The following guest post is from Cata who’s been traveling the world for the past 6 years. She’s founder and lead travel planner of Chica Travels.
What To Do In Mexico City For An Unforgettable Week
Mexico City is one of the cities that has surprised me the most. Not only because of the tacos and margaritas – there are better local drinks – but also for the number of interesting things to do. The Mexican culinary scene is huge and the Aztec ruins around the city are unique, and add the countless museums, expansive green parks, really nice people, beautiful little towns nearby, and much more.
If you haven’t been to Latin America before, I highly recommend you start in Mexico City. Many people speak English, there is a big ex-pat community, locals are really nice and friendly to tourists, and it gives you a wide perspective of the Latin culture.
Five days might not be enough to discover all the incredible things this city offers, but I’ll make sure to give you the best tips for having an unforgettable Mexican experience.
Here’s what to do in Mexico City in 5 days:
Day 1: Downtown Mexico City
Get to your hotel or Airbnb (preferably located in Condesa, Polanco or Roma neighborhoods). Then go for a tour to the historic center.
There are many free tours available, but you can also visit the highlights of the downtown by yourself. Tell your uber driver to take you directly to the main square of the city, “El Zócalo”. After some nice pictures there, visit the Metropolitan Cathedral.
For lunch, make sure to get a reservation in one of the best restaurants in the city called Azul Histórico.
After lunch, walk through the “Madero” street to reach the highest tower in Latin America, “Torre Latino” where you’ll have a 360° view of the city, from the 38th floor.
Keep walking on the same street to find the Palace of Fine Arts. Here, you’ll see huge murals created by the most famous Mexican artist, and other art expositions. On Wednesdays, the Folkloric Ballet of Mexico offers a colorful, lively, traditional show that you shouldn’t miss.
For dinner, I’d recommend exploring some taquerias close to your place to try delicious “Tacos al Pastor.” One of my favorites is Taqueria Alvaro Obregón. Nothing fancy, like most of the taquerias in the city, but their tacos al pastor are one of the best I’ve tried.
Day 2: Teotihuacan Pyramids
Start your day early and get ready for the Teotihuacan Pyramids. You can go by public transportation, Uber, or a private tour. The entrance fee is around USD$4 per person. I’d recommend going by Uber. It’s really cheap and fast. You’ll find many local guides offering their services for a tip at the entrance of this archaeological site.
Spend as much time as you like in these impressive pyramids. Make sure to wear comfortable clothes, sunblock and take some water with you. You’ll find a couple of local restaurants close by for lunch.
If you’d like to have a more exciting experience, try the Teotihuacan hot air balloon ride. It cost approximately USD$120 per person. It includes an early balloon ride, transportation, and the entrance fee to the Pyramids.
For the evening, enjoy some “Lucha Libre” or Mexican wrestling. This is one of the funniest things to do in the city. It’s a show full of acrobatics, music, and beer, and wrestlers performing incredible comic fights. It is a unique activity loved by tourists and locals alike. Extra tip: don’t take a professional camera to the show. The only cameras allowed are cell phones.
Finish your day with a delicious dinner at Blanco Colima, which is also a great option for drinks and some house music on Friday and Saturday nights.
Day 3: Museums
Mexico City has more than 150 museums. That’s why you should take at least one day from your trip to visit a couple of the most important and interesting museums.
But before you head to your first museum, enjoy a delicious Mexican breakfast in El Cardenal Restaurant located in the San Angel neighborhood. In the same area, on Saturdays, there is a beautiful art market called “San Angel, Bazaar sabado” that you should definitely visit if you have some extra time.
After breakfast get to the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo House Studio Museum. This is not the most famous Frida Kahlo’s museum. This is a small museum-house located 15 minutes walking from the restaurant, where she used to live with her husband, the artist Diego Rivera. The entrance fee is about USD$2.
Then you can move on to the Frida Kahlo Museum (This is the biggest and most famous Frida museum, I’m sure you’ve heard about it). Make sure to buy your tickets online because the lines are super long and the museum is always busy. Ticket price is about USD$15 per person.
If you have more time and energy for museums, don’t forget the Anthropology Museum. I think this is one of the most complete and interesting museums I’ve ever visited. You really need a couple of hours to enjoy it without rushing.
Day 4: Xochimilco Canals
Prepare yourself for the most colorful and lively boat party with “Xochimilco’s Trajineras”. This is a great activity for groups of friends or families. Xochimilco canals and the beautiful little boats called “Trajineras,” are located on the outskirts of the city. The best way to go there is by Uber.
You can rent the whole boat for yourself or for a group of maximum 20 people, for about USD$45 dollars for two hours. You can also add some extra services like a portable speaker, food, beers, and even a group of “mariachis” who will play a lot of traditional Mexican music during the trip. Friday and weekends are the best days for this adventure. Locals will be there sharing with their families too. Extra tip: You can take your own food and booze with no extra charge.
I highly recommend booking your boat in advance and paying online. There are many people offering the boats and all the services in Xochimilco but the prices are higher and they usually charge tourists more. I recommend Trajineras Las Flores Nativitas for booking.
Because this is your last night in the city, you should treat yourself and have a special dinner in an exclusive restaurant. Pujol, one of the most famous Mexican restaurants, is owned by the chef Enrique Olvera. This is a really popular place for tourists from all over the world who enjoy fine dining and exclusive places. Make sure to reserve at least three or four weeks in advance. The prices are on the higher side. A seven-course meal costs approximately USD$100 per person without drinks.
Day 5: Markets
During your last day, enjoy some of the most popular markets of this beautiful city. The Coyoacán market is perfect to buy souvenirs. The Lagunilla market is full of antiques, jewelry, furniture, and vintage clothes. The San Juan market is perfect if you’d like to try “exotic” food like boar, bugs, lion or tiger meat. Weekends are the best days to visit any of the markets, but they’re also open during the week.
Finally, you can rent a bike from Uber or other companies such as “Mobike” or “Ecobici” and take a ride through the beautiful Chapultepec Park.
Final tips for your unforgettable week in Mexico City:
- Never drink tap water, you don’t want to get sick!
- Mexican street food is local culture. If you’d like to try some, find a spot with a lot of people waiting in line. In general, those are the best and the safest.
- Mexico City is huge. In general, it is a safe city. Try to stay in the touristic zones: Historic Center, Condesa, Polanco, Roma, Nápoles, Juárez, Coyoacán, and take Uber all the time, it’s really cheap.
For more travel info and tips, visit Chica Travels.
About the Author:
Cata was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia, and has been traveling around the world for the past 6 years. She turned her passion for travel into a career. She’s the founder and lead travel planner of Chica Travels. She loves to write and share travel stories, as much as she loves to help others plan unforgettable adventures. Check out her blog to find sample travel itineraries and travel tips.