One of the world’s largest cities, Mexico’s capital is full of history, surprisingly green boulevards and parks, and amazing food. That said, it doesn’t get the attention or tourism it deserves. Despite what you may have heard in the media, Mexico City is very safe. If you only have three days in Mexico City, here are my highlights to helo you understand, appreciate, and taste this amazing city.
How to Navigate Mexico City in 3 Days
Mexico City seemingly spreads forever. It’s so large that it actually spans two states! That said, it’s incredibly easy to get in, around, and out of.
Getting Into Mexico City From MEX Airport
Mexico City’s international airport is close to Centro and the trendy neighbourhoods of La Condesa and Roma. Your easiest option to get to your accommodations is Uber. Request a car once you have your baggage and meet the driver at the arrivals gate. The app will prompt you to provide which door you will be at.
Alternatively, cabs are safe and reliable, pending you pay at the booth inside of the terminal and not a random driver outside. Note, taxis are slightly more than Uber and typically cost between 250.00 – 300.00 pesos, depending on where you go.
The city metro is also an option and recommended if you arrive during rush hour. If you have anything but hand luggage I would advise against it though as it can be crowded. It’s by far the cheapest option and costs just 5 pesos! The route below takes about an hour and passes by Centro on way to La Condesa.
Getting Around Mexico City
Uber was far and away my transportation of choice during my three days in Mexico City. It’s super easy, safe, and cheap. THis is, of course, pending you have a data roaming plan. I use Tep Wireless for my data roaming as it provides hot spot access and can be shared with multiple devices!
Again, if travelling during rush hour I suggest other methods than driving.
And Bike and Scooter
One alternative method to getting around on my three days in Mexico City was using scooters. Not only are they cheap and everywhere, but they are also fun!
There are three companies in town so there are no shortages. Note, roads and sidewalks can be rough so I suggest this method for only short distances.
There are also a few bikes to get around however I stuck to scooters.
The Mexico City Metro is Great
Lastly on how to get around with three days in Mexico City is the metro system. This extensive network is not only efficient but also really really cheap. At just five pesos per trip, it is by far the cheapest way to get around. Like any major city, be mindful of your belongings. I suggest taking the metro in and out of central as traffic is particularly bad in that area.
What Is There to See in Mexico City?
With over 4,000 years of history, there’s no shortage of interesting things to see in Mexico City. From the remains of its Aztec origins to its surprisingly green parks, Mexico City is an absolute delight to explore. With just three days in Mexico City, here are my suggestions and highlights
Mexico City’s historic downtown is packed with amazing architecture and history. In just a few square blocks you’re find Art Deco towers, Baroque Churches, and Aztec ruins. I highly recommend spending an afternoon strolling Centro and seeing the following sites.
Palacio de Bellas Artes
The most unique building in Centro has to be the Palacio de Bellas Artes. This unique neoclassical art nouveau building is highlighted by it’s yellow and orange hombre dome. Inside, you’ll find Art Deco highlights with some massive murals as well as a theatre.
Tip: for the best views of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, head up to the observation deck of the nearby Tori Latinoamérica.
Next to the palace of arts is the grandest post office in North America, the Palacio Postal. Built in 1907, this beautiful building is elaborately decorated with gargoyles, marble floors, and iron manufactured in Florence Italy. Interestingly, the building still operates as a post office. Head inside to see the Art Deco interior around the teller windows and check out the stairs and glass roof.
Convent of San Francisco
The small convent turned church tucked away on Madero Street is highlighted by its wooden structure. Stepping inside you’ll find gold plated wood carving throughout.
Continuing east towards the largest flag in Mexico (although not present on my visit!), you’ll end up in Zócalo. This centre square is filled with vendors and entertainers, however, it’s true beauty is the buildings that surround it.
Despite several earthquakes and sitting on a sinking city, this grand but droopy cathedral still stands. Head inside and explore its gold ornaments, murals, and massive columns.
Mexico City is built on top of the ancient Aztec island city of Tenochtitlan and there’s no better place to see remnants of it then Temple Mayor. In 1978 an electrical company discovered a large Aztec stone with elaborate detail. This discovery prompted a presidential decree to halt construction and excavate. Today, the area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and receives close to 1 million visitors a year.
Don’t miss the display depicting both what the Aztec city looked like and the island and lake that Mexico City now sits on. There is also a small museum to explore.
Tequila and Mezcal Museum
Do you have trouble telling the difference between tequila and mescal? Head to the wildly popular Museo del Tequila and Mezcal for an education. Learn all about the country’s favourite hard liquor and follow the history and production process through interactive displays. Put your knowledge to the test by sampling some tequila and mescal at the end. Two shots are included with admission and can be enjoyed from its terrace restaurant.
Don’t miss the historic Salón Tenampa bar next-door! Keep the party going with some more tequila while talented mariachi bands keep you entertained!
Make your way down Cali Cinco de Mayo towards the looming icon that is the Torres Latinoamérica. If you are hungry, Café La Blanca and Café El Popular are both good options for lunch in a historic Mexico City diner. If you’re not hungry, stroll the shops and chaos of Av. Francisco I. Madero towards the tower.
Once the tallest building in Latin America, this 45 story tower is best known for surviving two massive earthquakes. Head inside for an amazing view of the city and check out the museum dedicated to its design.
If the chaos of Centro has you burnt out, find refuge in the expensive Alameda Central park before escaping on the metro. This spacious urban park is the oldest in the city and features several fountains and benches to relax on. It is a great place to people watch.
This artsy Mexico City neighbourhood is known for its colonial buildings and cobblestone streets. Although it’s biggest draw is the Frida Kahlo Museum, it’s worthwhile to stroll the area and spend an evening here.
Museo Frida Kahlo
The house of Mexico‘s beloved painter, Frida Kahlo, is now a museum dedicated to her life. This Blue house is packed with photos and memorabilia and is a very popular attraction. Be sure to book tickets online and in advance or, better yet, take a tour to secure your tickets!
Just south of the Frida Kahlo Museum is the colourful Mercado de Coyoacan. Inside you will find everything a local requires. From the mountains of Mole to pinatas, a stroll through this market is a great peek into day-to-day life in Mexico.
The Church of San Juan Bautista
Smack dab in the middle of Coyoacan is one of the most beautiful churches in the city – the Church of San Juan Bautista. This Baroque-style building is also the heart of Coyoacan and comes alive at night with vendors and street performers surrounding the square. Grab dinner or a drink at one of the streetside bars and cafés and take it all in.
Cafe El Jarocho
It’s hard to miss this historic streetside café in Coyoacan. The flurry of activity surrounding Cafe El Jarocho gives away its location. Opened in 1953, it’s best known for its traditional Mexican coffee and doughnuts.
What To Do With Three Days in Mexico City?
One of the largest parks in the western hemisphere, Chapultepec has a ton to see and do. Coming in at over 1,600 acres, you could spend a full day exploring its parks and museums. If you only have three days in Mexico City, here are the highlights:
Museum of Anthropology
One of the largest museums in the world and the most important in all of Latin America, the Museum of Anthropology is a must-visit site while in Mexico City. With architecture and exhibits on the Mayan, Aztecs, and Teotihuacan, a visit here is important in understanding Mexico City and Latin America’s complex and fascinating past.
You could easily spend all day here and not see everything. Because of this, and because most signs and plaques are in Spanish, I highly recommend a guided tour. Bookmundi offers an Anthropology Museum and Centro tour that covers the museum effectively and efficiently in just three hours.
For the best views of the park and the city skyline, head to Chapultepec Castle. Once a gathering place for Aztecs, the area has since been everything from a Presidential home to a military academy and an observatory. Today it houses the National Museum of History.
Mexico City’s love of wrestling dates back to the turn of the 20th century. It has come along way since with the addition of high flying manoeuvres, comedy, and of course, the famous masks Luchadors are now known for.
As a tourist, your best bet to catch a Lucha Libre performance in Mexico City is at Arena Mexico. Shows run Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. I went on a Friday and tickets were limited so I suggest going on a tour. Urban Adventures runs a great night out including Lucha Libre, a pub crawl, and mariachi bands. It’s a great way to catch a match, try some local eats, and meet new friends.
Climb an Ancient Pyramid at Teotihuacan
A visit to Teotihuacan is a must, even if you only have three days in Mexico City. This head-scratching ancient city predates the Aztecs and features two mass of pyramids, the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon. Best of all, you can climb both of these pyramids
I took a tour with Urban Adventures and highly recommend it. Not only did we get comfortable transportation to and from Teotihuacan, but we also had a knowledgable guide that explained some of the mysteries behind the ancient site. After the visit, we also got a stop at a pulque brewery followed by a dinner in a local’s home.
Stroll La Condessa
Mexico City’s Condesa neighbourhood is full of hip coffee shops, bars, and restaurants as well as beautiful tree-lined walkways and parks. Once the former home to Spanish Countesses, today it is home to dog-loving locals, ex-pats, and some amazing taquerias.
For the full experience, I recommend a walking tour with Tasty Bites. This three-hour food tour not only gets you into some of the area’s best taco shops but also the history and significance behind the areas architecture, parks, and sculptures.
What to Eat With Three Days in Mexico City?
Mexico City is arguably the tastiest city in Latin America. On top of delicious street food, there are taquerias seemingly on every corner. Although this is more than enough to win me over, Mexico City cuisine goes far beyond churros and tacos. There are several high-end restaurants including many Michelin star chef‘s hometown establishments.
Al Pastor Tacos
There’s little to argue about tacos being the best street food, no matter the time of day. I had tacos morning, noon, and night during my three days in Mexico City. Why? Al Pastor. These delicious tacos consist of perfectly marinated pork, pineapple, cilantro, and raw onions and hail from Mexico City. As such, it’s well-loved and available everywhere. That said, here are my favourite spots to try Al Pastor:
The much-debated creator of the Al Pastor, El Tizoncito now has several locations around town. Whether they started the trend or not, they do Al Pastor right. The meat is cooked on a fire and the wedge of pineapple is skillfully caught out of the air by trained chef‘s.
Although another chain and one that caters to tourists with an English menu, the Al Pastors at Al Califa are beautiful. They also serve a ridiculous Bistec Queso (beef and cheese) taco that is one of my favourites. Fair warning, this taco is huge. It will take you down.
El Vilsito is a mechanic shop by day, taco stand by night. That said, this unique taqueria makes the Al Pastor list for more than its character. Locals love this now not-so-hidden-gem and is busy throughout the night.
Other Tacos to Tackle in Mexico City
Of course, there’s more to Mexico City tacos than the Al Pastor. Here are my favourites and where to find them.
Barbacoa tacos are a process to make, to say the least. Lamb is carefully cooked in the ground overnight covered by agave leaves. As such, it is only available on the weekends. Look for streetside stands serving this up on the weekend and note, it is known to cure a hangover!
Although I love a good chorizo taco, I found a much better kind in Mexico City. These tiny chorizo like sausages are so freaking good. Less greasy than chorizo, but have a similar taste. The best place I had them on my three days Mexico City was El Parnita in the hip Roma neighbourhood. Don’t miss this stop!
I was sceptical ordering up shrimp tacos so far from the ocean but El Pescadito serves it up as good as or better than you’ll find on the peninsula. The best part of this popular taqueria is the self-serve toppings. Locals pill it on high so don’t be shy!\
Speaking of seafood, for the best (and fanciest) ceviche in town, head to Agua y Sal in the trendy Polanco neighbourhood. This high-end restaurant serves beautifully plated dishes with an emphasis on seafood. I had the octopus ceviche, crab soup, and Shrimp Panuchos (think open-faced taco on a fried tortilla) and can recommend it all. The latter was probably my favourite thing I ate on my whole trip, which is saying a lot!
If you are looking for a nice sit-down option in Mexico City, treat yourself at Agua y Sal. It is a popular restaurant so aim for a late lunch sitting if you can’t get dinner reservations on your three days in Mexico City.
There is no shortage of amazing street food in Mexico City. So much so that knowing what (or where) to eat can be overwhelming. As such, I highly recommend taking a food tour. I spent an afternoon eating my way through Condesa with Tasty Bites Food Tours and loved it! Not only did it get me to some amazing taquerias (including spots I never would’ve found or tried on my own), but also a helpful guide who was incredibly passionate about the city and culture she calls home. I can’t recommend this tour enough but be warned, come hungry and share portions as there is a lot to sample on the tour!
Although Churros originated in Spain and Portugal, you can find them EVERYWHERE in Mexico City. Street churros are a good option for a cheap and sweet snack on the go, however, for some of the best in town, head to El Moro. They have been frying dough since 1935 and have several locations around town, including the original in Centro.
What to Drink With Three Days in Mexico City?
Looking to wash down those tacos? Check out my foggy recap on what to drink with three days in Mexico City.
If we were talking uniquely Mexico City drinks, then Mezcal is the locals choice. This once dead alcohol is back with a vengeance thanks to the hipsters in Condesa. It is more flavourful than tequila thanks the variety of Agave that can be used to make it (Tequila is only made from Blue Agave) and is much appreciated. Full disclosure, I prefer Tequila, but when in Roma!
There are plenty of mezcaleria’s in the area but I suggest hitting the Mescal and Tequila Museum for a true appreciation of the differences before venturing on your own!
Michelada, Chilada, or Cubano? Variation seems to vary depending on the place or time of day, but this was half the fun for me. A Michelada to me is Clamato, Worchester sauce, lime, and salt however you may just get it without Clamato. This is more refreshing but if looking for the above just ask for a Cubano to be safe!
If you want to take your Michelada game to the next level, order one of the massive chamoy covered drinks at a Lucha Libra match!
- READ MORE: Going to a Lucha Libre Match in Mexico City
Pulque is a low alcohol fermented drink made from Agave and pairs nicely with Al Pastor tacos. This refreshing drink is no tequila. It has just 5% alcohol and, to me, drinks more of like a cider.
If you are interested in seeing how this traditional drink is made, consider taking the Urban Adventures day trip visiting Teotihuacan. This great day out includes a visit to a Pulque brewer and, surprisingly, was a highlight of my tour with them.
- READ MORE: Visiting Teotihuacan From Mexico City
Although I drank more than my share of Sol, Corona, and Tecate on my three days in Mexico City, I did find (and enjoy) some great craft beers. A surprising amount of sitdown restaurants have craft beer on their menus as do the hip bars in Condesa. Look for Bocanegra, a small brewery that is challenging the “white bread of beer” that is Mexico’s norm when it comes to Cerveza. They make a German Dunkel that is actually really, really good.
For those looking for a refreshing drink to pair with your tacos that is non-alcoholic, there is alway horchata. This rice drink reminds or rice pudding with its cinnamon and sweetness.
Where to Stay in Mexico City?
Are you ready to book your three days in Mexico City? Check out my choice hotels listed by budget below!
High-end and sophisticated in Condesa. Close to everything!1“
Modern rooms, excellent pool and gym, and a central location walkable to Condesa, Roma, and metro lines.
Is 3 Days in Mexico City Enough?
There you have it. Three days in Mexico City packed with ancient history, colonial buildings, and amazing tacos. All of it washed down with Mezcal and the Micheladas. To help you piece together the highlights above, here is my suggestion on how to best tackle three days in Mexico City:
- First Day – Chapultepec Park, Museum of Anthropology, Centro, Mescal and Tequila Museum, Lucha Libre!
- Second Day – Teotihuacan Day Trip
- Third Day – Condesa Food Tour, Explore Coyoacán
As you can tell, there is so much to cover in Mexico City and certainly warrants more than a three-day visit. The above is a jammed few days so please plan accordingly and adjust to your pace and schedule!Ready to tuck into this foodie town? Compare prices on flights to Mexico City with Skyscanner!
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