3 Days in Mexico City Guide
March 16, 2021
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Mexico has been a tourist hot spot for years, yet Mexico City has never quite gotten the tourism attention it definitely deserves. Honestly, I’m more than okay with that because I’d rather keep it as our new favorite secret destination. Mexico City, or CDMX as it is more commonly referred to, is the perfect long weekend city destination. 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. This guide will break down the best way to spend 3 days 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)
Getting to Mexico City
It is super easy, and usually super cheap, to get to Mexico City from the United States! I purchased a direct roundtrip flight from NYC to Mexico City during the month of October on Aeromexico for only $200 USD. The city’s international airport, Benito Juarez International Airport, is located less than 30 minutes from the city center.
There are a number of airlines, including Delta, United, and Aeromexico with direct flights to Mexico City from a number of major cities across the US.
New York (NYC) – MEX: 5.5 hours
Los Angeles (LAX) – MEX 3.5 hours
Miami (MIA) – MEX 3.5 hours
Where to Stay in CDMX
Mexico City is such a huge city, so your first question is probably where the heck you should be staying. If you’re planning a trip to Mexico City, 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.
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 since we only had 3 days in Mexico City we wanted to make the most of it. Not to mention Ubers are incredibly cheap, when compared to other major cities. Our average ride was between $2-3 USD, with the most expensive ride being the 30 mins to the airport for only $7 USD.
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 reliable to use. Plus, for only $0.25 USD per ride, it is an incredibly cheap option.
Where to Eat in Mexico City
I have sprinkled 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 3 days in Mexico just eating and you’d have a great trip.
3 Days in Mexico City Itinerary
DAY 1 – Breakfast at Fonda Margarita, a visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum, and exploring Coyocan
Breakfast at Fonda Margarita
Start your first day in Mexico City with breakfast at 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 3 days in Mexico City!
Frida Kahlo Museum
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: $230.00 ($11 USD) for general admission, $45.00 ($2 USD) for teachers and students with valid ID
- Location: Londres 247, Colonia del Carmen, Delegación Coyoacán, CP 04100, Ciudad de México, México
Once you’ve had your fill of Frida, make your way from the museum over to the Mercado de Coyocan on foot. Here you’ll find a number of food options including Tostadas Coyocan, and Mercado de comida de Coyoacan a bit further down the road. These were some of my favorite places to eat during my 3 days 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!
When you’re done exploring the Coyocan area, hop in an Uber back up north to Roma Norte. Here you will find endless adorable cafes, shops, and of course, churros! No 3 days in Mexico City are complete without a serving of churros, or better yet, a serving of churros each and every day if you’re me. Churreria el Moro has the best churros ever, and their shops can be found all over the city. In Roma Norte they even have one right inside the Mercado Roma.
Dinner at Contramar
Contramar is easily the best place that we ate during our 3 days in Mexico City, and that is seriously saying something! Located in the Roma Norte neighborhood, it is popular with tourists and locals alike.
Prices are on the slightly pricier end, but are worth every cent. Make sure to order the crab tostadas! You can expect to pay between $12-15 USD for an order of tostadas.
Definitely call to make a reservation ahead of time, as Contramar is easily one of the most popular restaurants in Mexico City.
Fancy a drink afterwards? Gin Gin around the corner has got you covered with classy cocktails in a sleek lounge!
If you have more time in Mexico, consider adding Guanajuato City to your itinerary!
Day 2 – Street Tortas and Museums
Breakfast at La Guera Tortas de Chilaquiles
Today you’ll be visiting a number of museums, with lots of walking, so make sure to fuel up with a delicious breakfast first!
I recommend La Guera Tortas de Chilaquiles 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 honestly could have eaten from this stand all 3 days in Mexico City, but I forced myself to try other things too of course. Make sure to bring cash and arrive early. There is just about always a line, especially on the weekends.
The Modern Art Museum
Next stop on day two of your 3 days in Mexico City, The Modern Art Museum. Located in Chapultepec Forest, the museum boasts a small collection of amazing pieces. It is definitely worth checking out when you’re in the area! Plus, students get in free with a valid ID!
- Museum Hours: 10:15am-5:30pm daily
- Location: Paseo de la Reforma s/n, Col. Bosque de Chapultepec. 11580, Polanco-Chapultepec
From here it’s time to visit Chapultepec Castle! 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 70 MXN ($3 USD) to enter the castle.
There are plenty of food stall options in the park for you to grab a bite to eat before heading to the next museum: Museo Nacional de Antropologia. Unfortunately we ran out of time before making it here but if you have the time it is supposed to be incredible!
Take a Stroll Through Polanco
At this point you’ll be close to the Polanco area. A good place to do some shopping, although not my favorite neighborhood as it felt way too much like New York or Miami. There are plenty of trendy shops (with high price tags) and famous chain restaurants.
Dinner at La Zaranda
Enjoy a seafood dinner at La Zaranda, in Mexico City’s Roma Norte. They are known for their delicious shrimp dishes, but their tacos were great as well. Prices are average for the upscale neighborhood, and there is often live music for a great ambiance. If you fancy a drink after dinner, there are plenty of great bars in this neighborhood.
Day 3 – Teotihuacan Pyramids, Brunch at El Cardenal, and Mexican Art
Get an early start to the day and head out to Teotihuacan Pyramids. If you are limited to only 3 days then I recommend taking an Uber as it will save you a ton of time! 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. 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 on my 3 days in Mexico City.
If you have more than 3 days in Mexico City, or are traveling on a budget, then the Pyramids can be easily reached by public transportation. If you have the time, you may want to add the Sacred Valley of Tepoztlan to this list as well!
Brunch at El Cardenal
Have the driver drop you off at El Cardenal in the historic center for a classic brunch! 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!
National Palace + Museo de Arte Popular
Now that you’re in the historic center (centro historico) you’ll want to cover a few of Mexico City’s most popular museums. My favorites were the National Palace for the epic Diego Rivera murals and the Museo de Arte Popular for some fun local art.
National Palace (Palacio Nacional)
- 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
Museo de Arte Popular
- 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
Palacio de Bellas Artes
I’d suggest hitting the National Palace first because the line tends to be rather long and then start making your way to the Museo de Arte Popular. On the way you’ll be passing the incredible Palacio de Bellas Artes.
Make sure to pop into the Sears building (yes I mean the department store) and head up to the 5th floor for an incredible view!
Today is definitely a super packed day but with only 3 days in Mexico City you’re going to want to fit it all in!
Dinner at Azul
For you final dinner I recommend checking out Azul, another one of the best places to eat in Mexico City. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I absolutely love Mexican food, and CDMX has some of the best in the country. Azul is known for their famous mole dishes, which I enjoyed despite not being much of a mole fan usually.
I recommend following up your meal with some classy handcrafted mezcal cocktails at Temporal. After a few of these you might just be ready for a night of dancing. If you’re ready to get your dancing on, head over to Salon Pata Negra.
More than three days in Mexico City?
If you have more than three days in Mexico City, there are plenty of other fun things to add to your Mexico City itinerary. Here are a few suggestions:
- Attend a Lucha Libre
- Check out more of Mexico City’s amazing foodie scene
- Visit the Anthropology Museum
If you’re visiting Mexico, here are some other travel articles that you should check out:
- Best Places to Eat in Mexico City
- Tulum on a Budget
- 7 Best Restaurants in Tulum, Mexico
- Guanajuato City Guide
- Best Restaurants in San Miguel de Allende