Mexico City, home to incredible street food, countless museums, lush parks and 21.2 million people. It’s chaotic, friendly and undoubtedly FABULOUS. Here is our Mexico City guide on what to do, where to eat and where to stay…
Disclaimer: Chasing a Plate’s stay at La Palomilla BnB and our Street Food Tour with Eat Mexico was complimentary. All opinions are our own. This post contains affiliate links, thank you for supporting our blog by using these links.
Where to stay in Mexico City
Segunda Cerrada de Guadalajara #10, Roma Norte
Rooms from $130USD
To immediately feel a part of the city, Roma Norte or Condesa are our picks of the suburbs when deciding where to stay in Mexico City. There are great restaurants, quirky bars plus lots of street food options. The neighbourhoods also have easy access to the metro and are close to some amazing parks. If you choose this area in which to stay, have we got the place for you! La Palomilla BnB is a unique 7 room bed and breakfast right in the middle of Roma Norte and Condesa. Each room of this charming bed and breakfast is different but all celebrate Mexican pop culture through art whether it be iconic artist Frida Kahlo or lucha libre, Mexican wrestling. The rooms are comfort personified and bathrooms sport a rain head shower and locally sourced boutique bath products.
Each morning guests are treated to a Mexican breakfast- think enchiladas, chilaquiles or eggs accompanied by freshly squeezed juices, pastries and fresh fruit. And at the end of each day, La Palomilla’s terrace is the perfect spot for a beer as you watch the sun go down.
But what makes La Palomilla the special place it is, is the team. They excel at looking after their guests- from the refreshing jamaica (hibiscus) water and home baking that await when you return from a day of exploring to their excellent dining and activity recommendations. These guys just want to help you have an amazing stay in their beloved city. Trust us, stay here- you will never want to leave!
What to Do in Mexico City…
1. Get an education in Mexican food with Eat Mexico
Culinary Walking Tours start from $85USD per person
When it comes to Mexican food, you’re going to want to have a huge appetite and an open mind. And when it comes to street food you’ll soon learn the city is mad about it. There are vendors selling everything from tortas (Mexican sandwiches) and tacos to the more unusual chapulines (grasshoppers). But as recognisable as some of the food may be, the sheer variety will boggle your mind, and trust us, sometimes you just need a guide to help you make sense of all this deliciousness. Enter Eat Mexico.
The team offer a range of culinary tours from the classic street food tour to market tours even a late night tacos and mezcal jaunt. You might eat freshly steamed chicken mole tamales, cemita sandwiches, even pig’s uterus tacos if you’re adventurous. But it’s not all about eating, along the way you’ll gain a deeper understanding about Mexican food culture. Learn why fresh chickens at the market are yellow, how tortillas are made (and whether you’ve been eating them the right side up!) and the history behind some of the foods you’ll sample. Guaranteed to be a highly tasty and fascinating few hours!
2. Visit the ancient mega city of Teotihuacan
An hour out of Mexico City lies Teotihuacan an ancient Meso-American city thought to have been established around 100BC. The city housed over 125,000 inhabitants but who they were is unknown. The archaeological complex is massive- wander down the Avenue of the Dead and climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon for spectacular views. To get to Teotihuacan, catch a bus from the Autobuses de Norte Station (100 pesos/$5USD return). Counter 8 which features a ‘pyramid’ symbol is where you can purchase tickets. Entry into Teotihuacan is 70pesos/$3.50USD. We suggest visiting early in the morning so you beat the crowds and the heat!
3. Wander through Frida Kahlo’s former residence
If you only visit one museum in Mexico City, Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s former residence should be it! The Frida Kahlo Museum, located in Coyoacan, has preserved many of Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s (Kahlo’s husband and celebrated muralist) living spaces and belongings. As you wander through the rooms of the house you gain a better understanding about the woman behind the art. You’ll see her studio (all her possessions are exactly as she left them), learn about her illness and tragic accident that later informed her paintings and there is even an exhibition on Kahlo’s wardrobe. An amazing glimpse into the life of this icon. Tip: book tickets online at https://www.boletosfridakahlo.org as this is a hugely popular Mexico City attraction and the lines can be horrendous- we waited for 2 hours!
4. Cheer for your favourite luchador at Lucha Libre
One of the highlights of a trip to Mexico City is lucha libre or Mexican wrestling. Second only to football in the popularity stakes, lucha libre is definitely a Mexico City attraction! We recommend going on a Friday night when the atmosphere is at its best. Tickets can be bought online but it’s easy enough to buy them at the box office at Arena Mexico on the night of the event. General admission costs 45 pesos/$2USD and even though you’re high up the atmosphere is electric plus you still get an amazing view of the ring. Food and drink vendors wander around all night selling chips, popcorn, beer and ice cream.
5. Explore Mexico City’s many markets
The heart and soul of Mexico can be found in its markets. Each neighbourhood in Mexico City has its own market but if you want to start big head to La Merced. You will get totally lost wandering around this gigantic market but you will discover so much. Nopales (cactus), chapulines (grasshoppers), dozens of kinds of cheese, every type of chile under the sun. It can all be found at La Merced. Make sure you eat lunch there- the tacos de cabeza or cow’s head tacos are particularly delicious.
6. Visit a few of Mexico City’s museums (there are over 150!)
Mexico City is not short of a museum or two! If you want to learn more about the pre-hispanic peoples who called this land home, the best place to start is the Museo Nacional de Antropologia or National Museum of Anthropology. Information is set out in both English and Spanish. Expect to spend a few hours wandering around this impressive building. There are also countless art museums which are worth looking into also.
7. Spend Sunday at Chapultepec Park
Sunday is family day plus free entry into museums for Mexican residents. As a result Chapultepec Park on a Sunday is a flurry of happy chaos. The Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum, the zoo, the National Museum of Anthropology and Chapultepec Castle are all located in Chapultepec Park and you’ll find loads of street food vendors selling tlayudas (Mexican pizza), helado (ice-cream), sweets and snacks. It’s a great spot for a bit of people watching.
8. Discover the city’s historical centre
The heart of Mexico City is the zocalo which is the world’s largest square after the Red Square in Russia. This was the main ceremonial centre of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Today people congregate in the area to dine at the restaurants that border the zocalo and to visit some of Mexico City’s other attractions. The Templo Mayor site (one of the main temples of the Aztecs in Tenochtitlan), the Cathedral and the National Palace are all within sight and worth visiting.
Where to eat in Mexico City
1. Tortas al Fuego
Av. Sonora 205, Cuauhtémoc, Condesa. Open 24 hours.
One of our favourite spots in the Condesa area, Tortas al Fuego does cheap and delicious fare. It’s almost always packed with people opting for a small plate of al pastor tacos (30 pesos/$1.50USD for 5) to munch on or a torta, a Mexican sandwich in a bun which is slightly toasted. Beers are cheap as are their giant agua de fruta (drinks made up of fruit, water and sweeter). It’s a great spot to sample classic Mexican street food but in a restaurant style setting.
2. El Pescadito
Atlixco 38 esquina Juan Escutia, Condesa. Open 11:00am to 6:00pm
El Pescadito do some of the best tacos in Mexico City. Their famous ta-cocote is a tortilla packed with a deep fried marlin stuffed chile, battered and fried prawns and more marlin. Load up on all your sauces and salsas at the condiment station and you’re away. The que-sotote is also worth eating- this taco features a battered and deep fried chile stuffed with cheese and topped with prawns. El Pescadito have a few restaurants around town. Tacos are 35/$2USD pesos each.
3. Coyoacan Tostadas
Coyoacan market, Mercado de Coyoacán, Ignacio Allende No.49, Del Carmen, 04100 Coyoacán. Open 11:00am to 6:00pm
Coyoacan Tostadas located in Coyoacan Market is the perfect place for lunch before or after your visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum. Piles of ceviche, tinga de pollo (chicken cooked in a chipotle sauce with red and green tomatoes), marinated crab, octopus and prawns adorn their counter. Grab a seat and order a couple of tostadas of your choice. Fresh and packed full of flavour!
4. El Vilsito
Avenida Universidad, Narvarte Poniente. Open Monday to Thursday 7:30pm until 2:00am. Friday and Saturday 7:30pm until 5:00am. Sunday 4:00pm to midnight.
A mechanic by day and a taco joint by night, El Vilsito specialises in al pastor tacos. The al pastor style was created by the country’s Lebanese immigrants. Pork is stacked onto a spit in the style of a shawarma and carved off onto a tortilla. Slices of fresh pineapple which roasts on top of the spit is added to the taco along with cebolla (onion) and cilantro or coriander. Provecho!
5. La Lavanderia
Av Álvaro Obregón 298-B, Cuauhtémoc. Open Tuesday to Saturday 6:00pm to 1:30am.
If you’re after a cocktail or a taste of mezcal, La Lavanderia is our pick. Golden lighting, cosy tables and attentive bar staff, it’s a comfortable spot to while away an evening. Cocktails are around 120pesos/$6USD and the bar staff are great at recommending a drink to suit your tastes.
6. The markets: La Merced, Mercado Medellin…
If you want to eat local for cheap then the fondas at the markets are where it’s at. These small family run restaurants are usually open only for breakfast and lunch. At lunch they serve comida corrida usually 3 to 5 courses for a very low price. There’s so much atmosphere when eating in a market and is a great option if you want to eat local but want to sit down but not spend too much.
Uber is a really convenient way of getting around Mexico City if you have limited time. You never have to wait more than 5 minutes for a pick up and it’s really affordable. The Metro is also super handy rides cost 5MXN/$0.20USD.
We use the app Maps.Me to guide us around cities by GPS using offline maps.
No matter where you’re travelling to we always recommend you have travel insurance. We use and love World Nomads.The great thing about them is that you can purchase travel insurance while you’re already travelling!
We hope this Mexico City guide has helped you eat and explore like a traveller, not a tourist!
Spending more time in Mexico? Keep an eye out for more Mexico posts coming soon…
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