Arriving in México City I chose to stay at a hostel in Roma Norte, just north of Colonia Condesa in a quiet part of the city south of downtown. I didn’t want the hotel experience and I surely didn’t want to stay downtown. I wanted charm and beauty, and Condesa is certainly that and more. Beginning with Parque México and Parque España, Condesa weaves down lush streets filled with trendy restaurants and cafés, zigzagged with bike lanes and walkways, full of residents and surprisingly very few tourists. I seemed to be an anomaly there, but a welcome one, and it became easy to befriend the always friendly locals. My strategy for getting to know any neighborhood is easy, just walk, until you’re so tired you crash at any restaurant that looks appetizing. It’s also a great way to get off the beaten path, to explore and disorient yourself in order to orient yourself. I’ve found the best places this way, always looking out for the (1) charming restaurant, (2) the misleading hole-in-the-wall (with the best food), and (3) street food (great and cheap). After this the neighborhood is yours, enjoy the parks, food, sights, and sounds. Of which Condesa has much of, enjoy, because next up is the bustling downtown and historical district.