Mexico City is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico and is known worldwide for its vibrant culture, rich history, and incredible food.
Whether you’re looking for relaxation or to explore the city’s sites, this Essential 3-Day Itinerary will help you get the most out of your visit to Mexico City, or “Mexico” as the locals call it, so that you don’t miss anything!
Start your day by traveling back in time. Walk along the cobbled stone streets of Mexico City’s historic center. With a blend of architectural genius and cultural identity, you’ll be captivated by Centro Historicos’ splendor.
Mexico City’s Centro Histórico is the most historic part of the city because it’s where the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan stood for centuries before the Spanish Conquistadors arrived.
Eventually, the Spanish built their city on top of the Aztecs’ so there is a unique mix of European influence with a Latin American twist. There aren’t many cities in the world where you can admire European cathedrals, then visit hidden Aztec temples right underneath them. That’s one of the things that makes Mexico City so extraordinary.
Most cities in Latin America have a main square, and Mexico City is no exception. It’s called the Zocalo, and it was once at the center of the Aztec capital.
Today, it’s at the heart of Mexico’s capital city and it is surrounded by cathedrals and palaces, and it’s not uncommon to find live music and fiestas in the plaza. While there, you can’t miss the Palacio de Bellas Artes or Palace of Fine Arts. It is one of the most iconic buildings in Mexico City.
Built at the start of the 20th century, this palace has played host to operas and ballets and continually hosts art exhibitions throughout the year. From its soaring balconies, you can enjoy views of Mexico City’s distinctive skyline.
After exploring Zocalo, wander along to Paseo de la Reforma to visit museums, museums, and more museums. Take pictures in front of the towering Monument to the Revolution – A patriotic monument dedicated to the Mexican Revolution and independence. On extra hot days, you can run through the fountains in front of it, just bring along a change of clothes because you will get soaked!
From the Monument of the Revolution, you can stroll all the way along Reforma, one of the longest boulevards in the city. On Sundays, the entire street is closed off to traffic and you can rent a bicycle to help you get around.
From Reforma, head into La Zona Rosa, Mexico City’s original tourist district where you can find great restaurants and bars for your first evening in the capital.
Zona Rosa is famous for its electric nightlife there is something for everyone. For unforgettable nights out, singing at a karaoke bar, having a tasty drink at a lounge, or listening to live music, Zona Rosa, is the place to be once the sun goes down.
On day two, it’s time to escape the Mexico madness and head to the famous Coyoacán neighborhood. This charming neighborhood has an authentic feel and boasts some of the city’s best cafes and tours.
Cafe Avellaneda is the perfect place for your morning coffee. It’s a tiny little cafe that helps support local coffee farms so grabbing coffee is quite the experience.
After you’ve had your caffeine fix, I suggest the Mercado de Coyoacán. It attracts tourists and locals alike and there sit-down restaurants where you can try the local cuisine… and just so you know… tacos for breakfast are totally acceptable in Mexico!
Depending on your preferences, you can go around the neighborhood on your own, or join your fellow travelers on a tour. You will find a few different kinds of tours including a myths & legends tour, a ‘canteen to canteen tour’ (my kinda tour), and even a pet-friendly tour. Choose the best option for you and you will have the best day exploring this artsy neighborhood.
Frida Kahlo is synonymous with Coyoacan as she lived there for many years. Casa Azul was her home, and today it is a popular tourist attraction and museum that you cannot miss. As to be expected, it is crowded and I recommend booking well in advance.
Frida wasn’t the only famous resident of Coyoacan. Leon Trotsky was a Russian leader who was excited from the Soviet Union by Stalin himself. He escaped to Mexico City but was ultimately assassinated on August 20th 1940. Today it’s a museum that commemorates his life, and serves as is a fascinating insight into past connections between Mexico and the Soviet Union during World War II.
If you’re museum-ed out, check out Condesa neighborhood. This is considered to be the trendiest district in Mexico because of its upscale bars and restaurants. It’s quite unlike anywhere else – and it’s safe to be strolling around here, even after dark, and a few drinks down.
I’ve saved the best for last – Chapultepec Park. Not unlike New York Cities central park, it has fountains, food vendors, small lakes with paddle boats, and a labrynth of walking trails throughout the green space.
Smack dab in the middle of this sprawling green space is Chapultepec Palace. This iconic building dates back to the 18th century and one of the only royal palaces in North America. Long ago it was the residence of the emperors of Mexico – the most infamous being Maximilian I of Austria – but today its a popular national museum.
At the museum, learn about the cultures of the Aztec, Maya, and other native peoples have helped shaped present day Mexican culture, both recently and historically.
In the afternoon, it’s time to end your 3 day Mexico City itinerary in style, with a visit to Xochimilco. This is a dense network of canals that were originally built by the Aztecs.
Over time, it has grown into a beautiful destination that differs immensely from the rest of the capital. When you visit, take a boat ride and buy drinks and tacos from the floating salesman. Cruising the canals is the perfect way to bookend your trip
To Sum Up
This metropolis is the heart and soul of modern Mexico and this Mexico City 3-day travel itinerary takes you through all the main highlights, from the Centro Histórico to Coyoacán and Condesa. There is so much waiting to be discovered on your trip to Mexico’s capital!