12 Coolest Things to Do in Mexico City

Mexico City used to be known as a rough and tumble town.  This reputation is quickly changing.  Today’s new Mexico City is a tourist haven and a great place to visit.  To help you maximize your time, check out some of our favorite (popular and off the beaten path) things to do in Mexico City. Pack your bags and let’s travel to “The City of Palaces.”

#12. Get a great Instagram pic at Padrino’s

This grass wall is located outside the historic downtown restaurant Padrino’s. Later in the day, its almost impossible to get a good picture here – tourists are everywhere. But if you come out around 8 am you can have the entire wall to yourself.

Grass Wall in Mexico City outside of Padrinos
Hotels in Mexico City

The best district to stay in Mexico City is Centro Historico. This old neighborhood is home to many major attractions. Best hotels in Centro Historico are:

#11: Discover world-class art at Palacio De Bella Artes

You may not know it yet, but you are in the museum capital of the world.  Mexico City has more museums than any other city, over 150 at last count. Palacio De Bella Artes is one of the most famous.

In addition to visiting the museum, check out the scene outside. Locals hang out here and it’s a great place to people watch. 

Palacio De Bella Artes, best things to do in Mexico city includes museums
Palacio De Bella Artes is one of Mexico City’s 150 museums.

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#10. Stroll the Central Alameda Park

Right next to Palacio De Bella Artes, you’ll find Central Alameda Park, one of the lungs of this city.  Here, walk along the quiet pathways as you enjoy the blooms and fountains. 

Central Alameda Park in the early morning, one fo the best things to do in Mexico City
In the early morning, Mexico City’s Central Alameda Park is virtually empty

#9. Enjoy a delicious lunch on Madero Street

The historic pedestrian-only Madero Street is the biggest thoroughfare in the city center. The street is lined with restaurants and shops. This is a great place to enjoy lunch or dinner and to people watch.

People walking on Madero Street, best things to do in Mexico City
Madero Street is a great place for lunch and people watching.

#8. Explore Chapultepec Castle

Situated in the middle of one of the largest parks in the Western Hemisphere, Chapultepec Castle is impressive. First, explore the castle to see great works of art. Next, check out the terraces for incredible views of the city and the park below. And finally, wander the park to check out the many lakes and lush greenery.

Chaputepec Castle terrace provides great views over Mexico City
One of the terraces in Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City

For more great adventures in Latin America, check out the W Trek in Chile.

#7. Check out local art at the Palace of Idurbide

The Palace of Iturbide is a palatial residence and a free museum.  Here you can wander galleries and enjoy rotating exhibits of artwork. The museum features many exhibits by Mexican City artists.

A statue at the Palace of Iturbide in Mexico city
A statue at the Palace of Iturbide

#6. Marvel at the architecture in the Palacio Postal and the House of Tiles

Not far from the Palace of Iturbide you’ll find the Casa de Los Azulejos or “House of Tiles” and the old post office, Palacio Postal, both feats of architectural achievement and both free to visit. 

If you want to send a postcard from Mexico City, the Palacio Postal is the perfect location to do so.

The spectacular staircase in Palacio Postal, Mexico City
Palacio Postal is spectacular no matter how you look at it.

#5. Dine on fine cruisine in Cafe De Tacuba

Café De Tacuba is a hundred-year-old restaurant in the middle of the historic district. Start your meal with their famous guacamole. And finish with the house desert – Mause de Lemon, a delicious mouse concoction. 

A guacamole dish in Cafe De Tacuba
Guacamole in Cafe De Tacuba, ring courtesy of Inaya jewelry.

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#4. Study history at the Trotsky House

Few men have had as much impact on history as Leon Trotsky. One of the leaders of the Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky was eventually exiled from Russia. He settled in Mexico City, befriended by the great Frida Khalo. Eventually, Trotsky was killed by another of the Red Revolution’s leaders – Stalin. Today you can tour his home and see all his personal belongings in this communist outpost of Mexico City.

A hammer and sickle, an architectural element in the Trotsky house in Mexico City.

#3. Take a day trip to Teotihuacan

One of the best day trips from Mexico City, Teotihuacan is a huge, ancient complex of well-preserved pyramids, buildings and burial grounds. To get here either use public transportation or hire a private driver. The complex stretches on for miles. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. Once you get here you can hire a private guide at the information desk, or explore on your own. This area is very hot, and there is almost no shade, so bring sunblock and a water bottle.

People strolling along the great pyramids of Teotihuacan, daytrip from Mexico City.

#2. Visit Frida Khalo’s home and museum

Located in Coyocan neighborhood, the Blue House was Frida Khalo’s beloved home in Mexico City. She created some of her most famous paintings here. The museum preserves personal objects and many works of art by Ms. Khalo.

Frida Kahlo's colorful home in Mexico City
Mexico City Travel Tip

Purchase tickets for Frida Khalo’s house in advance online. Lines are long and tickets for the day sell out early.

#1. Explore the tony neighborhood of Coyocan

One of Mexico wealthiest districts, Coyocan is full of colorful homes and old shady trees. It’s also the location of both Frida Kahlo house and the Trotsky house. You’ll find plenty of Insta worthy spots in Coyocan – and much fewer people than in the historic downtown.

Walk via one of the avenues named after a great city – Paris, Landes, Berlin or Vienna.  Admire the colorful mansions and the blooming trees along the way.

3 days in mexico city - be sure to visit the coyocan district
A colorful house in the Coyocan District.

Mexico City safety and travel tips. 

  • Few local residents speak English. Don’t expect people to understand you or respond back to you in English. Sign language and google translate are very helpful in Mexico City.
  • Everything is cheap! A full 4-course dinner will run you about $25 and a metro ride is just .50c.  Bring cash with you, but most restaurants and shops that cater to tourists will accept credit cards.
  • Although Mexico City has been cleaned up a lot in recent years some neighborhoods remain dangerous. Before you venture into an unknown neighborhood be sure to ask your hotel if it’s safe. 
  • Taxis can be iffy and not always safe. When you are leaving the airport you can pay for the taxi inside the terminal, this way you get an authorized (safe) taxi. After that, I suggest you stick with Uber or the metro, both safer options in Mexico City.

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