ViaHero · Updated July 11, 2019
Mexico City is bursting with things to do and see. From ancient ruins to skyscrapers, adorable neighborhoods to incredible museums, these are the 25 places you have to visit when in Mexico City in 2019.
Want to explore Mexico differently? Have a local plan your trip.
#1: Roma & Condesa: Mexico City's Hipster Heart
The adjacent Roma and Condesa neighborhoods are Mexico City's version of Williamsburg—they're hip, they're fun, and they're filled with vibrant culture and adorable shops. But whereas Williamsburg isn't exactly known for its beauty, Roma and Condesa are absolutely gorgeous—they're packed with regal Art Deco architecture and wild street art.
These two neighborhoods also offer a million choices when it comes to bars, restaurants, and coffee shops, so you'll never run out of fun things to do (or amazing things to eat). People-watch in Condesa’s enormous Parque Mexico, hop from cafe to cafe, or just grab a beer and stroll the sidewalks, popping into whatever shops or galleries strike your fancy.
Pro tip: For really excellent street food—not just tacos, but also local specialties like tlacoyos (thick corn patties filled with beans and meat) and sopes (small corn fritters covered in cheese and pico de gallo)—head to the Chilpancingo Metro stop in Condesa. The stalls across from this train station have some of the best street food in Mexico City. Just make sure to ask a Mexico City local for their recommendations before you go—the last thing you want is to miss out on real gems because you went to the wrong food stall.
#2: The Ancient Pyramids of Teotihuacan
The ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan were built by the Maya nearly 2,000 years ago—and they're just as stunning today as they were back then. While this UNESCO site is a bit outside of town, the trip there is so, so worth it. The site is more than just pyramids; it's an entire ancient city, lost in time. Check out what remains of this amazing civilization, including The Pyramid of the Sun, The Temple of Quetzalcoatl, and the eerily named “Avenue of the Dead.” Climb the pyramids, wander the jungle looking for artifacts, or simply meander the site in wonder.
#3: The Floating Gardens of Xochimilco
Mexico City's Xochimilco neighborhood is a gorgeous network of wide canals and ancient, man-made floating islands. While the Aztecs built these islands to grow crops, today they're used as massive, floating flower gardens. They can be enjoyed via trajineras—adorable, colorful riverboats that take visitors through the waters. The gardens are a serious can't miss—have your Mexico City local set you up with a reputable trajinera for the most beautiful boat ride you'll ever take.
#4: El Museo Frida Kahlo
Mexico City is filled with incredible museums (more than 150!) and Museo Frida Kahlo is among the most popular. Located in the quiet Coyoacan neighborhood, visitors can learn about Kahlo’s life and enjoy her art, ensconced in the “blue house” that she called home. If you're a fan of Frida's art or want to immerse yourself in her world, this is definitely one of the best museums to visit in Mexico City.
Pro tip: Keep in mind the museum is closed on Mondays and is open until 5:30 PM all other days.
#6: El Parnita: Mexico City's Favorite Taqueria
Tucked in Mexico City’s vibrant Roma neighborhood, El Parnita is a cute little lunch joint that offers great Mexican fare from tacos to tortas and beyond. And when we say "great Mexican fare", we mean it: El Parnita is often called "Mexico City's Favorite Taqueria". Accordingly, the place gets PACKED. Our advice: have your trip planner put a meal at El Parnita on your itinerary for when you're already in the neighborhood; that way, if it's too packed, you can keep exploring while the crowds calm down.
#6: El Palacio de Bellas Artes (The Palace of Fine Arts)
El Palacio de Bellas Artes (The Palace of Fine Arts) is more than just a beautiful face—though it does have a gorgeous face. Visitors can explore the Museum of Architecture on the top floor, attend classical music performances in its fabled concert hall, take in the amazing Diego Rivera murals in the lobby, check out the museum's extensive collection of 19th- ad 20th-century Mexican art, and ogle at the incredible Tiffany glass “curtain” in the theater. Basically, El Palacio is a one-stop-shop for amazing Mexican art and culture.
Pro tip: The Palacio's calendar is packed with special exhibitions, performances, and more. Ask your local trip planner to check out what's going on during your trip. If you're interested, they can work one into your itinerary!
#7: El Zocalo: Mexico City's main square
If you don’t want to miss out on the latest celebration, demonstration, big event, you name it—make a beeline for the Zocalo, Mexico City’s enormous public square (also known as Plaza de la Constitucion). Even on a “quiet” day, the square is packed with people, dancers, and street musicians. Plus, it’s a great starting point since a lot of Mexico City’s sites encircle the Zocalo.
#8: La Pasteleria Ideal (The Best Pastry Shop in Mexico City)
Voyagers take heed: snacking is an important part of any trip. Pasteleria Ideal has everything you could possibly want in that department, including a second floor where you can admire their elaborate, tiered wedding cakes. This pastry shop is known as the best one in Mexico City, so make sure to stop by for some authentic sweets! Don't know what to eat? Get some advice from a local on the best, most authentic pastries that you can only get in Mexico City.
#9: Chapultepec Park
Spanning nearly 1700 acres, Chapultepec Park offers more than a respite from city life: it’s filled with stuff to do! This park is packed with museums, an actual *castle*, botanical gardens, and a huge lake where visitors can rent a boat. Oh, and there’s also an amusement park. In case you weren’t already impressed.
Pro tip: Once a month, locals organize a massive evening picnic in Chapultepec's forests. Talk to your Mexico City local to find out when and how to join the party!
#10: Juarez: Mexico City's LGBT Core
Ever wanted to be the first to know about a cool part of town? Juarez is it. This once-grand neighborhood of Mexico City has seen better days, but it’s in the midst of a huge bohemian revival. Today, its Zona Rosa section is considered one of the best places for nightlife in Mexico City—and as the city’s LGBT capital. You also can’t miss checking out the street food in Juarez—you’ll find quesadillas, pambazos (sandwiches dipped in salsa and then grilled), and tons more.
Pro tip: Juarez is generally safe, but like any up-and-coming neighborhood, it pays to get some local tips and insight before visiting. Our policy: why risk it?
#11: El Murro churro shop
Let's talk churros. They're delicious, they're sweet, they're crispy, and in Mexico City, they're dipped in mugs of thick, spiced hot chocolate. And if you want authentic Mexican churro goodness, El Murro is the place to go. This iconic churro shop is one of the city’s favorite spots for a hot, fresh churro and a cup of hot chocolate. Best part? El Murro is open twenty-four hours (so it's perfect for a late-night snack after a few tequilas).
#12: El Centro Historico
Mexico City’s historic center (aka Centro Historico) is packed with museums, Spanish colonial buildings, and iconic sights like the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Aztec Templo Mayor. It's no wonder why Centro Historico is a UNESCO Heritage site; with so many amazing things to see—not to mention the amazing Alameda Central Park just next door—it’s easy to spend an afternoon wandering through history here.
Pro tip: Talk to your local about creating a custom walking tour of Centro Historico—it’s the best way to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the best spots (and to make sure you don't get stuck going anywhere that isn't worth it).
#13: Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral)
This enormous cathedral borders the Zocalo, and though building started on it in 1567, it wasn’t completed until more than two hundred years later, in 1788. The lengthy construction process resulted in an eclectic mix of architectural styles and a tragic connection to Mexico's pre-Hispanic past: the cathedral is made of stones taken from the destroyed Aztec temple just next door. It is, in a word, amazing. Although not exactly one of Mexico City’s non-touristy things to do, it’s nevertheless well-worth a visit.
#13: The Templo Mayor Museum
The ancient Aztecs had specific instructions from a higher power: build a city where an eagle stands upon a cactus, with a snake in its mouth.* It wasn’t until 1978 that this ancient city (called Tenochtitlan) was rediscovered; Mexico City was literally built on top of it after the Spaniards arrived and destroyed it. Conquistadors, man.
Today, Templo Mayor (roughly translated as the high temple) is a stunning archeological site and museum, which visitors can explore for just 70 pesos—less than four dollars. With so much bang for your buck, this is among the best things to do in Mexico City. Like the cathedral next door, Templo Mayor is also located along the Zocalo in Centro Historico.
*(Sound familiar? Today, this is Mexico’s coat of arms).
#14: Plaza Garibaldi
Plaza Garibaldi is one of the best places in the city to hear some classic mariachi music. A short walk north from the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Plaza Garibaldi is surrounded by tons of nearby restaurants, bars, and museums (making for a happening part of town). Keep in mind that while Mexico City is safe on the whole, this part of town can get dodgy at night.
#15: El Museo del Tequila y Mezcal
Visitors who came to Mexico chasing their love of tequila will definitely want to stop in at the Museo del Tequila y el Mezcal—and so will everyone else! Take the museum tour (it includes samples!) to give yourself an immersive education on the history and production of tequila and mezcal, two of Mexico's favorite spirits. The tour ends on the museum’s rooftop, which affords a gorgeous look at Plaza Garibaldi below and a chance to enjoy mariachi music from afar.
Pro tip: Although caution should be exercised in Plaza Garibaldi at night, the museum is open late, until 10 PM or midnight depending on the day.
#16: The Charming Coyoacan Neighborhood
Don’t be deceived: just because El Coyoacan is among the quieter of Mexico City’s neighborhoods *does not* mean there’s nothing to do. Obviously, there’s Frida Kahlo, but don’t leave without checking out the iconic Vivero Coyoacan (one of Mexico’s national parks) or sampling street food at the Mercado de Coyoacan (a classic Mexico City market—youy *must* try the tostadas).
#17: El Museo Soumaya
Man, there are so many awesome museums in Mexico City, but Museo Soumaya could top any—especially since it’s totally free to visit.
It’s impossible for Museo Soumaya to escape notice; nestled in Mexico City’s Polanco neighborhood, the outside of this building glitters with silver scales in the bright Mexican sun. The inside is just as incredible. It includes 60,000+ pieces of art, including a huge collection of Rodin sculptures, as well as a ton of art by Mexican artists like Diego Rivera.
Pro tip: Museo Soumaya is closed on Tuesdays.
#18: El Palacio Nacional
The Palacio Nacional, where the president works, is more than a stunning piece of architecture located along the Zocalo. Free to enter, visitors can explore its museums, beautiful courtyards, and rooms filled with period furniture. The biggest draw? The vibrant Diego Rivera murals on the second floor.
#19: El Torre Latinoamericana Skyscraper
One of the cool things about Mexico City is that it’s such a combination of old and new. Torre Latinoamericana is an example of this contrast—a skyscraper next to ancient ruins. Once the tallest building in Latin America, it’s still the tallest building in Centro Historico. Climb to the observation deck for a truly jaw-dropping look at Mexico City from above. Want to know how to get to the top? Ask your local—they'll help you figure it out.
#20: The Post Polanco Neighborhood
Wondering where to eat in Mexico City? You can’t really go wrong with… anywhere. But that being said, Polanco is a great place to start. Some of the world’s best restaurants are nestled in this neighborhood. And Polanco is more than just food: visitors will find tons of great markets, shopping, and parks—even a park named for Abraham Lincoln!
#21: El Monumento de la Revolucion
The Monumento de la Revolucion looks like the Arc de Triomphe—but bigger. The monument, which commemorates the revolution that liberated Mexico from Spain, is more than what meets the eye. Check out the National Museum of the Revolution, take a glass elevator to the top to take in sweeping views, or descend to the crypts to pay respects to Mexico’s revolutionary heroes.
Pro tip: Adjacent to the San Rafael neighborhood, this is a great spot for a sunset photo.
#22: San Rafael: Mexico City’s soon-to-be coolest neighborhood
Like the nearby Juarez neighborhood, San Rafael has seen better days. But it’s in the midst of a grand revival and is perfect for those who want to explore non-touristy areas of Mexico City. Less popular than Roma and Condesa, there are still tons of great bars, restaurants, and art galleries to check out here.
Pro tip: Although it’s a bit off the beaten-path, San Rafael is still safe. Exercise normal caution—just like anywhere else. Or, chat with a local about best safety practices. Then, ask about finding comida corrida (basically Mexican tapas) in San Rafael’s wonderful neighborhood market, Mercado San Cosme.
#24: The Historic Bar La Opera (Pancho Villa's Favorite)
La Opera originally opened in the 1870s, and that’ll be clear the moment you walk in the door. Order a good tequila, and ask the bartender to point out where Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa once shot a hole in the ceiling. Oh yeah, it's that kind of place.
#25: El Museo Nacional de Antropologia
Among all of Mexico City’s spectacular museums, the Museo de Antropologia is the shining star. Visitors could easily spend an entire day exploring Mexico’s largest and most visited museum. With 22 rooms covering Mexico’s pre-Hispanic past, there’s a ton to take in. Literally— there are millions of archeological pieces to check out. Plus, the museum’s beautiful architecture is a reason in itself to stop by.
Pro tip: The Museo Nacional de Antropologia is also closed on Mondays.
Ready to book your dream trip to Mexico City? We thought so. To make sure you don't miss a single gem, have a Mexico City local help plan your trip. They'll help you build an itinerary full of the most amazing stuff Mexico City has to offer, all tailored to your interests, budget, and travel style. After all, why would you see Mexico City like a tourist when you could see it through a local's eyes?
Any questions about how it works? Send us a message. And don't forget to check out:
- Connect With a Local to Plan Your Trip
- The Ultimate Mexico City Travel Guide 2019
- Flights to Mexico City: Everything You Need to Know
- 2019 Mexico City Travel FAQs
- The Best Time to Visit Mexico City
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