Romantic Mexico City

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Romantic Mexico City
Mexico City may not be the first city that comes to mind when you think "romance," but one visit will have you convinced: Mexico City can easily give Paris a run for its money when it comes to being the city of love.
By Julie Schwietert Collazo, AFAR Local Expert
Photo courtesy of The St. Regis Mexico City
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    Romantic Rooftops
    Rooftop bars are a magnet for couples in love, especially in Mexico City. The capital's location in the bowl of a valley means it enjoys good views of the mountains that ring it, and thousands of twinkling lights at night. Several of the capital's Grupo Habita hotels—Distrito Capital, Condesa df, and Downtown—all have rooftops where you can order drinks to go with the view; they also have cozy loungers for couples. St. Regis on Reforma has a terrace just off the bar that offers an up-close view of the Diana the Huntress statue; you can also spy nearby Castillo Chapultepec.
    Photo courtesy of The St. Regis Mexico City
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    Pleasant Parks
    Visitors are sometimes surprised that Mexico City has so many parks, which are usually full of lovey-dovey couples walking hand in hand or professing their love while sitting side by side on benches. Keep in mind that many young professionals still live with their parents here, so parks and other public spaces are choice spots for romantic dates and public displays of affection are very common. Head to Mexico City's largest, loveliest park, Bosque de Chapultepec, where you could easily spend a whole day with your beloved. In addition to plenty of quiet spaces, the park has a zoo, pedal boats, and street performers, and is home to Castillo Chapultepec, housing the national history museum.
    Photo courtesy of Mexico City Tourism Promotion Fund
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    Mexico City's Great Love Stories
    Mexico City has been the backdrop for plenty of famous love stories, some of which are well-known beyond the country's borders. The most legendary, perhaps, is that of the stormy, on-again, off-again marriage of 20th-century artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, who exemplified the adage: "Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em." Visit Museo Frida Kahlo, in the neighborhood of Coyoacan, to experience the home where so many of their relationship dramas played out; or the Museo Estudio Diego Rivera, where Diego often trysted with a rotating cast of lovers, including Lupe Marín. After Frida displaced her, Marín would frequently show up here, demanding alimony payments from Rivera.
    Photo by Julie Schwietert Collazo
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    Table for Two
    The Mexican capital offers many opportunities for a romantic lunch or dinner for two. Top spots include Pujol, Quintonil, and Biko, all of which are in Polanco and ranked among the world's top 50 restaurants by Restaurant Magazine. With its pink, black, and gold color scheme and whimsical plate presentations, Dulce Patria is a romantic choice. Azul Histórico, no less delicious, is usually easier to get into than the others; located in a historic 17th-century palace downtown, the restaurant boasts an idyllic tree-filled courtyard and exposed brick walls.
    Photo courtesy of Quintonil
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    Copas and Cantinas
    Bars, lounges, cantinas—the hardest decision you have to make is what you want to drink and what type of setting you require. From intimate nooks specializing in copas (glasses) of wine grown in Mexico's own Baja California, to buzzing cantinas where you can order micheladas (a beer-based cocktail) or tequila served straight, there are seemingly endless places where you can enjoy an evening out or a pre-dinner drink—a pre-copeo, in local lingo. Some local favorites include mezcal bar La Botica, which has many outposts around the city; the Catalan-themed Xampañeria in Condesa; and Jules Basement, a speakeasy serving craft cocktails in Polanco.
    Photo by Kristen Fortier
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    All She Wants to Do Is Dance
    Mexico didn't invent salsa or merengue, and it's not known for tango, but many Chilangos (residents of the capital) adore the dances of their Latin American and Caribbean neighbors. The number of venues to dance the night away reflects that. Mama Rumba is a perennially popular club where Cuban music rules; live bands play many nights of the week and dancing is foot-to-foot and shoulder-to-shoulder, as the floor is always packed. If your own feet aren't quite up to the challenge or you prefer being a bit of a wallflower, head to Plaza de la Ciudadela on a Sunday afternoon to watch people of all ages dancing to slower tunes. Dressed to the nines, don't be surprised if they encourage you and your partner to join in.
    Photo by Lawrence Manning/age fotostock
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    Spa Treatments for Two
    Mexico City's upscale hotels have some fantastic spa treatments, many of which are inspired by Aztec and other indigenous rituals and use locally sourced ingredients such as Mexican cacao, cinnamon, vanilla, agave, and nopal (cactus paddle). At the boutique hotel Las Alcobas, in Polanco, the Aurora Spa features body wraps and massages with such ingredients. St. Regis' Remède Spa offers a special package for couples that includes massage and a facial for two, as well as full use of the spa's facilities and amenities, which include a sauna, steam room, champagne, and snacks.
    Photo courtesy of The St. Regis Mexico City
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    Hot-Air Ballooning over Pyramids
    The ancient complex of Teotihuacan is one of Mexico's most important and most-visited pre-Hispanic sites, located just 30 miles outside of Mexico City. Climbing to the top of one of the pyramids is a pretty spectacular experience on its own, especially when you do it hand in hand with someone you love. Take that experience—and view—to a whole other level by hiring a local guide to pilot a hot-air balloon over the pyramids and temples of Teotihuacan. The one-hour journey is breathtaking and romantic, and once you're back on the ground, the excursion will continue with a guided tour of the ancient site. Breakfast and round-trip transportation from Mexico City are typically included in the rate.
    Photo by Richard Maschmeyer/age fotostock
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    Top Spots for Selfies
    Mexico City is an incredibly photogenic place, full of color and texture. You'll inevitably snap shot after shot of city scenery, but don't forget to take photos of yourselves, too. For spots where you can get beyond-the-ordinary tourist photos, head to the top of the Torre Latinoamericana, just across from Palacio de Bellas Artes. The observatory on the 44th floor opens up to panoramic views of the valley that Mexico City occupies; on a clear day, you can see to the mountains and volcanoes in the distance. Other secret spots for snuggly shots include the castle in Chapultepec Park, the leafy Parque Alameda (next to Bellas Artes), and any of the atmospheric buildings in and around the Zócalo.
    Photo by Guillermo Montesinos/age fotostock