5 days in Mexico City: what to do and see?
Want to spend 5 days in Mexico City?
In order to help you visit Mexico City, I have prepared this detailed 5 days itinerary, with all the best things to do and see.
As a resident of Mexico City , I love showing my family and friends around the city when they come to visit!
So let me share with you the ideal 4-day itinerary in the Mexican capital!
In this article, therefore, you will find a detailed day-by-day itinerary that covers the best attractions and must-see places in Mexico City, with my tips for making the most of them, and my accommodation suggestions for all budgets.
So, what to do and see in Mexico City in 5 days?
Day 1: Historic Center, Roma and Condesa
On your first day in Mexico City, explore the historic center, where you’ll find some of the city’s most iconic sights and landmarks.
You will also discover the lively and trendy districts of Roma and Condesa, which contain a multitude of cafes, bars, restaurants and shops.
Morning: Exploration of the historic center
Start your 4-day tour of Mexico City in the Zócalo, the capital’s main square and one of the largest in the world.
Here you can visit the impressive Metropolitan Cathedral, the oldest and largest cathedral in Latin America, as well as the National Palace, where you can admire the murals by Diego Rivera ( Frida Kahlo ‘s husband ) that depict the History of Mexico.
From the Zócalo, walk along Francisco Madero Street, a pedestrian-only street lined with historic buildings and shops.
You’ll pass the impressive Casa de los Azulejos (“House of the Tiles”) covered in Talaveras de Puebla and the Palace of Fine Arts, a stunning example of art nouveau and art deco architecture that houses two museums, as well as cultural events.
Continue to Alameda Park, a green oasis in the heart of the city where you can relax and enjoy the fountains, sculptures, and gardens.
Afternoon: Explore the neighborhoods of Roma and Condesa
After exploring the historic center, head to the nearby neighborhoods of Roma and Condesa, two of Mexico City’s hippest areas.
Here you will find a mix of colonial, Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture, bohemian atmosphere, artistic flair and cosmopolitan culture.
Roma and Condesa are great places to stroll and discover hidden gems, such as art galleries, bookstores, boutiques and cafes.
Here are some of my favorite places in Roma and Condesa:
- Parque México, a beautiful park with art deco buildings, fountains, and sculptures
- Plaza Rio de Janeiro, a charming square surrounded by cafes – a perfect place to take a break! Very close to the park is Calle Colima, a pretty street where you can take a stroll
- Avenida Alvaro Obregon, one of the busiest avenues in Mexico City: there are sculptures in its center and it is lined with shops, cafes and restaurants. I recommend you to go to Cafebreria El Péndulo a bookshop and a café with a terrace on the top floor. You can also take the Pasaje El Parián, built at the beginning of the 20th century and recently renovated, which houses restaurants and high-end shops
- Casa Lamm a house built at the beginning of the 20th century, which houses a restaurant and a cultural center with art galleries
- Casa del Poeta : the museum is dedicated to the poet Ramón López Velarde who lived there for the last three years of his life, from 1918 to 1921. It is a hidden treasure and I highly recommend it because you can explore a typical building of the Roma Norte dating from the time of the Porfiriat era
Where to eat in La Roma and La Condesa
La Roma and La Condesa are popular with tourists.
Some restaurants are always crowded, but definitely not worth the wait (I won’t name names here, but maybe in another article 😉 ).
Luckily, there are plenty of other places that serve delicious food and deserve more attention.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Mercado de Medellin is the best market to see local life and taste the flavors of Mexico. You can taste cheese from Oaxaca, fresh fruits like mamey (so sweet! it tastes like caramel), cochinita pibil from Yucatan or crunchy chicharron (fried pork rind).
- For a nice atmosphere (good music, eclectic atmosphere), I would definitely go to La Chicha or Páramo (2nd floor). They serve great food and great cocktails- I love all of their mezcal cocktails!
- For a taste of real street food : you can’t miss Blue Corn Tlacoyos (click to see on map), Taqueria los Amigos and Tacos de Homero for some of the best tacos in La Roma. In La Condesa, stop by Los Juniors for the best esquites and Don Juan for tasty tacos.
- A place that I highly recommend: Meroma is a restaurant with a nice terrace, excellent service and a concise menu of well-prepared dishes (do yourself a favor and try the fried artichokes and the crudo ). I have visited Meroma countless times and can definitely say this is one of my best restaurants in Mexico City!
If you’re a foodie, don’t miss this food tour of Mexico City. This is the perfect opportunity to explore the tasty typical cuisine of the city, to learn more about the traditions and to meet the people behind these dishes! Book here.
Day 2: Teotihuacan and Lucha Libre
For your second day in Mexico City, explore one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world, Teotihuacan, and watch the lucha libre show!
Morning: Explore Teotihuacan
A four-day stay in Mexico City would not be complete without a visit to Teotihuacan, the impressive pre-Hispanic city with imposing pyramids, temples and murals.
Did you know that?
At its height, Teotihuacan became the first advanced civilization in North America and the largest city in the continental United States, wielding major commercial and political influence in the region.
The city had more than 125,000 inhabitants, which placed it among the top six cities in the world at the time! I understand why it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The main attractions of Teotihuacan are the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, two massive structures that dominate the landscape.
The Temple of Quetzalcoatl, a pyramid decorated with snake heads, the Calzada de Muertos, a long road that connects major monuments, and the Palace of Quetzalpapalotl, a complex of courtyards and murals, are other Teotihuacan must-sees.
Teotihuacan is a huge site, plan at least 3 hours to visit it!
How to visit Teotihuacan from Mexico City:
Getting to Teotihuacan from Mexico City can be a bit difficult as the site is not very close. You can :
- take a public bus from the Central del Norte bus station , which leaves every 20 minutes
- you can take an Uber (be careful, it will be very expensive)
- self drive (1h30) -I’ve done it twice and I’m not a fan of this route. Leave very early or the traffic will be a nightmare.
- join a guided tour that includes hotel pickup, early access, and a guided tour of Teotihuacan, with tequila and mezcal tasting. This is my preferred option for going to Teotihuacan . Book here.
Evening: Live the Lucha Libre
After a day spent exploring ancient ruins, it’s time to experience a mainstay of modern Mexican culture: lucha libre.
It is a form of wrestling with colorful masks, acrobatic movements and theatrical staging.
The lucha libre atmosphere is electric, as the crowd cheers, boos and chants for their favorite wrestlers. This is more of a show than a sport, so don’t take it too seriously and enjoy the evening! If you want to bring back a souvenir, you can also buy masks, t-shirts or posters on site.
- Lucha libre matches are held in different venues around Mexico City, but the most famous is Arena México, where you can catch a show every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday night.
- You can buy your tickets online and collect them from one of the Ticketmaster outlets, or take part in the lucha libre evening (click here to book it!)
Day 3: Chapultepec and Polanco
For your third day in Mexico City, visit two of the most upscale and cultural corners of the city: Chapultepec and Polanco.
Morning: Chapultepec Park
Start your day at Chapultepec Park. Covering 600 hectares, it is one of the largest and most beautiful urban parks in the world!
One of its main attractions is Chapultepec Castle, a former imperial palace that now houses the National History Museum.
The castle is located on top of a hill and offers a panoramic view of the city. You will see the different rooms and gardens of the castle, as well as the exhibits that tell the story of Mexico, from colonial times to the revolution.
Another attraction in Chapultepec Park is the National Museum of Anthropology, one of the best museums in Mexico.
It is devoted to the history and culture of the various indigenous peoples of Mexico, from pre-Hispanic times to the present day. You will see impressive pieces there such as the Aztec Sun Stone , the Mask of Pakal (from Palenque ) or the Olmec colossal heads.
- The museum is huge and can take several hours to explore, so allow plenty of time. The good news is that there is a coffee shop if you need a break.
A guide is a great idea for visiting the museum, as there is so much information you might miss by doing the tour alone. That being said, I’ve done it before with and without a guide, and the visit is always interesting.
- Guided tour of the Museum of Anthropology (click here)
- Guided tour of the Anthropology Museum and Chapultepec Castle (click here)
Afternoon: Visit to Polanco
Head to Polanco, one of the most upscale neighborhoods you’ll visit in 5 days in Mexico City.
It is home to some of the city’s best restaurants, cafes and shops, as well as some of the most luxurious hotels.
You can take a walk to appreciate its architecture, its parks and its shops: Avenue Presidente Masaryk, Parque Lincoln, Antara Shopping Center, Polanquito…
You can visit the Soumaya Museum, a remarkable building that houses a private collection of artwork from different eras and regions, or the Jumex Museum, a contemporary art museum that features works by Mexican and international artists.
Day 4-5: Xochimilco and Coyoacan
For your fourth day in Mexico City, explore two of the city’s most colorful and charming neighborhoods: Xochimilco and Coyoacan.
You will take a boat trip along the canals , visit Frida Kahlo ‘s house and learn about local culture and traditions.
Xochimilco is a neighborhood located south of Mexico City, famous for its canals and floating gardens.
It was once part of a large lake system ( Lake Texcoco ) that covered most of the valley where Mexico City is today! The Aztecs created artificial islands called chinampas so they could farm on water.
Today you can hire a colorful boat called a trajinera and take a ride along the canals, while listening to mariachi music, eating snacks and drinking beer or pulque , a traditional fermented drink made from of agave.
If you’re curious about trying pulque (and have the time), head to Pulqueria El Templo de Diana in central Xochimilco.
This is a veritable institution that has been serving pulque for over a hundred years! You can taste different flavors of curados based on fruits, nuts, etc.
It is an ideal address to discover the authentic culture of pulque, off the tourist trail.
Afternoon: Coyoacan, the house of Frida Kahlo
Head to Coyoacan, Mexico City’s most picturesque and colorful neighborhood!
This historic district, which was once a village in its own right, is characterized by its colonial buildings, cobbled streets, squares and churches.
It is also famous for being the home of Frida Kahlo, one of Mexico’s most renowned artists and cultural icons.
One of the must-see attractions in Mexico City in 5 days is the Frida Kahlo Museum, also known as Casa Azul (Blue House), where she was born and lived most of her life with her husband Diego Rivera.
The museum exhibits some of his paintings, personal items, photographs and furniture. You will have an insight into his life, his art and his struggles.
You must buy your tickets online (click here) and do so well in advance if you have a specific day in mind as they sell out FAST. Your tickets will have a fixed entry time, with 15 min tolerance.
Another option is to book the full excursion (click here) with hotel pick-up, trajinera ride through the canals of Xochimilco and visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum.
If you have time, you can also visit other nearby attractions : Coyoacan Market, Jardín Centenario, Jardin Hidalgo and San Juan Bautista Church, one of the oldest churches in Mexico City. There is even a cafe in the church cloister, ideal for a quiet break!
You can also walk around Coyoacan and enjoy its atmosphere, culture and nightlife. There you will find many cafes, bars, restaurants and shops.
Comment on visiting Xochimilco and Coyoacan :
-By yourself :
You can go alone, but keep in mind that it is a long drive to Xochimilco: 1h30 by car from Roma/Condesa to Xochimilco, then another 1 hour from Xochimilco to Coyoacan due to traffic . And if you don’t drive, Uber is going to cost you.
I always book my trajinera in advance when I visit Xochimilco because I don’t want to negotiate at the pier, and everything is prepaid.
I choose “Trajineras Xochimilco”, but there are many websites that offer the same service (with different options: music, food, flowers, etc.). If you want to spend as little as possible, you can book the basic tour with the trajinera and bring your food and drinks.
But don’t forget to tip well!
- If you want to visit Coyoacan on your own: quickly book your tickets for Casa Azul (here) as places are limited.
-With a guided tour:
As I mentioned before, Xochimilco is far from everything, so taking an excursion is the best option if you want to visit Xochimilco and Coyoacan in one day. This will save you a lot of hassle and stress.
Tips for visiting Mexico City in 5 days
Now that you have your detailed 5-day Mexico City itinerary, here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip:
How to get around: Mexico City has a good (and really cheap!) public transportation system that includes the metro, bus, light rail, and metrobus. You can also use apps like Uber or Didi, but avoid taking taxis on the street (pink and white) for safety reasons.
Where to stay : The city offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. There are many interesting neighborhoods in Mexico City, but I would say the most strategic places for a 4 day trip to Mexico City are Roma, Condesa and Juarez.
What to pack: The climate in Mexico City is mild all year round, with an average temperature of 20°C. The rainiest months are from May–June to September, when afternoon showers are common. The driest months are from October to May, when the weather is sunny and pleasant. Plan clothes that you can layer according to the different temperatures (they change a lot in a day!). Also bring a raincoat or umbrella, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and a bottle of water.
Where to get pesos: incredible but true, the best exchange rate is at Mexico City airport!
Plan Ahead: There’s so much to do and see in 5 days in Mexico City that it’s best to book your accommodations and activities in advance so you don’t waste a minute of your trip.
To help you, I’ve rounded up the best excursions in Mexico City that you can book online right now. Just click on the links below:
- Mexico City Food Tour
- Guided tour of Teotihuacan
- Wrestling visit
- Guided tour of the Museum of Anthropology
- Guided tour of the Museum of Anthropology and Chapultepec Castle
- Frida Kahlo Museum Tickets
- Tour of Coyoacan and Xochimilco (with Frida Kahlo Museum tickets)
Accommodation during your 5 days in Mexico City
- Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral (historic center): one of the best hostels in Mexico City. Friendly staff, simple but clean dorms and rooms. We fell in love with its roof terrace with bar which offers a great atmosphere in addition to an exceptional view of the cathedral and the Zocalo. From only €14 in a dormitory and €30 in a private room!
- Hotel Villa Condesa (Condesa): If you are looking for a romantic hotel in Mexico City, here is a little oasis of peace in the heart of the La Condesa district. It is an elegant house with small green terraces and tastefully decorated lounge areas. The rooms are spacious and modern, the service is particularly attentive and the breakfast is very good. From 150€ per night
- Hotel Casa Goliana (Roma Norte): high-end hotel with the best quality-price ratio in its category, located in a house from the beginning of the 20th century, typical of the La Roma district. Roof terrace, comfortable rooms, very attentive staff and good breakfast. From 180 euros per night
- Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City (Juarez): this 5* hotel is one of the best hotels in Mexico, ideal for a business trip or a romantic stay. Located on Paseo de la Reforma between Colonia Juarez and Roma Norte. Large indoor garden, gym, swimming pool, spa, restaurant and bar. From 600 euros per night!
Is Mexico City safe?
I have lived here for five years and have never encountered any crime or violence.
However, this does not mean that Mexico City is completely safe. Like any big city, it has its share of risks and challenges.
You should be careful where you walk, especially at night, and avoid flashy jewelry or high-value items.
Beware of scams, pickpockets and taxi drivers who might try to rip you off (this is why I never take a taxi on the street and always use Uber or Didi).
By following these basic precautions, you will be able to make the most of your 5 days in Mexico City and discover its culture, its gastronomy and its history without any worries.
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