I just got back from Mexico City, a place I’ve wanted to visit for years. Well I finally checked it off my bucket list in a roughly 4-day trip over Memorial Day weekend. I’m going to give you the run down of my itinerary, so you can get a feel for the city, and even steal our plans to use for your trip. We did a lot of great research, and got tips from friends who’ve been to make this trip happen and I believe we planned super well! 😇
I definitely recommend planning your trip around neighborhoods, so you can check off everything you want to do by location. Mexico City is even a huge city to my friend Lauren and I, who live in NYC!
Day 1: Thursday
We stayed at this Airbnb in Roma Norte, about 10 minutes’ walk to the heart of Condesa, the young vibrant neighborhood with tons of bars and restaurants.
We walked around the area and grabbed a street taco! With any street cart, make sure there are other people around eating from it, and that everything you’re eating is cooked hot in front of you.
Headed to a supermarket (or a 7/11 or OXXO would work too) for water bottles & jugs to use for the rest of the trip. We also grabbed bread, cheese and meats to bring to our walk around Teotihuacan the next day because we realize there’s not a ton of food around there.
We ubered to Plaza de la Constitución: the center of town, also called Zócalo, with government buildings, the cathedral of Mexico City, and a few historic ruins.
Couldn’t avoid making a stop at Café Moro, for some hot chewy churros!
Hot tip: right nearby is the Palacio de Bellas Artes. We didn’t go in, but there’s a gorgeous view from the VERY TOP of the Sears across the street. Literally walk into Sears and elevator and escalator as far up as you can go. There’s a rooftop cafe where you can grab a coffee and take a look at a gorgeous view of Mexico City. Great stop for the first day.
It was time for a drink. Hotel Condesa DF is a boutique hotel in that cool neighborhood. We got cocktails on the rooftop that would probably be $22 in NYC but were like $6 each.
Dinner at Azul Condesa. It was a 5 minute walk from the rooftop bar. We waited about 40 minutes here for a table, but it was totally worth it. We ate guac with tiny grasshoppers, ceviche, typical Oaxacan mole, and Yucatán fish. Second best meal of Mexico City.
Transport: So we Uber-ed everywhere. I would have liked to check out the subway, but every time we checked, an Uber was faster! We heard that traffic was going to be horrible, but I found it wasn’t any worse than Manhattan.
Day 2: Friday
Found a cafe open at 7am (rare), grabbed a bite to eat, and then we were off!
Time for Teotihuacan.
Here’s how to get there: Uber to the Terminal Central de Autobuses de Norte. Walk to Gate 8. Buy round trip tickets there. The bus is totally fine, it’s super cheap too. It makes a few stops along the way, and it’s cool to see the outskirts of the city and the pueblas. The only thing is, be prepared for a man and maybe a couple police officers to board and get a video of everyone’s faces. I hear they do it because they are getting tougher against crime, but it does jolt you out of your comfort zone for a moment.
Get to Teotihuacan after about an hour and a half, buy tickets at the first gate where you get dropped off by bus. Head in and maybe pee at the second gate where they check your tickets before you start your journey. It’s a good idea to grab a map too, from the office directly before the park.
Head directly to the Temple of the Sun before it gets super hot. We were at the pinnacle by 10am and it was perf. The steps aren’t terrible, the view is amazing.
From there we went direct to the temple of the moon, and ate lunch at the top. Great view. Hope you brought plenty of water because at about 11:30, it’s hot.
It’s worth checking out the museum on the property afterwards, to give context to what you’re seeing. We were tired by then, and almost out of water. We headed to the bus, asked a bunch of people where to get on, but generally just jumped on the first bus we saw. Naptime on the bus.
We grabbed a street tlayuda before heading back to our place. Back at the apartment we took a two-hour nap. It takes a lot out of you, OK??
Time to explore Condesa before dinner. It really was a distinctive vibe, unlike a lot of Mexico City so far which reminded me of Europe a bit.
We found a bar with outdoor seats called El Grifo that served Mezcal and craft beers. We kind of did our own Mezcal tasting – it’s more popular than Tequila!
Vineria for dinner. It was decent, not my favorite meal. I did get to try the “Jamaica” flavor I’ve seen on a lot of menus, which is cooked Hibiscus, or Sorrel. I had no idea it was such a big thing here. Keep in mind to drink bottled water, no ice at restaurants too!
We walked home because we felt comfortable and it was a 10 minute walk. Normally I’d be Ubering at night – see my safety tips and thoughts on getting around Mexico City here.
Wine on our terrace, then bedtime.
Day 3: Saturday
We tried El Globo, a pastry place nearby for breakfast. I needed to try the famous Concha pastry of Mexico City.
Frida’s house! La Casa Azul. This is what you need to get tickets for in advance. Like right now. We picked the first time slot of the morning, which worked perfectly. Everyone who didn’t have tickets waited in a huge line for who knows how long. When you enter, make sure one of you buys a photo pass so you can take photos through the house.
The house and gardens were beautiful, and gave you a picture of what her life must be like, and perspective on who she was and why she was so significant. I’d also recommend watching the movie with Salma Hayek before you go.
Coyocan market was next for tostadas, and a quick stop for some helado at El Portal de Sabor.
Uber to San Angel neighborhood for Bazaar Sabado. The bazaar was the whole reason we went down to this area on Saturday – it’s the only day of this amazing market. There’s an inside that’s very upscale, but the vendors outside had good stuff for better prices. Overall the market is one of the more expensive ones, but we were being careful to avoid some of the cheaper, bigger markets run by the cartel. I’m sure it would’ve been fine, but we went with our guts on this one.
L’encanto de Lola for a beer and torta break. It was such a cute market, with its cobblestone streets and colorful goods, but we needed a little shopping break. This place was a nice respite, with a back patio.
Tonight was our big dinner at Entremar. It’s the sister of Contramar, serving exacting the same things, so don’t be sad if you don’t get a reservation at Contramar. We emailed them and they hooked us up! You’re gonna need to get the Tostadas de atun, and an aguachile of some kind (it’s basically ceviche). Then we gorged on the giant fish! Pescado a la talla, Contramar. We were so full but needed dessert – we had the fig torte and “chocolate brownie” which was really just a warm chocolate cake with nuts.
We were in the Polanco neighborhood, so we explored. Calle Julio Verne is worth a walk- it’s definitely the fancy party area, I’d say the meatpacking district of Mexico City.
Day 4: Sunday
We checked out and dropped off our luggage nearby at a friend of our Airbnb hosts apartment.
We headed to the Anthropology museum. There were some highlights like the giant sacrificial stone of the Aztecs, and I mean I appreciated all the relics from Mexican History, but I’d try a different museum. There were so many rooms I could have skipped, like it takes you from the beginning of man, which is cool but I learned about it in 4th grade. It was a little boring ok!? I hear the museum of modern art has more Frida paintings – try that one instead.
Chapultapec Castle: the Paseo de la Reforma is the main street that closes for pedestrians and bikes on Sunday morning, so on our way to the castle we observed like all of Mexico City riding bikes and running. Kind of cool. The castle is a climb, but worth it when you get to the top. It’s a castle that was built in the late 1700s and changed hands a bunch of times. It’s in great condition and doubles as the National history museum. You can also see a bunch of restores rooms, which I love. Like a little house tour.
We strolled through the park, Bosque de Chapultepec afterward, because we were right there. It got super busy so we left, then lunched, and left for the airport.
I felt that we did and ate some of the best things in the city! Hope you can find this useful when you go. Remember to check out my safety tips here.
Ps- be sure to check out the blog, Northern Lauren, for more tips. She lives there so has a ton of posts!
Hello! How much should you budget for a trip similar to this? 🙂
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Great question! Believe it or not I spent about $800 on the whole trip including flight and Airbnb. It’s SO cheap. It’s one of the most affordable places I’ve been.