We've been to Mexico City three times this year. On our first trip we got the bus up from Oaxaca to meet friends for New Year's Eve. Well, it turns out New Year's Eve isn't such a big deal in Mexico. With everything closed, we ended up eating crisps in a hotel room and watching Chef's Table (which, let's face it, is pretty much my dream night anyway).
Our second visit was in February, when my sister came to see us. That's when I realised just how much there is to do in Mexico City. There are so many museums and markets and day trips. Even with a week, we struggled to fit everything in.
And we came back a third time a couple of weeks ago. We pretty much just camped out in Roma Norte (our new favourite neighbourhood), ate a lot of fish tacos and strolled around in the sun.
I liked it more each time we visited and now I'm singing its praises to everyone I meet (and I'm not the only one, The New York Times have named it their #1 travel destination this year).
So! Here are a few fun things to do in Mexico's capital:
The blue house Frida Kahlo shared with Diego Rivera is now a museum showcasing her iconic art and style, with some rooms turned into exhibition spaces and others left as they were. We loved her bright studio and wandering around her garden full of cacti.
The Museo Frida Kahlo is in Coyoacán, a nice area to explore afterwards. It's a good idea to book your tickets online or arrive before it opens to avoid the huge queue.
Mexico City's markets are huge. There's a whole market just for sweets, and another one for witchcraft. They're fascinating places to observe local life and learn about Mexican food and ingredients. There's also a big artisan handicrafts market selling colourful ceramics, blankets and Mexican wrestling t-shirts that are great for souvenirs. I'll be writing a full post on some of my favourite markets soon.
Having already been to Chichen Itza and Monte Alban, I wasn't sure whether the Teotihuacan pyramids would be as impressive. But they totally blew me away. The site is massive (it was one of the largest cities in the world during ancient times) and there are stunning views at the top.
How to get there: You don't need to go on a tour or have your own transport to visit the pyramids, although that can be fun too. We followed the instructions in this step-by-step guide, and it was super easy. As usual, go first thing to avoid the crowds
There are so many museums in Mexico City, but if you only have time for one, make it the Anthropology Museum. A massive space dedicated to artefacts from all over Mexico, it's one of the best museums we've been to. Other options: Museo Soumaya (amazing building), Museo de Arte Popular (handicrafts from around the country) and Palacio de Bellas Artes (various exhibitions in one of Mexico City's most iconic buildings).
One thing to bear in mind is that it's free for Mexican citizens to visit these museums on Sundays, so they're much busier then. And most of them are closed on Mondays.
There are also a huge number of art galleries to visit. My favourite was the Museo de Arte Moderno, but we also liked El Modo, Museo Tamayo and Museo Nacional de Arte. And there are lots of smaller galleries scattered around the city too.
Mexico City's Zócalo (main square) is surrounded by colonial buildings, a cathedral and a palace, some of which you can look around. It's in the heart of the historic centre and there are plenty of museums and galleries surrounding it, as well as Aztec ruins and a shopping area. If you're here around lunch time, we had a couple of great meals at Padrinos Centro, a restaurant with a vertical garden.
One of my favourite things to do in any city is to see it from up high, and in Mexico City, that means Torre Latinoamericana. It's M$90 to go up and the views over the city are great.
Biblioteca Vanscocelos is like a library from the future. It's a labyrinth of metal staircases that lead up to little balconies and reading nooks. A truly incredible building. And if you're into books, the El Pendulo bookstore chain is also worth checking out (the Polanco branch is the nicest).
Going to see lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) was high up on our list of things to do. And it was hilarious. It's always fun to see sporting events in other countries (and I say this as someone who is not usually into sports), but this was on another level. Colourful costumes and masks, dramatic moves and funny characters, it's so over the top and really fun to see how much the crowd gets into it.
The main stadium is Arena Mexico. You can buy tickets in advance from the ticket office or on the day. Cameras aren't allowed in the stadium, but phones are fine.
Lined with restaurants, Plaza Garibaldo (aka Mariachi Square) is the place to see traditional live music. Mariachi bands gather in the square and for a fee you can request as many songs as you like.
For more on Mexico City, read about my favourite neighbourhood – Roma Norte!
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