colorful trajineras, gondola-style boats, at Xochimilco.

Top 150 Non-Touristy Things to Do in Mexico City in 2021

Looking for non-touristy things to do in Mexico City?

You’ve landed on the right article, because I used to live in Mexico City — which is why I’m the perfect guide to help you find all the best non-touristy things to do in Mexico City!

As they say, having tips from a local is a travel game changer (I’m an ex-local, but hey!). I spent enough time in Mexico City to be able to point you in the right direction to find all the cool things to do in Mexico City that only a local would know about.

Besides all the fun things to do in Mexico City (AKA CDMX) listed here, you’ll also discover how to best explore this city to maximize the time on your Mexico City itinerary. I’m also sharing the best neighborhoods in Mexico City to stay in — and what Mexico City neighborhoods to avoid.

Ready to discover all the top things to do in Mexico City? Let’s get to it!

non-touristy things to do in mexico city

Mexico City Travel Tips

1. Plan your trip neighborhood-by-neighborhood

As North America’s largest city, planning a trip to Mexico City can be intimidating. However, it doesn’t have to be… if you plan ahead, and if you plan strategically. So, exactly what does planning strategically mean?

With a population of about 8.5 million people, Mexico City’s massive size and epic traffic are the stuff of legend. The traffic, specifically, is something you’ll want to avoid at all costs! For this reason, plan to explore just one or two CDMX neighborhoods per day, so you’re not wasting time commuting between neighborhoods.

One of the best ways to get to know the neighborhoods of Mexico City is on the Great Introduction to Mexico City Tour, the perfect thing to do on the first night of your trip so you have your CDMX bearings.

🇲🇽 Mexico City Best Neighborhoods Guide: Roma Norte, La Condesa, Coyoacan & Polanco

2: Opt for Uber over public transportation

Yes, there is Uber in Mexico City, and using Uber over public transportation is great for Mexico travel safety, solo female travel safety, and for conserving precious travel time. While is does cost more, the financial cost ends up being near-insignificant when compared to the amount of time you’ll save. 

For reference, the 7.5-mile (12km) bus trip from Roma Norte to Coyoacan would cost about $1.50USD — though it could take up to two hours on a crowded bus. The same trip in a private Uber would cost you about $5USD and take just 30 minutes.

With just four days in one of the largest cities on Earth — you’ll want to conserve as much time as you can getting from one place to the next.

Now that you have a solid Mexico City travel strategy, let’s look at a neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to the 150 best Mexico City things to do, see and eat. Speaking of eating, make sure you also check out this Best Tacos in Mexico City guide 🌮

The best way to experience Teotihuacan Mexico? Easy: From above on the Teotihuacan Balloon Ride Tour!
non-touristy things to do in mexico city

Things to Do In Teotihuacan

1. Visit Teotihuacan: These famous pyramids in Mexico City are one of the most important and most visited sites in the country, though no one should skip out on this amazing place! It’s admittedly touristy, but still cool enough to make this list.

🥵 Teotihuacan Travel Tips: Wear comfy sneakers, a sun hat, eco-friendly sunscreen, and bring your Water-To-Go Bottle, because it gets hot!

Below you will find some unique, non-touristy ways to visit Teotihuacan Mexico — including on a hot air balloon, on a scavenger hunt, and with an archeologist!

Regardless of how you choose to explore this UNESCO World Heritage, make sure to climb the three Teotihuacan pyramids (Pyramid of the Sun, Pyramid of the Moon, Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent/Quetzalcoatl), and visit the onsite museum and sculpture gardens.

For a detailed guide on how to get to Teotihuacan from Mexico City, head to the linked article. Teotihuacan is open daily, 9am-5pm, and costs $75 pesos ($4USD) for entry. It is located about one hour from Mexico City, if there’s no traffic.

🇲🇽 Prefer a Teotihuacan tour? Book your spot on the Teotihuacan VIP-Exclusive Access Tour, and get exclusive access to areas in Teotihuacan only open to VIPs. 

Teotihuacan hot air balloon ride
The best way to experience Teotihuacan Mexico? Easy: From above on the Teotihuacan Balloon Ride Tour!

Mexico City to Teotihuacan Tours

2. Teotihuacan Hot Air Balloon Ride: A once-in-a-lifetime experience! See this ancient Mexico archeological site from above, the only real way to appreciate its vastness. 🎈 Book the Teotihuacan Balloon Ride Tour and see a side of Teotihuacan so few will.

3. Teotihuacan Scavenger Hunt: Climb all three of the Teotihuacan pyramids and see all its unique sites — while playing a fun scavenger hunt game. After leaving, enjoy a traditional lunch and sample locally-made alcoholic beverages, like pulque, an ancient prehispanic drink.

4. Visit San Juan Teotihuacan, Mexico: Explore the city the Teotihuacan pyramids are in, the San Juan Teotihuacan pueblo magico (magic town). Join the Experience Teotihuacan With A Native Tour and get to know this off the beaten path Mexico pueblo with Alejandro, a Teotihuacan local.

🤔 What is a pueblo magico? Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism awards the prestigious distinction of pueblo magico, or magic town, to pueblos (small towns) with characteristics including exceptional natural beauty, unique culture and historic relevance.⁠ There are about 140 pueblos magicos in Mexico.

5. See Teotihuacan at Night: Experience Teotihuacan under the light of the moon and stars, as so few do. There’s also a video mapping display on the largest pyramid at the site, the Pyramid of the Sun. Book your spot on the Teotihuacan Nighttime Light & Sound Show Tour to see Teotihuacan by night.

7. Magic Teotihuacan & Chocolate Tour: See the pyramids at Teotihuacan, explore the pueblo magico (magic town) of San Juan Teotihuacan, and then refresh with a traditional prehispanic drinking chocolate, and some pulque, AKA “the drink of the gods,” an ancient adult beverage from Central Mexico.

8. Eat at La Gruta Mexico Restaurant: La Gruta means the grotto/cave, and as the name has already clued you in on — this restaurant is located inside a cave!

Related Blog 🌮 Eating Alone While Traveling: How to Overcome Your Fear

They serve all the traditional Mexican favorites like tacos and enchiladas, as well as specialities like escamoles, AKA Mexican caviar, and chapulines, the famous Mexican grasshoppers.

Head to La Gruta restaurant after visiting Teotihuacan with a group on the Live the Pyramids & Eat Under the Earth Tour.

Non-Touristy Things to Do in Mexico City

Things to Do In Coyoacan

9. Frida Kahlo Museum: This is admittedly on the beaten path, but the Casa Azul (Blue House) is worth a visit. Once the home to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera — two of the most famous painters of all time — and now one of the best museums in Mexico City, the Blue House offers a glimpse into Frida’s life and art.

Take the Frida VIP-Skip the line+Bikes & Churros for an in-depth look at Frida’s the artist, and a bike tour around the Mexico City neighborhood she called home where you’ll try some of its famed churros.

🎫 Frida Museum Travel Tip: If you don’t go with a group tour, do buy your tickets in advance.

10. Diego Rivera Anahuacalli Museum: Frida’s husband, and another one of Mexico’s most famous artists, Diego Rivera, has a lesser-known Mexico City museum not far from Casa Azul. The Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli features his impressive collection of pre-hispanic artifacts, as well as some of his murals and mosaics, housed inside a Mesoamerican temple-style building.

🎟 Travel Tip: You get free admission to the Anahuacalli Museum with your Frida Kahlo Museum ticket.

11. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo House Studio Museum: Much like the Casa Azul, this museum offers a further glimpse into the lives of Mexico’s powerhouse artist couple. Take the Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera House & Murals in UNAM Tour to see even more of Diego Rivera’s work on the UNAM college campus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

12. Frida Kahlo Park: Need even more Frida? Head to this small park in Coyoacan, named for the city’s most famous resident, and see the bronzed statues of Frida and Diego. This is just one of the off the beaten path Coyoacan sites many people miss!

13. National Museum of Popular Culture: This small museum, one of five stops on the Coyoacan Legends Tour, packs a powerful, colorful punch. Dedicated to Mexico’s unique ethnic and cultural diversity, see folk art styles from indigenous peoples living all over the country. 

14. Shop at the Coyoacan Artisan Market: The Mercado Artesanal Mexicano (Mexican Craft Market) is located just across the street from Parque Centenario, the Coyoacan main square. If you’re looking to buy Mexican folk art souvenirs, this is the best place to shop in Coyoacan.

Entry arches to Plaza Hidalgo/Parque Centenario, the main square in Coyoacan Mexico.

15. Plaza Hidalgo/Parque Centenario: The Zocalo is the main square of Coyoacan. Here you’ll find restaurants, the famous coyote fountain (Coyoacan means “a place of coyotes” in the Aztec language), and the town’s largest church.

16. Iglesia de San Juan Bautista: Located in the center of Coyoacan, this massive Spanish cathedral dates back to the 16th Century. You’re free to take photos inside, as long as you’re respectful.

17. See a movie at Cineteca Nacional: The Cineteca is more of an experience than a movie theatre, but if you’re in the mood for a movie night, this is theater unlike any you’ve seen. Note: They regularly show English films.

18. Eat tostadas at Mercado Coyoacan: A lively and traditional Mexican mercado (market). The Coyoacan Market is well known as the place to get the best tostadas in Mexico City. Each tostada stand in the market sells several toppings, so you can sample a few things, like tinga de pollo, a kind of shredded BBQ chicken, and coctel de camarones, shrimp cocktail.

19. Try Coyoacan’s Tepoznieves: Besides tostadas, people come to Coyoacan for tepoznieves. These are basically a mixture of ice cream and shaved ice. You’ll find this in shops and from old school ice cream cart-style vendors on the streets.

🚴‍♀️ Mexico is Not Only Tacos, Food & Bikes Tour: Gain a deeper understanding of Mexico City food beyond tacos, and let a local show you even more tasty things to eat in the city on a bike your.

Related Blog 🌮 50 of the Best Tacos in Mexico City + Free Map

20. Walk down the Callejón del Aguacate: Possibly haunted, the Callejón del Aguacate (Avocado Alley) is an interesting off the beaten path Mexico City walkway. Stroll the cobblestone streets of the narrow alley and see if you can hear the reported screams of the child-ghost who haunts Avocado Alley.

💀 Love dark tourism? Head to one of the best Mexico dark tourist sites, the Isla de Muñecas, or Island of the Dolls in Xochimilco — and yes, it’s as creepy as it sounds.

21. Parque Masayoshi Ôhira: Into travel photography? Head to this off the beaten path park that will transport you to Japan! Photograph the cherry blossom trees, Asian-style bridge atop a flowing stream, and iconic red arch.

Things to Do in San Angel, Mexico City

22. Buy Art at the San Angel Saturday Market: The up-and-coming San Angel neighborhood is located right next to Coyoacan. It’s famed Bazar Sabado (Saturday Market) is the place to buy artisan-made handcrafts, art, jewelry and more.

🎨 La Catrina Art Workshop: Explore your creative side and paint your very own La Catrina, the Day of the Dead skeleton-woman icon, using the traditional Cartonería painting technique.

23. Parroquia de San Jacinto: A beautiful, historic Dominican church in the San Angel neighborhood.

24. Brunch at the San Angel Inn: Located in an old monastery, the San Angel Inn is known as one of the best restaurants in San Angel. Looking for a fancy Saturday brunch in a beautiful, historic setting before heading to the San Angel Saturday Market? This is your place!

Non-Touristy Things to Do in Mexico City

Things to Do In Xochimilco

25. Visit the UNAM Central Campus: The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) was awarded the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.

The campus consists of buildings and open spaces constructed by more than 60 architects, engineers and artists.

Done by the architect and painter, Juan O’Gorman, his iconic painting on the Central Library UNAM is said to be the largest mural of all time.

Besides those of O’Gorman, see the works of Mexico’s other great muralists, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and of course, Diego Rivera; there are numerous famous UNAM murals to see.

UNAM college campus buildings
The UNAM Central Library, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mexico City.

👨‍🎨 Diego Rivera House & UNAM Mural Tour: Noticing the name Diego Rivera coming up over and over? He’s quite important, as far as contemporary Mexican artists go! Gain a deeper understanding of Mexico’s famed artist on a Mexico City tour to see his art.

26. Museum of Contemporary art at UNAM: One of the best museums in Mexico City, which boasts 150 of them! This is also the city’s largest contemporary art museum, and located on the beautiful UNAM Campus, itself a work of art.

UNAM is… an exemplary monumental complex of 20th century modernism that integrates urbanism, architecture, engineering, landscaping and fine arts, associating all these elements with references to local traditions, and in particular to the pre-Hispanic past from Mexico. ~UNESCO

Xochimilco Tours

27. Floating Gardens of Xochimilco: Hop on a brightly-colored trajinera, the colorful gondola-style boats, to tour this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Depending on your preferences, you can take a Xochimilco cruise during the day or at night.

What is Xochimilco? A series of man-made canals, dug by the Aztecs centuries ago, that once served as the civilization’s major thoroughfare for trade and commerce.

While known as a place to party, you can also join a tour to see the chinampas, or floating gardens. The chinampas (gardens) show the more natural side of Xochimilco, and the ancestral techniques of food cultivation in Mexico City, still practiced today by rural farmers.

The easiest, most fun way to visit Xochimilco? On a group tour, like the ones below.

Xochimilco is a festive place, and tends to be much more fun with a group, and unless you speak Spanish, bargaining with a boat operator can be challenging. Boats often wait to fill up with at least 8-10 people before departing, so you may have to find a group of strangers when you arrive.

28. Boat to the Island of the Dolls: The Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls) is as creepy as it sounds — and easily accessible on the Xochimilco Secrets: Island of Dolls Tour.

…between the canals of Xochimico you can find a small island with a sad background, which never intended to be a tourist destination… It is dedicated to the lost soul of a poor girl who met her fate too soon in strange circumstances. ~Isla de las Muñecas

This island, filled with baby doll parts and heads strapped to trees, is something out of most peoples’ nightmares; but hey, some other people are into that.

If you’re not going with the tour, get to Xochimilco early to take this trip. It’s about a five-hour boat ride to the island and back, and boat operators tend to not want to make the trip later in the day.

baby doll hanging on a tree at Island of the Dolls
One of the island’s residents you’ll meet on the Xochimilco Secrets: Island of Dolls Tour.

29. Dolores Olmedo Museum: Mexican businesswoman Dolores Olmedo’s gorgeous hacienda-turned-museum features the largest collection of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera works in all of Mexico City. The beautiful grounds are home to many animals including peacocks and xoloitzcuintles, Mexico’s beautiful hairless dogs, called xolos (pronounced show-lows) for short.

30. Los Dinamos: Join the Live the Mountain Without Leaving the City Tour to explore this natural protected area, with 6,000-acres of forest and with 16 miles of hiking paths. On the paths, see numerous waterfalls and cascades flowing down from the Magdalena River, the only Mexico City river.

💦 Love waterfalls? Discover the Mil Cascadas (1,000 Waterfalls) in the neighboring state of Guerrero, about 2.5 hours Mexico City. Join the 1000 Waterfalls, A Cave and A Cold Beer Tour with guide Coen.

31. Visit Tlalpan Mexico: This neighborhood, located on the southern outskirts of Mexico City, is as historic as Coyoacan, though not as touristy. Check out the Centro Historico (Historic Downtown), Mercado Publico (Public Market), churches, and Cafetlan restaurant, to sample a soup made famous in Tlalpan, caldo tlalpeño.

32. Cuicuilco Archaeological Zone: Located in Tlalpan, the origins of this lesser-visited, yet amazing, Mesoamerican archaeological site remain a mystery. This circular-shaped ruin site also has a small museum with artifacts unearthed during Cuicuilco archeological digs.

Non-Touristy Things to Do in Mexico City

Things to Do In Zocalo

33. Templo Mayor: This UNESCO World Heritage site was once the location of the central temple of the Aztec empire. You can stroll the remnants of the temple and see some of its most historic archeological treasure in the onsite museum. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-5pm; Cost: $70 pesos ($3.50USD).

34. Metropolitan Cathedral: From the rocks that were once Aztec temples, the Spanish conquistadors had the giant Catedral Metropolitana de Mexico constructed. Of all Mexico City’s many churches, this cathedral is the most opulent, and contains the largest pipe organs in the all of the Americas.

RELATED BLOG 🇲🇽 Mexico City’s Historic Center: 11 Best Things to Do + Free Map

Aztec snake head sculpture at Templo Mayor
Mexico's main Cathedral in the Zocalo
Colorful domes in churches of downtown Mexico City

35. Palacio Nacional: The 660-foot long/200m Palacio Nacional (National Palace) spans one entire side of the Zocalo square, and houses Mexico’s Federal Treasury and National Archives. Inside, don’t miss the murals painted by one of Mexico’s most famous artists, Diego Rivera. It’s free to enter the Palacio Nacional, but you have to leave your ID at the entrance.

🇲🇽 Explore Mexico City’s Historical Center Highlights: Make sure not to miss any must sees Mexico City sites in Centro Historico!

36. La Casa de las Sirenas: beautiful rooftop restaurant/bar that overlooks the Zocalo. This historic building dates back to 1754, and is as gorgeous as its rooftop views.

🍷🍽 Restaurants Not to Be Found in Guides Tour: Looking to eat in some off the beaten path Mexico City restaurants? Let Jacinto, a CDMX local, show you all the best culinary treasures only locals know about.

37. Gran Mexico City Hotel & La Terraza (The Terrace) Restaurant: The gorgeous old school hotel lobby of the Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico welcomes you, but the views on the rooftop restaurant steal the show!

🏩 Book your stay at the Gran Hotel Mexico City.

Enjoy a sunset cocktail or full meal at La Terraza, while admiring the gorgeous Zocalo views. This is one of the best restaurants in Mexico City, with all the classic favorites, and first class service.

🏨 If the Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico isn’t for you, check out these other amazing Mexico City hotels in Centro Historico and the Zocalo.

Colorful paper lanterns and umbrellas in Mexico City's China Town
Barrio Chino, Mexico City’s Chinatown, located in Centro Historico.
Non-Touristy Things to Do in Mexico City

Things to Do In Centro Historico

38. Wander Around Centro Historico: Mexico’s entire Historic Downtown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The seat of the Aztec Empire from the 14th-19th centuries, Tenochtitlan, as it was known, has so many historic landmarks you could spend weeks there and not see them all.

🚶‍♂️ Explore Mexico City’s Historical Center Highlights: Let Alejandro, a Mexico City local, guide you to all the Centro Historico Mexico City must sees, so you don’t miss anything.

39. Barrio Chino (Chinatown): Can a city be considered a big city if there isn’t a Chinatown!? While Mexico City’s Chinatown isn’t big, it’s nice to walk through and snap some photos of the hanging paper lanterns and iconic red arch entranceway.

40. Palacio Bellas Artes: If you’ve seen an image of Mexico City, it was likely of the beautiful, art nouveau Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts) building. This classical European, golden-domed, building is a work of art in itself, but also head inside and check out the gorgeous art deco interior.

European style Bellas Artes building

RELATED BLOG 🇲🇽 Mexico City’s Historic Center: 11 Best Things to Do + Free Map

41. Bellas Artes Metro Sign: The Bellas Artes Metro Station entrance sign was a gift from the President of France. It is a surprising little bit of Paris, right in the heart of bustling Mexico City.

42. Alameda Central Park: Located next to Bellas Artes, this large and well-maintained urban park has beautiful sculptures and fountains to enjoy. Centro Historico can be overwhelming, so take a break from the hustle and bustle in Parque Alameda Central.

43. Hemiciclo a Benito Juarez: This beautiful monument to former Mexican president, Benito Juarez, is located at the edge of the Alameda Central Park, along the bustling Avenida Juarez.

📸 Discover the History of the Center Tour: History teacher Pau will show you all the secrets hidden-in-plain-sight in the buildings and on streets of CDMX. She’ll also highlight the fascinating connections between Mexico City’s indigenous, colonial, 19th century and modern eras.

Torre Latinoamerica skyscraper and buildings
Casa de los Azulejos (House of Tiles), Palacio de Correos (Mexico City’s gold post office), and Torre Latinoamericana (Latin American Tower).

44. Head to the top of the Torre Latinoamericana: One of the iconic buildings in Mexico City’s skyline! On a clear day, head to the 44th floor of the Latin American Tower for some amazing views. The mirador (viewing platform) is open daily, 9am-10pm; Cost: $125 pesos ($7USD).

45. Free views at Sears Department Store Cafe: The nearby Sears department store building also has a cafe where you can take the elevator up and see the city views — and unlike the Torre Latinoamericana — this is free as long as you buy something at the cafe.

46. Palacio de Correos de Mexico: Located near Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico’s Correo Mayor (Main Post Office) is easily the prettiest postal office on earth. It is still a working post office to this, but also a place to take beautiful travel photos.

47. Casa de los Azulejos: Located on the Callejon de la Condesa (Alley of the Countess), the House of Tiles is a famous building turned Sanborns department store, but the outside tile-work that made it famous remains. There’s also a beautiful restaurant inside.

🍻 Discover Centro Historico Backstreets Tour: Seeing the hidden gems is the epitome of non-touristy things to do in Mexico City. Let guide Bernardo show you around Centro Historico, and even head to a local’s bar, where the first round’s on him!

Colorful piñatas and Mexican folk art hanging from the ceiling in the Museum of Popular Art in Mexico City, one of the non-touristy things to do in Mexico City
The colorful Museum of Popular Art is one of the best museums in Mexico City.

Best Museums in Centro Historico

48. Museum of Popular Art: The Museo de Arte Popular (sometimes called the Folk Art Museum), houses an impressive — and colorful — collection of folk art and handicrafts from throughout Mexico. After some time here, you’ll learn about Mexico’s indigenous peoples through their creative artworks.

49. Franz Mayer Museum: This diversified museum has Latin America’s largest collection of decorative arts. Inside the gorgeous building, you’ll find everything from sculpture and paintings, to ceramics and textiles.

50. Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso (Old College of Saint Ildefonso): Considered the birthplace of the Mexican muralism movement, his beautiful ex-Jesuit boarding school now houses work’s by Mexico renowned muralists. Head inside to see Diego Rivera’s iconic mural, The Creation, and more.

51. National Art Museum: The Museo Nacional de Artes features an impressive collection of (mostly) Neoclassical and Renaissance art.

52. Museum of Memory and Tolerance: Through historical exhibits, the Museo Memoria y Tolerancia focuses on the consequences of discrimination and violence throughout human history. 

50-foot-long Diego Rivera mural painting of about 50 figures of people, significant throughout Mexican history, seen at the Deigo Rivera Mural Museum, one of the non-touristy things to do in Mexico City
Diego Rivera’s 50-foot-long “Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central” painting. (Photo: WikiMedia)

53. Diego Rivera Mural Museum: This small museum is home to one of his most iconic paintings, Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central (Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Central). The museum is located not far from the painting’s namesake, the Alameda Central Park. 

54. Museum of Antique Toys: The Museo del Juguete Antiguo houses the largest collection of antique toys in all of Mexico. This museum gives you an interesting look at Mexico’s history, seen through pop culture and toys. For a fun museum experience and walk down memory lane, head here.

🎨 Paint A Mural with a Street Artist: Make your own art in Mexico City! If painting with a street artist isn’t your thing, check out the Print a Tote Bag with an Artist experience.

55. Explore the City’s Secret Museums Tour: Mexico City has about 150 museums, with many in Centro Historico. While the big name ones are all Google’able, the Secret Museum Tour, led by a female museum curator, spotlights all of the off the beaten path museums in Mexico City.

Best Mercados in Centro Historico

56. Ciudadela Market: This mercado is one of the best places to shop in Mexico City for souvenirs and Mexican art pieces. The Mercado De Artesanias La Ciudadela is colorful, lively, and full of so many pretty things you’ll want to take home with you.

57. San Juan Market: Traditional Mexican mercado (market) — selling not-so-traditional foods! The lively Mercado de San Juan is famous, maybe infamous, for selling interesting edibles, like scorpions, armadillo, iguana, and crispy ants, among others.

58. Mercado Independencia: Not far from Palacio Bellas Artes, you’ll find this hip food hall style market. This chill place offers a nice respite from bustling Centro Historico, where you can sample foods from gourmet vendors, and have beer and mezcal.

🙃 Travel Tip: Mercados can be a bit intimidating, especially if you don’t speak Spanish. Consider a guided tour, like the Eat & Explore Local Markets Tour, to help you comfortably navigate the Mexico City markets.

man cutting meat for a taco
When visiting, don’t shy away from eating street tacos in Mexico City — they are some of the best tacos in CDMX.

Best Restaurants in Centro Historico

59. Eat at El Cardenal: This is a Mexico City food institution. It’s only open for breakfast and lunch, but breakfast is the perfect time to sample their amazing hot chocolate, made table-side with a traditional Mexican molinillo (wood whisk).

🍷🍽 Dive Into the Real Mexico Food/Culture Tour: Looking for a deeper understanding of old school Mexican gastronomy? Join Paul as he takes you to the non-touristy parts of Mexico City to eat some of the best food the city has to offer.

60. Eat Tacos de Canasta at Los Especiales: This lively Los Especiales taqueria is the go to place for chilangos (Mexico City locals) who want the city’s original street food taco — the taco de canasta (basket taco). Like the name says, these tacos are served from a basket.

61. Eat Tacos Everywhere Else: If you come to Mexico, and don’t end up in a food coma from tacos, did you even come to Mexico?! 🤔 In Centro Historico, head to Taqueria Los Cocuyos, Taquería Arandas and El Huequito to sample some of the area’s best tacos.

For fans of the late, great, Anthony Bourdain, he ate at Taqueria Los Cocuyos when he filmed in Mexico City for his No Reservations show. Señor Bourdain recommends the suadero (flank steak) tacos.

🌮 Still need more tacos? #NoJudgement! Below you’ll find all of the best Mexico City taco tours.

mexico city taco tours

62. Try Pulque at Pulquería Las Duelistas: Known as the “drink of the gods” by the Aztecs, pulque is made from the agave plant, much like its more-famous cousins, tequila and mezcal. Pulque, however, existed long before tequila and mezcal. Sample this ancient, non-distilled adult beverage at Pulquería Las Duelistas.

🧉 Looking for more places to drink pulque in Mexico City? Join the Pulquera Experience in Mexico City with host, Alejandro, a Mexico City local, who will take you to pulquerías to taste natural and cured pulque, mezcal and other local snacks. 

63. Get Churros for Dessert: If you still have room, get some churros y chocolate (churros with chocolate dipping sauce) at Churrería El Moro. 🧁 If churros aren’t your thing, head to the famous Pasteleria Ideal.

64. Eat at Azul Historico: For an upscale and traditional dining experience, head to Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita’s Azul Histórico, located inside a gorgeous, historic building.

After eating, check out the amazing boutique clothing and jewelry shops upstairs, as well as the award-winning Que Bo! chocolate shop. They serve some amazing prehispanic drinking chocolates you won’t find in many other places.

🍫☕️ Mexican Chocolate and Coffee Tour: Love chocolate? Trick question because Who doesn’t?! Mexico is one of the biggest cacao and coffee producers in the world, and this unique experience combines the two for a culinary supernova.

Nightlife in Centro Historico

65. See the Mariachis at Plaza Garibaldi: The place to hear all the best mariachi songs in Mexico City. Plaza Garibaldi is pretty much a 24/7 party for locals and visitors alike, to dance and listen to Mexico’s iconic music. 

66. Dance Salsa at Salon Tropicana: One of the most famous places to dance salsa and rumba in Centro Historico. Even if you have no idea how to dance, there are plenty of teachers on hand to get you going.

💃 Lucha Libre-Salsa & Club/Disco Night Tour: Combine Mexico’s famed Lucha Libre wrestling and salsa dancing, for an amazing Mexico City nightlife experience.

67. Best Nightlife in Centro Historico: Bar hop to Centro’s best bars — Hosteria la Bota (quirky dive bar), Zinco Jazz Bar (uber-cool jazz bar; reservations recommended) and Bosforo (hip mezcal bar).

🥃 Mezcal Tasting at Top Mezcaleria Tour: Gain a deeper understanding of mezcal in Mexico City. Though most Americans associate Mexico with tequila, the country itself prefers its mezcal!

Lucha Libre (Mexican Wrestling)

68. Go to a Lucha Libre Match: Mexico’s masked wrestling is always a good time! All the best matches take place Saturday nights at Arena Mexico in the Doctores neighborhood, located next to Centro Historico.

Here’s how to see a lucha libre match in Mexico City: Head to Arena Mexico early Saturday to buy your tickets the day of the event, or buy lucha libre tickets online.

🎟 Lucha Libre Tip: Nearly all lucha libre matches at Arena Mexico sell out. The easiest and best way to see lucha libre in Mexico City, is on a tour.

Lucha Libre masked Mexican wrestler

Lucha Libre Tours

While Mexico City is generally safe, even for a solo female traveler, however, the Doctores neighborhood doesn’t have a great reputation, and you might not want to head there solo.

For those who aren’t confident with Spanish, this is another great reason to consider a lucha libre group tour, which also makes it more fun anyway.

Also, lucha matches always sell out, and booking tickets from the U.S. can be a bit tricky, so make it easy on yourself by booking the Luchas & Masks Trip-Mask Tacos Beer & More or Lucha Libre/Street Taco Tour — because lucha libre + tacos = the best of all worlds!

Non-Touristy Things to Do in Mexico City

Things to Do In Chapultepec Park

69. Chapultepec Park: The Bosque de Chapultepec is one of the most-visited urban parks on the planet, right alongside NYC’s Central Park. Quite honestly, Chapultepec Park is massive — as in 1,700 acres massive. You could spend weeks there, exploring the nine museums, two lakes, a zoo, and more, so do be selective with your time in Chapultepec.

🚴‍♀️ Discover Chapultepec on Bicycle Tour: The best way to cover ground in Chapultepec Park is by bike. Let Alberto, a Mexico city cyclist and runner, show you all the highlights in this huge park.

70. Chapultepec Castle: The Castillo de Chapultepec is the only true castle in North America, as it’s the only one royalty did once live in. The former home to Emperor Maximilian I and Empress Carlota is now a museum, and one of the best sites in Mexico City.

🤑 Travel Tip: Admission to Chapultepec Castle is free on Sundays; but arrive early to beat the large crowds.

Best Museums in Chapultepec Park

71. National Museum of Anthropology: This Museo Nacional de Antropología is massive — spanning 23 exhibition halls and 3,225 years of history. They offer one-hour English tours, but it barely scratches the surface at the Anthropology Museum, though you’ll see the highlights like the Piedra del Sol (Aztec calendar/Aztec sunstone), Olmec heads, Coatlicue statue and Moctezuma’s headdress.

🗿 Mexico Unearthed at Anthropology Museum Tour: If you’re deeply fascinated by Mexico’s extensive and profound history, consider the Mexico Unearthed Tour, led by a female who’s an anthropologist and archaeologist, with 25 years of experience in Mexican history.

72. Museum of Modern Art: The Museo de Arte Moderno features contemporary art by both international and Mexican artists. The big names from their permanent collection include Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Rufino Tamayo. While visiting, take a leisurely stroll through the Sculpture Garden outside.

73. Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum: Founded by Mexican artist, Ruffino Tamayo, his namesake Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo (Tamayo Museum) houses a large collection of international contemporary art.

giant Olmec stone head sculpture at Anthropology Museum in Mexico City
One of the giant Olmec head sculptures in the National Museum of Anthropology. The mysterious Olmec civilization is the oldest known civilization on the Americas continent, in existence from about 1500BC-400BC.

74. Chapultepec Zoo: Check out the more than 200 species of animals, including giraffes, jaguars, lions, tigers, and even two panda bears. The zoo in Chapultepec Park is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9am-4:30pm; Admission is free.

75. Rent a Swan Paddle Boat: Rent a paddle boat at Chapultepec to see some of the park from the water. There are two lakes in this park; the rental boats are at lake in Section 1, near the zoo and the small Casa del Lago (Lake House Museum).

76. Niños Heroes Monument: The six niños heroes (boy heroes) are a key part of Mexican patriotic folklore. Debates abound as to the true story of the boys’ death, but all six child cadets died defending Mexico. Their Monumento a los Niños Héroes (Monument to the Boy Heroes) is one of the most beautiful pieces of art in Chapultepec Park.

Non-Touristy Things to Do in Mexico City: Polanco

Things to Do In Polanco

77. Visit Polanco: Mexico City’s Polanco neighborhood is one of the fanciest parts of town! Located just north of Parque Chapultepec, head into Polanco for a nice dinner after a long day exploring the park.

78. Stoll Parque Lincoln: The nicest park in Polanco, and great for people-watching. Some of the best cafes and bars in Polanco are located right around the park.

79. Soumaya Museum: The beautiful Museo Soumaya building is a work of art in itself! Inside, you’ll find the private art collection of Mexico’s wealthiest man, Carlos Slim, who named the museum after his late wife, Soumaya. Admission to Soumaya Museum is free.

80. Jumex Museum: Museo Jumex is a contemporary art lover’s dream! This private collection includes works by so many of modern art’s big names — Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Marcel Duchamp and more.

Mirrored Soumaya Museum building in Mexico City
One of the best museums in Mexico City, Museo Soumaya, which also has free entry.

81. Enjoy a Polanco Food Tour: Enjoy Mexico City’s gastronomic hotspots in the Polanco neighborhood on an unforgettable food and cultural tour. Stops include an authentic Oaxacan food restaurant, a real Mexican Cantina and Mexico City’s top rated tacos. 🌮 Book the 3-Hour Polanco Food Tour now!

82. Shop On the “Rodeo Drive of Mexico”: Avenida Presidente Masaryk (President Masaryk Avenue) is often called Mexico’s Rodeo Drive. Along this tree-lined street, you’ll find the most upscale shops in Mexico City, like Dolce & Gabbana, Hermès and Gucci.

83. Eat at Pujol: The most famous chef in Mexico is undeniably Enrique Olvera. His fine dining restaurant Pujol Mexico City, consistently ranks as one of the best restaurants in the world, according to the prestigious World’s Best 50 list.

You’ll have to make a reservation to eat at Pujol Mexico City, as features on shows like Chef’s Table on Netflix, has made it quite popular. The six-course chef’s tasting is about $125USD without drinks.

84. Eat at Quintonil and La Docena: If you can’t get a Pujol reservation, consider Quintonil and La Docena. These two restaurants also made the prestigious World’s Best 50 list; Quintonil not far behind Pujol! In fact, Quintonil chef Jorge Vallejo got his start at Pujol.

🍷🍽 Hands-On Mexican Food with Award-Winning Chefs Experience: Take some authentic Mexican food knowledge home with you after your Mexico City cooking class with award-winning chefs Graciela, Lorena, Krystel at Aura Cocina Mexicana cooking school.

The Street Snacks on Pujol’s tasting menu, as seen on the Netflix show, Chef’s Table. (Photo: Adam Goldberg)
Non-Touristy Things to Do in Mexico City

Things to Do In Reforma

85. Reforma Avenue: Take a leisurely stroll along Mexico City’s beautiful Paseo Avenida Reforma, a nine-mile long street lined with trees, monuments, skyscrapers, posh hotels, cafes and lots of street art.

86. Angel of Independence: Towering high atop the Reforma skyline, the golden Angel de la Independencia is unmissable. You can go up to the statue, located in the center of Avenida Reforma, for a close-up look at one of Mexico City’s iconic landmarks.

87. Reforma Avenue’s Sculptures and Benches: There are many large-scale sculptures along Reforma Ave., including the bronze wings, including Jorge Marín’s Las Alas de México, a favorite to take photos in front of. Many of this long street’s benches are also works of interactive art that you sit on. 

88. Shop/Eat/Chill at Reforma 222: An all-in-one shopping/dining/movie theater complex in the heart of Mexico City. Don’t miss the famous Cocodrilo (Crocodile) sculpture by surrealist artist, Leonora Carrington, located just in front of Reforma 222.

golden Angel of Independence statue on Reforma Avenue in Mexico City
The Angel of Independence statue, located in the center of Reforma Avenue.

89. Sunday Bike Ride: On Sundays, one side of Reforma Avenue shuts down to cars, and bikers, walkers, runners, dogs and skateboarders take over from 8am-2pm. It’s a fun, festive street party, even if you’re not biking.

🚴‍♀️ Sights on Bikes – 20+ Must-See Sights Tour: This guided Mexico City bike riding experience simplifies the bike rental process for you, and host Alberto takes you to everything you’d want to see on Reforma Avenue, and a few other areas of the city.

93. Have a Spa Day at AWAY Spa in the W Hotel: If you are in the market for said spa day, the AWAY Spa in the W Hotel is widely known as the best spa in Mexico City. 🏩 Book your stay at the W Hotel Mexico City.

🔮 Prehispanic Shaman Renewal Temazcal Experience: Looking for a spiritual spa experience? Try an authentic temazcal, Mexico’s equivalent of a Native American sweat lodge. This is a great purification ritual for the mind and body, practiced by shaman and healers all over Mexico.

94. Stroll the Garden/Courtyard of the Four Seasons Hotel: The hotel itself is of course gorgeous, but the outside courtyard is really gorgeous. There’s also some art on display, and a small aviary with beautifully-colored pheasants. 🏩 Book your stay at the Four Seasons Mexico City.

Trees and skyscrapers along Reforma Avenue in Mexico City | non-touristy things to do in mexico city
Reforma Ave. is one of the nicest, most walkable streets in Mexico City.

things to do in Zona Rosa

90. Zona Rosa: Mexico City’s Zona Rosa (Pink Zone) is the epicenter of gay life in this very LGBTQ+ friendly city. Needless to say, Zona Rosa is the place to party into the wee hours of the morning.

91. Party at the Gay Bars: Bar hop at Zona Rosa’s most famous LGBTQ+ nightlife spots, El Almacen Bar, Kinky Bar, Nicho Bears & Bar, and Boy Bar. Check out the Gay History City Center & Gay Bar Row Tour, which highlights dozens of Mexico City’s best gay bars.

🏳️‍🌈 Want more info on all things LGBTQ+ in CDMX? Take the Gay History Top Landmarks Tour with host Carlos, a top-rated Airbnb Experience guide who also holds a Hosting Diploma from Walt Disney University in Florida!

92. Eat Pozole at La Casa de Toño: A Mexico City institution, beloved by locals. La Casa de Toño is the place to sample one of the city’s most beloved dishes, pozole (soup). This is the perfect place for those who want to sample more than just tacos while in Mexico City.

LGBTQ+ rainbow flags at Pride Parade in Mexico city/Zona Rosa
Zona Rosa (Pink Zone) is the epicenter of the Mexico City LGBTQ+ scene.
Non-Touristy Things to Do in Mexico City

Things to Do In Juarez

95. Monumento a la Revolución: The beautiful arch-shaped Monument to the Revolution commemorates the Mexican Revolution. Take the clear glass elevator to the top for some amazing city views.

96. Mercado de Artesanías: Head to the Plaza del Angel Artisanal Market in Juarez, one of Mexico City’s larger markets, for all the fun, colorful, beautiful Mexican souvenirs you’ll want to take home with you.

97. Visit the Mucho Chocolate Museum: Sample “mucho” (many) types of chocolate at the Mucho Museo del Chocolate, and learn about the chocolate-making process as it journeys from large, raw cacao bean, to delicious truffle.

🚲 Bikes & Munchies – The Foodie Bike Tour: Join hosts Paola and Sven on a tour through Juarez and other CDMX neighborhoods, on this street food and biking tour.

Large domed Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City
Monumento a la Revolución is one of the best things to see in Mexico City, and you can take the clear elevator in the center up to the dome.

98. Eat Brunch at Cafe Nin: One of the best, prettiest spots in all of Mexico City for brunch! Cafe Nin is owned by famed Mexican chef, Elena Reygadas, who also owns Panaderia Rosetta, Lardo, and Rosetta, some of the best restaurants in Mexico City.

🥐 Travel Tips: Arrive early, as there’s usually a long wait to eat here, and order the famous rol de guayaba (guava roll).

99. Bazar Fusion: Hip market with handcrafted jewelry, unique clothing, fun art, and a few eateries. Head there after eating at Cafe Nin, as it’s only a few blocks away.

100. Eat Dinner at Amaya: Mexico City isn’t known for wine, however, Mexican chef Jaír Téllez’s Amaya restaurants has one of the best wine lists in the city. Also enjoy modern Mexican cuisine and Mexican wines in a hip, rustic dining room decorated with vibrant artwork.

🍽 Cook mole praising Mexican food goddess: Learn how to cook the national dish of Mexico, mole (pronounced mo-lay). Join Mexican chef Nefer, who will teach you her family’s generations-old recipe.

101. Find Mexico City’s Hidden Speakeasy, Hanky Panky: Mexico City’s most secret of all its secret bars and speakeasies! Though known to be located in Juarez, Hanky Panky’s exact location will only be revealed to you after you make your reservation, but these extra steps are worth it because this is considered the best cocktail bar in Mexico City.

Multi-colored kiosk or gazebo in Mexico City
The Kiosko Morisco (Moorish Kiosk/Gazebo) is one of the most beautiful, and non-touristy things to see in Mexico City.
Non-Touristy Things to Do in Mexico City

Things to Do In santa maria la ribera

102. Kiosko Morisco: The northern Mexico City neighborhood of Santa Maria la Ribera is up-and-coming, for it’s beautiful and tranquility. The most beautiful landmark in all of Santa Maria is the Kiosko Morisco (Moorish Gazebo) in the Alameda Park.

103. Eat at Kolobok Russian Restaurant: Just across the street from the Kiosko Morisco is one of Mexico City’s only Russian restaurants. While some things in these two cuisines are similar — ie. Russian piroshkis and Mexican empanadas — this restaurant puts its Russian spin on other familiar Mexican food, and has been a hit with CDMX locals since 2003.

🚶‍♀️Mexico City: Hidden Neighborhoods Walking Tour: Explore Santa Maria la Ribera and three other off the beaten path Mexico City neighborhoods on this 3.5 hours walking tour.

105. Biblioteca Vasconcelos: Mexico City’s largest library, and certainly one of the world’s nicest mega-libraries. Look up when you’re inside to see the giant whale skeleton covered in graphite rings, an installation piece by Mexican contemporary artist, Gabriel Orozco.

104. Visit the Geological Museum: The Museo del Instituto de Geología de la UNAM (Geological Museum of UNAM University), is impressive. Both a gorgeous building, with even more gorgeous interior esthetics, you’ll also see tons of impressive stone, meteorite, rock and mineral specimens from all over the world. 

Gabriel Orozco’s whale sculpture inside the giant Mexico City Biblioteca Vasconcelos library. (Photo: Pierre Richer)
Non-Touristy Things to Do in Mexico City

Things to Do In Roma Norte

106. Visit Roma Norte: Arguably the coolest neighborhood in Mexico City, you may recognize the name Roma from the 2019 Oscar-winning film of the same name; as this neighborhood is the film’s namesake.

Vintage buildings in design esthetics ranging from colonial to art deco line Roma’s streets, each one somehow prettier than the next. You’ll find some of the most beautiful buildings, best cafes and bars just walking leisurely around Roma Norte.

107. Alvaro Obregon Avenue: Stroll Roma Norte’s beautiful and elegant, yet peaceful and hip, Avenida Alvaro Obregon. Some of the neighborhood’s best cafes, restaurants and bars line this street, including the amazing bookstore/cafe Cafebreria El Pendulo.

Best Museums & Street Art in Roma Norte

108. Take a Street Art Tour in Roma: One of the best neighborhoods for street art, consider a guided tour to get a better understanding of the political, social and cultural backstories of Roma’s impressive street art.

The Roma & Condesa Discovery Tour and Private Roma and Condesa Walking Tour covers both this neighborhood, and its sister neighborhood just next door, La Condesa.

109. Visit Gallery OMR: The Galería OMR houses Roma Norte’s largest contemporary art gallery. 

110. MODO (Museo del Objeto del Objeto): The Museum of the Object of the Object is a small, hip museum in Roma with a rotating line up of strategically-curated exhibitions.

111. Casa Lamm and Gallery: One of the most beautiful of Roma Norte’s grand buildings! Casa Lamm (Lamm House) opened as a cultural center in 1994, and now hosts numerous exhibits. Don’t skip the beautiful outdoor gardens when you visit.

Best Outdoor Spaces & Parks in Roma Norte

112. Plaza Luis Cabrera: Small, peaceful park with large-scale art displays and pretty fountains. Head to the Cabrera 7 restaurant across the street from Plaza Luis Cabrera for one of the most Instagram worthy Mexico City restaurants.

113. Plaza Rio de Janeiro: Nice plaza to people-watch with a giant replica of Michelangelo’s statue of David. Check out all the beautiful buildings surrounding this plaza, including the Casa de las Brujas (Witch’s House).

114. Cibeles Fountain (Cibeles Circle): Located in the center of a roundabout, Fuente de Cibeles is a replica of the same fountain in Madrid. It is one of the best landmarks in Spain, located in Madrid, which features a with a woman in a chariot being pulled by lions 🦁

There are some great cafes and restaurants located on Cibeles, like Contramar, a foodie-favorite seafood restaurant led by Mexican Chef Gabriela Cámara. Digital nomads in Mexico City will love and Coffice, a hip cafe and one of the best coworking spaces in Mexico City.

tacos and a beer at restaurant in Mexico City

RELATED ARTICLE 🌮 50 of the Best Tacos in Mexico City + Free Map

Best Restaurants in Roma Norte

115. Eat at Taqueria Orinoco: One of the most famous and most-visited taco shops in Roma Norte. Visitors and locals alike converge on this delicious taqueria (taco shop) for Mexico City’s most famous taco, the taco al pastor, as well as their res (beef) and chicharron (fried pork skin) tacos.

116. Eat More Tacos: In the most famous taco city on Earth, this is the time to just keep eating tacos! Head to some of Roma’s best: El Auténtico Pato Manila (Peking duck tacos), Taquería Álvaro Obregon (tacos al pastor), and El Hidalguense (barbacoa).

🌮 Taste Colonia Roma with Local Foodies Tour: Still need more tacos? Understandable! Join hots Rodrigo and sample six Roma Norte restaurants and taquerias, getting to know Mexican gastronomy.

117. Eat Vegan Tacos: While Mexico is undeniably a meat-heavy country, the Mexico City vegan scene is well known as the country’s best. Some of Roma’s standouts are Por Siempre Taquería Vegana and La Pitahaya Vegana.

🌱 The Vegan Mexican Cuisine Tour will give you an even better taste of Mexico City vegan food, which will surprise you at how delicious it is.

118. Four-Course Vegan Mexican Hands-On Cooking Class: Want to take some of that Mexico City vegan goodness back home with you?

Since knowledge transports easier than actual food, the vegan Mexico City cooking class with chef Graciela is the perfect way.

tacos with veggies and bright pink tortillas
The famous pink tacos in Mexico City at La Pitahaya Vegan Cafe. (Photo: La Pitahaya Vegana)

119. Eat at Panaderia Rosetta: Chef Elena Reygadas’ small bakery is a CDMX institution! Her long, narrow, Panaderia Rosetta is the quintessential big city bakery/cafe in that it’s both adorable, and also packed! If there’s no tables, grab her famous rol de guayaba (guava roll) and a cappuccino, and walk to nearby Plaza Rio de Janeiro to enjoy them.

120. Find the Secret Donut Society: Roma’s hidden donut shop! This fun experience starts by finding the place, as it’s the Secret Donut Society, after all. The Secret Donut Society is located at Tabasco 262, Roma Norte; look for a neon sign outside that says “Please do not smile at strangers.”

Roma Norte has some of the best places to eat in Mexico City. When visiting, check out these standout cafes, restaurants and taquerías:

121. Best Cafes in Roma Norte: Cardinal Casa de Cafe, Dosis, Vocca Reposteria

☕️ Love coffee (and chocolate)? Check out the ☕️ Mexican Chocolate and Coffee Tasting Tour.

122. Best Places to Eat Brunch in Roma Norte: Lalo!, La Bohême, Cafe Tres Abejas

123. Best Places to Eat Lunch in Roma Norte: Contramar, Fonda Fina, La Docena (Make reservations for all places.)

124. Best Places to Eat Dinner in Roma Norte: Rosetta, Maximo Bistrot, Nudo Negro (Make reservations for all places.)

Best Mercados in Roma Norte

126. Mercado Roma: Hip food hall in Roma Norte with food stalls from some of Mexico City’s best eateries, and artisanal products. Head to the top floor for a drink in their beer garden, Biergarten Roma, one of the best beer bars in Mexico City.

B Side CDMX – Walk, Eat & Drink – Art Culture Markets Tour: Head off the beaten path to the B-Sides of CDMX with Jorge, a CDXM local who promises a unique balance of history, food and culture.

125. Mercado Medellín: A traditional Mexican mercado (market), perfect for snapping some colorful photos and also eating. The Moloch Cochinita Pibil food stand is known for having some of the best cochinita pibil (Yucatecan suckling pig) in Mexico City.

🙃 Travel Tip: Traditional Mexico City mercados can be intimidating, especially if you don’t speak Spanish! Consider a guided tour, like the Eat & Explore Local Markets Tour, to help you comfortably navigate this bustling mercado

Best Bars & Nightlife in Roma Norte

127. Nightlife Legend Patrick Miller: Patrick Miller is more of an experience than a nightclub, but ultimately, it is a nightclub. Located in a giant warehouse, Patrick Miller is Roma Norte’s best club, and its most interesting late night dance party spot.

🥃 Mezcal Tasting Experience: Join hosts Katri and Hardey for a mezcal tasting experience in El Salón, a space dedicated to mezcal in the charismatic Colonia Juarez, just next door to Roma Norte.

128. Get Swanky Casa Franca: Catch some live jazz at Casa Franca, one of Roma Norte’s coolest bars! Located inside of an old Victorian home, each room is as unique as the amazing musicians that play there. Enjoy their amazing cocktails and tapas also.

🥁 Travel Tip: Make reservations if you want to sit at a table for the music.

129. Best Bars and Speakeasies in Roma Norte: Besides Casa Franca, Maison Artemisia, Limantour, La Nacional and Balmori Roofbar are some of the other great speakeasies and cocktail bars in Roma Norte.

130. Pulqueria los Insurgentes: Sample pulque, called as the “drink of the gods” by the Aztecs, at this lively Roma Norte bar. Head to La Nuclear for pulque in an old school cantina/dive bar, which is a little further off the tourist radar.

🧉 Pulquera Experience in Mexico City: Combing drinking pulque with learning about pulque in the best traditional pulquerías (pulque bars) all over Mexico City.

130. Dance Salsa: Even if you don’t dance, there’s great people-watching at Mama Rumba, the best place to dance salsa in Roma Norte. Need a salsa partner? Book the CDMX Salsa Lovers Dance Experience, hosted by Salsa Lovers Worldwide, an international networking group for people who love dancing.

modern designed house by Luis Barragan
Luis Barragan Studio House, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mexico City’s Condesa neighborhood.
Non-Touristy Things to Do in Mexico City

Things to Do In Condesa

132. Visit La Condesa: Located right next door to Roma, La Condesa (The Countess) is the perfect place to stroll and relax. One of the little known facts about Mexico City is that it’s full of parks and green spaces — and some of the best parks in Mexico City are right in Condesa. This tranquil neighborhood is also known for its shops, cafes, restaurants and bars.

The Roma & Condesa Discovery Tour covers both this neighborhood, and its sister neighborhood just next door.

133. Luis Barragan Studio House: Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, the Casa Estudio Luis Barragán represents “one of the most important contemporary architectural works,” according to the UNESCO site. Now privately owned, the family who now lives there graciously opens their home to visitors by reservation only.

134. Casa Gilardi: Want more Luis Barragan eye candy? Head to the nearby Casa Gilardi (Gilardi House), the famed Mexican architect’s last project. The family who owns it offers tours by reservation only.

135. Go Shopping in Condesa: Known for its numerous boutiques, Viejo Amor, Carmen Rion, Rapsodia, ISMOS, DIME and Víntich have some of the most unique and best shopping in Condesa Mexico City.

Best Outdoor Spaces & Parks in Condesa

136. Parque Mexico: A beautiful urban park with Spanish/European elements like large sculptures in ponds and pergola-covered walkways. From here, you can take a vintage red tranvía (trolly car) to see other CDMX landmarks including Cibeles Fountain, Plaza Rio de Janeiro, and the UNAM college campus. For more info on the Roma-Condesa Tramway, head here.

137. Parque España: Heavily-covered by trees and plants, this shaded park is where you want to head to escape some of the midday sun. There’s also some nice street art-style murals, sculptures and fountains in this park.

138. Stroll Avenida Amsterdam: Get to know the La Condesa neighborhood by strolling its tree-lined Hipodromo (racetrack), a circular pathway that goes around beautiful Avenida Amsterdam (Amsterdam Avenue). Once a horse racing track, hence the circle shape and name, it’s now a chill way to see Condesa on foot.

Best Bars & Nightlife in Condesa

139. Rooftop Drinks at Hotel Condesa DF: The downstairs shops always feature a unique selection of amazing clothing and jewelry, but the real magic is on the roof. Hotel Condesa DF is known as one of the best rooftop bars in Mexico City, and this trendy spot doesn’t disappoint for its creative cocktails, hip decor and amazing views.

🏩 Book your stay at Hotel Condesa DF Mexico City.

rooftop bar in mexico city, hotel condesa df
Hotel Condesa DF has the best rooftop bar in Condesa, and is also one of the best Condesa hotels. (Photo: Hotel Condesa DF)

140. Dance Salsa at Para Negra: Pata Negra is known as the best place to dance salsa in Condesa. Need a salsa partner? Book the CDMX Salsa Lovers Dance Experience, hosted by Salsa Lovers Worldwide, an international networking group for people who love dancing.

141. Drink Mezcal: You’ll find two of the trendiest mezcal bars in Condesa. Conveniently enough, La Clandestina and La Lavandería, are also located just next door to one another. Hoping to learn about mezcal, along with drinking it? Book your spot on the Mezcal Tasting Tour.

142. Bar Hop at Condesa’s Best Bars: Some of the best bars in Condesa include Xampaneria (cocktails), Wallace Whisky Bar (whisky, liquors), Baltra (cocktails), and of course, La Clandestina and La Lavandería (mezcal).

Best Restaurants in Condesa

143. Eat at Molino El Pujol: If you can’t get a reservation at Pujol in Polanco, head to Enrique Olvera’s casual neighborhood spot, Molino El Pujol. Though owned by one of the biggest names in Mexican cuisine, Molino el Pujol is essentially a traditional tortilleria (tortilla shop), albeit an elevated version.

144. Eat the Original Tacos al Pastor: To say this statement is a hotly debated topic is an understatement, but here goes: El Tizoncito says they invented the taco al pastor! Whether or not this is true, they do still serve them to their masses of fans to this day.

🌮 Cook Tacos Pastor, Barbacoa & Campechano: Want to cook some tacos al pastor of your own? Join chef Graciela for this Mexico City cooking class dedicated to the most beloved type of tacos in CDMX.

145. Try Tacos Arabes: One of the best places to try tacos arabes is Taqueria El Greco in Condesa. This small place is always crowded, because they have the best tacos arabes in Mexico City.

What are tacos árabes? Mexico had a huge influx of Middle Eastern immigrants from the about 1880-1935. These (mostly Lebanese) folks brought with them their customs, design esthetics, and of course, food! Tacos arabes (Middle Eastern tacos) have the same pork meat as tacos al pastor, but different seasonings, which is why the meat isn’t red. They are traditionally served on pan árabe, a tortilla/pita bread hybrid.

146. Eat More Tacos in Condesa: If you visit Mexico City and don’t eat waytoomany tacos, did you even visit CDMX? Head to El Pescadito, El Farolito and Tacos Hola el Güero to get your fill.

🌮 Need even more tacos? Who doesn’t?! Join the BIKE to taste the world’s BEST TACOS Tour.

Condesa has some of the best places to eat in Mexico City. When visiting, check out these standout cafes, brunch spots, restaurants and taquerías:

147. Best Cafes in Condesa: Blend Station, Efimero Café, La Esquina de Té

☕️ Love coffee (and chocolate)? Check out the ☕️ Mexican Chocolate and Coffee Tasting Tour.

148. Best Places to Eat Brunch in Condesa: Maque, Qué Sería de Mí, Frëims

149. Best Places to Eat Lunch in Condesa:
Lardo, Chilakillers, Fonda Mayora

150. Best Places to Eat Dinner in Condesa:
MeroToro, Azul Condesa, Temporal, Cedron (Make reservations for all places.)

large pink gothic style church in san miguel de allende mexico in front of a well manicured park/garden with trees cut into topiary style circles and colorful buildings in colonial architecture styles surrounding the town square
large tan church with colorful dome in the ornate baroque style site high atop the town of taxco, one of the most unique places to visit in mexico

RELATED ARTICLE 🚗💨 17 Best Day Trips From Mexico City

Mexico City Travel FAQs

Is Mexico City safe for travel?

Short answer: Yesfor the most part.

Longer answer: Statistically speaking, tourists are quite safe in Mexico City, and all of Mexico. However, as this is a complex topic, head to this article for a more comprehensive explanation, Safe Travel in Mexico: 20 Tips for Solo Female Travelers, which will actually assist all travelers.

The one disclaimer about Mexico City safety is that you must make your own safety your own highest priority. There are some general and Mexico travel safety tips below in the accordion menus that will explain how.

Is there Uber in Mexico City?

Yes, there is Uber in Mexico City, and using Uber over public transportation is one of the best tips for both Mexico travel safety, and for conserving your precious travel time.

While this does cost more, the financial cost ends up being near-insignificant when compared to the amount of time you’ll save. 

For reference, the 7.5-mile (12km) bus trip from Roma Norte to Coyoacan would cost about $1.50 — though it could take up to two hours on a crowded bus. The same trip in a private Uber would cost you about $5 and take just 30 minutes.

Should I get travel insurance for Mexico?

Want an added level of security and peace of mind during these strange travel times? Just as you insure your car, home and body, you can also insure your luggage, belongings and health while traveling.

I’ll be honest, when I first started traveling solo, I wasn’t insured. However, after years of solo traveling, I wised up… Now, I even have a whole page of this website dedicated to travel insurance, because it’s just that important!

If Mexico and Mexico City travel safety are on your mind, get your free quote below now!

10 General travel safety tips
  1. Always listen to your intuition — because your intuition is always right.
  2. If you get a sketchy or uneasy feeling about a person or place, get away from that person or place asap. Don’t worry about making a kind, nice or politically correct exit from a creepy person or bad situation — Just get away fast.
  3. Don’t walk home alone at night.
  4. Don’t keep your phone, keys, wallet, passport, or anything valuable in your back pocket.
  5. Learn some basic Spanish. If you can’t learn it, save this infographic as an image on your phone so you have something to use even if you’re off-WiFi.
  6. Take all of your belongings into the bathroom with you, rather than asking a cafe/bar neighbor to watch your things. This is annoying, for sure, but it works to not get your stuff stolen.
  7. Speaking of bar neighbors… don’t take drinks from strangers and/or leave your drink unattended.
  8. Don’t wear flashy clothes, expensive jewelry, designer sunglasses, etc.
  9. Keep some cash in your pocket so you don’t have to pull your whole wallet out every time you need to pay.
  10. This should be a no brainer since you’re traveling during a pandemic, but get Travel Insurance!
Register for the STEP Program

Make sure you enroll in the free STEP Program before your trip. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, allows U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico to document your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

After you’ve registered, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City can contact you in the event of an emergency, including natural disasters, civil unrest, etc. STEP can also put you in touch with your family and friends back home in the event of an emergency while abroad.

is it safe to travel to mexico city alone?

On a personal note, I lived there as a solo woman for about a year. As I encountered no issues, I feel comfortable saying Mexico City is safe. As the topic of safety is highly subjective, check out the podcast below, where Leigh talks about her two safe experiences traveling to Mexico City alone as a woman.

What are the Best Neighborhoods in Mexico City?

Roma, Condesa, Coyoacan, Polanco and Centro Historico are the places first time visitors and solo female travelers will want to stick to during your trip. As far as where to stay, Roma Norte, Condesa and Polanco are safe, nice, walkable, centrally located, and have plenty of things to do, see and eat.

For a better understanding of each of these Mexico City neighborhoods, head to the linked article. For those ready to book a Mexico City hotel, use the links below, which are all great options, hand-curated by me, an ex-Mexico City local.

Neighborhoods to avoid in Mexico City

I lived in Mexico City as a solo woman for about a year, and felt quite safe…. though there are neighborhoods you should avoid, like Tepito and Doctores.

Tepito is located in Centro Historico (Downtown), and should simply be avoided.

Doctores is safer than Tepito, but still, does not have a great reputation. It is located just north or Roma Norte, one of the city’s safest and best neighborhoods, and it also happens to be where all the big Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling) matches take place.

I did go to a Lucha Libre match in Doctores once, and felt safe. However, this might be a good place to consider having a local with you — especially if you aren’t confident in your Spanish.

Don’t know a local and want to experience the famous (& fun!) lucha libre? No worries! Book the Lucha Libre/Street Taco Tour, because Lucha Libre + Street Tacos + Safety = the best of all worlds!

Las Grutas Tolantongo natural hot spring pools near Mexico City

🚗💨 Looking for a great Mexico City day trip? Head to Las Grutas Tolantongo, the famous caves and hot springs in Mexico, and these other best day trips from Mexico City.

Do Americans need a visa for Mexico?

No, you don’t need a visa to travel to Mexico from the U.S. This is just one of the reasons Mexico is one of the best international travel destinations from the U.S.; head to the article to see four more reasons.

When you arrive in Mexico City and go through Immigration, you’ll receive a 180-day (6 month) FMM tourist card. This is a small piece of paper you need to hold on to and then give back when you leave the country.

There is no charge for the FMM, but if you lose yours, it costs $600 pesos ($30USD) to replace it, and you’ll need to fill out some paperwork at the airport. the bottom line: Don’t lose your FMM!

How much do I tip Mexico City?

As with the U.S., if someone provides you a service, you should tip them. Keep in mind that there’s an $18-20 pesos to $1 exchange rate, so giving someone a blue-colored $20 peso bill is the equivalent of about $1USD.

At restaurants, bars and cafes, a 15%-20% tip is the norm. When paying by credit card, you’ll be asked by the server to put them tip on before they run the card. To keep it simple on yourself, just tell everyone “mas veinte por ciento, por favor,” which means to please add 20% more.

Do I need to speak Spanish to Visit Mexico?

It is commonly known among travelers that you get more respect and leeway from locals when you at least try to speak their language. Locals especially appreciate when you make an effort to know the everyday basics and casual niceties.

In short: Knowing a little Spanish goes a long way!

In Mexico City specifically, you’ll find the most English-speakers and English food menus in Roma, Condesa and Polanco. Outside of these areas, fewer and fewer people speak English.

Taking the time to learn a few words and phrases in Spanish is both a sign of respect to others, and will help you travel easier. By a few words, we’re talking about 30 or so words/phrases, which you can learn over a few weeks on the free Duolingo App or Duolingo Podcast.

Your FREE Basic Spanish List

If learning Spanish just isn’t in the cards for you, #NoJudgement. In fact, here’s a pretty infographic you can pin on Pinterest for later, and also save to your phone as an image, so you can access it even if you’re off-WiFi.

List of useful spanish words and phrases

What’s Mexico City Weather like?

As you can see, temperatures do dip into the 40°Fs during the winter, and climb to the 80°Fs during the spring/summer months. Depending on what you’re visiting, you’ll want to plan your Mexico packing accordingly.

🧥 Need Mexico City outfit inspo? Click the link for a visual on what to wear in Mexico City, both in spring/summer and fall/winter.

What’s the best time to visit Mexico City?

In case you were wondering Where is Mexico City? It’s located in Central Mexico, which has what’s known as “eternal spring” climate. This means the temperature is mild and temperate most of the year, as you can see from the weather chart above.

The dry season is from November to March, so those tend to be the preferred travel months for most.

Beyond the weather, late-October/early-November is a fun time with all the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. The beautiful purple jacaranda trees are in bloom from (approx.) March-April, and the annual Mexico monarch butterfly migration is from November-March.

🧳 RELATED ARTICLE: ULTIMATE Packing List for Mexico + FREE Checklist Download

What do I pack for Mexico City?

Mexico City temperatures dip into the 40°Fs during the winter nights, and climb to the 80°Fs during the spring/summer days. Depending on what you’re visiting, you’ll want to pack accordingly.

🧥 Need Mexico City outfit inspo? Click the link for a visual on what to wear in Mexico City, both in spring/summer and fall/winter.

Keep in mind that on the whole, Mexicans are modest dressers, and even in warmer months, pants/jeans and long sleeve shirts are the norm. Mexico’s sidewalks aren’t the easiest to walk on, and most opt for flats over heels.

FREE Printable Mexico City Packing Checklist

Wondering exactly what to pack for Mexico City? Download your FREE printable packing list for Mexico below! This multi-page Mexico packing checklist covers everything you’ll want to bring, and more importantly, what not to bring to Mexico City and the beaches of Mexico.

Final Thoughts: Non-Touristy Things to Do in Mexico City

I first visited Mexico City on April 4, 2018. I fell in love at first sight — so much so, that I never left Mexico. Well, I left to Guatemala, but then returned back to Mexico City! Admittedly, I’m biased af about this city… but my bias aside, it is an amazing city.

I think a big part of why it’s so great is that Mexico, in general, has such a “dangerous” reputation that it’s not overrun with tourists and selfie sticks. For this reason, finding all the non-touristy things to do in Mexico City isn’t too hard. I hope you got a bunch of great ideas from this list, and enjoy your CDMX trip.

Is Mexico City worth visiting?

Ummm….. FU+C YES! It is one of the most fun, dynamic, historic cities on Earth — also: there’s tacos everywhere. In all seriousness, if you are wanting to travel to a big city, CDMX is a great choice, especially if you’re coming from the U.S., where there are cheap, direct, daily flights from most major cities.

The one thing to know about Mexico City, is that if you want to see certain specific things, do arrive with a game plan. For a good guide on the can’t miss Mexico City things to do, check out 4 Day Mexico City Itinerary: The Ultimate CDMX Travel Guide; if you’re not staying four days, just eliminate accordingly.

Which non-touristy things to do in Mexico City caught your eye?

I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and let me know which of these cool things to do in Mexico City you’ll definitely be adding to your Mexico City itinerary.

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  1. Wow really Interesting. Great details . Love the pictures. I would love travel to Mexico one day. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Demi: Thanks for checking out the blog. I hope you make it to Mexico City one day soon.

  2. So many vibrant and colorful places. Love the photos and the food looks great! We love Mexico but have not yet visited Mexico City.

    1. Michele: Thanks for writing! I hope you make it one day… I think it’s one of the best parts of Mx 🇲🇽

  3. I’ve been to Mexico twice solo now. Cancun and Cabo San Lucas. I love the sound of visiting Mexico City as it seems more authentic and not geared as much to tourists. And there is a tonne to do!

    1. Hi Kelly: I hope you get to check out Mexico City. It’s a much different (and yes, much more cultural) experience than Cancun & Cabo.

  4. I don’t know how people even spend just a week in Mexico City. There is so much to do and see there. I remember a friend of mine took a bus into the city and told me that it took.a solid three hours to drive into the center. That blew my mind. Your guide is a great resource for those planning a trip there.

    1. Nina: Your friend is right! That’s why I always advise to plan neighborhood-by-neighborhood, you have to plan around the traffic.

  5. flourishwithmo says:

    Wow this is such an extensive post. I had planned to go to a resort in Mexico because I wasn’t sure where to go/what to do but I’ll just bookmark this page and use it as a reference. Thank you!

    1. Mexico definitely has gorgeous resorts 🇲🇽 …but imo, nothing beats Mexico City.

  6. Wow, there are SO many incredible things to do in Mexico City! I’d definitely love to have dinner at La Gruta.

  7. It’s funny I was in Mexico City years ago on a day trip when I was living in Cuernavaca and my impression of it was so different then all that I now see on social medias and blog! Looks like a lovely city that I’d like to go back to 🙂

  8. Digitaldaybook says:

    Such a beautiful and enriching place! Your photos are sooo gorgeous I felt like I travelled there

    1. Hi: Thanks so much for checking out the blog & taking the time to comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, but Mexico is even more beautiful in person!

  9. This is such a great guide! I’ve never been but this hits all the points to be as prepared as you can.

    1. Hey Rebecca: Thanks for the compliment about this blog! I hope you get to check out Mexico City in person one day.

  10. Wow! This is amazing Shelley! Now I know everything there is to do when I eventually make my way to Mexico. 🙂

  11. Oh my this is one helluva detailed post and you have really put down every experience possible, thanks to your own first hand one. The place looks amazing through your photography, making me want to travel here soon Shelley 🙂

    1. Hi! I lived in Mexico City for a while, which is how I was able to think of so many things to do! I do hope you get to travel to this amazing city soon. It’s hard not to love CDMX.

  12. Wow this is an incredibly thorough list! So much detail and helpful tips – we would love to visit Mexico City and visit these places. The safety tips are really helpful too and the restaurants look great 🙂

  13. Such a great guide and the photos are lovely! I can’t wait to travel again after lockdown ends in Wales so I love getting some inspiration in the meantime. I’ve pinned for some future travel planning.

  14. Wow…what an amazing guide! I won a free weeklong stay in Mexico and can’t wait to use it once we’re able to travel again. Pinning this for future reference, although I think I’m going to skip the island of the dolls. lol That one’s a little too weird for me. 🙂

    1. Erin: I hope you enjoy Mexico City! You’ll enjoy Xochimilco, even if you skip the Island of the Dolls (which I think most people do 🤣!!)

  15. Wow this is amazing! I spent two weeks in Mexico City before I started my blog, and I didn’t visit anywhere near as many places as I should have! On my next trip the Frida Kahlo Museum and las trajineras are at the top of my list! Saving your post for my next trip!

    1. Hi Kate: I lived there for about a year…. and there’s still sooo many places I haven’t been! We’ll both have to go back & continue exploring.

  16. Very cool list! I have to be honest, I generally find lists of over 20 things to do in a place daunting. My brain can’t process that. That is A LOT of information. But, I do like the way you broke things down by region and by topics. Pinned for sure. When I eventually get to Mexico City, which I will, I have NO DOUBT that your list will be VERY USEFUL. Thank you for categorizing all that information.

    1. Ildiko: Thanks for that feedback… yes, 150 is a big number, so I’m glad the categorization was helpful.

  17. Nina Out and About says:

    I love that you included safety tips for solo females. It’s so important to know how to see the things safely and to have the best time! I love the idea of seeing a lucha libre.

  18. Jaclyn Kaiser says:

    This is a great list! Definitely saving for when I finally do make it to Mexico City!

  19. Thanks so much for sharing. It’s so helpful to have everything in one guide as I always struggle going between so many sites to try and figure these things out.

  20. wow this is an incredible list! I had planned a trip to Mexico City before COVID hit and obviously had to cancel my travels but saving this list when I’m able to go next time!

  21. Ah this makes me want to go back to CDMX so bad! I wish I had more time there and didn’t have to leave due to Covid. I can’t wait to go back and explore more of these places. The secret museum tour sounds really cool as I love checking out lesser known museums.

  22. OK Mexico City looks amazing. And 150 things is a lot of things. This would certainly keep me busy for a while. Although I have to say the Island of the dolls might be the creepiest place I’ve ever seen

  23. Great post! I am planning to visit Mexico in October 2021. I stumbled on this post just at the right time. 🙂

  24. Oh, how I would love to try the Teotihuacan drinking chocolate! As well as the drink of the Gods! Great post, love this idea! Non-touristic travel and thinking outside the box!

  25. I really enjoyed reading this post because I love finding non-touristy things to do when I travel. Thanks for this big list!

  26. John Parker says:

    Take great caution in the Doctores neighborhood, just south of the historic center. I was robbed at gunpoint at 7 in the evening there just outside my hotel which was just steps from the Salto del Agua Metro station bordering Doctores. This was in 1995 and I doubt it’s any better.

    1. Hi John: I’m so sorry that happened to you. I always encourage visitors to avoid Doctores (as I have also done in this article). When anyone asks me about going to see lucha libre in Doctores, I always say the best bet is to visit with a group tour.

  27. Abundio Tejeda Ortiz says:

    Please visit Orizaba, Veracruz, México, a great Pueblo Magico. Thanks a lot.