Literary City Spotlight: Mexico City
Mexico City is both the most populated and oldest capital city in North America, a rare combination that makes it feel both bustling and quaint. As a renowned economic and cultural center, Mexico City is always on the cutting edge, with new shops, restaurants, and public spaces constantly emerging. However, it also retains its traditional architecture and time-honored sites. The birthplace of famed writers like Octavio Paz and Rosario Castellanos, literature has played a significant role in Mexico City’s history and still has an undeniable impact on the city today. Here are five bookish spots to check out in Mexico City.
La Biblioteca de México is Mexico’s National Library and was established in 1867. The towering and impressive site hosts more than 5 million publications, and packs tons of beautiful, open space to stretch out and read. As you walk through the historic library, you’ll be greeted by visual art exhibits and aesthetic floating shelves.
The Claustro de Sor Juana is the former covenant of beloved Mexican writer Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and is where she wrote her enduring poetry. The poet was known as “the Tenth Muse” and is often cited as one of the most pivotal figures in the Spanish Golden Age. Explore the home to feel the writer’s spirit and celebrate her legacy.
La Ópera opened in 1870 and still gets frequent mentions in outlets like Condé Nast Traveler and Travel Weekly. With its ornate ceilings, mirror-lined walls, and dramatic chandeliers, the space — set in a Revival-style mansion — is fully committed to helping you step back in time. When you enter its doors to enjoy hearty, traditional food and choose from a full cocktail list, know you’re in the same spot where Octavio Paz and Gabriel García Márquez once wrote.
Audiorama de Chapultepec, also known more simply as the Audiorama, is dubbed a “magic garden” of refuge and quiet. The garden, located inside Chapultepec Park, is full of brightly painted benches surrounded by gorgeous foliage and speakers that play classical music. People aren’t supposed to talk, but can enjoy music, read from a growing public collection of poetry, fiction, and plays, and soak up the rare, perfectly maintained nature.
The list of amazing indie bookstores in Mexico City is a seemingly endless one, but Ranzö rises to the top. The spot is known for its Instagram-worthy high ceilings and luxe velvet furniture, as well as its ample menu of wines, beers, coffee, and tea to pair with whatever you’re reading.