Mexico City is huge! A metropolis, bigger than NYC, with neighborhoods ranging from Colonial to modern skyscrapers and everything in between. It made the perfect quick trip or a Labor Day weekend getaway. Here’s everything I did and some tips for traveling to District Federal.
We crossed the border into the Tijuana Airport, enjoyed margaritas while waiting for our flight and finally landed in Mexico City around 1am. We stayed at Hotel Monaco. The rooms were surprisingly spacious, clean and well-kept and the restaurant downstairs seemed to always be busy.
Saturday we woke up bright and early to explore the city by foot. Luckily, we knew someone that lived there and she showed us all the best spots to check out and eat Mexican food at. Once of those places to Casa de Abuelos, which we ate at every morning. Fresh fruit with yogurt and granola, chillaqueles, We saw the beautiful Bellas Artes building, the sinking church and had delicious margaritas at Puro Corazon for 60 pesos each ($3.30 USD). The view of the Zocalo was amazing from up there! My favorite attraction we visited was Latino American, what used the be the tallest building in Latin America. Tip: Don’t pay the 90 pesos to go to the top viewpoint, go one floor lower for free* and spend 60 pesos on a beer to enjoy while marveling at the sprawling city sights. Tip #2 go to the bathroom, the view is amazing from there too!
We ended the night with more Mexican food, of course, and street churros stuffed with cajeta (caramel) yum!
Sunday was another busy day! We woke bright and early, fueled up and set off for Castillo de Chapultepec. Along the way it started raining and we hopped on a bus that took us somewhat near the Castle. Tip: main roads are closed to car traffic on Sundays. Keep this in mind when planning public transportation and routing around the city. We paid the 60 pesos to go in and explore. It’s a pretty place, but not very castle-like inside.
Next we set off for Xochimilco, an area of Mexico city where you can rent colorful boats for 300 pesos an hour to have someone paddle you through the canals. It’s a fun place. The Mexico City resident we knew had a friend with a car, which was great because it was about an hour drive. People float by in other boats selling Mexican cuisine, or you can buy some from the merchants before getting on. We bought quesadillas and tacos and a liter of beer from the merchants. When you buy the deer here they set you up with lime, salt and other toppings you prefer like gummy bears, chili powder and tomato juice. Tip: You’ll want at least two hours, it can sit about 15 people. These are party boats! Splurge on a mariachi bang to serenade you with one song for 100 pesos.
On Monday we started the day with one last Mexican breakfast of lechero and pozole and then went on a journey to the Teotihuacan Pyramids. To get there we took the metro to Indios Verdes, the last stop on the line. When exiting the subway turn left and walk down to the last exit. There will be white buses waiting to take you to Piramedes. Supposedly there is a direct bus, but it’s never been found by those we talked to. The bus ride there cost 44 pesos and took about an hour. The bus ride back was 46 pesos and was only 30 minutes because it was direct.
The Aztec pyramids were my favorite part for the weekend in Mexico City. It’s just 60 pesos to enter and takes a few hours to walk through the whole thing. There are two main pyramids you can climb to the top and get an amazing view of the whole place. I love walking through ancient history, really leave a humbling feeling inside of you and you feel so small! The bus picks you up at the front entrance and ride back is a direct shot to the metro station back to the main parts of the city.
Mexico City Travel Tips:
Do not use the metro during rush hour times. It’s extremely crowded, people are pushy and if you don’t keep your staff close by you will get pick pocketed quick. Also, traveling with luggage on the metro during this hour is nearly impossible. If you’re a woman or child there is a special section for you, but practically just as busy.
Women – do not wear shorts. Nobody wears shorts here and the catcalls will be endless. Save yourself.
The Mexico City airport had the best exchange rate I found. The ATM transaction fee wasn’t too far behind.