There is so much to do in Mexico City I have tried to narrow it down for you. Make sure to check out the guide to Mexico City districts to understand where everything is in relation to each other. I also have an in-depth travel guide to Mexico City that answers most questions including what airport to fly into and where to stay while in this gorgeous place.
Open every day from 9am-10pm
Entry is 90 pesos per adult
Located in Centro, the Torre Latinoamericana was once Mexico City’s tallest building. This skyscraper boasts a 360-degree observation deck that offers majestic views of the city and surrounding mountains. Pick a clear day and ride the elevator up to the top. The wristband you receive on entry is good all day. I suggest taking in the views both during the day and at night.
Plaza de la Constitución
This plaza is one of the largest squares in the world. It is surrounded by the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Palace, as well as a number of other historic buildings. A huge Mexican flag is at the center. At 6 pm each day there is a ceremony while it is lowered and re-raised. Many different events are celebrated here so expect crowds throughout the year.
Open daily from 9:00-17:00
Tours in English are free; ask for one at the information desk
The palace served as the Palace of the Viceroy of New Spain until the Mexican War of Independence, when it became the executive seat of the President. Now it is no longer his official residence. Construction began in 1693 and the walls inside display impressive murals by Diego Rivera that depict the history of Mexico from the pre-Columbian age to the Mexican Revolution.
Gran Hotel Ciudad De Mexico
This beautiful hotel with its glass ceiling may look familiar. It is featured in the James Bond movie Spectre and also in the Disney movie Coco. It may be hard to snap a photo in here with a large camera as the guards told me to put mine away. But camera phones and smaller lens seemed to be fine.
Catedral Metropolitana de México
Open daily from 7:00-19:00 and free to enter
It is the largest cathedral in the American continent. Construction began in 1573 and it took more than 300 years to build. One of the best things to do at the cathedral is take the 40-minute (Spanish language only) tour of the upper levels (cost is M$12). Even if you don't understand much the bird's-eye view of the plaza is worth it.
Palacio de Bellas Artes
Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00-18:00. The last admission is 30 minutes before closing.
A striking building that is used as a concert hall features opera, symphony, and ballet performances. You can also find art exhibits inside - both permanent and temporary. Don't miss the famous murals painted by Diego Rivera. The palace is widely considered to be one of the best examples of Mexican Art Deco architecture and was made a UNESCO artistic monument in 1987. Entrance to the lobby is free. To visit the mezzanine with murals and galleries the cost is M$60. You'll have to pay an additional $M30 for a photography permit. If you visit on Sunday the entire building is free.
For an even better view (like the one above), you should head across the street to the cafe, Finca Don Porfirio, on the top floor. You have to buy a drink to gain access to the balcony. The cafe is a bit tricky to find, here are full directions: Directly across the street from the Palace of Fine arts is an entrance to what looks like a mall. Walk inside and directly back to the elevator bank. Take the elevator to floor 8 and you’ll find a small cafe that looks standalone. Once you order a drink you will gain access to the long narrow balcony. The coffee is amazing (and cheap) and the view is definitely worth it.
Also known as Palacio de Correos or Correos Mayor
Open Monday through Friday from 8:00-21:00 Saturday from 8:00-18:00.
One of the most beautiful buildings in the country is a post office and it's free to enter. Definitely, something you should at least peek inside for. The European style building was constructed in 1906 and houses the main post office.
I know, it seems like this shouldn't make the list of can't miss things in Mexico City but hear me out. El Moro Churerría - and specifically the location in the Roma District - is a small chain that makes the most delicious churros in the cutest setting. If you want a cute picture while eating some tasty sweets then put this place on your list.
Coyoacán main plazas:
Plaza Hidalgo and Jardín Centenario
The two main squares of Coyoacán are right next to each other and make up most of the activity in the area. On Saturdays and Sundays, you'll find an open-air market in the squares, with a variety of arts, crafts, and clothes This is a good place to pick up some interesting souvenirs. The square is surrounded by excellent cafes and restaurants and a small 16th-century church. In the cobblestone streets nearby you'll find even more cafes and restaurants, as well as specialty stores selling antiques, clothes, crafts, and more.
Shopping at La Ciudadela
You'll want your camera and some spare pesos when you visit the market! There are so many picture opportunities with the vibrant blankets, hammocks, and embroidered clothing and bags. All made from Mexican artisans.
Frida Kahlo Museum
Tuesday 10:00-17:45. Wednesday 11:00-17:45. Thursday through Sunday 10:00-17:45.
Ticket prices vary on each day but are between M$130 - M$150 for adults.
You will have to pay extra for a photo permit. No videotaping is allowed.
Also known as La Casa Azul, for the bright indigo blue painted walls, Museo Frida Kahlo is one of the most popular museums in all of Mexico City. Frida Kahlo spent the last years of her life here and eventually died in one of the upper rooms. Admission includes access to the courtyard, a small series of galleries, and a portion of the house which has been preserved from the days when Kahlo was alive. The lines to get in can be ridiculously long - plan accordingly.
Explore Condesa and Roma districts
Until recently there wasn't much to talk about in these districts but now both are filled with the city's trendiest restaurants, bistros, clubs, pubs and shops. The newly revitalized - and pricey - neighborhoods of Colonia Condesa and Roma burst with young artists, writers, and hipsters wearing the latest trends.
Condesa is considered clean and modern with a wide variety of beautiful architecture. Designer boutiques are a plenty and you’ll find that the young crowd - with the cash to spend on regular al fresco lattes and weekend nights out at swanky clubs - are everywhere.
Roma, on the other hand, has more of a bohemian hippie vibe compared to the contemporary Condesa. In the Roma district, you’ll find a collection of independent museums and small art galleries. Don’t worry though, there are outdoor cafes and specialty shops here as well.
Gondola ride in Xochimilco
One of the most popular things to do in Mexico City is visit the district known as Xochimilco. The area gets the name Mexican Venice for the series of canals and the colorful gondola-like boats you can hire there. The boats - known as trajineras - will take you on a lazy float down the canals. Along the way, you’ll pass vendors selling food, beer, and other drinks.
Lucha Libre Match
Taking in a Lucha Libre match with its colorful masks and high-flying acrobatics is something that is quintessentially Mexican. The masks are not just for fun - it transforms him into the larger-than-life performer you see in the ring. In fact, some of the most legendary luchadores have never removed their mask in public and manage to keep their true identity hidden for entire careers.
Bosque de Chapultepec
A visit to Bosque de Chapultepec should be on every traveler's list. Not only is it one of the biggest urban parks in the world it was also once used as a refuge for the Aztecs before becoming a summer residence for their nobles.
Today, the park covers more than 4 square km and is divided into three sections. You probably won’t have time for everything so make sure to visit the first section. It’s the oldest (and most visited) containing the main city zoo, a castle (now a museum), lakes, and several museums including the Museum of Anthropology and Museum of Modern Art.
Ok, last but definitely not least, is Teotihuacan. While technically the Pre-Hispanic ruins of Teotihuacan are about an hour outside the city you can't make a trip to Mexico City without visiting this gorgeous sight. Day trips to Teotihuacan are plentiful and you can book (last minute even!) through various tour companies in Mexico City.
Planning a trip to Mexico, and Mexico City in general is overwhelming. Everyone has an opinion on this beautiful location. Rest assured that no matter what you choose to do or where you choose to stay you'll have a beautiful time.
One last thing... even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a Mexico travel guide along with you. Here are some books I recommend...
One of the most common questions I get: What is the best camera for travel photography? I personally love my Nikon D5600. I use the kit lens and a Sigma wide-angle lens (for Nikon) which I am genuinely obsessed with.
And of course, if you have any questions DO NOT hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram, Twitter, or just shoot me an email (tessajuliette at gmail dot com).