THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO: MEXICO CITY TRAVEL
Welcome, amigo, to Mexico City! This city is full of culture, colours, music and delicious food, and to help you enjoy the best of “CDMX” (as the locals call it), we’ve got all your must-have info right here — straight from our local tour guides in Mexico City. From how to get from the airport, to the best events of the year, to the books, music, and movies you should check out before your trip, here’s all you need to know about travelling to CDMX.
Getting to and from MEX
Mexico City Airport is conveniently located very close to the downtown area, and there are multiple affordable options to get to the trendiest and most interesting landmarks, boroughs and districts of the city.
Metrobus: Takes about 45 minutes (depending on traffic and weather conditions) from both the airport’s terminals One or Two to Alameda Central, the city’s most iconic park, which is located in the heart of downtown and is a very convenient place to connect with other interesting parts of the city. It runs every 20 minutes, 365 days a year, from 4am (5am on Sundays and holidays) until midnight. An MB card from the airport to downtown costs MXN 30 and you can purchase it in any electronic booth that has the “MB” sign written on it.
The Metro: The Station “Terminal Aerea” is just located a few steps outside Terminal One’s national arrivals gate. With MXN 5 and a sense of adventure, you can get to Mexico City’s most interesting boroughs and neighbourhoods. However, security won’t allow you on board unless your luggage is carry-on size.
Uber: This is one of the few airports in the country where Uber is allowed into the terminal area to pick up passengers. Since the airport is located very close to downtown, the fare will be less expensive compared with other world airports. Take into account that in contrast with other cities like Tijuana or Cancun, here Uber doesn’t have an English option.
Taxis: Taxis are the most expensive; however it is more likely that the drivers will speak English, compared to Uber. There are several booths were you can buy tickets, and cost will depend on the area you are going to.
Don’t forget to ask your hotel, hostel or Airbnb before coming if they have a shuttle service from the airport, since many of them have it included in their price, or can add it with an extra charge.
Getting around Mexico City
Metro and Metrobus: Both work perfectly with the MB card and connect you to most landmarks and districts. On the Metro, with 5-peso tickets (paper, so are not environmentally friendly) you can get to the downtown area, Chapultepec Park, Reforma Avenue, Roma District and the University Area. On the Metrobus you can reach Zona Rosa, Condesa District, the neighbourhood of San Angel and Tlalpan.
Uber and taxis: These are the best options to get to places that cannot be reached through Metro and Metrobus like Frida Kahlo’s house, the Coyoacán district, Xochimilco Floating Gardens and the Santa Fe Financial District. If you want to take a taxi ask at your hotel/hostel’s reception, or your AirBnB host to give you a phone number for one, as we don’t recommend just hailing a taxi in the street.
Public buses: Possibly the most complex and difficult public transportation service. Using this system is hard even for Mexicans not from the city! You need to know exactly the name of the street you are going to as well as its nickname(s) and location within the city. If you want to use one, try to go with a local guide or friend.
Walking: Most tourist areas in Mexico City are quite friendly for pedestrians. And besides there’s no better way to enjoy the city’s colours, handicrafts, sounds and aromas than walking its streets. Just take into account that from June to September, heavy rains tend to fall around 6pm, so don’t forget to take your raincoat and an umbrella.
Things to do in Mexico City
The city has something to offer any taste, age or interest. If you like sports, then look for a match at Estadio Azteca or Estadio Universitario so you can enjoy an exciting soccer game as well as the joy of Mexican fans supporting their team. They normally take place on Sundays, but the best time to attend these kinds of events is during December and January, when the Mexican soccer league comes closer to its finale. If instead of watching, you prefer participating, then come during the last week of August and run the Mexico City Marathon.
Do you prefer much more cultural activities? Then come in September, when locals celebrate throughout the whole month, honouring Mexico’s independence. Come in October and the first days of November, and you’ll get to experience Día de Muertos.
What’s on in Mexico City?
If can read Spanish, then chilango.com is a very good options for looking up festivals, art exhibitions and special events that are taking place in the city, as well as great restaurant and food recommendations. If you don’t, unfortunately there are not many reliable English websites about the city yet — but don’t worry, the Urban Adventures crew has that covered and can offer up tips for the best experiences in Mexico City!
Mexico City Day Tours
Looking for more things to do? Urban Adventures offers several day tours in Mexico City, all led by local experts that will give you a taste for local life in the city:
Beyond Mexico City: Hidden Teotihuacan & Family Dinner
Get outta town! Go beyond the usual tourist bus experience on this tour that will literally take you out of Mexico City to see Teotihuacan pyramids, try local “delights” like cactus candy, sip on ancient pre-Hispanic brews, and dine with a local family in their own home. Best part: you’ll be supporting local family businesses, to really give you an itinerary worth bragging about.
Mexico City Markets and Food Tour
Uno dos tres cuatro cinco! Join this Mexico City tour to see five of Mexico’s best street markets. Whether you’re in the market for a magic love potion, voodoo dolls, hot tamales, pretty piñatas, or exotic flowers, these markets have all bases covered.
Mexican Night Out: Cantinas, Mariachi & Lucha Libre
Get amongst Mexico’s Holy Trinity of entertainment: Cantinas, Mariachi and Lucha Libre wrestling. Sip some tequila at a cantina, shuffle and sway to Mariachi music, and watch masked wrestlers dive, fly, writhe, and grandstand for the audience – all on this Mexico City tour you’d be loco to miss.
Teotihuacan, Mexico City Markets & Food Experience
Brace yourself for a BIG day of all things Mexican on this Mexico City tour to see five of the city’s best street markets, sample local delights like cactus candy, climb to the top of Sun Pyramid, sip on sacred Aztec drinks, and dine with a local family in their home…all in 13 hours of power-touring! Phew.
Take a trip through time, covering 700 years in one day! From Aztecs to art, we’ll uncover little-known facts on this full-day tour, and explore the past, present, and future of the biggest city in the Americas.
House of Gods: Shrine of Guadalupe & Pyramids of Mexico City
From sacred shrines to ancient pyramids, join us for a fascinating ride through the rich history and culture of Mexico. You’ll go back in time and get to know Mexico City in a way that many visitors don’t get to experience, meeting locals and seeing some of the city’s most interesting sights along the way.
Mexico City on the big screen
Thanks to Mexico’s location so close to Hollywood, a lot of movies have been filmed in the city — and some of them you might not have expected. Total Recall from 1990 was partially filmed in one of the city’s most futuristic metro stations at the time, while 1997’s Romeo + Juliet shows aerial views of the city.
If you like history, then watch Juarez, a 1939 film in which Bette Davis portrays Carlota, Mexico’s empress from the 1860s.
If you’re more into contemporary art and drama, then watch the 2002 film Frida, so you can be introduced to the artist’s tortuous life before you visit her house at Coyoacán.
Mexico City on record
In CDMX, you’ll find the best examples of Mexican music from all the different states — from Norteño to Yucateca, and of course, the most famous of them all: Mariachi! To get yourself in the mood for Mexico, listen to popular singers like José Antonio Aguilar, Jorge Negrete and Vicente Fernandez.
If you are fairly fluent in your Spanish or just want to test your comprehension, then feel like a local and listen to the band Cafe Tacuba or the composer Chava Flores, whose song lyrics always speak in local slang about urban culture and life in Mexico City.
Once you arrive, the best place to hear Mariachi is on our Mexican Night Out tour, where, along with the most joyful guide, you’ll sing along to some of the most popular Mariachi music in one of the most traditional bars of the city.
Mexico City in books
Mexican literature is very much tied to its history. Do you want to imagine the ancient city when it belonged to the Aztecs? Then read any Spanish conquistador chronicle so you can feel the awe they experienced when they first arrived to the city 500 years ago. Or do you prefer some romance? Then read Tear This Heart Out by Angeles Mastretta. If you are advanced in Spanish and really want to understand local life, then read Instrucciones para vivir en México by Jorge Ibargüengoitia.
Get in touch with us
Looking for more info before you go? Give us a call at +5215516320847 or contact us at [email protected]. You can also friend us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram for live updates straight from Mexico City.