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One Day in Mexico City

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One day in Mexico City, the second biggest city in the world, may feel like an impossible feat at first. But in this itinerary I have included the most iconic, enjoyable, and cultivating outings the city has to offer so that you can explore the best of Mexico City in a manageable way.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Foodie
  • Like a Local

9 Places

8 City Tips

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Map

9 Places

Paseo de la Reforma

Points of Interest & Landmarks

National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropologia)

Speciality Museums

Chapultepec Castle

Historic Sites

Diana the Huntress Fountain

Fountains

House of Tiles (Casa de los Azulejos)

Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites

Palacio de Bellas Artes

Art Museums

Palacio Postal

Architectural Buildings, Government Buildings, Historic Sites, Speciality Museums

Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)

Ancient Ruins, Architectural Buildings, Sacred & Religious Sites, Historic Sites

Pata Negra

Restaurants

Samantha O's City Tips

  • Tipping in restaurants and bars is usually 10-15%. Tipping at food stands or coffee shops is usually lower, but very much appreciated.
  • The variety and quantity of available street-eats can be overwhelming. Most food stands will have a big menu to choose from and a short wait to get your food.
  • Small eateries or 'fondas' are usually family owned and run a 'menu corrido,' an inexpensive fixed menu that usually includes juice of the day, two or three courses, and dessert.
  • If you are hungry after some late night drinks, you're sure to find a taco, hot dog, or burger stand around the corner. They stay open late into the night and are very inexpensive.
  • The subway is extremely cheap and easy to use, but try to avoid rush hours if you're at all claustrophobic.
  • Buses – or "peseras," as Mexicans call them – run all over the city. Their destinations are written on the windshield, and they will stop almost anywhere you need to get off.
  • Hailing cabs is very easy. They start with a basic fee and go up according to the taximeter. Type of car varies, but a taxi should have its cab license visible.
  • Mexicans keep it fairly casual during the day but like to dress up at night. Nightclubs or fancy restaurants may require men to wear dress shirts and shoes.
  • Save
    Paseo de la Reforma
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
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    Samantha O Says:

    El Paseo de la Reforma is a perfect spot to start you day in Mexico City. This famous avenue has a European influence and runs from the city center to the former Imperial residence, the Chapultepec Castle. There are numerous cultural offerings along it, including a rotating picture show and some of the most iconic monuments from Mexico City, like the Angel of Independence and the fountain of Diana the Huntress.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • I recommend starting from the National Auditorium and heading up towards the Museum of Anthropology, the Chapultepec Castle, and the Angel of Independence monument.
    • There are numerous food stands (varying from tortas, to tacos, to fruit salads, to hot dogs) around the Auditorium and the Anthropology Museum, perfect for a leisurely lunch.
    • On Sundays, Reforma street is closed off for bikers and runners. Bikes are available for rent all along the street, and it makes for a great people/dog-watching morning.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 528 things to do in Mexico City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Best place for seeing 19/09/2017
    • Grand avenue of Mexico City 16/09/2017
    • Paseo de la Reforma
    Address:
    Paseos de la Reforma No. 42
    Mexico City
    Mexico
    Phone:
    +52 55 5212 0257
    Other:
  • Save
    National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropologia)
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Samantha O Says:

    The National Museum of Anthropology is a must for locals and tourists alike. There is a large and varied number of artifacts on display from most cultures, but the main attraction is the collection of pre-Columbian Mexican objects, especially the Stone of the Sun in the Mexica showroom.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Do not miss the "Voladores de Papantla" outside the museum: an ancient dance that involves performers climbing a 30-foot tall pole and launching off it, tied to ropes.
    • The museum closes at 7pm and does not open on Mondays.
    • There is a small entrance fee, with free admission for teachers, students, people with disabilities, and children under 13.
    • There may be a long queue at the door, but it moves quickly and you can avoid it by coming earlier in the day.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 528 things to do in Mexico City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fascinating Rich History of Mexico 20/09/2017
    • Un lugar como pocos 19/09/2017
    • National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropologia)
    Address:
    Avenida Paseo de la Reforma
    Chapultepec Polanco
    Mexico City 11560
    Mexico
    Phone:
    05 553 6266
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    09:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Chapultepec Castle
    Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Samantha O Says:

    This beautiful castle sits atop of Chapultepec Hill, which makes for a nice stroll and a bit of a workout to get there. The castle, now open to the public, is the former residence of the Mexican Empire/Presidency, and it was a Military College for some time.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Climbing that hill will get you some of the best views of Mexico City; tall modern buildings intertwine with the abundant greenery and the beautiful Chapultepec Lake.
    • There are no beverages allowed in the castle grounds, but lockers are available at the start of the hill.
    • You can enter Chapultepec Park easily from the Anthropological Museum by crossing Reforma Avenue.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 528 things to do in Mexico City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful castle and views of Mexico City 18/09/2017
    • Acceptable but not great 18/09/2017
    • Chapultepec Castle
    Address:
    Primera Seccion del Bosque de Chapultepec
    Mexico City 11560
    Mexico
    Phone:
    +52 55 5286 9920
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    09:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Diana the Huntress Fountain
    Fountains
    Samantha O Says:

    This beautiful fountain portrays the Greek Goddess of Hunting: Diana. The monument's popularity increased when the sculptor was asked to 'clothe' her for religious reasons. Many years later Diana is allowed to strut in her birthday suit!

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Check it out at night, when the special lighting gives this hunter a romantic feeling.
    • Make your way to Mexico City's center either by cab or Turibus (tour bus), and there is no way you can miss the fountain.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #151 of 528 things to do in Mexico City
    • Beautiful statue 11/07/2017
    • Attractive fountain but not worth special trip 27/04/2017
    • Diana the Huntress Fountain
    Address:
    Paseo de la Reforma
    Paseo de la Reforma & Rio Misisipi
    Mexico City 06500
    Mexico
  • Save
    House of Tiles (Casa de los Azulejos)
    Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Samantha O Says:

    La Casa de los Azulejos (House of Tiles) is a beautiful building whose exterior is covered in authentic Mexican tiles. It is now part of a famous local chain called Sanborns, which includes a restaurant, bar, and shop. This is the place to rest your feet and enjoy some Mexican cuisine with a relaxing drink.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • The famous 'enchiladas suizas' are the most iconic item on the menu: chicken enchiladas drowned in mild salsa verde with a thick layer of melted cheese on top!
    • If needed, the Tile House is a good spot to grab a bottle of water or use the restroom.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #44 of 528 things to do in Mexico City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A stunning sight 16/09/2017
    • Currently a Sanborns diner 16/08/2017
    • House of Tiles (Casa de los Azulejos)
    Address:
    Francisco I. Madero 4
    Centro Histórico
    Mexico City 06500 Ciudad de México
    Mexico
    Phone:
    5-518-6676
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    07:00 - 01:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Palacio de Bellas Artes
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Samantha O Says:

    El Palacio de Bellas Artes is definitely the most imposing theater in the country. Enjoy the art nouveau and art deco that intricately decorates it, plus the numerous murals by infamous painters Siqueiros and Rivera. And of course, you can book to see a performance here!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • El Palacio de Bellas Artes is home to the Folkloric Mexican Ballet — shows are on often and tickets are worth it.
    • There is no entrance fee, but you will have to go through security to access the building.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 528 things to do in Mexico City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Gorgeous Building & Art Inside 20/09/2017
    • Ballet folklorico 19/09/2017
    • Palacio de Bellas Artes
    Address:
    Avenida Juarez y Eje Central s/n
    Centro Histórico
    Mexico City 06050
    Mexico
    Phone:
    51 30 09 00 ext. 2528
    Other:
  • Save
    Palacio Postal
    Architectural Buildings, Government Buildings, Historic Sites, Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Samantha O Says:

    Still in operation as a Post Office, this massive building is a must-see for architecture fans. It is decorated in a mixture of styles that exude an art nouveau feeling.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • Check out the beautiful elevators that are still in use! They are unfortunately not open to the public, though.
    • Buy a postcard here to send home — a nice souvenir from Mexico.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 528 things to do in Mexico City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Amazing architectural Find. 18/09/2017
    • Something different to the usual corner-shop post office 16/09/2017
    • Palacio Postal
    Address:
    Calle Tacuba 1
    Mexico City 06000
    Mexico
    Phone:
    +52 5 5102999
    Other:
  • Save
    Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)
    Ancient Ruins, Architectural Buildings, Sacred & Religious Sites, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Samantha O Says:

    Smack in the middle of the city center, you will find the impressive Metropolitan Cathedral. It sits atop the ancient ruins of an Aztee temple, which still has some standing walls to view. The cathedral has withstood a fire and was, for some time, slowly sinking because of the soft clay soil it was built on. The cathedral was placed on the World Monument Fund's list of 100 most endangered sites, but removed from the list after reconstruction restored the building's integrity.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • It is polite to remove any sort of hat before entering.
    • Outside of the Cathedral you can sample the famous "gorditas de nata," sweet cookie-like biscuits cooked over a grill. A stack is rolled in wax paper and must be eaten while warm!
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 528 things to do in Mexico City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Famous 19/09/2017
    • Great 18/09/2017
    • Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)
    Address:
    Avenida 16 de Septiembre
    Colonia Centro
    Mexico City 06010
    Mexico
    Phone:
    52 5 5129467
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 20:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Pata Negra
    Restaurants (Bar, Pub)
    Samantha O Says:

    This legendary restaurant and bar is a great way to end your day out. It is equally known by locals and tourists for the fun it entails. You can grab a bite in the lower part of this establishment, which offers awesome Mexican eats at good prices. Later into the night, the music starts to blast and you can decide if you want to stick to a more modern selection of music downstairs or join the Latin rhythms upstairs.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • On Wednesdays and Saturdays, Pata Negra offers free salsa classes to the public. You are sure to find a talented partner to hit the floor with!
    • Be sure to bring a passport or official sort of ID in case you are asked for it at the door.
    • Drinks are fairly inexpensive here, and make sure you ask about the cocktail of the month!
    • If you want to continue the night, there are more than enough bars and nightclubs in this busy street to keep you up till sunrise.
    • Cabs are abundant around these streets to take you back to your hotel at the end of the night.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #315 of 3,854 restaurants in Mexico City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Awesome bar 19/09/2017
    • Good for creative cocktails and a late night snack 26/07/2017
    • Pata Negra
    Address:
    Esq. Juan Escutia Avenida Tamaulipas 30
    Mexico City 06140
    Mexico
    Phone:
    5264.0151
    Price range:
    US$10 - US$15
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    13:30 - 02:00
    Other:
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