Mexico City

6 Things You Absolutely Must Do In Mexico City

Planning a visit to Mexico’s capital, otherwise known as one of the coolest up-and-coming travel destinations? Make the most of your time in CDMX with these six awesome things to do in Mexico City.

Visit a museum

CDMX is home to some fantastic museums, and visiting one should definitely be on your list of things to do in Mexico City. In this cultural hub, just walking around the Centro Historico can seem like a real-life museum exhibit. But, behind museum walls lie curated collections of some of the world’s most impressive art and historical artifacts.

Check out Mexico’s most-visited museum, the National Museum of Anthropology, which houses the largest collection of Meso-American artifacts in the world. Since this museum is centrally located in Chapultepec Park, it’s easy to access, and you can explore the park on your same visit. Keep in mind that the museum is closed on Mondays and admission costs $70MXN. If you want to double up on your museum visits, Chapultepec Castle also sits in the park and is certainly worth the uphill climb, both for the history and the views.

Museo Soumaya is a great museum to visit when in Mexico City.
Museo Soumaya’s unique exterior

Any art-lover will enjoy Museo Soumaya. This museum is the vision of businessman and philanthropist Carlos Slim, who was the world’s richest person for several years. His private art collection is now on display at Museo Soumaya, named after his late wife. And, wanting to make art as accessible as possible, admission is free and the museum is open daily.

Drink like a local

Mexico’s unofficial national beverage may be tequila, but CDMX’s drinking culture is much more than shots at a dive bar. Sip fine tequila and mezcal (a smoky agave-based spirit), or try one of a variety of agave-based cocktails. Margaritas are a good place to start, but cocktails bars like Gin Gin and Licoreria Limantour prove cocktail culture is as strong here as anywhere in the US or Europe.

Mexico City cocktail culture at Gin Gin
Mezcal Old Fashioned with Chile de Arbol at Gin Gin

Mexico also produces some great wine, mostly warm-weather varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo. Mexican wine isn’t often exported to the US, so take advantage of the selection here. Looking for a cozy, sophisticated wine bar? Try Nexo Wine Bistrot in Polanco.

Lastly, Mexico’s budding craft beer scene presents a great opportunity to sample ales, pilsners, and lagers from around the country. I particularly enjoy Cerveza Minerva‘s Colonial from Guadalajara.

Cerveza Minerva Colonial beer
One of my cervezas favoritas – Minerva’s Colonial brew

Local drinks aren’t limited to alcohol, though. Grab a fruit-infused agua fresca from a street stand or family restaurant, with flavors like hibiscus and tamarind. Or, pair your breakfast with a traditional Mexican coffee, which has cinnamon added.

Eat on the cheap

In my opinion, Mexico City is the best value food city in the world. At taco stands on the street and family-style restaurants, a delicious meal is yours for just a couple dollars or less. My rule of thumb for street food: if there’s a line of people eating there, it must be safe and delicious. Safety in numbers, right?

Pozole, flautas, and sopes at La Casa de Toño - things to do in Mexico City
Eat to your heart’s content at La Casa de Toño – definitely try the pozole

In addition to street food, you can get cheap but hearty homestyle meal many local restaurants. One of my favorites, which is now has several locations across Mexico City, is La Casa de Toño. Heads up: you may think the bill is wrong, but it’s really just that inexpensive. La Casa de Toño is famous for their pozole, a stew packed with hominy and veggies, a meat of your choice (or more veggies), and topped with lettuce and radishes. Also try a sope, some enchiladas verdes, and for dessert, some flan.

Eat like a king or queen

Ever since Enrique Olvera’s first restaurant, Pujol, opened in 2000, Mexico City’s haute cuisine has drawn international attention. And for good reason – a few Mexico City hotspots sit in the top 100 of the World’s Best Restaurants list, given their attention to detail, service, and unique flavors. In addition to Pujol (#20), restaurants Quintonil (#22), Biko (#65), and Sud777 (#75) round out this year’s list.

Escamoles on the tasting menu at Quintonil in Mexico City
Modern take on traditional Mexican escamoles at Quintonil

Given their prestige, you may expect a tasting menu at in one of these dining rooms to run upwards of $300, as many others on the list do. Guess again! An 11-course tasting menu at Quintonil is just under $100, and Biko’s tasting menu is just over $60.

Plenty of other high-end CDMX restaurants offer similar experiences, even if they don’t fall on the Pelligrino list. Check out my new favorite Mexico City restaurant, PEHUA, as well as Polanquito’s Dulce Patria and Anatol for an unforgettable Mexican meal (and an unreal value).

Enjoy a park

Yes, CDMX is sprawling, crowded, and a little smoggy on some days. But, all of that feels far away when you’re enjoying one of Mexico City’s numerous lush, green parks. The most well known is the giant Bosque de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Park), which is one of the Americas’ biggest urban parks, spanning nearly 1,700 acres. The park is home to several museums, a castle, a zoo, lakes, and lots of wildlife, making is a wonderful refuge from the busy city.

Visiting Chapultepec park is one of my favorite things to do in Mexico City
See trees and cacti at Chapultepec Park – the cactus garden is at the top of the hill near Chapultepec Castle

In addition to Chapultepec Park, the surrounding neighborhoods are home to their own smaller parks. Polanco’s Lincoln Park features quaint fountains and tranquil benches where you can sit and admire the scenery. La Condesa is full of parks too, from the central Parque Mexico to the tree-lined parkway on Avenida Amsterdam.

Get out of the city

With a population of over 20 million people in the Mexico City metro area, the city itself is enormous. You could explore for weeks, or even years, and not see everything. But, one of my favorite things to do in Mexico City is actually leave the city proper and see the surrounding sights.

Teotihuacan is one of my favorite things to do in Mexico City
View of the ancient Pyramids at Teotihuacan

One highlight of things to do outside Mexico City is Teotihuacan, an archaeological site where an ancient Mesoamerican city once stood. Although its 125,000 residents are long gone, two striking pyramids (Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon) still stand today. For just 70 pesos, you can enter the site and climb to the stop of the Pyramid of the Sun, where you’ll find a breathtaking view. Pro tip: go early in the morning! You can book a group tour on Viator that includes transportation and a guide. Or, like we did, take a public bus for 100 pesos round trip from the Terminal del Norte.

Other things to do in Mexico City that involve exploring the outskirts include visiting pueblos magicos such as Taxco and Tepoztlan or taking a vineyard tour at the nearby Freixenet winery.

What are your favorite things to do in Mexico City? Haven’t been to CDMX yet? I hope it’s on your bucket list – the city really has something for everyone.

4 thoughts on “6 Things You Absolutely Must Do In Mexico City”

  1. I love this list! I’ve done all of these things, except for maybe the haute cuisine part. Mexico City is one of my favourites, so much to eat and see and do. 🙂

Leave a Reply