There is so much to do in Mexico City. But how do you prioritize? Kevin and I just got back from spending 5 days in Mexico City (our full itinerary here) and easily could have stayed longer. We barely scratched the surface, which I guess means we’ll have to make another trip. I pack a lot into our vacations – even if I know Kevin will crash and fall asleep at some point (hey, he’ll remember it from the photos later!). Below are our favorite things you won’t want to miss.
5. El Moro – Freshly Made Churros
Okay, not low calorie at all. But you won’t care after one bite as you realize these churro’s totally beat anything you’ve ever tasted before. One of Mexico City’s most famous food spots is El Moro, open 24 hours a day… Because hey, who doesn’t want a churro at 3 am? The original store has been around since 1933 in the historical center of town. But today, you can find shops all across the city. It’s fried goodness sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Just watch you don’t burn your fingers!
If you like your churros sightly chilled, you can order them stacked with ice cream. Though, even Kevin found this to be a little too decadent even for him!
4. Anthropology Museum (Museo Nacional de Antropología)
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Anthropology Museum. Looking at cracked vases and various plates sounded like a snoozefest. But it is truly spectacular and even if you aren’t into museums, this should make your list of places to check out. There is somewhere around 23 permanent exhibit halls and several temporary displays. Archaeology exhibits are located on the ground floor and ethnographic exhibits about present-day indigenous groups in Mexico are on the upper level. It’s a lot to cover, so if you’re short on time (or start falling asleep like someone who I won’t name!), you can quickly breeze through some of the middle sections (and skip a few hundred years). But you won’t want to miss the giant hall at the end with the Stone of the Sun (a circular sacrificial alter that was never used because it got cracked) and a replica of the Temple of Quetzalcoatl recreated in full.
3. Forget the Stairmaster – Climb Some Pyramids at Teotihuacan
You’ll feel like a real-life Indiana Jones as you climb your way up the steep and ancient pyramids at Teotihuacan. Located just 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, you’ll need to carve out most of your day to make it here and explore. Though, some tours are much more efficient with their time than others.
Do your homework on tour companies as several travelers had some pretty bad experiences (like their guide never showing up!). And several operators included mandatory “factory stops” (i.e. priced up items where the guide gets a commission). We went with Estacion Tours, a no-frills operation where you travel to the pyramids on public transport (which was actually a pretty interesting experience in itself!). At $18 per person, it’s worth the deal. Just bring snacks and water and you’ll be all set.
2. Street Tacos and Mexican Food Everyday
Kevin and I ate Mexican food just about every meal (with the exception of maybe 2 times!). The culinary scene in Mexico City is thriving. Before leaving LA, dozens of people told us about Pujol, named by Wall Street Journal as the best in Mexico City, and ranked 17th best restaurant in the world by Restaurant Magazine in 2013. Unfortunately, we didn’t think far enough ahead to book. You should reserve 3 months out (though, some travelers said they were able to find a spot 1 month out). Of the place we ate, the best overall food was at La Casa De Toño (open 24 hours in the Zona Rosa District)
For best ambiance, we loved the atmosphere at live music at Cafe De Tacuba in the historical center (though, the food wasn’t as good as other spots and pricier).
And finally, for those who love food halls, you need to check out the Mercado De Roma where they take a traditional food hall and go high end. The only problem is you’ll have a hard time picking where you’ll want to eat. Be sure to head upstairs where vendors give out free samples!
1. Biking to Frida Kahlo’s House
Okay, so we might already be a little biased here (since Kevin and I love bike tours). Ever since I injured my knee, we’ve been signing up for bike tours in just about every country we visit. It’s a great way to cover a lot of the city with little impact on the joints. We signed up on Pedalea Mexico‘s “Frida’s Ride” ($45 USD per person) – which rides through several neighborhoods including Coyoacan (where there is a craft market) and a stop at Frida Kahlo’s House, which is a museum of her artwork. This tour was among the best biking we’ve taken over the past year and loved the small group and laid back structure.
The tour wraps in Condesa, a leafy neighborhood full of restaurants and cafes. Or you can head over to Roma Norte, which is also worth exploring and just about 20-30 minutes walking. Though, you may be ready to just sit from all that biking!