ViaHero · Updated March 22, 2019
Don’t settle for the common tourist traps. On your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Mexico City, dive into the city’s true beauty and discover the best non-touristy things to do in Mexico’s vibrant capital. Any questions? Feel free to message us!
Want to explore Mexico differently? Have a local
Check out Mexico City’s rising graffiti artists
From massive murals on skyscrapers to intricate, small tags on doors, Mexico City overflows with incredible street art.
- Make sure to find works by avant-garde artists like Sofia Castellanos and AEC.
- Up-and-coming art collectives gather in the burgeoning art districts of Mexico City, like the Buena Vista Corridor of Art, which tend to be more well-known among locals than tourists.
- These areas are easily accessible by the CDMX metro lines, which actually are home to Mexico City’s artistic treasures like the Space Tunnel and the Talisman mammoth.
- You have to know where to find the best street art, so we'd recommend talking to a Mexico City local.
Eat at the quaint pastry shops
Visitors who go off-the-beaten-path searching for sweets will reap the rewards in Mexico City. Enjoy staple sweets like churros, flan, and sopapillas without waiting in unending lines or dealing with overly-loud tourists.
- Quieter side streets of chic neighborhoods like Colonia Roma are home to some of Mexico City’s tastiest treats.
- For tea time and pastries, try Casa Tassel’s mix of French and Mexican flavors.
- Some patisseries like Fournier Rousseau are only a few years old but are well-loved among locals, especially for pan de
muertoand hot chocolate on the Day of the Dead.
- Try going to these bakeries either right when they open or toward the middle of the day, when most locals are at work—you’re much more likely to find seating in these small shops.
Enjoy the local eateries
Mexico City is a culinary haven for chefs from around the world, but that doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot to enjoy authentic cuisine. Especially if visitors stick to street-food favorites and small restaurants, meals generally add up to max $15 a day—another reason why eating your way through town is one of the best things to do in Mexico City.
- For just a few pesos, dig into the savory
cochinta pibilat El Turix or the tiny but flavorful tacos of Los Cocuyos (also a well-known hangover cure).
- Don’t be afraid to try the dishes that Mexico City is known for, like chilaquiles (an extraordinarily delicious breakfast food).
- Many of Mexico City's neighborhoods are known for their own culinary specialties. Ask a local trip planner to point you to the best ones.
Hang at the coffee shops
Mexico City’s well-known coffee shops like Chiquitito Cafe and Borola Cafe tend to make must-visit lists on a regular basis—for good reason, as their nuanced flavors and late-night hours give big names like Starbucks a run for their money. However, it’s rewarding to be open to different options off the American-influenced hipster scene.
- To explore Mexico City’s up-and-coming coffee scene, consider shopping small at cafes in more residential areas like Juarez or Polanco.
- Cafes are often tucked into other businesses, like Distrito Fijó Club de Ciclismo, which is situated in a bike repair shop.
- It’s always a good idea to know some coffee lingo before you go—especially when reviewing the menu, so you can tell if coffee is locally-sourced from regions like Chiapas and Veracruz.
Explore Pequeño Seul
- The piece-de-resistance of Pequeno Seul is by far Coffee Kkot, home to Mexico City’s tastiest Korean pastries.
- For fantastic (and inexpensive) bibimbap try the hole-in-the-wall Na De Fo, one of Little Seoul’s family-owned hidden gems.
Walk the Old Toy Museum of Mexico City
With four floors absolutely overflowing with vintage Mexican toys, Mexico City’s Old Toy Museum (MUJAM) looks like a place that Stephen King dreamed up.
- Before viewing rather bizarre collections like Space-Age astronaut figures and antique Lucha libre dolls, ask for the speakeasy password at the front desk—the only way to enter the secret rooftop bar.
- The definition of non-touristy, the Old Toy Museum is one of the only museums open on Monday in Mexico City. Due to the fact that it looks like a normal house on the outside, the museum can be a little difficult to find.
Marvel at the mummies at Museo del Carmen
Originally a Carmelite school for boys, Museo del Carmen now houses 12 mummies of former church supporters. While the museum is more focused on colonial-era art than the mummies, visitors are guaranteed a spine-tingling experience when coming face-to-face with these once-abandoned corpses.
- A visit to the mummies, surrounding gardens, and artistic treasures is only around $4 USD.
Dance Salsa at Mama Rumba
Mexico City’s nightlife keeps growing thanks to world-renowned clubs like Mama Rumba, one of Mexico City’s hottest salsa clubs. A favorite local spot, Mama Rumba is also very welcoming of international guests, and seasoned salsa pros even offer free salsa lessons on entry.
- Food and drink can be a little on the pricey side, but the unforgettable salsa experience is invaluable.
Watch a Futbol game at Estadio Azteca
No trip to Mexico City is complete without seeing a professional
- While some visitors tour Estadio Azteca during the day, the real, not-to-be-missed experience is at a
futbolgame. With over 80,000 seats, it’s totally possible to blend in with the local crowd and cheer on Mexico’s pro futbolteams. Either way, it's one of those places in Mexico City you absolutely have to see.
- Get tickets ahead of time—especially for big-name games, tickets sell out quickly. Ask a local how.
There are so many activities to choose from in Mexico City, it'll be hard to choose. So if you need more help deciding (and making sure you don't miss out on the *real* Mexico City attractions), have a local travel expert who lives there help plan your trip. And if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out! Also, before your trip, be sure to check out:
- Connect With a Local to Plan Your Trip
- Travel to Mexico City: The 2019 Guide
- The Best Things to Do in Mexico City 2019
- Mexico City Travel FAQs
- Is Mexico City Safe?
- Tipping in Mexico City
- What to Do in Mexico City 2019
- Contact Us