~ This blog was first published in December 2022, and has been updated in August 2023 ~
I’ve traveled the majority of Mexico (as of this blog update, 23 states!) and to this day, Mexico City is one of my absolute favorite cities (both in Mexico, and in the world). In 2022, I spent a month there, and by the time 2023 comes to an end, I will have spent a total of five months living in CDMX. And for a nomad without any established home, that’s an eternity — the longest I’ve spent in any one place since selling my house in 2020!
Mexico City (otherwise known as CDMX) is green and clean, walkable and dog-friendly, cosmopolitan and bohemian, international and cultural, and OHHH so foodie. Every day, I can’t help but feel energized walking the sidewalks among looming trees, buzzy open-air restaurants, and elegant monuments. And I spend a lot of time walking — about 6 miles a day, with my mini Aussie pup Penny! Not a walker? Mexico City’s metro system is really efficient and affordable — one ride is 5 pesos, approximately 30 cents, Ubers are affordable and plentiful, and I never felt unsafe.
CDMX is to Mexico how New York City is to the U.S. — but bigger than NYC in both scale and population. (Mexico City is the biggest city in North America!) The bonus, of course, is that Mexico City is a lot more affordable compared to the Big Apple.
And if I only had a week here, this would be my recommended travel guide for Mexico City… but c’mon, stay awhile!
But first, recommended dog-friendly hotels in Mexico City
- Polanco: InterContinental Presidente Mexico City, an IHG Hotel
- Condesa: Condesa DF
- Reforma: Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City and St. Regis Mexico City
- Historic center: Downtown Hotel and cost-effective Downtown Beds Hostel
Now, on to my recommended CDMX itinerary: here’s what I would do if I only had one week’s stay in the city!
Mexico City Day #1: Thursday
Mexico City is renowned for its many museums; get ready for a day on your feet! Fuel up with breakfast at brunch spot Lardo ($$), then head to Museo Nacional de Antropología (through the gigantic, sprawling city park, of course!). You’ll easily kill half a day perusing the Aztec and Mayan exhibits at the most-visited museum in Mexico City.
After getting your fill of anthropology, head over to the Museo Nacional de Historia at the stunning Castillo de Chapultepec, located on a hilltop in gigantic Chapultepec park. Fun fact: If it looks familiar, the 1996 film Romeo & Juliet, with Leonardo diCaprio and Claire Danes, was filmed there!
Perfect for photo opps, the impressive neo-classical Castillo de Chapultepec has been a witness to Mexico City’s colonial, independence, second Mexican empire, and modern periods… and has been a cadet training ground, a battleground, a palace for emperors, and now, a museum. As of summer 2023, it costs 90 pesos ($5USD) to enter (free for Mexican residents on Sundays). I’d recommend an hour and a half to two hours to explore. (Like a lot of other museums in Mexico, most informational placards do not have an English translation, but iPhone translation services will come in handy!)
If you have any juice left by the evening, walk along Paseo de La Reforma to the Angel of Independence and towards authentic Mexican food dinner spot La Casa de Toño ($).
For those bailarinas out there, Mama Rumba has a Thursday night salsa ruedo (ruedo de casino) lesson, which is a circular type of salsa dancing with rotating partners. (Note: lessons are usually in español!)
Mexico City Day #2: Friday
Today, you’ll head over to Zócalo, the historical city center of CDMX, where the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan stood in pre-Hispanic times. (Zócalo means public square or plaza in Spanish.) During colonization, Spaniards built their city literally with and around the ruins of the ancient Aztec pyramids — using the stones to build their cathedral.
Visit the cathedral, walk around the square, and if you’re a big history buff, there are more museums! — taking in the eye-opening blending of the Aztec, the colonial, and the modern. Also, look for the indigenous-Mexican people in native attire performing “limpia,” a short cleansing ceremony, administered with some type of burning plant.
Quench your thirst on the patio of Terraza Catedral ($$) or, for a slightly more elevated atmosphere, imbibe on the gorgeous rooftop of Circulo Mexicano Hotel ($$$). Both serve food, and the views are fantastic!
Diego Rivera fans should next head to nearby Palacio de Bellas Artes (FYI, the art is a little dark). South of the museum, walk to Barrio Chino (Chinatown), located on two blocks of Dolores Street, for a 75-cent sticky bun — and a lot of other delicious street food!
And after a long day on your feet, you deserve a few hours to sit back, relax, and be wonderfully entertained… at a Lucha Libre wrestling match at Arena México.
Lucha Libre may look a little like the wrestling entertainment we’re used to seeing on American television, but it’s rooted in custom and folklore — and boy, what a show! You don’t have to be fluent in Spanish to appreciate the storytelling, the theatrics, and the acrobatics of these wrestlers — which included a few niños in full-body costumes, a flamboyantly gay character (a crowd favorite!!), and two kick-ass women. This was serious fun, and the enthusiasm of the crowd was contagious. Plus, the admission price starts very reasonably, making the entertainment super accessible to all, and a must-do in CDMX. I had a smile on my face the entire night!
If a guided private tour is more your style, I recommend Lucha Libre, Pulque, and Tacos.
Mexico City Day #3: Saturday
You might need a full day for this one… no trip to Mexico City is complete without a visit to Xochimilco! Approximately 45 minutes southeast of Mexico City by car is the world heritage site of Xochimilco. Hop aboard a colorful trajinera (boat) and tour the extensive canal system, left over from pre-Hispanic times.
You can take public transportation down to Xochimilco, but it can take awhile — if you’re traveling with a few others, I recommend splitting an Uber or joining a tour. I can recommend this tour, which combines the historic neighborhood of Coyoacán with Xochimilco and a few other stops.
First, you’ll tour the iconic Frida Kahlo museum, located at her former home, Casa Azul! Beloved in Mexico and beyond, Frida Kahlo had a simple beginning, a number of physical struggles, and shattered so many stereotypes. In her former home, visitors can see, up close and personal, how she lived and worked, what she wore, her daily sources of inspiration, and learn all about her legacy. Advance reservations are required (if not joining a tour).
In Xochimilco, the atmosphere is a little more booze cruise than educational — BYOB or buy there — and drinking onboard is encouraged. To DIY at Xochimilco, “chartering” a boat costs 600 pesos for one hour, and the more hours you spend, the more you can save. If you go with a big group and split the cost, it’s a very affordable (and fun!) afternoon!
Mexico City Day #4: Sunday
Like other major Mexican cities, Sunday mornings are for the bicyclists! From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday, Reforma, a major thoroughfare in CDMX, is closed to automobile traffic. Bicyclists, scooters, and roller skaters can take to the street!
Mexicans and tourists alike join in on the bicycle fun, so the atmosphere is busy and festive, and there is a lot to see: Reforma is adjacent to numerous monuments and impressive architecture. Consider grabbing coffee and a roll at Café Nin ($$) before popping over to Plaza Garibaldi for a mariachi interlude!
In the afternoon, take the opportunity to visit the ritzy Polanco neighborhood. Polanco is the wealthiest colonia in CDMX, flush with high-end retailers and expensive, Michelin-quality restaurants. It’s frequented by expats and wealthy Mexicans, and feels like a whole other side of Mexico. Stop to take selfies by the insta-famous “Mexico Mi Amor” photo opp, and thoroughly enjoy the people-watching — THIS is where Mexico’s elite wines, dines and shops. There are tons of choices for delicious dining… but for the budget-conscious, visit nearby Taquería El Turix ($$).
Mexico City Day #5: Monday
Here’s another amazing full day itinerary: seeing the most-visited archeological site in Mexico via a sunrise hot air balloon ride!
Teotihuacan, “the place where the gods were created,” is located north of Mexico City. Its Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon are altogether considered one of the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramid sites. Viewing it from the air is a truly magical experience: I recommend this tour!
If you still haven’t had enough views by the end of the day, when you return to the city, hit up Supra Roma Rooftop for cocktails and vibes. For dining, nearby Contramar ($$$) has delicious seafood — the tuna tostada will change your life.
Mexico City Day #6: Tuesday
To add something a little unique to your CDMX itinerary, try a churro-making class. Enjoy an afternoon of handmade cafe de olla, churros, and zesty chocolate sauce — all while being entertained by Christian, the host. This was so much fun!
In the evening, burn off your sugar high with some more Cuban salsa. Cantina Salon Ríos has a Tuesday night salsa lesson — cover includes a refreshment, and food is also served in the restaurant.
Mexico City Day #7: Wednesday
How have we not strolled around Parque Mexico and Parque España yet? Well, today’s the day for a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood parks and greenery-filled streets of Condesa and Roma! Be sure to also walk along Avenida Amsterdam, which circles Parque Mexico.
To eat, food hall Comedor de los Milagros is a personal (and dog-friendly!) fave — choose from dozens of restaurant vendors to eat and drink, and enjoy the photogenic murals and installations throughout.
In the evening, take in a fútbol game at legendary Estadio Azteca, the largest and most iconic stadium in Mexico and Latin America. (You’ll have to check the schedule for this one for when football clubs Club América and Cruz Azul play at home.)
Honorable mention: A little out of town…
The photos below speak for themselves!! Consider also a day trip to Grutas de Tolantongo, four hours’ north of CDMX, in the state of Hidalgo. You can drive yourself, but if you want to save the gas, tolls, and wear and tear on your tires, check out this tour including transportation and a tour guide.
Well, there you go — enjoy your time in one of my favorite cities in the world!! And seriously, this blog only scratches the surface of a visit to Mexico City. Drop a comment if you have any questions or additional suggestions for my readers!
- See my Instagram Guide to Mexico City (updated frequently)
- Watch my video, Mexico City… in 60 Seconds (55K+ views on YouTube!)
- Read How Safe Do I Feel in Mexico… Really?
- Read 7-Day Itinerary for San Miguel de Allende (with Photos) — Plus Dog-Friendly Spots!
- View all my Mexico content to date