ViaHero · April 26, 2019
To ensure that your trip to Mexico City is seamless and fun, follow these 15 Mexico City travel tips. We go over best practices for using money, getting around town, what to pack, and much more! Still have questions? Send us a message!
Want to explore Mexico differently? Have a local plan your trip.
Tip #1: Buy Plenty of Bottled Water
This is Mexico City 101: Don’t Drink the Water. Seriously guys, it’s not safe to drink, and even the locals avoid it. If you don’t want your Mexico City travels marred by Montezuma’s Revenge, then be sure to buy bottles of water. They’re everywhere in Mexico City and big bottles are cheap—usually about a dollar. To be extra safe, use it to brush your teeth, too.
Tip #2: Set Up Your Phone for Use in Mexico
Having a phone that works in Mexico City is awesome. With roaming data you can easily share your adventures on Instagram and Facebook, call an Uber after a long night out, and confidently navigate the city streets.
The good news is you may already have a phone plan that’s set up for roaming in Mexico. Check with your carrier. If this isn’t already included in your plan, you can add it for a couple of dollars a day. Believe us—it’s worth it!
Tip #3: Don’t Rely on Your Credit Card
Although some places in Mexico City do take cards (mostly big tourist attractions and hotels) it’s much easier to carry cash. This is especially true given the exchange rate—prices in Mexico City are favorable to American travelers. You want to try Mexico City’s famous street food, right? (the correct answer is: YES!) Have pesos in your pocket.
So when you travel to Mexico City, be sure to withdraw cash. Do this from the ATM at the airport or inside banks. These are safer than kiosks you may find on the street.
Tip #4: Take Uber to Get Around
The easiest way to get around Mexico City is to use Uber. Mexico City is safe, but it’s like any big city—be aware, use caution, and call an Uber when the night is over.
The Mexico City metro is a good option too. However, it can get crowded and it’s a prime target for pickpockets. During the day it’s pretty safe. At night, however, it’s a better idea to take an Uber.
Whatever you do, avoid the taxis. Mexico City has struggled with taxi scams and other problems, so it’s best just to steer clear.
Tip #5: Try the Street Food
No matter where you want to eat in Mexico City, you’ll find great options. But at the top of our list is Mexico City’s incredible street food. Tacos al pastor were created in Mexico City! With tamales, elotes, tlacoyos, and more constantly simmering on carts around the city, how can you resist?
Street food is generally safe. Just be sure to choose vendors with large crowds, as this ensures a high turnover rate and local loyalty.
Tip #6: Don’t Forget to Tip
No, you do need to tip in Mexico City. For good service at a restaurant, a 10% tip is standard. For excellent service, anything between 15–20% is acceptable.
Pro tip: It’s not required to tip when you get street food, but it is appreciated. You can give back the change to make things easy.
Tip #7: Learn Some Basic Spanish
You don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to get around Mexico City, but knowing some basic words and phrases will go a long way. Mexicans will appreciate it if you greet them with a simple hola (hello) and if you are gracious with gracias (thank you).
Tip #8: Dress in Layers
There’s no bad time to visit Mexico City. The temperature usually hovers between sixty and eighty degrees. But it can get chilly at night, which means that layers are the name of the game. Translation: you don’t need a visa to go to Mexico City—just a versatile jacket!
Tip #9: Explore the Neighborhoods (But Know Which Ones to Avoid)
Mexico City is full of incredible neighborhoods. One of the best parts of visiting this dynamic city is exploring what each one has to offer. No matter where you decide to stay in Mexico City, it’s still fun to explore elsewhere. Roma, Condesa, and Polanco are often top-choices for visitors, but Juarez, San Rafael, and Coyoacan have their own special appeal.
Just like in any city, there are a few neighborhoods that should be avoided. Steer clear of Doctores, Tepito, Iztapalapa, and Ciudad Neza (and talk to a Mexico City local for more insider safety tips).
Tip #10: Skip the Travel Agencies
It may be tempting to use a travel agency when going to Mexico City. But honestly, they can be expensive and inflexible. There are better ways to have a truly authentic stay in Mexico City. A Mexico City-based trip planner will know the city much better, and they can help design a custom itinerary that suits your travel style.
Tip #11: Check out the Main Tourist Attractions…
There are tons of truly amazing tourist attractions in Mexico City. Between ancient pyramids, active archeological sites, and tons of fantastic museums, there’s a lot to see. The big sites are a thrill, and definitely worth checking out.
Tip #12: ...But Leave Space for Off-the-Beaten-Path Sights
The big sites are great, but there are also tons of non-touristy things to do in Mexico City to spice up your itinerary. Don’t miss out on the more unusual things to see in Mexico City: weird museums, obscure landmarks, and secret spots for delicious tacos.
Tip #13: Keep Under Budget (Know the Free Stuff to Do!)
So many of Mexico City’s must-see sights are free, which makes budgeting a breeze. Between free museums, cheap street food, and an advantageous exchange rate, traveling to Mexico City doesn’t have to break the bank.
Tip #14: Take a Day Trip!
We definitely encourage getting out of the city and exploring some of the awesome sights nearby. Check out Mexico City’s most distant neighborhoods (gems like San Angel and Xochimilco) and take a few hours to explore sights further away, like the incredible Pyramids of Teotihuacan and the colorful town of Puebla.
Tip #15: Get Help From a Local for a Truly Authentic Experience
Mexico City is an incredible destination. But it’s easy to skate on the surface without really discovering the heart of this tremendous city. For a truly authentic experience, enlist a Mexico City trip planner to help. They’ll make sure you hit up the best bars, restaurants, and sights—and they’ll definitely have suggestions for spots that only the locals know.
Hopefully these 15 Mexico City travel tips will help make your trip to Mexico City an absolute blast! To get past the tourist layer of Mexico City, get in touch with a Mexico City local for help building your dream itinerary—they’ll also be available to answer questions during your trip, which is super helpful if you run into any problems. If you have any questions, send us a message! And be sure to check out:
- Connect With a Local to Plan Your Trip
- Mexico City Travel: The Ultimate 2019 Guide
- The Mexico City Landmarks You Can’t Miss
- 25 Places You Need to Visit in Mexico City
- Solo Travel in Mexico City: Everything You Need to Know
- Mexico City Travel FAQ 2019
- The Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Mexico City
- Contact Us