Mexico City: Design Leadership Summit, Vibrant Culture, & Delicious Cuisine

An explosion of vibrant color. Design genius. Mouthwatering cuisine. All in authentic Mexican style. Hola, and welcome to the annual Design Leadership Summit, live from the heart of Mexico City. This exclusive event gathered the crème de la crème in the industry, including architects, designers, and landscapers.

Me? I went for the food.

Kidding. You know I can’t resist playing tourist in a city filled with beautiful things to look at and incredible people to meet. The food — and drinks, of course — were simply a bonus.

Design Leadership Summit 2023

dln-2023-mexico-city-national-museum-of-anthropology-joy-street-design

What was this summit all about? Picture two full days of soaking in design brilliance. Most of the summit was staged in the historical anthropology museum, shown above. Breathtaking, right? (They don’t make buildings like this anymore!) Inside, we were treated to distinguished speakers and events, each offering a deep dive into the rich landscape of Mexican design.

joy-street-design-mexico-city-leadership-summit-2023

Of course, the summit wasn’t just about refining our professional skills. What made it extra special was the people. Connecting with other designers and industry professionals elevated the entire experience well beyond knowledge gained. The camaraderie, conversations, and relationships are what made this event worth far more than the price of admission.

My personal favorite highlights were the formal dinners, and not just because it was an excuse to get dressed up. The food was everything it promised to be, and we witnessed the Design Leadership Award presented to the well-known and absolutely deserving designer, Jamie Drake.

Excursions & Shopping

mexico-city-exploring-2023-design-leadership-network-joy-street-design-palace-of-fine-arts
Left & Center: Chapultepec Castle; Right: Palace of Fine Arts

Part of the two-day summit experience included visits to other impressive locations. We stopped by Chapultepec Castle (think impressive murals, stunning stained glass, and manicured gardens) and The Palace of Fine Arts, which did not disappoint.

Speaking of art, venturing through the city itself was a walk through art and history. Mexico City is larger than life (seriously, it’s bigger than NYC) and offers a different kind of exploration. Fewer hidden gems, more profound connections with pieces that spoke to me.

joy-street-design-mexico-city-artisans-art-shopping-colorful-artwork-design-leadership-summit

You already know that no trip is complete without a bit of retail therapy, so when I found myself in this incredible art shop, I couldn’t resist bringing home a stunning piece with the colorful vibes of JSD. What do you think — should I keep it for myself or save it for a future project??

Dining & Accommodations

luxury-hotel-ritz-carlton-four-seasons-mexico-city-joy-street-design-dln-2023-hospitality
Image Source

You know me. I love the ease, comfort, and convenience of a great Airbnb. But for this trip, I rekindled my love for luxury hotels. My stay at the Four Seasons was a delight, and to my surprise, I was generously upgraded to a full suite. Talk about luxury!

joy-street-design-leadership-summit-mexico-city-accomodations-joyful-hotel
Image Source

My second hotel was the Mondrian, a hip and cool spot located in an alluring Mexico City neighborhood. To be honest, it was a bit loud and obviously not as luxurious as the Four Seasons, but still beautiful — all depends on what you’re looking for.

design-leadership-summit-2023-mexico-city-kelly-finely-joy-street-design-colorful-contemporary-interior-design

Okay, let’s talk about the real star of the show: the food. Whether it was the upscale Ritz-Carlton or the humble taquerias on the side of the road, every bite left my taste buds wanting more. A highlight was dining at Pujol. Ranking among the top 15 restaurants globally, it lived up to its reputation. (Fun fact: despite the culinary wonders, there are no Michelin-starred restaurants in Mexico City. Crazy, right?)

Last but not least, I also saw several incredible parks. Normally, I wouldn’t have stopped by parks on a design trip — not unless there’s a bar in there —, but I was training for a half-marathon and my running sessions showed me another beautiful side of this city. If you’re considering a trip here — 10 out of 10 recommend!

—Kelly

P.S. Looking for more design inspiration from around the globe? Check out my other colorful destinations here.

These might interest you too