Scenic view at Basilica of Guadalupe with Mexico City skyline at sunset

Mexico City travel tips

travel tips

Mexico City is the capital of the country, the largest city in Mexico, and actually, the fifth largest city on Earth! As such, many people get intimidated at the thought of visiting such a bustling big city. However, with the six tips below (from someone who lived in Mexico City for one amazing year) and a bit of research into your must see things to do in Mexico City, you'll have an epic trip.

Whatever you do, DON'T rent a car in Mexico City

As the fifth largest city, the greater Mexico City population is over an astonishing 21 million (the city proper has a population of around nine million). With that many people, you can only imagine how bad the traffic can get. Driving in such congestion can really ruin a good mood — and maybe even a whole vacation — so skip the rental car in Mexico City.

Rush hour in Mexico City, looking toward the Angel of Independence.

Instead, use public transportation, taxis and Uber

Mexico City is actually very walkable, and has nice weather for much of the year, so the easiest to get around by walking. You also have the option for Uber or taxis, if you're going somewhere too far to walk.

There's a great bus and metro system, which are both very economical and efficient. Do note that you'll want to avoid public transportation during the morning and evening rush hours, when people often cram onto buses and the metro cars like sardines.

Besides these options, there are bike and scooter sharing programs. The EcoBici is a citywide bike share program that's both affordable and eco-friendly. There are also electric scooter sharing apps, like Byrd and Lime, which cost more than the bikes, but are also a lot more fun.

There are good (and bad) times to visit Mexico City

Mexico City, and all of Central Mexico, has what's known as "Eternal Spring" weather. This means you can expect cool, crispy, pleasant springtime temperatures and sunny days for much of the year — so Mexico City can be a year-round destination.

”Dia de los Muertos” colorful decoration in Plaza del Zócalo, Mexico City’s main square

Saying that, here are some of the best times to visit:

Jacaranda Season: One of the most beautiful times in Mexico City is when the jacaranda trees are in bloom. These large trees are located all over the city, and have bright purple flowers on them which only bloom for about a month. The best chance to see them is from about mid-February to late-March.

Day of the Dead: The Mexico City Día de Muertos parade only takes place on one day in late-October (the date varies), but it's quite a sight to see. During the event, the parade winds its way through the city streets, with floats, dancers, costumes, face painting and music.

And the worst time to visit: If possible, try to avoid the rainy season from April to September, when it can rain quite a bit.

Eat all of the tacos (but choose wisely)

Mexico has a big street food culture everywhere, but it's widely accepted that Mexico City has the best street tacos! While it's actually hard to even find bad-tasting tacos in this foodie city, there are ways to strategically pick a street taco stand.

Here are three things to keep in mind:

  • First, look for at least two employees; one who's cooking and one who handles money.

  • Next, lines, while annoying to wait in, are a surefire sign the tacos from that place are really good.

  • Finally, if you see a lot of taxi drivers eating there, you know it's good since they always know the best cheap eats.

Tacos al Pastor in Mexico City, Mexico

Museums are closed on Mondays

Mexico City is full of things to do, so it's not hard to find non-museum things to do on Mondays. However, if you find yourself in need of museum time on a Monday, head to the Teotihuacan Ruins just outside of the city. The ruins, as well as the Teotihuacan Museum & Sculpture Garden are open Mondays.

Beware of altitude sickness

Mexico City is located at 2,250m (7,400-feet) above sea level. If you're not used to this, you can get altitude sickness — which has flu-like symptoms including nausea, dizziness, dehydration, headaches and body aches.

One of your best defenses against altitude sickness is to stay hydrated and keep drinking water all day long, even if you're not thirsty. Beyond this, there are altitude sickness meds (like Dramamine), though some prefer homeopathic remedies like chlorophyll drops and anti-altitude sickness wristbands or patches.

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Shelley Marmor

Author - Shelley Marmor

Shelley is a former Miami travel magazine editor who ditched the office for the world! She lives in Merida, Mexico, and has traveled solo to 14 states in Mexico. She helps other women confidently travel alone in Mexico through her blog, Travel Mexico Solo.

Last Updated August 13, 2021

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