3 Days In Mexico City: The Perfect Itinerary

We spent 3 days in Mexico City. It was just long enough to capture the heart of this diverse and sophisticated city and experience many of its highlights. A trip to Mexico City is ideal for a long weekend mini-break. This low-key city has a blend of rich culture and history, interesting architecture, and some of the world’s finest cuisine…and tequila of course! During our 3-day itinerary, we spent time meandering through the colorful neighborhoods, soaking in the bustling markets, and checking out the local arts scene.  And, of course, we ate plenty of authentic and delicious Mexican food.

Three days in Mexico City may not seem like enough time to see everything. But, with some planning, a touch of endurance, and the perfect itinerary, you’ll find it’s just enough time for a memorable visit. Mexico City has different districts, each with its own history and atmosphere. We were based in the Roma area for two nights and Condesa for two nights (you can read more about why we chose those districts below).

The perfect itinerary - check out the street-art scene with 3 days in Mexico City.

So pack your walking shoes, embrace the culture, and read how to spend 3 days in Mexico City!

3-Day Trip to Mexico City: Day 1

Breakfast

Start your day with breakfast at one of the many local cafes in La Condesa and Roma. There seems to be a coffee shop or cafe / bakery on every corner.  Fresh pastries, delicious fruit, and strong Mexican coffee are perfect to fuel you for a long day of exploring.

Walking through Parque Mexico in La Condesa - Mexico City

Day 1, Morning

After breakfast, take a leisurely stroll through Condesa. Be sure to look up and admire the beautiful Art Deco architecture, trees that line the streets, and maybe pop into a gallery or two.

TIP: Be sure to buy a large bottle of water from one of the street vendors for 10 pesos. Mexico City is a mile above sea level, and you WILL be dehydrated your first day. Avoid getting light-headed by drinking water frequently.

Wander towards the Juarez district and notice how the vibe changes from historic mansions and modern boutiques. As you get closer to the Centro district, you’ll feel the energy shift yet again as you approach the busy urban center.

Visit zocolo square when you have 3 days in mexico city

Plaza de la Constitución

Zocalo is the common name for the main public square in the heart of the Centro District, the Plaza del la Constitucion. An enormous Mexican Flag stands proudly in the center of the square. You’ll feel the history of the area as you take in the immense size of the square, the grandeur of the surrounding buildings, and the intricate architecture of the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace. It’s pretty breathtaking.

visit the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace with 72 hours in mexico city

The plaza is buzzing with street performers and local vendors, and it’s a place of great significance for locals to gather for cultural celebrations and demonstrations. Mexico is gearing up for a general election this June, so the square was particularly active with people campaigning while we were there. If you get there early, you’ll have it all to yourself and it will be the perfect start to your 3 days in Mexico City. We found that things don’t really get going in the city early and it’s pretty quiet until 11am.

Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral with 3 days in mexico city

You can’t miss the famous Metropolitan Cathedral in Zocalo. The Cathedral is free to enter, and once inside you are surrounded by beautiful artwork, gilt altars, and historical artifacts that tell the story of Mexico City’s rich heritage. Mass is regularly offered and I’d highly recommend it if you have the time.

The National Palace (Palacio Nacional) is a working government building and is also seeping with history. Once you enter the grand facade, take a minute to enjoy the Diego Rivera murals. You can only visit with a guided tour, and you can arrange that here. Don’t worry if you didn’t book ahead, they often have walk-in spaces available. However, I’d suggest arriving early and being prepared to wait.

TIP: The Mexican President lives and works out of the National Palace, so expect tight security.

The steps of the entrance of the Gran Hotel Ciudad de México in Mexico City

Lunch, Day 1

The Gran Hotel Ciudad de México, located just off Zocolo Square, was a highlight for the boys. For James Bond fans, the Gran Hotel will bring back fond memories. This is where the opening of ‘Spectre’ was filmed and also a ‘License to Kill’.

visit the rooftop at the Gran Hotel Ciudad de México when you have 3 days in mexico city

The hotel has an opulent grand entrance, lobby, and an ornate stained glass roof. It’s the only building that has been featured in two separate Bond movies, and when you enter you’ll understand why. The exquisite old-fashioned iron lifts lead to La Terraza, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, where you can enjoy lunch or a drink, and admire the fantastic views of the plaza and the city.

James Bond spectre opening scene was shot at the Gran Hotel Ciudad de México

Afternoon, Day 1

Next, walk to the Museum of Tequila and Mezcal at Garibaldi Plaza. Throughout the afternoon and night, mariachi bands play in this plaza known as Mexico City’s home of mariachi music. Important to note: it does get a little more lively at night, so plan accordingly. The Museum of Tequila is fun, it’s cultural, and it’s worth spending some time here. At the end of the walk around the museum, we put our knowledge to the test with a tasting session at the museum’s bar (what could possibly go wrong!?!). The bar faces the plaza, so expect some friendly mariachis to ask if you’d like some personal entertainment. There’s also the option to order food and stay for a while.

the museum of tequila an mezcal in mexico city

After the museum, take a leisurely walk back to your hotel using a different route. You might just stumble upon some cool sights and surprises along the way!

The Angel of Independence - El Ángel - on Paseo de la Reforma Mexico City

Evening, Day 1

Enjoy dinner at Santo Habanero in Roma for a fun atmosphere, cool decor, and great people-watching if you sit at one of the outdoor tables.

Santo Habenero in Roma is delicious authentic Mexican food

The food is a blend of traditional Mexican flavors with a modern twist, all beautifully presented. Santo Habanero offers an extensive selection of habanero-infused dishes (hence the name!) with just the right kick.

be sure to drink tequila with 3 days in mexico city

Their signature Ancho Reyes Mezcalita was a hit, perfectly balancing the smokey mezcal with the subtle heat of Ancho Reyes liqueur. Santo Habanero has it all, great food, fab cocktails, all packaged in a fun location. After dinner at Santo Habanero, we lingered at our outdoor table, enjoyed the stunning murals on the walls, sipped a little more tequila, and soaked in the street scene. It’s a great spot to hang out and linger as a family or with a group of friends.

enjoy the street art at Santo Habanero

3 Days in Mexico City: Day Two

Morning, Day 2

After you stop at a different cafe or panaderia (bakery) for breakfast, it’s time to see the city in a different light. Mexico City is brimming with art galleries featuring works by Mexican and international artists, and most are free of charge. Find an art gallery or two that catch your eye, and wander in. There are many scattered throughout Roma, Condesa and Centro that will open around 10am.

art deco architecture in mexico city - condesa district

After checking out local artists, head back towards the historic district to visit The Palacio de Bellas Artes, a cultural complex known for its elaborate art nouveau and art deco architecture. It’s a very impressive building and inside you’ll find incredible murals by famous Mexican artists like Diego Rivera.

visit The Palacio de Bellas Artes in mexico city

The elegant interior of the concert hall gives you a feel for the history of this complex. Plan to spend about two hours here, but if there’s an event or exhibit that piques your interest, you might need more time. The theater hosts performances, including regular shows by The Folkloric Ballet of Mexico, and you can find those tickets here.

eat at a local taqueria in mexico city

Lunch, Day 2

For lunch on day two, eat like a local and find a taqueria. They are literally on every block. Most have a signature ‘trompo’ rotisserie out front where the cook will carve off the meat for your tacos al pastor (marinated pork cooked on a spit). Menus are typically filled with a large variety of tacos and tortas, and traditional delights such as cebollitas asadas (grilled onions). Lunch will be quick, delicious, inexpensive, and you can enjoy it with a refreshing horchata or a cold beer.

what to do with 3 days in mexico city - drink local beer

After lunch, visit El Moro Churreria for some traditional churros. Iriarte has been sharing a family recipe from Spain in various locations around Mexico City since 1935, with the original spot in the historic district being the first to open. This original location is part of Mexico City’s history. It’s open 24 hours and still has the original tiles on the wall outside. The churros are a perfect balance of sugar and cinnamon and are paired with a cup of rich hot molten chocolate dipping sauce. These churros are a decadent afternoon treat.

visit El Moro Churreria in mexico city for authentic churros

Afternoon, Day 2

Grab an Uber or take the Mexico City Metro to visit the Frida Kahlo Museum. The Frida Kahlo Museum is tucked away in the vibrant Coyoacán district and was Frida and Diego’s actual home. Known as “La Casa Azul” for its bold blue walls, each room gives a peek into her life and they’re filled with famous art and personal items. It’s not just a museum—it helps you understand how Frida used her pain to create stunning art.

visit the Frida Kahlo museum in mexico city

Tip: Pre-purchase your tickets here as this museum often sells out.

Evening, Day 2

You will find plenty of restaurant options in the Roma and Condesa areas by just strolling around. Restaurants that I recommend are Maximo Bistrot, a local restaurant famous for its farm-to-table dishes, and Rosetta which is located in a charming townhouse with a menu inspired by both Italian cuisine and local flavors.

stumble into any of the local bars and restaurants in Roma or condesa in Mexico city

3 Days in Mexico City: Day Three 

Morning, Day 3

Start day three at one of the local cafes or bakeries for coffee and pastries. Trust me, after 3 days in Mexico City you won’t be tired of the great coffee and excellent baked goods!

Bosque de Chapultepec

Today will be more leisurely – you’ve seen so much already! Walk towards the Miguel Hidalgo district and wander through Chapultepec Forest and Chapultepec Park. This huge park complex in Mexico City contains many popular museums and other sights, including the Museum of Anthropology, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Rufino Tamayo Museum.

vitis Chapultepec Park when you have 3 days in mexico city - that's where all the museums are

It’s a sprawling green oasis where visitors can stroll through the lush gardens, historic monuments, and cultural attractions. If you’re looking for exercise, this is the place – you can walk, run or ride miles of trails and you wouldn’t even know you were in the center of a city.

Chapultepec Park in mexico city

The Museo de Artes Moderno

Visiting the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City was an immersive experience into the vibrant world of contemporary artists. We wandered through the sleek corridors and expansive outdoor spaces, and found ourselves captivated by the interesting fusion of colors, shapes, and sculptures.

visit the museum of modern art in mexico city

The collection boasts an eclectic mix of masterpieces, from an iconic Frida Kahlo painting to avant-garde sculptures and multimedia installations.

check out frido kahlo paintings in the museum of modern art in mexico city

One exhibit we particularly loved was the Abraham Angel retrospective, showcasing 24 of the 30 paintings and artwork he created before his untimely passing at the age of 19.

abraham angel exhibit in mexico city

It was a poignant reminder of the power of artistic expression and the fleeting beauty of life.

things to do with 3 days in mexico city wtih kids

Lunch, Day 3

Visit Mercado Roma, a foodie’s paradise in the Roma District. You can easily spend hours exploring delicious food stands and eclectic wine bars. Once you’ve decided what you are going to eat (which is TOUGH with all the choices!) grab a seat at one of the communal tables or lounge on the rooftop terrace to people-watch and soak up the energy of Mexico City. If you want to experience Mercado Roma’s food scene like a local, you can book a tour here.

Mercado Roma, a foodie's paradise in the Roma District of mexico city

Afternoon, Day 3

Museo Nacional de Antropología

If you have the patience and time to visit another museum, the Museum of Anthropology is one of the best museums I’ve been to highlighting the history of a country’s native cultures. There is a focus of each stage of civilization from 2000 BC until the end of the Mayan era in 1300 AD, with artifacts, carvings, statues and parts of temples from all over the country. This museum isn’t for everybody, but if you want to really see a lot of history and the evolution of Mesoamerica, this is a fantastic place to see it all in one stop. Bonus – it’s only a 20-minute walk from the Museum of Modern Art in Chapultepec.

things to do in mexico city with 3 days - Visit the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City

Evening, Day 3

For your final evening, choose a relaxed dinner at Azul Condesa, where traditional Mexican dishes are served in a beautiful setting. Or, if you’re looking for something more fancy, you can try Pujol, which is frequently rated as the best restaurant in all of Mexico. You’ll need to make a reservation in advance here, and this restaurant features a multi-course tasting menu.

drinking tequila in mexico city

Visit the Teotihuacan Pyramids

If you have 4 days in Mexico City — or want to see something outside of the city center — try visiting the ancient Teotihuacan, also known as the City of the Gods. The pyramids at Teotihuacan are truly impressive, and make this a popular day trip from Mexico City. This UNESCO World Heritage Site allows you to explore the Aztec heritage that’s still around today. The city is massive and you’ll definitely be impressed as it was constructed by hand so long ago. You’ll see the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, the Avenue of the Dead, and Quetzal Palace up close and personal. If you have a guide, they’ll share historical anecdotes and facts as you wander around the grand plaza and murals. It’s possible to visit Teotihuacan without a tour, and you can find information on how to do that in this article: Visiting The Pyramids of Teotihuacan in Mexico City.

the pyramid of the sun at Teotihuacan pyramids in mexico city

At the same time, it’s super convenient to take a private or group tour from Mexico City as you’ll be picked up and dropped off right at your hotel. You can book some great tours of Teotihuacan here.

Planning Your Mexico City Visit

Choosing the Right District

Choosing the right neighborhood to stay in Mexico City is key to ensuring that you have the perfect experience that fits your needs. Trendy areas like Roma and Condesa are great if you’re looking for cool cafes and lively nightlife, while the historic city center around Zocalo offers a glimpse into the city’s history with easy access to the popular landmarks. If you’re looking for a more elegant and upscale experience, Polanco is filled with luxury boutiques and fine restaurants. This was our neighborhood cheat-sheet:

Mexico City Neighborhoods

  • El Centro Histórico: Plaza de la Constitucion and the city’s main sights, as well areas for jewelry, electronics, music and clothing.
  • La Roma: Filled with mansions, art deco dwellings, and art nouveau–style storefronts, any architecture lover needs to stroll through this colonia.
  • La Condesa: La Roma’s fancier cousin next door, La Condesa is a tree-lined paradise built for walking.
  • Coyoacán: This is the neighborhood that Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera called home, and Coyoacán has built a reputation for itself as a bohemian haven.
  • Polanco: Fancy! A trip to Mexico City isn’t complete for any shopping lover without a visit to Polanco’s Avenida Presidente Masaryk. Pujol restaurant is here.
  • Juárez: the financial district. Big buildings, banks, international shops, and busy streets. What you expect in any large city.

rooftop poof at Xoma by Viadora

The Ideal Mexico City Hotel…Is Actually a Luxury Apartment

We found that Viadora offers luxurious apartments and suites located in the most desirable neighborhoods in Mexico City. These boutique hotels are designed to provide all the comforts of home (and work). Having a suite made relaxing in between meals and museums so easy. Each luxury hotel blends top-notch amenities with elegant design, providing a comfortable and luxurious home base.

Viadora luxury apartments are spacious and often more cost-effective for families than booking multiple hotel rooms. With a great living room and kitchen, they will make your off-hours more family-oriented. I recommend you take a look at one of the many Viadora properties. I found that having a luxury suite on a residential street made me feel less touristy and more like I was living like a local.

review of the Xoma by Viadora in mexico city

You can read about our experiences with Viadora boutique hotels here:

Why XOMA by Viadora Is the Perfect Home Base in Roma, Mexico City

Why The Amsterdam by Viadora is Condesa’s Best-Kept Secret

If you are looking for airport transportation in Mexico City, you can find options here. Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with companies giving you a comfortable and safe experience.

*This article is sponsored but all opinions are my own*

What are your favorite places to visit in 3 days in Mexico City?

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About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

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