Three days in Mexico City: How to spend them

The size of Mexico City, a 20-million-person metropolis, can be intimidating. Though it may take a while to fully explore this fascinating capital, a three-day stay is enough to see its rich history and culture. Discover our three-day, walkable, postcard-worthy itinerary below.

Day one

Morning: Historic Center

Eat breakfast at El Cardenal to prepare for a day of exploration. This popular city center restaurant serves delicious hot chocolate, enchiladas, and clay pot scrambled eggs. Next, explore Alameda Central, the oldest public park in the Americas. Shaded areas and great people-watching are available in this 1592 building. Barrio Alameda, a 1920s Art Deco shopping mall just west of the park, sells local clothes and beauty products.

The Palacio de Bellas Artes, an Art Nouveau-Art Deco building, is on Alameda’s eastern end. Visit this ballet or opera house to see Tiffany & Co.’s crystal curtain. Weekend shows are sometimes held during the day. Registration online a few days in advance allows you to take a free guided tour of the Palace on Tuesday through Friday if you don’t get tickets.

Nachmittag: Ancient history, modern seafood

Enjoy browsing the charming boutiques at the trendy Circulo Mexicano hotel, featuring stunning jewelry by Daniel Espinosa and chic dresses by Simple by Trista. Lunch at Caracol de Mar, located in the courtyard, features shrimp aguachile and tuna tostadas paired with house cocktails.

Located just steps from the hotel is the Zócalo. The Palacio Nacional, home to the Federal Government, the 300-year-old Cathedral de la Ciudad de México, and the pre-Columbian Templo Mayor surround this large square.

Night: Viewside cantina

Finish your day at Terraza Cha Cha Cha, a modern cantina reminiscent of Acapulco’s golden age. Just a short cab ride from downtown, you can enjoy sunset on the terrace with tacos and tostadas and a cocktail. When night falls, the Monumento a la Revolución will illuminate in front of you.

Day Two

Morning art and pastries

At Panadería Rosetta, chef Elena Reygadas’ trendy Colonia Roma bakery, guava rolls and lattes are a must-try among the plentiful baked goods. MODO, a quirky design museum that values everyday objects, is a few steps away.This venue has hosted soccer and heartbreak exhibitions.

Afternoon: Wine, design, park stroll

Explore Plaza Río de Janeiro, a bustling area with a replica of Michaelangelo’s David, before enjoying some food. Enjoy a glass of natural wine at one of Marmota’s lovely outdoor tables while browsing the wood-fired menu.

Proceed to nearby Condesa after lunch. Stop by La Increíble, a bookstore-gallery, to experience Mexico’s vibrant creative scene. Check out Vinos Chidos for another wine spot.

Evening: Condesa toast

Finally, visit Parque México, a 22-acre park with the Foro Lindbergh, an Art Deco plaza designed by sculptor José María Fernández Urbina. Amsterdam Avenue, a monument to the neighborhood’s racetrack past, circles the park.

Stop at Baltra, a hip neighborhood bar on The World’s 50 Best Bars list, to rest from walking. The cocktail menu and small, intimate space are inspired by Darwin’s travels. Martini fans won’t want to miss the great variations.

Third day

Morning: Maya treasures, pancakes

A unique restaurant, Mari Gold, is on San Miguel Chapultepec’s quiet, tree-lined streets. Chef-husband team Norma Listman and Saqib Keval make the best pancakes in town by blending their Mexican and Indian heritage.

Some 1,600 acres of Chapultepec Park are a few blocks away. As “the city’s lungs,” the park has many museums, a zoo, and a botanical garden. Explore the Museo Tamayo or Museo de Arte Moderno for modern art, and the Museo Nacional de Antropología for pre-Hispanic artifacts.

Nachmittag: Tacos and shopping

Grab an Uber to Polanco and try Taqueria Selene’s best tacos al pastor. This place has great tortas and homemade flan.

Check out Museo Jumex, a contemporary art museum a 10- or 15-minute Uber ride away, after lunch. Former exhibitions featured Urs Fischer and Minerva Cuevas. You can shop at Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and Montblanc on Avenida Presidente Masaryk, 10 minutes from Taqueria Selene.

Evening: Best dining.

Eat at a world-famous restaurant in Mexico City to cap your trip. Pujol’s chef Enrique Olvera transforms Mexican food into something groundbreaking. Taco omakase or classic tasting menu with Olvera’s signature dishes like baby corn in chicatana-ant mayo and mole madre. Seats fill up months in advance, so book your table early.

Located in Polanco, Quintonil’s seasonal Mexican menu by Jorge Vallejo and Alejandra Flores is a great alternative to Pujol’s waitlist. Here are world-famous wine pairings.

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