Located at an elevation of 7,382 feet, Mexico City is the country's largest and most populous city. Known for its anthropological history, this high-altitude capital is revamping its image with its entrepreneurial spirit and exploding culinary scene. Whether exploring ancient ruins, eating at gourmet restaurants, or watching lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) matches, there is something for everyone. It is an increasingly popular weekend destination spot for travelers from the United States, and the itinerary below can give you a starting point on how to spend your time there.

LONG WEEKEND ITINERARY

FRIDAY

  • Spend the day exploring Teotihuacan — a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is about an hour away from Mexico City. You can get there by going with a tour group, taking a bus, or via private vehicle. The entrance fee is 80 pesos which is $3-4 USD. The main attractions include Pyramid of the Sun, Avenue of the Dead, Pyramid of the Moon, Palace of Quetzlpapalotl, and Temple of Quetzalcoatl. Try to climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun as early in the day before temperatures get very hot.  
  • If you want, grab a late lunch at La Gruta which is a restaurant inside a cave. It has a very unique atmosphere, but we found the food to be fairly average. We probably spent 5-6 hours in Teotihuacan, but you can definitely spend more time exploring.
  • In the evening, once you are back in Mexico City, head to the Roma Norte neighborhood. Grab dinner in Mercado Roma and hit up some of the bars in the area to get a taste of the nightlife. Stop by Mama Rumba to dance the night away to salsa music — check to see what times they offer salsa lessons.


SATURDAY

  • Start of your second day by taking a walking tour of the Zocalo/Centro area which starts at 11:00am and is approximately 2.5 hours long. The tour will take you several landmarks including the Metropolitan Cathedral, National Palace, Templo Mayor, Iglesia de Santo Domingo, Bellas Artes, Alameda Central, Teatro de la Ciudad, Colegio de San Ildefonso, and more.
  • After the tour, grab lunch and head to the Ciudadela Market — a traditional market where you can find Mexican handcrafts and folk art. This is a great place to pick up some souvenirs. Be sure to take out some cash prior to visiting the market.
  • Spend the late afternoon visiting Chapultepec Castle and wandering around Bosque de Chapultepec (park). There are several food and drink vendors sprinkled throughout the park — stop by one to try some local snacks. Often compared to NYC’s Central Park, Bosque de Chapultepec has a zoo, botanical garden, lake, museums, and several monuments.
  • Stop by a mezcalaria in the evening for mezcal tasting. We visited La Mil Amores Mezcalaria. Some other options include La Botica, Los Amantes, and Alipús Endémico. Afterwards, grab dinner at Fonda Fina or Pujol — make a reservation in advance.

SUNDAY

  • Head to the Frida Kahlo Museum (Casa Azul) first thing in the morning. It typically opens at 10:00am. Try to buy tickets online beforehand to ensure a smooth visit.
  • Spend 1-2 hours in the museum and then head to the nearby Coyoacan Market for lunch — be sure to check out the Tostadas de Coyoacán stall to try their famous tostadas with various toppings. We also got chilaquiles from the market that were really good. Walk around Coyoacan, stopping by the Mercado Artesanal Mexicano and Plaza Hidalgo.
  • In the afternoon, you can check out the affluent Polanca neighborhood. Walk along Avenida Presidente Masaryk and visit the Soumaya Museum or Museum of Anthropology.
  • If you are interested in watching a Mexican wrestling match, head to Arena México to watch a lucha libre Some of Mexico's most famous luchadores fight here. You can purchase tickets at the door or online using Ticketmaster. Luchas are hosted here every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday.

LOGISTICS

VISA REQUIREMENTS

US and Canadian citizens do not need a visa for stays in Mexico under 180 days, however, they must have a valid passport at time of entry. Citizens of India visiting Mexico for tourism or business also do not require a visa as long as they hold a valid US visa, or have permanent resident status in Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, or Schengen countries. Please refer to your country's official resources to determine your visa requirements.

LANGUAGE & CURRENCY

Even though Spanish is the most widely spoken language in Mexico, the government does not recognize it as Mexico's official language. This is because they want to promote the country's many indigenous languages that are at a threat of extinction. Visitors can get away with speaking English and some common Spanish phrases in tourist-heavy areas. With regards to currency, as of September 2020, $1 USD = 20.97 Mexican Pesos. Many establishments take credit cards, but be sure to keep some cash handy as some small vendors and food stalls may not accept credit card.

GETTING AROUND

Traveling around Mexico City by Uber and taxi was fairly easy and safe in the tourist-heavy areas. We used these two options as our primary mode of transportation while we were in Mexico City. We chose to take a bus to Teotihuacan and did not have any issues. We found that knowing some Spanish helped us navigate our way through the ticket counter and to the correct bus. You can also rent a car at the airport if you wish to have easy access to a vehicle throughout the duration of your trip.

WHERE TO STAY

We were told to stay in the Roma Norte, Condesa, or Polanco neighborhoods as they are all safe and near a lot of shopping and restaurants. Travel + Leisure has a great guide detailing some of the neighborhoods visitors should considering staying in depending on the type of experience they are seeking. The guide also includes hotel recommendations.

HIGHLIGHTS

FRIDA KAHLO MUSEUM

Spend a few hours exploring the family home of Frida Kahlo in Coyoacán, which was turned into a museum in 1958. Known as Casa Azul, or the Blue House, the museum showcases some of her most important works as well as some of her personal belongings. If you decide not to purchase a ticket to the Frida Kahlo Museum in advance, I suggest planning your visit to be the first activity of the day. Plan to arrive at the museum 45-60 minutes before opening time to stand in line as the line grows very fast and is there is usually a long wait time throughout the day.

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MERCADO ROMA

Mercado Roma is a gourmet food hall in the Roma Norte neighborhood that is a fun take on the traditional markets found throughout the city. You can spend time tasting various wines and artisanal cheeses, or pick up a few tapas and small plates from different vendors and find a spot at the communal tables stationed in the back of the food hall. With so many options available, everyone is sure to find something to satisfy their cravings.

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RESTAURANT SPOTLIGHT: FONDA FINA

If you’re looking for a nice, delicious meal that won’t break the bank, head to Fonda Fina where chef Juan Cabrera Barron is putting a spin on traditional Mexican dishes using fresh, local ingredients. The food was delicious and the space was very warm and inviting. Some of our favorite dishes included their crema poblana and peneques rellenos de queso.

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