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San Ángel

Located in the south of Mexico City, this Magical Neighborhood will win you over with its old (and beautiful) mansions filled with history and legends, interesting museums, and the best places to eat out.

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A Little Bit of History

Tenanitla was its pre-Hispanic name and it meant “walled place”, since it was protected by El Pedregal, a natural barrier of natural volcanic rock, product of the eruption of the Xitle volcano. Its inhabitants made handicrafts and worked the fields. The presence of the Dominican and Carmelite friars is reflected in two excellent religious ensembles: San Jacinto and El Carmen.

San Ángel was chosen in the second half of the 18th century by the wealthy families of the capital, thanks to its natural characteristics and generous climate, to build their country residences with the aim of “getting some fresh air”. The first count of Revillagigedo used to frequent this place. In the 19th century San Ángel conserved its tranquil countryside air and was very popular. The Marquis Calderón de la Barca praised this beautiful place and described some of its customs and traditions in the book La vida en Mexico.

Towards the end of the century, various factories were established here (Loreto, La Alpina, La Hormiga). This increased the number of inhabitants and created the need for more housing, commerce and services. Thus, its town-like appearance began to change, and it gradually became a part of the urban sprawl. The 20th century witnessed this change and in 1955 Avenida Insurgentes was completed, separating the Del Carmen gardens from those of the Templo de Chimalistac, and in 1952, Avenida Revolución divided the area of San Ángel in two.

Voices and Anecdotes from the Past

According to the drivers in the San Jacinto taxi stand, the oldest in the area (1937), San Ángel was home to many celebrities such as Capulina, Consuelo Velázquez, Fernando Fernández, Lupita Palomera, María Elena Marqués, Carmela y Rafael, Martha Roth, Rosita Arenas, Juan Ferrara, Olga Breeskin and Diego Rivera, among others.

Bear in Mind

Several traditional businesses still remain, such as the famous Restaurante San Ángel Inn, located in what used to be the Hacienda de Goicoechea (Altavista y Diego Rivera), the Restaurant-bar La Camelia, which dates back to 1931 (Madero 3), and the Fonda San Ángel (Plaza de San Jacinto 3).