Tree Town: Wandering Coyoacán & Museo Frida Kahlo (Mexico City Part 1)

If you've been following my instagram, you know I've been in Mexico City recently. I totally fell in love with the place! There is no way to talk about this sprawling metropolis in a single blog post, so I'll be breaking up my Mexico City chronicles into parts. Part one? The reason I've wanted to visit Mexico City for years, Museo Frida Kahlo & the stunning surrounding neighborhood Coyoacán.

Coyoacán is a former independent village & now one of the boroughs of Mexico City. It was used by Cortes as his base of operations during the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in the area, as the villagers were largely Tepanec & not friendly with the Aztec people. The village was then the capital of New Spain from 1521-1523. Coyoacán was actually completely independent of Mexico City until 1857, when the federal district's sprawl swallowed up the neighbourhood. When, in 1928, Mexico City was divided into boroughs, Coyoacán the district as we see it today was formed. As Mexico City's urban center expanded in the 20th century, Coyoacán's farms, lakes, & forests were transformed into more urban areas.

The streets of present day Coyoacán are tree lined & dotted with historic buildings. The whole area has the feel of a park. Nestled in the center is Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo's childhood home now transformed into the exquisite Museo Frida Kahlo.

Called Casa Azul because of its bright blue walls, the house was where Kahlo was born & grew up. After the death of her parents, she and her husband, the famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, moved into the house & made it their own. The museum is a stunning preservation of the home as it was when Frida & Diego lived there in the 1950's; with exhibitions of paintings by Frida, Diego, as well as some of their contemporaries, & the couple's personal items, furniture, clothing, & memorabilia. A major highlight for me was the collection of photographs, especially those chronicling Frida's comfort in front of the camera. Kahlo's father was a photographer, & she learned from an early age how to pose & model for the photographic lens.

Casa Azul is dotted with pre-Hispanic artifacts from Frida & Diego's personal collection.

An unfinished self-portrait by Kahlo.

The museum is a must see for anyone visiting Mexico City, fans of Frida or not. Seeing the carefully cultivated space this great artist inhabited made me reconsider my own apartment decor (if you can call books everywhere a decorating style), & think about the spaces in which artists create their work. The entry fee worked out to about $12 USD, with an additional $2 USD for a pass to take photos inside the house & grounds (purchase this pass at the coat check when you arrive at Casa Azul). I suggest you purchase your tickets online (the website is in Spanish, but this is an excellent time to practice your reading skills!) as wait times for day-of tickets can get quite long.

Frida's painting supplies.

The kitchen. I love the colours that saturated her home.

After spending several hours in the museum, I wandered out into the neighbourhood & was awestruck by its beauty. Tree lined streets brightly colored houses. Artists markets on sidewalks, & bustling marketplaces where I picked up some Dia de Los Muertos supplies. After stopping for lunch at Falefelito, a super delicious vegan falafel chain with a location nearby, I wandered into Viveros de Coyoacán, an absolutely gorgeous (& giant!) public park/tree nursery in the borough.

Each section of new trees is partitioned by a pathway lined with cedars.

Each section of forest contains a different species of tree, arranged in near perfect lines as far as the eye can see. Black squirrels bolted between trunks & benches carved from stumps, & the whole park is so peaceful & still. Really a gorgeous walk through these grounds on my way back to the metro. Next time I'm in Mexico City I'm planning a picnic in this beautiful park! (I'm running out of words for "beautiful" that's how stunning it is).

I'm something of a falfel connoisseur, & Falefelito was delicious!

Stay tuned for more in my series from Mexico City, including ancient pyramids, Dia de Los Muertos, traveling tips, & religious pilgrimage sites!

Part of the Die de Los Muertos altar at Casa Azul.