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Mexico City – Your Guide to CDMX

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MEXICO CITY

Mexico City, or CDMX (Ciudad de México), is a beautiful and bustling city filled with vibrant markets, delicious food, and lovely people. Mexico City is the densely populated capital of Mexico originally built on a group of islands in Lake Texcoco. There is so much to do and see in this beautiful city – I can’t wait for you to get exploring!

Need to Know:

Currency: Mexican Peso (check exchange rate here)

Language: Spanish

Airports:

Mexico City – MEX

Electrical Outlets: 127V supply voltage and 60Hz, plug type A and B

Planning Your Trip

Accommodation: Lodging is quite affordable in Mexico City, so we ended up staying at a lovely Airbnb in La Condensa for $70 per night. When researching where to stay in Mexico City, it became pretty clear that it is safest for tourists to stay in La Zona Rosa, La Condensa, or Roma Nte. Pretty much going west of the historic center towards Chapultepec Park is a good bet. Most of Mexico City is quite safe to explore during the day, but I found it best to stay in these neighborhoods later at night.

Getting Around: Uber was our best friend in Mexico City. We took an Uber from the airport and all around the city. Some people will say Ubers aren’t safe because “anyone can drive an Uber,” but I felt safest knowing my location was tracked, prices were pre-negotiated, and I was following the map on the app. I have also heard of issues where the police will pull over Uber drivers and try to get the passengers to pay out a bribe. I’ve read the best thing to do here is to hope the driver knows he has rights to not get out of the car and can show all the right documentation for Uber. Again, this did not happen to us, but I’ve heard of this happening.

 

We also walked around a lot. Lace up those walking shoes and you can explore a lot of the city on foot.

Mexico City
Mexico City Mango
Mexico City Skyline

Language: A little spanish goes a long way here. We went to many restaurants where the staff did not speak any english, so I was glad I can speak spanish. Even the basics of ordering food, asking for directions, and being polite to restaurant servers is enough to make a big difference.

Bars and Restaurants: The food in Mexico City was incredible. I want to go back just to eat. Other than the taco places, which I rank below, these were our favorite restaurants that we tried:

  • Balcón de Zócalo – A five star brunch spot with amazing views of Centro Historico. Try to make a reservation or you’ll have to wait a while.
  • Licorería Limantour – Ranked the 6th best bar in the world, stop by this swanky bar with unique cocktails. We also made a reservation here because it does get busy!
  • Restaurante Rosetta – We saw Rosetta featured on ‘Somebody Feed Phil’ and had to go try it out for ourselves. It is upscale and unique food with Mexican influence.
  • Pandería Rosetta – Right down the street from the restaurant, check out this incredible bakery. You have to try the guava bread!
  • Lardo – A European-style street cafe with delicious brunch options.
  • Churros El Moro – There are a few locations in the city for, as many people told me, the best churros and chocolate in Mexico City!
  • Tlecan Mezcalería – This was by far my favorite bar we went to in Mexico City! It’s a small, dark bar with a cool vibe and incredible local mezcal drinks.
Balcon Zocalo
Rosetta
Tlecan Mezcaleria

Things to See and Do in Mexico City

Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral:The Cathedral, one of the most important buildings in the historic center of Mexico City, features over five centuries of architecture and art that are open to the public for viewing. It is built on top of the remains of an Aztec Temple. Visitors can enter the Cathedral for free and walk through to enjoy the spectacular interior.

  Zocalo Plaza:The Metropolitan Cathedral is located right in front of this massive plaza. Many consider this plaza as the heart of Mexico City and it frequently serves as the site of political demonstrations.

 Mercado de San Juan: I recommend checking out this traditional neighborhood market that is full of local and exotic food. Make sure to wear shoes that can get dirty as the floors are often covered in fallen scraps. Take your time to wander the market and enjoy the lively atmosphere of this local gem.

  Palacio de Bellas Artes: The Palacio de Bellas Artes, a prominent artistic center in Mexico City, hosts operas, dances, theater shows, and other events. This stunning building stands tall in the historic center and also features a museum showcasing paintings, sculptures, and photography. Admission to the museum is free, and you can check the calendar to see if there are any events you would like to attend!

  Casa de Los Azulejos: The “House of Tiles,” a stunning building adorned with white and blue tiles, is now a restaurant. I recommend stopping by for lunch or coffee and admiring the beautiful interior. You can learn more about the history of the house by reading about it here.

Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral
Palacio de bellas artes
Casa de los azulejos
Coyoacán Market:Explore the Coyoacán Market, located about a 30-minute drive south of the city center. This market is a common destination for locals and provides a glimpse into daily life. Some of my favorite foods to try at the market include the tostadas and the “nieve” (similar to a snow cone). You can wander around this massive market and find everything from produce and meat to children’s toys and flowers, as well as delicious ice cream.

Frida Kahlo’s house:The house of this famous Mexican artist is now open to the public as a museum. Foreign visitors can purchase tickets for 230 pesos (about $12 USD) online here or in person, but be prepared to wait in line at the museum, as the line can get very long. Additionally, be mindful of the museum’s hours of operation, as they usually open at 11 am and close at 5:45 pm. Note that photography is not allowed in the museum unless you purchase a photography pass, so make sure to inquire about it when purchasing your ticket.

  La Fuente de Coyotes: Check out the bronze statue of two coyotes located in the center of the park fountain at Parque Centenario in the Coyoacán borough. Exploring this neighborhood is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Coyocan Market
Frida Kahlo's House
Coyocan
Chapultepec Castle:Check out the Chapultepec Castle, located in Chapultepec Park – one of the largest parks in the western hemisphere. The castle is built atop a hill that was once a sacred Aztec site, but since its construction, it has been used for a variety of purposes. Today, it houses the National Museum of History. Make sure to check the hours of operation, as the museum usually closes at 5 pm and is closed on Mondays. When we visited, tickets cost 85 Mexican pesos.

Soumaya Museum: I highly recommend stopping by to at least see the exterior of this museum, as it is a work of art on its own. This private museum is free to enter and houses a collection of art and historical artifacts, including the largest collection of pre-Hispanic and colonial era coins.

Museo Nacional de Antropología:The National Museum of Anthropology, which is the largest and most visited museum in Mexico, charges 85 Mexican Pesos for admission and is definitely worth a visit! The museum houses a grand collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, including the Aztec calendar stone.

Chapultepec Park
Soumaya Museum
Mexico City

Best Tacos We Ate (in order):

1
El Huequito El pastor was to die for.
2
Antojitos Sandy Los Originales This was a stall inside the Coyocán Market with amazing blue corn tortillas
3
Taquería Orinoco Everything here was delicious. Get their special.
4
Morenos Tasting Room A random place we ended up for drinks - but the tacos were delicious.
5
Señor Taco Grabbed some tacos to-go and they did not disappoint!
6
Cantina Salon Rios A nice sit-down restaurant with lovely tacos
7
Taquería El Califa Probably my least favorite tacos we tried, but that being said, they were still pretty good.
Tacos Oronicos
Senor Tacos
Tacos Mexico City

Top Day Trips from CDMX

Teotihuacán

Ensure to plan a trip to the Teotihuacán pyramids when you’re in Mexico City. This pre-hispanic city boasts massive structures such as the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, and is located about 50 km outside of Mexico City.

 

I recommend booking a tour that includes transportation and a guide to explain the history of the site. We experienced this through an Airbnb tour, which I found a bit longer than necessary and not all activities were enjoyable, but there are other options available as well!

Xochimilco

Xochimilco

We didn’t have the chance to visit Xochimilco when we were in Mexico City, but it came highly recommended and is definitely on my list! Xochimilco, a World Heritage Site known for its canals, has boats for hire that can take you around to see the beautiful landscape. I recommend booking a tour for this excursion as well! (photo source)

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