Things to Do in Mexico City: A Three-Day Itinerary
Whether you have three days in Mexico City or a week, this vibrant city is about to knock the socks off all your expectations and ideas of what it has to offer. The largest city in Latin America, it seriously has so much to offer and at all hours of the day. For those culture enthusiasts, be spoilt for museums and archaeological sites dating back to the Aztecs times. Those wanting to taste or drink their way around CDMX, be blown away by the diversity of delicious mexican eats and international flavours for all sized budgets. The city, the neighborhoods and the people are very welcoming and want to show all visitors a wonderful time.
- 1. Day One - Walking Tour in the Historical Centre
- 2. Day two - Day trip to Teotihuacán
- 3. Day three - parks and museums
- 4. Other important things to know about traveling in Mexico City
To maximise your Mexico City holiday follow our 3 day itinerary to ensure you hit all the highlights of the city and surrounding areas, tick off the must-see places in Mexico City and keep your bellies always full with tasty Mexican delicacies.
Day One – Walking Tour in the Historical Centre
It can sometimes be overwhelming landing into a big city and knowing what to do and how to explore. Start your Mexico City adventure by signing up for a free walking tour around the historic centre and Zocalo. Walking tours are a great way to get your bearings, learn about the local or country’s history, meet like-minded travelers and get some local tips for the guides (they always have great restaurant recommendations that are often off the tourist trail and filled with locals going about their day).
The free walking tours are offered twice a day (11am and 2:30pm) but opt for the morning walk so you can maximise your time in this city! This tour provides a great overview of the history of the city as you wander past some of the most impressive and important buildings including the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Templo Mayor and Torre Latinoamericana.
Front view of “El Zócalo” the main square in central Mexico City.
Once the tour finishes and you’ve grabbed some lunch from a recommended vendor head back over to the Torre Latinoamericana and ascend the 44 floors to the observation level. It’s the best place to see the whole city and a fantastic vantage point to see the architectural feat of Palacio de Bellas Artes. You can enjoy the view from an indoor view point, outside area at the top or from the bar over a zesty margarita.
When you finish at the viewpoint, stop by the House of Tiles a 18-century palace with an impressive blue and white patterned tile facade. Definitely worth a stop off ‘for the gram’ even if patterned ceramics don’t excite you.
After a big day of sightseeing and plenty of walking it is suggested to have an easy night filled with good food, local beverages (hello more tequila!) in a comfortable area of Mexico City. Find your way to Condensa, the upscale neighborhood filled with quaint cafes, up-market or hole-in-the-wall restaurants and great bars including ones with rooftops. For traditional mexican food, don’t go past the famous Tacos Don Juan, reknowned for their big toppings tacos, or for a great drink and food combo be transported to Havana at La Bodeguita del Medio. Finish the night off with a visit to the sweet delights of El Moro for the best churros you’ll ever try. It’s a bustling place and best experienced in the restaurant, not the take-away option.
Insider Tip: Depening on the days you’re in town, the Mexican style wrestling, Lucha Libre, is another must do activity in Mexico City. The masked professional wrestling takes place at three arenas in Mexico City. The largest arena is Arena Mexico and they have three performances a week – every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. Plan your nights accordingly so you don’t miss this hilarious, extremely entertaining and slightly theatrical event.
A man with a mask braces himself at a local wrestling ring.
Day two – Day trip to Teotihuacán
A visit to Mexico City, or Mexico in general, is not complete without a visit to one of the archaeological sites of the Aztecs. Mexico City’s most famous Aztec ruins, Teotihuacán, is located 50 kilometres from the city centre and makes for a perfect day trip.
It’s suggested to get there early to avoid the crowds and the midday sun (shade is limited). There is public transport from North Central Bus Terminal to Teotihuacán, look for the buses named Autobuses Teotihuacán. The journey on the bus will take approximately an hour and the fare is cheap. The other option is to book a tour through your accommodation. Be sure to check the total allocated time at the ruins to ensure you’ll have ample time to walk around all the sites.
Teotihuacán lies on a total of 83 square kilometres, it’s BIG so you need plenty of time to explore. The main avenue, Avenues of the Dead, is 2.5 kilometres long with the two main pyramids at opposite ends. It’s recommended to spend 3-5 hours at the ruins depending on personal interests in the history, the ruins and your fitness level – bearing in mind the city’s high altitude of 2,250m. Start your visit at the Pyramid of the Sun, which reaches 70 meters high and is the third largest pyramid in the world. From here wander down the Avenue of the Dead until you reach the Pyramid of the Moon. There are many smaller pyramids and other points of call along the way. Once at the Pyramid of the Moon enjoy breathtaking and uninterrupted views of the whole site.
Aerial view of Teotihuacán historical centre.
After another big morning of walking, you’ll stroll back into town in the mid to late afternoon, with an appetite to eat everything! Make a beeline to Mercado Roma, a stylish food hall filled with tasty mexican treats, international favourites, craft beers and fine cheeses. It’s the ideal place to head if you don’t know what you want or are with a group. The upstairs patio is a great place to eat, drink and unwind after a mammoth day.
Day three – parks and museums
For a big city, Mexico City has its fair share of green space and places to take in nature. One of the parks even has a castle and a quiet space that plays classical music! Start the day by heading to Bosque de Chapultepec, the “lungs” of Mexico City, a much needed green space for the people of CDMX. The main attractions within the park are the Chapultepec Castle – the only castle in Mexico and the American continent, the Museum of Anthropology – considered the best museum to visit in Mexico City, the contemporary Art Museum, Museo Rufino Tamayo, and the Zoo. A whole day is easily spent exploring the lush parklands and soaking up the culture, history and key sights.
Jump back on the Metro and head south to the museum and house dedicated to Mexico’s most renowned artist, Frida Kahlo. Her house, Casa Azul, has been converted into an art gallery and museum filled with her artefacts, treasures and remarkable works. The brightly painted cobalt-blue house has 10 rooms to explore and provides a wonderful glimpse into the artist’s life.
You can’t leave the city without doing a Mezcal tasting! Mezcal is like Tequila – produced from the agave plant, however Tequila is only processed with blue agave while Mezcal uses all types of agave. The very popular Corazón de Maguey located a couple of streets away from Frida Kahlo’s museum is a great and very convenient choice. Start with the Mezcal sampling and stay for dinner, you won’t be disappointed. ¡Salud!
Strawberries being added to a Mezcal cocktail.
Other important things to know about traveling in Mexico City
Where to stay:
Central! Anywhere from Condensa to Zocalo are great options for your first time in Mexico City. You’ll be close to great restaurants and bars and within walking or metro distance to the key things to do highlighted above. If you want to meet like-minded travelers and only 2-5 minutes walk to two different Metro lines, check out Selina Mexico City Downtown.
The Metro system is a very efficient way to get around the city and per ride only costs 5 pesos (that’s USD 23 cents!). Be mindful of your belongings and you won’t have any issues. If you’re a female you can also ride in the ‘Women Only’ carriages. Alternatively, Uber is also in Mexico City and is another cheap option to get around, ideal for night times.
Mexico uses the Mexican Peso. Download XE Currency converter to your phone before your trip so you can get up-to-the-minute current conversion info.
Picking up a local sim is cheap and convenient in a big city like CDMX. Not only can you load your IG stories on the go but it’s super handy for navigation and finding places to eat when you’re out and about. Claro and Movistar are good options.
Onward travel in Mexico:
If you plan to travel around more cities in Mexico, familiarise yourself with the main bus company ADO. They have three classes of buses – ADO, ADO gl and AGO Platinum. ADO is the main class and is very comfortable for short and long journeys. ADO gl and Platinum offer more comfortable seats and amenities. Think of ADO as economy and ADO Platinum as First Class. Here’s more on the ADO buses and how to navigate to the popular surf town of Puerto Escondido by bus.