I’ve been visiting Mexico my entire life, I have a lot of family in different parts so I’m well versed in the food and culture.
But this was my first time in Mexico City (CDMX- Ciudad de Mexico) and boy did I take advantage! I probably ate like 72 tacos in 4 days, but who’s counting?
My first impression of the city is that it’s enormous and makes the “big cities” like Chicago (my home) and NYC look like babies.
So I planned well, I did my research, and I organized a busy but incredible 4 days in Mexico City. Here’s my exact Mexico City itinerary, hope it helps you in your planning.
4 Days in Mexico City
First, I wanted to answer some of the most common questions I got during this trip.
Is Mexico City safe?
It’s like any big city. Some neighborhoods are safer than others, and some areas shouldn’t be visited at all. I’ll talk more about the safer areas to stay and explore below.
From my experience, the city is welcoming and friendly and we felt safe the entire time. Just don’t go flaunting jewels and money and you should be fine.
No one is going to be hassling you because you’re not from there. They will, however, try to sell you their merchandise on the street or try to get you to eat at their restaurant.
This is a common practice everywhere in Mexico (or Italy or Spain etc.) and they do it to everyone, not just visitors.
Mexico City is one of the most visited cities in Mexico so you’ll hear a lot of English and see a lot of tourists. Crimes weren’t my concern, earthquakes were.
Do I need to know Spanish?
It’s always a good idea to know some basic phrases in the country’s main language. Locals will appreciate the effort and try to work with you.
Honestly, I’m not the best person to answer this question since I’m fluent in Spanish and spoke it to everyone. However, I did hear a lot of Mexicans speaking English to the tourists, but if all else fails you can just point to stuff.
How’s the weather in November/December?
We visited at the end of November/beginning of December and had amazing weather the entire time. Sunny, 70ºF+ days with no rain. Layers and a light coat were enough.
Is Mexico City expensive to visit?
Mexico’s currency is in pesos and thanks to the exchange rate we get a lot of pesos for our dollar. CDMX isn’t as cheap as some other less-explored Mexican cities, but it’s still one of the cheapest places to visit.
Just like many other countries, you can make it as affordable as you’d like. We chose to uber everywhere so we ended up paying more for transportation than walking or taking the bus.
However, we didn’t eat at pricey restaurants and instead filled up on tacos and pastries, and that’s what we call balance.
Mexico City Itinerary
Mexico City is huge and has so much to offer. Are 4 days enough? Absolutely not. With good planning, you can still hit a lot of “must-see” spots. Below is our itinerary, take what you love and plan around that.
DAY 1: EXPLORE THE NEIGHBORHOODS
• Arrive at CDMX airport and take an Uber to your hotel or Airbnb in Roma Norte or La Condesa. Those two are some of the coolest (and safest) neighborhoods and good options for first-time visitors. Read recommendations for where to stay below. With traffic, Uber will take around 45 minutes to get to either of these areas. The ride costs $7. Considering you’ve just flown in and have missed part of the day (and are probably tired from travel) not much is planned.
• Depending on where you’re staying, explore that area. CDMX is pretty spread out, but if you have the energy and daylight, you can walk from Roma Norte to Condesa in 1.2 miles. Both of these neighborhoods are full of great restaurants, markets, bars, cool facades, colorful doors, and lots of parks.
• I read that Polanco is also a good neighborhood to explore as a visitor and also the Historic Center.
• Eat all the tacos and churros.
DAY 2: MUSEUMS AND BOATS
• Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum/The Blue House. Book ahead to skip the awful line. I booked mine directly through their website HERE and pulled the tickets up on my phone. Note: Inside will still be terribly crowded. I’m not big on museums, but I did enjoy the exhibition of her dresses. Also, we went later in the day so the shadows were horrid for photos.
• Check out Coyoacán Market, it’s within walking distance to the museum. Here you’ll find food stalls, art, souvenirs, the works.
• We didn’t make it to Xochimilco to tour the canals on the fun looking boats, but this would be a good day to do so because the Frida museum is going in that direction. Option 1: Take an Uber and haggle your way to a good price to do the tour. From what I read, the boat guys will try to give you a higher price. Kind of like the gondoliers in Venice. Option 2: Book a tour so you don’t have to haggle. This specific tour combines all of the above- Frida Museum, Coyoacan area, and Xochimilco canals in one day with a guide. The total time is 7 hours. Check the latest prices here.
• Explore the beautiful neighborhood of Chimalistac. This area is between the museum and Xochimilco. It’s one of the richest areas in CDMX. We even saw several guards standing in front of homes protecting the wealth of the wealthy. There are cobblestone streets, colorful rows, and stunning facades- all my favorite things! I took tons of photos in this neighborhood as you’ll see.
DAY 3: DAY TRIP TO THE PYRAMIDS
• After familiarizing yourself with the city, it’s time to take a quick day trip to see the Teotihuacan pyramids. These pyramids are 1 hour outside of CDMX. Option 1: Do the trip yourself! Take an Uber to the bus station, buy your coach bus ticket roundtrip, get dropped off and picked up at the front entrance. Option 2: Book a tour! Here are some well-rated ones to choose from,
→ Visit the Teotihuacan site with an archaeologist as the sun begins to rise over the pyramids. Price includes coach bus, guide, and entrance fees. Currently, $35 but click here for the latest price.
→ Or check out this small-group tour that does a morning trip to the pyramids where you can be one of the first people of the day to explore these ruins. Includes transportation, guide, entrance, and even trip insurance. The group size is 12p max. Check availability here.
• We went with option 1 since we’re familiar with bus travel in Mexico and normally prefer to do things on our own time. It’s a simple route and can be cheaper than booking a tour so if you’re feeling adventurous this post from a fellow blogger is what we followed. Our total for 2 for the Uber, bus, and entrance was $30. I felt completely safe on the bus, though I try not to speak English to not draw attention to myself (this is in any country).
This first photo is the Pyramid of the Sun, one of the biggest structures of its kind in the world. You’ll need to climb 248 uneven steps to reach the top.
This is Jorge at the halfway mark of the Pyramid of the Sun.
The view below is from the Pyramid of the Moon, the second-largest in Teotihuacan.
I took this photo of J when I was standing on the Pyramid of the Moon.
DAY 4: HISTORIC CENTER AND MARKETS
• Make your way to the historic center of CDMX to *enjoy* the crowds and explore the area. I didn’t spend much time here but I do recommend you make your way up to Don Porfirio for a fantastic view. You can’t just go for photos though, you’ll need to purchase something from the menu.
• While in the neighborhood you’ll also be close to Chinatown (Barrio Chino) which has its appeal.
• You’ll also be within walking distance to La Ciudadela market where you’ll find beautiful Mexican crafts, art, jewelry, souvenirs, and more. CDMX has tons of markets, but La Ciudadela seems to be one of the most popular.
• Make sure you schedule enough time to eat more churros and tacos and check out some of the bars before your flight home!
Where to Stay in Mexico City
We also visited Guanajuato during this Mexico trip, so our stays in Mexico City were broken up. This allowed us to try out a few hotels.
AIRBNB– First, I should mention that I found some of the most affordable stays through Airbnb for my Mexico trip. However, for my dates in CDMX, I needed to book hotels for the sake of my luggage storage. But with Airbnb, you can find great apartments in the best areas for a lot less than some hotels. Remember to choose a “superhost”.
CASA MANNACH– This hotel is more of a chic apartment building, but they offer luggage storage. It’s located in Hipodromo Condesa, an area of La Condesa, and is close to Roma. You’ll be right by a dog park. WIN! The building is beautiful and the service was great. I enjoyed our clean stay and would book it again in a heartbeat. Check availability here.
TAO BED & BREAKFAST– We decided to extend our stay in the middle of our trip to explore more of CDMX. Then I had to quickly figure out where to stay for the extra 2 nights. I rarely book anything so last minute, but Tao came through for us.
I emailed the host of this cute B&B and liked that she was super responsive and friendly. Impressed with the service and great reviews, I went ahead and chose Tao for our last 2 nights. Be aware, it’s in a poppin’ restaurant/bar area so you will hear some noise on the weekends. Book directly through the site here.
What to Eat in Mexico City
We tend to plan our trips around the food we’re going to eat, so you know we’re serious about our meals.
After doing research, we make a list of the best places to try. The ones I’m sharing here were our favorites. I’m noticing now as I write this list that we ate a lot, my goodness…
TACOS + BEYOND
Taqueria Orinoco– Well-rated and popular tacos. There was a line when we went but it moves quickly. The little potatoes they add as a side (for free) are delicious too!
El Tizoncito– We tried several things here but the tacos al pastor with a bit of pineapple was the best. This is what they’re known for and they make a heck of a taco.
Tacos Hola– These were probably my favorite. What seemed like a whatever hole-in-the-wall place turned out to be some amazing tacos. They make a bunch of different “guisados” which roughly translates to “stews”. You pick what you want, they put it in a tortilla and top it with beans and cheese. OMG. So good. We went twice.
Taquería Los Cocuyos– This spot is near the historic center. I didn’t eat here, but Jorge wanted to try it based on the good reviews and loved the tacos.
Tostadas Coyoacán– Solid tostadas sold in the Coyoacán Market. You’ll find them in the back of the market to your left. You’ll see a bunch of yellow signs that read “Tostadas Coyoacan” see photos on Yelp.
Limantour– Awesome bar with lots of options! We tried visiting a few bars in the city, but this was the best experience. They offer all types of cocktails including beautifully garnished vodka and gin drinks, which made me happy because I don’t drink tequila or mezcal.
BREAKFAST + DESSERT
Panadería Rosetta– Oh man don’t miss this bakery! The pastries are so good we stopped here twice. I loved the cream ochos, mixed conchas, and lemon chilindrinas. I wish I could have some of these goodies right now.
Churrería El Moro– Several locations but far from feeling like a chain. They sell great churros, freshly and perfectly made. Get the combo with the traditional hot chocolate, so good.
Qué Sería de Mí– Jorge’s second favorite plate of chilaquiles! I chose pancakes and was disappointed but listing it because J loved his food.
Lardo– Another trendy spot serving delicious breakfast. They also offer pastries from Panaderia Rosetta! If they run out of your favorite pastry at the actual bakery, check out Lardo they may have it. Jorge also had his #1 chilaquiles here.
Helados Cometa– Everything in this ice cream shop is homemade with natural ingredients. No artificial colors or flavorings. We stumbled upon this place as we strolled through Roma. The ice cream is great and well balanced.
COFFEE + TEA
Chiquitito Café– Mexico City had a good amount of cafes serving up coconut milk which is my milk of choice for coffee. This little space is adorable and the coffee was excellent.
Café Avellaneda– Tiny spot in Cuoyacan with unique coffee drinks right by the Cuoyacan market and Frida museum.
Café Curado– Located in Roma Norte, we ordered some delicious coffee while eyeing their breakfast dishes. They offer coconut milk as well as outside seating.
Qūentin– There are two locations. We visited the one in Condesa and loved the coffee. It’s a cute spot as well and appears to be dog-friendly. The photo below is me in my element outside of the cafe.
La Esquina del Té– We need more tea rooms in Chicago. I loved finding these cafe-style shops dedicated to tea in Mexico City. Tea is the perfect drink after an abundance of tacos. La Esquina del Té has lots of tea options and outdoor seating.
Tomás– Another tea room worth visiting. They have a cool concept where you can go off a numbered menu based on flavors you enjoy, they’ll then propose the best loose tea for your taste buds.
Mexico City Tours
Of course, a taco tour would be on the top of many lists. The number of taco tours offered can be overwhelming but I narrowed it down to some of the coolest options.
Most of the tours below are through Airbnb Experiences
- Bike Taco Tour– Eat tacos then work off the calories on bikes as you make your way to more tacos. It sounds like the perfect tour to me.
- Vegan Mexican Cuisine Tour– Because not everyone eats meat. Mexico can be difficult at times for non-meat eaters. This tour focuses on all the great stops and is well-reviewed.
- Taco Tour in City Center– One of the best-rated taco tours on Airbnb with some locals who know their stuff!
- Hop on Hop off Tour– Not tacos but still a helpful tour when you have limited time in any city. Choose between 4 routes and hop on and off as many times as you want. It makes 19 stops and shares history about the city. Great way to get a taste of this humongous place in one day.
Hope this guide was helpful! There really is a lot you can cover with just 4 days in Mexico City.
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