Mexico City is colorful, vibrant, passionate and exciting, one of the world’s truly great mega-cities. With a rich and ancient culture, people travel from all over rural Mexico in search of success and happiness. Mexico City it also a beautiful cosmopolitan city where modern art and minimalism has extended its hand in the social and physical landscape that is the bustling city we have there today. The citizens are remarkably friendly and welcoming, always keen to chat, give advice and even shout you lunch at one of the many, many delicious taco stands. Galleries and museums line the streets, creating an extremely vibrant contemporary art, music and theatre scenes and the atmosphere is always electric, the city reverberating with mariachi music and laughter late into the night. This true melting pot is one of the world’s ‘must see’ urban travel destinations, making Mexico City a perfect hybrid of two distinct worlds: the modern and historical.
To make your trip to Mexico City truly memorable, some smart planning is necessary. If you want to get the lowdown on what’s hip, happening and essential to see then BUCKiTDREAM is a perfect resource for you. Be inspired and informed about by the hidden gems that Mexico City has to offer and keep the ideas that most appeal to you tucked away in your BUCKiTDREAM planning feature tool.
Here are our recommendations for the best experiences that Mexico City has to offer. Make sure to record the ones that tickle your fancy in your BUCKiTDREAM planner!
Marvel at the ancient artifacts in the excellent National Museum of Anthropology This great museum is a treasure trove of fascinating ancient objects that will open your eyes, educate and entertain. Visiting the National Museum is a rich and life-enhancing experience not to be missed. It is very reasonably priced and the guided tours are highly recommended.
Visit one of Latin America’s only castles, the rare and beautiful Chapultepec Castle The imposing old castle sits on Chapultepec Hill in the middle of Chapultepec Park in central Mexico City. Built on sacred Aztec grounds, the beautiful building has served many purposes throughout its long life and it currently houses the National Museum of History. It is incredibly ornate and beautiful and when entering it for the first time you’ll really feel as if you are being transported back in time. Well worth a visit.
Spend a day exploring Coyoacan, one of Mexico City’s oldest and most eclectic districts This area was the original settlement for the conquistadores and is now home to artists and writers. Coyoacan’s urban villages have kept their ancient layouts and its warrens of back alleys and ornate plazas make it a great place to explore. Fuel your wanderings with the delicious Mexican street food in plentiful supply, all washed down with some refreshing local artisan beer.
Frida Kahlo Museum Located in the Coyoacan district, the ‘Blue House’, nicknamed after the building’s cobalt-blue outside walls, is a museum and gallery dedicated to the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The building is the birthplace of Kahlo and also where she grew up, lived with her husband and eventually died. The museum houses the artwork of Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera as well as the couple’s Mexican folk art, pre-Hispanic artifacts, photographs and personal items. This place gets pretty busy, especially on weekends, so arrive early.
Shop and Visit the Polanco Neighborhood Polanco is a famous and upscale district in Mexico City. The neighborhood is notable because of its cultural diversity and some of the wealthiest families in Mexico and Latin America have homes in Polanco, and a very long list of politicians, celebrities, artists and businessmen call the area home. Considered Mexico City’s version of 5th Avenue or Rodeo Drive, it is sure to fill the day visiting charming boutiques with great finds to take home.
Stroll (or Segway) the elegant Paseo de la Reforma avenue The wide avenue runs diagonally across the heart of Mexico City and its tree-lined streets are home to some of Mexico City’s tallest buildings, best hotels and most luxurious restaurants, as well as museums, embassies, art exhibitions and the Mexican stock exchange. The Segway Tour is a fun and novel way to explore Reforma Avenue and the surrounding areas.
Visit Aztec ruins in the center of urban Mexico City at Museo del Templo Mayor Appealing to both history nuts and anyone with a taste for the grandiose, this site contains some very interesting ruins as well as a world-class museum which focuses on Aztec artifacts found under Mexico City. Set a few hours aside for this fascinating museum.
Metropolitan Cathedral Whether you are a person of faith or not, this cathedral is one of the biggest and most beautifully ornate anywhere in the world and certainly worth a visit
Go into the wild on the Iztaccihuatl Volcano Hiking Tour from Mexico City Get your blood pumping with a visually stunning hike. Let your local expert guide show you the spectacular nature and sights from Mexico’s third highest mountain.
Get a taste of the real Mexico on the Mexico City Markets Tour Take a tour of three of Mexico City’s most prominent daily markets: La Merced, Sonora and San Juan Markets. Experience the hustle, bustle, sights and sounds of authentic Mexican culture with the help of a knowledgeable local guide while learning about Mexican market culture since the Aztec empire.
Mexico City has a grand array of plush, historic old hotels. It also boasts some excellent and very reasonably priced hostels, as well as many great quality options for Airbnb and couchsurfing. Here are our favorites:
Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico This beautiful old hotel in the historical city centre has a fantastically ornate interior; the stained glass ceiling is a must-see. The staff is friendly, the food is delectable and the view from the roof is one of the best in town…especially when cradling a salt-rimmed Margarita.
Punto DF Hostel A very comfortable, atmospheric, lively and unique hostel; the Punto DF is an Artistic Residency that focuses on promoting artistic projects as well as hosting travelers from all over the world. It is situated very near the airport in a fun neighborhood with plenty of great restaurants, street food and bars.
Airbnb With plenty of great Airbnb properties available at very reasonable prices, this is definitely the best cheap option and a good way to meet the locals.
Mexico City has an excellent and vast array of great food options. Traditional restaurants specializing in regional cuisines from all over Mexico are located throughout this bustling metropolis. La Fonda del Recuerdo is an excellent restaurant serving traditional Veracruz-style dishes.
Pujol is a world-renowned restaurant and one of the best in Latin America. It serves traditional Mexican cuisine with exciting and imaginative modern twists, certainly worth a visit if you are count yourself as a foodie.
Mexican street food is some of the best in the world. The city is dotted with an enormous amount of traditional taco stands serving beautifully fresh and delicious tacos all day long. You’ll quickly discover that Mexican’s truly love their tacos and their enthusiasm for their national dish is infectious.
If you get tired of the local cuisine (although we doubt that you will), the city is also packed full of great quality restaurants serving cuisine from all four corners of the globe.
Mexico City gets the freshest fish and seafood from Mexico’s vast coastline on a daily basis. La Nueva Viga Market is the largest seafood market in Mexico (the second largest in the world after the Tsukiji fish market in Japan!) and worth checking out for the exciting atmosphere alone.
Drinks and Nightlife
Mexico City by night is a colorful, lively and exciting experience. The place is friendly and safe (as long as you act reasonably sensibly) and offers a huge variety of cafes, bars, theatres, nightclubs, music venues and exotic districts to stroll and explore.
Visit a pulquería bar and try the milky, tart, foamy and ancient local alcoholic drink pulque – love it or hate it, this is a unique experience worth having.
Mezcalerías are very popular with young Mexicans as well as foreign travelers. La Clandestina is among the best of these mezcal-selling bars.
Mexico has some great local beers and excellent award-winning wines available in bars and restaurants throughout the city.
Tips and Culture
Getting around Mexico City is easy, mainly due to it boasting one of the largest and cheapest metro systems in the world as well as lots of buses and taxis. However, it’s best not to hail a taxi unless you know your way around and are confident in conversing with the driver.
English is fairly widely spoken but do try to speak at least some rudimentary Spanish as this will be appreciated.
Oh, and guys? Don’t drink the tap water.
Enjoy some high culture at the Palacio de Bellas Artes This beautiful building is one of Mexico City’s primary cultural centers. Located in the heart of the city, the Palacio de Bellas Artes is both an architectural wonder and an atmospheric venue in which to watch the best contemporary music, theatre, opera and dance. The acoustics in the concert hall are first class, the interior is beautiful and the museums, exhibitions and murals are well worth a visit.
Mexico City is an exciting and beautiful urban metropolis and truly a dream location. So start by copying all of your favorite Mexico City tips from this article into your BUCKiTDREAM dream planner, and, while you soak in the vibrant and unique city atmosphere, why not inspire your friends by sharing your dream experience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?