29 of the BEST Things to do in Mexico City
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Mexico City is the living, breathing heart of Mexico. It’s not only Mexico’s largest city but also one of the largest cities in the world. For that reason, it’s no surprise that there are so many amazing things to do in Mexico City!
But with a city so large knowing exactly how to spend your time can be difficult!
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Mexico City a few times and all up spent several weeks in this huge city.
In that time I’ve done some amazing things in Mexico City and some others I’d probably miss! So, here’s my list of the 29 best things to do in Mexico City that any visitor will love!
1. Watch a Lucha Libre show
Lucha Libre is one of the most entertaining shows I have been to, period! Regardless of the fact that this is a real authentic Mexican experience, it’s so much fun you really shouldn’t miss it!
Essentially, it’s a Mexican style of wrestling that’s more of a show than an actual fight. In fact, it’s very comparable to WWE wrestling but with a Mexican twist.
The shows are loud and the atmosphere is really awesome. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Mexico City!
Important info: In Mexico City, Lucha Libre is best enjoyed on an organized tour. The main reason is that the stadiums are not in the safest areas of Mexico City and the wrestling finishes just as the sun goes down!
The tour we did was with Mexico a Pie. From start to finish the tour was really good and included a Mezcal tasting before the match as well as an informative guide (who was himself a Luch Libre wrestler!) On the tour we also got our own Lucha Libra mask to take home with us!
Overall this is a must-do in Mexico City and you shouldn’t leave the city without a little Lucha Libre!
2. Go on a Food Tour
I love food and Mexico is one of my favorite places in the world for it! After every visit, it really doesn’t take long to miss the amazing cuisine that’s popular all over the world! Although I can get my Mexican food fix in other countries, it’s just not the same!
So, while I’m in Mexico I eat until I can’t anymore! One of the best ways to find the most amazing places to eat in Mexico City is on a Mexico City food tour!
On this last visit, I was lucky enough to join one and wow, what an amazing way to get to know the city! On the tour, we wandered the beautiful suburb of Condesa visiting taco stands that are famous around the city, chocolatiers that are world-renowned, and basically ate until we were stuffed.
I was in a group with five of my friends and we all agreed that we tried the best tacos we’ve ever had in Mexico – and that’s a big statement because I’ve tried a lot!
Who we went with: The company we went with was Tasty Bites and I can’t recommend them enough! The tour was informative and the food was amazing. Oh, and you get to eat as much as you want and there’s also local drinks and beers to have along the way!
3. Visit Ruins in Mexico City center – Templo Mayor
There are few places in the world can you visit ancient temples and ruins right in the city center. But like other things, Mexico City is unique and in fact, the entire city is built on top of an ancient city.
Whats makes them even more unique is that if you visited Mexico City prior to 2014 you would’ve never seen them! That’s because until a hotel who owned the land decided to demolish and rebuild, no one knew that the Templo Mayor (main temple) of ancient Mexico City was there!
It was the discovery of a special stone disk that only sits on the main temple of the city that highlighted to archeologists that this was such an important place. Since then, the site has been excavated and some of the temple restored.
Where: The ruins are located in the historic city center near the Plaza de la Constitution. Although you don’t need a guide to visit the temples it really does help to get a better understanding of the ruins and their history. We recommend a great city walking tour below so keep reading for that!
4. Explore the National Palace
The National Palace is one of the most beautiful colonial buildings in Mexico City. From the Plaza de la Constitution you can enjoy its beauty but I highly recommend taking it a little further and wandering the gardens and inner buildings.
Here, you can see where the president lives and stare at one of the most beautiful murals I have ever seen. Of course, without a guide, you won’t know where to look and although you can visit without one, as mentioned with the ruins, I highly suggest joining a tour.
That way, you can learn about the history of the building and the important parts of the mural and what they mean.
Important info: Entrance to the palace is free however you will need one piece of government-issued I.D per group to enter. This is given to the guard and returned to you at the exit. You cannot wear a hat or sunglasses inside the palace. The entrance to the palace is on Calle Moneda.
5. Go on a Tour of the Historic Center
The historic center of Mexico City is filled with interesting places to visit. The only problem is it can be hard to know exactly what you’re looking at. This is where a tour of the historic center comes in handy!
In the many times I have visited Mexico City, I’ve done two tours of the historical center. On the first occasion, I did one of the free walking tours offered by a few companies including Mexico a Pie. These are great ways to enjoy a larger group tour simply for the cost of a tip at the end.
However, on my second visit I wanted to get to know the city more so instead I opted for a small group tour with a paid guide with Mexico a Pie. On these tours, you get that more personal touch on a longer tour that covers much more of the city and its history.
What it costs: The tour in English costs only $12.50 USD per person for groups bigger than two people. Considering the tip that most people leave on the free tour, this is a great option!
Regardless of what you choose, a tour through the historic center of Mexico is a must!
6. Explore Chapultepec Park
Chapultepec Park is the perfect place to escape the concrete jungle of Mexico City and its 22 million + people. In fact, Chapultepec Park is the second-largest park in Latin America! Its large size has given it the nickname “the lungs of Mexico City” and to me, it’s a must-visit!
In the park, there is plenty of things to do and unlike other parks around the world, don’t just expect beautiful walking trails and greenery. Instead, shop at the local markets, ride a rollercoaster in the theme park, visit the museum of natural history or even the zoo!
Important info: Visiting the park is free but some of the other attractions do have entrance fees! For more info check out this blog on the best things to do in Chapultepec Park.
7. Explore Museo Soumaya
The Museo Soumaya is a very unique private museum in Mexico City. From the outside, the interestingly shaped building is a classic example of futuristic architecture that’s really neat to look at! However, what you’ve come to see here are the 66,000 pieces of works dating mostly from the 15th to 20th centuries.
The museum is filled with rare paintings and casts from artists such as Auguste Rodin, Vincent van Gog, and Leonardo da Vinci. In my opinion, it’s one of the best museums I have been to. But don’t just take my word for it, in 2013 this museum was visited by over a million people!
Getting there and entrance fee: The museum isn’t walking distance from the center or the popular suburbs of Condesa or Roma so it’s best to get an Uber or taxi there. Once there was an entrance fee, museum is completely free now. If you want to know more about the museum then join this Mexico City tour that includes a tour of the historic center, Museum of the City of Mexico, and of course, the Museo Soumaya!
8. Get Tipsy at a Mezcal Tasting
Before traveling Mexico extensively I always thought tequila was the most popular Mexican alcoholic drink around. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. That’s because Mezcal is, in fact, the most popular spirit of choice and you CANNOT leave Mexico City without tasting some of the finest Mezcal!
The best way to try a range of good quality Mezcal is on a Mezcal tasting tour. With a professional guide and some good quality mezcal, you’ll learn the proper way to drink it and a little bit about the history of Mexico’s drink of choice!
Our tour: Our mezcal tasting was part of our Lucha Libre tour, so if you plan on booking that tour then don’t stress about joining a specific mezcal tasting (especially if you don’t overly like straight alcohol…like me!) However, if you’re not doing a Lucha Libre tour or you’re as passionate about mezcal as Mexicans, then you’ll definitely want to join a specific mezcal tasting tour!
This Mexcal tour combines a food tour and Mezcal tasting so you get the full Mexican experience all in one tour!
Mezcal tasting is also a very popular tour in Oaxaca City!
9. Visit the ancient city of Teotihuacan
By far the most famous ruins near Mexico City are the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan. These ruins are spectacular and date back over 2,500 years.
There is still lots of mystery behind the ruins and in fact, the first and original inhabitants of the city are unknown. Of course, it’s well known that the Aztecs inhabited the city after, building on top and around the older ruins.
At this moment only around 3% of the ruins have been excavated and can be seen. However, with the restoration of both the moon and sun temples you can, in fact, climb these huge solid temples that are very impressive.
Visiting the ruins are easy on an organized tour with a guide. These tours leave from Mexico city in the morning when its cooler (it gets very hot at the ruins) and spend around 2 to 3 hours exploring the ruins climbing both the sun and moon temple.
This Teotihuacan tour is the most highly rated available with over 1,400 reviews!
Getting there: You can visit the ruins on your own as well by simply getting the bus to Teotihuacan from the Terminal de Norte Bus station (gate number 8). The bust costs 104 pesos for a return trip and entrance to the ruins is 75 pesos a person. Of course, if you want to learn about the ruins you’ll also need a guide which costs around 800 pesos for a small group tour for around an hour.
10. Eat at the home of Al Pastor Taco
You’re probably thinking well duh, of course, I’m going to eat tacos in Mexico City! But the thing is, not every taco is created equal and in fact, the first-ever al pastor tacoria in Mexico is in the historic center of Mexico City.
El Huequito restaurant is the birthplace of the al pastor taco, a pork taco cooked on a spit (an almost identical way to the Turkish way of cooking doner kebab meats.) The tacos here are amazing but extremely simple. The al pastor taco is a Mexican favorite and eating at the birthplace of this amazing creation is one of the best things to do in Mexico City!
11. Day trip to Puebla and Cholula
Only a short 2-hour drive from Mexico City are the beautiful cities of Puebla and Cholula. Puebla is the much larger of the two and if you have the time I recommend actually spending a night or two in the city for the simple fact that there are tons of awesome things to do in Puebla!
Cholula is much smaller but with the ancient temple and stunning center square, it’s also a great place to spend a night or two.
However, if you only have a day then consider joining an organized day tour to both cities. The two cities are located only 10km apart and both have a range of awesome attractions that make a visit a must.
In Cholula, the most popular thing to do is visit the temple of Cholula which is unique in the fact you can actually walk through the tunnels inside the pyramid! And in Puebla, a visit to the Ferris wheel or the Revolution Museum is very popular.
12. Visit the Palacio de Correos de México (the post office)
The Palacio de Correos de Mexico or Postal Palace of Mexico (English) is without a doubt one of the most beautiful post offices in the world. Built in 1907 the post office was far ahead of its time and has remained in operation for much of its life. Despite falling victim to the many earthquakes in Mexico City, a lot of effort has been made to restore the historic building.
Although an unusual thing to do in any city, a visit to Mexico City’s post office is well worth it. Entrance to the post office is free and once inside you can truly enjoy this stunning architecture and snap a few photos!
Where: The Palacio de Correos is located in the historic center of Mexico City across the road from the Palacio de Bellas Artes. This is a short visit that would pair well with a visit to the Bellas Artes (which is next on our list of things to do in Mexico City!)
13. Palacio de Bellas Artes
Without a doubt, the Palacio de Bellas Artes or Palace of Fine Arts (English) is the most beautiful colonial building in Mexico City!
Just from the outside, you can stare up at the amazing architecture in wonder and awe. But from the inside, you can enjoy a truly amazing experience enjoying the many murals, paintings, and flawless mosaics.
This magnificent building is a must-visit and is home to the Museo Nacional de Arquitectura and an operating theater. Of course, there’s much more to learn at the palace and on offer is a free virtual guide you can download from the Palace of Fine Arts website.
Important info: Entrance to the Palace of Fine Arts is only 70 pesos per person and another 30 pesos if you want to take photos and videos inside. The entrance is free for children under 13 years and people with disabilities. The Palace is open from 10 am to 6 pm Tuesday to Sunday.
14. Enjoy the world-famous Ballet Folklorico de Mexico
If you love Ballet or are just interested in amazing performances, then you should go see a performance in Mexico, Ballet Folklorico de Mexico is a must!
The show is world-famous for its unique Mexican touch on the classical ballet. The ballet has performed over 15,000 shows and is highly rated on TripAdvisor. Unfortunately for me, I’ve never been able to catch a show but it’s high on my bucket list.
For good seats on the ground floor, expect to pay around 700 pesos ($37 USD). There are four venues in which the ballet is performed with the most common being the Palacio de Bellas Artes. You can see the official Ballet Folklorico de Mexico schedule where you can also buy tickets directly.
You can also join tours such as this one, however, expect to pay around $125 USD for average seats around the 3rd tier. Tours come in handy during busy times when tickets sell out far in advance at the most popular shows.
15. Listen to Mariachi in Plaza Garibaldi
One of the best nights out I’ve had in Mexico City was at Plaza Garibaldi listening to traditional Mariachi music live. At the square, hundreds of Mariachi bands hang out both day and night and play music for both locals and tourists for a small fee.
Mariachi is traditional Mexican music played in small bands. If you haven’t heard Mariachi before then just trust me when I say it’s really good entertaining music, especially live!
In Plaza Garibaldi, you can either sit in one of the surrounding bars and have the bands play while you enjoy a drink or food, or alternatively, you can just sit in the square and listen. For a band of 4, expect to pay around 100 pesos per song.
Safety at Plaza Garibaldi: Although a largely policed area there are some nearby streets that aren’t the safest at night. For that reason, get an Uber to and from the square at night (free wifi is available in the square). During the day and within the actual square the area is completely safe.
16. Explore the vibrant streets of Condesa and Roma
Mexico City can be a sprawling concrete jungle filled with busy streets, millions of cars, and craziness you won’t find at home. However, there are a few areas of the city that take you away from the hustle and bustle and to a place, that’s not only very safe, but also quite inviting. La Condesa and La Roma are those suburbs.
La Condesa is an upper-class neighborhood and also one of the oldest in Mexico City. It’s filled with amazing restaurants, hotels, and bars. Its parks and footpaths make it an ideal place to explore and enjoy some peace and quiet.
In La Condesa, I recommend walking Amsterdam Ave – a few kilometer-long walking path that is lined with trees and passes some of the most trendy spots in the area. The pathway was actually at one stage a racehorse track!
La Roma is a more trendy neighborhood that’s home to many of the same things, however, picture trendy coffee shops, an electric nightlife and plenty of hipsters!
In La Roma, head to Mercado Medellin and enjoy some local and international foods from all over Latin America. As the name suggests, this area is famous for amazing Colombian food and after eating amazing empanadas there it brought me back to my amazing trip to Colombia!
Regardless of what you do, just get out and enjoy these amazing neighborhoods! For more ideas check out this blog on the best things to do in Condesa and Roma!
Tour recommendation: If you do want to learn more about the area then this Condesa and Roma walking tour is a great choice! You’ll visit Mercado Roma, Mercado Medellin, and wander the streets of La Condesa with an expert guide showing all the local’s favorite spots!
17. Join a Hop-on hop-off city tour
Hop-on hop-off tours are popular all around the world and are a great budget way to explore a city. In Mexico City, the tours are a lifesaver for those wanting to explore lots of the city both on a budget and at your own pace.
There are two main operators available with the first and more expensive being Mexico City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. These guys only offer one route but on a really new bus. A pass for the day will cost you $17 USD.
The second company is Turibus and these guys offer 4 different routes depending on what you want to see. The most popular route (and the one I recommend) doing is the Central Historical route. You can combine this itinerary and visit many of the places I mention in this blog. This tour starts at only $9 USD.
Disclosure: The hop-on hop-off tours in Mexico city are not world-class tours. For the price, they are good value and a very easy way to see the city but don’t expect the same quality tour you’d get in say London (I loved that hop-on hop-off tour!)
18. Visit the Shrine of our Lady Guadalupe
The Shrine of Guadalupe is one of the most important pilgrimage sites of the Catholic religion. For many, a visit here is important because of their strong faith in the Catholic religion.
However, you don’t need to be religious to enjoy a visit here. For me, it’s more about the architecture and experiencing other culturally significant sights, and one I enjoyed.
The site is best visited in with a tour to Teotihuacan as it’s located outside of the city, however, it can be visited on its own too.
Although for me it wasn’t a life-changing experience, this is an important place for many people and makes the list for that reason!
19. Celebrate Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead)
Day of the Dead is quickly becoming one of the biggest tourist attractions in Mexico. I love it so much I’ve spent two Dia de Muertos in Mexico now, and would love to come back again!
Of course, there are many places around Mexico to enjoy Day of the Dead but Mexico City is easily one of the best! The city is packed with visitors and the parades fill the main square and surrounding streets!
But it wasn’t always this way. In fact, Mexico City never had Day of the Dead parades before the famous scene in the James Bond movie Spectre. Since the movie premiered, visitors kept coming to the city asking where the parades where, so, Mexico City decided it was time to have parades in the city!
If you have the chance, visit Mexico during Day of the Dead – it’s easily one of the best things to do in Mexico!
Important info: Dia De Muertos runs from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November, however parades start in the weeks before that! It changes every year so be sure to do some research online before!
20. Visit the Anthropology Museum
Before the Spanish arrived in Latin America there was an entire other world living in this region. These ancient civilizations built huge cities complete with running water and waste management.
A trip to the Anthropology Museum is a great way to learn about these civilizations and truly appreciate just how advanced they were. You can gaze at replicas of these ancient cities or enjoy the stonework and artifacts that resembled their goods. It’s truly amazing and the museum is really a work of art in itself.
Important info: The Museo Nacional de Antropologia is located in Chapultepec Park and has an entrance fee of 75 pesos. To really explore the museum you would certainly need the better part of the day!
Tour recommendation: There isn’t a specific tour to the Anthropology Museum but this tour to the Chapultepec Castle and Anthropology Museum is a good option for those wanting to explore more of Chapultepec Park and learn from a knowledgable guide.
21. Visit the Artisanal Market, La Ciudadela
If you want to take home souvenirs from Mexico then the best place to go in the city is the La Ciudadela Artisanal Market. This market showcases artist’s work from around the country that can be bought at very affordable prices. The selection is huge!
This market has everything and if you’re flying out of Mexico City this is the perfect place to fill your suitcase before you leave!
The market is located in the historic center but is a little out of the way. You can walk from the Palacio de Bellas Artes but it will take about 10 minutes.
22. Take a Mexican cooking class
The best thing about Mexico is the food – well, to me anyway! But the worst thing about Mexican food is it’s very hard to find it (in its authentic form) outside of Mexico!
Take a Mexican cooking class so you can cook Mexican food at home!
I love cooking classes, especially in Mexico. For one, most of the food in Mexico is super simple and once you know how to cook it, you’ll never go out for Tex Mex again!
Mexico City is one of the best places to do a cooking class in Mexico for the simple fact you can cook Mexican food from all over the country due to its multicultural population.
Cooking classes are really well priced and there are a few different styles of tours available. Some of the best are:
23. Ride the city with ECOBICI or JUMP
Mexico City is huge and although driving around the city is a fast way to see it, you simply don’t get the personal interaction that you do from being in the open air.
For ECOBICI you register online and sign up for a plan. For tourists, there is a 1-day plan for 104 pesos. This then gets you unlimited 45-minute bike rides with the rideshare service. If you do go over the 45-minute cap then you are charged around 10 pesos per 15 minutes.
However, to avoid this simply ride from one bike station to the next and scan your bike in and out again. There are 452 bike stations around the city and over 6,000 bikes. So for 104 pesos, you could go all around La Condesa, Roma, Chapultepec Park, Centro, and La Reforma!
JUMP works the same as Uber and is actually one of their companies. It’s more expensive but the bikes are electric! With that said, I overall preferred the service by ECOBICI.
Tour recommendation: If you don’t want to ride around without a guide then this Mexico City Bike Tour, it is a great option!
24. Have dinner and drinks on Calle Regina (pedestrian only street)
If you’re staying in the historic center of Mexico City then a night out (or day) on Calle Regina (a pedestrian street) is a must. This place is super popular among locals and on weekends the street is packed with those out for a fun time and some great food.
The prices on the street are really cheap and there’s lots of good food to be had from pizza to tacos to seafood! The walking street is very safe at almost all times of the night and it’s a great place to meet locals!
25. Relax on the Xochimilco Canals
Xochimilco is Mexico’s version of Venice! The canals were built by the Aztecs and used as a water transport system. This system used to cover the entire Mexico City Valley but today all that remains are the canals in Xochimilco.
These days, the canals are filled with brightly colored boats that can be rented to explore the canal system all while enjoying a drink or even live music. As you cruise along the canals you’ll be able to buy souvenirs and food from vendors also on boats.
The price for a boat is 500 pesos per hour but they do seat up to 20 people. If you’re in a small group just ask one of the workers to join another group or get the price per person.
The drivers don’t speak English so if you would like to learn more about the canals then consider joining a tour from Mexico City!
Xochimilco Canals are located around 30km from Mexico City. if you would like to go without a tour then check out this blog to visiting the Xochimilco Canals without a tour.
Tour recommendation: This private tour to Xochimilco and Coyoacan is a good option for those not wanting to make the journey themselves. It comes with a guide who speaks both English and Spanish and has very good reviews.
26. Drink local coffee at Quentin Cafe in Roma
Every now and then you stumble upon a local secret. A place enjoyed by many but known to few. Quentin Cafe, located in the beautiful suburb of Roma, was one of those places and the coffee here is amazing!
So, if you’ve been craving that caffeine fix that smells like heaven and tastes even better then head over to this local coffee shop, I promise you won’t regret it!
27. Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum
Now, I must confess to two things before we get started, 1) I didn’t know who Frida Kahlo was before arriving at her house, and 2) I never got to go inside as I stupidly assumed it would be open on Mondays!
So, for the most part, I can’t actually tell you how amazing it is inside but I can now tell you that Frida Kahlo was a famous Mexican Artist. The museum is the house she grew up in and it displays her life’s work.
Although I never got to see inside, it’s said to be one of the best museums in Mexico City.
As I mentioned, it’s not open Mondays but is the rest of the week from 10 am to 5:30 pm (except on Wednesdays when it opens at 11 am.) General admission is 230 pesos during the week and 250 pesos on weekends. However, prices vary for children and seniors so its best to check their website for more details.
Tour recommendation: As I said I haven’t been so it’s hard to recommend a good tour, however, you can view all the tours available on Viator (a TripAdvisor company).
28. Eat Amazing Churros at El Moro
Churros are one of my favorite desserts, but to be honest, back home in Australia they’re not always very good! Luckily though in Mexico, you can find some of the best churros in the world!
El Moro is a great place to get churros and they have been making them for over 80 years in downtown Mexico. Although they have locations around the city, the central store is its oldest and a visit is a step back in time.
Important info: Prices for churros are cheap and start at just over $1 USD. You can find El Moro in the center at Central Axis Lázaro Cárdenas 42, Historic Center. If you love good churros then this is the place to visit in Mexico City!
29. Visit the La Nueva Viga Fish Market
Here’s something I bet you didn’t know, the second-largest seafood market in the world is in fact in Mexico City! This seems strange to many because Mexico city is landlocked, but it’s true, and you can actually visit the market and see the craziness!
The market sells around 1,500 tons or 3 million pounds of fish per day to local and international sellers. The market consists mostly of raw fish sellers, however, there are simple seafood restaurants that sell amazingly fresh and cheap seafood!
This is not your typical attraction nor is it for those with a week stomach, but it’s a crazy place to find at over 2,000m above sea level nowhere near the ocean!
Plan your Mexico City Trip
Where to Stay in Mexico City
Mexico City is huge and there are lots of different areas to stay depending on what you want to get out of your trip. For this reason, we wrote a full guide on the best hostels in Mexico City including where to stay and the different areas with pros and cons!
For now though, you can view all the hotels in Mexico City on Booking.com here!
Booking tours in Mexico City
We are partnered with both Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and Get Your Guide. These two companies are the largest tour providers in the world and act as a middle man between the tour operator and you. In Mexico, we personally use Viator as there is more selection and more reviews.
So, if you would like to browse other tours not recommended by us in this blog you can check out the Mexico City tours on Viator.
For travel insurance, we love using both World Nomads Travel Insurance for trips where you have lots of expensive gear as they have great comprehensive packages. Or, for longer trips where you only want medical, SafteyWing is a great company that Bailey is currently using as we speak!
Our final thoughts…
Mexico City is a very misunderstood city and from a glance, many travelers can get an uneasy feeling. However, the truth is the tourist suburbs of Condesa, Roma, Centro and the business district on La Reforma are very safe areas to be explored by tourists.
I’ve spent weeks in Mexico City and always love returning to explore more parts of the city. Enjoy your time here, it’s a very vibrant city that welcomes all visitors with open arms!
If you liked this blog then check out all our other Mexico blogs or check out the ones listed below!
November 18, 2019