4 Day Mexico City Itinerary for Food, Art & Culture

4 Day Mexico City Itinerary for Food, Art & Culture

Mexico City is the 5th largest city in the world, with over 21 million people and a whopping 350 neighborhoods. With a city packed with so much culture and history, it can feel overwhelming deciding where to spend your time, what restaurants to eat at and what galleries and shops to visit.

Our mission was to find unique places and hidden gems that make the city so special. We spent almost 2 weeks exploring and have picked out what we think are the must-see spots for your 4 days in Mexico City.

We can easily say that Mexico City (also known as CDMX) is now one of our favourite cities in the world. The way the colourful city celebrates and preserves its indigenous roots is unlike many places we have visited. This shines through in their deep food culture with many cooking methods having a culinary heritage, and in their modern design, which takes inspiration from traditional textiles, colours and shapes.

If you love food and art and are looking to immerse yourself into the local culture, this 4 Day Mexico City itinerary is for you.

Outline: 4 Days in Mexico City



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Best time to visit Mexico City

You may surprised to hear that Mexico City is located 2,400 m (7,350 ft) above sea level on an ancient lake bed surrounded by mountains. A crazy fact is that it used to be an Aztec city on an island on Lake Texcoco, however the lake was drained over time by the Spanish to develop land for Mexico City. This location makes for a drier climate with warm days and cool nights.

The best time to visit Mexico City is from February - May for a few reasons:

  • You will avoid the rainy season from June - October
  • February - May has the highest average sunlight hours
  • The temperature is pleasant with highs reaching 22 °C - 26 °C.
  • In January, some of the best contemporary galleries are closed because they are setting up exhibitions for art week in February

Top Tip: If you are visiting Mexico City primarily to see the art, we highly recommend visiting for art week in February!

Getting around Mexico City

The cheapest way to get around Mexico City is by transit. The metro is 5 pesos per trip ($0.24 USD) and Metrobus 6 pesos per trip + 10 pesos for the rechargeable card. As a safety precaution, avoid taking the metro (especially alone) at nighttime, since crimes like muggings peak at night.

Uber is the most convenient way to get around the city and is great value. A 20 minute drive from the airport to Polanco cost us $5.68 USD and an 11 minute drive between Polanco and Roma cost us $2.75 USD.  

We tried out a taxi once and it was more expensive than what Uber quoted. With taxis you also have to pay in cash and worry about the driver not using the meter. They also don't have accountability or traceability through an app like Uber does.

Best area to stay in Mexico City

With 16 boroughs and more than 350 neighborhoods, Mexico City is enormous. You will want to stay in a neighborhood that is walking distance to happening spots, but also one that is easy to get around to other parts of the city.

We stayed in both Polanco and Roma and felt that Roma was by far the better area to stay. In Roma we had better access to most neighborhoods and we enjoyed its creative atmosphere. There were tons of eclectic eateries, galleries, boutiques and nightlife all within walking distance.

Where to stay in Roma

Ignacia Guest House in Roma

We stayed at two places in Roma and loved them both. Both were exceptionally designed and in a fabulous location.

Best for unique luxury: La Valise

The three-suite boutique hotel is located in a mansion and designed with beautiful custom Mexican furnishings and art. If you book the La Terraza suite, you can roll your bed out onto the terrace and watch a movie on the outdoor screen. Rooms start at $278 USD per night. See rates.

Best for a tranquil hideaway: Ignacia Guest House

After a big a day of exploring the bustling city, you will feel revived at this chic boutique hotel that feels like a home away from home. Five stylish rooms overlook the leafy garden with fruit trees and cacti. Each room has a colour theme: golden, rose, blue, green and black.

If you book the Negra room, you can choose to have their exceptional breakfast delivered right to your room. Every evening there is also a free cocktail hour, where you can sip a fruity cocktail in the garden. Rooms start at $248 USD per night. See rates.

4 Day Mexico City Itinerary

Day 1: Roma

Explore Mexico City's coolest neighborhood

Roma is known as the "Williamsburg of Mexico City", where stylish and artistic types congregate. Walking along the softly-coloured streets you will see Art Deco mansions turned boutique hotels and quirky cafes, bars, vintage stores and artisanal shops just around every corner.

A string of events led Roma to the bohemian neighborhood that it is today. In the late 19th/early 20th century it was an affluent area until wealthy residents moved out to newer neighborhoods in the mid-20th century. Roma then became a middle-class neighborhood until it was struck by a devastating 8.1 magnitude earthquake in 1985. It was one of the hardest hit neighborhoods and to this day you can still see remnants of the disaster in some of the roads and sidewalks.

A slow restoration of the area and cheap rents led to artists, poets and drifters moving in, creating a bohemian atmosphere. As with many artistic hubs in major cities, the alluring cultural atmosphere is gentrifying Roma over time.

Today you will be exploring this wonderful, colourful and spirited neighborhood full of history and change.

Daytime

Sip coffee and people watch at Panaderia Rosetta

One of the best ways to get to know a neighborhood is by sitting at an outdoor cafe and observing everything around you. Panaderia Rosetta is a chic European-style bakery by acclaimed chef Elena Reygadas and is well known for its pastries. It's a popular spot, so expect to wait for a spot outside. Try the Cardamomo, it's delicious!

Walk the pastel-coloured streets to discover unique boutiques

The shopping in Roma is excellent, so make sure you leave lots of room in your suitcase! We visited a ton of boutiques and these were our favourites:

Best boutique stores in Roma

  • Esculturas vivas - translated to "living sculptures", this artisanal shop sells funky vases and sculptures with carved faces that make it feel like you're bringing an amigo home. They were also featured in Elle Decor Mexico.
  • 180 Degrees - sells amazing jewelry and clothes from up-and-coming local designers.
  • Mother vintage store - our favourite vintage store we visited in cdmx. They have a well-curated selection of leather jackets, cowboy boots, accessories, shoes and handbags from Mexican brands.
  • Metate - a concept store selling artisanal Mexican housewares, accessories and clothes. We bought an authentic Yucatan basket and handmade black clay plates from Oaxaca.
  • Tana Karei - designer furniture and home decor store with natural and timeless pieces.
  • ATRA - a showroom of Swedish/Mexican contemporary furniture that is worth a visit even if you don't intend on buying anything.
  • Decada vintage furniture - if you're an interior design lover, don't miss this showroom of vintage midcentury pieces located in an unassuming warehouse. Founders Lucia Corredor and Cecilia Tena were just featured in the 2022 AD100 list. Email ahead to set up an appointment and ring the buzzer to get in.

Enjoy lunch in the gorgeous courtyard of Blanco Colima

Time for a break from shopping. Find yourself a table in the courtyard of the architecturally stunning Blanco Colima. The Porfirian-era (late 19th/early 20th century) mansion is the perfect setting for a refreshing lunch and mezcal cocktail.

Visit Gallery OMR

Gallery OMR is one of the most prominent contemporary art galleries in Mexico. Since its opening in 1983, it's paved the way for contemporary Mexican artists to gain international attention. The gallery has discovered some of the most well known Mexican artists today.

Sadly for us, we were visiting in January and they were closed - they were setting up their exhibition for art week in February. We plan to come back to Mexico City next year for art week and this gallery is at the top of our list.

Gallery OMR just opened another location called LAGO, located in Chapultepec Forest. Check out their current exhibitions and visit both if you have time!

Evening

Enjoy dinner at the buzzing Maximo Bistrot

Currently in Roma, two of the most talked about restaurants are Maximo Bistrot and Rosetta. We dined at both and recommend Maximo Bistrot over Rosetta. The service and ambience was better at Maximo Bistrot and the food more exciting. The French-Mexican restaurant focusses on using fresh, local ingredients and is ranked #33 in the 2021 Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants list. Make your reso online far in advance.

Drink cocktails at one of the world's best bars

Mexico City is becoming internationally known for its cocktail scene. In fact, four bars in the city are listed in the 2021 World's 50 Best Bars list: Licorería Limantour, Hanky Panky, Handshake and Baltra Bar. Usually bars on this prestigious list will set you back about $20 USD for each cocktail, however in Mexico City, cocktails of the same calibre are half this price!

We went to all four of these bars and Handshake was by far our favourite. The dark and sexy Art Deco interior, glamorous atmosphere, exceptional cocktails made with exotic ingredients and attentive service is what set this prohibition-style bar apart from the others.

Hanky Panky

At Hanky Panky, the reservation system is frustrating. Even when you make an online reservation you need to message them in advance to confirm your spot and you can still expect to wait to get inside. Hanky Panky also had our least favourite cocktails of the four bars. The ambience here was funky and cool, but we were unfortunately sat at a long table down the stairs behind the speakers. It felt like we were outside of the action, since our server kept forgetting about us.

Licorería Limantour and Baltra Bar both have great cocktails, however they were missing the "wow factor" that Handshake had with its atmosphere.

Day 2: Polanco

Explore Mexico City's upscale neighborhood & indulge on exceptional street food

Polanco is an elegant neighborhood where you will find high-end shops, world renowned fine-dining restaurants and ritzy apartments along quiet side streets. Sometimes we find that posh neighborhoods in major cities can be boring, however there are gems throughout Polanco that make it stand out.

Today you will be eating as much flavourful street food as you can and visiting some of the neighborhood's must-see spots.

Daytime

See one of the largest contemporary art collections at Museo Jumex

Step inside the peculiar shaped concrete cube by architect David Chipperfield to find one of the biggest private collections of contemporary art in Latin America. There are around 2,800 works from notable artists like Andy Warhol and Damien Hurst, as well as changing exhibitions.

Note: Museo Jumex is closed on Mondays

Don't miss seeing this architectural gem next door to Museo Jumex

Next door to Museo Jumex you can also get a look at the futuristic and shapeless building designed by architect Fernando Romero.

Try authentic Mexican dishes on a street food crawl

Some of the best food Mexico City has to offer is from street vendors. Really, you have to try it. The quality and value of the food is incredible. We found a quiet street in Polanco called Lago Victoria that had street vendor after street vendor. It's beside Hospital Español, so we figured it's where hospital workers (locals!) ate for lunch.

Strip of food vendors on Lago Victoria street

Go for a food crawl and tick off some of these delicious and authentic Mexican dishes:

  • Chilaquiles - this plate of corn tortilla chips simmered in green or red salsa and topped with crumbled cheese is so addictive, I craved it every morning. Order it with chicken if available.
  • Tacos de Canasta (basket tacos) - if you see a basket on a bicycle it's most likely Tacos de Canastra, a steamed taco typically served for breakfast. It's loaded with anything from potato and beans to chicken and lamb.  
  • Tamales - open the banana leaf or corn husk to find a savoury mixture of vegetables or meat with masa (a dough made from dried corn).
  • Gorditas - the thick corn tortilla made from masa is fried in a skillet and filled with ingredients like beans, chicken, carne asada, cheese and salsa.
  • Torta - translated to "sandwich", a torta is a bun topped with meat, sauce, and fresh veggies like tomatoes, avocado and onion.
  • Mole -  made with chili peppers and chocolate, mole is a rich sauce that comes from pre-hispanic times. There are many variations to try, such as black, green and red mole. We had mole served on top of enchiladas - a rolled corn tortilla with a savoury filling.
  • Quesadillas - a tasty snack of a corn tortillas folded in half with a small amount of melted Mexican cheese (Oaxaca, Manchego or Chihuahua). Dip it in salsa or guacamole.
  • Churros - finish off with a sweet treat of fried dough topped with cinnamon sugar

Shop Polanco's unique boutiques

Polanco is known for its higher-end shopping with designer stores and commercial shops peppered throughout. Look past the commercial shops to discover some of the best boutiques in the city.

These stores are a must-visit in Polanco:

  • IKAL - a concept store with gorgeous housewares, jewelry and clothing from Mexico's best designers. We bought a volcanic stone bowl with a wooden lid that keeps your tortillas warm (called at Tortillero).
  • Lago - carries unique housewares and clothing from emerging Latin American designers. We bought a couple of gorgeous clay vases for our home.
  • Xinu perfume - it's an experience visiting this stunning ethnobotanical perfume store. Buzz to get inside and walk up the stairs find a beautiful lab-like table with six unisex perfumes to try. The artisanal perfumery uses high-quality raw ingredients from Latin American plants and flowers. The scents are sultry and complex yet subtle and chic. I chose Monstera (No. 4) and Ari the Aguamadera (No. 1).

Evening

Eat mouthwatering tacos and panuchos for dinner at El Turix

Panucho at El Turix

On the plane ride over to Mexico City, a sweet older man who grew up in the city recommended this hole-in-the-wall taqueria. It's famous for its cochinita pibil (Yucatan BBQ shredded pork) tacos and panuchos. A handful of juicy pulled pork is slapped onto the tortilla and topped with pickled onion. It's then up to you to add your desired condiments on top.

Make sure you try the panucho version which is like a taco, but the tortilla is fried and topped with beans. It was one of my favourite things I ate in the city.

Finish the night off with drinks at Ticuchi

Ticuchi in Polanco

Switch it up from the casual street food joints and finish the night off at Ticuchi, a dimly lit bar with an impressive round skylight that gives it James Turrell vibes. Shining candlelight nicely contrasts the black walls and furniture and exciting music fills the space.

It feels like you're in an exclusive bar in the space station with moonlight shining through a porthole, but once you take a sip of strong artisanal Mezcal you're reminded that you've found a hidden gem in CDMX.

Top Tip: This is a great place to try out Mezcal, also ask for the unexpectedly delicious off-menu tamale.

Day 3: San Miguel Chapultepec & Juarez

Visit architecturally inspiring San Miguel Chapultepec and hang out in up-and-coming Juarez

Colourful San Miguel Chapultepec neighborhood

Start your day by walking through San Miguel Chapultepec, a bright neighborhood with an emerging art scene, and tour a home built by one of Mexico's most famous architects.

Daytime

Go on an architectural tour of one of Luis Barragan's homes

Luis Barrangan was a famous Mexican architect and modernist who heavily influenced contemporary architects with his use of vivid colours and light. He was awarded the most prestigious award in architecture, the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 1980.  

You will be amazed with how his use of colours and transitionary spaces play with your senses. We went on two architectural tours of Luis Barrangan designed homes, Casa Luis Barragan and Casa Gilardi. See which one is right for you in our review below - or if you have time, go to both!

Casa Luis Barragan

Casa Luis Barragan was the home and workshop of the renowned architect, which he built for himself in 1948. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, it's the only private residence in Latin America to achieve such distinction. You don't need to be an architecture buff to enjoy the one-hour tour. You will learn about his innovative and artistic use of colour, textures, shadows and light.

The only drawback of this tour is how difficult it is to get tickets, since there are limited spots. Tickets typically go on sale 2 weeks before the date and they go fast, so set a calendar reminder for your desired date! The price is $400 MXN per international guest (~$19.50 USD).

Casa Gilardi

Built in 1976, Casa Gilardi was the last home Luis Barragan designed before his passing. He was commissioned by a family who, to this day, give tours of their house.

A highlight was transitioning through a deep yellow hallway into the indoor pool room that extraordinarily combined the use of colours, shapes, natural light and shadows. It's so impressive that internationally renowned artist James Turrell stayed here for a month to examine the use of light.

It's easier to get tickets for Casa Gilardi since it's not a comprehensive tour. Our tour guide talked about the house for about 5 minutes and then we were left to explore the upstairs of the house. About 15 minutes later he brought us down to the lower level for the last part of our tour. Our tour guide was available for questions, but it was more of a self-guided tour compared to the detailed format given at Casa Luis Barrangan.  

For tickets, email casagilardi@gmail.com directly. The price is $300 MXN per person (~$14.50 USD).

Visit a contemporary art gallery in San Miguel Chapultepec

After your architectural tour, walk around multicoloured San Miguel Chapultepec to visit some of neighborhood's eclectic galleries. Contemporary galleries worth seeing are LABOR and Kurimanzutto. Check out their website for current exhibitions. We were there for Kurimanzutto's Art Book Fair, a happening event where we saw a glimpse into Mexico City's art scene. In the back of the space is a cute cafe.

Hang out in the up-and-coming Juarez neighborhood

Cicatriz in Colonia Juarez 

Time for lunch! Take an Uber to Cicatriz, a trendy industrial-style eatery in the Juarez neighborhood. Friends and expats like to meet up in this buzzing space that opens up onto a plaza. Refuel here with a few bites and a tasty cocktail before setting out to browse the trendy shops in Juarez.  

Juarez is becoming one of Mexico City's hottest in-the-know neighborhoods. Juarez has a similar story to Roma, where wealthy residents moved to newer, more desirable neighborhoods in the early 20th century, paving the way for artistic types to move in. Today the abandoned French-Colonial mansions have been transformed into design houses, local designer shops, quirky cafes and hip bars.

Best boutique stores in Colonia Juarez:

  • Marsella 68 - a concept store selling clothing, jewelry and housewares from independent designers. I bought a funky swimsuit here.
  • CIHUAH - sells structural modern pieces with a blend of traditional Mexican design. The designer was born in France, but has lived in Mexico for over a decade.  I bought a few pieces of clothing and a gorgeous rope art piece that hangs on the wall.
  • Carla Fernadez - flagship store of the Mexican fashion designer who works with indigenous communities to preserve textile traditions in Mexico.
  • Bazaar Fusion- a two floor-bazaar with a collection of local Mexican brands
  • Daniel Liebsohn - located in a strip mall of small galleries selling artwork and antiques, Daniel Liebsohn is the most impressive. Known as one of the top antique dealers in CDMX, each piece is fascinating and full of history.

Evening

Devour authentic Al Pastor tacos at El Vilsito

Out of all the street food joints I ate at in Mexico City, El Vilsito wins first place. The car mechanic shop by day turns into one of the most iconic al pastor taquerias in the city. Stepping up to the the open-air taqueria feels like a social affair. The happening spot is packed with locals and tourists standing at tables, chatting and devouring mouthwatering tacos. El Vilsito is located about a 20 minute drive south of the centre, but it's worth it.

Al Pastor tacos at El Vilsito

The concept of al pastor was introduced by Lebanese immigrants in the 1930s. Spit roasted pork (like the spits you see at shawarma shops) is shaved onto a corn tortilla with onion, cilantro and pineapple. Each shop has their own unique spice rub on the pork, so al pastor is different everywhere you go. But, we find it's the sweet hit of pineapple that really makes them so delicious.

After the first bite of our taco, everything became a euphoric blur. We ordered more and more al pastor tacos - three rounds in total. After finishing it off with a Gringa (al pastor with a flour tortilla and cheese), I rolled into an Uber and slipped into a food coma.

You can learn more about El Vilsito in the Netflix documentary, Taco Chronicles.

Finish the night off at Departamento or Paramo

Departamento

If you're not too stuffed from al pastor tacos, head over to one of Roma's lively nighttime joints. For dancing, check out Departamento. This two story venue has a proper nightclub on the main floor and a great rooftop patio/lounge. It's here where you can listen to the latest Mexican-inspired house music and dance with friendly locals.  

If you're looking to sit and have a drink in a fun atmosphere that isn't touristy, Paramo is the spot. They play great music at just the right volume to make the space lively even if it's not full. We visited a few times during our stay.

Day 4: Frida Kahlo Museum / San Angel

Visit the inspiring Frida Kahlo Museum and explore the charming San Angel neighborhood

Your last day in Mexico City will take you to San Angel, a charming neighborhood located in the southwest outskirts of the city and to the Frida Kahlo Museum, the birthplace of one of Mexico's greatest artists. Plan to visit San Angel on a Saturday so you can shop the Saturday Bazaar.

Daytime

Walk through Frida's home at the Frida Kahlo Museum

Frida Kahlo was a prominent painter from 1925-1954, who is now one of the most iconic figures of Mexican culture. Known for her self-portraits, one of her paintings recently sold for a record breaking $34.9 million dollars - the highest in Latin American history.

Frida Kahlo had a bold and fascinating life. After surviving a tragic bus accident that broke her pelvic bone, spine and legs, she was left bed-ridden for months. This is where she grew her passion for painting. Her influential art is a representation of her progressive political views and female sexuality, which has made her a feminist icon today.

We highly recommend watching the movie Frida (2002) before coming to Mexico City. Not only will you learn about her controversial life, you will also get to see Mexico City in a unique lens.

At La Casa Azul (The Blue House) you will get to walk through the house and garden where Frida grew up and where she learned how to paint. Make sure you buy your tickets online in advance. For international visitors, they cost $250 MXN (~$15.50 USD) per person).

Top tip: go on this tour first before shopping, since you can only walk around with a bag as big as a small backpack.

Sit in the back garden for lunch at Bistro 83

After your tour, it's a short drive over to San Angel, a lovely neighborhood known for its cobblestone streets, cute shops and art markets.

First, stop for a refreshing lunch at Bistro 83, an elegant restaurant with a beautiful back garden terrace. It's a popular spot, so make a reso in advance.

Have a Mezcal tasting at Mezcal El Bueno

After lunch, don't miss the hole-in-the-wall Mezcal shop in the same building that sells some of the best artisanal Mezcal in the city. You can have a great conversation and will learn about the process by which the wild agave plants (not farmed) are found and processed into the quintessential Mexican spirit.  

Shop the Saturday Bazaar

After your Mezcal tasting, walk the cobblestone streets over to Plaza San Jacinto and Plaza Tenanitla to shop the Saturday Bazaar. Over a hundred stalls are set up selling traditional handcrafts, art, jewelry, and housewares. It was the best market we went to in Mexico City. We bought a large hand-woven rug and some jewelry.

If you're unable to fit a Saturday into your itinerary, there are some cute shops around the area that you can visit instead.

Stop in at Fonart on your way back to the centre

Fonart has an amazing selection of indigenous handicrafts, like pottery, ceramics, textiles and carvings. The government sponsorship ensures high quality products and fair wages for the Mexican artisans. Stop at Fonart Patriotismo, the largest of their locations and browse their beautiful products.

Evening

Eat at one of the World's 50 Best Restaurants

Interior of Pujol

With Mexico's traditional cuisine listed on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List, it's no wonder you will find some of the best restaurants in the world here. In Mexico City, two of its fine-dining restaurants have made the distinguished list of the World's 50 Best Restaurants: Pujol (#9) and Quintonil (#27). We tried both and they were outstanding for different reasons. For your last night, treat yourself to a culinary adventure of Mexican fine-dining.

Pujol: best for ambience

When you step inside Pujol you are immediately pulled into a remarkable glowing space that brings the outdoors into the indoors. The ambience makes you feel like you've been invited to one of the most exclusive and alluring restaurants in the city. The restaurant is famed for its mole madre that has been aged more than 1,000 days - a prime example of how they honour Mexico's indigenous culinary history.

Taco Omakase at the bar

Pujol offers a tasting menu and taco omakase (tasting) menu. With their taco omakase menu you sit at the bar, whereas with the tasting menu you sit at a table in the dining room. We tried both and preferred the food and setting of the tasting menu more.

Quintonil: best for the culinary experience

We ordered the 10-course tasting menu at Quintonil and it was the first time at a fine-dining restaurant that we loved every single dish and wine pairing! This was totally mind blowing, usually there are dishes that are a "miss" but not this time. Authentic flavours are presented through advanced culinary techniques making each dish delicate yet impactful. From the spider crab in green mole to the cactus sorbet, it was perfection.

Compared to Pujol, what Quintonil lacked was in its ambience and interior design. Inside Quintonil it was a bit too bright and the music too soft to stimulate more energetic conversation. But it was no matter, the food more than made up for it.

If you're on a budget, Quintonil is a great choice since they also have a al-carte menu where you can choose your items, a rarity for a restaurant of this calibre.

Our Top 12 travel tips for Mexico City

1. Watch the Taco Chronicles before your trip

Taco Chronicles is a TV series available on Netflix that explores different types of tacos, like al pastor, carnitas, asada, barbacoa and canasta (basket tacos). It's a great show to binge watch right before visiting Mexico City, so you're familiar with the different types of tacos. Your stomach will be rumbling!

2. Don't be afraid of street food

You can get some of the best and cheapest bites from food vendors on the street. Watch the stands to see where the locals are eating at and be wary of eating meat in the morning, since it's usually leftovers from the night before. Tacos are only around 20 Pesos so you're paying a fraction of what you will in a restaurant.

3. Include a Saturday in your stay

Saturdays are when some of the best markets are happening, like the Saturday Bazaar. Many places are closed on Sundays and Mondays.

4. Double check opening hours on the business' website or Facebook/Instagram Page

Google is unreliable especially due to the pandemic - we were led astray many times.

5. Carry Mexican Pesos with you

Most places accept credit card, however you will need Mexican Pesos for most markets and street food vendors. Using US dollars is not a thing like it is in popular tourist destinations like Cancun.

6. Taste different types of Mezcal, not just Tequila

Did you know that Tequila is just one type of Mezcal made from one variety of agave? Agave is a desert plant that looks like a gigantic pineapple and there are a whopping 29 different varieties of it that can make Mezcal! What grapes are to wine is what agave is to Mezcal. We went Mezcal crazy and packed our wine suitcase full of it.

7. Some art galleries are by appointment only, email them in advance to avoid disapppointment.

Contacting the art galleries in advance will also confirm if they have current exhibitions.

8. Don't be deterred from visiting a shop if you only see a doorbell and address

Some of the galleries and shops we visited had no sign and just a doorbell and address. We would have missed out on some amazing places if we didn't buzz to get in! When they answer just say you are here to visit [name of place].

9. On your way to or from the airport, stop at El Pastorcito and Los Gueros for outstanding al pastor tacos

El Pastorcito

About 10 minutes away from the airport on Lorenzo Botuni Street you will find some of the most authentic taco joints in the city. We got the tip from the TV series, Taco Chronicles.

When you see the bright red and yellow buildings you will know you've arrived. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. We felt very welcome at El Pastorcito and Los Gueros and were excited to see we were the only tourists there!  At 18 pesos per al pastor taco, it's incredible value.

10. Tell your waiter the tip before taking the card machine

Card machines don't have an automatic option for tip. Just tell your waiter what percent or dollar amount to add beforehand. People generally tip 10%-20% at restaurants.

11. A little Spanish goes a long way

Most of the street food vendors do not speak English. So learning how to order in Spanish will make life a bit easier. Of course, just learning Hello (Hola) and Thank You (Gracias) combined with a mix of non-verbal pointing and hand gesturing will get you through!

12. If you only have one choice:

  • Best neighbourhood to stay in? Roma
  • Best time to visit? Art week in February
  • Art gallery or architecture tour? Tour Casa Luis Barragan
  • The one taco you must eat: Al Pastor from El Vilsito
  • The one breakfast item you should try? Chilaquiles
  • Pujol or Quintonil? Pujol tasting menu
  • Mexican drink you must try: Michelada (Beer with lime juice and a salt rim)
  • The best Mezcal & tasting? El bueno, try the Tepeztate
  • Best cocktail bar? Handshake

Enjoy your 4 days in Mexico City! We know we will be back. After our trip, we flew back home into Vancouver and our winter looked greyer than ever - a complete contrast from the colourful city we just came from.

Start planning your trip to Mexico City

  • 🧳 Book your accommodation: Booking.com is our go-to for finding places to stay. Sort by top reviewed.
  • 🛫 Book your flight to Mexico City: use Skyscanner to compare flights across different airlines (we recommend booking direct with the airline however).
  • 🏥 Travel insurance: World Nomads. Already traveling? You can purchase insurance with World Nomads while you're abroad. A 48-hour waiting period just applies for coverage.

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