Mexico City is a magical place to me. I fell in love with the city after living there for several months, getting to know its neighborhoods, street food, museums, and culture as much as I possibly could.
CDMX (the local abbreviation for Cuidad de Mexico) has a mixed reputation from foreigners, who have heard stories about smog, crime, and traffic, but those who visit are almost always pleasantly surprised by what they find.
The city is much more modern and cosmopolitan than many people expect. There are lots of incredible things to do in Mexico City that can help visitors really get to know the city and its people.
Did you know CDMX claims to have more museums (150+) than any city in the world? Or that it has roughly 22 million people in its metropolitan area, making it the largest metro area in the world outside of Asia?
With a rich history (there are even ruins right next to the Zocalo city center!), street food that is even more tasty than you might have imagined, and moderate weather (the 7382-foot elevation results in comfortable temperatures year-round), Mexico City is a place that all seasoned travelers should visit.
I can’t possibly fit all of my Mexico City recommendations in one article. But for the sake of tourists who may be planning a CDMX visit, I’m going to try.
Fyi, I recommend getting around the city either by subway (super cheap, but watch for pickpockets) or Uber, which is also inexpensive and safer than cabs.
Read on for my top must-see Mexico City suggestions for visitors!
Famous Tourist Attractions in Mexico City
1. Chapultepec Castle
The only royal castle in North America, Chapultepec Castle is a must-visit for Mexico City tourists.
Not only do you get to see the opulent historic castle rooms, stained glass windows, and tiled floors, but the castle’s location atop a hill means that you also get some of the best views of CDMX from above.
2. Angel de la Independencia
Among the most iconic Mexico City landmarks is the Angel of Independence, which stands 148 feet high on the main street Paseo de la Reforma.
You can climb up inside the angel to the top, but this requires visiting a government office and filling out special paperwork, so most tourists will have to settle for seeing the angel from the steps below.
3. Anthropology Museum
The single-most impressive museum in CDMX is the National Museum of Anthropology.
This massive facility contains so many rooms and exhibits that you could easily spend an entire day here learning about the history and culture of the people who lived in the area.
Don’t forget to take pics with the giant fountain, which is one of Mexico City’s top Instagram spots.
4. Palacio de Bellas Artes
Probably the most recognizable Mexico must see attraction is Palacio de Bellas Artes. Opened in 1904, the palace still hosts theater performances. But most tourists visit to see the eye-catching architecture.
Don’t forget to go inside to see the interior of the dome. And for a small fee, you can go upstairs to explore the numerous murals.
There’s also a fun Historic Center Food Tour from Viator that involves visiting various restaurants near the Palacio.
5. Torre Latinoamerica
At 44 floors, Torre Latinoamerica is a huge skyscraper by Mexico City standards. Visit the Mirador (observation deck) for great 360 views of the entire city.
You can tell from its appearance that this building is kinda old – it opened in 1956. The tower was built to last and has survived multiple strong earthquakes, so don’t fear going up there!
Many Mexican cities have a Zocalo, or city center. The one in Mexico City is a great place for watching the hustle and bustle of daily life and tourists and locals come and go.
The Zocalo is surrounded by other important attractions on this list, including historic ruins and churches, so you can knock them all out in a single trip.
If you’d prefer to have a local guide to help you explore this area, there are extremely affordable tours like this Downtown Mexico City Walking Tour which you can book in advance!
7. Palacio Nacional
Palacio Nacional marks the eastern border of the Zocalo. The giant complex contains government offices, residences, courtyards, and Diego Rivera murals.
While his murals can be found around the city, these murals depicting the history of Mexico are among Rivera’s most impressive and are a big attraction for people visiting Mexico City.
8. Metropolitan Cathedral
On the northern end of the Zocalo sits the imposing church formally called the “Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary into Heavens.”
You can enter for free to get an up-close look at the remarkable building, which began construction way back in the 1500s.
9. Templo Mayor Ruins
The Templo Mayor ruins are easy to miss – in fact, I missed them the first couple times I was in the area. They’re right around the corner from the Zocalo.
These temples were initially constructed in the 1400s and weren’t fully unearthed until the last 40 years. Those who don’t have the time to go all the way to Teotihuacan can still get their fix of historic ruins here.
Way in the southern end of the city, the Xochimilco canals are a must do in Mexico City. Take a relaxing trajinera boat ride through the canals. Bring food and drink if you like, or buy it from the floating vendors along the way.
You’ll have to negotiate a price when you arrive, so it’s best to come with a group of at least 4 people to split the cost. To avoid haggling, book one of Viator’s reasonably-priced Xochimilco tours.
11. Basilica de Guadalupe
An estimated 20 million people visit the Roman Catholic Basilica de Guadalupe annually, making it one of the most-visited religious destinations in the world and one of CDMX’s top points of interest.
The original shrine stands next to a “new Basilica,” built in 1976.
The famous Teotihuacan archaeological site is 25 miles outside Mexico City. Wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen, and give yourself a few hours to climb the temples and explore the city, which reached its peak in the year 450.
Bring a wide-brim hat for shade, or buy one from a vendor onsite (you shouldn’t have to pay more than 50 pesos.)
Tip: You can take Uber to Teotihuacan, but getting an Uber back is more difficult, since cell service can be spotty out there. Other options: Hire a driver to take you both ways, use the local buses that run between there and Mexico City, or sign up for a guided tour with Viator.
You can even take a hot air balloon ride over the Teotihuacan pyramids. That’s a incredible life experience! See hot air balloon tour pricing here.
Top Mexico City Neighborhoods, Parks, and Markets
13. La Condesa
With pilates studios, new restaurants, and vibrant public parks, La Condesa is a modern neighborhood that feels most similar to many American urban neighborhoods.
Since it feels similar to home, this is a good area to stay in if you’re not experienced staying in foreign countries. Stroll through Parque Mexico while you’re here.
Recommended Condesa hotel: Hotel Parque España
14. Roma Norte
Roma is a lot like Condesa, but slightly more gritty. It’s like that emerging neighborhood in your town that hasn’t totally gentrified yet. Roma has a ton of street art, a few record stores, and some great lunch markets.
Dining options range from cheap food trucks to nicer restaurants and even upscale ice cream shops. It’s one of my favorite CDMX neighborhoods!
Recommended Roma Norte hotel: Brick Hotel
More than one local told me Polanco was “the Beverly Hills of Mexico City.” It’s definitely one of the most upscale parts of town, with several points of interest, such as fancy eateries, hotels, and new car dealerships.
Polanco has a couple cool museums and shopping malls. There’s also a highly-rated Polanco Food Tour that is a bit costly but features stops at several excellent restaurants.
Recommended Polanco hotel: Grand Polanco Residencial
If you want to visit a part of Mexico City that feels more like traditional Mexico rather than a bustling metropolis, stop by Coyoacan, home to the Frida Kahlo and Trotsky Museums.
Even though this quaint area was taken over by Mexico City’s urban sprawl decades ago, it has retained its character. I could spend hours wandering the quiet streets checking out all the small, colorful houses.
And the food here is stellar. Check out our guide to the best things to do in Coyoacan.
Recommended Coyoacan hotel: Mina 32
17. The Coyoacan Market
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Mexico City when it rains, grab an Uber and head to the Coyoacan Market.
The indoor marketplace includes dozens of food stalls that mostly cater to locals, so you can get a satisfying three-course meal for 60 pesos (currently $3 US.) Other vendors here sell crafts, clothing, toys, costumes, and more.
18. Plaza Garibaldi
Plaza Garibaldi is one of the best places in Mexico City to see mariachi bands. The bands often hang around here waiting for folks to request a performance.
This plaza also has an indoor restaurant marketplace. The area gets a bit sketchy at night, so come during the day.
19. Chapultepec Park
Roughly twice the size of NYC’s Central Park(!), Chapultepec is one of the biggest urban parks in Latin America. The park contains Chapultepec Castle, several prominent museums, a zoo, and many other attractions.
You can have fun just sitting down for a picnic lunch and people watching. You can paddleboat on the lake too, which is about the only fun outdoor water activity you can find in CDMX since there are no Mexico City beaches.
20. Take the Subway
Taking the subway is a good non-touristy activity. Mexico City’s subway system is extensive and well-designed. For a tiny fee (roughly 25 cents U.S.) you can easily get around town, so give it a shot.
Warnings: Avoid morning and late afternoon rush hours when the subway cars get crammed beyond belief. The subway is safe, but it does have expert pickpockets. I’d suggest trying the subway between 11 am and 3 pm for smaller crowds.
21. Avenida 5 de Mayo
Walking Avenida 5 de Mayo from Bellas Artes to the Zocalo is a great way to see the Centro area of Mexico City. This always-busy stretch passes by lots of shops, cafes, and restaurants.
The walk down Avenida 5 de Mayo is only about 10 minutes, and it allows you to see a lot of the vibrancy of Mexico City.
22. San Angel Market
The neighborhood of San Angel is where you’ll find the Bazaar Sabado, or Saturday market.
This is another old-fashioned area with cobblestone streets, and the market features food, paintings, crafts, and souvenirs of all types. It’s quieter than some of the more touristy markets in the city.
Best Museums in Mexico City
23. Frida Kahlo Museum
The Frida Kahlo Museum in Coyoacan is a top tourist attraction in CDMX. People line up before the doors open to get a glimpse inside the former home of the renowned artist.
There’s just a small amount of her art on display here, so it’s more a place for guests to walk through the rooms of the house to see how she lived.
24. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo House Studio Museum
A few years after they got married, the artists moved into home studios built just for them and remained there until they passed away.
Today, the blue and orange homes in San Angel surrounded by a cactus fence are open to tourists.
25. Soumaya Museum
The Soumaya is definitely a Mexico City must see! Museo Soumaya in Polanco welcomes more than a million visitors per year, making it the most popular art museum in Mexico.
Visitors are drawn by its extensive variety of paintings and artifacts, as well as the eye-popping shape and gray tiled external appearance of the museum.
26. Luis Barragan House and Studio
Art lovers have so much sightseeing to do in Mexico City. The Luis Barragan House and Studio is another great attraction.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site shows off the place where the famous architect lived for four decades. It’s located next to Chapultepec Park.
27. Trotsky Museum
Exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky lived in Coyoacan in 1940 until he was killed by a Stalin supporter who had gained his trust. Trotsky’s study remains exactly as it was on that day when he was attacked.
I found this to be a fascinating museum and one of the more underrated places to visit in Mexico City. Even the books and papers on his desk are in the exact positions they were left. Trotsky’s tomb is now located in the courtyard.
28. Museo Jumex
Another Polanco attraction, the oddly-shaped Museo Jumex features a large private collection of contemporary art. Currently, entry for foreigners is only 50 pesos, or roughly $2.50 U.S.
Add it to your Polanco experience and your list of what to see in Mexico City.
29. UNAM Campus
The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) may seem like an unlikely tourist attraction, but it’s actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its architecture.
Most of the structures were built in the early ’50s and incorporate the modern designs of the time with nods to Mexico’s history, like the tile mosaic designs on the exterior of the library.
While you’re here, I suggest stopping in to see the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporeano (contemporary art) as well.
30. Museo de Arte Moderno
Another attraction in Chapultepec Park, this museum of modern art focuses on Mexican art from the 1930s on, from all the big names you know and many you don’t. Free admission on Sundays!
31. Museum of Chocolate
Here’s one of Mexico City’s many quirky museums. The Museum of Chocolate in the Juarez neighborhood isn’t huge, but it details the history of chocolate, with guided tours offered in English and Spanish. I went through the museum in about 20 minutes.
Unfortunately, they don’t give free cocoa samples, but there’s a gift shop and a cafeteria for chocolate fanatics who can’t get enough.
32. Museo del Objeto del Objeto
Also known as MODO, this “museum of objects” is one of the more unique attractions in CDMX. The museum focuses solely on one topic at a time, and these temporary exhibits are always changing.
When I visited, the topic was the history of beverages, so there were exhibits about soda, beer, and other drinks on display. It’s a Mexico City must see attraction for fans of small, fun museums.
33. Museo Numismatico
This often-overlooked museum details the process of coin-making. It covers the entire process from the initial stages of collecting gold and silver from mines to the actual minting of coins using old machinery.
34. Museum of Memory & Tolerance
Opened in 2010, this is considered by many to be one of the best museums in Mexico City. From the Holocaust to Martin Luther King, the facility examines serious cultural issues of the past and present.
Historic exhibits detail violence and genocides, while other sections examine current topics such as discrimination and diversity.
35. Caricature Museum
A cool lesser-known museum, the Caricature Museum (Museo de la Caricatura) is hidden in an 18th-century building in the city center.
Inside, you’ll find displays of Mexican cartoons from the past 150 years, many of which were political in nature.
Day Trips & Excursions from CDMX
36. Great Pyramid of Cholula
Behold, the largest pyramid in the world! The Great Pyramid of Cholula (a 2-hour bus ride east of CDMX) is more than double the volume of Egypt’s Giza, at 4.5 million cubic meters.
It was abandoned in the 8th century and eventually became overgrown to resemble a natural hillside.
The church on top of the hill was built in the 16th century by the Spanish, who had no idea they were building atop a pyramid. The pyramid wasn’t discovered until the 1880s and still hasn’t been fully unearthed.
If you have no vehicle to get to Cholula, you can join a Full Day Tour of Cholula from Mexico City, which includes a trip to the pyramid.
37. Toluca Cosmovitral
In the city of Toluca, 39 miles west of Mexico City, is the Cosmovitral, a vivid stained glass mural building that also houses a botanical garden. The glass scenes are stunning and it only costs a few bucks to enter.
38. Six Flags Mexico
Six Flags Mexico has plenty of coasters and extreme thrill rides just like the ones back home. As of this writing, a general admission ticket costs 489 pesos if purchased online. That’s less than $30 USD. You’ll never get into an American Six Flags for that price! And it’s only 30 minutes south of San Angel and Coyoacan.
Very near Cholula is Puebla, the fourth-largest city in Mexico. With 1.4 million residents, Puebla is bigger than Cancun, Acapulco, Tijuana, Puerto Vallarta, and Oaxaca.
It’s a cool day trip from Mexico City, as you can spend a day checking out the shops, restaurants, and attractions such as the fancy Baroque Museum.
40. San Miguel de Allende
The colonial town of San Miguel de Allende has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Check out the historic architecture and museums in town, and enjoy its small-town feel.
San Miguel de Allende can be reached by a 4-hour bus ride from CDMX. Or join a Day Tour to San Miguel de Allende, which includes transportation from Mexico City and about 4 hours to explore San Miguel with a bilingual guide.
OTHER DAY TRIPS AND EXCURSIONS
Before leaving this section, let’s mention a few other excursions and tours that are popular among CDMX visitors.
First, the Tolantongo Caves feature natural caves and hot springs. You can explore the waterfalls and pools, and even add an optional zipline ride. This is the highest-rated Tolantongo Caves Day Tour.
Experienced hikers can join a Mountaineering Hike to Nevado de Toluca, the fourth-highest peak in Mexico. You’ll hike with a guide all the way to the top!
And finally, this one is not a day trip, but it’s worth mentioning. Another great excursion is visiting Zipolite and Mazunte, the laid-back, uncrowded beach towns on Mexico’s southern coast. You have to fly there, but flights are cheap, and I highly recommend visiting that part of Mexico!
Essential Mexico City Food & Drink Experiences
The chicharron is a flat, cracker-like base (made of either flour or pork skin) topped with sour cream, cabbage, onions, tomato, avocado, chili, and hot sauce.
You can often find these from vendors near the Zocalo. Trying a chicharron is a must do CDMX street food experience!
Move over, tequila. Mezcal seems to be the spirit that is taking over these days. Many Mexican bars serve mezcal; some are entirely dedicated to the beverage.
La Clandestina in the Condesa neighborhood is one of the most popular mezcal bars if you want to try it out.
43. Mango with Chili
You’ll see carts with cups of chopped mango everywhere in Mexico City. You should be able to score one for 10-15 pesos (50-75 cents U.S.). Personally, I like mine without the chili powder, but if you want to eat like a local, add the chili.
The tlacoyo is a blue oval tortilla made from masa and black beans, topped with whatever you like. I chose potatoes, cheese, and a touch of spicy salsa, and it was delicious.
I found this tasty treat on the main street (Avenida Alvaro Obregon) of Roma Norte.
A bowl of cooked grasshoppers, yum! Chapulines are a common dish in Mexico City. You’ll see vendors selling buckets of them on the street.
Unless you just want to eat a handful of plain grasshoppers, you’re better off going to a nice restaurant and ordering chapulines as a taco filling. I found them surprisingly chewy rather than crunchy, and a bit too salty.
When you think of Mexican alcoholic drinks, tequila, mezcal, margaritas, and beers like Dos Equis and Corona might come to mind. It’s time to add pulque to the list.
Pulque is a fermented drink served in various fruity flavors. It’s weird drinking something that looks like milk but tastes like alcoholic pineapple or strawberry, but I enjoyed it!
47. Street Enchiladas
The enchiladas in Mexico City are different than the ones you get in the U.S. Here, you choose your meat, cheese or veggie filling, and then they insert it inside the dough, drop it into the oil and fry it up in front of you.
It may not look like a culinary masterpiece, but it’s delicious, and the multiple salsas enhance it even more.
Michelada is beer mixed with lime juice, with salt and chili around the rim. It’s pretty simple Mexican spin on beer. I’m not usually a fan of the chili, but I found this drink unexpectedly satisfying.
Paletas are frozen ice cream confections on a stick. They’re one of my favorite desserts in Mexico City.
Coyoacan has a couple of excellent paleta shops with literally dozens of varieties, including cheesecake, double chocolate, and pistachio.
I’ve never been a huge fan of mole (I can’t get over the chocolate flavor), but it’s such an iconic Mexican food. If you like the taste, make sure to have a mole dish while you’re in Mexico City. This would be a good dish to try at a nicer sit-down restaurant.
51. Aguas Frescas
These non-alcoholic fruity sugar drinks are a popular street food complement. You can find numerous flavors – watermelon, mango, strawberry, pineapple, and more. My favorite is horchata, the milky cinnamon beverage.
52. Elote and Esquite
Did you know that corn is a popular Mexican street food? Esquite is a cup full of corn, mixed with mayonaise, cheese, chili powder, and lime juice.
Elote is the same basic concept, except that the corn stays on the cob. Vendors drag their carts through neighborhoods selling this stuff, so it’s easy to find.
53. Upscale Dinner
As awesome as Mexico City street food is (and here’s a solid guide from Migrationology with even more ideas), I suggest having at least one nice meal at a sit-down restaurant.
El Bajio in Polanco is a nice option, as they have an extensive menu with just about every kind of Mexican food you can imagine. I went with two friends, and we all had multiple appetizers, entrees, and desserts, and only paid $50 total including tip. What a deal!
Tortas are basic sandwiches that can have any number of meats and cheeses between the bread.
As someone who doesn’t like to negotiate, I appreciate the torta trucks because most have a set list of prices (usually less than 40 pesos) for the various types of sandwiches. No haggling necessary!
I discovered chilaquiles early in my CDMX stay and they became my go-to snack. They are basically nachos topped with some combination of refried beans, cheese, green sauce, onions, cilantro, fried eggs, and chicken or pork. Affordable and delicious!
Look how mouth-watering this mollete looks! It’s toasted bread topped with refried beans and cheese, served with a cup of fresh salsa.
Things To Do in Mexico City Off the Beaten Path – Quirky Sights & Activities
57. Antique Toy Museum
Museo Juguete Antiguo is a very quirky museum dedicated to antique Mexican toys from the past several decades: Matchbox cars, stuffed animals, Barbie dolls, Hello Kitty, Lego, and lucha libre action figures.
This place is well off the beaten path but it’s a must do if you’re into toys!
58. CDMX Signs
Make sure to get a pic with one of the CDMX signs around town. The most famous one sits in the Zocalo, but there are many others in neighborhoods around the city.
59. Harmonipan Music
If you frequent any touristy areas, especially in the Zocalo or Coyoacan, you’ll encounter the music of the harmonipan street organ. I love this old-timey music. Drop a few pesos for a tip and listen for a while!
60. Grocery Stores
It’s always fascinating to walk around grocery stores in a foreign country. Mexican grocery stores are similar to U.S. ones, but you’ll find some noticeable differences in terms of products and flavors.
My favorite discoveries: An all-strawberry version of Cap’n Crunch Berries, and the Adobadas (tomato, onion & pepper) flavor of potato chips.
61. Salvador Dali Art
Look, it’s a clock by noted weirdo Salvador Dali! This particular Dali piece on the sidewalk on Paseo de la Reforma may have been removed by now, but if you walk this street between Auditorio Nacional and Museo Arte Moderno, you’ll find lots of quirky art pieces along the sidewalk and on the median.
62. Museo del Calzado El Borcegui
A quirky museum dedicated to footwear? Sure, why not! Check out the history of shoes over the centuries at this facility in the center of Mexico City, on a side street just off Avenida 5 de Mayo.
63. Punto de Reunion
Mexico City is famously sinking several inches a year because it was built on an ancient lake bed. The city is also prone to severe earthquakes, like the 2017 quake that claimed a few hundred lives. All around CDMX, you’ll see these green arrow marks on the sidewalk.
They are known as puntos de reunion – places where families and friends go to reunite in the event of emergency. Keep your eyes open for them around the city and you’ll get a sense of how seriously people take the threat of seismic activity.
64. Estela de Luz
If Mexican government officials had their way, the Estela de Luz (Trail of Light) would’ve appeared above in the “Famous Tourist Attractions” section.
This monument was created in 2010 with good intentions – to celebrate 200 years of Mexican independence. But it wound up being completed more than a year late and way over budget, and locals hated the way it looks.
They derisively refer to it as “suavicrema,” or wafer cookie, because that’s what it looks like. The eyesore is now, at best, a quirky Mexico City attraction for folks seeking something off the beaten path.
65. Play Pickup Sports
If you’re an athletically-inclined person visiting Mexico City, you may want to find some pickup games. Parque Pilares is where I played volleyball with locals and ex-pats every Sunday.
They also had soccer and basketball games going on. Other parks around the city have the same, if you’re willing to venture outside your comfort zone to try to join in.
66. Polyforum Siquieros
This one’s really off the beaten path! The gallery and theater known as Polyforum Siquieros holds receptions and social events, but you can also enter on your own.
The main reason for visiting is La Marcha de la Humanidad, a 360 degree mural considered to be one of the largest murals in the world (8700 square meters.) I was lucky I made a local friend who shared this place with me.
67. American Fast Food
I know it’s scandalous to suggest eating American fast food in a foreign country. Of course, you should try all the popular local taquerias first!
But after you’ve done that, it can be enlightening to stop into a Burger King or McDonald’s just to see the strange and unusual menu items that are offered in Mexico. Take a look at the KFC “Chizza” (chicken pizza!) shown above.
Mexico City Recommendations: Cool and Trendy Things To Do
68. Doctores & Roma Norte Street Art
This “cool and trendy” section is a special shout-out to my hipster friends. Photographing the remarkable street art in Doctores should rank at the top of any hipster’s list. Doctores is not the safest neighborhood, so use caution.
You should be fine taking an Uber to the Antique Toy Museum, then walking west from there into Roma Norte. You’ll spot a lot of awesome street art along the way that will make your Instagram follower count go through the roof.
69. Eco Bici
Like most major cities, Mexico City has a shared bike program. It’s called Eco Bici and its bike racks are found in most of the modern neighborhoods.
CDMX drivers are crazy, so not every part of town is safe for biking. Use your best judgment and avoid the main streets whenever possible. Condesa is a pretty good option for leisurely biking.
For a possibly safer alternative, try Viator’s Mexico City Bike Tour, a small-group tour with a lot of fun stops along the way.
70. Casa de los Azulejos
When it comes to trendy and unique things to do in Mexico City, you can’t forget the Casa de los Azulejos near Bellas Artes.
This might be the most popular place for Instagram photos in Mexico City thanks to its striking blue and white tiled exterior. This “House of Tiles” was originally an 18th-century palace and now serves as a Sanborns chain restaurant.
71. Sears Coffee Shop Near Bellas Artes
While those other tourists settle for ground-level photos of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, you can get the coolest pics by going to the Sears across the street.
Head up to the coffee shop (Cafe de la Gran Ciudad) on the ninth floor, buy a beverage, and sit on the balcony, where you’ll be sitting directly across from the palace with an incomparable view.
72. Record Stores in Roma Norte
Vinyl lovers will find a couple of options in Roma Norte. Retroactivo, Musica en Vinyl, and Roma Records are your best bets to discover some new hipster band or a forgotten obscure artist of the past.
The record store is the perfect non-touristy spot for hipsters and trendy kids to include on a Mexico City visit.
73. Neveria Roxy Ice Cream
Neveria Roxy is the coolest of Mexico City’s ice cream spots because of its history. This place has been serving up scoops since 1946. Neveria Roxy has several locations, but the Condesa one is the original and still has its old-timey ice cream shop vibe.
They have some fun and unusual flavors too, like blackberry, cantaloupe, caramel, eggnog, and passion fruit. Use Google Translate on your phone to translate the flavors on the menu! Neveria Roxy is one of my favorite Mexico City recommendations.
Americans may have switched to Amazon for their reading needs as physical bookstores continue to close down. But in Mexico City, bookstores are still big business.
El Pendulo (multiple locations around the city) is a popular choice. It’s a cafe/library combination. You can also find smaller bookstores in various neighborhoods.
75. Murals at Secretary of Public Education Building
As previously mentioned, Diego Rivera murals exist all over Mexico City. One of their often-overlooked locations is the Secretary of Education building.
You can enter for free as a tourist to check out the art. It’s one of the top under-the-radar attractions in the city!
Or visit as part of a Murals of Mexico City Tour, which visits multiple art murals in the downtown area.
76. Gay Culture in Zona Rosa
Zona Rosa is the LGBT center of Mexico City, with lots of bars and shops. Check out a drag show or experience the nightlife on Calle Amberes if you’re so inclined.
There are lots of bars here, though many of them tend to be uncomfortably crowded with young patrons (the drinking age is 18 here.)
Try a place with a modest cover charge (such as the popular bar called Kinky) for a more sophisticated and slightly older (25+) crowd.
77. Make Friends with Locals and Ex-Pats
If you want to meet up with locals, ex-pats, or other travelers passing through, try apps like Couchsurfing, Meetup, and Internations.
I had never heard of Internations prior to moving to CDMX, but it turned out to be a great way to connect with other international travelers and to schedule activities like karaoke, hiking, and volleyball pickup games.
Things To Do in Mexico City at Night
78. Lucha Libre Wrestling
Lucha libre wrestling is one of the wildest and most entertaining tourist activities in Mexico City. The masked competitors use high-flying tactics and the crowds go crazy for their favorites.
You can either book a lucha libre tour in advance, or buy walk-up tickets yourself.
Seats in the first 15 rows can be had for less than $10 USD for the shows at Arena Mexico (there are two Arena Mexicos in the city – be sure to go to the correct one, in the Doctores neighborhood.)
79. Bar Hopping
You can always spend your evening enjoy some alcoholic spirits. Check out a mezcal bar as previously suggested, seek out a craft beer establishment, or do some bar hopping in Condesa or Roma.
Make sure to try all the essential Mexico beverages – pulque, michelada, margaritas, and so on.
The big red Turibus has several routes that run during the day and a few that travel around the city at night.
The Turibus Nocturno is a unique bus trip that visits the city’s most famous tourist attractions between 9 pm and 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays. Turibus is a great option for how to spend an overnight layover in Mexico City.
81. Monumento a la Revolucion
Monumento a la Revolucion is a 220-foot tall tower completed in 1938 and designed to honor the Mexican Revolution. You can ride the elevator to the top to see the city from above.
It’s open until 8 pm on weekdays and 10 pm on weekends, making it one of the best things to do in Mexico City at night.
82. Tequila & Mezcal Museum
Of course Mexico City has a museum dedicated to tequila! The Tequila & Mezcal Museum itself is small, but there’s a bar and restaurant with rooftop seating overlooking Plaza Garibaldi. Take a cab or Uber here at night.
83. Cineteca Nacional
Is it worth going to a movie theater when you’re on vacation? Not usually. But Cineteca Nacional is a special venue, with fascinating architecture and a three-decade history of showing cutting-edge and artsy films from countries around the world. This place is one of the coolest activities in Coyoacan.
84. Churros at El Moro
Churreria El Moro has a few locations around town. The one in Roma Norte stays open until 11 pm everyday (later on weekends.)
Not only do they serve delicious churros, they offer up the most fantastic and decadent dessert I’ve ever seen: The churro ice cream sandwich! You owe it to yourself to try one of these before you die.
85. Go Clubbing
If bars aren’t enough, head to a dance club like AM Local or Patrick Miller to fully experience Mexico City nightlife, with dancing that goes well into the early morning.
Or for something a little more cultural, you could check out one of the city’s many salsa clubs. Viator has a Guided Salsa Dancing Tour with an introductory lesson and a free drink!
A Few Extra Tips For Your CDMX Visit
Safety: Mexico City is pretty safe in general, but as with any big city, you should be aware of your surroundings, especially at night. Try to avoid outdoor ATMs (stick to less conspicuous ATMs inside grocery stores if possible.) As previously mentioned, the subway is safe, but watch for pickpockets.
Getting Small Bills: You will likely spend your entire Mexico City vacation searching for small bills. Many stores and vendors in CDMX simply don’t have enough change to break any bill larger than $200 pesos ($10-15 USD). So if you’re carrying around $500 peso bills (which are typically dispensed from ATMs), expect to have some challenges.
Any time you find an establishment (such as museums or upscale restaurants) that can give change for a $500 peso bill, do it! If you’re traveling in a group, I suggest combining your purchases so you can use up some of those larger bills.
Lunch Hour: In Mexico City, lunch doesn’t begin until 1 pm. Anything before that is breakfast. Keep that in mind when deciding where to eat. Don’t expect to get lunch at your favorite place at 11:30 am, as you might back in the U.S. Many restaurants don’t even open until 1 pm.
Weather: This is not like visiting a tropical Mexican beach. Because of its high elevation, high temperatures in Mexico City mostly stay in the 70s F year-round. Bring a jacket for the evening, when temps may drop into the upper 40s.
Air Conditioning: Very few Airbnbs will have air conditioning, because generally it isn’t needed. Expect to cool your place the old fashioned way, by opening windows. Mosquitoes can sometimes be a problem during the summer. Grab bug repellent from a local store if needed.
Dress: Because of these moderate temperatures, virtually nobody in Mexico City wears shorts or flip flops. It’s long pants and closed-toe shoes, all year round. Wearing shorts or flip flops is an easy way to out yourself as a tourist!
Mexico City Tours: If you want to take the work out of visiting some of the city’s top attractions, I recommend searching Viator for excursions, day trips, and guided tours throughout Mexico City. Click here to see Viator’s Mexico City tours.
Best Places to Stay in Mexico City
Mexico City has a ton of options for places to stay, ranging from high-end hotels to cheaper options.
For those seeking upscale lodging, your best bets include the W Hotel in Polanco, Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico in Centro Historico, Le Meridien between Juarez and downtown, and the trendy Hotel Condesa DF, in the awesome Condesa neighborhood.
Airbnb is a great option in Mexico City and it’s my recommendation for visitors who want to live more like a local.
If you’ve never used Airbnb, Mexico City is a great place to start. Just make sure to choose a host with several positive reviews and a good location. And read the listing carefully to determine if you’re renting out an entire apartment, or just a bedroom in someone’s home.
In Condesa and Roma, you can find Airbnb rooms in the $25/night range. In Coyoacan, which is less touristy, you can get rooms for as little as $15/night.
For extended stays, Airbnb often has weekly discounts. I once rented a room in someone’s home for 10 days in Coyoacan at an Airbnb for less than $120 total!
For those who want to go the hotel route, I always recommend using booking.com since they do a great job of aggregating hotel prices and availability. Click to search booking.com to find the best places to stay in Mexico City.
Beware of some of the ultra-cheap $10 hotels – these are often the kind of dingy motels in bad neighborhoods where sketchy people stay for the long term. Check the reviews to verify that a hotel is solid.
Do you have any other suggestions for fun Mexico City activities?
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