Take a walking tour to familiarize yourself with your surroundings.

Is Mexico City Worth Visiting? The Truth About CDMX

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Ashlea J. Russell

Is Mexico City worth visiting?

As Mexico continues the fight against an unfair and bad reputation, travellers are missing out on incredible destinations like Mexico City. I’ve visited hundreds of cities around the world and few compare to the culture, history and beauty that is Mexico City.

Is Mexico City Worth Visiting?

Mexico City is the largest city in North America with a population of around 21 million as of 2021 and a history dating back 700 years. With a city of this size and scope it’s hard to believe most travellers pass it by or only drop in for a weekend on there way somewhere else.

Mexico City feels like Paris and Mexico had a love child. The European architecture, café culture and effortless charm would have anyone second guessing what part of the world they’re in.

I have spent weeks exploring Mexico City on my own and with the help of locals and I still have so much more to uncover.

Museums, restaurants, shopping, music, dancing, festivals, poetry, coffee, cocktails, the list of what this city offers is endless and they do it all so well.

By the end of this article, there should be no doubt why Mexico City is well worth visiting.

Top 8 Things To Do That Make Mexico City Worth Visiting

1. Take a Free Walking Tour

Every trip to a major city should start with a free walking tour. This is the best way to orientate yourself with your surroundings and get local advice on how to spend your time.

Estacion Mexico is a locally owned and operated tour company offering a variety of tours covering various areas of the city including Roma-Condesa, Coyoacán, Chapultepec and Centro Historico [Historic Downtown]. They also offer paid tours to Teotihuacan and Lucha Libre.

Mexico City is worth visiting for the enormous historic centre, the largest in the country

All tours run twice daily, rain or shine and are offered in both Spanish and English groups. I recommend taking the Roma-Condesa and Coyoacan tours to get a better grasp of these two amazing neighbourhoods. The Centro Historico tour is a great way to learn about the oldest part of the city but it is worth noting these groups tend to be a lot larger.

Book your spot online and look for the hot pink t-shirts and umbrellas at your meeting point. Please note that while these tours are free it is customary to tip.

After a couple of hours with the Estacion Mexico team, it’ll be easy to see why Mexico City is worth visiting.

2. Visit Sala Mexica at the Museo Nacional de Antropología

Now that you’ve got a better grasp of the city you should probably learn a little more about the history you’re walking on.

If you like museums, Mexico City is definitely worth visiting. Mexico City is home to over 150 museums but if you only visit one I recommend the Sala Mexica (Aztec Hall) at the Museo Nacional de Antropología. Here you’ll see and learn about ancient artefacts from Mexican history and gain a better understanding of the figures often represented and why these are important.

At the back of the large hall you’ll find the astonishing Aztec Sun Stone. This huge sculpture is more than 3 feet thick and over 11.5 feet in diameter.

Mexico City is worth visiting just for the hundreds of museums to suit any interest.

The museum is located in the enormous Chapultepec Park and is open Tuesday through Sunday 10am – 5pm. Tickets are reasonable at $85MXN [$5.50CAD/$4.50USD] and the ticket agents speak both English and Spanish.

It’s worth noting that the majority of the informational posts in the museum are in Spanish with a few English dotted throughout.

While you’re in the area take a walk through Chapultepec Park, twice the size of New York’s Central Park. There’s a lot to do and see from a lake to the castle to a botanical garden.

3. Sip Cocktails at Cityzen Rooftop Kitchen

Another thing that makes Mexico City worth visiting is the cosmopolitan nightlife. There’s no arguing that Mexico City is beautiful and what better way to take it in than by a bird’s eye view at sunset. Cityzen Rooftop Kitchen is located on the 14th floor of the Sofitel in Reforma. The wraparound patio with glass walls is the perfect place to watch the city go from day to night.

Aim to go Monday through Thursday between 4pm – 6pm and you are unlikely to need a reservation or have to wait for a table.

Mexico City has an incredible cosmopolitan nightlife

The food and cocktails are excellent and surprisingly affordable with small sharing plates in the realm of $250MXN [$15CAD/$12USD] and cocktails about the same. The service is as good as the view and thoughtful touches like blankets and patio heaters will keep you cozy into the night.

This place is fancy and unpretentious at the same time. There is no dress code and you’ll see most patrons in nice but casual attire.

When you arrive in the lobby security will give you directions to reach the roof, up two different elevators. You may also have to pass through a metal detector like at the airport.

4. Enjoy Dinner at Blanco Colima

If there is one thing Mexico City does well it’s hospitality. Almost everywhere you go you’ll be met with warm and attentive wait staff eager to please. The level of service can make everyday restaurants feel that bit more upscale.

The restaurant scene here alone makes Mexico City worth visiting, especially for foodies. While there is no shortage of restaurants to choose from I found myself returning to one time and time again. Blanco Colima is located in a beautiful restored mansion in Roma Norte at the corner of Orizaba and Colima.

The food is incredible, bridging the gap between traditional Mexican and modern European cuisine. They offer Spanish and English versions of the menu and some English-speaking staff members to make the foreign experience easier.

Mexico City is worth visiting just for the incredible restaurant scene.

One of my favourite things about this restaurant is that they serve additional mini-courses between each course.

You will start with an amuse-bouche of artichoke hearts eaten with your hands, which to this day is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever tasted. You’ll also enjoy a gorgeous homemade bread, and a mini dessert milkshake.

While the whole menu is fantastic I recommend trying the Manchego cheesecake for dessert which they are known for and it is pretty unique.

If you like risotto, ask for the mushroom risotto which is off the menu. This dish is an umami flavour bomb, an unexpected orange colour and the best risotto you’ll ever have.

Reservations are not required during the week but there does tend to be a wait on Friday and Saturday nights.

5. Devour Churros from El Moro

No trip to Mexico City would be complete without enjoying a local favourite, churros. Churros are long pieces of dough fried in hot oil and served with sweet toppings like cinnamon sugar and chocolate.

Churrerias are a dime a dozen in Mexico City but any local will tell you not to bother unless you’re going to El Moro.

El Moro has been churning out churros in Mexico City since 1935. The famous churreria was started by Spanish immigrant Francisco Iriarte who is credited with introducing the tasty treat to Mexico. There are locations dotted around the city and every one almost always has a line of locals waiting.

Enjoy churros the way locals do, with a visit to El Moro

The churros are big which makes them perfect to share. Order a paquete or packet for $93MXN [$6CAD/$4.50USD] which gets you four churros and a hot or cold chocolate – I recommend a Mexican hot chocolate which is lightly spiced.

The churros come in azucar and canela which is regular sugar or cinnamon sugar and you can add dipping sauces. There are three sauces available, chocolate, condensed milk and cajeta which is a delicious Mexican caramel sauce made of goat’s milk.

6. Spend the Day in Coyoacán

Coyoacán is one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Mexico City, located 10km/6.25m from the Zocalo. The bohemian vibe makes this part of the city worth at least a day trip.

Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum which is in her actual home and is a fascinating insight to her life. You will need to purchase tickets in advance as they do sell out.

If you enjoy shopping, don’t miss a visit the Mexico Diseña Bazar inside the Iglesia San Juan Bautista in the main square. At this market you’ll find the best shopping in the city with unique items created by local artisans.

No visit to Mexico City is complete without a visit to Coyoacan.

You’ll find clothes, candles, jewellery, snacks and more. The market runs Saturdays and Sundays, just look for the large inflatable dolls marking the entrance.

This is also the best place to try some street food. Head into the Mercado Coyoacán and make your way to the centre of the market where you will find the most popular local street food vendors.

You’ll also want to try steamed elotes [not the grilled ones] which is Mexican street corn on a stick, overed in crema and salty spice.

It’s also possible to visit Coyoacán and take a boat ride on the Xochimilco Canals on the same day. Check out these tour options below to get two birds with one stone:

7. Watch Live Jazz at Casa Franca

Tucked away in Roma Norte, behind an unmarked door, above a pizza bar you’ll find Casa Franca. The beautiful dimly lit speakeasy style bar has cozy velvet seats, excellent cocktails and is home to the best jazz experience you’ll have in the city.

Casa Franca is open Wednesday through Saturday, cover is usually $100MXN [$6CAD/$5USD] and is added to your bar bill at the end of the night. You’ll need to get your name on the list so use Whatsapp to text one of the two numbers to be added.

Mexico City is a great place to catch live music and dancing.

Head to Pizza Franca in Roma Norte and look for the lady on a stool outside some large, unmarked doors.

You can see the full lineup of upcoming shows on their Instagram which is also where you’ll find the Whatsapp contacts.

8. Pick a Side at Lucha Libre

Whether you’re into wrestling or not Lucha Libre is an unmissable experience that makes Mexico City worth visiting. Lucha Libre is professional wrestling and in recent years was designated an intangible cultural heritage in Mexico City, dating back to the late 1800s.

The wrestlers known as Luchadores wear masks and are usually divided into two groups, the rudos and the técnicos, or the bad guys and the good guys.

The atmosphere is electric with the crowd being very vocal about who they are rooting for. The match I saw was highly dramatized with some luchadores riding in on fire-breathing motorcycles and flipping into the ring.

Lucha Libre is a truly Mexican experience that is worth visiting.

Although you can purchase tickets on your own it is best to take an organized Lucha Libre tour as the Arena Mexico can be very busy and overwhelming. Taking a tour will get you a great seat, a guide, your own Lucha Libre mask to keep, a pulque tasting [sort of like a fermented tequila] and live music.

This is a major part of Mexican culture and a really fun experience for fans and novices alike.

To book the same awesome tour I took and loved click here:

Is Mexico City Safe?

It seems like the universal reaction to travel plans to Mexico City is something in the vein of “Be careful!”. I’m here to tell you that’s ridiculous. I have personally travelled to Mexico City multiple times as a solo female and I’m here to say, Mexico City is safe!

I have visited about 40 countries and hundreds of cities around the world and I felt more safe in Mexico City than I’ve felt at times in London, Paris, New York and Barcelona, to name a few.

I can honestly say that in all the time I have spent in Mexico City I have never once felt watched, threatened, stood too close to or unwelcome. In fact, the level of comfort I feel here, makes Mexico City worth visiting time and time again for me.

As with any city around the world, there is always a certain amount of trouble anyone could walk into. Sticking to the right neighbourhoods and practicing regular travel safety in Mexico City is all anyone needs to have a hassle-free trip.

Take in the European vibes from a cafe in Mexico City.

Getting Around Mexico City

Mexico City is enormous so understanding the best way to get from A to B is important to make the most of your time.

Walking Around Mexico City

Mexico City is a safe city to walk around and walking is a fantastic way to take in the vibes and discover new places. The issue with walking in Mexico City is that it is sprawling and distances between places can be long.

I recommend taking a walking tour when you first arrive so you can get a feel for where things are relative to one another.

When travelling between neighbourhoods, it’s usually better to take some form of transportation and then walk around when you get there.

If you’re venturing out of the typical neighbourhoods like Roma, Condesa, Centro, Coyoacán, etc you may want to ask a local if it’s a good idea to walk around there.

Ubers and Taxis In Mexico City

Uber is by far the easiest way to get around Mexico City. Most rides cost only a few dollars, Ubers in Mexico City are readily available and it’s safe.

An alternative to Uber is Didi. Didi is a lot like Uber and it gives the rider the option to pay in cash. It’s worth having both apps on your phone just in case.

Taxis in Mexico City need a little more caution. Taxis in Mexico City are pink and white, cash only.

Taxis should only be taken from designated taxi stands called sitios or ordered on the CDMX app which is a secure way to call a taxi. Do not hail taxis in Mexico City.

Make sure the taxi license is visible and that the driver starts the metre to avoid any unfair charges. It’s also a good idea to map where you’re going and follow along to ensure the driver isn’t taking you “the long way”.

My typical mode of transportation in Mexico City is Uber or Didi. I will take taxis if it would be difficult for an Uber to get to me, for example from a mall or event venue with a taxi stand.

I have personally not had any issues with taxi scams in this city but I always follow my own tips above.

The Condesa-Roma area of Mexico City is perfect to explore on foot.

Taking Public Transportation In Mexico City

Mexico City has an extensive public transportation system. For newbies I wouldn’t recommend attempting the buses or colectivos, it’s best to stick to the metro.

You will need to purchase a rechargeable metro card for $10MXN [$0.60CAD/$0.50USD] and each ride costs $5MXN.

All metro lines are given a number or letter and a corresponding colour. Pay attention when boarding the train as certain train cars are women-only for safety purposes.

If you think you might be lost the best thing to do is ask a local. Many students have some working English, otherwise you can communicate with a translation app.

Bike Share In Mexico City

Ecobici is a government run bike share program in Mexico. Much like bike share programs in other cities, riders become a member, pick up a bike at one of the stations and drop it off at a station near their destination.

Plans range from one day to one year and require valid ID and a credit card.

All rentals include 45 minute trips and additional time adds fees to the plan price. The plan and fee breakdown can be found here.

Rental Cars In Mexico City

Although it is possible to rent a car in Mexico City it is unnecessary. Mexico City is known for having traffic issues so adding a car to that problem isn’t a good idea unless you’re planning to visit nearby towns.

Mexico City drivers are aggressive and creative. In the US and Canada we have a “don’t hit anyone” approach to driving. In Mexico City the approach is “don’t get hit”.

Take in the incredible cityscape from Cityzen Rooftop Kitchen.

Where To Stay In Mexico City

The best area to stay in Mexico City depends on what sort of trip you’re looking to have.

My favourite area is Condesa-Roma, which is teeming with cafes, shops and parks. Condesa-Roma is stunningly gorgeous, safe to walk and has some of the best restaurants and bars in the city.

You can find out more about all the best (and worst) areas of Mexico City here.

Where Is Mexico City?

Mexico City is located pretty much smack dab in the middle of the country in the Valley of Mexico. It is located in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt which means it does see the occasional mild earthquake.

Being located in the middle of Mexico makes Mexico City a fantastic gateway to the rest of the country. Most places in Mexico can be reached in a 1-2 hour flight or by bus.

Best Time To Visit Mexico City

The weather in Mexico City is one of the things I love about it. It’s fresh in the morning, warm in the afternoon and cool at night. You’ll want to pack layers and a jacket for the night time.

Mexico City’s is mostly the same year round. Rainy season is June – September however rain rarely lasts more than an hour or two.

Popular times to visit Mexico City include over Independence Day which falls in September. There are lots of events and festivities in the Zocalo and across the city during this time.

Another popular festival is Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which falls at the beginning of November. During this time, people take the streets with colourful costumes and elaborate make up. This is a truly, uniquely Mexican festival!

How To Get To Mexico City

Mexico City is the capital of Mexico and the largest city in North America. Direct flights arrive here from all over the world everyday making flying the easiest way to reach the city.

Mexico City is also accessible by bus from other cities using the fantastic ADO [pronounced ah-day-oh] bus network. ADO buses are large, comfortable and air conditioned – sometimes a bit too air conditioned, so pack a sweater.

Bus tickets are cheap and the bus stations are well located, normally right in town and sometimes even at the airports.

Using the ADO bus network you can get to pretty much anywhere you’d want to go south of Mexico City, and a few places north of it.

The downside to travelling on the bus is that you will need to have a certain amount of working Spanish to purchase tickets, find your bus and navigate transfers.

The ADO website is only available in Spanish but you can purchase tickets through BusBud in English.

Mexico City is definitely worth visiting, with so much to do and see you'll want to visit again and again.

Mexico City FAQs

How Many Days Should I Spend In Mexico City?

There is so much to do and see in Mexico City that I wouldn’t recommend visiting for any less than three full days but I would give it more time if you have it. The city is large and sprawling so consider navigation time when you plan your days.

Mexico City also makes a fantastic digital nomad destination and there is easily enough here to keep you entertained for at least a couple of weeks.

Do They Speak English In Mexico City?

As a rule, no, people don’t speak English in Mexico City. Other than tour guides and some customer service positions at popular hotels and restaurants it is not common to find English speakers in Mexico City.

Mexicans speak Spanish, so if you find yourself off the tourist path and in local establishment you are sure to encounter a language barrier.

It is helpful to download Spanish Offline using the Google Translate app to have access to translations without internet. You can also download my Useful Mexican Words and Phrases Cheatsheet at the bottom of this page.

Should I Buy Travel Insurance For Mexico City?

Yes, everyone traveling internationally should purchase travel insurance. Travel can be unpredictable so it is a good idea to purchase a comprehensive plan which covers (at a minimum) emergency medical, emergency transportation and trip cancellation and interruption.

Summary: Is Mexico City Worth Visiting?

So, is Mexico City worth visiting? Hopefully by now you see that it definitely is. Believe me when I say Mexico City is world-class and somewhere I plan to return to time and time again. No matter how often I visit I’m always finding new things to fit into my itinerary in Mexico City.

There is so much to do from hot air balloons to Mexican wrestling, the people are fantastic, the food is incredible and the memories are just waiting to be made.