When it comes to popular destinations in Mexico, we all know the usual suspects. Cancun. Cabo. Playa del Carmen. But ask about Mexico City and the first question people usually ask is, “Is it safe?” The cultural heart of Mexico, Mexico City often gets a bad rap as a crowded, congested, gang-infested and overall dangerous area, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  While Mexico City has its imperfections like any other major city, a renaissance of sorts has been occurring in recent years, reviving the city as a must-visit destination in Mexico. From museums and a city-wide family day to hip neighborhoods and unique culinary experiences, visitors are sure to discover a new side to Mexico City that they won’t soon forget.

Dig Deeper

Sure, you know all about Mexico’s great beaches and tequila, but there’s much more to the history of this country than that. Mexico City’s origins date back to the Aztecs, who founded it in 1325 as Tenochtitlan, with Mexico City as we know it being founded by the Spaniards in 1585. Explore the city’s Aztec history with a visit to the National Museum of Anthropology; reflect on the tradition of handicrafts and folk art at the Museo de Arte Popular; follow the journey of one of Mexico’s most famous couples at the Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera museums; and experience Mexico’s dance, theatre, opera and literary culture at Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City’s most important cultural center.

When in Roma

In New York City, Brooklyn is the city’s epicenter of cool. In Mexico City, that honor goes to the neighborhood of Roma Norte. Bordering the über luxe and posh Condesa neighborhood, Roma Norte’s leafy streets are lined with beautiful art nouveau and beaux-arts mansions, and is home to trendy restaurants, hip cocktail lounges and edgy boutiques like Garota, Delirio, 180 Shop and Goodbye Folk. Looking for a way to blend in with the hip locals during your visit? Take a ride through Roma and Condesa with a guide. You can even kick it up a notch by heading over to the St. Regis Mexico City and organizing a bike tour on one of their Bentley-branded vintage style bikes.

Beyond Tacos

When it comes to Mexico’s culinary scene, all people seem to expect are a variety of tacos and an upgraded version of a Chipotle burrito bowl. So wrong! Mexico’s culinary scene is as diverse as its history, and if you want to see just how far the food scene has come, look no further than La Table Krug at Mexico City’s best address, The St. Regis Mexico City.

La Table Krug, a collaboration with Moët Hennessy, is a multi-sensory French epicurean experience that takes diners on an 11-course journey through a signature menu designed by executive chef Sylvain Desbois. The scene is set with every detail, including a Carrara marble table and one-of-a-kind plates, glasses and cutlery comprised of different materials and textures that have been carefully selected to present a unique experience. Dishes may include king crab, Sologne caviar, Wagyu prime cuts, Kumamoto oysters, black truffles and Maine lobster. Each course is perfectly paired with wine and three glasses of Krug, including Krug Vintage 2000 (95/100 Wine Spectator), available exclusively at the St. Regis Mexico City.

We Are Family

As if the culture, hip neighborhoods and luxury culinary experiences weren’t enough, what really makes Mexico City a great travel destination is what happens in the heart of the city every Sunday morning. Paseo de la Reforma closes down to traffic and opens up to citizens for hours of bike riding, skateboarding, mini marathons, yoga dancing and overall family fun. It’s the perfect time to explore the area around the Reforma with friends and family, and stay fit at the same time. It’s a unique community gathering that you can’t get sitting on the beach at a posh resort in Cancun, and shows a softer side to Mexico City.—Danielle T. Pointdujour

Danielle T. Pointdujour is a proud Howard University grad and Brooklynite living the passport life to the fullest. With over 70 countries under her belt, you can always find Danielle traveling the globe in search of new experiences and the hottest luxury hotels. You can follow her writing, musings and global adventures on Twitter and Instagram.