Mexico is a great country. Between the landscape of Chiapas, the ancient ruins everywhere, the Mexican people, and the delicious tacos for 10 pesos it’s hard for me to think of anything not to like about Mexico! From climbing pyramids in rain, seeing a grandeur dance performance on a castle, shutting down the club with my “spirited” dance moves, and finding hidden worlds inside of mercados, Mexico City alone was enough to keep me on the move at all time! Speaking of Mexico City, you need to go! Seriously! Too bad I lost my phone a week later and away went my pictures. Bet I use Google Back up now. With a population of 21 million and endless domestic and foreign tourists, experiences are endless! Here I’ll give you 5 tips on things to do in Mexico City!
Before that, you need to know where to sleep. Since you found yourself on my blog I doubt you are a luxury vacationer, but I could be wrong! Nonetheless I highly recommend hostels! If you aren’t familiar, a hostel is like a hotel that you share with anywhere from 2-20 (or more) people. Prices are unbelievably low, but yes believe them, they are low. My recommendation: Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral! The environment was phenomenal! They have a rooftop bar that overlooks the large cathedral in the city’s center as well as the horizon. Pretty good breakfast and also various events are hosted there. A lot of people stay there and with Mexico City being a large city (the capital if you didn’t know) you are bound to meet some interesting people. I met people from over half a dozen countries in a week (and almost half a dozen San Francisco people). I salsa danced with Japanese, French, and Mexican women all in a night! I spent my week with an Iraqi-American and Slovakian. Many of the people from my trip that I still talk to months later, I met in Mexico City. The location also is great as it is located in the Zocalo (city main plaza) where there are events and plenty of stores are nearby. It is also near a couple of important metro routes making transportation easier. Lastly, the staff is great. The desk staff speaks both Spanish and English, although not all of the kitchen staff does, which for me makes it more exciting (except during breakfast after a long night on the town when the word “juego” isn’t coming to mind). The services they provided for less than $15 USD a night was phenomenal. Once you get booked, then check these things out.
This is a must see in Mexico City. Well it’s not necessarily in Mexico City, you have to grab a metro and a bus to get there, but nonetheless it is close. It is an ancient Aztec monument constructed sometime around 100 BCE. The name is said to mean “the place where the gods were created”. It contains many buildings along with 3 main monuments, the Pyramid of the Moon, the Pyramid of the Sun, and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. It covers a fair amount of land as well. I went on a rainy day so the rain easily could’ve made the walk feel dreary. The temples are rather high, especially the Pyramid of the Sun. The background photo of the homepage of this website was taking from the top of the Pyramid of the Moon. The city is laid out with amazing astronomy as well in regards to the sun. You can read about that. It’s a wonderful site to see, and you deserve a (hard) slap on the wrist if you don’t go. If it’s raining, don’t buy a poncho from the first guy for $30 pesos, wait until the lady at the end, it’s sturdier and is $20 pesos. Just in case. Also, test all tour guides in conversation about their lives in English if you need an English guide. If they can’t answer my questions about why Burger King delivers in Mexico and not the U.S., then I’m not paying for one!
Eat Street Tacos, Plenty of Them
Street tacos consisted of well over half of the food I ate in Mexico City. About 20% of it was breakfast toast and pancakes at my hostel. Needless to say, I ate a lot of tacos! How can you not when they’re only 7-10 pesos apiece (~14 pesos = $1 USD). I could get full for less than $3USD. The best places to get them are in whole in the wall shops along the streets or on the food carts. Yes I know your travel guide says don’t eat at those *Kanye shrug*. The meat admittedly isn’t exactly grade A but it taste so good. There are a large varieties of salsa depending on where you go, my advice is stay away from green salsa unless you know you got it like that. Green salsa will have you shooting fire out of your mouth! Oh yeah…you’ll likely get kind of sick. Unlike you were like my buddies I was with that have experienced the ungodly fire of Indian food (they told me Indian food was really spicy to kill bacteria), you may have a upset backdoor. On Christmas day, the 3rd day I was there I began a 3 day journey of always needing to know where a toilet was at all times. My stomach had only hurt the first night, afterwards the runs would come, rather swiftly I might add. It’s just a matter of having to adjust to local bacteria (I’m told) and the fact that gloves aren’t widely used. There are chain restaurants like VIPS (similar to ihop) but where’s the fun in that? You’ll be okay, have a taco (or 6).
Geek Out in Museums
Mexico City is host to some amazing museums and historical pieces. My favorite of all of them was the Museo Archaelogio (Archaelogical Museum if you couldn’t tell). It was MASSIVE. I’m not exactly huge on museums but in the Donaldopedia (I literally just made that up mid-sentence, my friends are going to get a good laugh), it may just rank higher than the Acropolis museum in Athens, Greece. Mexico City’s is more densely packed although Athens’ has 3 floors. The museum in Houston Texas is rather large, but not on this scale, Actually its arguable larger than the museums in Washington D.C. according the D-pedia (you can tell I’m getting a kick out of this). It spent 2 hours and only saw 35% of the museum. So much native history and Mexican history. The modern art museum nearby is also very impressive in regards to the quality of artwork. I enjoyed studying the portraits, stroking my beard pretending to know anything about drawing/painting art. If you’re a Frida Khalo fan, she has a museum in Coyoacan that’s very popular. To be honest, I didn’t know much about her, but my friends insisted we go (plus we had met girls who were interested in seeing it, so ya know). Her unibrow was rather distracting but her relationship with Leon Trotsky was rather interesting to me. But all the other people who knew her history and work were marveled, so check it out. Leon Trotsky (if you don’t know, he was an early leader in the Soviet Union. He also has a small exhibit in Coyoacan. Near the hostel I mentioned earlier, Templo Mayor is located right next to it, behind the large cathedral in the Zocalo. It has pre-Hispanic remains and a nice museum as well! There’s plenty more in the city, those are just a few things!
Party in La Condesa and Roma
If you like to hang easy with a couple buddies, or get buck wild, this is the place for you! There are a myriad of bars and clubs in this area for a variety of tastes. Alcohol is rather cheap (Indio’s are great beers) and the taxis are in ABUNDANCE. This isn’t Washington D.C. where you’d stand outside for 2 hours waving down a taxi at 3am getting passed up over and over because you’re in a group of 4 with your friends down the street (yes this happened to me in 2013). This is Mexico City, where there are taxis everywhere and if you or someone with you speaks Spanish, you name your price and you go!! Queremos a ir al Zocalo para $120 pesos! Acuerdo?! I wonder what we would’ve been charged had I not been able to use the name your price tool. Nonetheless it’s a safe and fun environment on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday…you get the point. No worries, just be responsible with your actions.
Take Metros to Random Neighborhoods
Don’t tell your mom I said this to you. Make this up with like “go ice skating in the Zocalo.” But seriously, I had a blast with this and I think the backpacker bible says in it that one must take random metros in foreign cities. I’ll get back to you about that. A good highlight was checking out this place called Nezahualcoyotl. It’s amazing the decisions we make based on arbitrary observations. I saw a woman get off the metro who was rather well put together and discerned that this a cool place. I had a great convo (based on how many times I needed Google Translate) with a Burger King security guard. Oh and would you believe this (to my U.S. people), Burger King delivers in Mexico!! And so does many of the other chains. I don’t eat that crap, but the Norte Americano in me was outraged! I got a recommendation to eat at this place down the street which was great! I had this huge burrito that was so good. Mexican cheesecake is sadly disappointing and I’ve tried it in many cities. Randomly checking out Coyoacan based simply off of the fact I kept hearing the name was a major plus. Plenty of things to do there, and there’s an amazing fish restaurant there somewhere one block to the right and five blocks down from the Frida Khalo in the Mercado. If those directions don’t suck too bad, go see. The greatest annoyance about being on the metro other than jam-packed spaces and everyone staring at your locs is hearing the people selling things hopping on saying a Bolt-paced jam of Spanish that I can’t nearly decipher and hearing them end with “cinco pesos!” The best ones are the people who are selling music because their bookbag is simply holding a speaker inside. Get ya groove on while on the metro, if you have leg room of course
I know this makes number six but you no what “esta no importa!” Go see Xochimilco! It’s amazing. Well the river boat ride is. Take the metro to Tasquena and then hop on a train to Xochimilco. They have what looks like a low budget but more natural Venice. It’s like $20 USD for the big wooden picnic boat rental and a kid to push you for an hour (its double for two hours). It’s perfect for a nice relaxing ride with buddies or your SI (I want to bring my future wife there) or to get crunk, yep saw that too. Plus there’s this guy who squeezes fresh orange juice. Find him. Your life will change.
These were just a handful of the shenanigans I got into while in Mexico City. I rolled with a team of photographers all week if I wasn’t solo and sprinkles of other people from our hostel and my Mexican friends I met (Hi Delia and Helio!). Not sure if this all fits in google translate. Do you have any particular places in Mexico City you recommend or stories to share? Share with us below!!