Looking for the best way to spend two days in Mexico City?
While there’s no end to the number of epic things to do in Mexico City, or CDMX, as it’s known, with two days, the key will be planning ahead. As the largest city in North America, you’ll get the most out of your two days in CDMX by spending one day per area, in neighborhoods located near each other.
With a large population of about 8.5 million people, Mexico City has some of the worst traffic on Earth. To maximise your travel time, and minimize the time you essentially waste sitting in traffic, you’ll want to pick two areas of the city, and stick to those.
Luckily, CDMX is a proper big city with a big personality, and plenty to do in each area. For the two days in Mexico City itinerary below, we’ll be exploring the Zocalo and Centro Historico (Historic Downtown) on one day, and Coyoacan, Xochimilco, and dinner in Roma Norte or Condesa the next day.
This is a guest post by Shelley of Travel Mexico Solo
Table of Contents
Two Days In Mexico City: Where To Stay?
Gran Hotel Ciudad de México: Located in the Zocalo (Main Square) of Centro Historico, you’ll be right in the middle of all the CDMX action. This historic hotel, however, provides a classy and quiet escape from the bustle of downtown. Enjoy the vintage decor, cage elevator, stained glass ceiling, and rooftop restaurant at the Gran Hotel. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Hotel Parque México: Looking to stay in a more relaxed area, with a park and plenty of cafes right outside your doorstep? Hotel Parque Mexico, located on the border of the hippest neighborhoods in CDMX, Roma Norte, and La Condesa, is the perfect option. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Casa Pepe: Located in the heart of Centro Historico, Casa Pepe is one of the best hostels in downtown Mexico City. There are shared and private options, perfect for those looking for the social aspect of a hostel, but the privacy of a hotel. Note: Casa Pepe is adults only. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
How To Spend 2 Days In Mexico City, A Perfect Itinerary
Mexico City in 2 days: Day One
On the first day of your two days in CDMX, you’ll want to explore the historic city center. Centro Historico is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and where you’ll find plenty of things to see and do. This is the main area of Mexico City, so it can be a bit hectic, but that’s part of the fun.
To escape the hustle and bustle, head to the Alameda Central Park, a large urban park located right next to Palacio Bellas Artes, one of the main sites in Centro Historico. On a clear day, head up to the top of the Torre Latinoamericana (Latin American Tower) for some amazing CDMX views. Note: It costs about $7USD to go up, so it’s really only worth it on a clear day.
As you could spend months exploring this part of Mexico City and not see it all, the suggestions here are just the highlights: Barrio Chino (Chinatown), the Museo de Arte Popular (Museum of Popular Art), with a large collection of Mexican folk art from around the country, and the Casa de los Azulejos (House of Tiles) and Palacio de Correos (Main Post Office) for photos.
The Zocalo is essentially the Main Square in Centro Historico. It is actually a square, with the Plaza Independencia (Independence Plaza) in the center. In the Zocalo, you’ll want to check out the Catedral Metropolitana, one of the largest churches on Earth, Templo Mayor, an unearthed Aztec Temple, and the Palacio Nacional (National Palace), a 660-foot-long (200m) building that houses a museum and Diego Rivera’s famous murals chronicling Mexican history.
When the sun starts going down, head to Plaza Garibaldi. This plaza is the best place to hear mariachi music in Mexico City. You’ll hear Plaza Garibaldi before you get to it, as it’s basically an all-day outdoor concert, with each mariachi band trying to one-up the other, and people dancing to the music.
Best Restaurants in Centro Historico
Mexico City is one of the culinary hubs of the country, so rest assured, there’s amazing food in this part of town. For tacos, head to Tacos de Canasta los Especiales, Taquería Los Cocuyos and Taquería El Huequito. If you’re looking for a sit down meal, Azul Centro Historico and El Cardinal are great options. Finally, if you still have room, head to Churrería El Moro for some churros, Mexico’s beloved sweet treats.
Mexico City in 2 days: Day Two
Coyoacan, a historic southern Mexico City neighborhood, will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Start your exploration in the Parque Centenario, the park located in the center of town. There, don’t miss the Fuente de los Coyotes (Coyote Fountain) and 16th century Iglesia de San Juan Bautista Cathedral.
Frida Kahlo Museum
From the Parque Centenario, start walking through the neighborhood and checking out all the colorful, historic buildings, as you make your way to the Casa Azul (Blue House). This is the house once occupied by Mexico’s two most famous artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The Blue House is now the Frida Kahlo Museum, and one of the most visited places in all CDMX.
As the Casa Azul is actually a house, it’s much smaller than a traditional museum. For this reason, the capacity is limited, yet as the main site in Mexico City, it’s on many must-see lists. To save yourself what can be hours waiting in line, buy your tickets online in advance.
Context Travel offers an interesting Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Art Tour
Alternatively, you might also like the Xochimilco & Coyoacan Full-Day Tour with Frida Kahlo Museum.
After exploring Coyoacan and Casa Azul, head further south to the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco (pronounced so-chee-mill-co). Xochimilco is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mexico City, with man-made islands and canals the Aztecs built way back in the 16th century.
When you arrive, hire a trajinera (tra-jin-era, colorful gondola boat) and head out on the water. While cruising, other boats will pass by selling tacos, tamales, beer, and pulque (pull-kay). This prehispanic drink is made from fermented agave, just like tequila and mezcal. For the complete Xochimilco experience, hire one of the passing mariachi boats to play a few songs for you.
Dinner in Roma or Condesa
As you head back north to your accommodation in CDMX, consider stopping for dinner in either Roma Norte or La Condesa. These two sister neighborhoods are located next to one another and considered the hippest places in Mexico City. They are also where you’ll find many of the best restaurants, cafes, and bars in Mexico City.
For a more casual dinner in the Roma Norte or La Condesa area, head to Fonda Fina, Cabrera 7 or Contramar. If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, head to Maximo Bistrot, Azul Condesa, MeroToro, or Rosetta. Those craving tacos will want to head to Taqueria Orinoco or Tacos Alvaro Obregon, both located just off Avenida Alvaro Obregon, known as the best street in Roma Norte, where you’ll also find plenty of late-night bar options.
Practical Information For Your 2 Day Mexico City Itinerary
When is the best time to visit Mexico City
The best time to visit CDMX is during the dry season, from October to March. Mexico City and Central Mexico have what’s known as “Eternal Spring” weather, so you can expect cooler, mild temperatures year-round, and while it can rain quite a bit during the rainy season, the rains usually don’t last all day.
Though known as a tropical destination, Mexico’s weather does vary. If you’re visiting in the winter, keep in mind Mexico City is colder than what many expect. At about 1.5-miles (2.4 km2) meters) above sea level, CDMX winter weather often drops to about 45°F (7°C) at night.
How to get from the airport to the city center
Uber: With only two days to explore, Uber is the best option for getting to/from the airport, and around Mexico City in general. The good news is that Uber is relatively inexpensive in Mexico, but what you pay in money, you make up for in time. Prices will vary, of course, but plan to spend about $8USD for the 45 minute Uber ride from the airport to downtown.
Taxi: Besides Uber, you can take a taxi, though make sure you are only using the official or authorized taxis. When walking towards the airport exit, make sure to book a taxi with one of the companies located inside, as those are official. These have set prices, so you’ll know what you have to pay depending on which zone you’re heading to, but figure no more than $10USD.
Metro: Undeniably the cheapest option at about $0.50USD per ride, there’s the CDMX Metro. The station closest to the airport is Terminal Aerea Station (Line 5), located near Terminal 1 on Boulevard Puerto Aereo, and about a 15-minute walk from Terminal 2. From this Metro station, you can get anywhere in the city, though it may require some transfers.
Metrobus: The Metrobus is another inexpensive option at just $1USD per ride, though you’ll need to purchase a SmartCard first. If you’re heading to Centro Historico (Downtown), jump on a Line 4 bus to head straight there. Other bus lines will get you to different parts of CDMX, so be on the lookout for transit maps at bus stations.
BIO: Shelley is a former Miami travel magazine editor who ditched the office for the world! After traveling solo to 14 states in Mexico, she decided to live in Merida, Mexico full time. Shelley now helps other women cross Solo Travel and Mexico Travel off their bucket list through her Travel Mexico Solo blog and Dream To Destination podcast.