The diverse city is jammed with museums, restaurants and historical sites that are crucial to see and explore. With over 8.5 million inhabitants, and covering a whopping 1,485 km², I felt this was going to be a mammoth task, but under the guidance of my fabulous guides, Bernie and Sam, I managed to cover everything I had hoped to. If you have read some of my other Mexico blogs, you have probably heard me throw around their name before. It was great to have locals who know the area better than the guidebooks, showing us around.
My Top Highlights of Mexico City:
Museum of Anthropology
Hands down the best museum I have been to in my years, the Museum of Anthropology has the perfect mix of education and experience. The colossal building is jammed with artifacts that show the development of man-kind through Mexico, and the world. You can literally follow in the footsteps of the Inca and Maya empires, uncover extinct flora and fauna, and completely understand how the modern Mexico came to be. A must see!
Where?: Av Paseo de la Reforma & Calzada Gandhi S/N, Chapultepec Polanco, Miguel Hidalgo, 11560 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
Cost?: $65.00 MX Pesos pp
Frida Kahlo Museum
If you are not up to date on the life of Frida Kahlo, make sure you read up before arriving in the city. Frida has become a feminist icon, Mexican art idol and all-round legend in the area, so it is only fitting that her house has become a museum revisiting her fabulous life. Frida spent many of her years suffering in extreme pain from a bout of illnesses, including crippling polio. She married, divorced and never got over her lover, Diego Rivera. Their volatile relationship has more twists and turns that an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and the museum reflects this life long angst. Her artwork and personal collections are all on display, but the most memorable aspect of the museum is the building itself. ‘The Casa Azul’ (Blue House) is iconic in the small town of Coyoacán and its internal oasis is really beautiful.
Where?: Londres 247, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
Cost?: $120.00 (weekdays) and $140.00 (weekends) MX Pesos pp (bringing a camera in will also cost you $60.00 MX Pesos. Audio Guide is $70.00 MX Pesos (as of 2016.)
Artisans Markets of Coyoacán and Roma
The art scene in Mexico is undoubtedly unique. A trip to any of the artisan’s markets will demonstrate this, with the vibrant colours, techniques and styles of those many generations before. You can buy a whole range of things from the stalls and marketeers, including traditional sugar skulls, handicrafts and furnishings. Not only is the actual experience of being there amazing, but the people you will interact with and the authentic nature of the markets will leave you charmed.
Colonia Roma, La Condesa and Tacos
The hip and upcoming neighbourhood of Roma and Condesa are a must-venture in D.F. You will be surrounded with cute little cafes, bars and pop-up shops, along with a number of small museums and galleries.
In Roma, it is best to locate the Plaza de Romita (pictured below) and walk via Colomia Avenye to Plaza Rio de Janeiro. Take a walk through these streets and just enjoy your surroundings, but be sure to grab a taco (or 4) from El Parnita. Next up, take the winding streets through to Parque Mexico in Condesa, find a small bar and enjoy the bustling café lifestyle.
Xochimilco and the colourful trajineras ride
Probably my most memorable Mexico City experience… there is nothing else quite like this. The man-made canals and floating islands that make Xochimilco are incredible. This area is located pretty far south of the city, so best to spend a decent day trip out here. Walk the streets first for a look into the funky neighbourhood, then jump on-board your very own trajineras. These colourful boats allow you to bring your own music, drinks and food aboard, but just make sure you barter yourself a good deal.
Some will require they buy the drinks and ice, but just be sure you negotiate everything before leaving the dock. The friendlier you are, the better deal you will get, and be sure to lower your voice so no one else can hear your deals, you don’t want to upset other tourists, who will complain to their rower.
There are many departure points, so don’t worry too much about where is ‘best’ to get on and off, any local shop owner will direct you to the nearest station area. I would aim for around $400 MX Pesos an hour, with a guide telling you the local stories- just make sure you ask about doll island!
Cost?: Around $400.00 MX Pesos for Adults + drinks
Teotihuacan Pyramids (day trip)
This full day trip is well worth it. I used the local tourism bus called ‘Turibus’ very last minute (literally rocked up on the morning at the bus stop). It was all very simple and easy, they picked me up and dropped me off at the ‘Angel of Independence’ and I had an amazing day with a great guide.
The Teotihuacan Pyramids are located about 2 hours away from the central city (traffic dependent) and you will have a few great stops along the way on most tours. Make sure you bring plenty of water as the arid conditions reflect a lot of the sun’s rays and you will get burnt without lathering sunscreen and wearing protective gear. Make sure you are also wearing suitable footwear for a serious climb, you will want the view from above!
The main site is separated into sections, with the two largest pyramids being the Sun and the Moon. A guide is essential, as you want to learn about the mythology surrounding the ancient ruins.
Cost?: Around $900.00 MX Pesos for Adults including buffet lunch
Where?: Departs daily from: Auditorium (8:30am), Angel of Independence (8:40am), Monument to Columbus (8:50am), Hemiciclo a Juarez (8:55am), Zocalo (9:00am).
Palacio de Bellas Artes from above
Arrive at the beautiful Palace and bask in all its glory. The building is my favourite in the whole city, with some amazing interior and exterior décor. Be sure to head to the rooftop of the Sears building across the road and marvel in the panoramic view.
Cost?: FREE (buy a coffee though!)
Where?: Av. Juárez #14, Cuauhtémoc, Centro Histórico, 06050 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico