The Ultimate 5 Days in Mexico City Itinerary
Welcome to my 5 Day Mexico City Itinerary! Discover the vibrant heart of Mexico, where ancient history blends harmoniously with a modern artistic flair. Welcome to Mexico City, a sprawling metropolis that captivates visitors with its rich culture, tantalizing cuisine, and awe-inspiring architecture. From Aztec ruins to bustling markets and a thriving art scene, this city offers a diverse array of experiences that will leave you spellbound.
In this comprehensive 5 day Mexico City itinerary, we will take you on a captivating journey through the city’s most iconic landmarks and hidden gems. Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of Aztec civilization as you explore the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan, with its imposing pyramids that once stood as symbols of power and worship. Marvel at the breathtaking museums of Frida Kahlo and The Anthropology Museum, a testament to Mexico’s rich artistic heritage.
But Mexico City is not just about its past. It’s a city that pulsates with creativity and innovation. Explore the cutting-edge art galleries and contemporary museums that showcase the works of local and international artists. Wander through the vibrant neighborhoods of Roma Norte and Condesa, where you’ll find a dynamic mix of trendy cafes, stylish boutiques, and lively nightlife.
When to Visit Mexico City
Did you know Mexico City is situated 7,200 feet above sea level? Because of this, the city itself is cooler in the summertime and it’s a great time to visit! Do note, that the rainy season in CDMX is from the end of May to early October. This means there is a good chance you’ll experience rainfall during your visit. However, don’t let that deter you. Most rain showers last a few minutes and then subside. Finally, we visited the first week of June and had great weather!
Things to Know Before Visiting Mexico City
- The city itself is huge and houses over 9 million people. Think of it as an international version of New York City
- With the above being said, traffic is pretty bad in CDMX. Make sure to leave ample time for transportation
- Ubers are extremely cheap in CDMX and are the best way to get around the city (I’m talking $7 for a 25-minute Uber ride)
- Bring cash! Most vendors only take pesos so be prepared before arriving
- I felt extremely safe when visiting but always be aware and vigilant when visiting high tourist spots
- Don’t drink tap water, only drink bottled water (even when brushing your teeth)
- Most museums are closed on Monday so prepare in advance when visiting
Best Things to Do in Mexico City
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Explore the Zócalo neighborhood
The Zócalo neighborhood is the central district and is the vibrant cultural hub of CDMX. Also known as Centro Historico this bustling district is an enchanting blend of ancient history, colonial architecture, and modern vibrance. As one of the largest and most impressive city squares in the world, the Zócalo offers a captivating glimpse into Mexico’s rich cultural heritage.
There are tons of things to do when exploring this area. The main feat is the Metropolitan Cathedral which took 250 years to build. The Palacio de Bellas Artes is an art deco masterpiece that houses multiple performances throughout the year. And Templo Mayor is an archaeological site that reveals the ancient Aztec civilization and showcases their sacred pyramids and artifacts.
The Zócalo neighborhood is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Mexico City. Most destinations are located within walking distance from each other so it’s easy to explore this area in a half day. Below I’ll be breaking down everything you need to know before visiting the most popular places in the lively Zócalo neighborhood.
Templo Mayor is an archaeological site that offers a glimpse into the ancient Aztec civilization. It was once the religious and political center of Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztec Empire. The name “Templo Mayor” translates to “Great Temple” in English, and it was indeed a magnificent structure.
The temple complex consisted of two main pyramids, dedicated to the Aztec gods Huitzilopochtli, the god of war and the sun, and Tlaloc, the god of rain and agriculture. These symbols held immense importance in Aztec culture and played significant roles in their religious ceremonies and beliefs.
- museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday 9 am to 5 pm
- entrance costs 90 pesos per person
Palacio de Bellas Artes
The Palace of Fine Arts is an art deco masterpiece and is a cultural icon of Mexico City. This magnificent building showcases a harmonious blend of Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. Creating a visually stunning and captivating structure. Its exterior is adorned with intricate sculptures and elegant details. While the iconic domed roof, covered in shimmering mosaic tiles, adds to its allure.
It serves as a multi-purpose cultural center, housing several exhibition halls, theaters, and the National Theater. Which is renowned for its exceptional acoustics. It is the venue of choice for a wide range of artistic performances, including ballet, opera, theater, and classical music concerts. Finally, for the best view of this stunning building visit the Sears department store across the street. Head up to the 8th floor, and grab a drink at the Don Porfirio Cafe.
The Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL), or National Museum of Art, is a cultural gem nestled in the historic center of Mexico City. It’s housed in a majestic neoclassical building that was once the Palace of Communications and Public Works. The interior of the building itself is a work of art and the symmetry is stunning. One of the highlights of MUNAL is its impressive collection of Mexican muralism. A movement that emerged in the early 20th century and played a significant role in shaping Mexican art and national identity.
Visitors can admire iconic murals by artists like Diego Rivera, whose monumental works depict social and political themes, portraying Mexico’s history and struggles. Finally, they host temporary exhibitions and currently have a Monet exhibit that is not to be missed.
- entrance is 90 pesos each and an additional 5 pesos if you want to take photos
- you cannot bring a backpack inside but they have a free bag check at the entrance
- hours are :
Mexico City Itinerary for 5 days: House of Tiles
The House of Tiles, or Casa de los Azulejos, is an architectural gem and historical landmark located in Zocalo. It’s close to the MUNAL museum and this iconic building is known for its exquisite facade covered in vibrant blue and white Talavera tiles. Which gives it a distinct and captivating appearance. To be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed with this as it was very small however the tiles are stunning.
Can you believe this architectural masterpiece is an actual post office? The Palacio Postal, also known as the Postal Palace, is a hidden gem in Mexico City. This incredible building, with its opulent facade and intricate details, stands as a testament to Mexico’s rich architectural heritage. Constructed in the early 20th century, it was designed by the Italian architect Adamo Boari.
It’s free to enter and opens for visitors at 10 am. Be stealthy with photography here as some guards can ask you to not take pictures with your professional camera. However, the guards during our visit were so kind and even took a photo of my husband and me. Finally, you are not able to visit the upstairs of the building unless you take a guided tour that is available twice throughout the day.
Alameda Central is a lush park amidst the bustling city spanning over 16 acres. It was lovely and reminded me so much of Central Park in New York. It offers a serene and green retreat for locals and visitors alike with tons of sculptures and beautiful fountains. The origins of Alameda Central date back to the 16th century when it was established as one of the first public parks in the Americas. Over the centuries, it has witnessed the growth and transformation of the city, becoming an integral part of Mexico City’s cultural fabric.
Visit Chapultepec Park
Chapultepec Park is a vast and enchanting green space that holds a special place in the hearts of the locals of CDMX. It spans over 1,600 acres, is one of the largest urban parks in the world, and offers a diverse range of things to do, from natural beauty to cultural and recreational activities. The park’s name, “Chapultepec,” is derived from the Nahuatl language, meaning “Hill of the Grasshopper.” This name is fitting, as the park is centered around a hill that rises above the surrounding cityscape, providing breathtaking views of Mexico City.
Castillo de Chapultepec
At the top of the hill, you’ll find Chapultepec Castle, an iconic landmark that was once the imperial residence of Maximilian I and later served as the presidential palace. Today, it houses the National Museum of History. Where visitors can delve into Mexico’s fascinating past and admire the stunning architecture and panoramic views from its vantage point.
Currently, you can only buy tickets at the box office located at the bottom of the hill. Entrance costs 90 pesos each and there is a 15-minute walk uphill to the castle. Be prepared and wear comfortable shoes as well as getting there super early to beat the crowds.
Museo Nacional de Antropología
Another notable attraction within the park is the renowned Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Museum of Anthropology). This world-class museum showcases the rich cultural heritage and archaeological wonders of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic civilizations. Its extensive collection includes ancient artifacts, intricate artwork, and informative exhibits that provide insight into the diverse indigenous cultures that shaped Mexico’s history.
The highlights of the museum are the Sun Stone or Aztec Calendar, a recreation of Pakal’s tomb, and the jade mask of the Zapotec Bat God. Finally, it is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and entrance costs 65 pesos.
Mexico City Itinerary for 5 days: Visit Bibliotheca Vasconcelos
The Biblioteca Vasconcelos is a modern architectural marvel and another hidden gem in Mexico City. Named after the renowned Mexican philosopher and statesman José Vasconcelos, this unique library opened to the public in 2006. It was designed by the Mexican architect Alberto Kalach and is a striking example of contemporary design and sustainable architecture. Its innovative design incorporates elements of nature and as you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a vast and awe-inspiring interior space. I believe it resembles a scene from The Matrix.
The library boasts a collection of over half a million books, housed on towering shelves that seem to stretch into infinity. The vastness of the library is enhanced by its open-plan layout. With multiple levels and walkways connecting different sections of the building. The sheer scale and unique architectural design make the library an inspiring place. Finally, it’s completely free to visit but you are not able to take your bags upstairs. They offer a free bag check and it’s open Monday through Friday 9 am to 4 pm.
Day Trip to Teotihuacán
The ancient Mesoamerican pyramids of Teotihuacán, in the Valley of Mexico, once served as the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. Considered one of the most significant and awe-inspiring ancient cities in the world, Teotihuacán was once a thriving metropolis. It’s located roughly an hour outside of Mexico City center and there are tons of options to get there. For the easiest route, consider taking an Uber since as mentioned above, they are very inexpensive. You could also take a half-day trip by booking a tour through Viator. And if you’re feeling adventurous and want to wake up at 5 am. Consider booking a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Finally, if you’re craving lunch inside of a cave make a stop at Las Grutas on the way back.
Thank you to my fellow travel blogger friend Thalia for sharing these beautiful photos – check out her Instagram!
Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum
One of the most popular things to do in Mexico City is take a tour of Casa Azul aka the Frida Kahlo Museum. This iconic museum is dedicated to preserving the life, art, and legacy of one of Mexico’s most celebrated artists, Frida Kahlo. The vivid blue exterior of the house is just a glimpse of the colorful world that awaits inside. As you step through the entrance, you’ll find yourself immersed in the artist’s universe, surrounded by her artworks, personal belongings, and traces of her extraordinary life.
It’s located a good 30 minutes outside of the city center however don’t let that deter you from visiting. The area it’s located in, Coyocan, was the cutest and most colorful neighborhood we visited in CDMX. You’ll want to dedicate more time to exploring this vibrant neighborhood.
Here are some things to note before visiting:
- Book your tickets well in advance (we did 2 weeks before) on their actual website. You will get the cheapest price possible that way
- Try to book the first time slot for the least amount of crowds – and get there 30 minutes before opening to line up
- You are not allowed to take videos inside the home
- You must pay an additional 30 pesos at the entrance if you want to take photos
- You’re not allowed to wear a hat in the museum and your backpack needs to be placed in front of you
- Don’t miss out on her clothing collection it’s located in a separate building behind the garden area
Visit Casa Giraldi
Casa Gilardi is an architectural masterpiece designed by renowned Mexican architect Luis Barragán. This private residence stands as a testament to Barragán’s distinct style and innovative approach to design, making it a must-see destination for architecture lovers and admirers of his work. Completed in 1978, Casa Gilardi showcases Barragán’s signature elements, including bold colors, clean lines, and harmonious integration of indoor and outdoor spaces.
The house is a perfect testament to Barragán’s mastery of light, shadow, and texture, creating an atmosphere of tranquility and serenity. Being that it’s a private residence the tour is quite costly compared to the rest of the city (600 pesos per person). But don’t let that deter you from visiting. You need to email them in order to set up the small group tour and I recommend doing so at least two weeks in advance.
Floating Gardens of Xochimilco
The Floating Gardens of Xochimilco, located in the southern part of Mexico City, offer a unique and enchanting experience that takes you back in time to the ancient Aztec civilization. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a vibrant network of canals and artificial islands, known as chinampas, that have been cultivated for centuries.
The best way to explore the floating gardens is by navigating the canals on colorful trajineras, flat-bottomed boats adorned with vibrant decorations. You can hire a trajinera and be guided by a local boatman, known as a “chinampero,” who will take you on a leisurely cruise through the canals. It’s one of the most unique things to do in Mexico City.
In order to reach Xocimilco you’ll want to take an Uber to the port Embacadero Nuevo Nativitas Xocimilco. Be aware on your way down there may be some locals that try to tell you “the port is closed” and try to sway you to go to another port but don’t listen to them. It costs roughly 500 pesos per hour to cruise on your personal Trajinero and throughout the cruise there are vendors that sell margaritas, elote, and more!
Shopping in Polanco
Polanco is a vibrant and upscale neighborhood known for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, luxurious boutiques, high-end restaurants, and beautiful tree-lined streets. It is considered one of the city’s most exclusive and affluent areas, attracting both locals and visitors alike. Consider spending an entire afternoon here as this was my favorite part of Mexico City.
Attend a Lucha Libre match
Lucha Libre, which translates to “free wrestling,” is a style of professional wrestling that originated in Mexico and has become an integral part of Mexican culture. In Mexico City, one of the best places to catch a Lucha Libre match is at the Arena Mexico, the iconic venue that has hosted countless wrestling events over the years. As you step inside the arena, you’ll be immersed in a lively atmosphere filled with passionate fans, colorful masks, and electric energy that fills the air.
You can purchase your tickets on Ticketmaster prior. We paid $17 each for row 7, it’s very inexpensive. Do note, that you are not allowed to bring cameras into the arena. They have a free camera check before the entrance. Also, once you enter there will be an attendant who tries to take you to your seat and they are looking for a tip. For my best advice just deny them and say you will find your own seat.
Best Restaurants in Mexico City
Not many people know this but Mexico City is a huge food lover’s paradise. Offering a diverse and vibrant culinary scene that showcases the rich flavors and traditions of Mexican cuisine. From street food stalls to high-end restaurants, there is something to satisfy every palate. Below I’ve listed some of the must-try foods when visiting Mexico City. Do note the majority of these restaurants you’ll need to make reservations.
Rosetta: Housed in a charming colonial building, Rosetta serves exquisite Italian-Mexican fusion cuisine. One of the most stunning interiors I have ever seen. Chef Elena Reygadas creates dishes that combine traditional Italian flavors with Mexican ingredients. Finally, I thought it was a bit overrated and would choose Maximo over this spot.
Maximo: Our favorite restaurant of the trip! This cozy and intimate restaurant focuses on seasonal ingredients sourced from local suppliers. Chef Eduardo García’s menu changes regularly. Ensuring that each visit to Maximo Bistrot is a unique and exciting culinary adventure. One of the best cheeseburgers I have ever had!
Pujol: Considered one of the top restaurants in Mexico City. Pujol is renowned for its innovative take on traditional Mexican cuisine. Chef Enrique Olvera combines local ingredients with modern techniques to create dishes that showcase Mexico’s rich culinary heritage.
Quintol: A focus on sustainable and seasonal ingredients. Quintonil offers a contemporary interpretation of Mexican cuisine. Chef Jorge Vallejo’s inventive dishes highlight the diversity of flavors found in Mexico. Resulting in a truly unique dining experience.
Taqueria Orinoco: This trendy retro taco shop is located in the cool neighborhood of Roma Norte. They’re extremely popular and very tasty.
Cabuya Rooftop: This brand-new rooftop on the 17th floor of Andaz Mexico City Condesa is a new hotspot. Overlooking the expanse of Mexico City, enjoy delicious menu items that are inspired by Mediterranean cuisine.
Best Cafes in Mexico City
Mexico City is home to a thriving coffee culture, with numerous exceptional cafes that cater to both locals and visitors. Here are some of the best cafes in Mexico City where you can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee and soak in the vibrant atmosphere:
- Panderia Rosetta
- Don Porfirio
- Cafebreria el Pendulo
- Churrería El Moro
Mexico City Itinerary 5 days: Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Mexico City
Known for its tree-lined streets, beautiful parks, and Art Deco architecture, Condesa is a trendy neighborhood with a bohemian atmosphere. It offers a variety of delicious restaurants, cafes, bars, and boutique shops. Condesa is also the most central neighborhood so it’s where we decided to stay when visiting.
Hotel Pick: Andaz Mexico City Condesa
Newly opened in January 2023, this boutique hotel was a beautiful place to stay. Not only was it extremely central, but the accommodations were very comfortable. Furthermore, it had the most beautiful rooftop views with an incredible pool. Cabuya Restaurant offers the same incredible views with a seafood-inspired menu. and delicious restaurant. Along with that, Derba cafe was the most aesthetically pleasing cafe in all of CDMX. Not to mention the spiral croissant was incredibly tasty. Book your stay here!
Roma Norte is adjacent to Condesa and has a similar neighborhood vibe. It features an array of culinary options, trendy shops, art galleries, and lively nightlife. I found it to be more walkable than Condesa however, there are not many accommodations to choose from here.
Hotel Pick: Nima Local House – book your stay here!
Considered one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Mexico City. Polanco is home to high-end boutiques, gourmet restaurants, luxury hotels, and exclusive residential areas. It also boasts beautiful parks and museums, including the renowned Museo Soumaya. It’s a bit further away from the main jaunts. But if you prefer luxury then this is the neighborhood for you.
Hotel Pick: Four Seasons Hotel – book your stay here!
Mexico City Itinerary 5 Days Breakdown
- Explore the Zocolo district
- MUNAL museum
- Palacio Postal
- House of Tiles
- Palacio de Bellas Artes
- Alameda Central
- Dinner at Maximo
- Lucha Libre Match
- Day Trip to Teotihuacán
- Explore Roma Norte late afternoon
- Grab lunch at Panderia Rosetta
- Biblioteca Vasconcelos
- Dinner Taqueria Orinoco
- Churros at El Moro
Mexico City Itinerary 5 Days: Day Three
- Breakfast at Lardo
- Morning at Chapultepec Park
- Chapultepec Castle
- Anthropology Museum
- Explore Polanco
- Lunch at Cafebreria el Pendulo, Pujol, or Quintol
- Casa Gilardi or Casa Barragan
- Dinner at Cabuya Rooftop
- Frida Kahlo Museum
- Explore Coyocan neighborhood
- 45-minute drive to Xochimilco
- Cruise for 2 hours
- Dinner at Botanico
- Breakfast at Lalo
- Templo Mayor
- Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral
- Lunch at Cafe Don Porfirio
- Head to the airport and depart CDMX
Well, there you have it guys! I hope you enjoyed my Mexico City Itinerary for 5 days. If you have any other questions feel free to comment them below. Don’t forget to check out more of my travel guides!