Last week I took a quick trip to Mexico City with my friend Etienne to visit my second cousin Abby, in partnership with Uber. We didn’t have a lot of time in a huge city full of rich history, art, and a whole lot of food, so we really packed it in! Today I’m sharing a 48 hour itinerary with Uber, which is the easiest and most cost efficient way to get around in Mexico City…
A bit of a background story: My second cousin Abby (on the right) lives in Mexico City with her husband and three kids. Recently, she wrote a travel piece for Domino Magazine about Mexico City, and is finishing up a book as well on the same topic coming up next year. She’s a graphic designer with flawless taste (her home in Mexico City has already been featured in Domino Magazine). All this to say: she was the best person to tour us around for the long weekend (“eat at this spot, check out this specific booth at the market”). It was heaven to have her as our guide! Her book is going to be brilliant, I can’t wait for it to come out. My friend Etienne (on my left) grew up with Abby here in the bay area. When Etienne asked if I wanted to come with her for a quick weekend trip to visit Abby, I jumped at the chance. Mexico City! I hadn’t been since I was 16 and have been itching to come back.
When we first starting planning our trip, Abby suggested taking Uber around because it was so inexpensive, safe, and easy. The city is pretty spread out, and the subway system isn’t super reliable. Which makes Uber the best option around. It felt like there were even more Uber cars around in Mexico City than in San Francisco! Most were there within 2 minutes. Many spoke English as well, although by the end I was having fun trying to use my high school level Spanish skills. In fact, a friend of mine that works at Uber said she recently heard Mexico City is the #1 rated positively rated city for riders.
Etienne and I live close together here in Oakland, so on the way to the airport I picked her up using the multiple destinations feature of the Uber App. Have you tried it? Once you hit the first destination (her home), you click the + button next to that address, and then you can add another destination (the airport). It’s a new feature I hadn’t tried yet, and love it!
There’s also the split fare feature which is super helpful when traveling with friends so you don’t have to settle up afterwards. There’s already so many things to settle up with when you travel with friends, it’s one more thing you don’t have to worry about.
Here’s our 48 hour itinerary for Mexico City:
DAY 1: Breakfast at Azul in the city Centro Historico. A beautiful little traditional Mexican restaurant in an open air plaza surrounded by boutiques. Must try: the chilaquiles and Mexican hot chocolate (made right at your table!). While you’re waiting for your table, check out all the boutiques upstairs!
After a good meal, it’s time to hit the pavement and start exploring this incredibly historic part of town. Be sure to check out the Cathedral Metropolitana, the National Palace, and Templo Mayor (Aztec temple ruins right in the middle of town).
The National Palace had these incredible visual stories of their history all along the inside of the walls, a really fascinating place.
Next you’ll want to head towards the Museo Nacional de Arte across from a beautiful old Post Office. At this point, you could also head to the Museo de Arte Popular (Folk Art) Museum.
Cross the park and eat lunch at the rooftop cafe, or grab a taco and bbqed corn on the street.
When you’ve had your fill of museums and historic sites, jump in an Uber and head to the Ciudadela Market, which is only about a 5 minute drive away. It’s open every day until around 6pm, with over 300 vendors of traditional Mexican crafts. Everything from blankets and dresses, pom poms in every form, little wooden toys, rugs, and the most beautiful stuffed animals. Abby knew all the best booths to hit up: we went crazy there! Most places only take cash, so be sure to stock up on pesos before you head in.
Hop in another Uber and head to the Roma neighborhood. The traditional European neighborhood is stunning, with row after row of boutiques and restaurants to check out (not to mention just wandering around admiring the architecture).
For dinner, head to a beautiful restaurant filled with vines called Rosetta in the most stunning building. You’ll probably need a reservation, so try to plan in advance!
After dinner, head back to the center of town for the Ballet Folklorica in the gorgeous Palacio de Bellas Artes. The ballet showcases traditional Mexican dances from past to present and the costumes themselves are magnificent!
After the ballet (if you’re feeling up to it!), head to Churreria El Moro. They have a few spots around the city, but it’s a must-try! Fresh cinnamon churros and thick hot chocolate (get the espanol hot chocolate for extra thick!!). Most locations are open to at least 11pm (one is 24 hours even!).
DAY 2 (Saturday): Jump in an Uber bright and early and head to Lalo for breakfast (just try to get there early so you don’t have to wait in line for the best chiliquiles in town!)
Next you’ll hop in another Uber to hit the San Angel and Saturday Bazaar in a quaint little part of town with cobbled streets. Open only on Saturdays, but usually not until around 11am. We found some beautiful artwork, hanging birds for the girls room, and hand carved wooden bowls for a steal. I also found some really beautiful wooden trucks that Santa is bringing next month (shhh!). The goods aren’t as traditional as the Ciudadela market, but still equally as beautiful.
Close to the markets is the Frida Kahlo’s home that’s has been turned into a museum featuring her famous artwork. A must see!
Grab another Uber and head to the best Mexican seafood restaurant in town, Contramar for lunch. Be sure to get the tuna tostadas (the most amazing thing ever- trust me!), and the snapper fish with red and green sauces (pictured here). Another spot you’ll want to make a reservation for in advance.
After lunch, head to the Anthropologie museum for an amazing look at the early history of the Aztec people indigenous to Mexico. There’s also a great exhibit about early humans that’s fascinating. Right outside the museum and behind the vendors is an incredible performance you don’t want to miss called Voladores, or pole spinning. It’s a traditional Aztec ritual that’s jaw-dropping to watch! They climb up this pole, strap themselves to a rope, and then swing themselves around until they’re unraveled, and all the way down to the ground.
Your next spot is not to be missed, the Luis Barragan home and studio tour. You’ll need a reservation at least a couple weeks in advance, but it’s worth it. The most famous Mexican architect’s home is incredibly inspiring with such a thoughtful approach to light and movement. Sadly, you can’t take photos inside!
Finally, head to Lucha Libre (free fight!) to satisfy all your Nacho Libre dreams. They’re at Area Mexico and Area Coliseo. We happened to come during the women’s part of the fight which was really entertaining to watch. The crowd is fun and it’s very family friendly, if you’re traveling with kids. Lucha Libre is only on Friday and Saturday nights so plan accordingly!
My head is still spinning from all the inspiration in this incredible city. Have you been to Mexico City? What would you add to our 48 hour guide?
Thanks to Uber for sponsoring this post and for making exploring Mexico City so easy.