If you’ve been to Mexico City or have heard anything about it, you might be aware of its size and how many things there are to see, eat, and do here. Think: endless options. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to accomplish everything on your list if you’re here for just a short visit since the city is sprawling and packed full of interesting sites. If you enjoy slow travel and taking in your experiences mindfully, you’ll want to strategically plan your time in Mexico City. Lindsay and I were lucky enough to spend 20 whole days exploring the city. We intentionally stayed in four different neighborhoods and hotels and ate our fair share of food. We accomplished quite a bit of sightseeing, as well, and we’re recommending what we consider to be the best things to do in Mexico City (outside of the obvious visit to Teotihuacan). This is by no means an exhaustive list, but based on our travel preferences (which boil down to eating, walking, seeing beautiful things, and learning about the local culture), we found these activities to be a great sampling of what Mexico City has to offer. Here are the ten things that made our list:

  1. Pick the neighborhood you want to stay in carefully, because as we mentioned in our first post on Mexico City, commuting between different neighborhoods can take up to two hours depending on traffic. We found the most conveniently-located neighborhood to be Colonia Roma Norte. As always, we like to offer budget lodging recommendations for travelers who are looking for more wallet-friendly places to stay. Our budget lodging pick that is clean, comfortable, and has a stellar location in Roma Norte is Anys Hostal. We will detail the hostel at the end of this post.
  2. Normally we don’t take tour buses, but in Mexico City’s case, the Turibus is key in helping you understand the layout of the city. A day pass costs $140 pesos (about $7) and you hop on and off as you please all day long, from 9am to 9pm. The Turibus ticket comes with headphones that you can put on for a recorded tour in your chosen language. If you’re staying in Roma Norte at Anys Hostal, you can catch the bus at the beautiful plaza of Fuente de Cibeles or at the Angel of Independence. Check out the website for the different route options. This is a great way to hit up all of Mexico City’s hot spots in a day or two.
  3. The National Museum of Anthropology is a must-see. The museum itself is structurally-interesting and beautiful, and features two floors of artifacts that we guarantee will take your breath away, even if you’re not a history/archaeology/anthropology buff. A local told us that you could easily spend three days in the museum and still not see everything. After visiting, we would have to agree. It would be worth researching the different rooms beforehand and picking the themes that most interest you as not to overexert yourself.
  4. The Bosque de Chapultepec, right across the road from the National Museum of Anthropology, is a sprawling city park that’s nearly 1,700 acres and features many attractions such as a zoo, a botanical garden, and a Modern Art Museum. things-to-do-in-mexico-city-visit-bosque-chapultapec
  5. Go on a self-curated food tour. We found that many of the organized food tours were a bit overpriced, so we recommend that you just head out and find your own favorites. It’s not difficult to find good food in Mexico City. In fact, we only had one negative dining experience in all of our days there. If you splurge on only one night of fine dining, head to Rosetta. It’s within walking distance from Anys Hostal.
  6. Take a stroll along Amsterdam Ave., making stops at Parque Espana and Parque Mexico.
  7. Take a photo at the most photographed site in the city, Angel of Independence. The statue celebrates the country’s victory in its War of Independence, and can be found on a roundabout on the major thoroughfare of Paseo de la Reforma. This also isn’t too far of a walk from Anys Hostal, and if you are in Mexico City over NYE, this is a recommended spot from which to view the fireworks.
  8. Stop by Rococo Cafe for what 9 out of 10 Mexicans (or at least the ones we asked) consider the best coffee in the city. For iced coffee, go to Publico for their coconut iced latte.
  9. Walk through Alameda Central Park, the city’s oldest park, created in 1592.
  10. Xochimilco, which means ‘Place of the Flowers’ in Náhuatl, is famous for its waterways surrounding the ancient city of Tenochtitlan, which is now within modern-day Mexico City. Hiring a boat and grabbing a beer to sip on while gliding through the waterways is a nice way to pass an afternoon. Just be sure not to overpay here, and try to get on a boat with other Mexicans as to get a group rate that isn’t tourist-priced. For an hour of sailing, it should be around 60-100 pesos ($3-5 USD). You might have to spend some time haggling the price down, but we were given specific instructions by locals not to let the guys at the port rip us off, so we suggest you follow the same advice!things-to-do-in-mexico-city-floating-flower-gardens
  11. Museo Soumaya was designed by the Mexican architect Fernando Romero and houses Carlos Slim’s personal art collection. With over 66,000 works of art, it is the most visited art museum in Mexico. Also, it’s free and the building is architecturally amazing. Wouldn’t you agree? There are two museum locations, and we recommend the Plaza Carso location, because it looks like this:things-to-do-in-mexico-city-visit-sumaya-musuem-for-free
  12. Keep an eye on local festivities like those occurring during Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Day of the Dead, Christmas, and Semana Santa.things-to-do-in-mexico-city-virgin-de-guadalupe

*** Normally we don’t post things we don’t love, but for the sake of saving you time, we wanted to mention two things we don’t recommend: the Frida Kahlo and the Palacio de Bellas Artes museums. We went to the Frida Kahlo museum on a Sunday, so it was very crowded. The museum’s staff made us stay in a single-file line, so exploring the area was a bit difficult and the way traffic was handled made us feel like cattle being herded through she and Diego’s home. Belles Artes houses massive murals painted by famous artists like Diego Rivera. The palacio itself is a beautiful and regal site to see from the outside, but the way the murals are displayed in the museum don’t do them justice, and the museum is dark and not very well-organized. If you have limited time, we don’t recommend these places. If you are a Kahlo and Rivera fan, we have heard good things about the Museo Dolores Olmedo, which might be a nice alternative to the Frida Kahlo museum, though we haven’t been there ourselves.***


Now, as we mentioned before, we really enjoyed staying in Roma Norte at Anys Hostal. While it’s called a “hostel,” it is much more like a hotel, with private rooms for its guests. We’d describe it as a no-frills, but nice, safe, affordable, and comfortable place to stay. The property has been passed down three generations, and the current owner, Alfonso Diaz, transformed his grandfather’s 19th century mansion into this hotel. He is planning to expand the place a bit, so soon, it might include a dorm room of four beds, along with 3 mini-apartments with kitchenettes, and six other private rooms.

Best Things to Do in Mexico City During Your Stay at Anys Hostel in Colonia Roma


Anys Hostal WOW Factors:

  • Location, location, location. We all know the old adage regarding location, and in Mexico City, it makes all the difference when it comes to how you’ll enjoy seeing the city’s sites. Roma Norte is a great spot because it’s 600 meters (about a 10 minute walk) from the main thoroughfare, Paseo de la Reforma, not to mention being close to other things you’ll definitely want to see/eat/do.
    • Number one through eight on our list of Best Things to Do in Mexico City are all within walking distance of Anys Hostal. Also, if you find yourself wanting to use the bus, there are buses that go up and down Reforma as their only route. For 5.5 pesos (about $.25 USD) you can hop on and off a bus on this road and see a lot of Mexico City’s greatest sites.
  • The hotel owner, Alfonso Diaz, is such a nice person and really enjoys hosting his guests. He is incredibly welcoming, but also gives you your privacy. Every time we came back through Mexico City, he offered to have us back, and never failed in giving us great travel tips for all over Mexico, as well as storing our luggage while we were away.
  • The hotel is family-friendly, and offers spaces for up to four guest that include a kitchen and one and a half baths.
  • There is an outdoor garden and terrace that can be used to enjoy breakfast, coffee, or simply spend time reading or chatting with friends. Alfonso tells us that this space will be expanded with the new renovations.
  • There is an on-site restaurant that offers coffee, pizza, and other simple foods a la carte.
  • The rooms are very spacious so you’ll be able to spread out, repack if you need to, do yoga, or accomplish whatever else you might conjure up to utilize the spaciousness (an impromptu dance party, perhaps?).
  • Prices for a room at Anys Hostal start at $45 USD. {Cash payments only.} Make your reservation here.

Lindsay and I loved Mexico City and would recommend it to anyone. We’re not surprised it’s become a popular tourist destination. If you have a long weekend (or even longer), make your way to DF, and let us know how we can help you plan your trip!