What to do in Mexico City (and why I love it)


I’m fairly new to post-writing here at Frequent Miler so most of my posts spring out of someone in my life saying, “Hey, I’m going to XYZ place. What should I see?” This post is no different and contains all the major Mexico City recommendations I gave to my sister for her upcoming trip.

There’s so much to love in Mexico (and someday I’ll write about the road trip we did from Monterrey to Mexico City), but I was thrilled when my sister decided to add a whole week in Mexico City to her itinerary. In my opinion it’s worth a whole week on its own.

Where to stay in Mexico City

a group of dogs lying on a brick path
If you’re lucky, you’ll see these adorable dog obedience schools in Parque Mexico.

Mexico City is huge and you can get an entirely different experience just by staying in a different part of town. For instance we stayed in Zona Rosa one visit and quickly found out that this is the nightlife zone – not really my scene, but it could be perfect for someone looking for that kind of experience.

Instead, my favorite areas are Roma Norte and La Condesa. As a true millennial, I love the plethora of cute cafes and coffee shops. They’re also both within reasonable walking distance of the beautiful Parque Mexico and Parque Espana, (especially true for La Condesa). The Chapultepec Castle area is also a fairly reasonable walking distance for those who don’t mind longer walks. (~30 minutes from the La Condesa area and ~45 from Roma Norte.) Typically I try to book an Airbnb within walking distance of Parque Mexico and that will naturally land me in one of these regions.

a statue of wolves in a fountain

Coyoacan is a historic part of town where Frida Kahlo’s former house now serves as a museum. This part of town is beautiful and much more quaint-feeling. I wouldn’t spend my whole Mexico City visit here, but it’s great for one or two nights, and does put you slightly closer to the Xochimilco experience (which I’ll discuss more below.)

What to see in Mexico City

I’ve already mentioned Parque Mexico and Parque Espana which are lovely fixtures in any Mexico City day, but here are some other sites to add to the list.

View from Miralto Restaurant in Torre Latinoamericana:

a group of people sitting at a table with a view of a city
View from Torre Latinoamericana

The Miralto Restaurant sits at the top of the Torre Latinoamericana skyscraper. I’ve never eaten at this restaurant and am not mentioning it as an actual restaurant recommendation, (though it may be delicious, I have no idea). I’m recommending this spot because it’s worth a drink or two at the bar just for the sunset view over the city.

Bosque de Chapultepec and the Chapultepec Castle:

a courtyard with a stone building and a stone walkway
Chapultepec Castle
a mural of a group of people holding weapons
Diego Rivera mural inside the Chapultepec Castle

The Chapultepec Castle is nestled within the Bosque de Chapultepec, a huge park area with enough space for an almost fair-like smattering of booths and food stalls as well as quiet green areas by the lake. The castle is free on Sundays (and therefore quite crowded) and has a ~$4.50 entry fee otherwise.

The castle is more than just a pretty building – it contains impressive museum exhibits as well, (including a huge Diego Rivera mural) and you should definitely allow plenty of time to see it all. (The last visit I forgot how extensive the interior exhibits were and spent way too much of my museum-stamina lingering around the castle portion of the exhibit.)

Paseo de la Reforma and the Angel of Independence (closed to cars on Sunday mornings): 

a statue of a angel on a pillar in a city
Angel of Independence
a group of people riding bicycles in a city
Biking Paseo de la Reforma on a Sunday morning

One of the central avenues going through Mexico City is the Paseo de la Reforma, recognizable for the Angel of Independence which sits in the middle. There are often interesting market stands lining parts of this avenue and it is closed to traffic on Sunday mornings. We used the city bike-share system called “Dezba” to enjoy biking the Paseo de la Reforma on one such Sunday morning.

Soumaya Museum (Free Admission)

Museo Soumaya with a curved roof
Soumaya Museum

The Soumaya Museum is an impressive art museum with free admission. Absolutely worth a visit for anyone who enjoys art exhibits.

Templo Mayor Museum and Templo Mayor de México-Tenochtitlan:

a stone wall with a building in the background
Templo Mayor de México-Tenochtitlan’s downtown ruins
stone statues on a stone staircase
Templo Mayor de México-Tenochtitlan has Teotihuacan-like ruins right downtown as well as an impressive museum.

The Templo Mayor area includes a museum and a preserved section of ruins right downtown, quite close to the National Palace. Just like Chapultepec Castle, there is a ~$4.50 admission fee or it’s free on Sundays.

Xochimilco Canal Boats:

a woman taking a selfie by a body of water

Xochimilco is a quirky boat ride taking you through the canals of the Xochimilco region of the city in the far south. You can book these in advance or just show up to the canal area and start haggling, but it should cost around $20-$25 to rent an entire boat (and boat driver) for an hour or so. The boat ride is fairly scenic (and there are points throughout the tour where you can view these strange islands decorated with baby doll heads…) but the main idea is to bring your own food and drinks and day-drink or have a nice little floating picnic with your friends. It is quite far from the other sites mentioned above.

Lucha Libre at Arena Mexico:

a man in a mask on a boxing ring
We went to a Tuesday Lucha Libre event so the crowds were more minimal, but it was still fun seeing everyone get into the show.

Another quirky activity is to catch a Lucha Libre “show” at Arena Mexico. The price varies depending on the day but it should only cost ~$5 or so. Think of this more as a show than a sports event and you’ll have a blast.


a woman standing in front of a pyramid
The Teotihuacan Archological Site and Pyramids are ~2 hours from Mexico City and are worth seeing for a day trip.

The Teotihuacan Pyramids and Archeological site is not in Mexico City, but close enough for a day trip. The entry fee is only ~$5 or so, but the greater cost will be getting there from the city. (Estimate around ~$45 and ~2 hours each way for a taxi or Uber, though as a cheaper option, there are buses which leave the pyramids around closing time and head back into the city.)

The pyramids are definitely worth seeing, though it is a long, traffic-filled drive and when we were there back in December, some of the sites were still closed (related to the pandemic I think.) Bring lots of water and snacks because it will be a long day.

Where (and what) to eat in Mexico City

The sites above should give you plenty to do in a week’s visit, especially when you add the mandatory leisure time eating delicious food, drinking great coffee, and strolling in the park. A few recommended dishes to get you started on your own food scavenger hunt though include tuna tostadas, cafe de olla, Chiles en Nogada, and of course some street tacos along the way. While it’s ridiculously easy to find great food in Mexico City and it hardly requires recommendations, here’s the list Drew’s been keeping of our favorite spots:

  • El Habenerito: This is a cute little spot which specializes in Yucatan food.
  • Taquería Orinoco: This is a hugely popular, multi-location taqueria which specializes in Chicharrón.
  • La Esquina Del Chilaquil: This is a unique and delicious street food vendor specializing in chilaquiles sandwiches which make a great breakfast dish.
  • Contramar: Fine dining sea food which will most likely require a reservation. More expensive than my other recommendations.
  • El Turuleto Tacos Del Var CDMX: One of the great things about Mexico City is that seafood is so prevalent that you don’t need to go the fine-dining route for great seafood. This spot is extremely casual but excellent.
  • Tacos Los Juanes: This is another street food stall which has the best al pastor street tacos I’ve ever had. But keep in mind, these food stalls usually change hands from weekdays to weekends. I believe the al pastor tacos appear on the weekend shifts.
  • Comedor Lucerna: This place requires a disclaimer. It’s a trendy food court where you can order from multiple bars and restaurants in the same cool patio-style eating environment. I really like the vibe but it only gets a spot on my list for Drew’s sake. (The seafood spot in this food court uses raw shrimp in some of their dishes which apparently makes me much more sick than it makes Drew, or perhaps I magically get all the raw shrimp bites and he doesn’t. I have no idea. But be warned and check the ingredients before you order – luckily they do typically indicate which dishes do and do not contain raw shrimp. This is probably a good warning for eating seafood in Mexico City in general, regardless of where. Watch for the words “camarón crudo”.)


Mexico is underrated as a travel destination in my opinion, and this is true for its capital city as well. Hopefully these recommendations inspire you to do more than just transit through. If you also love CDMX, include your own recommendations in the comments below!


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Chapultepec has good views. But you will find more grandeur in the interior and more interesting exhibits at any house museum in Charleston compared to that palace


Hi Carrie, good to see you are writing again. I love to read Drew and your write ups before at Travel is Free. You got to write a article to introduce yourself. You had your own website before separate from Travel is Free. Last I hear was Drew was at Pointsguy. Also, what happen to the sharing of tools ( I think) community website you guys were working on before? Welcome back to miles and points community, and I am looking forward to your articles.


I concur with everyone saying that CDMX is underrated. We’re actually here now for our fourth trip in four years. So many fantastic restaurants and things to do. And a short non-stop flight from many places in the US. Add on that it’s on central time and it’s just a great, easy city.


Went to Mexico City for my honeymoon in 1974 and loved it. Then went back five years ago, quite a change, but still fabulous food.


Hi Carrie, thanks for this. We just booked a two week trip to Mexico city in late January and were excited to see this post! We really miss your Freakinflyers blog as well as Travel is free. Nostalgic for the simpler points and miles days. Hope for peace in Ukraine


Thanks Caroline! Very helpful.


Love the post and learn a lot. It has attractions, neighborhood to stay, and places to eat. It tells me the admission fee and hidden gems. I made the suggestion for a segment similar to this for FM on the air at the beginning of the pandemic, so I am happy to read this article and it did not disappoint. Hopefully there will be more to come.

Steve Kent

It’s still very dangerous. My friends got robbed and had to leave.


Nobody ever gets robbed in the United States? Mexico City is like most places – be aware of your surroundings, don’t advertise ostentatious wealth on the streets, don’t carry too much cash. There are a few select places in the world where crime doesn’t happen, but most of the world calls for attentiveness.


Use a black cover on ur Apple $20, a 70 yea old lady in SF got beat up for her Ip 7 ..
Be Aware and go where you feel safe so it’s a Fun Trip..ALOHA

Last edited 1 year ago by Cavedweller

Was sorry to hear you got robbed. Then, you know, not so sorry.


Great list! But in addition to the National Museum of Anthropology (a must see), please add….To stay: the Hilton Reforma is my favorite. Make sure you have executive lounge access, they have a great one with awesome food and a wonderful view of the city. To see: the pyramid at Tenayuca. On the drive there you’ll see old houses with ancient stone blocks that were taken from Aztec buildings. Also the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral. To eat: Mexican style hot chocolate in Coyoacan…Cafe El Jarocho has my favorite.

P.s. please see Voladores de Papantla if you get a chance. There are some good ones that perform right outside of the National Museum of Anthropology.

Last edited 1 year ago by Aloha808
Tonei Glavinic

Small correction: Dezba isn’t “the city bike-share system” – it’s just one of several private companies that operate in the city, like Lime does in various places in the US. The city bikeshare system is Ecobici, which has a much larger service area and many more bikes 🙂


One of the world’s great underrated cities.

My 2 cents:

  • For those interested in “artesanias” (handicrafts) the market at La Ciudadela is great.
  • The Ballet Folklorico, a theatrical performance of traditional dances, is outstanding and not just for people who like dance — it’s more like a Mardi Gras level spectacle.

Just a few: (1) thrifting in Roma Sur, (2) high fashion in Polanco district, (3) beautiful Bellas Artes theater and the national post office building, (4) stylish original Art Deco buildings in the Centro and in Condesa, and (5) the Saturday Art Market in San Angel! Mexico City is the best.


Would definitely add Archeological Museum – such a unique place with indoor/outdoor expositions, and great collection of pre-Columbian art.
For the Teotihuacan there is no need for expensive taxi – there are regular busses running from/to few metro stations on the schedule. The site is huge, so plan your time there accordingly, but surely the highlight of the entire MC trip.
Other highlights are well described in this article, but Christians (or curious) can add several really rare places to visit if desired. MC is great for architecture spotting with so large variety of building styles – from pyramids to super modern.


The National Museum of Anthropology