Coyoacan: an unmissable neighborhood in Mexico City
With its narrow streets and small squares, its bohemian atmosphere, its beautiful houses and flowery spaces, Coyoacan, where the house of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera is located , is not only a traditional neighborhood of great historical importance, but also one of the the most charming places in the city.
If it is rather quiet during the week, it completely transforms on the weekend when it becomes a favorite destination for families who come to enjoy the lively streets between artists and sellers, lovers who stroll hand in hand , and friends looking for a nice bar to have a drink in the evening.
Here is my complete guide to Coyoacan with my advice, the places not to be missed throughout the district, my good restaurant and bar tips, and my best hotel recommendations for all budgets !
What to do and see in Coyoacan
1. Church of St. Anthony of Padua
The Capilla de San Antonio de Padua or Templo de San Antonio Panzacola is a 17th century Baroque-style church located right next to the Puente de Altillo, a stone bridge that passes over the Rio Magdalena.
For a long time the chapel was the entry point to Coyoacan since it is located on Francisco Sosa Street which unites it with the San Angel neighborhood. It is therefore an excellent starting point for a visit to Coyoacan!
2. Rue Francisco Sosa
It is impossible to visit Coyoacan and not walk this street. It is quiet, bordered by superb (expensive) houses from the colonial era, cafes with interior patios, art galleries and several cultural centers accessible free of charge.
3. Museum of Frida Kahlo
If there is one must -see museum in Coyoacan, it’s this one! The Frida Kahlo Museum, commonly called “ Casa Azul ” due to its blue facade, is a historic house museum dedicated to the life and work of Frida.
She was born in this house, raised there and lived there with her husband Diego Rivera. She died there in 1954. Her ashes are in an urn in the shape of her face, placed on her bed.
There we find a collection of the work of Frida, Diego and other artists, as well as all kinds of objects that belonged to the couple (art, photos, pre-Hispanic artifacts, etc.) in addition to being able to visit the different rooms of the house which have remained faithful to their original state.
- To visit Frida Kahlo’s house it is mandatory to purchase tickets online in advance and places are limited!
- Another option is to take a comprehensive tour that includes a walk on the Xochimilco canals and the Frida Kahlo museum. To book here.
4. Participate in the Day of the Dead
If you are interested in Mexican popular culture , it is possible to participate in the Day of the Dead in Coyoacan, all year round!
It is an activity that offers the opportunity to discover the colorful world of this traditional celebration with music, projections, mezcal, hot chocolate. In addition to being interactive, I found it very informative!
5. National Sound Library (FONCA)
On Francisco Sosa there is a historic building where Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz lived , which houses the National Record Library.
It is a library intended to preserve and present the country’s sound heritage: official speeches, interviews, radio serials, folk music, etc. You can even discover different voices of famous people like Gandhi or Einstein.
There is even a “sound garden”, it is a sort of small park with several trees and an audio system which allows you to enjoy the space with concert music, different compositions and poetic works. It’s a pretty unusual activity to do in Coyoacan to immerse yourself in Mexican culture.
- Address : Francisco Sosa 383, Coyoacan. The sound garden is open Tuesday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Free admission. Website
6. The National Watercolor Museum
Almost opposite the sound library is the Museo Nacional de la Acuarela, the first museum in the world to be dedicated to watercolors.
Founded by the painter and watercolorist Alfredo Guati Rojo Cardenas to promote and preserve different types of artistic expressions, and particularly watercolor techniques, there are various completely free exhibitions. There is also a small cafe on site.
- Address : Salvador Novo 88, Coyoacan. Mon-Sun 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free admission. Website
7. Jesus Reyes de Heroles Culture House
Among the different cultural centers, that of Jesus Reyes de Heroles is definitely a must-see in Coyoacan.
It is a beautiful 19th century building with a large green interior courtyard, where at the back there is a pretty café-restaurant with a terrace “Casa Aurelia” (the breakfasts are very good) and three art galleries “ Alfredo Ramos”, “Guillermo Kahlo” and “Miguel Álvarez Acosta.
But visitors’ favorite place is undoubtedly the sculpture of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, made by Juan Carlos Peña. We can sit on the bench and take a photo!
- Address : Francisco Sosa 202, Coyoacan. Mon-Sun 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free admission.
8. Santa Catarina Square
Also located on Francisco Sosa Street, it is one of the most charming places in Coyoacan and, in my opinion, even in Mexico City .
With its quiet square with trees rocking in the wind, its colorful banners and its all-yellow church, it’s the kind of place that corresponds exactly to the image I have of Mexico, and where I love taking photos !
The chapel was ransacked during the War of Reform (19th century ) and the War of the Cristeros (early 20th century ). There are therefore not many valuable objects left but there is a painting of the Virgen de Guadalupe from the 17C , a wooden confessional from the 17C , a statue of Santa Catalina de Siena from the 16C , and a tabernacle in bronze and gold.
9. The Coyoacan Nurseries
Large park and arboretum, this 39-hectare green space is one of the lungs of Mexico City.
Around twenty tree species grow here (eucalyptus, ash, plum, pear, acacia, pine, elm, cedar, nopal, etc.) intended for forestation or reforestation in different corners of the capital. It is estimated that since its creation, some 2 million trees have been cultivated for these purposes!
With more than 2km of trails, it is a favorite place for jogging enthusiasts. For my part, I loved walking there and enjoying a peaceful place in the capital. Open your eyes, we come across many squirrels there!
- Address : Progreso 1, Coyoacán. Every day 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Free admission.
10. Plaza Jardin Hidalgo
Plaza Jardin Hidalgo is the main square in Coyoacan. It is also the 2nd most visited place in Mexico after the Zocalo. In addition to trees, pretty fountains and benches for resting, we find:
- The Casa Municipal, also called Casa de Cortes which was the seat of the 1st government
- The Church of Saint John the Baptist
- The Jardin del Centenario with the Fuente de los Coyotes, a square which hosts shows (clowns, etc.) on weekends
- The Monument to Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, one of the leaders of the Mexican independence movement
- The National Museum of Popular Cultures, a cultural center that costs just a few pesos to enter and showcases the traditions of various Mexican peoples
11 . Coyoacan Marché
There are 3 markets in Coyoacan, but market 89 is the best: you can find everything there (souvenirs, food, prepared meals, piñata, etc.) and it is better organized than the others.
I happily got lost through its many aisles, especially – I must admit – because I have no sense of direction at all. What is certain is that it is a must-see in Coyoacan.
Just opposite we find the Jardin Allende, a charming park where artists exhibit their paintings. When I was there, several elderly people were dancing, it was absolutely adorable!
12. Museum of Leon Trotsky
After Casa Azul, the next logical stop is the Trotsky House Museum, which was Trotsky’s final resting place.
The Russian revolutionary and politician in exile was welcomed in 1937 by Mexican President Lazaro Cardenas who offered him political asylum. He and his wife, Natalia Sedova, moved in shortly afterward with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
He developed an affair with Frida, which created a lot of tension between the couples and so he decided to move in 1939 to a nearby house. It was there that he was assassinated in 1940 by an agent of Stalin.
In the museum, we of course discover his house – and we notice how very well protected it was! – with various objects that belonged to him, family photos, we learn more about his revolutionary life. It is here that his ashes and those of his wife rest.
The building also houses exhibition rooms and a left-wing literature bookstore.
- Address : Río Churubusco 410, Coyoacán. Tues-Dim 10am-5pm. Enter 70 pesos. Website
13. Plaza de la Conchita
Just a few blocks from the main square, Plaza de la Conchita or “Inmaculada Concepcion” is another pretty square in Coyoacan, home to the oldest Christian building in New Spain. It is therefore a place of great historical importance for the capital, but also for the country.
It was built in the 16th century under the orders of the conquistador Hernan Cortes and it was here that one of the first masses in the region was celebrated. Excavations carried out in 2013 showed that it was built on a Toltec ceremonial site.
The church is tequitqui style, a mixture of baroque architecture and indigenous elements. After several years of restoration (very successful!) it reopened its doors to the public and you can attend mass on Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
I really recommend Avellaneda (Higuera 40-A, La Concepción, Coyoacán,) a few steps from the square, a lovely place to have a coffee!
Just opposite is also the Frida Kahlo Park dedicated to the artist. There is a life-size bronze sculpture depicting Frida dressed in traditional costume from Tehuantepec ( Oaxaca ).
14. The National Museum of Interventions
The Museo Nacional de las Intervenciones is located in the former convent of Churubusco (16th century ) and is dedicated to the history of the convent and the various foreign interventions since the independence of Mexico in 1821, through 10 rooms: Spain (1829), France (1838-1839, 1862-1867) and United States (1846-1848, 1914, 1916).
- Address : 20 de Agosto s/n, Coyoacán. Tues-Dim 10am-4pm. Enter 100 pesos. Website
15. Anahuacalli Museum
Still in Coyoacan, but located further from the tourist heart of the district is the Anahuacalli Museum in a building constructed of black volcanic stone reminiscent of the shape of a Mesoamerican pyramid temple.
The space was designed by Diego Rivera to house his collection of pre-Hispanic art. It is one of the most important collections in Mexico with numerous artifacts from the Teotihuacan, Olmec, Toltec, Nahua, Zapotec and northwest Mexican civilizations.
One floor also features 16 mural sketches by Diego Rivera. The museum terrace offers an interesting view of the Pedregal, a lava flow that gives a very particular character to the landscape.
- Address : Museum 150, Coyoacán. Tues-Dim 11am-5:30pm. Enter 90$MXN. Website
16. Azteca Stadium
It’s a Coyoacan attraction of a completely different kind, but football fans will be delighted: the Estadio Azteca is one of the most famous in the world!
Built in 1966 to accommodate up to 100,000 fans, it is the only stadium in the world to be able to boast of having hosted 2 FIFA World Cup finals, that of 1970 (Italy-Brazil with Pelé) and that of of 1986 (Germany – Argentina with Maradona)
To watch a match of the Mexico team (Club America), or the Mexican national team, you can look at the stadium’s official website.
It’s also a good activity to do in Mexico City with children because there is a games room, a zip line and a small soccer field.
- Address : Calz. from Tlalpan 3465, Coyoacán
Accommodation in Coyoacan
There are several hotels in Coyoacan that offer good value for money:
- La Casita de Coyoacan : This is a charming guest house, located on a quiet street nearFrida’s House. The breakfast is very good and the roof terrace is a great place to relax. This is the best place tosleep cheaply in Coyoacan, an area which normally has quite high prices. From just 53 euros per night!
- Casa Moctezuma : if you have more budget, I recommend this elegant accommodation at a competitive price, ideal for a couple’s trip. It is a typical Coyoacan casona that has been tastefully renovated. There are maisonettes and studios, all with lounge areas and kitchenettes. The garden is very pleasant and bicycles are available to guests. From just 110 euros
- H21 Hospedaje Boutique : this is the ideal option for a high-end stay in Coyoacan. Located in the heart of the district, a few steps from the central square, it is a small, exclusive hotel which offers very comfortable modern studios with high-end bedding, king beds, with terrace or balcony. From 130 euros per night
It is also possible to stay in another neighborhood in order to be closer to the other tourist attractions of Mexico City:
- Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral (historic center): one of the best hostels in Mexico City. Friendly staff, simple but clean dorms and rooms. We fell in love with its roof terrace with bar which offers a great atmosphere in addition to an exceptional view of the cathedral and the Zocalo. From only €14 in a dormitory and €30 in a private room!
- Hotel Villa Condesa (Condesa): If you are looking for a romantic hotel in Mexico City, here is a little oasis of peace in the heart of the La Condesa district. It is an elegant house with small green terraces and tastefully decorated lounge areas. The rooms are spacious and modern, the service is particularly attentive and the breakfast is very good. From 150€ per night
- Hotel Casa Goliana (Roma Norte): high-end hotel with the best quality-price ratio in its category, located in an early 20th century house, typical of the La Roma district. Roof terrace, comfortable rooms, very attentive staff and good breakfast. From 180 euros per night
- Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City (Juarez): this 5* hotel is one of the best hotels in Mexico, ideal for a business trip or a romantic stay. Located on Paseo de la Reforma between Colonia Juarez and Roma Norte. Large interior garden, gym, swimming pool, spa, restaurant and bar. From 600 euros per night!
How to visit Coyoacan?
Please note that during the day, Coyoacan is safe and you can walk the streets of the center without any problem.
If you don’t want to worry about organization and transportation, the best option is definitely to take a guided day tour of Coyoacan, which also includes a boat ride on the Xochimilco canals.
Finally, for a quick overview of Coyoacan, Estacion Mexico offers Free Walking Tours of around 2 hours through the center. Departure every day at 3 p.m., go to the Viveros-Derechos Humanos metro ticket office.
Where to eat and drink in Coyoacan?
Take a trip to Cafe El Jarocho, a traditional café founded in Coyoacan in the 1950s, today it has several branches across the city and is the pride of the locals. There are no chairs and tables here, but there is always a queue to taste this good black coffee from the Veracruz region .
I recommend taking a trip to Cantina La Guadalupana (Higuera 2, Coyoacan) which was frequented by Frida and Diego. It opened in 1932 and has retained its authentic charm and decent prices.
To eat on a budget, head to Tostadas de Coyoacan, a simple kiosk at the market opposite Parque Allende, which offers tasty tostadas between 25 and 35$MXN. I particularly liked the cochinita one and the tuna one.
With a little more budget, take a trip to Meson Antigua Santa Catarina (Jardín Sta Catarina 6, Coyoacan) I entered there by chance to take refuge from the rain. Go directly to the top floor which offers a beautiful view of Santa Catarina Square. The menu offers several typical Mexican dishes at reasonable prices for Coyoacan, I found the service a little slow but pleasant.
For a drink in Coyoacan, I definitely recommend Mezcalero (Caballo Calco 14, Coyoacan). Located a stone’s throw from the main square of Coyoacan, it’s a restaurant-bar with a terrace, really friendly service, and a young atmosphere where you can chat without having to shout. It is here that I reconciled myself with mezcal as there is a good menu dedicated to this agave alcohol, alone or in cocktails.
How to get to Coyoacan by public transportation?
There are several ways to get to the center of Coyoacan (I specify, because Coyoacan is big). Here are my 3 suggestions for arriving by metro:
- Take metro line 3 (green), get off at Viveros-Derechos Humanos station. There is a bus that goes to the center of Coyoacan (5 min) or you can walk 30 minutes. For me, this is the best option: first walk on Universidad to the Chapel of San Antonio de Padua , then walk along Francisco Sosa Street to the Hidalgo Garden.
- Take metro line 3 (green), get off at Coyoacan station. Take a bus that goes towards the center of Coyoacan (10 min)
- Take metro line 2 (blue line) and get off at General Anaya station . Take the exit towards Calle 20 de Agosto, and there is a bus that goes to the center of Coyoacan (5 to 10 min)
Coyoacan Tourist Map
Here is a practical map of Coyoacan with attractions and my restaurant recommendations in Coyoacan, to help you better locate yourself.
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