Planning to spend 3 days in Mexico City and wondering what to do, see, and eat? This 3 day Mexico City itinerary is perfect for first timers, and will help you experience all the best that this vibrant city has to offer!
Mexico City is definitely a city that surprised me. If I were to be completely honest, I hadn’t even considered going to Mexico City until fairly recently – my perception of the city, like many others, was that it was dirty, crowded, and dangerous.
But when I kept hearing that it was the new “hip” place to go, I was intrigued – and when I came across a cheap flight, I pulled the trigger and immediately planned a trip. And since then, I’ve been back three times.
When I first arrived, I was smitten. Sure it is crowded and busy (it is a HUGE city with over 20 million people calling it home), but it is beautiful, with its colonial architecture and abundance of green spaces throughout the city.
Add to that a bustling culinary scene, and its focus on arts and culture (Mexico City has the most museums in the world, with over 150), and I fell in love.
Mexico City is giant and there is so much to do that it can be hard to narrow down what spots to hit up. But I’ve done all the work for you – here are my top picks for what to do, see, and eat in Mexico City in 3 days!
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Things to Know Before Your 3 Days in Mexico City
When to Visit Mexico City
Temperatures in Mexico City are generally mild year-round, with temperatures rarely falling above 80 degrees or below 55 degrees. This means that any time of the year is a good time to go to Mexico City.
October through May is the dry season. The winter months can get chilly, but daytime highs still stay pretty mild, still making it an ideal time to visit. My first time in the city, I visited in late November and still found the weather to be relatively pleasant, with highs hovering around the high 60s/low 70s in the daytime. It did get cold at night though, so definitely bring a jacket!
The spring months (March-May) are considered to be an excellent to visit Mexico City . This is when you’ll find sunny, mild days, with highs averaging around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll also see the city in bloom, making it a beautiful time to visit!
Keep in mind that June through September is the rainy season. You should expect some rainfall at least once a day, although this usually only lasts an hour or two.
However, do note there can be extended periods of torrential downpours and thunderstorms. This was the case during my last visit to Mexico City and while it led to some hilarious moments (like hiding in the tiniest ATM room ever to wait for an Uber, and getting caught in a thunderstorm at the Frida Kahlo Museum), I wish we were more prepared for the rain.
When considering what to wear in Mexico City, remember to pack a light rain jacket if visiting during the rainy season (here’s the one I have, which is also easy to just throw in your bag)! You may also consider packing a collapsible travel umbrella as well.
Arriving in Mexico City
Most visitors arrive via the Benito Juarez International Airport, which sits on the eastern part of the city, about 5 kilometers from the center. It is served by many international airlines with flights to and from most major cities in the world.
While there are several options for getting into the city center, I highly recommend calling an Uber (or Didi, which works similarly) as the easiest and most convenient option. I’ve found that an Uber X ride into the city is the fastest and easiest way to get into the city, and still very affordable at ~200 pesos (~$12 USD), although this can go up or down depending on traffic and demand. Uber pickups occur at the curb outside baggage claim at arrivals. Just type in your terminal and door number when you request your ride.
If you are on a budget, you can also take the Metrobus 4 line, which costs 30 pesos and runs out of both Terminal 1 and 2. An even cheaper option is to take the Mexico City metro, which costs 5 pesos.
Getting Around During Your Mexico City 3 Day Itinerary
Mexico City is one of the largest cities in Latin America, so one thing to keep in mind is that it is HUGE at 573 square miles. Not only that, it is also one of the most populated cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people.
Put those things together and know that getting around during the city can be a bit of a challenge – it is very spread out, and traffic is notoriously bad. But seriously, I grew up in LA and the traffic here makes LA traffic look like child’s play! I would highly advise against renting a car and driving, as this will cause more headaches than save you time.
When planning out your 3 day Mexico City itinerary, definitely factor in transit time. Sometimes getting from point A to point B can take well over an hour, even though they are only a few miles apart!
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are some options for getting around the city:
Uber/Didi: Honestly, you can’t go wrong with the ease or convenience of taking Uber (or Did, which works similarly) all around the city. During all my visits to Mexico City, I’ve relied on Uber as my primary method to get around. Cars are plentiful, and rides are fairly expensive – most rides cost me around 100-150 pesos (~$6-9 USD), even if I was getting from one end of the city to the other in heavy traffic.
For me, it is the perfect option because you can type in your exact destination and avoid any confusion, even with a language barrier.
Metro: If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, Mexico City has a fairly extensive (and cheap) Metro system that is highly developed, modern, and efficient. It’s also CHEAP – the fare is only 5 pesos (or around 30 cents USD)!
I’ve never gotten around to taking the metro (Uber is just, well, *uber* convenient hahah), but several of my friends have and have all said that it is very clean, efficient, and safe.
Do note that trains can get uncomfortably crowded during rush hour (roughly 7:30am to 10am and 3pm to 8pm), so avoid taking the metro during those times if you can. Also keep a close watch on your belongings – pickpocketing is unfortunately an issue, especially during busy times.
Taxi: Honestly, Uber is so convenient in Mexico City that I’d recommend it over a taxi. If you do decide to take a cab, make sure it’s an official one! These are designated by a bright pink and white color.
Hop-on, Hop-off Bus: These red double-decker Turibus, or tourist bus, are a fun way to get around the city! They also offer commentary in eight different languages, with stops at 20 of the most popular sights and attractions in the city.
Safety in Mexico City
Mexico City is often misperceived as a dangerous city, however, many people are surprised at how safe it is in reality. If you look at the list of cities with the highest homicides in the world, Mexico City is not even in the top 50. And, it’s got the same travel advisory (Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution) as several of the most visited countries in Europe, such as Spain, France, and Italy. However, do check before your trip to keep abreast of the current situation as things can change.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t take precautions and always be aware of your surroundings. Pickpocketing is a major concern here, so take caution with your belongings, especially in crowded, tourist-heavy areas, such as in Centro Historico, or on the Metro. Getting a money belt or anti-theft purse may be a good idea.
As with any major city, there are also definitely areas that you should not venture into. Some of these areas include Tepito, Ciudad Neza, and Iztapalapa. Some of these sketchy areas stand right next to the tourist-centric neighborhoods, so watch where you’re going and take caution to not accidentally walk into these areas.
I will say that even as a solo female traveler, I felt relatively safe in Mexico City. However, as with any solo trip, please use caution and common sense – don’t walk around late at night, don’t go anywhere with strangers, don’t drink too much, always watch your surroundings.
And as always, exercise common sense at all times.
A few more things to keep in mind…
- Elevation: What many people don’t realize is that Mexico City stands at over 7000 feet altitude – that’s almost 2000 feet higher than Denver! I didn’t realize this until I first arrived in the city and found myself huffing and puffing my way up stairs more than usual. Most people should be fine, but those who are sensitive to high altitude should carry some altitude medication.
- Air quality: Mexico City has a reputation for having some notoriously bad air quality, and well, that part holds true. This is due to the city’s high elevation and location on an extinct volcano, combined with pollution. If you find yourself sensitive to this, carry along a mask.
- Language: English is not as commonly spoken here as in other parts of Mexico (like Puerto Vallarta or Cancun), so it is definitely useful to learn a few basic Spanish phrases to get around. However, most hotels, attractions, and restaurants that are frequented by tourists are staffed with people who speak some English.
- Currency: The local currency is the Mexican Peso. With the current exchange rate, 1 Peso is just under 5 cents USD. A conversion I like to keep in my head is that 100 Pesos is around $6 USD. I suggest keeping some cash on hand for smaller purchases (i.e. street vendors). However, many restaurants and shops also take credit cards, I always get some cash.
- Tipping: It is customary to add 10-20% for tips in restaurants (although some establishments include a “propina,” or service charge, so check your bill), and 20-40 pesos ($1-2 USD) per round of drinks.
- Tap water: The tap water is not safe to drink in Mexico City. Most tourist frequented accommodations and restaurants serve filtered water, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if you aren’t sure,
Where to Stay in Mexico City
Mexico City has an abundance of accommodation options to suit your preferences and budget, from boutique hotels, to Airbnbs, to trendy hostels.
For the sake of this 3 day Mexico City itinerary, I recommend the following neighborhoods: Roma, Condesa, and Polanco. The Centro Historico also isn’t a *bad* place to stay as it has tons of options, but it can get a bit crazy there (and sometimes sketch at night), so I’d recommend the other three options instead.
Here are some of the properties I’ve stayed at on my previous visits to Mexico City:
- Casa Decu: I stayed here on my most recent visit to CDMX, and loved it! This cute boutique hotel is situated in the heart of Condesa, with a modern design, comfortable rooms, and the most beautiful rooftop deck. We booked a suite for around $200 a night, and it was super spacious and perfect for us three girls!
- Casa Lomah : I stayed at this centrally-located boutique hotel when it was called Chaya B&B. The owners have changed, but it’s still got similar vibes and decor. The beautifully decorated property is like an oasis in the middle of the bustling historic center, with greenery and succulent details everywhere.The rooms are not fancy, but are stylishly decorated and comfortable.
- Hotel Carlota: This stylish boutique hotel is located in the up-and-coming Colonia Juarez neighborhood, which borders La Condesa and Roma Norte. The hip, design-centric property also features a beautiful courtyard and pool area, along with a bar and restaurant, which is known to be delicious (I did not personally have time to eat there, though). The rooms aren’t anything special and can be a bit noisy, but you’re basically staying here for the vibes and the pool.
Mexico City in 3 Days: the Perfect Itinerary
Mexico City Itinerary: Day 1
MORING: Centro Historico and the Zocalo
Start your 3 days in Mexico City itinerary at the Centro Historico. This is the heart of the city, and where you can find many historical attractions, which has given it UNESCO World Heritage status. The Centro Historico is clustered around the Zocalo, or the central square.
I found that just walking around in the area gives you a good feel for the area, and to see the top sights. Admittedly, it gets crazy busy here and lacks charm, but it is home to several important landmarks, and is a good introduction to the city. Still, I wouldn’t spend more than half a day here.
Here are some sites to check out in the Centro Historico:
- Zocalo: Always bustling with energy, the Zocalo has been a central gathering place in the city since Aztec times. Even today, it hosts many events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and political demonstrations. The Zocalo is surrounded by 9000 buildings, of which over 1500 have been declared to be of historical significance. It’s also your chance to snap a photo with the iconic CDMX sign!
- Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana): One of the city’s oldest and most iconic buildings, the Catedral Metropolitana stands right off the Zocalo and is Latin America’s oldest and largest cathedral. Construction of the cathedral began in 1573, but it was a work in progress during the entire colonial period; the finished architectural masterpiece towers 65 meters high and 109 meters wide. The interior, which is free to visit, is as ornate as the Baroque and Neo-Renaissance facade, with gold details throughout.
- Templo Mayor: Before the Spanish conquest of the city, Mexico City was known as the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. The Templo Mayor was the main temple for the city, and had two shrines on top of the pyramid that paid tribute to Huitzilopochtli, god of war, and Tlaloc, god of rain and agriculture. Construction began in the 14th century, and was rebuilt six times. While it was destroyed by the Spaniards to build the nearby Cathedral, you can still see the ruins of the old temple today, and the museum gives insight into the temple and its civilization.
- Palacio de Bellas Artes: One of the most iconic buildings in Mexico City, The Palacio de Bellas Artes has a beautiful Art Nouveau exterior boasting a stunning yellow domed roof. It is a cultural center that houses a theater, concert hall, and museum, along with a number of murals by prominent Mexican artists. That domed Art-deco style roof is stunning. Most people admire the building from the outside, but there’s also a museum inside. It’s also home of the acclaimed Ballet Folkorico – seeing a performance here is supposed to be a memorable experience!
- Palacio Postal: You may be wondering why I included a post office on this Mexico City 3 day itinerary, but trust me – one look inside and you’ll see exactly why! Built in 1907, the Palacio Postal has a stunning lobby with ornate bronze staircases and opulent lampposts. It’s quite a sight and one well worth seeing!
- Casa de los Azulejos: The Casa de los Azulejos (or “house of tiles”) was an 18th century palace built by the Count del Valle de Orizaba family, but today is the flagship location of the restaurant chain Sanborns. Even if you don’t eat there, it’s worth stopping by to admire and snap a photo of the beautiful exterior adorned with azulejos tiles (similar to the ones you see in Porto, Portugal).
- Biblioteca Vasconcelos: This one isn’t walkable from the rest of the attractions listed above, but is worth a stop for book lovers. The Biblioteca Vasconcelos is one of the coolest looking libraries in the world, with stacks of geometric, futuristic-looking shelves hanging from above. It almost looks like something out of a Sci-Fi movie. If you come, I recommend coming on a sunny day – we came on an overcast day and it looked a bit drab without any sunshine streaming through the windows.
- Cafe Don Porfirio: This is the cafe that is located on the top floor of the Sears Department store, and known for its iconic view of the Palacio de Bellas Artes. You’ll get the perfect view of the Palacio and be able to capture that iconic yellow roof in all its glory. It can get busy here, so I recommend coming right at opening (11am) to stake out a good spot. Grab yourself a drink and enjoy the view!
Coyoacan was one of my favorites in Mexico City. Known for its artsy, bohemian vibe, the neighborhood is full of charming squares and colorful facades. It’s most famous for being home of the Frida Kahlo Museum (more on that below), but if you can spare the time, I highly recommend taking an hour or two to wander around here.
One recommended stop is the Mercado de Coyoacan, a vibrant, two-story market with everything from food stalls, handicrafts, art clothing, and more. It’s the perfect place to stop in for a quick lunch, and to pick up some unique gifts to bring home.
Casa Azul/Frida Kahlo Museum
Arguably the most popular museum in Mexico City, the Museo Frida Kahlo is dedicated to the life and works of the famous Mexican artist. Most recognizable by the iconic cobalt blue facade, the house is where Kahlo was born, spent her childhood, lived in with her husband Diego Rivera, and where she died.
It is definitely a must-visit and one of my favorite places in Mexico City – I’ve somehow made it here during each of my 3 trips here.
What makes the museum unique is that rather than focusing on the artist’s works (although there are a few galleries that showcase some of her paintings), it is really a celebration of her life and gives you an insight into her life.
What stood out to me the most was learning more about her inspiring life story and how she lived through the hardships thrown her way, while creating incredible art along the way. The house also gives you insight into her relationship with Diego Rivera, which I also found interesting. I only knew some of Frida’s story prior to visiting the museum, and I definitely left inspired.
As it is one of the most popular attractions in Mexico City, advance planning is a must – be sure to pre-purchase your tickets in advance (especially if you are planning to go on the weekend or busy seasons)! Tickets sometimes sell out weeks in advance. I’ve seen so many people show up the day of and get turned away because they had no idea and thought they could just get tickets at the door. Don’t be one of those people!
Do note that tickets are timed and they are pretty strict about only letting people in at the time listed on their ticket, so you’ll probably be turned away if you show up early. Also do note that you will need to buy a photo pass for 30 pesos to take photos inside the house and around the gardens, and they DO check!
If you have extra time: Visit the canals of Xochimilco
If you somehow find yourself with extra time this afternoon, this is the perfect chance to head over to the canals of Xochimilco.
The name “Xochimilco” means “where flowers grow” in the Nahuatl language, which refers to the floating gardens in the area. However, it is most famous for the network of canals and waterways, filled with colorful trajineras boats that you can rent for one of the most unique experiences in Mexico City.
You’ll get your own driver, encounter mariachi bands, and can bring food and drink on board, to create your own little floating party.
The boats cost around 500 pesos an hour, and are especially worth it if you’re visiting Mexico City in a group. Do note that the price is PER BOAT, not per person, as some scheming boat operators will try to tell you. If someone tells you it’s per person, move on to the next boat – there’s plenty of them here.
Do note that Xochimilco is located quite a ways from the center of the city. From Coyoacan, it is another 30 minute Uber ride (or up to an hour in traffic). Because of this, I left it as an optional activity on this itinerary. If you absolutely do want to visit Xochimilco, I highly suggest doing it on this day, as it is in the same general direction as Coyoacan, so this is where it makes the most sense.
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of getting yourself to and from Xochimilco, or negotiating with the boat drivers, I recommend booking this guided tour which combines Coyoacan, the Frida Kahlo Museum, and Xochimilco and takes care of all the logistics for you.
Sadly, I still haven’t made it to Xochimilco yet as it just hasn’t worked out to make it here on all of my Mexico City trips. The last time I was in town, I was dead set on visiting – unfortunately, the skies opened up and there was a torrential downpour and thunderstorms when we got to Coyoacan, so alas, no Xochimilco yet again lol.
EVENING: Dinner at Azul Historico + Lucha Libre
After exploring Coyoacan and/or Xochimilco, head back to Centro Historico for dinner at Azul Historico.
Located in the courtyard of a historic building, you’ll get to dine in a gorgeous space beneath a canopy of trees and lights. It’s an absolutely romantic vibe!
You’ll find a menu full of traditional Mexican dishes, each representing a different region of Mexico. You absolutely must order the tortilla soup here – not only is it delicious (and was especially comforting after being stuck in the rain haha), it comes in a unique bowl topped with a ceramic Calavera lid.
They’re also known for the mole here, but do note that it is SUPER rich.
If your 3 days in Mexico City happens to land on a Tuesday, Friday, or Sunday, then this is the perfect opportunity to catch some Lucha Libre after dinner! This form of Mexican wrestling is characterized by the luchadores wearing colorful masks and costumes.
It’s not so much a fight, but more so a theatrical performance, and is highly entertaining as a result. It is highly entertaining, and the crowd really gets into it – you’ll find yourself laughing hysterically, cheering, booing, and screaming throughout the night.
Lucha Libre takes place at the Arena Mexico, which you can Uber to from Centro Historico. However, the easiest way to experience Lucha Libre is by booking a tour, which handles transportation, booking tickets, and other details. You can even book a tour that includes a mezcal and taco tasting (yum!) or a Mariachi dance party (so fun)!
Mexico City Itinerary: Day 2
Quick Breakfast at Panaderia Rosetta
Panaderia Rosetta is a Mexico City favorite, located in the heart of the hip Roma Norte district. Walking through the tree-lined streets here, you’ll likely want to wander and explore more – but you have a busy morning, so it will have to wait (don’t worry, you’ll get to do it later, I promise).
You’ll find an extensive array of European-style pastries at Panaderia Rosetta, some with a Mexican twist. The guava roll here is an absolute must here (I must grab one every time I’m in town), but I also love their cardamom buns (different to the ones I had in Stockholm, but still super tasty!), and the cream-filled Berlinettas.
Chapultepec Park (Bosque del Chapultepec)
Chapultepec Park is one of the largest urban city parks in the Western Hemisphere, and serves as a main ecological space in the city. It is often known as the Central Park of Mexico, but at 1600 acres, it is actually more than double the size. It also gets over 250,000 visitors each day.
Just walking through the park seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis that Mexico City is. It also works as the lungs of the city, with its trees absorbing some of the smog and carbon in the city.
It is a great place to take a walk (or go for a run, if you’re a runner like me!) and to enjoy some greenery, but the park also offers a wide array of activities and attractions, including a zoo, museums, historical monuments, cultural exhibits, a lake, a botanical garden, an amusement park, an archaeological site, and more.
As you’re trying to see Mexico City in 3 days, you likely won’t have a whole lot of time to wander around in the park and see all of its attractions. However, you absolutely should set aside some time to make it to Chapultepec Castle – more on that below.
Chapultepec Castle (Castillo del Chapultepec)
Built during colonial times, the Chapultepec Castle is the only castle in North America to have housed actual sovereigns. It stands on Chapultepec Hill, at the highest point in the park, which means there is a spectacular view of the city below.
The castle also had other uses during its history, including as a military academy, and was the site of the Battle of Chapultepec during the Mexican-American War. It also served as the Presidential Residence for a time. Today, the castle houses the National History Museum.
Chapultepec Castle’s interior has beautiful, ornate rooms and halls that also house various history exhibits; the outside features a lush garden along with panoramic views.
As the castle can get super busy, I highly recommend coming right at opening time, which is 9am. You can buy your ticket, which costs 95 pesos, at the ticket office at the bottom of the hill and walk up, or you can purchase them online.
Casa Giraldi or Casa Luis Barragan
Luis Barragan is a contemporary architectural legend, known for his geometric and colorful style. His buildings are deceptively simple, but he is renowned for his dramatic use of light and reflection to manipulate a space and give it a subtle and lyrical appearance.
You can find his work scattered all over the city, but his two most famous works are Casa Giraldi and Casa Luis Barragan. To see either of these two houses, you’ll have to book a tour through his foundation. Be sure to do this well in advance, as spots book up quickly!
I hadn’t even heard of Luis Barragan prior to visiting Mexico City, but visiting one of these two houses was something that was highly recommended to me by several people, so I booked a tour without knowing what to expect. Seeing as one of the things that Mexico City is known for is its architecture, I thought it would be interesting.
I finally made it to both Casa Giraldi and Casa Luis Barragan, and enjoyed touring both houses. The tours are informative and give you an interesting insight into his life and his unique ideas. I found the tours to be inspiring, especially as a creative. It was definitely interesting to hear about the inner workings of his creative mind, and to see how he laid out various concepts in his architectural works!
If I had to choose one, I’d choose Casa Giraldi, as I thought it was cool that the tour was conducted by an actual inhabitant of Casa Giraldi. However, the houses are both really interesting to see, and highly photogenic, which was something that personally excited me as a photographer and travel blogger!
Alternative: Visit the museums of Chapultepec Park
I get that not everyone will be into the same interests as me (design, architecture, and especially taking photos). And to be honest, visits to both houses are pretty expensive – 450 pesos for Casa Luis Barragan, and 600 pesos for Casa Giraldi.
If you aren’t interested in visiting the houses of Luis Barragan, that’s okay! In that case, I recommend you visit one of the museums located in Chapultepec Park. Here are two of the most well known –
- National Anthropology Museum (Museo Nacional de Antropologia): Widely regarded as one of the best museums in all of Mexico, the National Anthropology Museum boasts the world’s largest collection of ancient Mexican art. Some of the museum’s highlights include a Sun Stone or an Aztec calendar, a recreation of Pakal’s tomb, and a jade mask of the Zapotec Bat God. To get the most out of your visit, I recommend doing a guided visit, which will ensure that you see all the highlights, as well as get more insight into their significance. You can also even combine it with a visit to the castle.
- Museum of Modern Art (Museo de Arte Moderno): The Museum of Modern Art showcases art from renowned Mexican and international artists. The collection is very well-curated and always changing. The highlights here are definitely the exhibits featuring contemporary Mexican art.
Lunch at Expendio de Maiz Sin Nombre
Get read for one of the most unique dining experiences of your life at Expendio de Maiz Sin Nombre!
For starters, there is no menu. They send out whatever the kitchen has cooked up for the day. Each round consists of one vegetarian and one meat dish. After every round, they’ll ask if you want more, and will keep bringing out dishes until you say you’re full (for up to 5 rounds).
Each dish is super creative, all based on the tortilla. I wish I could tell you exactly what we had, but I didn’t catch the description each time they brought us something new – I was just too enamored by what was brought out in front of me. But trust me, every single dish we had was delicious!
It’s kind of like a clever spin on a tasting menu – except much more affordable! Each dish ran us 100-150 pesos – for 3 rounds for 3 of us, we paid a total of 400 pesos, including tip. Such an awesome value, and a dining experience to not be missed in Mexico City!
Afternoon in Polanco
Polanco is the city’s bougie neighborhood, often dubbed the “Beverly Hills of Mexico City.” You’ll find it lined with ritzy luxury boutiques, high-end restaurants, and some of the city’s most acclaimed museums.
Wandering through Polanco is a fun way to spend an afternoon, being amongst Mexico City’s wealthiest and most stylish.
Here are some spots to check out when exploring Polanco:
- Mexico mi Amor wall: Snap a photo in front of this iconic wall to commemorate your trip to Mexico City. It’s located outside the jewelry store Tane 1942, located on Polanco’s main drag.
- Cafebreria El Pendulo: This mini chain of bookshops slash cafes has several locations in the city. The one in Polanco is notable because of its two stories of colorful shelves, which stand out against the blue walls, surrounded by plants.
- Museo Soumaya: Named after the late wife of one of the world’s richest men, the Museo Soumaya is housed inside one of the city’s most distinctive buildings, with its giant curved steel structure. It also boasts a collection of over 66,000 works of Latin and European art that spans over 30 centuries.
- Museo Jumex: Also housing a large donated art collection, Museo Jumex features an extensive collection of contemporary works from acclaimed artists, such as Gabriel Orozco, Francis Alys and Andy Warhol. The building itself, designed by David Chipperfield has a striking design, and there’s a cool plant wall outside.
- Churreria El Morro: Mexico City’s most famous churreria! They’ve got locations all over the city and I’ve been to several, but the one in Polanco might be my favorite, because it’s spacious, modern, airy, and clean (while some of the other locations are starting to show their age). It’s also got the tiled walls with the chain’s distinctive branding, which make for some excellent photo ops!
- Hotel Camino Real Polanco: This luxury hotel is known for its modernist architecture, designed by architect Ricardo Legorreta for the 1968 Summer Olympics. You’ll see some vibrant color and design all throughout the property, but the highlight is the cool pink wall outside.
Dinner at Pujol
Dinner at Pujol is a special experience and is a must during your three days in Mexico City. It is consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world for a reason.
Yes, it is a splurge, but a steal compared to restaurants of similar caliber elsewhere in the world – the 6 course tasting menu costs 2565 pesos or around $150 USD (I’d expect a similar meal to cost $300 back home in California!).
Chef Enrique Olvera is renowned for putting his own unique, sophisticated twist on traditional Mexican cuisine, which was highlighted in an episode of the Netflix series “Chef’s Table.” Each of the 6 courses are inventive and creative. My favorite course here was the mole, which is world-famous and absolutely mind-blowing!
Advance reservations are a must here – keep in mind that they go quickly so book ASAP (we booked ours more than 2 months in advance)!
Morning: Take a day trip to Teotihuacan
Located just an hour outside the city, Teotihuacan was the largest pre-Aztec civilization in its heyday, and a must-see on your Mexico City 3 day itinerary. These 2000 year old pyramids were named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 and are accessible on a quick day trip from Mexico City.
I highly recommend making an early start on this day. This is partially to beat the crowds – it can get BUSY here – but also because there’s zero shade and it can get HOT, especially in the middle of the afternoon!
The two highlights at Teotihuacan are the Pyramid of the Sun (Pirámide del Sol) and Pyramid of the Moon (Pirámide de la Luna). Standing over 70 meters tall, the Pyramid of the Sun is one of the tallest in the world. It used to be that you could climb to the top, but this is no longer allowed (boo!). Still, the pyramids are quite impressive and seeing them in person was such a highlight!
The Pyramid of the Sun is by far the most popular attraction at Teotihuacan, so I suggest you head there first.
Then, head to the Pyramid of the Moon. It’s Teotihuacan’s second tallest pyramid, standing about 45 meters high. Other highlights include the Avenue of the Dead (Calzada de los Muertos), Quetzalcoatl Temple (Temple of the Feathered Serpent), Quetzalpapalotl Palace (Temple of the Quetzal Butterfly), and the Teotihuacan Museum.
Be sure to also make a stop at La Gruta for lunch, where you get the experience of eating a meal inside a cave!
Getting to Teotihuacan
Fortunately, there are several ways to get to Teotihuacan, all of which are fairly simple and straightforward. Below is a rundown of your options:
Via Organized Tour: This is the easiest way to get to Teotihuacan, and let someone else take care of the logistics for you. There are many day and half-day tours to Teotihuacan, which are a convenient way to see the pyramids.
One of the biggest advantages of taking a tour is that some will let you access the site before it officially opens to the public, letting you see the pyramids without the crowds. The limitation of going on a tour is that you are on a schedule so you may not be able to explore as freely as you would have gone on your own.
Here are a few recommended choices for guided tours to Teotihuacan:
- Early Morning Teotihuacan Tour with Archaeologist: This tour allows you to see Teotihuacan before it officially opens, along with guidance and insight from an archaeologist (there’s a tequila tasting too!).
- Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Tour: Soar above the pyramids as you watch the sunrise above the horizon in this special tour. Afterwards, explore the pyramids from the ground. My friend did this one and her photos looked absolutely incredible – a truly special experience for sure. If you don’t want to wake up for the sunrise but still want the experience of seeing the pyramids from a hot air balloon, there is a day version of this as well.
- 6 Hour Small Group Tour: Explore Teotihuacan with a smaller group, and end your day as you see the sun set over the pyramids.
- Teotihuacan Private Tour: For those who want a personalized tour, catered to what you want to see and know more about.
Via Bus: I took the bus to Teotihuacan and was surprised at how easy it was! Buses leave from the Terminal Central del Norte station, which is easily accessible via Metro (or YUber). Once there, look for “Puerta 8” (gate 8), where you will find the Autobuses Teotihuacan booth. I found the employee there to speak English and to be very helpful.
At 100 pesos (~$6), taking the bus is an inexpensive option! Buses leave every 15-20 minutes, and the trip takes about an hour, depending on traffic. Once you arrive at Teotihuacan, you will be dropped off at Puerta 1, where you can purchase your ticket into the site. Note that they will not check your ticket until the second gate, so be sure to buy one beforehand so you don’t have to go back!
Once you are ready to leave, head to Puerta 2 and walk through the parking lot to the main road. Be sure to check the time for the last departing bus, around 6pm.
Via Uber: Uber is a relatively affordable way to get direct transportation to Teotihuacan – it usually costs ~200 pesos (~$11 USD) each way, but this is highly dependent on the traffic conditions (which can be bad) and the route taken.
Note that the most direct way to Teotihuacan is through toll roads – you must tell your driver that it is okay to use these roads (if it is indeed okay with you), and be sure you have cash on hand for toll fees. Also keep in mind that cell service is spotty at the site and there is no WiFi, so you may have difficulty requesting a ride back into the city. There are definitely a lot of cars waiting around the entrance, so availability is not a problem if you find cell service.
Late afternoon and evening: Roma and Condesa
By the time you arrive back in the city, it will likely be late afternoon. This is the perfect time to explore the Roma and Condesa neighborhoods! These neighborhoods, which are right next to each other, are super trendy, lined with hip cocktail bars, fashionable boutiques, cafes, and more!
Condesa has a bit of an upscale vibe, and is home to many stylish boutique hotels. It is also full of tree-lined streets and lush green spaces, such as the super pretty Parque Mexico. Roma has a bit more of an artsy, hipster edge, with lots of cool murals scattered throughout the streets. Both have their share of beautiful colonial buildings (with colorful doors), tons of delicious restaurants, hipster coffee shops, trendy boutiques, and cool bars.
You can easily spend several hours (and really, even the entire day) just wandering up and down the streets, popping into the boutiques, grabbing a snack, or enjoying a drink from one of the cafes and bars. Aside from just wandering, be sure to also check out the Mercado Roma, which is hipster central, and has a great collection of trendy eateries.
You’ve had a jam packed day, so I’ll bet you’re hungry by now! Both Roma and Condesa are home to some of the best dining options in the city, so I recommend staying in the area for dinner.
Here are two options for dinner, based on what you’re in the mood for and your budget:
- Option 1 – Lardo: Lardo is one of Mexico City’s most popular restaurants, known for its Italian focused cuisine with a Mexican twist. It’s more popular as a brunch spot, but stopped in for dinner, and it ended up being my favorite on that trip! We loved the creative spin on eggplant parmesan, and I 1000000% recommend ordering the squash blossoms – we were obsessed!
- Option 2 – Tacos + street food crawl: Both Roma and Condesa are home to some insanely delicious taco joints and street food spots. Why not sample a few of them for a fun (and delicious) evening? Some of my favorite spots were Taqueria Orinoco (which has multiple locations and is kinda like Mexico City’s In-n-Out), Tacos Don Juan, and Las Esquina de Chilaquil (known for their Chilaquiles sandwich).
After dinner: Grab a drink at Handshake Speakeasy
In the mood for a nightcap after dinner? You’re in luck because Mexico City is home to some of the best bars in the world! There are several bars on the World’s 50 Best Bars list, with #3 belonging Handshake Speakeasy.
Hidden inside a hotel in the Colonia Juarez neighborhood, you’ll find a menu of super creative cocktails served in a bar that has a 1920s feel. I ordered the Sencha cocktail here, which is inspired by a type of Japanese tea, and was impressed that it *actually* tasted like Sencha!
If you want to sit inside the main speakeasy, you’ll have to make a reservation in advance. We showed up to try to get in, but were turned away. Fortunately, we weren’t the only ones – because of the extra demand, they opened up a second bar downstairs.
You won’t get the full experience here, but they serve exactly the same menu here, and we still really enjoyed our evening there!
Have you ever been to Mexico City? What would you include on your 3 days in Mexico City itinerary?
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Caroline is a Southern California based traveler, writer, and photographer. She travels all around California, the US, and the world in search of the most colorful places, the most delicious food, and bucket-list adventures. Her aim is to inspire other travelers discover how to add more adventure and joy to their lives. On Pictures & Words, you’ll find detailed guides + itineraries, along with vibrant photos to help you plan the the most epic trips. When she’s not traveling, Caroline also runs half marathons.