Mexico City Travel Guide
Despite its massive character, the capital of Mexico knows how to make itself loved. It offers history, art, excellent food, shopping and family attractions, is easy to navigate and is filled with high quality accommodations.
Visiting Mexico City allows you to get into a different culture. Explore the riches of Mexican gastronomic culture in gourmet restaurants such as Izote or El Cardenal, experience the Day of the Dead celebrations or the Easter procession, or take salsa dancing lessons in a downtown studio.
Mexico City has more than 800 years of history. Explore the world of the ancient Aztecs, admire the immensity of the Zócalo, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and tour the palaces of the Centro Histórico. Or simply go to the boutiques of Polanco or the Six Flags Mexico amusement park.
- Top 5 reasons to visit Mexico City
- What to do in Mexico City
- When to visit Mexico City
- How to get to Mexico City
- Where to stay in Mexico City
- How to get around Mexico City
- Cost of living in Mexico City
- Where to eat in Mexico City
Top 5 reasons to visit Mexico City
Built on the capital of the Aztec Empire, its foundation was a declaration of power by the Spanish conquistadors. Discover its ancient past, the colonial era and the Mexican Revolution in the National Palace, the Templo Mayor and the immense Metropolitan Cathedral.
In Mexico City you can admire Diego Rivera’s murals, the Frida Kahlo Museum, the impressive Orozco frescos at the San Ildefonso Museum and the wonderful Museum of Modern Art.
If you are passionate about Mexican food, Mexico City is a paradise. Whether it’s the tacos from the stalls at Mercado de la Merced or the gourmet creations of chefs at fancy restaurants like El Cardenal, you’ve never tasted anything like it.
Easy to move around
Mexico City is huge, with a population of over 20 million people, but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to get around. There are subways, buses, trams and light rails, so getting to the main attractions is easy.
Mexico City is not just for adults. Kids love the animals at the Chapultepec Zoo and the boating lake at the nearby park, while amusement parks like Six Flags Mexico are a lot of fun.
What to do in Mexico City
Discovering the Mexican past at the National Museum of Anthropology
With dozens of rooms to explore, the National Museum of Anthropology bears witness to Mexico’s incredible heritage. Free guided tours offer a unique opportunity to learn from an expert. As you stroll through the halls, you’ll be able to admire the pre-classical, classical and colonial periods.
Visit one of the largest urban squares in the world
The Plaza de la Constitución, better known as El Zócalo, was Aztec territory hundreds of years ago. It is the largest gathering place in Mexico City, capable of hosting markets, festivals, concerts and protests. According to Aztec legend, it is the center of the universe, and contains some of the most important buildings in the country, such as the cathedral and the National Palace.
Be inspired by the Palacio de Bellas Artes
The Palace of Fine Arts is a complex that includes a museum, a theatre, a concert hall and art galleries. Murals by artists such as Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco adorn the walls of the balcony lobbies, while a colored glass curtain made by Dr. Atl hangs over the stage of the theater. The outside of the building rises above the visitors and has a huge dome. As you walk through the gardens, you can see that the palace is a little lower than the city: its great weight has sunk the building 4.5 meters into the ground.
Explore the Museum of the Templo Mayor
The Templo Mayor Museum houses the old main temple of the Mexican people. Walk through its halls and appreciate the exhibits that highlight the political, military and aesthetic heritage of one of the largest cities in the Americas. It is four stories high and houses numerous artifacts that have been discovered by historians and archeologists in recent decades.
Relaxing on Chapultepec Forest
The Chapultepec forest is an incredible green space with walking and biking trails, a large lake and many picnic areas. In addition to the trees, the park houses the National Museum of Anthropology, the Rufino Tamayo Museum and the city zoo. As you walk through the huge park, don’t miss the many fountains and works of art that decorate it. In the western part of the park there are isolated canyons to disconnect.
When to visit Mexico City
Summers in Mexico City are not the best time to go, as they include regular rain and hot, humid weather. Winter is cold and uncertain, so spring and fall are the best times to explore the city. Come to Mexico City in May and June to take advantage of the better weather. The average annual temperature is 15.9 ºC.
How to get to Mexico City
The easiest way to get to Mexico City is through the Benito Juarez International Airport, located about 19 kilometers east of the center. It receives international flights, especially from the United States. Once there, the best route to the city is the subway line 5, which leaves from terminal 1 and costs Mex$ 5. You will have to change to line 1 in Pantitlán, two stops away from the airport. After that, the trip takes about 20 minutes to the central stations, such as Chapultepec.
Although it is possible to drive from the U.S. border to Mexico City, few visitors do. If you travel by car, the fastest route from the western United States is to take Highway 40D from Laredo and change to Highway 57 in Saltillo.
Taking a bus to Mexico City is another good option. Greyhound offers many connections from U.S. cities, while there are Mexican operators such as American Buses or ADO Group that offer, also, tours from Mexican cities. Thus, it is possible to travel from Oaxaca de Juárez to Mexico City for about Mex$ 8648.
Airports near Mexico City
(MEX) Mexico City Benito Juarez
(PBC) Puebla de Zaragoza Huejotzingo
(NAFTA) Mexico City International Airport Lic. Adolfo López Mateos
Where to stay in Mexico City
Good accommodation options in Mexico City include Geneve in Zona Rosa, Hampton Inn in Centro Histórico and the Residencia Polanco. All are comfortable, family-friendly hotels with a high level of service. There are also lower budget options such as the Mexico City Hostel or the Amigo Suites.
Interesting neighborhoods in Mexico City
Centro Histórico is the oldest neighborhood in the city, with more than 800 years of history. Local highlights include the huge Plaza de la Constitución, the Aztec temple site and the Palacio Nacional, with its murals by Diego Rivera.
Polanco is the most exclusive area, an elegant residential area with a large number of luxury hotels for tourists. It is also the main gastronomic district, with leading restaurants like Izote, and a good cultural space thanks to places like Cinemex Reforma Casa de Arte
Zona Rosa attracts millions of visitors for its entertainment options. It is the center of nightlife, with bars like Lollipop and restaurants like Beatricita. Take a look at the large group of Korean restaurants and the many LGBT bars in the area.
How to get around Mexico City
Mexico City’s 12 subway lines are the best way to visit the city’s main attractions, since they cover almost all destinations. Tickets cost Mex$5. However, overcrowding is common, especially during rush hours. In addition to the metro, you can take large and small buses that cost Mex$2 and Mex$3 respectively. Trolleybuses cost Mex$4, while light rail tickets are Mex$3, so there are always plenty of alternatives.
If you want to move around without rubbing up against the other passengers, remember that taxis are plentiful and cheap. The fare is Mex$ 9 and then you pay Mex$ 8.05 for every 1.6 kilometers travelled. Uber is cheaper, as it costs Mex$ 7 for the flag drop plus Mex$ 4.50 for every 1.6 kilometers added.
Due to the quality of the public transportation network and the difficulty of driving on the streets of Mexico City, few tourists choose to rent a car, unless they intend to travel outside the city. In that case, you can rent a car at branches like Sixt, Avis and Hertz for approximately Mex$ 200 per day.
Cost of living in Mexico City
If you are looking for high-end boutiques, Colonia Polanco is the best area. Avenida Presidente Masaryk, the most vibrant shopping street, is home to shops like Raquel Orozco, the Hysteria art boutique and specialty shops like Baby Deli Mexico. Colonia Condesa offers a more bohemian atmosphere, with fashionable bargains in establishments such as Suite 66, while the Pino Suarez market specializes in youth fashion at low prices.
Groceries and others
Major supermarket chains in Mexico City include Costco and Walmart, along with Mexican stores such as Superama and Soriana. If you want, you can enjoy an exciting shopping experience at Mercado de la Merced. Prices in Mexico City are low: for example, you will pay about Mex$ 25 for 12 eggs, while a liter bottle of beer at the supermarket will cost you between Mex$ 31.5 and Mex$ 39.9.
Where to eat in Mexico City
Mexico City offers the widest selection of Mexican gourmet restaurants on the planet. Some of the best luxury restaurants include El Cardenal, in the Sheraton Centro Histórico, and Los Girasoles. The price of a meal at a restaurant is Mex$ 131 per diner.