peasants and cowboys who still venture to spend the night outdoors, under the shelter of a campfire and coffee pots.

These people generally drink strong and simple coffee without gastronomic pretensions.

But quite the opposite of the espressos, cappuccinos, cold drinks, and other delicacies prepared at Cafe Coyote with the best select beans from Atoyac and other Mexican coffee towns.

Tea lovers also have various forms and qualities to enjoy their infusion, including green, black, and white tea.

The dessert menu includes creations by the in-house chef that delight for their texture and perfect understanding of the beverages.

5. Food Market

Street food in the Coyoacan Market

One option to eat in Coyoacan on a budget is at the food market.

It is an unpretentious place where you can find a wide variety of food, from the simplest to the most elaborate.

The food stands offer tostadas, quesadillas, empanadas, tacos, barbacoa, seafood, soups, pozole, pancakes, and many other Mexican goodies.

Eating is informal and in a clean environment. Open from 10 AM.

6. La Cervecería de Barrio

coyoacan mexico

This brewery is much more than just hops. Of course, you can drink your favorite beer, a margarita, or any other beverage, but the place’s real hook is in how they prepare the seafood.

Like most other restaurants, it is located in Plaza Centenario, with a nice view of the zocalito, and has a pleasant terrace.

The menu offers excellent opinions like fish tacos, octopus in its ink, and shrimp tostadas.

For dessert, chocolate cake is highly recommended. It is a clean, pleasant, and moderately priced place.

7. Ecos del Mundo

ecos del mundo restaurant

As its name suggests (world echoes), this is a multifaceted restaurant located on Calle Higuera, behind the San Juan Bautista church.

Its distinctive feature is its naturist and artisanal approach to elaborating the food and beverages they serve.

They have vegetarian and non-vegetarian menus, which include grilled vegetables, lasagna, soups, salads, hamburgers, chicken, fish, and seafood.

The bread is super fresh, as they have their own artisan bakery and offer a wide variety of hot and cold drinks, highlighting their red fruit mix.

They also have a gourmet products store, where you can find dressings, jams, coffee, and other delicacies.

8. La Casa de los Helados

This ice cream parlor, located on Centenario Street in Coyoacan, mixes traditional flavors with exotic ones.

They have a wide variety of ice creams and popsicles of different flavors, from the classic strawberry, vanilla, mint chocolate, and coffee, to unique creations, such as the crazy kiss, prepared with a combination of wild berries and chocolate.

My favorite is tequila ice cream, which gives a slight taste of this famous Mexican spirit.

They also offer natural yogurt ice cream, sweet crepes, coffees, tea, and fruit drinks.

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