Tip: Eat as much as your can!

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UPDATE: Oof, I wrote this post after my visit in 2018 and it was shocking to see how much has changed in the city on my recent visit in 2024. This guide has been updated based on my recent visit.

Mexico City is easily one of my favorite cities in the world! From the amazing culinary scene to the art-filled museums, CDMX is a city packed with culture, and plenty of action, for your next getaway. Mexico City, or CDMX as it is more commonly referred to, is the perfect long weekend city destination from the US.  This guide will break down the best things to do in Mexico City. I promise, you won’t want to leave when the trip is over!

Note: While this guide includes a ton of awesome things to do in Mexico City, a lot of the activities, specifically the dining options, are focused around Roma and Condesa. I recognize that there is so much more to the city than just these trendier neighborhoods, and I am excited for the opportunity to explore more of them one day.

Before we dive in, here are a few of the most popular tours in Mexico City: 

Mexico City Basics

  • Location: Mexico City is the capital and largest city in Mexico.
  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Mexican Pesos
  • Airport: Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez (MEX) and Felipe Ángeles International Airport (NLU)

Getting to Mexico City

Getting to Mexico City from the US is super easy, as you can find direct flights from all major cities. The flight is admittedly a bit long, but as long as you fly into the main international airport, Benito Juarez International Airport, the city center is just a short 20-30 minute drive.

There is a newer airport, that is mostly serviced by domestic flights (NLU). This airport is a full hour drive outside of the city with limited public transportation options.

On my most recent trip to Mexico City in 2024, I paid $7 for an Uber from Roma Norte to the main airport (MEX).

Mexico City has gotten super popular for tourists, so I recommend booking tickets in advance for the best prices. I’ve listed flight times from major US cities below:

  • New York (NYC) – MEX: 5.5 hours
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – MEX 3.5 hours
  • Miami (MIA) – MEX 3.5 hours

Where to Stay in Mexico City

Mexico City is such a huge city, so your first question is probably where the heck you should be staying! Well I’ll be the first to tell you that there is no shortage of amazing places to stay in CDMX. 

If you’re planning a trip to Mexico City for the first time, then I recommend booking your accommodation in either Roma Norte or Condesa. Both of these neighborhoods have plenty of great hotels, hostels, and airbnbs to suit any budget. Plus, in both of these neighborhood I personally felt super safe walking around as a female, even at night.

Here are a few top-rated lodging options:

Photo credit: Booking.com

Suites 259 Condesa

Located on the border of Roma Norte and Condesa, this is a simple and affordable apartment in a great location. We stayed here in 2024 and it was perfect. Our room was super spacious and included a living area and kitchen that was shared with one other room. Rooms start at $50/night.

Check rates and availability

Photo credit: Booking.com

Hotel San Fernando

A luxury lodging option in the heart Condesa. A beautiful property with a delicious breakfast. Rooms start around $200/night

Check rates and availability

Getting Around Mexico City

Mexico City is a super walkable city within each neighborhood, so walking is a great way to get around and see the sights. However, it is a bit more spread out than other major cities I’ve visited so walking won’t always be an option.

By Private Car (Uber)

Uber is a great option for getting around. It is both safe and reliable (I would use this over a taxi in Mexico City). Besides walking, this was the main way I got around CDMX. Honestly, we Ubered just about everywhere! I’m usually all about public transportation but for a short trip, Ubers are the best way to not waste any time.

Not to mention Ubers are incredibly cheap, when compared to other major cities. Our average ride was between $3-5 USD, with the most expensive ride being the 30 mins to the airport for only $7 USD.

Public Transportation

Using public transportation is another great option, and usually my go-to method of transportation in new cities. Admittedly, I ubered just about everywhere when I visited CDMX, but if you only have 3 days in Mexico City, you’re going to want to make the most of it. That said, the Metro in CDMX is super easy and a good cheap option if you’re on a budget.

Where to Eat in Mexico City

I’ll include a list of a few of my favorite places to eat in Mexico City throughout this guide, but you should check out a full list of the Best Places to Eat in Mexico City here! Also, definitely don’t be afraid to eat all of street food. On the street is where you will find the most authentic Mexican cuisine, from tacos to quesadillas!

But really, you could spend your entire trip in Mexico just eating and you’d have a great trip.

My favorite restaurants and food stalls in Mexico City:

  • Taqueria Orinoco (Roma Norte)
  • Tacos “El Gato Volador”
  • Contramar (or sister restaurant Entremar)
  • Panaderia Rosetta
  • Taqueria Alvaro Obregon
  • Cariñito Tacos (Roma)
  • Restaurante Bar Montejo
  • La Esquina Del Chilaquil
crab tostadas at contramar in cdmx
Crab Tostadas at Contramar in CDMX
Señor Croissant

Best Things to do in Mexico City

1. Take a free walking tour

One of the best ways to get to know a new city is by taking a walking tour – even better if it’s a free (or tip-based) walking tour! We try to do this in every city that we visit. It is also a great way to meet local guides who often have the best tips for under-the-radar spots.

2. Join a food tour in Mexico City

If you’ve followed by travels at all over the years then you know that I very much travel for food. So much of my travels revolve around where and what we are eating (the best way to travel in my opinion).

One of the best ways to dive into a city’s food culture is through a food tour.

Here are a few popular food tours in CDMX:

3. Grab a pastry from Panaderia Rosetta

If you’ve seen any videos on social media about Mexico City, then you’ve probably heard about the famous Panaderia Rosetta. This famous bakery is one of the most popular breakfast spots in Mexico City.

There is often quite a long wait for dining in in the mornings, but the long takeout line usually moves super fast. All of their pastries are delicious but the guava cream is my favorite.

4. Explore (or take a hot air balloon over)Teotihuacan

The Teotihuacan Pyramids are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a popular day trip from Mexico City. Known as the City of Gods, the site is home to some of the world’s largest ancient pyramids. You’ll want to get an early start to the day for your trip to the Teotihuacan Pyramids.

There are a few different options for getting to Teotihuacan Pyramids, including joining a group tour, taking an Uber, or getting to the pyramids with the public bus.

Since we were limited to only 3 days, we took an Uber to save time. In 2018, we spent $50 USD round trip for the 1-1.5 hour ride each way plus 2 hours of waiting time. I recommend negotiating with your driver on the way there, as it may be difficult to get a pick up otherwise. 

The pyramids open at 9am so I would aim to arrive right at opening if you’re not doing a sunrise tour. Have the driver drop you off at Gate 5 so that you are only a short walk from the famous Pyramid of the Sun. Experiencing these without the crowds is a much better experience, and one of the highlights of my trip to Mexico City. 

Another option is to explore the pyramids from above with a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Although I haven’t been myself, this is supposed to be one of the most amazing experiences.

Note: when I visited in 2018 you were allowed to climb the pyramids. It appears that this is no longer allowed as of 2021.

Teotihuacan Pyramids - Three Days in Mexico City
Early morning at Teotihuacan Pyramids
Teotihuacan Pyramids - Three Days in Mexico City
Teotihuacan Pyramids

5. Visit Frida Kahlo’s House, La Casa Azul

After a hearty breakfast, hop in an Uber and head over to the Frida Kahlo Museum. I recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time for a shorter wait time! You can expect to spend at least an 1 hour at the museum, especially if you’re using an audio guide.

  • Museum hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm
  • Ticket cost: $320.00  ($20 USD) for general admission, $60.00 ($3.50 USD) for teachers and students with valid ID
  • Location:  Londres 247, Colonia del Carmen, Delegación Coyoacán, CP 04100, Ciudad de México, México
Frida Kahlo's House - one of the best things to do in mexico city
Frida Kahlo’s House
Panaderia Rosetta
Panaderia Rosetta

6. Check out the thrift shops

Mexico City is a thrifter shoppers heaven with so many incredible thrift shops all around the city. Prices tend to be on the higher end, but you can find some quality pieces.

  • Goodbye Folk Vintage
  • Roma Vintage
  • Erre Vintage
  • QUERETARO 116C Vintage
  • Back to Life Vintage Clothing
  • vintage hoe

7. Visit the Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Anthropology Museum)

The National Anthropology Museum is easily on the best museums in Mexico City, and therefore one of the best things to do in Mexico City. The museum contains the largest collection of ancient Mexican art in the world. With 23 permanent exhibits, this museum could keep you busy for hours.

The museum is open from 9AM-6PM daily, except Mondays.

8. Explore Coyoacan (and the Mercado de Coyoacán)

If you’re visiting the Frida Kahlo museum, you can easily make your way from the museum over to the Mercado de Coyoacan on foot. Here you’ll find a number of food options including Tostadas Coyoacan, and Mercado de comida de Coyoacan a bit further down the road. These are some of my favorite places to eat in Mexico City. After some eating and shopping you can head over the the park, where you can get a taste of the local lifestyle!

9. Try a traditional breakfast at Fonda Margarita at El Cardenal

One of the best ways to start a jam-packed day in Mexico City is with a traditional Mexican breakfast. Here are two classic Mexican breakfast spots: Fonda Margarita and El Cardenal.

Fonda Margarita

This is one of the best, most authentic places to eat in CDMX. I recommend arriving early, as there is usually a bit of a wait. However, trust me, it’s definitely worth the wait! We ordered the eggs and beans and huevos rancheros with salsa verde, and both dishes were incredible! Fonda Margarita is an absolute must-visit for your trip in Mexico City!

El Cardenal

El Cardenal is another classic breakfast spot in the historic center. Make sure to go in and put your name on the list right away.. newbie over here didn’t realize that was a thing until I waited over 20 mins, oops! You can expect a bit of a wait if you are dining here over the weekend, but the food is definitely worth it. Their famous hot chocolate is a must as well!

Best Places to Eat in Mexico City:
Fonda Margarita
Best Places to Eat in Mexico City - El Cardenal
El Cardenal

10. Dine on the best tacos

A trip to Mexico City is not complete without eating an excessive amount of tacos. Mexico City is known to have some of the best tacos in the world, and I couldn’t agree more.

Here are a few of my favorite taco spots in CDMX:

  • Taqueria Orinoco
  • Tacos “El Gato Volador”
  • Taqueria El Greco
  • El Califa Roma
  • Cariñito Tacos (Roma)
  • Tacos Los Juanes (I haven’t been myself but I’ve heard amazing things)

11. Wait in line for the best breakfast torta

Your days in Mexico City likely include a lot of museums and a lot of walking. It is important to fuel up with a delicious breakfast first!

I recommend La Esquina Del Chilaquil stand if you’re looking to be blown away with one of the best chicken breakfast sandwiches of your life!  I know that sounds like a bold statement but it’s so true. I recently visited again in 2024 and it was just as good as I remember.

Make sure to bring cash and arrive early. There is just about always a line, especially on the weekends. We arrived at 10:30 and waited about and hour and a half. I recommend arriving closer to opening time for a shorter line.

Taqueria Orinoco
Taqueria Orinoco
La Esquina Del Chilaquil
La Esquina Del Chilaquil

12. Check out Chapultepec Castle

A visit to Chapultepec Castle is one of the best things to do in Mexico City. Chapultepec Castle is located on top of Chapultepec Hill in Mexico City’s Chapultepec park. It’s a bit of a walk up to the top, but nothing too strenuous! 

The views from the top are absolutely worth it! I would give yourself at least 45 minutes to walk around and explore. It costs 90 MXN ($5.50 USD) to enter the castle.

There are plenty of food stall options in the park for you to grab a bite to eat as well.

Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City, one of the best things to do
Chapultepec Castle
CDMX Historic Center
CDMX Historic Center

13. Enjoy Mexico City’s cafe scene

If you’re looking for a perfectly flaky chocolate croissant and a coffee (or hot chocolate), then you’re in luck. Mexico City is home to some of the best cafes in the world (in my opinion).

Here are a few spots that I recommend checking out:

  • Señor Croissant
  • Pisca Cafe
  • Quentin Cafe
  • Constela Cafe
SAINT bakery - chocolate croissant and espresso
Constela Cafe, one of the best cafes in mexico city
Constela Cafe

14. Explore the historic center

The Zócalo is the heart of Mexico City’s historic center.

15. Visit Mexico City’s famous art and history museums

There are an endless number of awesome museums to visit in Mexico City. Unless your visit is a few weeks long, you’re going to have to pick and choose the ones that interest you most. I’ve already highlighted my favorites in this guide above, but here is a list of other museums to add to your itinerary.

National Palace (Palacio Nacional)

Taking up the entire east side of Zocalo, the National Palace is a must in Mexico City for art lovers. The highlight is the epic Diego Rivera murals that cover many of the walls in the museum.

  • Museum Hours: 9am-5pm Tuesday-Sunday
  • Cost: Free but government-issue ID is required
  • Location: P.za de la Constitución S/N, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06066 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

The Modern Art Museum

Located in Chapultepec Forest, the museum boasts a small collection of amazing pieces.

  • Museum Hours: 10:15am-5:45pm daily
  • Cost: 90 MXN ($5.50), free for students with valid ID
  • Location: Paseo de la Reforma s/n, Col. Bosque de Chapultepec. 11580, Polanco-Chapultepec

Museo de Arte Popular

A fun option for local art to dive into the culture and traditions of Mexican handicrafts.

  • Museum Hours: 10am-6pm Tuesday-Sunday
  • Cost: 60 MXN, free on Sunday
  • Location: Revillagigedo 11, Colonia Centro, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06050 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

16. Have a drink at one of the top bars in the world

You’ll find a number of the Top 50 Bars in the World in Mexico City. At #7 on the list you’ll find Licorería Limantour, a beautiful bar serving unique handcrafted cocktails in Roma Norte.

While walk-ins are possible for smaller groups, I definitely recommend making a reservation for anything more than 2 people.

If you’re visiting Mexico, here are some other travel articles that you should check out:

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