Mexico City is definitely a buzzworthy travel destination. From being named National Geographic’s No. 1 city to visit in 2019 to Netflix’s Roma winning big at the Oscars, the Mexican capital has landed at the top of many travelers’ wish lists – and for good reason. CDMX (short for Ciudad de México) is a cosmopolitan city with endless options for foodies, art and history buffs, and partygoers.

I recently spent time with a group of Virtuoso travel advisors who were all visiting Mexico City for the first time. We explored the colorful canals of Xochimilco, ate chapulín (grasshopper) tacos at Azul Histórico, and danced the night away at some of the city’s most popular clubs. As someone who lives in and adores Mexico City, I couldn’t believe how surprised by the city the advisors all seemed to be. When I asked them why, their answers showed me that traveling and experiencing a destination for yourself is the only way to truly form an opinion about a place.

Here, surprising discoveries and city tips from four advisors:

“Mexico City is so walkable. I was definitely not expecting to be able to walk pretty much everywhere. Staying in the Polanco district [or neighborhood], it was easy to just walk from your hotel to restaurants and parks. I was expecting to be in a car the entire time, so walking through the city was such a great experience.” – Alisa Cohen, Washington, D.C.

Tip: Much of Mexico City is walkable, especially between the Condesa, Roma, Polanco, and Juárez neighborhoods. Bring your walking shoes … but you can also rent electric scooters and bikes.

Mexico’s Museo Soumaya, designed by architect Fernando Romero. (Getty Images)

“Mexico City is so cosmopolitan, with such a chic, sophisticated scene, from fashion and nightlife to art and the culinary world. People watching in Roma Norte at Rosetta or Contramar [restaurants] is a must.” – Joanna Kuflik, New York City

Tip: For great shopping, hit up shops in Polanco such as Onora Casa, Lago DF, and Ikal; for more hip locations, try Camino, Hi-BYE, and Taxonomía.

The traditional mode of transportation on Mexico’s Xochimilco canals. (Sidru/Getty Images)

“What surprised me most about CDMX is the stunning contrast of old and new. I was particularly impressed by the many beautiful green parks and tree-lined streets that weave between ancient ruins and modern architecture. The incredible sense of culture and history – from the Teotihuacán pyramids and Chapultepec Castle to the ancient canals of Xochimilco – paired with an impressive and diverse culinary scene and vibrant nightlife truly sets Mexico City apart.” – Alex Korey, New York City

Tip: Check out the world-renowned National Museum of Anthropology, and in the same day, visit impressive contemporary art collections at galleries such as Kurimanzutto or at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (aka the MUAC.)

“I felt welcome everywhere I went, whether it was the neighborhood ice cream shop or the poshest restaurant. I was usually the only Asian person in my immediate surroundings, but felt appreciated as a visitor wherever I went – day or night.” – Kelly Grumbach, New York City

Tip: Mexico is known for its warmth and hospitality. A great way to show respect and return the kindness is to learn some phrases in Spanish for when you’re ordering food, riding in an Uber, or making a purchase.

Top Photo: Orbon Alija/Getty Images