BEST THINGS TO DO IN COYOACÁN
While exploring the barrio magicos of Mexico City we fell in love with Coyoacán. Between the brightly colored buildings, an abundance of vegetation, vibrant markets, and many artistic influences, it exudes beautiful bohemian charm. Strolling through its cobblestone streets and green plazas you almost forget you’re in a city of almost 22 million people!
This area was once wild and remote. Coyoacán means “the land of the coyote” in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. It’s the ideal place to take a break from the commotion in the rest of Mexico City. It’s similar to other pueblos we love in Mexico like Izamal and Valladolid. However, we highly recommend going during the week if possible, as it can be busy and feel a lot more touristy on weekends!
1. Wander through Frida Kahlo’s crib at Casa Azul
Most people come to Coyoacán to see Casa Azul, aka the Blue House, aka Museo de Frida Kahlo, and who can blame them? Honestly, you can’t visit CDMX without stopping by here! It’s a one of a kind look into the creative universe of Frida Kahlo, arguably Latin America’s most celebrated female artist.
The house turned museum features original art pieces by Frida, a walk through her art studio, kitchen, bedroom (where she died), and an exhibition of her (super fabulous) clothing.
Personally I was excited about visiting, as Frida Kahlo is a hero of mine. If you don’t know much about her, do a little research into her life before you visit. Frida was more than just an artist, she was an extraordinary human who fought through a tremendous amount of pain and suffering to become the icon she is today.
You’re required to book in advance because it’s so popular and therefore only let in a certain amount of people a day. We got our tickets through this website. The tickets in 2019 were around 250 pesos each after tax. It’s closed on Mondays.
2. Grab a café de olla at Café El Jarocho
This local spot was opened in 1953 by a couple, Gil and Bertha, who originally owned a grocery store that sold goods from Veracruz. They began by making cups of coffee for their neighbors, but demand got so high that they decided to open up a shop.
There are now several of them, but this branch in Coyoacán is the OG location and has all the feels. We suggest their café de olla, a traditional Mexican style coffee that’s brewed in a clay pot, spiced with cinnamon, and sweetened with piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar). It’s still made from Bertha’s recipe, so take a seat on a bench outside, and soak in Coyoacán.
3. Have a healthy lunch at La Casa del Pan Papalotl
Who says healthy food has to be expensive? Right next door to Cafe el Jarocho, La Casa del Pan offers organic food at a reasonable cost. Their food focuses on local ingredients and agroecology, so you can feel good about supporting the local economy while enjoying all the deliciousness.
The salads and juices are a nice break from the meat-filled, salsa drenched tacos you might otherwise be stuffing your face with. Their artisanal bread, honey-dijon mustard, and chipotle chutney salsa make it worth the visit alone. After indulging in some yum yums here you’ll find yourself energized to keep exploring.
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4. Check out the Leon Trotsky Museum
Are you familiar with Leon Trotsky? If not, read a little about him before coming here. Trotsky was the co-architect of the Russian Revolution and a political rival of Joseph Stalin. You can visit his former home in Coyoacán where he lived with his wife in exile from 1939-1940 after seeking asylum in Mexico with help from his friends, Frida and Diego.
The property has been left largely untouched, just as he left it. You can still see bullet holes in the walls from the first failed assassination attempt on his life. Take a stroll through the quiet courtyard where he kept his pet rabbits and into his study where he finally died at the hands of a Soviet agent.
We won’t spoil it for you here, but you should definitely look up how he died. Yikes! The museum gives great insight into the final years of Trotsky’s life, along with a brief history lesson of world events, mostly in Spanish. It’s open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am to 5pm. The entrance fee is 40 pesos.
5. I scream, you scream, we all scream, for helado…
And by helado, we mean ice cream of course! Near the plazas, in Coyoacán there are several heladerias. We went to Los Famosos de Coyoacán that’s been open since 1930. I had to go with the pretty and pink pétalos de rosa (rose petal) ice cream and it was creamylicious.
Just around the corner is Las Nieves de Coyoacán which some people online claim is better. With unique flavors like zarzamora (blackberry), ron con pasas (rum raisin), and horchata you gotta try at least one!
6. Enjoy the plazas of Coyoacán
Coyoacán has two plazas across the street from one another: Jardín Centenario and Plaza Hidalgo. Jardín Centenario is a beautiful garden space where you’ll find the famous fuente de los coyotes (coyote fountain).
Plaza Hidalgo is the larger of the two and contains the quintessential structures of a Mexican square, a gazebo, and a church. La Iglesia de San Juan Batista, done in the Mexican Baroque style, has a gorgeous interior with elaborate paintings on the ceiling. Worth taking a quick peek!
Bars and restaurants surround the plazas and fill up with city dwellers on weekends who come to eat, drink, and be merry. We were surprised to learn that Coyoacán is the second most visited place in all of Mexico City after the Zocalo downtown.
7. Mercado de Coyoacán
No neighborhood in Mexico is complete without its local market. Here you’ll find lots of fresh juice stands, colorful produce, fresh flowers, and friendly shopkeepers. We ate at a tasty stall called Quesadillas Lucha for lunch.
There’s just something about pulling a stool up to a stainless steel counter with homemade salsas and watching fresh tortillas being hand-pressed in front of you. Their hot n’ cheesy huitlacoche quesadillas are muy rico!
Although we never ate there, Tostadas de Coyoacán is another booth that seems popular with locals. A quick tip, if you happen to visit this mercado on the weekend, keep an eye out for an art market in the small plaza across the street!
8. Museo Anahuacalli
This often-overlooked building made of volcanic stone is a testament to Diego Rivera’s legacy. Always an advocate for indigenous heritage, the museum contains his collection of pre-Hispanic pottery and artifacts from states across Mexico.
Inside this pyramid-shaped wonder, you’ll also find a few of his murals on display. This is one of the most unusual things to do in Coyoacán. Be sure to go upstairs on the terrace for some amazing views over CDMX. Bonus, you can enter for free after purchasing tickets for Casa Azul. Hours are Tuesday-Sunday 11am to 5:30pm.
9. Viveros de Coyoacán Park
Looking for a breath of fresh air? Head to Viveros de Coyoacán, considered one of the “lungs” of CDMX. This public park and tree nursery covers almost 100 acres! Its original purpose was to provide seedlings for the reforestation of the area around the capital city. You’ll find a wide variety of trees, bushes, and flowers, as well as some cute mischevious squirrels.
This isn’t exactly a tourist attraction, it’s just a really pretty park. It’s perfect for jogging, or in our case walking (we’re lazy). Like Central Park in NYC, it’s nice to find sanctuary in the concrete jungle. We hope you find time for these things to do in Coyoacán if you’re visiting Mexico City. You won’t be disappointed!
Did this persuade you to visit Coyoacán? Let me know below if you’re planning a visit…