Home Travel 11 Very Best Things To Do In Mexico City – Hand Luggage Only

11 Very Best Things To Do In Mexico City – Hand Luggage Only


Mexico City is an incredible city to explore when you’re visiting Mexico. Nestled in the heart of the Monte Alto and Monte Bajo ranges, it’s a city that’s lovely to explore. Not only that but there are heaps of the best things to do in Mexico City that are dotted all across the metropolitan area. 

Now, Mexico City dates back thousands of years; or, at least, the inhabitation of the area at least. You see, the Pre-Columbian Era was the time of the Aztecs, who lived and settled in this area for centuries.

Over time, with Spanish colonial rule, Mexico City became a hub of trade, and commerce with Europe and North America. This led to a huge expansion in the city; with many historic spots still visible to this day.

So, to help you get the most out of your visit, I’m sharing my top places to see in Mexico City once you arrive. This way, you can focus on all the planning without getting bogged down with hefty research. Have an amazing time visiting Mexico. 

1.) Xochimilco Lake

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico Visiting Lake Xochimilco

Nestled in the south of Mexico City, Xochimilco Lake is gorgeous to visit. The whole Valley of Mexico is stunning and Xochimilco Lake is well worth visiting; especially when hopping on these boats

To make things easier, book this Xochimilco boat tour that will whisk you from central Mexico City and take care of all the nitty gritty transport and getting on the boat itself. Not only that, you’ll get to have lunch at Eat at a foodie spot on a floating island on Xochimilco Lake.

Tours take around 3 hours, and it’s lovely to do as an afternoon trip in Mexico City.

Read more: Best things to do in Tulum

2.) Metropolitan Cathedral

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico Metropolitan Cathedral

Metropolitan Cathedral is so impressive to see; especially as it dates back centuries to its beginnings in the 1500s. In fact, it took over 200 years to build and is one of the best things to do in Mexico City when exploring the city’s Spanish history. 

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico Kings Detail Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

Once inside, make sure to look out for the famous alters that make the Metropolitan Cathedral. You’ll easily spot the Alter of the Kings and the Altar of Forgiveness which are so ornate. 

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico Visiting Constitution Square

Also, don’t forget to stroll around the Chapel of Saint Peter. It’s so ornate and in a Baroque style that was en vogue in the 1600s. Oh, and don’t forget to see the five oil paintings that line the walls; these date back to the 1600s and were painted by Baltasar de Echave y Rioja

3.) Teotihuacan

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico Pyramids Teotihuacan Hot Air Ballon Ride

With thousands of years of history, the ancient city of Teotihuacan is one spot you can’t miss when visiting Mexico City. You see, this historic Mesoamerican city dates back thousands of years, and it’s only around 35 miles from the centre of Mexico City. 

Honestly, the whole site is beautiful to visit; especially with all the history. This makes it best to go by booking this tour from Mexico City itself. This tour will take you all around Teotihuacan and visit Guadalupe Shrine and Tlatelolco, too. 

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico Pyramids Teotihuacan

Once here, make sure to spot some of the Mesoamerican pyramids that were constructed way back in pre-Columbian times. They are incredible and give Chichén Itzá (Maya) near Cancun a run for its money. Now, some of the best spots are the Pyramid of the Sun and the Moon.

They are so impressive and the whole site is one spot you really can’t miss.

For a really special experience, book this balloon ride over Teotihuacan that’s just beautiful. It’s an experience you’ll never forget and they pick you up from Mexico City, too. 

Read more: Best things to do in Cancun

4.) Palace of Fine Arts

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico Palace of Fine Arts

Over 100 years old, the Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) is epic to see. Now, the building is stunning on the outside, but it’s even more so once you head inside. 

Once here, you’ll spend around 2 hours strolling through the exhibitions and make sure to see Diego Riveras murals, too.

If you’ve got time, make sure to visit the National Art Museum that’s a few minutes walk away. You can easily visit both in one morning and they’re lovely to see. 

Oh, and don’t forget you can visit the Palace of Fine Arts for a performance. Aside from art pieces, this palace is also home to an opera house and ballet. It’s so lovely, especially if you can get tickets during your trip to Mexico City. 

Afterwards, head on over to Café De Tacuba which has been around in Mexico City for centuries. Make sure to try some Mexican coffee and grab a chile en nogada to eat. The latter is like a large stuffed pepper that’s filled with pork and nuts. 

Read more: Best things to do in Tulum

5.) The National Palace

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico National Palace

Visiting the National Palace is easily one of the best things to do in Mexico City when exploring the area around Zócalo. Not only can you see the gorgeous views of the National Palace from the outside, but you can go inside for free. Just make sure you have a driver’s licence or passport with you; they don’t seem to like copies. 

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico Zocalo

With 14 courtyards, a museum on the second floor, and iconic murals. The latter are the murals painted by Diego Rivera, entitled The History of Mexico. It’s so beautiful.

Just make sure to give yourself around 2 hours to stroll through all the rooms. 

Read more: Best things to do in Cancun

6.) Three Cultures Square (Plaza de las Tres Culturas)

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico Plaza of Three Cultures Tlatelolco

Like I said before, what makes Mexico City so special is its long history. Throughout the centuries, there have been influences from the Aztec populations, the Spanish colonialists and modern-day Mexicans. 

Once here, make sure to see the remains at Tlatelolco, an Aztec city that once stood on these very grounds before the Tenochtitlan civilisation took hold in the 1400s. It’s so impressive to see, especially when you consider how long ago this city existed. 

Afterwards, head over to the Spanish influence at Templo de Santiago. This has been around since the 1600s. Now, the latter was something of an attempt by the Spanish to destroy the cultural significance of earlier cultures.

In fact, you can see where some of the stones from the Tlatelolco have been used to build Templo de Santiago.

To make your trip easier between the top places in Mexico City, book this hop-on-hop-off bus ticket that will allow you unlimited stops as you explore. This way, you won’t be darting around in taxis or looking for the safest options to travel (which should always be a consideration in Mexico City).

7.) Alameda Central 

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico Morisco Kiosk Alameda de Santa María Park

After visiting the Palace of Fine Arts, step right outside and you’ll be in Alameda Central. This is one of the best things to do in Mexico City that’s nice and quick. You see, a visit here will likely only take 10 minutes or so. 

Walk through Mexico City’s oldest park and make your way past the Morisco Kiosk and over to the Statue of Juárez; which is on the fringes of Avenue Juarez.

Now, what I would say is that it’s not worth a trip to the park of Alameda Central in itself. If you miss it, fine, it’s not going to define your trip to Mexico City. That being said, I’d always recommend seeing it if you’re already at the Palace of Fine Arts. 

Afterwards, get yourself over to the House of Tiles (Casa de los Azulejos) that’s a palace that’s been around since the 1800s.

Today, you can head inside the palace and even eat at Restaurant Sanborns which is within the courtyard. The food here is good and it’s a well-known chain restaurant in the city. 

8.) Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

One of Mexico’s important religious sites, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one place you can’t miss. Constructed in honour of the Virgin Mary, it has an outstanding design that dates back to the 1600s.

Also, don’t forget to pop inside the museum where you’ll see the Guadalupan Assumption which was painted by Anselmo López. It’s so impressive. 

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico Temple Del Pocito

Afterwards, make sure to stop by Pocito Chapel. It’s just shy of Sagrado Tepeyac Garden, Poctio Chapel is worth seeing as you explore the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

Getting hungry? Book this Mexico City food tour that’s so much fun.

For a few hours, you’ll be guided through some of Mexico City’s best cuisine and the surrounding regions. The whole tour is incredible and the guide knows everything you can imagine about Mexican cuisine.

Read more: Best things to do in Tulum

9.) Chapultepec Park

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico Lake Major Chapultepec Forest

Trust me when I say that you will need to take it slow when visiting Mexico City. The heat can be quite intense at times.

So, if you’re looking for a more relaxed morning, head over to Chapultepec Park. It’s colossal and is dedicated to an Aztec ruler of the same name. 

Once here, make sure to stroll around Chapultepec Lake, get lost in the House of Mirrors and spot the Canadian Totem. You can easily spend 2 hours in the park and not even realise where the time has gone. 

Also, don’t forget to explore Chapultepec Castle and the National Museum of Anthropology. It’s all within the same vicinity and easy to see when you Book this guided tour. This way, you’ll get to see all the incredible Aztec history within the museum whilst also visiting the park grounds and castle nearby. 

Read more: Best things to do in Cancun

10.) Monument of the Revolution

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico Monument To The Mexican Revolution

Around a 10-minute drive from the Palace of Fine Arts, the Monument of the Revolution is well worth seeing. Today, you can head inside the monument and the views from the observation deck are just incredible from here. 

Now, there is a small fee to enter (around $10 USD) but it’s worth it to explore this special place. 

Afterwards, pop into the San Carlos National Museum which is within walking distance of the monument. From here, you’ll be able to learn more about Spanish colonial influences in art throughout the centuries. Though, if you’re not into art, you might want to skip this spot.  

Read more: Best things to do in Tulum

11.) Angel of Independence

Best Things To Do In Mexico City Mexico Angel of Independence

Perched on the main street of Avenue de la Reforma, the Angel of Independence is beautiful to see. Best of all, you can actually scale to the very top of the tower and see the views for free. However, just like lots of sites, you will need an ID (and not just a copy of it).

Not only are the views gorgeous, but the area around Avenue de la Reforma is also a great place to visit. In fact, it’s one of the best things to do in Mexico City if you want to stroll the cafes, stores and eateries that line the street here. 

Afterwards, head over to La Opera for lunch. It’s been going since the 1800s and their menu is delicious. Their escargot (snails) in a spicy chipotle sauce is a must-try. Oh, and make sure to look out for the infamous bullet hole in the wall. The gun was shot by Pancho Villa with the hole still present to this day. 

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