Mexico City, or CDMX, is a city with a rich history and fascinating culture. It was founded in 1325 and was the capital city of the Aztec Central Alliance; later, it was the centre of Spanish colonial power.
Mexico City is a vast and bustling metropolis, which you can’t help but fall in love with. So to cover all there is to see, you need to plan, and my Mexico City 4 day itinerary will help you do that.
Get your walking shoes on to explore this energetic city that will have you worn out if you cram them in like me. Be ready for some of the most incredible museums in Mexico City, and explore the cultural diversity evident in its traditions, architecture, and its traditional Mexican cuisine.
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Map – Best things to see in Mexico City
I have included a map to highlight the top things to see on your Mexico City 4 day itinerary plus a few extras that I didn’t get time to see in case you extend your trip. Hope you find this map useful and enjoy exploring Mexico City!
Best Mexico City 4 Day Itinerary
DAY 1 – Historic Downtown Mexico City
Day one of our trip to Mexico City was all about exploring the historic downtown area, Centro Historico. This stunning part of the city is a sensory feast, you’ll see influences from all over the world, and there’s so much to do and see.
> EXPLORE TOURS in the HISTORIC DOWNTOWN MEXICO
Mexico City Free Walking Tour
These fantastic free walking tours are a great way to learn about the city’s most important historical and cultural buildings. From the Mexico Metropolitan Cathedral’s stunning architecture and the National Palace’s colorful murals to the lush greenery of Alameda Central overlooked by the magnificence of Palacio de Bellas Artes, the impressive Palacio de Correos and the buzz of the Teatro de la Ciudad, your guide will deliver in-depth information and fun facts. They are also full of valuable tips on the best places to eat and the museums worth visiting.
Explore the spiritual side of Mexico City and take part in La Limpia, a ceremony that cleanses your body and soul and provides strength. This unique experience is an intrinsic part of Mexican life.
As you explore the busy streets of the Zocalo area of the city, you’ll see Aztec Shamans in feathered headdresses providing the ritual to queues of locals and tourists for a small donation. It’s an energetic ceremony accompanied by the music of drums and a snail conch. Fragrant herbs, clouds of sacred smoke, and incense will envelop you, and there will be candles, flowers, and chanting. The result is a purified soul and a connection with Mother Earth.
Dine in La Opera Cantina
La Opera is the city’s most sumptuous Cantina; it’s also the oldest, having been established initially as a Parisian-style patisserie by two French sisters in 1876. Spend the evening at La Opera and enjoy traditional food, a quintessentially Mexican tequila service, ornate decor with dark polished wood, and impeccable service.
Be adventurous with the Snails in Chipotle Sauce, or play a little safer with the Mexican Mole con Pollo. Either way, you will be guaranteed a wonderful experience.
Many tourists arrive simply to see the hole in the ceiling made by the bullet from revolutionary Pancho Villa’s gun at the height of the Mexican Revolution in December 1914.
> READ REVIEWS of La Opera Cantina
Visit Palacio de Cultura
Built in 1780 for Mariana de Berrio, a member of the Cordoba family and a descendant of one of the original conquistadores. This beautiful baroque palace is now the location for the most important cultural exhibitions in Mexico City and is home to over 4,300 pieces of work.
ENTRANCE IS FREE | Open 10 am- 7 pm
Watch the Mariachis at Plaza Garibaldi
Mariachi bands play energetic music full of heartbreak, joy, and raw emotion. Their sound originated in the state of Jalisco and arrived in Mexico City at the beginning of the 20th century. Mariachi is Mexican folk music, and the band members wear traditional embroidered ‘charro’ suits and play the trumpet, violins, vihuela, and guitarron bass guitar.
The Plaza Garibaldi has been the centre of Mariachi music since the 1920s. It’s lined with bars and taco stalls, and on weekend evenings, it’s a wild and chaotic place full of music and rowdy singing from the bands and locals alike.
You may want to add The Tequila and Mezcal Museum to your itinerary whilst you are visiting Plaza Garibaldi. When in Mexico, you will experience many tastings of tequila so why not learn about it? This was my plan but the doors were locked on arrival. Sadly, we missed out on the rooftop cantina to watch the mariachis in. the plaza from above.
DAY 2 – Mexico City – Temples & Tacos
Day two started with discovering early humanity’s history and a tour of the most mouth-watering food in Mexico City.
Visit the Teotihuacan Temple
Teotihuacan Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you must see on a visit to Mexico City. Anyone interested in archaeology and history will love these ancient pyramids. It’s thought they were built by the Totonac people around 200 BC, and the surrounding city was at its peak between the 6th and 7th centuries AD.
The city was home to over 100,000 people, many of whom arrived to take refuge after a catastrophic volcanic eruption. Over the centuries, many cultures, including the Mayans and Aztecs, have influenced it.
The Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, the Temple of the Feathered Serpents, and the Palace of Itzpapalotl are all awe-inspiring structures. To fully enjoy your time exploring them, arrive early to avoid the crowds and the heat of the day. Alternatively, book a peaceful hot air balloon ride to see this fantastic city from above.
Take a Taco Tour
Book a free taco tour, and you’ll be treated to delicious and authentic ‘garnachas’ while learning about the history of this iconic Mexican snack and how to prepare, cook and eat them the traditional way.
These quirky tours are led by knowledgeable and cheerful guides who know the most attractive routes through the city. In addition, you’ll pick up tips on where best to eat and drink and find out the history of the places you pass by.
> FIND FOOD TOURS & COOKING CLASSES
DAY 3 – Mexico City – Museum Day
CDMX is a city with an intriguing history and diverse culture, so it makes sense that the museums of Mexico City are excellent. I dedicated day 3 to visit the best of them, but if you have more time, there are an incredible 150 to choose from. Just remember that the majority of museums in CDMX close on a Monday, and some museums require advance booking.
National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropologia)
Anthropology is the study of humans, and this fantastic museum tells the story of how the people of Mexico have evolved over thousands of years. There are 23 permanent exhibition rooms with impressive recreations of archaeological scenes, such as Pakal’s tomb in the Mayan Room, and displays dedicated to modern indigenous tribes. Highlights include the Jade Mask of the Zapotec Bat God and the massive Sun Stone (also known as the Aztec Calendar).
There is a lot of information to take in and you will leave wishing you had extra time for repeat visits. It’s worth selecting the period of time that interests you most to visit first with a fresh head.
> BOOK ADVANCE TICKETS + skip-the-line + guided tours
Visit the Frida Khalo Museum
Frida Khalo is an artist whose work has touched the lives of people around the world. Her beautiful home, La Casa Azul, is where she lived most of her life, and she was determined it would be the place where the story of her life would be told.
The museum was founded in 1958, and the look and feel of the house and gorgeous gardens inspired her work. La Casa Azul is on a quiet residential street, but it draws queues of art historians and Kahlo devotees. Inside you’ll find her personal belongings, photographs, and art by the lady herself and her muralist husband, Diego Rivera.
> BOOK ADVANCE TICKETS + skip-the-line + guided tours
Eat Ceviche in Coyacan Market
Near Frida Kahlo’s home turned museum is the Coyacan Market. This vibrant part of Mexico City is the perfect place to stop and enjoy succulent ceviche for lunch while watching the world go by.
In the narrow walkways of Coyacan, your senses will be overwhelmed as you shop for fabrics, exotic fruit and veg, and decorations for the next festival. It’s a market much-loved by tourists as it is primarily where the locals shop, chat and celebrate life.
There are many stalls to perch on a high stool and eat tasty simple dishes at a low price tag. I chose the mouth-watering prawn ceviche – the ideal healthy snack to see me through the rest of my museum day in Mexico City. If nibbling on crunchy grasshoppers is your jam, you will be delighted to know that you can buy them by the bag load.
Visit Chapultepec Castle
Chapultepec Castle is a decadent building famous for being the only place in North America that has ever housed a Royal Family, namely the Mexican Emperor Maximillian I and his wife, Empress Carlotta. They lived there for three years, from 1864.
The castle sits atop a hill in the heart of Mexico City, and it has been the setting for battles, political plots, and important moments of Mexican history, including the Mexican American War of 1846 and 1847 and the legend of the Hero Children, six young cadets who were determined to fight to the last. Today, the castle is quite aptly home to the National Museum of History.
If you prefer to watch the world go by, the 360 views of Parque Chapultepec are spectacular. The park is known as the green lung of Mexico City and is the oldest and largest urban park in Latin America.
> BOOK ADVANCE TICKETS + skip-the-line + guided tours
Visit the Museo de Arte Moderno
Conveniently located near the castle in Parque Chapultepec, you will find The Museum of Modern Art which was built in 1964; the unique design was meant to echo the curve and flow of the trees and existing streets outside.
The large, airy space is a lovely place to enjoy the paintings, sculptures, and installations by both international and Mexican artists such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Rufino Tamayo. Sadly, the gardens were closed when we visited, so we left a little disappointed.
Visit Centro de Cultura Digital
The Centre for Digital Culture is an innovative space that describes how Mexico has evolved in this new digital age and discusses its future plans. It’s an inspirational place and will make you look at technology in a new way. We loved the insight the centre gave us into modern Mexico. Check out the itinerary of workshops, activities, and exhibitions.
DAY 4 – Day Trips from Mexico City
Pueblos Magicos (Magic Towns) are small towns that the Mexican government believes have cultural and historical significance. As a result, these places have received funding and regeneration to encourage national and international tourists to visit.
If you only have four short days in CDMX, the closest Pueblo Magicos is Tepoztlan, a 90-minute drive away.
The bus journey from Mexico City to Tepoztlan should be a pleasant experience with picturesque scenes to gaze at out the window. Once there, you’ll be greeted with incredible mountain views, a pretty, colonial-style town, a large craft market, and ancient ruins.
Tepoztlan is the legendary birthplace of the Aztec feathered serpent god, Quetzalcoatl. The mythical status of the town is further enhanced by the mountaintop Tepoztecal Pyramid, a temple built to honour the Aztec god of pulque, a traditional drink made from fermented agave. It’s a 1.5-hour hike from the town, and the view is breathtaking.
The local convent is also well worth a visit, having been named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994. It’s a beautiful place that is around 500 years old.
How to reach Tepoztlán
- Take a local bus from Terminal Tazqueno
- Take a small group tour from Mexico City
Take a longer trip to Taxco
Further along, the road from Tepoztlan is another Pueblo Magico, the town of Taxco, but to visit, you’ll need more time to play with and a hire car.
Taxco de Alarcon is a charming town with Spanish colonial history, and it has been the centre of the silver mining industry for many years. There are also many fascinating and beautiful religious buildings to visit, bougainvillea-scented cobbled streets to wander down, and small cafes and bars serving delicious Mexican food and coffee.
FAQs | Trip to Mexico City
Where is the best place to stay in Mexico City?
With such a sprawling city, it can be hard to find the right spot for accommodation in Mexico City. I checked in with a friend who lives there before booking and the advice was to look in the neighbourhoods ranging from La Condesa, Roma Norte, Juarez, and San Rafael.
HOSTEL SUITES DF is well-located near the Historic Centre and close to Hidalgo Metro. Funky decor and tasty breakfast. The staff was super helpful with recommendations of where to eat and transportation questions. READ MY TRIPADVISOR REVIEW
CONDESA SUITES is located in a quiet neighbourhood near Chapultepec Castle. The comfortable aparthotel was perfect after a long flight as it was well-kitted out with a bedroom, sofa, TV, mini kitchen, and a private bathroom. READ TRIPADVISOR REVIEWS
GRAND FIESTA AMERICANA CHAPULTEPEC is a step up if you have a bigger budget and looking for a wonderful location with all the luxury facilities. I didn’t stay here but it scores very high based on customer reviews. READ TRIPADVISOR REVIEWS
izZzleep @ CDMX AIRPORT is not advisable for your 4 day trip to Mexico City but it’s a top idea if need to endure a long layover. I thought they were snug, had great showers, and were near the food courts. READ TRIPADVISOR REVIEWS
What is the best travel insurance for Mexico City?
Like any city, CDMX has some areas that are ill-advised to wander around. Regardless, there are things that can go wrong and it pays to have the right travel insurance in place, it’s way better than finding out the hard way. Check out these worthy options to help your trip go smoothly.
Get 5% off your travel insurance with HeyMondo. Benefit from 24-hour medical assistance, 365 days a year with single, multi-trip, and long-stay insurance, cover for Covid-19, and non-refundable expenses. The handy app makes this a simple process! They give a little back too by contributing to ‘Doctors Without Borders’.
SafetyWing for Digital Nomads. Benefit from 24/7 assistance, comprehensive and medical cover including Covid-19. Buy insurance whilst you are travelling, with the option of global health insurance.
Handy links for your Mexico City trip
Ready to get planning your trip and explore the best things to do in Mexico City? Here are some useful links to get you started!
Accommodation in Mexico City
- Find the best HOTEL & APARTMENT deals with Booking.com and Hostelworld
- Read hotel reviews on Tripadvisor
- Explore day trips and tours with Viator and Get Your Guide
- Find the best restaurants on Tripadvisor
- Find the best car hire deals with Discover Cars.
- Book onward buses with BusBud
- Find the best flight deals with Skyscanner
- Find your perfect backpack – I only use Osprey backpacks for my travels!
- GET 15% OFF WATER-TO-GO Bottle (Code WM15)
- GET 10% OFF ARTFULLY WILD sustainable clothing (Code: WM10)
PLEASE PIN IT FOR LATER!