Mexico Insider’s 25 absolute best things to do in Mexico City

I’ve had the privilege of living in this greatest Latin American capital and in this post, I will share with you all the best things to do in Mexico City!

Hola! Welcome to the city I once called home. Even if I lived here for 3 months, I must admit that there are still many things to do in Mexico City that I wasn’t able to do!

There is nothing like Mexico City. It’s a city that caters to a range of interests. It is a treasure trove of historical sites, home to some of the finest museums in the world, and the cuisine is globally renowned.

The architecture in Mexico City is a mix of the old and the new, with stunning colonial buildings alongside modern skyscrapers. Neighborhoods like Condesa and Polanco offer picturesque streets lined with Art Deco and neoclassical buildings.

I would suggest a minimum of 5 days to maximize your visit to Mexico City but 3 days is usually enough. Every March, I also host group tours in Mexico City so if you are interested in traveling with like-minded individuals, join my tour!

🏆 Top-rated things to do in Mexico City

Use the code MXINSIDER10 upon checkout to get a 10% discount on all things to do in Mexico City!

1. Dive into Frida’s artistic world at Frida Kahlo Museum

frida kahlo museum

One of the must things to do in Mexico City is to dive deep into the vibrant world of one of Mexico’s most iconic artists, Frida Kahlo, at her former residence turned museum. This cobalt-blue house offers intimate glimpses of her personal life, captivating artworks, and the tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera.

You have to reserve tickets in advance (about 3 months ahead) as tickets sell out fast. The entrance fee for foreigners is 250 pesos ($15 USD) and you can buy it online. Frida Kahlo Museum is open from 10:00 AM – 6 PM daily.

🎨 You can combine visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum with a tour of the Coyoacan neighborhood and a boat ride in Xochimilco.

2. Behold artistic splendor at Palacio de Bellas Artes

Behold the majestic Palacio de Bellas Artes, an architectural gem that blends Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. Within its marbled halls, revel in the world-class opera, music, dance, and art exhibitions that resonate with Mexico’s rich cultural tapestry.

Its stunning murals by celebrated artists like Diego Rivera make it an artistic pilgrimage. The entrance fee is 80 pesos ($5 USD) and the entry is free every Sunday. The Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City os open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

If you plan to use cameras or video equipment for the exhibition, there is a small fee. However, you don’t have to pay if you are only taking pictures of the building and the other inside areas of the palace​. This is one of the best things to do in Mexico City for artists and cultural enthusiasts.

🏛️ The best way to visit the Palace of Fine Arts is through a downtown Mexico City walking tour where you’ll see all the famous landmarks of the historic center.

3. Sail Xochimilco’s vivid canals

Xochimilco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its historic canal system and the traditional trajineras (colorful, flat-bottomed boats). It offers a glimpse into pre-Hispanic life in the region and is one of the best things to do in Mexico City for groups of friends.

It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the local culture. You can enjoy traditional Mexican food and drinks from floating vendors, listen to live mariachi bands, and interact with local artisans.

Apart from the canal rides, attractions like the Island of the Dolls (Isla de las Muñecas) add an unusual and intriguing aspect to the visit. Arrive early in the morning to avoid crowds. This allows for a more peaceful ride and better opportunities to interact with local vendors.

The floating markets offer a variety of traditional foods and drinks. Don’t miss out on trying local specialties like elotes (corn on the cob), quesadillas, and micheladas (a spiced beer cocktail). Many vendors and trajinera operators don’t accept cards so make sure to bring cash!

🎉 Mexicans love to party and trajineras are a popular way to celebrate special occasions. You can sign up for a Xochimilco tour with locals for a more unique experience!

4. Learn about ancient civilizations in Teotihuacan

teotihuacan mexico

Teotihuacan is one of the most important archaeological sites in Mexico, so you need to add this to your list of things to do in Mexico City! It offers insight into ancient Mesoamerican civilizations with a history dating back to around 100 BC.

The site is home to some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas, including the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon.

Recognized by UNESCO, the site’s cultural significance is globally acknowledged, attracting history buffs, archaeologists, and travelers from around the world.

As of publishing this article, you can no longer climb the pyramids of Teotihuacan but it’s still worth seeing. There are many other things to do within the complex. You’ll be doing a lot of walking, and the steps of the pyramids are steep and uneven so wear comfortable shoes!

☀️ Arrive early to beat the crowds and the heat. I recommend hiring a local Teotihuacan guide to understand the historical facts of Teotihuacan better. The complex is also big so you need a route!

5. Experience the thrill of a Lucha Libre show

Lucha Libre

Lucha Libre is a significant part of Mexican culture, blending sport and theater with a rich history. The shows are known for their high energy, dramatic storytelling, and acrobatic maneuvers, providing a spectacle unlike any other sporting event.

Lucha Libre shows are held frequently in various cities, making them accessible to most visitors. These events are typically suitable for all ages, making them a great family outing. This is a great option for things to do in Mexico City if you are traveling with toddlers.

Keep your belongings secure, as crowded events can attract pickpockets. Also, note that professional cameras are not allowed in the stadium. You will be asked to deposit your cameras in a locker. Don’t worry, these lockers are safe!

There are many ways to see a Lucha Libre show like combining it with a taco tour. Another cool tour option is a chance to meet a real-life Luchador before seeing a show.

For families traveling with kids, you will definitely enjoy a Lucha Libre mask workshop with a local artisan!

🤼🏽‍♂️ Shows only happen on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Book in advance to get VIP Ringside seats (rows 1-8). Tickets sell out fast!

6. Unearth Mexico’s historic gems at the Anthropology Museum

Things to do in Mexico City with Kids

The Anthropology Museum is one of the most significant museums in Latin America and is renowned worldwide for its extensive collection of art and artifacts from Mexico’s pre-Columbian heritage. It really should be on everyone’s list of things to do in Mexico City!

The museum offers a comprehensive overview of the rich and diverse cultures of Mexico before Spanish colonization. It houses some of the most important archaeological and anthropological artifacts from Mexico’s indigenous cultures, including the famous Aztec Sun Stone.

The museum is huge, so it’s a good idea to plan which exhibits you want to see in advance, especially if your time is limited. To avoid crowds and have a more leisurely experience, try to visit early in the morning right when the museum opens.

Ideally, set aside at least half a day (or a full day if you’re a history or anthropology enthusiast) to truly appreciate the museum. The entrance fee to the National Museum of Anthropology is 85 pesos ($5 USD).

🖼️ You can easily spend a whole day here but if you don’t have that time, you can sign up for a guided tour to maximize time and to be able to visit all the important rooms and exhibitions.

7. Attend a cooking class: best things to do in Mexico City for families

things to do in mexico city

Mexico City is a culinary hub so attending a cooking class should be on your list of things to do in Mexico City. Here, you will learn traditional and authentic Mexican recipes that you won’t find elsewhere.

Cooking classes often provide deeper insight into the culture and traditions of Mexico, far beyond just the preparation of food. You’ll get to work with fresh, local ingredients and perhaps even visit local markets to select them, which is an experience in itself.

Cooking classes can be a great way to meet new people, whether they’re fellow travelers or locals sharing their culinary traditions.

There are many different types of cooking classes available, from street food to high-end cuisine, vegetarian dishes, and more, catering to a wide range of interests and dietary preferences.

This is one of the most incredible things to do in Mexico City, especially if you are into cooking. Here are my favorite cooking classes:

8. Pedal through the city’s dynamic streets

Doing a bike tour in Mexico City offers several unique advantages and can be an excellent way to explore the city. This is one of the incredible things to do in Mexico City with kids!

Mexico City is vast, and a bike tour allows you to cover more ground than walking, enabling you to see a variety of sights in a shorter period. You can easily navigate through different neighborhoods, from the historic center to more modern areas, each offering its unique charm and attractions.

Biking in a group with an experienced guide can be safer than navigating the city’s traffic and streets on your own, especially if you’re not familiar with local biking norms. Guides often know about hidden spots and can take you to places off the beaten path that you might not find in guidebooks.

🚲 Look for a tour that matches your interests, whether it’s historical landmarks, food markets, street art, or parks. This Mexico City Bike tour includes taco stops and you can also choose the neighborhood you want to visit.

9. Embark on a flavorful taco adventure

Mexico City is known for its diverse and vibrant food scene, ranging from street food to high-end restaurants. A food tour is one of the must things to do in Mexico City – you can’t leave the capital without it!

Food tours often take you to local spots that you might not find on your own, offering an authentic experience of the city’s food culture. Tours are typically led by knowledgeable guides who can offer insights into the food scene and recommend dishes that you might not try otherwise.

There are also food tours in Mexico City that cater specifically to a diet but please don’t expect to find this easily – Mexicans are voracious meat eaters!

🌮 Look for tours that focus on your interests, whether it’s street food, traditional Mexican dishes, or modern fusion cuisine. I recommend this Mexico City culinary secrets of the streets tour for an authentic experience.

10. Discover vibrant treasures in bustling markets

Markets in Mexico City are not just places for shopping; they are cultural hubs where you can experience the local way of life. Personally, I think that markets are a unique emblem of Mexico as the bustling atmosphere, with vendors calling out their wares and the mix of colors and smells, is an experience in itself!

These markets offer a vast array of products, from fresh produce and gourmet ingredients to artisan crafts, clothing, and souvenirs. Markets are great places to try authentic Mexican street food and local delicacies, often at lower prices than restaurants.

Explore various markets for different experiences, from food markets like La Merced or Mercado de San Juan to artisanal markets like La Ciudadela.

🪅 This market tour in Mexico City is hosted by a local and will show you to the great food and shopping spots! Come hungry – there are over 15 stops in this market tour!

Plan your trip to Mexico with us! Get expert travel advice and customized trip-planning itinerary from our local experts on the ground.

11. Savor the smoky nuances of authentic mezcal

Mezcal is deeply rooted in Mexican culture, with a history that spans centuries. A tasting is one of the best things to do in Mexico City for those interested in exploring the rich traditions and flavors of Mexican spirits.

Mezcal has a diverse range of flavors, influenced by the type of agave plant, region of production, and production methods. A tasting allows you to appreciate this variety.

You’ll learn about the production process of mezcal, from the harvesting of agave to distillation, which is often an artisanal and labor-intensive process. This is a great option for things to do in Mexico City if you want to know more about Mexican spirits (apart from tequila).

🥃 This Mexican family has been making mezcal since the 90’s and they host a very intimate and traditional mezcal tasting experience.

12. Unwind in the lush expanse of Chapultepec

Chapultepec is one of the largest city parks in the Western Hemisphere, offering a wide range of activities and attractions, including lakes, museums, historical monuments, and more.

The park is very family-friendly, with attractions like the Chapultepec Zoo and various play areas for children. It’s a great option for things to do in Mexico City with kids.

The park houses some of Mexico City’s most important cultural institutions, including the National Museum of Anthropology, the Modern Art Museum, and Chapultepec Castle, which offers panoramic views of the city.

Chapultepec is a green oasis in the heart of the city, perfect for picnics, leisurely walks, or just relaxing in a natural setting. There are numerous recreational activities available, including boating on the lake, cycling, and jogging paths.

🚲 The park is huge, so it’s a good idea to plan which areas and attractions you want to visit in advance. For a more enjoyable experience, sign up for a Chapultepec Park on a bicycle tour!

13. Swim in the pools of Grutas Tolantongo

grutas tolantongo

Grutas Tolantongo, located in the Mezquital Valley in Hidalgo, Mexico, is a popular destination known for its natural beauty and unique thermal springs. The site is famous for its warm, sulfur-rich waters. If you enjoy relaxing in natural hot springs, this could be a highlight.

The area is set in a picturesque canyon, offering stunning views and a close connection with nature. There’s a cave and a tunnel where the hot water flows from the mountain, creating a unique and somewhat adventurous experience. In addition to the hot springs, there are swimming pools and a small river to enjoy.

The site offers basic accommodations and facilities, which might not suit everyone’s comfort levels. Staying the night is ideal if you don’t have to drive back. It’s 3.5 hours each way!

This is a great option for things to do in Mexico City if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital. Grutas Tolantongo is worth your time, I promise you’ll love it!

👙 You can join an organized group tour to Grutas Tolantongo from Mexico City that already includes food and transportation.

14. Explore the mural and art scene in Mexico City

Mural Tour in Mexico City

Mexico City has a rich artistic heritage and is renowned for its murals and diverse art scene. This is one of the best cultural tours in Mexico City as you can also get to meet the street graffiti community.

It has been a center for artistic expression, particularly known for its muralism movement led by artists like Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco. Their works are not only artistically significant but also carry deep political and social messages.

The murals in Mexico City tell stories of Mexico’s history, struggles, and social changes. They are an essential part of understanding the country’s cultural and historical identity.

In recent years, Mexico City has become known for its vibrant street art scene. Neighborhoods like Roma, Condesa, and Coyoacán feature walls adorned with works by local and international street artists.

Many of Mexico City’s murals and public art installations are accessible to everyone, making art an integral part of everyday life in the city.

🎨 This local mural artist in Mexico City will show you around and will let you experience painting your own street art! His work is seen all over the city so he’s the best guy to do a tour with!

15. Experience vibrant street performances at the Zocalo

things to do in mexico city

As one of the largest city squares in the world, the Zocalo, officially known as Plaza de la Constitución, is a hub of historical and cultural significance. Most of the things to do in Mexico City are here within walking distance.

The Zocalo has been a focal point of Mexican life since Aztec times. It was the center of the ancient city of Tenochtitlan and continues to be a key location for major cultural and political events.

The square is surrounded by impressive buildings, including the National Palace (Palacio Nacional), home to famous murals by Diego Rivera; the Metropolitan Cathedral, an architectural marvel; and other historic structures.

The Zocalo is a lively place where you can witness a blend of modern and traditional Mexican life. Street performers, vendors, and public events are common sights. It is close to many other attractions like the Templo Mayor, an important Aztec site, and numerous museums and cultural sites.

Throughout the year, the Zocalo hosts various events, including Independence Day celebrations, cultural festivals, and political gatherings, providing insight into Mexican culture and traditions.

🌮 Around the Zocalo, you can find a range of dining options, from street food to upscale restaurants, offering a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine. Sign up for a historic downtown food tour to amplify your experience!


16. Explore Mexico’s political history at the National Palace

The National Palace is a key historic site, having been the seat of power in Mexico for centuries. It stands on land that was once part of an Aztec palace, making it deeply rooted in the country’s history.

One of the main attractions within the palace is the series of murals painted by the famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera. These murals depict Mexico’s history from the pre-Columbian era to the post-revolutionary period and are a masterpiece of Mexican art.

The building itself is an architectural marvel, showcasing various styles that have evolved over centuries. Its grand façade and elegant courtyards are impressive to explore.

The National Palace also houses government offices, including the office of the President of Mexico. This makes it an important site for understanding contemporary Mexican politics and governance.

The National Palace is accessible to the public and entry is usually free, making it an excellent option for free things to do in Mexico City.

17. Uncover ancient Aztec ruins at Templo Mayor

Templo Mayor was one of the main temples of the Aztecs in their capital city of Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City. It is a key archaeological site that offers a glimpse into the ancient Aztec civilization. It was considered one of the most important temples in the Aztec capital.

The ruins of Templo Mayor provide an impressive sight. You can see the layers of the pyramid structure that was rebuilt several times over the centuries, reflecting the rich history of the Aztecs.

The site includes a museum that houses artifacts found during the excavations of Templo Mayor. These artifacts, including sculptures, jewelry, and everyday objects, offer deeper insight into Aztec life and rituals.

Visiting Templo Mayor offers a unique perspective on the city’s layered history, showcasing the blend of indigenous and colonial influences that define Mexico City. The museum is open from 9 AM – 5 PM daily and the entrance fee is 95 pesos ($6 USD).

18. Experience Mexico City’s bohemian side in Roma and Condesa

Roma Mexico City

Both Roma and Condesa neighborhoods are known for their bohemian flair, with a thriving arts scene, street art, galleries, and cultural events. These areas are famous for their beautiful architecture, featuring Art Deco buildings, elegant mansions, and charming old houses.

Roma, in particular, gained international fame through the award-winning film “Roma” by Alfonso Cuarón. It’s also a place with a rich literary history, having been home to many renowned writers.

Roma and Condesa boast a diverse culinary scene, with numerous cafes, bistros, and restaurants offering both Mexican and international cuisine. The neighborhoods are a haven for shoppers looking for unique, trendy, and boutique items, away from the usual tourist traps.

With a wide array of bars, clubs, and live music venues, the areas are popular for their vibrant nightlife. Roma and Condesa are considered relatively safe and are very walkable, making them ideal for leisurely exploration.

This is one of the best things to do in Mexico City and believe me, everyone goes to Roma and Condesa. You can’t skip it!

19. Get panoramic views of the city at Torre Latinoamericana

Places to visit in Mexico City
Photo by: Dave Alaniz

As one of the tallest buildings in Mexico City, the Torre Latinoamericana offers incredible 360-degree views of the city from its observation decks. It’s an excellent spot for photography and to get a sense of the city’s vastness.

The tower is an iconic part of Mexico City’s skyline and has historical significance. When it was completed in 1956, it was the tallest building in Latin America and was renowned for its engineering, particularly its resistance to earthquakes.

The Torre Latinoamericana also houses a small museum that provides information about the building’s history and construction, as well as the history of Mexico City. There is a restaurant and a café on the upper floors, so you can also enjoy a meal or a drink with a view.

The entrance fee to the viewpoint is around 150 pesos ($9 USD) and you can buy it online. This website is in Spanish but it’s not hard to book a ticket.

20. Indulge in luxury shopping in Polanco

Visiting Polanco is highly recommended for those who enjoy upscale neighborhoods with a cosmopolitan flair. Polanco is known for its luxury, cultural diversity, and vibrant lifestyle.

Polanco is renowned for its high-end shopping, featuring luxury boutiques and designer stores. Avenida Presidente Masaryk, often compared to Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, is a prime destination for those seeking luxury shopping.

The neighborhood boasts some of Mexico City’s finest restaurants, offering a range of international and Mexican gourmet cuisine. It’s a food lover’s paradise, with options ranging from upscale dining to trendy eateries.

Polanco is home to several cultural attractions, including the Museo Soumaya, which houses a private art collection with works by European masters, and the Museo Jumex, showcasing contemporary art.

This neighborhood is considered one of the safer areas in Mexico City and is very walkable, allowing visitors to easily explore its streets, parks, and attractions.

21. Explore world-class art collections in Mexico City’s museums

Places to visit in Mexico City

Mexico City is often regarded as one of the world’s great cultural capitals, with an impressive array of museums. Its museums offer a wide range of collections, from pre-Columbian artifacts to contemporary art. This diversity allows visitors to experience a broad spectrum of cultural and historical narratives.

The Museo Nacional de Antropología houses the largest collection of pre-Columbian artifacts in Mexico, including the famous Aztec Sun Stone. It’s essential for understanding Mexico’s indigenous cultures and history.

Apart from being an architectural masterpiece, The Palace of Fine Arts is a cultural center that hosts impressive murals by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and other Mexican artists, as well as temporary art exhibitions.

Museums like Papalote Museo del Niño (Children’s Museum) offer interactive and educational experiences, making them great for family visits.

🏛️ Did you know? There are over 50 museums in Mexico City! Check out our full list here to see what fits your travel schedule and preference.

22. Explore Paseo de la Reforma

Paseo de la Reforma is one of the most important and iconic streets in Mexico City. The avenue is lined with several important monuments and landmarks, such as the Angel of Independence and the Diana the Huntress Fountain, both of which are iconic symbols of Mexico City.

Along Paseo de la Reforma, you’ll find cultural institutions like the National Museum of Anthropology, one of the most important museums in Latin America, and the Museum of Modern Art.

The avenue displays a mix of classical and modern architecture, with impressive skyscrapers and historic buildings, making it a great place for architectural enthusiasts.

The broad sidewalks and central location make Paseo de la Reforma ideal for strolling or biking, especially on Sundays when the avenue is partially closed to vehicular traffic for Ciclotón, a city-wide biking event.

23. Immerse in Mexico’s musical culture at Plaza Garibaldi

Known as the home of mariachi music in Mexico City, Plaza Garibaldi offers a vibrant atmosphere. The main attraction of Plaza Garibaldi is the live mariachi bands. Visitors can hire a band to play songs on the spot, offering an authentic experience of Mexican folk music.

The plaza is a lively place where you can immerse yourself in a quintessential aspect of Mexican culture. It’s an ideal spot for those wanting to experience the country’s musical traditions firsthand.

There are numerous restaurants and bars around the plaza where you can enjoy traditional Mexican food and drinks. Some establishments also offer live music inside. Plaza Garibaldi is particularly lively at night, making it a great spot for experiencing Mexico City’s nightlife.

The plaza is close to other attractions in the historic center of Mexico City, making it easy to combine your visit with other sights.

24. Experience world-class culinary artistry in Mexico City’s restaurants

mexico city fine dining restaurants
Enrique Olvera’s Pujol is always the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to Mexico City fine dining restaurants.

The dining and restaurant scene in Mexico City is incredibly vibrant and diverse, reflecting the city’s rich culinary heritage and its status as a global gastronomic hub.

Mexico City’s restaurant scene is renowned for its variety, offering everything from traditional Mexican dishes to innovative fusion cuisine, as well as a wide range of international foods.

It is home to several high-end restaurants that provide gourmet dining experiences, often combining traditional Mexican ingredients with modern culinary techniques.

Many restaurants specialize in traditional Mexican cuisine, offering a taste of regional dishes from across the country. There’s a strong trend towards contemporary and innovative cuisine, with chefs experimenting with new takes on traditional dishes.

There’s a growing emphasis on using local, organic, and sustainably sourced ingredients, reflecting a broader global trend towards mindful eating. Reflecting its cosmopolitan nature, Mexico City’s dining scene includes excellent Italian, French, Japanese, and other international cuisines.

Mexico City boasts several restaurants that have received international recognition and awards:

  • Pujol: Often ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world, Pujol, led by Chef Enrique Olvera, offers innovative Mexican cuisine and is known for its mole madre.
  • Quintonil: Chef Jorge Vallejo’s Quintonil, also frequently listed among the world’s best restaurants, offers contemporary Mexican dishes with a focus on fresh, local ingredients.
  • Sud 777: This restaurant is known for its fusion of global flavors with Mexican techniques, providing a unique dining experience.
  • Biko: Although it has closed now, Biko was renowned for its Basque-Mexican fusion cuisine and had consistently ranked high in the list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants.

25. Experience Mexico City’s nightlife through lively bars and speakeasies

Bars in Roma Mexico City

Known for its energetic and varied nightlife, Mexico City offers something for every taste, from traditional mariachi music to trendy nightclubs.

Mexico City’s nightlife is incredibly diverse, catering to different tastes and styles. You can find everything from trendy rooftop bars and high-energy nightclubs to cozy pubs and traditional cantinas.

The city is known for its live music scene, featuring genres like rock, jazz, electronic, and, of course, traditional Mexican music. Places like Plaza Garibaldi are famous for live mariachi performances.

For those who enjoy dancing, the city offers a range of nightclubs with local and international DJs. The neighborhoods of Roma, Condesa, and Polanco are popular for their chic bars and clubs.

The city’s vibrant food scene extends into the night, with many restaurants and street food vendors operating late. This is a great opportunity to indulge in Mexico’s famous culinary offerings.

Below are some articles where you can see the best bars in Mexico City:

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