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Mexico Travel: Mexico City in 3, 4 & 5 Days — City Itinerary & Activity Recommendations

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In this post we outline how to spend three, four, or five days in Mexico City, Mexico.

Mexico City is the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the world and its 16 alcaldías (boroughs, officially designated as demarcaciones territoriales) are home to nearly 2,000 colonias (neighborhoods) each with their own history, culture and flair. For this reason, we consider three to five days in Mexico City as the briefest of introductions to this city.


Cities covered in this itinerary

  • Mexico City
  • Teotihuacán

The itinerary

Mexico City Area

Recommended Time

Area Notes

Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México

1/2 day

Home to iconic landmarks that date back to the Aztec era, Mexico City’s Historic Center is the capital’s beating heart including museums, historic buildings, and thriving culture.

Check out:
–Mexico City Zócalo: main square
—Templo Mayor: Main Aztec temple and central location of the entire Aztec empire
–Catedral Metropolitana: Spanish conquistadors built this opulent cathedral
–Palacio Nacional: 660-foot-long spanning an entire side of Zócalo square, inside has Diego Rivera murals
–Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts): Golden-domed structure with art-deco interior with murals from Mexican art giants
–Parque Alameda Central: beautiful sculptures and fountains
–Plaza Garibaldi: listen to mariachi music

Part of the “Historic Centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco” UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Coyoacán

1/2 day
A former village, Coyoacan is an example of the city’s rich history.
The neighborhood features many museums and parks, as well as preserved plazas and streets that date back as long as the 16th century.

Check out:
–Frida Kahlo House: where Khalo resided and did her art
–Coyoacán Market: 2-story marketplace
–Plaza Hidalgo: where Hernan Cortés’s house is located
–Jardin Centenario: famous coyote fountain, inaugurated for the centenary of Mexican independence
Polanco

3/4 day

One of Mexico City’s most upscale neighborhoods, Polanco is home to luxury shopping, world-class dining, historic theaters, art galleries, and museums.

Check out:
–Bosque de Chapultepec: largest city park in Mexico City (1,700-acre space), houses four museums (three noted below*), botanical gardens, large lake and zoo
Museo Nacional de Antropología*: Mesoamerican art
Museo Tamayo*: modern, contemporary, and folk art
Museo de Arte Moderno*: modern art
–Soumaya Museum: Carlos Slim’s personal art collection including works from Picasso, Renoir, Dali, Van Gogh
–Antara Fashion Hall: outdoor/indoor fashion shopping mall
–Lago DF: design boutique
–Pujol: Top Ten Best Restaurant in the World, make reservations months in advance

Engaged Abroad posts related to this area:
Related Posts
What To Do in Polanco, Mexico City: Our Guide & Recommended Walking Path
A Stay at Hyatt Regency Mexico City, Mexico
Roma

1/2 day

Colorful Roma is the hipster heart of Mexico City. Just west of Centro Historico and hugging the eastern edge of the Condesa neighborhood, Roma is the perfect place to stay in if you’re looking to shop at cute boutiques, sip incredibly good coffee, and enjoy close proximity to many of Mexico City’s biggest attractions. In 2011 it earned the title “Barrio Mágico”, or Magical Neighborhood, for having maintained its essence throughout the years.

Check out:
–Calle Álvaro Obregón: popular street
–Rosetta Bakery: baked goods
–Licorera Limantour: famous bar
–Plaza Río de Janeiro and Plaza Luis Cabrera: gorgeous squares
Condesa

1/2 day
La Condesa was the Mexican response to modernity. Few know that Mexico City is the city with the most Art Deco style architecture only after Miami. Keep a close eye out on fountains, walls and buildings and mansions for this architectural style.

Check out:
–Parque México: great people watching
–Calle Ámsterdam: tree-lined pedestrian walkway
–Art-deco architecture including Edificio Basurto, El Princesa and San Martín
Xochimilco3 hoursXochimilco was once a lake but is now a series of canals. Rent a trajinera (wooden, gondola-like boats painted in different colors) to travel down the canals.

Part of the “Historic Centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco” UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe + Teotihuacán3/4 dayBasílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is the chief religious centre of Mexico.

Teotihuacan was the largest city in the pre-Columbian
Americas. The site covers a total surface area of 83
square kilometers (32 sq. mi.) and was designated a
UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It is the most
visited archaeological site in Mexico.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México + Roma or Condesa (if you still have energy)
  • Day 2 – Coyoacán + Xochimilco
  • Day 3 – Polanco
  • Day 4 – Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe + Teotihuacán
  • Day 5 – Roma & Condesa (if you didn’t visit on day one)

Transport times by private car

Palacio de Bellas Artes in the historical center as a departure point:

  • Roma: 15-20 minutes
  • Coyoacán: 30-40 minutes
  • Polanco: 20-30 minutes
  • Condesa: 25-30 minutes
  • Xochimilco: 45 minutes – 1 hour
  • Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe + Teotihuacan: 45 minutes – 1 hour

Mode of transport — Private car and driver available for approximately $35/USD/hour


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