Welcome to the ultimate guide to 3 days in Mexico City to help you plan your ideal Mexico City itinerary and perfect stay. Learn about the best places to visit and see, where to stay and the best healthy and vegan-friendly eats in the Mexican capital.
Mexico City recently climbed to the top of my Latin America cities list. In fact, I’d say that it’s probably one of my favourite cities in the world. Full of life, modern and neo-classical architecture, some of the best museums in Latin America and an incredible culinary, cafe and bar scene, Mexico City has something for everyone. 3 days in Mexico City is not quite enough time to see it all but you’ll be able to get a good grasp of what this city can offer.
Beautiful, regenerated neighbourhoods like Roma Nrte and La Condesa are perfect to get lost in and explore the city’s many amazing restaurants and cafes. The historic city center will give you a glimpse into the history of the city and will allow you to learn a little more about Mexico’s culture while modern, new Polanco is a shopping and modern art heaven.
If that’s not enough you can explore all the parks and main attractions the city has to offer including the Templo Mayor, Chapultepec Park and the prehispanic city of Teotihuacan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site just outside the city.
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Air: Most international flights will land at the Mexico City International Airport which is located fairly close to the center of Mexico City. There are direct flights from most North American capital cities as well as direct flights from most large US and European cities.
From the airport, you can take the metro, if you don’t have a lot of luggage or an Uber which is another affordable way to get to your hotel from the airport.
A local taxi is also an alternative but they do tend to overcharge. It’s always a good idea to use Uber just to get a quote for your trip so you have a fair reference before getting into a local taxi.
Bus: Mexico City has four different bus stations and which one you arrive at will depend on where you’re coming from. The four bus stations adhere to the cardinal directions (north, south, east and west) and serve destinations going in that general direction.
Terminal Central del Norte is the most popular option and serves Teotihuacan, Jalisco, Baja California, Nayarit, Queretero and San Luis Potosi and all the northern states. If you’re coming from Oaxaca, Campeche, Chiapas, Puebla you’ll most probably arrive at Terminal Central del Sur.
Terminal de Autobuses de Pasajeros de Oriente (TAPO) or La Tapo serves eastern destinations like Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Oaxaca and Terminal Centro del Poniente serves Jalisco, Guerrero, Michoacan, Nayarit, Mexico State, Sonora etc.
Note that the bus terminals do overlap so if you’re coming from Oaxaca for example you could arrive at La Tapo or Terminal Central del Sur. Make sure to check your ticket or ask the driver about which station you’ll arrive at in Mexico City.
From whatever bus station you arrive at the best option is to get an Uber. It’s affordable, fast and safe. You’ll also see lots of taxi drivers around that will offer you a ride but we always stuck with Uber. Metro is also a possibility and a cheap way to get to your final destination, however, it’s not convenient if you have luggage.
Uber – Uber is your best friend when in Mexico City. It’s fast, safe and generally the cheaper option outside of peak times. During my 3 days in Mexico City, I just used Uber to get from one neighbourhood or district to another and I definitely walked a lot when exploring neighbourhoods themselves.
Public Transportation – As with most world capitals, Mexico City has a vast system consisting of metro and buses. Mexico City does have an extensive metro which is fairly fast and efficient to use but it does get extremely crowded.
Metro however is one of the best options during rush hour or for trips around the city if you’re on a budget.
To use the metro you can either buy a paper ticket at the ticket booth or a Metro Card which you can top up with pesos and use as you go. Metro Cards are available at ticket booths or taquillas for 10 pesos. For buses, you can only use Metro Cards.
If you’re in Mexico City for just 3 days then I don’t recommend wasting too much time on trying to work out the bus routes.
Walking – We did so much walking during our time in Mexico City. Walking is one of the best ways to get around neighbourhoods. It’s fairly fast and you can explore and discover different places as you go. It’s also a really good way to walk off all that amazing food you’ll be eating.
WHERE TO STAY IN MEXICO CITY
For ease of moving around the city, I highly recommend staying in Juarez, Roma Norte or La Condesa. Either one of these neighbourhoods is close to much of the top sights to see in Mexico City keeping travel to a minimum.
In these neighbourhoods, you’ll also find some of the best restaurants and bars as well as cafes perfect for brunch and breakfast. They are also the safest neighbourhoods to stay in.
Casa Emilia – Easily one of the best boutiques stays in the whole city, Casa Emilia is a gorgeous 6-suite hotel in the most beautiful modern mansion.
Surrounded by lush, green foliage, a fountain in the ‘living room’ style common area and beautifully decorated rooms, this is one of the best options in the city for couples. They also have a beautiful roof terrace, perfect for early morning journalling or meditation while listening to the city wake up. Rates include a delicious breakfast too.
La Valise, Mexico City – Located around the corner from Plaza Cibeles- one of the trendiest corners of Roma Norte, this unique hotel is housed in a converted colonial mansion.
You’ll find some seriously swoon-worthy suites here with unique design, decor and furniture. The space truly encompassed the beauty of Mexico City from decades ago. You can even request room service from Rosetta- arguably one of Mexico City’s best restaurants and pull the bed outside onto the terrace to enjoy the city from outside!
Octavia Casa – Relaxing earth tones, clean lines and well-lit, Octavia Casa is a gorgeous boutique hotel that’s a feast for the eyes. Located in a quiet part of La Condesa, yet close enough to all the action, a stay at Octavia Casa allows for true rest and relaxation during your stay. With all the mod-cons included, including breakfast and great coffee it makes a superb base for a few days.
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WHERE TO EAT
There are so many amazing places to eat in Mexico City that appeal to all tastes, budgets and lifestyles. Mexico City truly is a culinary destination and no 3 days in Mexico City itinerary can begin to even include them all.
From sophisticated brunch cafes to Michelin star deserving restaurants here are just a few suggestions of places you can’t miss.
La Rosetta – A Michelin star level restaurant, this is Mexico City’s best restaurant for locals and food critics. You have to reserve a table quite in advance to grab a spot here but it’s totally worth the effort.
Panaderia Rosetta – The bakery owned by La Rosetta restaurant. The perfect place to come for coffee and a croissant in beautiful surroundings.
Tacos el Huequito – One of the best taco hole-in-the-wall, street food places in Mexico city. Meat options only.
Eno – A chain with a few locations around Mexico, this vibey cafe is amazing for brunch and lunch. Oh, and the coffee is to-die-for.
Abarrotes Delirio – A sophisticated and cool deli and cafe. Perfect place for breakfast, lunch or just to grab a juice and coffee in the morning
Forever – Sophisticated plant-based food in Roma Norte. One of my favourite eats in Mexico City.
VEGuerrero – A typical Mexican food place just made vegan. Come here to try vegan tacos, flautas, salads, chilaquiles and pozole.
Churreria El Moro – An institution of Mexico City. Come here for chocolate and churros.
La Pitahaya Vegana – Another brilliant vegan restaurant in Roma Norte.
Gin Chan – Extremely high quality and authentic Japanese food run but a Japanese owner and chef. Make sure to come on Thursday nights for Ramen night.
3 DAYS IN MEXICO CITY ITINERARY
I’ve decided to write this Mexico City itinerary based on spending each day in one area of the city rather than travelling from one site to another throughout the city. You’ll soon see that Mexico City is GIGANTIC and it has quite a big problem with traffic, especially during the morning and evening rush hours.
To avoid traffic and to spend as little time in transit as possible I highly recommend focusing on a different area of Mexico City each day rather than going back and forth between districts. Each area is very walkable and it will allow you to explore and get the most out of these most beautiful neighbourhoods of Mexico City. It will also save you money on Ubers and precious time (it’s not uncommon to sit in an Uber for over an hour due to heavy traffic).
Note that this is quite a packed itinerary. There is quite a lot to see and experience in Mexico City and 3 days in Mexico City isn’t so much. If you prefer to explore at a slower pace feel free to pick and choose what interests you the most.
Begin day one of this Mexico City itinerary in the historic center. Like in most Latin American cities and Mexico City is no exception, you’ll find the main square with the city’s cathedral here.
Plaza de la Constitucion is the world’s third-largest public square and around it, you’ll find many neo-classical government buildings and of course the Metropolitan Cathedral. You’ll also find the Palacio Nacional ( National Palace) here- a palace with government offices that traditionally served as the seat of government.
Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral
Once you’ve taken in the sheer size of the square, head into the Metropolitan Cathedral. It’s one of the most beautiful and ornate in Mexico and if you pay close attention you’ll actually see it’s leaning to one size.
Mexico City is technically a city that’s constructed over marshland and with thousands of years of earthquakes added to the equation, the ground under the cathedral isn’t straight anymore