Insider's Guide to Mexico City

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3 Days in Mexico City: Suggested Itineraries

By Viator, May 2015

4.5 167 Reviews | Add your review

Vast Mexico City is a metropolis of epic proportions, a densely populated valley of broad, shady boulevards, vast and crowded markets, skyscraper-studded business districts, and quiet Spanish Colonial neighborhoods. Though this maze can seem intimidating to the uninitiated, this is one of the world’s great cities, a cultural milieu of world-class museums, artistic traditions, and tasty street cuisine that must be experienced to be believed. Step right into the busy streets and begin your exploration.

While some travelers will be able to walk right into busy Mexico City’s dynamic daily life without introduction, others may find it easier to begin with a guided tour. Either way, begin in the museum- and monument-packed city center, where there’s always something interesting on. Other destinations within this urban sprawl could be day trips on their own: the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan, the massive and mysterious City of the Gods that awed even the Aztecs; the Hanging Gardens of Xochimilco, accessible only by boat; and Chapultepec Park, with a week’s worth of attractions on its own. Mexico City also makes a convenient, comfortable base for excursions around central Mexico.

Day 1: Getting to Know El Centro

Though the city sprawls, most destinations are clustered in the old Aztec city center, once known as Tenochtitlán. Today, what was once a pyramid-topped island in Lake Texcoco is the federal capital of Mexico, centered on one of the world’s largest squares, now called the Zócalo. Today, this plaza is landlocked, but the ancient urbanization still surrounded by some of the country’s finest buildings. The Templo Mayor (Great Temple), once the Aztec’s most important religious center, remains somewhat intact. Most indigenous buildings were replaced by marvels of Spanish architecture centuries ago, however, including the Metropolitan Cathedral and National Palace. An excellent metro system links the Zócalo to other historical sites, including Chapultepec Park and the Frida Kahlo Museum, though those pressed for time could book a tour.

Day 2: Around Mexico City

If you hit the city’s highlights yesterday, perhaps with a guide who explained a bit about local culture and getting around town, you could return to the fascinating city center or Chapultepec Park for more in-depth exploration. But there’s much more to see in the far corners of this urban jungle. Don’t miss the ancient city of Teotihuacán, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the city, where solemn rows of sacred step pyramids were built long before the Aztecs arrived, around 300 AD, by little-understood, but remarkably advanced culture. Or, head to the southern border of the city’s sprawl, where the Hanging Gardens of Xochimilico line the islands and canals through the last remnants Lake Texcoco, which once covered most of modern Mexico City. Either way, spend the evening experiencing one of Mexico City’s most famous spectacles, Ballet Folklorico at the marvelous Palace of Fine Arts.

Day 3: Day Trips from Mexico City

Though Mexico City offers attractions enough – world-class museums, bohemian neighborhoods, sporting events, and some of the best nightlife in the hemisphere - to keep a visitor busy for months, you may find yourself wanting a few hours (or days) of relief from the honking horns and inescapable crush of sidewalk vendors. Happily, Mexico City is convenient to several fabulous destinations. Quiet Cuernavaca, a posh little resort town in the mountains above the big city, has been a favorite escape for generations of upper-crust Mexicans. Or head further out into wild Mexico, to beautiful, isolated Taxco, most famous for its handcrafted silver jewelry, but also home to a gorgeous church and wonderful hiking trails.

Tours & Tickets

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Teotihuacan Pyramids and Shrine of Guadalupe

4.5 star rating: Recommended 542 Reviews

Experience the ancient City of the Gods on a visit to the archaeological site of Teotihuacan. Your full day guided tour will highlight the complexities of ...  Read more

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 11 hours (approx.)

From USD $48.99

Teotihuacan Pyramids Hot-Air Balloon Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 26 Reviews

Experience the Teotihuacan Pyramids from a whole new angle - looking down on them from the sky! This guided hot-air balloon adventure from Mexico City is a ...  Read more

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 4.5 - 8 hours

From USD $216.99

Mexico City Super Saver: Coyoacán and Frida Kahlo Museum plus Xochimilco and National University

4 star rating: Recommended 61 Reviews

Take advantage of this Super Saver combining two best-selling tours in Mexico City at a discounted price. In one day, uncover the colonial charms of ...  Read more

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $54.99
$94.99 Save $40.00

Early Morning Teotihuacan Pyramids Tour with a Private Archeologist

4.5 star rating: Recommended 350 Reviews

Visit the pyramids at Teotihuacan – City of the Gods – on this archeological tour from Mexico City with a specialized guide. Arrive early at the UNESCO World ...  Read more

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $38.99

Taxco and Cuernavaca from Mexico City

4 star rating: Recommended 132 Reviews

Soak up the perfect climate of 'The City of Eternal Spring', Cuernavaca and enjoy a scenic drive to Taxco, the colonial silver mining city on a full day ...  Read more

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)

From USD $65.99

Mexico City Sightseeing Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 123 Reviews

Immerse yourself in Mexico City on a city tour offering something for everyone. Whether you're passionate about history and art, or just yearning for ...  Read more

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $47.99

Private Tour: Teotihuacan Pyramids Day Trip from Mexico City with an Archeologist

4.5 star rating: Recommended 17 Reviews

Visit the archeological site of Teotihuacan – a UNESCO World Heritage site – on this private tour from Mexico City with an expert archeologist guide. As you ...  Read more

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $51.99

Polanco Food Tour in Mexico City

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 42 Reviews

Set foot in Mexico City’s Polanco neighborhood, known as a foodie paradise, and head off the beaten path to seven great eateries. Sample authentic Mexican food ...  Read more

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $79.99

Mexican Wrestling: Experience Lucha Libre in Mexico City

4.5 star rating: Recommended 33 Reviews

Spend an entertaining evening in Mexico City watching an authentic, live Mexican wrestling match amid fans of one of Mexico’s favorite spectator sports. Watch ...  Read more

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $36.99

Mexico City Super Saver: Teotihuacán Pyramids Early-Morning Access plus City Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 16 Reviews

See the old and the new in Mexico City in one day, and take another day to wander the UNESCO World Heritage site of Teotihuacán, the City of the Gods. ...  Read more

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 2 days

From USD $74.99
$86.99 Save $12.00

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