Narrowing down the best things to do in Mexico City is hard when there’s such a wide variety of sights and places to drink mezcal.
Do you want to learn about history? Climb a pyramid? Day drink on a river? Whatever kind of trip you’re trying to take, Mexico City is the place.
Start your trip with the 12 best things to do in Mexico City for an unforgettable glimpse of the largest Spanish-speaking city on earth.
1. Visit Frida Kahlo’s House
Museo Frida Kahlo is a museum made of Frida Kahlo’s tranquil blue house (La Casa Azul). This insightful museum takes you through Frida’s house showcasing her personal belongings and highlighting her struggles. There isn’t much art throughout the museum, but it gives you a deep look into the life of Mexico’s most beloved artists, Frida and her husband Diego Rivera.
Buy tickets online if possible. Frida’s house is an extremely popular attraction in Mexico City and the entrance line usually wraps around the building. Budget two hours for the whole museum or one if you must cut it short. My friends and I were unable to buy tickets online (the system wasn’t working) and we waited in line for an hour then spent about 1.5 hours in the museum before our free walking tour with Strawberry Tours.
2. Drink Mezcal at La Clandestina
La Clandestina is just as clandestine as it sounds. This dimly-lit, edgy bar has cozy little spaces for every size group surrounded by brick walls and a killer playlist. Order a round of smoky mezcal and Oaxaca cheese while you snack on the salty pumpkin seeds on the table.
3. Eat Breakfast at Qué Sería de Mí
In Mexico City’s happening Condesa District, you’ll find Qué Sería de Mí on a peaceful canopied street. This quaint little breakfast nook has some of the best breakfast food I’ve ever eaten. The menu’s mix of popular breakfast items like pancakes and traditional Mexican fare make it a pleaser for all palates.
Family style is the way to go when eating in Mexico so you can try as many dishes as possible. At Que Sería de Mi, be sure to order Chilquiles con Pollo with green sauce, Ricotta Pancakes with blueberries added and huevos dish along with the delicious coffee of your choosing.
4. Go to a Lucha Libre Wrestling Match
Ever seen the movie Nacho Libre? Yeah, it’s a real thing, and people take it seriously. Watch wrestlers big and small parade out into the ring wearing sparkly masks, capes and boots, before tossing each other over the railings. It’s a sight to see when grown men do backflips and toss little people through the air. Check out the match schedule before your trip and plan accordingly so you don’t miss out on this comical, shocking and semi-confusing display of Mexican pride. You can buy your tickets at the box office right before the match. Eat a light meal beforehand as the match lasts almost three hours and your food options are beer and snacks.
5. Eat Pastor Street Tacos
You seriously cannot leave Mexico City without eating pastor street tacos. These delicious pups will run you approximately $.60-1.00 each and they make the perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner (in my opinion). Pastor is shaved pork that’s roasted with chiles and achiote then served with cilantro and pineapple in a corn tortilla. You’re welcome.
6. Get Serenaded by Mariachis
One thing Mexico is not short on is mariachis. Walk along the street, dine inside a restaurant or drink on a boat and a group of dark, native-dressed men will appear out of thin air with instruments and voices from heaven above (at least usually their voices are amazing). Plan to pay between 50-150 peses per song, depending on how touristy the area is and what you see other people paying.
7. Eat a Paleta
In Mexico, popsicles are known as “paletas”. You can get them on the street, in markets and even in gas stations. I recommend hitting this paleta place outside Coyoacán Market. They have every flavor you can imagine and you can get either water or creme-based paletas. They’re all delicious, but coconut is my favorite! *Drools on keyboard*
8. Dine at La Calaca in Coyoacán
This beautiful restaurant sits right on the main square in Coyoacán with a delicious menu and impressive spread of mezcals. The towering trees the restaurant is built around and touring mariachi bands really set the mood for a romantic dinner or to drink your face off with friends for three hours. Disclosure: We didn’t actually eat from the menu other than a side of rice and beans, but I just know the food is delicious.
9. Visit Fuente de Los Coyotes in Coyoacán
Take a free walking tour of Coyoacán with Strawberry Tours and your tour will end at the Fuente de los Coyotes right after you’ve learned of the history of Coyoacán a.k.a. Land of the Coyotes. It’s a peaceful place to spend a moment resting, reading or just taking in Mexico.
10. Visit an Authentic Mexican Market
Once you step inside a market, you’ll want to wander for hours. Colorful flower stands, circular straw bags hanging from the ceilings and pyramids of candy showcase a world you never knew you wanted. Most Mexico City markets have shopping covering everything from jewelry to handbags, authentic Mexican food and treats, and a glimpse at a way of life that you don’t see in the US. Be sure to try a fresh glass of horchata, the crunchy roasted crickets and a tostada made to order.
11. Drink Buckets of Beer on the River in Xochimilco
Xochimilco is a vacation all by itself. An hour outside of Mexico City, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Xochimilco or the “Flower Garden” awaits you with music, color and, most importantly, beer. Colorful boats line the shore just waiting to be hired by day-drinking visitors eager to grab their buckets of beer and bottles of tequila before climbing aboard. The boats have space for more than 15 people, so it’s best to make friends with another group on shore to share the cost of renting the boat and that bottle of tequila you’ll buy along the way. Mariachi bands, horchata vendors and food boats glide by as you sip cold beers and take tequila shots with your new friends. It’s a seriously good time.
12. Climb the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán
Just an hour outside Mexico City you can be transported more than 2,000 years back in time to when the Teotihuacáns lived. This talented civilization built a city surrounded by mountains that is still standing today. You can climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun and get an astounding view of the entire town and surrounding land. It’s a challenging climb because of the steep steps, but it’s doable for most skill levels.
For a guided tour, book the best guide ever, firstname.lastname@example.org for an in-depth history of the Teotihuacán people plus stops at authentic restaurants and markets along the way. You’ll hear the words “cosmos,” “death” and “pre-Hispanic” about a million times, but that’s all part of the fun, folks! If you end up not making it to the pyramids or learning about the Teotihuacan people, all you need to know is death. They worship death, love death, live for death and think death is beautiful—now you’re an expert!
Do you have any questions on other things to do in Mexico City? What are your favorite things to do in Mexico City, both touristy and off-the-beaten-path? Let me know in the comments below! I’m definitely going back and want all your recommendations!