The coyotes have long gone now, but in the Aztec times, it was a different story. The “place of coyotes”, as it was originally called in Nahuatl (the language spoken by the Aztecs back then), is a quiet borough of Mexico City, filled with restaurants, art galleries, museums, bookstores and craftwork markets. Artists and writers willing to escape from the center’s agitation used to live there to enjoy Coyoacán’s peaceful atmosphere.
Coyoacán used to be a rural village independent from Mexico City until the 19th century. It was then absorbed by the megalopolis in 1857 but managed to preserve it rural and quiet atmosphere with its original layout, plazas and narrow streets, as well as it colonial architecture.
After exploring the historic center of Mexico City, let me take you on a trip around Coyoacan! Here we go!
What there is to see in Coyoacan
1. San Antonio Panzacola Chapel
To start exploring this beautiful and peaceful neighborhood, we will need to get off the metro at the Viveros station which is located right next to a huge park (called Viveros!) that we will explore at the end of our itinerary.
From the metro station, we will walk on the busy Avenida Universidad towards the colorful San Antonio Panzacola Chapel.
This lovely little church in red tones seems to be lost on a big avenue with a lot of traffic! This is a perfect example of why I was saying in the previous article that little gems are found where we least expect them in Mexico City…
This lovely chapel from the 17th century marks the beginning of one of my favorite street in Mexico City: the much quieter avenida Francisco Sosa. We will walk past this chapel and take this beautiful and colorful street.
2. Avenida Francisco Sosa
We have now entered a haven of calm compared to the busy Avenida Universidad! With its incredible colorful buildings, this quiet street is another little gem in Coyoacan! It is the perfect place for a stroll in the pleasant shade of century-old trees.
3. Casa Alvarado
One of the first colonial building that we will discover on Avenida Francisco Sosa is the Alvarado house. Mexican writer and Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz used to live there. You can enter for free and enjoy its quiet gardens.
Avenida Francisco Sosa 383, Coyoacan, Santa Catarina, 04010 Ciudad de México, D.F
4. Museo Nacional de la Acuarela
Very close to the Alvarado house, we will visit the Museo Nacional de la Acuarela, where we will get to contemplate the most beautiful Mexican watercolor paintings. And what’s more, it is also free!
Calle Salvador Novo 88, Santa Catarina, Coyoacán, Ciudad de México, D.F.
5. Plaza Santa Catarina
Continuing on the Avenida Francisco Sosa, we will then reach the lovely plaza Santa Catarina and its charming little church in yellow tones.
6. Plaza Hidalgo
At the end of Avenida Francisco Sosa, we will reach Hidalgo square, the heart of Coyoacan. This animated square is flanked by many restaurants and even a lovely craft market! Do not miss the fountain with the bronze sculpture of two coyotes as a reference to the borough’s name.
7. La casa Azul
From the heart of Coyoacan, we will easily reach the “casa azul” (the blue house) which houses the Frida Kahlo museum. The famous Mexican painter was born in this house and spent most of her life there, together with her husband Diego Rivera, also very famous also for his murals.
Londres 247, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México, D.F.
Not only is the house beautiful with its colorful tones, but the garden is also very pleasant with its fountains and its cacti. You can still see her colorful kitchen, her bedroom and her studio.
There are not many paintings but some of the rooms have been arranged to exhibit some of her art work.
You can even see some of Frida’s dresses. She was famous for dressing with traditional Tehuana garments.
After visiting the museum, you can enjoy the quietness of the beautiful garden.
8. Museo Casa Leon Trotsky
Russian revolutionist Leon Trotsky was a neighbor and good friend of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera during his exile in Mexico and we will also visit his house. The house is set in a quiet garden and we will discover Leon Trotsky’s house as if he had just left!
Rio Churubusco 410, Coyoacán, Del Carmen, 04100 Ciudad de México, D.F.
We will then return to Viveros, where we started this itinerary. On our way, we will see beautiful houses with colorful flowers.
9. Los viveros de Coyoacan
We will finish our day in Coyoacan with the visit of a beautiful public park. Huge trees, squirrels, not a single noice: you will have the feeling to have left the mexican metropolis and to have reached a peaceful forest.
A good address in Coyoacan
El jardin de las delicias
If you are looking for a cozy restaurant, I recommend el jardin de las delicias in the Francisco Sosa street. You will literrally be having lunch in a beautiful little hidden garden. The traditional Mexican food is very good and it is not very expensive. You will feel much better here than on the crowded and noisy Plaza Hidalgo.
Francisco Sosa 29. Col. Del Carmen, Coyoacn, MX