Map: Chapultepec and the Zona Rosa

This is the biggest park in the city, with a lake for rowing, a zoo, and a castle, and museum perched atop a hill. It is fringed by a series of museums and is within walking distance of Polanco’s trendy eateries, the monuments along Paseo de la Reforma, and the chaotic “Pink Zone” of Zona Rosa. This is a walk where you would benefit from having your hotel prepare you a box lunch, the other option being to buy a not-entirely satisfying snack or coffee and ice cream at one of the museums before hitting the park.

Start either at the (1) Museo Rufino Tamayo (Reforma y Gandi, www.museotamayo.org), for art lovers, or the world-famous (2) Museo Nacional de Antropologia (Reforma y Gaandi)—but bear in mind that you will exhaust yourself if you try to tackle both—and then enter the park, either to row along the lake or peek at the curiosities in the (3) Zoológico de Chapultepec (www.chapultepec.df.gob.mx), from pandas to an excellent snake house, or take a leisurely stroll around the grandiose (4) Castillo de Chapultepec home to the informative and accessible National History Museum.

If you have the energy, stride up Reforma to the city’s great icon of Independence from Spain, the golden Angel de la Independencia perched on a 120-foot-high (36.5-meter) column, and enjoy a Japanese lunch at (5) Mikado (Reforma 369) with the city’s business crowd. Alternatively, hop a cab to the (6) Mercado San Juan, entering through Luis Moya and to the right on Pugibet, for a glimpse of the capital’s most appealing food market, a favorite of chefs, and full of bewildering delicacies and buzzing with its unique, friendly atmosphere. From there, walk west along Ayuntamiento, taking a left on Bucareli, past the Reloj Chino to the (7) Circulo del Sureste (Lucerna 12) one of the city’s best Yucatan restaurants and enjoy an unforgettable late lunch at your leisure.

If you ate at Mikado, cross the road over to the Zona Rosa and take in the boutiques, designer stores, sex shops, and café atmosphere. Finish up listening to the mariachis in the (8) Jorongo Bar in the Sheraton María Isabel Hotel (Reforma 325). If you went for the second option, ask the restaurant to call you a cab and try the quirkier mariachi option by going to the (9) Plaza Garibaldi. Watch the musicians strolling about, offering tastes of their tunes, and consider asking for a song (but establish the amount of songs and price first). End your tour with a drink, or a few, in the atmospheric (10) Bar Tenampa (Plaza Garibaldi 12).

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