Mexico City is one of the biggest capital cities in Latin America with a huge variety of things to do and see, and that is why in this guide we have selected our favorite things to do in 3 days in Mexico City.
Some of the coolest things to do in Mexico City in 3 days are visiting the Teotihuacán Pyramids, the museum of Frida Kahlo, Los Pinos, Palacio de Bellas Artes and of course the Basílica de Guadalupe.
In this ultimate three day itinerary to Mexico City we have selected the best things to do in Mexico City in such a short time. Mexico city has over 20 million inhabitants, meaning that the city is huge and has so many museums and cool things to do.
Before getting into our 3 days Mexico City itinerary is important to know that the city sits at a very high elevation, at 7,385 feet above sea level. Be aware of the elevation to avoid altitude sickness when you first arrive and make sure to keep yourself hydrated.
The best things to do in Mexico City Travel Map:
Mexico City is a big city and that is why it is better to separate the things to do in sections, so you don’t spend too much time getting across the city between each attraction. Instead, try to do everything that is near each other. In this map we have created several groups of things to do in Mexico City by neighborhood. Download the map onto your phone, so even if you do not access to WiFi you can still see where things are located and how to get there.
When is the best time to visit Mexico City?
Mexico City can be visited all year. The weather can be comfortable 365 days of the year. But, in my opinion, I would avoid visiting Mexico City during the Summer, from May to September, as it is hotter and rainy.
During the Winter months, from November to March, it can be colder but in my recent visit it was super hot (25 degrees Celsius) during this time. For locals the best time to visit Mexico City is anytime between March and May or from late September to early November.
How to get to Mexico City?
The easiest and quickest way to get to Mexico City depends from where you are coming from. The city has an international airport, Benito Juárez International Airport, with frequent flights as well as two central bus terminals; Terminal Poniente (Observatorio) and Terminal Oriente. Both bus terminals have a metro station nearby.
Where to sleep in Mexico City?
Mexico City is one of the biggest cities in the world, so choosing where to stay can easily get very overwhelming. Especially, because moving from point A to point B can take hours in heavy traffic! So, the best way to decide where you want to sleep in Mexico City depends on your budget and preferences on attractions you want to visit. In this list I will highlight the main things to do in each neighborhood to make your search easier.
- Polanco or Av. Reforma: Polanco is the Beverly Hills of Mexico City. It is a chic and expensive neighborhood, where you will find the most exclusive hotels, restaurants and boutique stores. Even though the majority of landmarks of Mexico City are not in Polanco or Reforma there is so many things to do like explore el Bosque de Chapultepec and visit its many museums. The Ave. Reforma is the main avenue in the city with the best hotels in the city. We stayed at the Sheraton Maria Isabel and had an amazing stay. The hotel is next to the Angel of the Independence and is near many attractions in the city. The hotel is in la Colonia Juarez but it is located on Reforma Avenue.
- Centro Historico (Downtown): The main historical buildings of Mexico City are found in the downtown historic center including the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the Torre Latinoamericana, the Zocalo, the Cathedral and the Palacio Nacional. In downtown, you will find a big range of hotels from budget friendly to the most luxurious. It is the perfect area to visit most of the museums and monuments.
- La Condesa or Roma Norte: Both colonias (neighborhoods) are next to each other and separated by Avenida de los Insurgentes. Both neighborhoods are trendy, artistic and bohemian. Although there are not many touristic attractions in this area, it is still quite close to downtown.
- Coyoacan: It is the artistic neighborhood in Mexico City. It has a charming center where you can buy local handicrafts. The most important things to do in Coyoacan are the Museum of Frida Kahlo, the House of Leon Trotsky, and other museums. This neighborhood is about is 30 min away from downtown.
How to get around Mexico City?
The first two days we hired a personal taxi to take us around. He charged us 2,200 MXN pesos per day and took us everywhere! He stayed with us for around 12 to 14 hours each day, and having that in mind it is not that much. He charges per car not per person, which is fantastic if you are a group of 3 or 4. The last day we used Uber between attractions, as it is cheap and reliable. Public transportation is also cheap and safe but it might take you longer and Uber is super cheap and cost us around 80 MXN Pesos to cross the city.
Important information and tips for visiting Mexico City:
- Currency: 1 USD = ~18.5 Mexican Pesos (March 2020). The easiest way is just to drop a zero and split the number in half. For example: 200 pesos ($20 USD/2 =~$10 USD.
- Credit Cards are accepted in the majority of stores but it is always good to have some cash with you at all time in case you want to buy some street food.
- The official language in Mexico is Spanish. Although many people speak English, be prepared and download the Google Translate app in your phone with both languages, so you can use it offline.
- Mexico uses the same electric plug types as the USA, so you won’t need a power convertors.
Is Mexico City safe?
Even though many people associate Mexico with crime, drug cartels, gang-related violence, and kidnappings, I will say Mexico City is as safe as any other city with 21 million habitants. There are areas in the city you should not visit or try to avoid, you should not go out wearing expensive things, or flashing expensive travel gear. It is honestly best to be low key.
During my 3 days in Mexico city, I always felt safe. I always took an Uber if it was already dark in the evening, carried my backpack on my front to keep my valuables next to me and if a place gave me bad feelings, I just moved towards a more crowded place.
To put it into perspective, the U.S. Department of State places the same level of travel advisory for Mexico City as it does for Paris, Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution. It is something to be aware of, but you should not fear visiting Mexico City.
The best things to do in Mexico City in 3 days video:
What to do in Mexico City in 3 days:
Day 1 in Mexico City: Visit the Teotihuacan Pyramids and the Basílica de Guadalupe
We woke up really early at 5:30 AM to start our Mexico City itinerary by going to the pyramids for an epic hot air balloon ride over the Teotihuacán Pyramids. You can either take a private taxi, an Uber, a shuttle bus or the metro and bus combination to get there. The massive Teotihuacan ruins complex are located about an hour away from Mexico City. The hot air balloon ride takes about an hour and it cost 2,500 MXN per person.
After the amazing hot air balloon we went inside the Teotihuacán Pyramids complex. The entry fee to the pyramids is 70 MXN and the doors open at 7:00 AM. In the complex you can visit the Moon Pyramid and the Sun Pyramid. The Teotihuacán Pyramids is one of the most amazing things to visit in Mexico City.
Without a doubt, visiting the Teotihuacan Pyramids is a must see in your 3 days in Mexico City. The hot air balloon ride is 2,500 MXN per person if you are a group, and 4,000 MXN for an individual ride. We paid 500 pesos for round trip transportation from our hotel.
Tip: Bring water and sunscreen as it gets really hot at the pyramids. You can climb both of the pyramids to get a panoramic view of the complex. Also, bring a sweater for the early morning as it gets a little chilly.
Basílica de Guadalupe
The Basílica de Guadalupe is one of the most important places to visit in Mexico City. You need to spend at least an hour to two exploring the complex.
The main thing in the Basilica is witness the famous painting of the Virgen de Guadalupe. You need to go all the way to the front of the church and then head downstairs to have a closer look to this stunning painting.
The energies of devotos and other tourist was super strong, you could even feel what other people were feeling.
➳ Fun Fact: The 14th of November in 1921 the basilica suffered an attack. A person went inside with a bouquet of flowers that actually had a bomb. The altar was completely destroyed but somehow the painting remained intact.
If you are a devoto you can leave a letter inside the crouch or bring your bendecir las cadenas, cuadros, estampillas, pulseras, adornos for the priest to bless them outside at the left corner of the church.
Guided tours of the Basílica de Guadalupe can be booked in advance. In the complex you can visit the Parish of the Capuchins, the Image of Christ, El Pocito, Garden of the Sacred Enclosure, the Chapel of the Cerrito (hill of Tepeyac), where on December 9, 1531, the Virgin of Guadalupe first appeared to Juan Diego – there were three in total. At this point is also where he collected the miracle roses.
Zócalo de México (Plaza de La Constitución)
In the Plaza de La Constitución you will see the Palacio Nacional, Cathedral, Museo del Templo Mayor. This are the main highlights to see in three days in Mexico City in the old city center.
- Palacio Nacional: Here is office of the president of Mexico and where you can see some of the murals of Diego Rivera.
- Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral: It is free to enter and its intricate designs will blow your mind away.
- Museo del Templo Mayor: Behind the Cathedral, is the Museo del Templo Mayor, considered one of the most important religious and political buildings for the Mexica – at that time, around 1420. The characteristic of this building (and most pre-Hispanic cultures) is that it was extended seven times, with each period of government a pyramid was built on top of the previous one. It is estimated that in the last extension – before being destroyed, about 1520 -, it was approximately 45 meters high. The entrance fee is 70 pesos and it is worth it if you want to know more about the history of ancient Mexican cultures. Once inside, you walk on narrow platforms while observing the archaeological site. It is advisable to wear a hat because only a few small parts are covered.
Garibaldi Square, recognized for the number of Mariachis that meet and share traditional Mexican music. You can visit during the day (directly after the Azteca Stadium) to better appreciate the statues of the different luminaries of Mexican music.
However, we recommend a night visit, where you have several dining options (you can return to your hotel or visit one of the other attractions). Of course, in this place be careful with your belongings. Here you will also find the Mescal museum, where you can learn about the history of this liquor.
Day 2 in Mexico City: Explore Coyoacán
Casa Frida Kahlo
The most popular museum in Coyoacán is the Blue House – Museum of Frida Kahlo. The tickets range from $20 MXN to $230 MXN. This ticket does not includes the photo permit, if you want to take photos you must pay an additional 30 MXN and filming is completely forbidden.
Please either buy your tickets online or show up an hour before the museum opens. We went on a weekend, arriving 30 minutes before the museum was open and still had to wait two hours!!!
The museum is a great place to learn more about Frida Kahlo’s life and artwork. In the museum you will learn more about her polio, her terrible bus accident, her communist political views, and see some of her clothing from Oaxaca.
Centro de Coyoacán
A few blocks from Frida Kahlo House is the downtown area of Coyoacán; this neighborhood is known for its chill artistic and bohemian atmosphere. At the Plaza de la Conchita you must take a photo of the Fuente de los Coyotes. Here you will find several museums and historical houses such as the ones from León Trotsky, Hernán Cortéz and Malinche.
Across the street from the Fuente de los Coyotes is the Parroquia San Juan Bautista, one of the oldest church in Mexico.
Going on a boat tour in Xochimilco is another of the most visited points in the Mexican capital for its famous trajineras that take tourists to navigate the river. There are several tour options with the cheapest one costing 500 pesos per hour.
We choose to do an hour and a half tour, where we were able to get down to several stores and paid 1,500 pesos for three people. You can buy food, toys, honey or hire musicians (mariachis) in the trip. Each song costs 130 MXN.
Museo Dolores Olmedo
We did not go inside but the building is worth it even just for a picture, as it is a work of art in its own. The museum is free to the public and it closes at 6:30 PM. In the museum you can see old coins, Gibran Kahlil’s letters and drawings as well as other recognized artists work.
Monumento de la Revolución:
The Monument to the Revolution is another main landmark in Mexico City. You can go all the way to the 360-degree viewpoint at the top that reaches 52 meters high. The ticket to the viewpoint is 60 pesos.
We went up by elevator and descended by internal stairs that, on certain floors, showed posters with historical information about the construction of the monument. For 90 pesos you can get the complete tour, which includes a guided tour of other rooms, the museum of the lower area and has the possibility of ascending to a floor located a few meters above the main dome.
A few blocks from Monumento a la Revolución is the mythical Café La Habana, founded in 1952 and was a regular spot for historical figures including Roberto Bolaño, Octavio Paz, Gabriel García Márquez, El Che Guevara, Fidel Castro.
Day 3 in Mexico City: Museums of Mexico City
Palacio de Bellas Artes and Cafe Don Portiri in the Sears building
It is an impressive white Art Nouveau building with a colorful yellow dome. We suggest starting your day early as you can spend an hour or two at the museum. Palacio de Bellas Artes is next to the famous Alameda Park. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10AM to 5PM. It is free to enter on Sundays and cost 70 pesos on the other days. If you want to take photos you will need to pay an additional 30 pesos for a photography permit.
Inside the building you will find murals from Diego Rivera and Siqueiros. You can also take a free guided tour where the guide explains the paintings and murals.
Cafe Don Portiri is the best place to get amazing views of the Palacio de Bellas Artes.
A block away from the Palacio de Bellas Artes is the Palacio Postal. This historic stunning building is without a doubt a must see in Mexico City. It was built in 1809 during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz. You can visit a museum on the second floor, although we just visited the first floor and we were amazed by its beauty. The Museum is free to enter from Monday to Friday from 10AM to noon but you can still visit the first floor from Monday to Friday from 8AM to 7:30 PM and Saturday from 10AM to 4PM and Sunday from 10AM to 2PM.
Museo Nacional de Arte
Paseo de la Condesa and the Casa de los Azulejos
El Paseo de la Condesa is a small alley where you can buy books and handcrafts. Right after passing the alley you will see the Casa de los Azulejos. Today it is a restaurant but the beauty is outside. It is worth taking photos of the beautiful tiled façade.
Calle Madero and Torre Latinoamericana
Calle Madero is a pedestrian street where you will find artisans, singers, musicians, people wearing customs, and many shops. The Torre Latinoamericana has an amazing 360 degree lookout, called Mirador Torre Latino. The ticket costs 140 pesos.
It is a fantastic place to take photos of the city. It is worth its price, the outlook has 3 full floors where you can take photos.
The Chinatown of Mexico City is located on Dolores Street near the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The neighborhood is only two blocks and it is full of colorful restaurants and shops.
Bosques de Chapultepec:
The Bosque de Chapultepec has more than 35,000 trees from different species and it is the home of five museums, including the Arte Moderno, Arte Contemporáneo, El Castillo de Chapultepec and the Museo Nacional de Antropología; without a doubt, the Museo Nacional de Antropología is a must thing to do in Mexico City in 3 days. The museum is open from 10AM to 5PM and it cost 70 pesos. The Castle is free to visit on Sundays.
Paseo de la Reforma and El Ángel de la Independencia
The Angel of Independence is the most famous landmark in the Mexico City at the center of roundabout as a main driving artery of the city.
We hope this article helps you plan the best Mexico City itinerary. Whether you are spending 3 days, 4 days or a whole week in Mexico City.
⇟ More articles from Mexico that might interest you:
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