Eight days in Mexico City
February 4, 2024 3:14 PM   Subscribe

Help us plan a fun trip


We will be in Mexico City from 2/22 to 3/2-- so eight full days. We have been to CDMX before but it has been a long time and we didn't have nearly enough time on our last trip. We are mid-30s queer women. We speak enough Spanish to get around pretty easily but not enough to, like, hold our own at a party.

Here's our loose plan-- a few questions within in italics but also interested to see what is missing and make sure that the days of the week we've chosen make sense!

Thursday, 2/22: Arrive in the evening, we booked a stay in Cuauhtémoc a few blocks North of Paseo de la Reforma but are thinking of changing to Roma or Condesa.
Friday, 2/23: Wander around Roma Norte and Bosque de Chapultepec, then Lucha Libre in the evening (planning to just go on our own but could take a tour if the social aspect would make it more fun)
Sat. 2/24: Centro Historico-- Bellas Artes, Zócalo, Diego Rivera Murals. Is there an area that will feel fun for wandering around in the afternoon/early evening with families and street vendors and such? Does the Zócalo have that feel?
Sun, 2/25: Want to check out Ciclovía in the morning, and then maybe Xochimilco in the afternoon-- seems like this would be fun on a really crowded day? but maybe it would be stressful? Considering taking a tour here so that we have a big group to go with.
Mon, 2/26: Teotihuacán
Tues, 2/27: Anthro Museum, perhaps some other attractions within the Bosque de Chapultepec
Wed, 2/28: Not sure, but I'm sure we'll find something to put here depending on our mood. Maybe an art museum, maybe the kayak nature tour in Xochimilco? Maybe Six Flags? Kidding but not really. Suggestions?
Thurs, 2/29: Coyacán, Frida Kahlo Museum, Diego Rivera murals, wander around
Fri, 3/1: Day in Puebla/Cholula, stay over in Puebla
Sat, 3/2: Bus from Puebla to MEX Airport, fly home in the afternoon around 3pm
posted by ambulanceambiance to Travel & Transportation around Mexico City, Mexico (13 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also, it goes without saying that we will be eating nonstop the entire time. Open to suggestions, maybe moreso suggestions of types of food we must try rather than specific places. Not typically fine-dining people but I suppose we could make an exception.
posted by ambulanceambiance at 3:29 PM on February 4

This looks like an amazing itinerary! I don't think Ciclovía + Xochimilco in one day is going to be too much. Xochimilco is so relaxing so it's a great way to recover from the chaos that is Centro.

Types of food to try: other than the obvious local stuff, I found that CDMX has shockingly good Neapolitan-style pizza.
posted by capricorn at 4:21 PM on February 4

You probably know this, but you’ll need Kahlo house tickets in advance.

I enjoyed having lunch at Sanborn’s at the Casa de Azulejos in the centro historico. The enchiladas suizas are good, the place is pretty, it’s a very old school experience.

I stayed in Condesa right near Parque México and it was really pleasant, with lots going on in the park especially on the weekend.
posted by vunder at 4:51 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

Centro Historico-- Bellas Artes, Zócalo, Diego Rivera Murals. Is there an area that will feel fun for wandering around in the afternoon/early evening with families and street vendors and such? Does the Zócalo have that feel?

Madero Street, which runs directly between the Zocalo and Bellas Artes, is pedestrianized and has buskers, vendors, etc. Alameda Central, just on the other side of Bellas Artes, is also very busy with people hanging out and pleasant to wander in. The Zocalo itself can be kind of desolate unless there's something specific going on.

Just east of the Zocalo, I like the Oaxacan grocery / restaurant on Santisima, just north of Soledad, which is a fun commercial area to walk around in a bit in the afternoon (not so much after dark).
posted by ssg at 6:39 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

Bella Artes is great because it has murals from many artists. I liked it for the architecture as much as the murals so look around. The most impressive murals I saw were at the national palace. Less popular, but if you’re really into Rivera I also liked the secretariat of education. It’s not touristy or but worth going to if you have time and want more. If you want a good view of Bella Artes you could go up into a cafe in the Sears but I haven’t been there in a few years.
posted by Bunglegirl at 7:31 PM on February 4

The Aztec Templo Mayor and associated museum are very close to the Zocalo.
posted by gudrun at 7:39 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]

Go eat at Contramar, either make a reservation or it's fun to sit at the bar. Order the tuna tostadas they're famous for, but be sure to order a carajillo to drink (espresso and Licor 43)—the bartender was churning so many of these out that I eventually had to ask what the deal was, and it's outstanding.

It's been a number of years, but I really enjoyed the Eat Mexico food tours. You don't need them to tell you how to eat a taco, but they do interesting stuff like tours through La Merced Market which are harder to do on your own. The guides were really knowledgable and happy to help suggest other places to go and/or eat during your stay too.
posted by zachlipton at 7:59 PM on February 4

Xochimilco in the afternoon-- seems like this would be fun on a really crowded day? but maybe it would be stressful? Considering taking a tour here so that we have a big group to go with.

So Xochimilco on a Sunday afternoon is going to be pretty busy. If you mean to go on the trajineras, it will be pretty crowded, mostly with people drinking, playing loud music and eating. If that's what you're after, then great (and it is definitely better in a group). Some tourist sources in English present this as a relaxing escape to nature and it really isn't that, especially on a weekend afternoon (though it'll be a little less busy than usual in the winter). It can be an interesting experience, but it's definitely not a must-do.

If you like markets, the plant market in Xochimilco is worth a wander.

we booked a stay in Cuauhtémoc a few blocks North of Paseo de la Reforma but are thinking of changing to Roma or Condesa.

There's nothing wrong with that area, but all it has going for it is that it is very central and well connected (and near Zona Rosa, if you want to go there). It's mostly embassies, hotels and offices. Staying in Roma or Condesa is a lot more pleasant, a better vibe at night and not much less central.

Maybe an art museum

In my opinion, both the Jumex and the MUAC at UNAM are well worth going to if you like your art on the contemporary side. I think you can skip Soumaya. If you go to Jumex (the museum that juice built), you can wander a bit in Polanco afterwards and go to El Turix for excellent cochinita. If you go to MAUC, you can also go to the main part of the university, mostly to look at the library, and you can head further south and wander in Tlalpan a bit.

Wander around Roma Norte

Technically, this would be in Roma Sur, but the tlacoyos on the sidewalk at the SW corner of Mercado Medellin are excellent. I recommend the fava bean (habas).

If you want to learn a little Mexican history, the tour inside the Monumento a la Revolucion is worthwhile, without being overwhelming. They have some tours in English too.

I recommend making time to spend some time in cantina on a relaxed afternoon (not just to drink, to eat too).

La Merced is interesting if you like markets. Go early. It's overwhelming in a good way.
posted by ssg at 8:40 PM on February 4

What a great itinerary, hope you have a lovely time!

I stayed in Condesa and it was excellent. My recommendations:
Get a meal at Masala y Maiz; reservation necessary, might be easier for lunch.
If you're into architecture and design, Casa Estudio Luis Barragán was fabulous.
The Audiorama in Bosque de Chapultepec is a lovely, quiet respite from the city bustle.
posted by wicked_sassy at 6:52 AM on February 5

I think you'll enjoy staying in Roma Norte or Condesa more than where you are currently booked to stay.

Agreed about the Eat Mexico tours. Not only will they expose you to things you otherwise may not be able to access on your own, but they'll show you some tricks to eating street food without getting food poisoning and show you a wider variety of street foods to try out.

The best thing I ate when we visited CDMX was some corn-based quesadillas on the corner of Calle Chihuahua and Calle Tonalá - they were there in 2019 but I have no idea whether they still are. I also strongly recommend trying out the tasting menu at Pujol. It's "fine dining" but it's relatively inexpensive for what it is (around $125 USD) and compared to similar quality tasting menus by chefs of that level of renown. It's kind of a once in a lifetime experience and worth it.

Food otherwise, I don't even know. Everything? Eat everything. I don't know that I've ever had anything in Mexico City that was even approaching mediocre - it was all ridiculously good even when it was just a stab in the dark at a place to grab a bite.

For an art museum, I will never ever stop recommending the Museo de Arte Popular. It is so frigging cool. Think kind of contemporary folk art.
posted by urbanlenny at 8:35 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]

Three things that I really really recommend.

1. If you're going to be in Coyoacán, I cannot recommend the Trotsky House highly enough. I would go there even if I wasn't otherwise planning to be in Coyoacan. Waiting for a tour is worth it.

2. In Chapultepec, not enough people visit the Cárcamo de Dolores. Just a fantastic bit of old civic infrastructure and an under-appreciated Diego Rivera mural. I love it.

3. I loved visiting the Kahlo-Rivera studio/house/museum. The people I went with compared it favorably to the Blue House (preferred it, even).

Also, if you drink alcohol I recommend going to pulquerias, because you can't really get pulque outside Mexico. Doesn't transport well. It's a fairly low ABV beverage, maybe close to a light beer.
posted by kensington314 at 11:02 AM on February 5

I also love going to Carlos Slim's stupid art museum because it is a real lesson in how wealth can't buy you taste.
posted by kensington314 at 11:02 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]

We did a week in CDMX just this summer and we loved Xochimilco - we were a group of 13, so we got our own boat. Agreed that you'll enjoy it more with a group. Take cash - little boats with food and drink will pull along side and serve you stuff - we had GREAT tacos with made-to-order tortillas from a floating kitchen! We did Arena Mexico for wrestling - bought our own tickets and giant beer and had a blast.

You'll see tacos called "gringa" style everywhere - get them, they're amazing and very popular. There's a super-buzzy local taco chain called Taqueria Orinoco - they are FANTASTIC and cheap. El Califa was another good local chain. We ate TONS of street food and never had issues, even basket tacos that had been out for a while. If you're a coffee drinker, try a glass of iced horchata with a shot of espresso in it!

I adored Museo Tamayo Arte - modern stuff collected by Rufino Tamayo (and a lot of his own work too) - that and the Kahlo museum were the BIG highlights for me. When we went to the Kahlo museum we also ate and wandered around the Coyoacan market - fantastic.

If you're in the Reforma/Roma area, there's a great housewares and gift shop called Utilitario Mexicano - great versions of iconic local goods. I bought the prettiest pink enameled bowls there, and some great woven pieces. I also shopped at Balmoria - they carry a perfume I love that is made in Merida by a company called Sandovalis.
posted by ersatzkat at 11:08 AM on February 5

« Older How to make burnt chili taste less gross   |   France in February for a week Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments