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Top Things to Do in Mexico City: A Traveller’s Guide

From museums to ruins to hipster bars, these are the top things to do in Mexico City to make your vacation even more memorable.

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About Mexico City

Mexico City (also known as CDMX) is the largest city in North America, and it definitely feels that way when you’re walking around! There are over 8.9 million people in the city, which tops New York City that comes in at around 8.6 million people. The total metropolitan area of Mexico City has over 21.2 million people. That’s a whole lot of people! And a whole lot of restaurants, museums and shops to go along with the huge population.

Mexico City is the capital of Mexico and is a city filled with history, art, business, and excellent food. Whether you like big well-known tourist attractions or you like finding quirky, hipster things to do – you can spend several days exploring the city.

Basically, there is something to do in Mexico City no matter what type of traveller you are. It’s a great destination for families, friends, and even solo travel.

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Catedral Metropolitana in El Zocalo, an essential thing to do in Mexico City | Skyscanner Canada
Mexico City Guide: Catedral Metropolitana | Skyscanner Canada

How to Get to Mexico City

The best way to get to Mexico City is to fly into the Mexico City International Airport (MEX), whether coming from abroad or from another destination within Mexico.

If you are in another part of the country, there are long-distance buses that can bring you to/from Mexico City. There are several different bus stations in most cities so make sure you check your exact departure and arrival point if you decide to take the bus.

For people with Canadian passports, you do not need a Visa to enter Mexico. On arrival, you are granted 180 days in the country. There is no entrance or exit fee for Canadians.

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Monumento a la Independencia, a top thing to do in Mexico City | Skyscanner Canada
Mexico City Guide: Monumento a la Independencia | Skyscanner Canada

Where to Stay in Mexico City

A really interesting aspect of what to do in Mexico City is that there are actually tons of neighbourhoods to explore.

There are neighbourhoods where you will get the full-on tourist experience and neighbourhoods which are more bohemian – and even then, there are different levels of bohemian vibes that you can pick from. More interested in upscale areas? Yup, there are plenty of those too!

Condesa is a great option for a trendier area that has some of the city’s best nightlife. Polanco is where to go for the fanciest restaurants in the city. La Roma is known as Mexico City’s coolest neighbourhood and is filled with cafés, contemporary art, and of course, the hipsters. This neighbourhood was well-known and frequented amongst American writers and artists in the 1960s. Juárez is slightly south of La Roma, which means it isn’t quite as popular as La Roma but does have some great bars, restaurants and shops.

Zona Rosa is often linked to the history of the LGTBQ+ community of Mexico City. Coyoacán is where Frida Kahlo spent her life and where you can visit her home and wander around her favourite local spots. Narvarte is where you want to be if you enjoy cheap street tacos. El Centro is the tourist-centric area where you should definitely spend a day but not necessarily a week.

Hotels in Mexico City

For places to stay, check out the top rated hotels on Skyscanner like the Four Seasons Hotel and Las Alcobas DF. For more budget-friendly options, check out the Fiesta Americana Reforma and the Emporio Reforma.

As with any major city, there are so many different levels of accommodation so you can find one that suits your needs. If you’re more into backpacker hostels there are plenty of those too! If you’re a solo traveller, we recommend staying in the popular Centro Historico. There are plenty of hostels scattered around the main square and is a great area to meet other travellers.

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El Centro in Mexico City at night. Mexico City Guide | Skyscanner Canada
Mexico City Guide | Skyscanner Canada

How to Get Around Mexico City

Depending on your travel style, there are transportation options available for you in Mexico City.

For public transportation, there is a Subway, a Metrobús, many Collectivos and regular bus lines with some of the cheapest fares anywhere in the world (as low as 5 pesos per ride). There are even women and children only cars in the CDMX subway, which makes for a more safe and pleasant ride for you solo female travellers out there.

If you want more private transportation, there are taxis or services like Uber and Cabify. These car services are pretty cheap, and there is an Uber Pool option if you want to spend even less. As for taxis, try not to grab one off the street. Instead, have your hotel call a trusted company.

For a more eco-friendly way of getting around Mexico City, there are shared bikes and shared electric scooters. In certain parts of the city, you can pick up and drop off Ecobici bikes at specific locations. The shared electric scooters don’t have specific docking stations and can be left pretty much anywhere.

Mexico City is large but has plenty of sidewalks that make it easy to walk around. Alternatively, you can always rent a car in Mexico City but this is only suggested if you are familiar with the roads and road culture.

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When Is the Best Time to Go to Mexico City?

It’s not all sunshine and hot weather in Mexico City, but it’s pretty close! December to February are some of the coldest months, with highs of 24° degrees and lows of 5° degrees at night. February in Mexico City is the driest month.

March to May is the perfect time to go to Mexico City because it has warm weather with very little rain (highs of 27° degrees). The heavy rain starts in June until August and slows down into September. Except, rain in Mexico City means at most 15 days of rain within one month.

The fall can be a great time to visit Mexico in general because of the important celebration of Day of the Dead in Mexico, but make sure to book your accommodation early if you’re travelling during this time.

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Not feeling the weather in Mexico City? Mexico is enormous, so there are plenty of other destinations to visit during your vacation days.

If you’re looking for the best deals to Mexico, use Skyscanner’s “cheapest month” search and type “Mexico” into the destination field. Skyscanner allows you to search flights across the entire country.

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Palacio de Bellas Artes, a top thing to do in Mexico City | Skyscanner Canada
Mexico City Guide: Palacio de Bellas Artes | Skyscanner Canada

Top Things to Do in Mexico City

If you only have two or three days in Mexico City, there are a few sites that are not to be missed.

  • Head to El Zócalo, which is the main square of Mexico City. While you’re here, check out the Catedral Metropolitana (free entrance) and the Templo Mayor ruins (free to see from above, pay to walk around).
  • While in the centre, find your way to some seriously epic murals from artist Diego Rivera. You can find some at the Secretaría de la Educación Pública and the Palacio Nacional, and that’s just the beginning!
  • Check out the Palacio de Bellas Artes, which you can’t miss. It’s one of the most beautiful buildings in the centre of Mexico City.
  • If you’re not tired of all the world-class architecture, you have to also check out the main post office (Correo Mayor), which will blow you away with its stunning details.
  • One of the top things to do in Mexico City is to visit a museum – there are over 150 of them, after all! A few top museums to add to your itinerary include the National Museum of Anthropology, the Frida Kahlo Museum, and the many art museums in the Bosque de Chapultepec park.
  • Wander around different neighbourhoods to get a better sense of Mexico City as a whole, making sure to stop by the Monumento a la Independencia.
  • Eat some churros at the city’s most popular churro chain called Churrería El Moro. You’ll find them all around town with their white and blue logo.
  • Attend a Lucha Libre wrestling match at the Arena Mexico as a fun Friday night activity.

Mexico City has so many wonderful cultural activities to discover during your trip.

Island of Dolls, a unique thing to do in Mexico City | Skyscanner Canada
Mexico City Guide: Island of Dolls | Skyscanner Canada

Unique Things to Do in Mexico City

If you have more than two or three days in Mexico City or if you like to dive deeper into the local culture than stick to the main tourist sites, there are so many unique things to do in Mexico City.

  • Read a book or take a coffee break at the Cafebreria El Pendulo, which is half-bookstore, half-café or head to Biblioteca Vasconcelos for a total design treasure.
  • Take a day trip to the Island of the Dolls, which is an island filled with hundreds of hanging, decapitated dolls.
  • Wander through the Future Forest, where displays are made up of entirely recycled plastic waste.
  • Make your way to the Dolores Olmedo Museum, which houses important collections of works by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo as well as peacocks and hairless Xoloiztcuintl dogs.
  • Go for a drink at a pulque bar (pulquería), where you can order the traditional alcoholic beverage made from fermented maguey plant sap (trust us, it’s more delicious than it sounds!). You can try this at La Burra Blanca in the historical centre or Los Paseos de Santa Anita in Coyoacán, among many other bars.

Mexico City is an ideal place to travel if you’re looking for unique experiences.

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Teotihuacán Ruind - a day trip from Mexico City | Skyscanner Canada
Mexico City Guide: Teotihuacán | Skyscanner Canada

Best Day Trips from Mexico City

You can easily fill up all of your days with things to do in Mexico City but if you’re looking to broaden your horizons, there are plenty of amazing day trips you can embark on.

You can’t really head to Mexico without visiting some ruins, and while there are some ruins in the main Zócalo, you don’t want to miss heading an hour out of the city to the Teotihuacán ruins, which is the largest Pre-Columbian site excavated in Mesoamerica.

Other ancient sites include the Aztec Pyramid of Tenayuca, which is just 12 kilometres north of the city. Going a little bit farther (2 hours), you can explore the city of Tula, home to the remains of Tollán.

Nearby cities to explore include the colourful city of Puebla (2 hours), the major archeological area of Cholula (1.5 hours), and the museum-filled city of Toluca (50 minutes).

For travellers who are more into nature, you can day-trip to see the Monarch butterflies migrate, which is a unique thing to do in Mexico in February. Of course, there are also plenty of volcanos to hike like in Nevado De Toluca and the Iztaccihuatl volcano.

Mexico City is a great starting point to explore more of this amazing country.

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Looking for a Different Warm Destination?

If you’re looking for other ideas for your trip, check out these Skyscanner articles with tips and deals for warm destinations:


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