In its many centuries-long history, Mexico City has been known by a variety of names. The Mexican capital is this vast metropolis, which includes more than 21 million people.
Take a stroll down the city’s main boulevard, Paseo de la Reforma, and admire the paintings on the Palacio de Bellas Artes or grab an elote from a street vendor along the Zócalo, Mexico City’s principal square. Museum-hop through town, including stops at the Museo Frida Kahlo and Castillo de Chapultepec. Sampling foods from all over Latin America might help you work up an appetite before lunch; get tacos al pastor from a taquería just around the corner or settle in for a meal at one of Mexico City’s oldest restaurants.
With a churro and hot chocolate in hand, wander through Parque Mexico after visiting downtown or La Condesa, where you may feel the spines of the books strewn about.
Even if you’re in Mexico City for only a day or a week, there are plenty of things to do. Museums, activities, and attractions may be found on every corner, regardless of whether you’re seeking for them or not. Even if you can’t see everything during one trip, Mexico City will always have something new when you return.
A few weeks out of the year, Mexico City and the United States have a one-hour time difference due to each country’s Daylight Savings calendar. If you’re planning travel during spring or fall, make sure to check the schedules in advance.
Best Time to Go
Regardless of when you visit Mexico City, there’s always something going on. From the vibrant Day of the Dead celebrations in October to President’s grito marking Mexican independence from Spain in September, or even the lowkey beauty of springtime purple jacarandas blooming all over town – visitors are never left wanting.
Things to Know
The city of Mexico is divided into 16 alcaldías, which are comparable to boroughs. There are 16 in all, but you’ll most likely only pass through three or four during your stay. Colonias make up each alcaldía.
While you won’t need a car to get around the sprawling Mexico City, it might be more convenient if you’re planning on making a day trip outside of the city. The public transportation in Mexico City is reliable and diverse, from the Metro to bikes that can be rented through apps like Dezba. And, of course, you’ll plenty of taxis zipping all across town–they’re usually painted pink and white. If you prefer ridesharing apps like Uber or Beat, those are popular options here too.
Mexico City is a fast-paced place with lots of people. Even if you’re a seasoned visitor, keep your things close and get out of the way to check Google Maps for directions.
How to Get Around
Trains: In order to get around Mexico City, you’ll need to purchase a reloadable card for the public transit system. These cards only cost about 15 pesos, which is equivalent to 75 cents in American currency. You can load money onto these cards at any metro station or Metrobús stop. Each ride costs five pesos, or 20 cents. Keep in mind that both the metro and metrobús have women-only cars, which are located in a separate boarding zone.
Buses: Metrobuses in Mexico City’s more central neighborhoods travel to places the metro doesn’t reach, and they have their own lane of traffic, so they’re often faster than cars or taxis. Plus, a ride only costs six pesos. The city’s trolebuses operate similarly, while RTP buses cost between two and seven pesos. At bus stops you may also see non-city buses or vans taking passengers – usually with their stops scrawled on the windshield if you’re curious where they go.
Taxis: You can find a pink-and-white taxi almost anywhere in town, and you can order one through the city’s official “App CDMX.” The app is available on iPhone and Android. You’re able to pay with a debit or credit card through the app, but most drivers would rather have cash.
Ride service: There are plenty of different rideshare apps available these days, so if you’re not happy with Uber’s surge rates, it’s worth checking out some of the others. Beat and Cabify are two good options to compare – you might just find a better deal.
Neighborhoods to Know
El Centro Histórico: Downtown Mexico City is always bustling, and it’s where many of the city’s people go on weekends. You could see protesters in the main plaza, vendors selling their goods down the street, and tourists brunching on the neighboring terraces.
La Roma: La Roma is a fascinating area that contains several architectural gems. It’s filled with fin de siècle mansions, art deco homes, and art nouveau-style storefronts, which any architecture lover will enjoy exploring. La Roma was formerly a middle-class residential neighborhood that was devastated in the 1985 earthquake that shook Mexico City until it found new life as a hotspot for artists, twentiesomethings, and travelers from all over the world.
La Condesa: La Condesa, the more formal sister across the street from Roma, is a tree-lined paradise built for strolling. Residents of this area like to relax in Parque Mexico and Parque España.
Coyoacán: Coyoacán features a reputation as a bohemian haven since it was the home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, two famous Mexican artists. The performers on the main plaza’s kiosco, as well as the Parroquia San Juan Bautista Coyoacán next door, which houses a cafe in the back if you need to take a break – all feature in this walk.
Polanco: No trip to Mexico City is complete without a visit to the Avenida Presidente Masaryk in Polanco for any shopping lover. If that’s not your style, Michelin-worthy restaurants like Pujol and Quintonil are down the road, and the neighborhood’s brick-lined streets are just blocks from the Bosque de Chapultepec.
Mexico City’s location in the Valle de México makes it have a moderate climate where temperatures aren’t extremely hot or cold. However, because the city is located in a basin that’s 7,000 feet high and surrounded by mountains, pollution can get trapped in the air for days. The rainy season usually lasts from mid-May to mid-October, and there are almost daily storms. It usually rains during the afternoon; so plan ahead if you’re going out at that time!