One of my favorite neighborhoods in the much maligned Mexico City is also fortunately MY own neighborhood!
Polanco is far different than the dark, dingy (and often dishonest) portrayal of Mexico’s sprawling capital that is so common in the media. In fact, Polanco is vibrant, modern, beautiful, and even downright posh.
Aside from being an awesome place to live (which I can personally vouch for), Polanco is a great neighborhood to explore, especially for anyone leery of the Mexico they’ve seen so negatively reviewed in the news. It’s an easily navigated, pretty, and very secure area in the huge metropolis of Mexico City.
What should you check out in Polanco?
Without a question, Mexico is a city that embraces art. Do the names Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera ring a bell? If not, just check out your 500 peso note to be reminded of the famous Mexican artists. That’s right, it’s not politicians or government figures gracing one of the nation’s largest notes – but artists. And this reverence for art is evident everywhere in Mexico City, with Polanco as no exception.
Public sculptures and art installations can be found throughout the neighborhood, and you don’t even have to go looking. Practically every block has some form of art in one way or another.
These fanciful multicolor arches brighten up a cycling and pedestrian path, and are supposedly specially shellacked to be impervious to graffiti (yet another form of pop art found throughout the city, though to a lesser degree in Polanco).
Speaking of art, the Soumaya Museum building is a work of art in itself. The building was commissioned by Carlos Slim, and houses his huge personal collection of art, including an impressive selection of Dali pieces.
The multistory museum is free to enter, making art even more accessible to the Mexican public.
The huge Soumaya museum is decorated by thousands of silver hexagons, and appears different from all angles (a bit like Mexico City!)
If art museums aren’t your thing, Mexico City’s finest aquarium is also in Polanco. Aquaria Inbursa is especially popular with school groups and families, and features a stunning 4 levels of fish and marine life to explore – all underground!
Whether you’re craving a quick snack from a street vendor, or a fancy brunch with your girlfriends, Polanco has the eats for you. But fine and upscale dining is really where Polanco shines (here’s a few suggestions to get your taste buds tingling).
street vendor snacks
This is also the neighborhood to satisfy your hankering for chain American restaurants, with everything from the Olive Garden to TGIFriday’s. And there’s definitely no shortage of Starbucks. But you should definitely take a break from the familiar and venture out into some delicious local offerings!
Polanco is a major mall destination. With a handful of malls within walking distance, even the most fervent spenders can literally shop til they drop. Featuring a mix of local designers, international brands, and American shops, everyone can find what they’re looking for.
just one of the many malls, featuring Saks Fifth Avenue
Polanco is an especially good spot for finding stylish home goods and doing clothes shopping.
With most malls featuring a cinema, you’ll never miss a movie in Polanco. Most features show the movies in their original English language, but with Spanish subtitles (children’s shows and cartoons are an exception). If you like snacking while seeing your show, you’re in luck as these theaters feature some awesome options, including delicious popcorn (with optional hot sauce), and the crowd favorite – nachos!
one of the most popular Mexican movie chains: Cinemex
If the big screen isn’t your thing, you might prefer a stage show. The long running fan favorite Lion King is still on offer in Polanco. Featuring imaginative costumes and the family-friendly storyline of the original, the show is performed in Spanish but easy to follow along even for those that don’t speak the language.
Mexico City fields a lot of criticism for being gray in parts and overly smoggy. Polanco is a definite exception. The neighborhood has trees and shrubs on every block, and has begun introducing vertical gardens in recent years to get more green even in urbanized spaces.
a vertical garden at an outdoor set of restaurants