Having spent a great deal of time in Mexico—both on beaches as well as inland states—I was beyond excited to explore yet another new part, Mexico City. If Mexico City (also known as CDMX) isn’t on your travel bucket list, I’d highlyyyy recommend reconsidering. Between the diverse neighborhoods, rich history, and delicious food, your trip itinerary will basically write itself. But, in case you need a little help with that, just keep reading.
We spent a total of 5 full days in Mexico City and packed them to the brim. While we definitely could have stayed longer (there’s just so much to see and do!), this ended up being the perfect amount of time for us. Let’s just say that I’m not sure my feet could have handled much more walking after 6 nights and 5 days in such a bustling city.
Throughout our time there, we tried to see at least one new neighborhood per day. Every single one we visited was so unique and distinct, and I couldn’t be happier that we made it a priority to explore as many as possible. Here are the neighborhoods we visited and the top spots to hit in each:
Roma and Condesa: Since we stayed in La Roma, we decided to ease into the trip by beginning our itinerary in these two neighborhoods. Looking back, they might just have been my favorites. They’re both incredibly stylish and young neighborhoods, and the lush greenery of the Condesa is such a nice retreat from city life.
Recommended time: 1 full day, plus many dinners and drinks
Lardo: For the most delicious pastries and fresh juice, don’t skip this spot.
Contramar: This classic spot is a staple for lunch amongst locals and tourists alike. Because it’s so busy, be sure to make a reservation.
Hotel Condesa: Drinks overlooking the city? Yes, please.
Aurora Musica Viva: To say I was obsessed with this place would be a massive understatement. From the gorgeous patio to the live jazz, it is perfection.
Rosetta: Never have I ever seen a prettier, dreamier space (and if you have, please tell me!!). This Italian meal was likely my favorite from the whole trip.
Casa Virginia: Speaking of beautiful dining places, Casa Virginia really took it to another level. The whole experience at this gem of a restaurant was unforgettable.
Páramo: When nearly every other spot was closed on Sunday night, we ducked into Páramo and couldn’t have been happier that we did. It was, by far, the coolest place we visited—and I’ve heard their sister restaurant downstairs is just as cool!
Avenida Amsterdam: This is the main avenue throughout the Condesa and it’s filled with some stunning architecture and street art. We walked up and down this avenue, as well as ducked down various side streets. Parque México: This lush green space in the center of the Condesa is such a nice retreat from the busy streets surrounding it. Look out for the adorable school of dogs as you’re walking through!
Mercado Roma: If you want a little snack amidst you’re exploring, I’d recommend checking out Mercado Roma.
Art Galleries: The Roma is filled with inspiring art galleries, including Toca Galleria.
We popped in and out of several shops while making our way through these two stylish neighborhoods, but our favorites were:
City Center: The City Center is just what you’d expect upon reading the name: the historical center of Mexico City with landmarks dating back as far as the Aztec era. Between visiting ruins of an old temple to getting drinks on the 48th floor of a skyscraper, our day in this part of town was one for the books.
Recommended time: 1 full day
El Cardenal: This spot might win the award for most gorgeous exterior facade. And don’t even get me started about their hot chocolate—delicioso.
Torre Latinoamericana: While it was slightly scary to be up on the 48th floor sipping on a cocktail, the views from up here are unbeatable.
El Moro: Basically everyone and their mom told me about this curroria, and let me tell you, it was worth the hype. There are several in the city, including one in Mercado Roma!, so you can get your churro fix nearly everywhere you go.
Palacio Nacional: Covered in Diego Rivera art, this palace of the original Aztec ruler is something you cannot miss.
Metropolitan Cathedral: Centrally located in the Zócalo, this is the largest cathedral in the Americas.
Templo Mayor: We love, love, loved learning all about what remains of the central temple during the Aztec era.
Palacio de Bellas Artes: The name says it all, right? For a perfect view of this perfect construction, pop up to the 8th floor café of the Sears across the street.
El Zócalo: While it’s certainly tourist central, there’s also some great shopping here.
El Mercado de la Ciudadela: Hands down, this was the best market we visited during our time in Mexico City. Because we came here pretty early on in the trip, I was hesitant to spend all my money in one place not knowing what else I might find in the coming days. In retrospect though, I wish I had bought just about everything in this market. It’s by far the best—trust!
Polanco: Often described as the Beverly Hills of Mexico City, Polanco is an upscale neighborhood ripe for shopping. While we dedicated an entire day to exploring this part of town, it could easily be done in half as long.
Recommended time: 1 half day
Eno: I can see why this is one of the most popular cafés in the area—just look at that French toast!
El Pendulo: This café-meets-book store is the perfect place to take a break from the heat and happenings.
Maria Isabel: AKA quesadilla heaven.
Pujol: While we wouldn’t really consider ourselves “foodies,” we had heard such incredible things about this place and couldn’t resist. Considered one of the top restaurants in the world, Pujol was definitely one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life. It likely goes without saying, but be sure to make a reservation far in advance and expect to spend about 3 hours working through the 6-course menu.
Chapulin: How serene is this space? Grab a drink and admire the views.
Campos Elíseos: This is one of the main avenues that runs through Polanco and is filled with great shops, restaurants, and beautiful homes.
Museo Soumaya: Commissioned by one of the richest men in Mexico, this museum features everything from 19th and 20th century Mexican art to pieces by Rodin and Renoir. Plus, the iconic silver exterior can’t be missed!
Jumex Collection: If you’re a modern art lover, you’ll want to carve out time for this museum as well.
Avendia Presidente Masaryk: Thought of as Mexico’s Champs-Élysées, this avenue is filled with amazing shops.
Onora Casa: I am not exaggerating when I say that I wanted to buy every single piece I picked up in this store. With blankets from Oaxaca and pillowcases from Chiapas, I was in interior design heaven.
Xochomilco and Coyoacan: Remember when I said our days were packed? Well this one was probably the busiest of them all. Even amidst the hectic scheduling though, it was also probably my favorite. If I could do it over again, I would have spent much more time in Coyoacan and less in Xochimilco. Because Xochimilco is pretty far south (about an hour Uber ride), we spent a large portion of the day sitting in traffic. And while it was very eye-opening and interesting to visit a part of town where locals live, I would have loved more time to wander the quaint cobblestone streets of Coyoacan. If ever I’m back in Mexico City, that will be the first neighborhood I revisit!
Recommended time: 1 full day
San Angel Inn: I knew this place was going to be good, but didn’t realize just how good. Every corner was what Instagram dreams are made of. Come for the food, stay for the scenery.
Café Avellaneda: Smack dab in the middle of the Coyoacan, this cute little café whips up some great artisan coffee.
Floating Gardens: So, I’m a little mixed on this one. We had heard from several friends that this activity was not to be skipped, but in retrospect, I think we may have done just that. At 45 minutes outside of Mexico City, it’s a bit of a trek to get here and the activity itself is quite overpriced. Don’t get me wrong, the canals are b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l and the mariachis are oh-so-fun, but if you’re short on time, I’d say this could easily be left off the itinerary.
Museo Dolores Olmedo: This museum, on the other hand, should be on the top of your list. Dolores Olmedo was a close friend of both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and her home boasts quite the collection from both artists. Though not only is the art is incredible, but the grounds are breathtaking. And full of peacocks!!
Frida Kahlo House: After observing art from Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera at Museo Dolores Olmedo, we were itching to learn more about the couple. Enter: The Frida Kahlo House, also known as the Blue House. We loved having a window into their lives, their struggles, and their artistry. If you’re wanting to do the same, then be sure to reserve tickets online in advance because the lines to get in were crazzzzyyy.
Plaza Hidalgo: Just down the street from the Frida Kahlo House is this beautiful park, ripe for people watching.
Mercado Artesenal Mexicano: This two-story market has some great gems if you’re willing to dig for them.
Coyoacan’s Cobblestone Streets: We were pretty exhausted by the time we made it to Coyoacan and unfortunately didn’t have time to explore all that much. By the looks of it though, Coyoacan’s cobblestone streets are packed with adorable shops.
Chapultepec: Since we took a late afternoon flight out of Mexico City, we had a spare morning to explore one last area: Chapultepec. I know I’ve said this several times now, but this really may have been one of my favorite experiences throughout the whole trip.
Recommended time: 3/4 of a day
To make the most of our last day, we woke up bright and early, picked up coffee and pastries from trusty Lardo, and headed to Chapultepec Park. Walking through the park early in the morning was so serene—there was hardly anyone else there! Eventually, we made our way up to the Castillo de Chapultepec, which was so. insanely. spectacular. Since we arrived right as it was opening, we beat the crowds and wandered through the castle as if it were our own.
In our last couple hours in Mexico City, we made our way through the Museum of Anthropology. You could very easily spend the rest of your life admiring and studying the archaeological artifacts in this massive museum.
Teotihuacan: Only about an hour from Mexico City are the pyramids of Teotihuacán, thought to have been built in 100 BC. The pyramids are really, really spectacular—in fact, one of them is the third largest in the world! If you have a spare morning or afternoon, I’d very much so recommend making the trek out here to experience them in all their glory. And if you do, I’d also recommend hopping an Uber with a book and guiding yourself through it. While we did a tour (link), we found it to be expensive, sales-y, and unfortunately not very informative at all. Save yourself the time and money—trust!
Recommended time: 1 half day
Aaaand that just about covers it. While our itinerary was totally achievable in our 5.5 days, I will warn you that we hardly had any downtime. If you’re one for a bit more time lounging at the hotel, I’d recommend cutting out one of the above. Oh, and don’t forget to leave time for lots (and lots!!) of traffic.