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The 24 best things to do in Mexico City

This place is a magical and chaotic metropolis, so let us guide you through the very best things to do in Mexico City


Welcome to one of the most exciting places on the planet. Mexico City is a thriller, a chaotic metropolis of history, culture, art, and all the rest, with some of the best street food imaginable seemingly waiting on every corner. Working out exactly the best things to do in Mexico City can be difficult, so let us help you out by narrowing down the list from the good to the great.

But yeah, where to begin? Many of the Latin world’s best museums and galleries are in Mexico City, along with some of the most thrilling bars and clubs, meccas of dance that run from late at night until very, very late in the morning. Mexico City leaves its mark, that’s for sure.

25 Unmissable things to do in Mexico City

1. Visit the house where Frida Kahlo lived and died

Can you imagine walking in the exact same place where the famous painter, Frida Kahlo, was born, where she lived and died? You will find this little abode, which is now the Frida Kahlo Museum ‘Casa Azul’, in Coyoacán, her favorite neighborhood. Not only does it safeguard her most cherished works of art, such as Viva la Vida and Frida y su cesárea, but it also is home to her diaries, clothes, and even the artist’s bed. If you look closely, you will find her ashes in what was her bedroom. Gloomy, right?

2. Walk among pre-Hispanic deities

The Templo Mayor is home to the precious aspects of our history. When visiting this museum site, you stop in front of what was the great Tenochtitlan’s important temple. Among the 7000 remains found there in the late 70s, we invite you to discover the largest Mexican sculpture that has ever been found: the polychrome relief of the goddess of the Earth, Tlaltecuhtli. You will also stumble upon a large circular monolith that represents the Moon goddess, Coyolxauhqui.


3. Visit the artisanal market, La Ciudadela

An array of colors unfolds at your every step in this artisanal market, which is over 50 years old. Lose yourself in the shelves of skulls, jugs, jaguar heads made with black mud, wood, or with a Huichol decoration, traditional games, baskets made of palm leaves, saddlery, vases, pots, and talavera plates; alebrijes (Oaxacan-Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures) and replicas of pre-Hispanic pieces of art. All the artesania that you can find in the country’s touristic hotspots, you can find here in this market.

4. Watch the sunrise from 65m above

Want to have a 360-degree view of Mexico City while admiring the sunrise? Monumental Sunrises are offering you this incredible experience, thanks to which you will see the sunrise from the highest point of the Revolution Monument (no more than 65 meters high). The tour includes coffee and a pastry to help you get to the little light from where you can admire the city’s emblematic buildings, such as the Frontón México, the Opera House, the Tlatelolco University Cultural Center, and the Chopo University Museum, which was brought piece by piece from Germany. To enjoy this experience (which lasts for around 2 hours), bring comfortable shoes and a coat. You must reserve your place ahead of time.


5. Marvel at the murals in the Palace of Fine Arts

If you go into the Palace of Fine Arts, as well as coming across eclectic and impressive architecture, you will find yourself in front of enormous works of art that defined an era and placed Mexican muralism on the global art scene. You will find murals from Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, Roberto Montenegro and Manuel Rodríguez Lozano. Rivera’s unmissable Man at the Crossroads, the smaller and revived version of the piece that was started and not finished at the Rockefeller Centre in New York.

6. Little Venice in the middle of Mexico City

Xochimilco was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and its neighborhoods are full of tradition and respect for nature. It’s one of the most important tourist destinations in Mexico City, in which you float through canals in traditional trajinera boats. During the tour, you will come across boats with mariachis players, ‘ranchero’ trios, and marimbas, who will offer to play you a few songs and liven up your evening. Ask to visit the Island of Dolls, an eerie plot of land where dolls are hung from the trees. Its creation is attributed to Julián Santana Barrera, who is said to have used the dolls to scare away the spirit of a girl who drowned near the area.


7. Explore incredible attractions after dark at the Museums at Night

Set aside the last Wednesday of every month to look around exhibitions in the city’s cultural hotspots at night. The Museum Night concept was born in Berlin around 1997, and it takes place every month in Mexico City, while in other cities, it happens more sporadically. Usually, these museums offer guided visits, tours, workshops, concerts, and other special activities on the night.

8. Exercise in Chapultepec Forest

With more than 61000 visitors a day, Chapultepec Forest is one of our favorite places to roam when we’re free. As well as being home to museums and many places to relax, Mexico City’s biggest lung has 5 tracks where you can train and get in shape for free: El Sope, Circuito del Lago Mayor, Corre, Segundo Circuito, and Circuito Gandhi. Climb, bend and sweat till your last drop at these open-air gyms.


9. Visit an old bookstore in the Historic Centre

Want to find a book that is already out of print? Looking for the first edition of your favorite novel? Want to add to your personal book collection but don’t have much budget? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, you will love this bookstore. A few steps from the Teatro de la Ciudad Esperanza Iris, you’ll find El Laberinto. Their stock list is extensive and very varied, and there is everything from Vladimir Nabokov and Agatha Christie to Chinese cookbooks and Jane Fonda’s entertainment handbook.

10. Enter the twilight zone of rum and cigars

The 3rd floor of Molière 48 is one of the most mysterious floors in Polanco. There is a red telephone booth that, with the correct number code (cigar), opens a door onto a terrace that leads to a rum, whisky, and cigar heaven. The sign on one of the walls reads, “Gentlemen, you may smoke”; in the specific smoking room, they sell cigars from brands like Vegas Robaina de San Luis, Flor de Las Antillas, Toro Gordo, Cohiba, and many more from various tobacco brands from all over the world. If your bank balance is big enough, ask for a private cellar to store your purchases.


11. Open your heart to the pleasure that is university theater

University is a hotspot for crazy ideas; it’s where talent emerges and philosophers of the future mature. The National Autonomous University of Mexico is also one of the most important cultural projects in the history of the country. For that reason, the plays performed at the UNAM Theatre are a great opportunity to see classic texts adapted to unlikely modern-day situations, avant-garde visual approaches, and to discover upcoming actors. Amén University Theatre Thursdays are when $30 tickets are sold at every theatre in the UNAM. Whatsmore, you don’t have to be a student to get tickets at that price!

12. Medieval style diner and magic show

The Mesón del Cid is a themed restaurant that was founded in 1972, which is in the style of a castle with dark varnishes, colored stained glass windows, armor, stately elegance, and many a story to tell. As well as trying the rustic and traditional Spanish cuisine, which features suckling pig, mushrooms, cheeses, and homemade bread, Fridays include a bit of magic that El Mago Hir oversees. Saturdays are the medieval nights that start at 8:30 pm. 


13. Buy antiques at La Lagunilla

La Lagunilla is one of the most famous open-air markets in Mexico City. Every Sunday, hundreds of sellers arrive at 6 am to set up their stalls in the streets of the Morelos district, very close to Tepito. Here you will find all sorts of items, clothes, and vintage furniture, from 70s record players to analog cameras, paintings from the beginning of the previous century, and games that will bring back memories from your childhood.

14. See if you can find the entrance to one of the best speakeasy bars in town

Even if you explored all of Juárez, shop by shop, house by house, you would never guess the entrance to the Hanky Panky Cocktail Bar. We’ll give you a few clues, but first, you must do your part and make a reservation through Facebook or the phone to find out the address. To get in, you have to find your way to the back of a food business shop, where a hidden door will take you into the bar; if you’re on the list. Let the bartenders do what they do best at the bar, and make sure you try the food from chef Maycol Calderón.


15. Celebrate the dead in the Megaofrenda of the Main Square

Day of the Dead is one of the most important traditions in Mexico. On the 1st and 2nd of April, we wait for the deceased and prepare offerings with ‘pan de muerto’, traditional food, corpse figures, marigold flowers, candles, and tissue paper with elaborate cut-out designs. One of the most iconic celebrations is the Megaofrenda in the Zócalo (Main Square), and every year it has a different theme. 

The Ibero-American Festival of Musical Culture Vive Latino is one of the most anticipated events in Mexico. Each year, young people from every state come together in the Foro Sol to experience two days dedicated to cinema, music, and art. Important national bands have performed here, such as Café Tacvba, Natalia Lafourcade, Los ángeles azules and Zoé, as have international stars such as Los fresones rebeldes, Morrissey, The National, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs and Blur. It’s the longest-running music festival in Mexico.


17. Recovery Brunch at the world’s favorite bar: Fifty Mils

Renowned as one of the best bars in the world, the Fifty Mils bar has done more than most to completely revolutionize the concept of brunch in this part of the world. It isn't cheap, but food this good rarely is, especially when you consider the location, surroundings, and all-around excellence of the package. If this isn't a magic cure for a hangover, we don't know what is. 

This small festival doesn’t ask for anything from giants like Corona Capital. Nrmal was born in Monterrey, but it officially moved to Mexico City in 2014. What makes it famous is the curating of its lineup, as each year it features many experimental artists - it doesn’t matter if you don’t know who’s playing - such as The Black Angels, A Place To Bury Strangers or Health. Every March, the Deportivo del Estado Mayor Presidencial is full of characters with outfits that make us feel like we’re at the Met Gala.


19. Watch a film at the Cineteca Nacional

This cinematographic center opened its doors in 1974. After various incidents, it was redeveloped in 2012 and became one of the best places to enjoy cinema in Mexico City. It offers everything from commercial films to a wide range of options dedicated to arthouse films, cinema cycles, and alternative cinema.

20. A romantic night at the Lanchacinema

On the first Saturday of every month, the Chapultepec forest lake has a cinema screening which you can enjoy from the comfort of a boat. You will test your senses (and concentration) as you have to watch the film while the lake’s waters keep the boat moving.

This activity lends itself to spending a romantic night with your partner, so prepare a picnic basket, grab a blanket and rediscover Mexico City’s green lung while watching your favorite film.


21. An installation which will soak you in water

It’s one of the best-kept secrets in the Chapultepec Forest. For many centuries, the Cárcamo de Dolores was the main source of fresh water in the city. In 1951, the Mexican artist Diego Rivera paid it a tribute with his mural El agua, origen de la vida, which decorates the pump building. The pump was conceived to collect and distribute water from the Lerma river, but it became less important when the water in the walls increased. These days, the sound installation Cámara Lambdoma (by Ariel Guzik) allows you to listen to the running water while admiring Rivera’s mural.

Corona Capital could be considered the first big international music festival which started to bring artists to Mexico that we thought we’d never see. Every year, at curve 4 of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, more than 85 000 people gather to listen to the bands and their music. During its first editions, we saw huge artists such as Pixies, Echo and The Bunny Men, James, Mogwai, Portishead, and The Strokes. Over the past few years, The XX., Foo Fighters, Muse, and PJ Harvey have all played. There’s nothing like seeing your favorite band while enjoying a cold beer.


23. Have dinner in the middle of the city’s green lungs

A moonlit picnic in which you breathe fresh air, dine and listen to music in the 5.3 hectares of land which make up the Botanical Gardens of the Chapultepec Forest, considered the oldest urban park in America. You prepare your own menu and bring whatever takes your fancy, but if you want to surprise your date, you can buy a picnic basket for $300, which includes a bottle of red wine, a tablecloth, LED candles, plastic glasses, two ciabattas, two apples, and chocolates. Entry is free, and you don’t need to reserve, but arrive early to make sure you get a comfortable spot.

24. Take a spin class at altitude

Imagine exercising at more than 200m above sea level? Stop just dreaming about it and get yourself on a fixed bike in one of the special classes organized by Fitspin, which takes place at the highest point of several skyscrapers in Mexico City. As well as burning 700 calories, and working your legs, glutes, abdomen, and chest during the 50-minute session, you will also witness one of the best views in the whole of the city. There isn’t a fixed timetable for these classes, but we recommend you keep checking social media to find out about upcoming dates.

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