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Santa Maria la Ribera and San Rafael

Two of the best "Real Mexico City" neighborhoods, Santa Maria la Ribera and San Rafael go together to give visitors the look and feel - rough at all the right edges - of exactly what a city ought to be.

Loads of independent and off-the-wall cafes and art galleries are smack up against neighborhoods full of people who've been here for generations. Always walkable, gnawing, and interesting, they're two of the good early 20th centuries that keep visitors coming back, and that make some visitors even want to stay.

Hit the Kiosko Morisco in the middle of the alameda and then head for the surrounding streets. There's not just a lot to look at, but places to pop in, and say hi.

San Rafael's hipster-chic has rubbed off on Santa Maria's big sister status, and she's actually bearing some of the city's newest and hippest galleries.

But for the die-hard Mexico City explorer, both Santa Maria la Ribera and San Rafael still offer a lot that's to be wondered at.

mexico city flourish