It’s true that Mexico is home to some of the best beaches in the world, full of amazing resorts… but if you want to see a more authentic version of Mexico, you should start in Mexico City! Mexico City makes the perfect long weekend destination for couples, friend groups, or even solo travel. The capital city is not only beautiful, but lively and interesting, and the people that live there are so friendly. In all of my travels, CDMX has become one of my favorite cities to visit. I could easily go back over and over and never get bored! However, the city is VERY large and it’s important to have a plan when you go. This itinerary is packed with the best things to do for 4 days in Mexico City. The guide holds a little bit of everything that will be sure to pique your interest, from dining to museums to floating on canals, let’s jump in!
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A Little About Mexico City
Mexico City, or Ciudad de México, is the capital city of… you guessed, Mexico. It’s located near the center of the country and is home to over 8 million residents. Though situated in the Valley of Mexico, it’s still considered a high elevation city with its altitude at 2,240 meters (7,350 ft). The population tops over 9 million and when you include Greater Mexico City is over 21 million people! The city was originally founded hundreds of years ago by indigenous groups in the early 1300s and has since seen many political, culture, and financial changes. After being ruled by the Spanish colony for a while, Mexico City has enjoyed independence since 1824.
With hundreds of neighborhoods making up what is known as Greater Mexico City, there is a place and a vibe for everyone. There is so much to see and do but Mexico City can easily be visited in 4 or 5 days.
When to visit mexico city
Oftentimes, work, school, and other life factors are major determinants in deciding when to take a vacation. But some locales just aren’t the same at certain times of the year. While my general advice is to just go whenever you can, flexibility can make your trip that much better. Luckily, Mexico City is one that can be visited pretty much year-round but certain times of the year are better than others. Day of the Dead is one of the biggest celebrations held in Mexico and I highly recommend visiting at the end of October and beginning of November to experience it. Independence Day in celebrated in May. Otherwise, the weather and crowds are pretty consistent throughout the year.
Take the guesswork out of it, let a travel professional plan your vacation for you!
What to pack for a long weekend in Mexico City
Luckily, the consistent weather makes it easy to make your packing list no matter what time of year you are visiting. You’ll want to pack light layers because the days can be sunny and warm with cool evenings. For daytime, jeans or a light dress will be perfect. I always had a jacket with me (I love a classic jean jacket or this jacket that doubles as a rain coat!) just in case of cloud cover or windy days. At night, you’d be more than okay with a light sweater and jacket… it can get chilly in the evening! And don’t forget comfortable shoes. While many of the tourists sites aren’t walkable (depending on the neighborhood you’re in), you will still get plenty of steps in walking around the neighborhoods and markets.
Any time you’re traveling you also need to keep safety in mind. For purses, I recommend a cross body or fanny pack situation that you can keep close to your body. Don’t carry your passport with you but instead, a paper copy. Bring a portable phone charger so you don’t have to worry about your phone dying and missing out on all the amazing pictures!
Where to stay in Mexico City
Mexico City is an absolutely gigantic city with many options when it comes to neighborhood and lodging. So where should you stay in CMDX? Especially for first time visitors, I recommend the neighborhoods of Polanco, Condesa, or Roma. In terms of hotels, I partner with dozens of CDMX hotels that offer extra perks to make your stay even more special. I highly recommend the Four Seasons Mexico City, the Sofitel Reforma, or Las Alcobas. There are hundreds of Airbnbs around the city that are absolutely beautiful but I always recommend a hotel over an Airbnb, especially in an area you aren’t familiar with. It’s much easier to ascertain quality and communication is much better should you find yourself in a bind. Make sure you reach out and book through me to receive the perks you can’t get when you book for yourself!
Book your trip with a travel advisor
Sure, you can book any hotel on your own… but why would you?! Save yourself some time, sanity, AND get some extra perks by booking through an advisor. When you book through me, a Fora affiliate, you’ll get to relax and just click “confirm!” when it’s time to book your Mexican vacay.
In addition, book through me, and you’ll get these amazing perks at any of these listed properties along with 2,000 other properties worldwide:
- Daily breakfast for two
- Room upgrades (when available)
- Early & late checkout
- Resort credit for the spa or onsite restaurants
And you’ll be a VIP to the hotel… I’ve got the hookup for ya 😉 Simply email me below and I’ll take care of the rest. It’s easy as pie.
4 day mexico city itinerary
An early morning flight will put you in Mexico City later in the morning or early afternoon from most airports in the US. This will give you most of the day to explore Mexico City and not lose a whole day traveling… there’s so much to see in CDMX, there’s no time to lose!
Check in & lunch
Once you arrive, grab a taxi, Uber, or private transportation arranged by your travel agent (hi, hope it’s me!). Most of the main neighborhoods you’ll want to stay in are about 45 minutes from the airport, but could be longer if traffic is bad. So plan accordingly. Check into your amazing hotel in Polanco, Condesa, or Roma and get ready for an amazing long weekend! Worried about getting there too early? Book with me and score in early check in.
First thing’s first on any trip: search for food! Why not get in the spirit and grab some authentic tacos and a delicious margarita? Check out Taco Orinoco, La Pingüinca, or El Turix for some of the best tacos in Mexico City.
See the sights
Spend the afternoon getting lost and checking out some of the must-see sights in Mexico City:
La Angel de la Independencia sits in the center of the Reforma neighborhood and downtown area in the middle of a round-about. The angel represents . Check it out at night to see it looking even more magical.
Palacio des Bella Artes is an iconic building in the city center that’s as beautiful inside as it is outside. Grab a ticket for MXP 75 and enjoy the beautiful murals. The palace is also home to theater and art events.
El Zocalo, formally known as the Plaza de la Constitución is the main square in Mexico City. The site was a ceremonial site for the Aztec and then became the center during colonial times. Now, it continues to be an important site for gathering. Walk around the see the colonial era buildings, the cathedral, and government sites.
Dinner at Maximo
For dinner, check out Maximo which has been recommended for their to-die-for ceviche by Anthony Bourdain!
Breakfast at Panaderia Rosetta
Up and at ‘em, friend. We have a lot to get done today! I highly recommend getting up and ready for breakfast early, because Panaderia Rosetta gets busy quickly. Panaderia Rosetta is an absolute must try while in Mexico City. Order the guava pastry and thank me later! Just in case you do wake up late, the wait usually goes quickly.
Shopping in the markets
After filling your belly with the most delicious pastries, it’s time to do some shopping. Mexico City is home to so many amazing markets. I’m not typically a shopper on trips like this, but I could easily spend all day wandering through the markets in CDMX! Depending on the day you go will determine which markets you should visit.
In Condesa, Bazaar Market is a bit upscale but unique with jewelry, clothing, and gifts.
La Ciudadela is one of the most popular in Cuauhtémoc and has primarily artisan crafts which make perfect souvenirs.
Bazar Sabado is, you guessed it, only open on Saturdays in the San Angel neighborhood. This was one of my favorite markets we visited because of the wide variety of offerings and shops nearby.
La Lagunilla is only open on Sundays and holds one of the best collections of antiques and other unique items in Mexico City!
Afternoon in Chapultepec and museums
After shopping to your heart’s content and dropping your souvenirs off at your hotel, head to Chapultepec. Bosque de Chapultepec is a famous park in the center of the city and is home to a zoo, lake, and lots of vendors. In addition, some of the city’s best museums line the edge of the park. Whether you want to have a picnic, visit the zoo, or wander the museums, you’ll find something you love in Chapultepec.
You may also like: the best things to do in Polanco (Mexico City’s upscale neighborhood)
Museo de Antropología is a top recommendation for visitors to CDMX. Learn more about Mexico’s indigenous cultures and history. The Museo de Arte Moderno is also nearby if you prefer to learn about art! Within the park, visit the Chapultepec Castle and receive a ticket to the National History Museum.
You can easily swap the museums & shopping or just cut one or the other out depending on your interests.
Dinner at one of the world’s best restaurants
You can’t visit Mexico City without trying at least one of two world-famous restaurants. Pujol and Quintonil are both on the list of the 50 best restaurants in the world! Be prepared to make reservations months in advance and save up some extra money for the experience… It’s pricey but so worth it!
Drinks at Limantour Licorería
Top off your night of fine dining with a drink at one of the world’s best bars, Limantour. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time or you’ll be waiting a very long time. If you forget to make a reservation, you can try to go right when they open before dinner, too.
Brunch at Catamundi
Head to the chic neighborhood of Polanco to enjoy an amazing brunch.
Visit the ancient canals of Xochimilco
What once was all water surrounding Mexico City has now become an elaborate system of canals that serve the surrounding town of Xochimilco as an amazing tourist attraction. Take an Uber (about 1 hour) to the Xochimilco canals and rent one of the amazing boats for the afternoon. Each boat is uniquely decorated and holds up to 10-15 people! Pack your own drinks and snacks but you can also stop some boats coming by that will serve you drinks, elote, snacks, and even a song by a mariachi band!
Haggling used to be more commonplace when renting the boats, but now there are signs everywhere letting you know the fixed price of a boat rental. At the time of our trip in November 2022, it was 600 MXP for an hour.
Plan to spend a full afternoon here. The canals are best enjoyed with a group of friends!
Dinner at Bello Puerto
Enjoy some amazing seafood and other unique dishes along with a crisp glass of Mexican wine.
Breakfast at Cafe Nin
Cafe Nin is a delicious way to start your day–you have to order the chilaquiles!
Frida Kahlo museum
You can’t leave Mexico City without seeing the iconic home of Frida Kahlo! You’ve probably seen pictures of the beautiful blue exterior but you have to go see it in all its beautiful glory and learn more about this amazing artist and her impact on Mexico. Be sure to book tickets well in advance, as they sell out quickly!
Lunch at the Mercado de la Merced
The Mercado de la Merced is one of the best places in the city to try some of the traditional foods of Mexico and the city. It is also the oldest and biggest market in the city! I highly recommend booking a guide or tour of some sort… the market can easily become overwhelming!
Afternoon: Check out and depart
To make the most of your time, book an afternoon flight to enjoy lunch before you leave!
Final thoughts/recommendations on 4 days in Mexico City
There is so much to see and do in Mexico City, but this 4 day itinerary will allow you to see some of the best things the city has to offer! From fine dining, to drinks with friends on an ancient canal, to strolling the best museums, you won’t have time to be bored. Mexico City is an incredible city rich with history and culture. Mexico boasts some of the best beaches in the world, and this is often where tourists flock, but you’d be remiss to skip over this amazing destination! Full of food, culture, and interesting activities, you can’t go wrong with 4 days in Mexico City.