Mexico City was our hopping point to South America, and we’re glad we ended up exploring this bustling city. We were surprised to see such few tourists in the capital city. With its vibrant arts scene and historical presence, the city truly has a lot to offer. Our favorite aspect of our time here was, hands down, the delicious, inexpensive food. We stayed in the historic center, which was easy access to many of the city’s main attractions.
Here, we share a few tips for affordable traveling in Mexico City along with some of our favorite food spots and attractions.
Ways to Save $$ in Mexico City
1. Take the Metro
Taking the metro is a great way to people-watch and experience the commute life of many of the locals. Depending on the size of your travel group, it can be much cheaper to take the Metro than taking a cab or an Uber.
2. Street Food
Keep those coins with you at all times! You can go as cheap as 5 tacos for 25 pesos.
3. Find an Airbnb/hostel for your budget
First things first, Food.
As California residents, we’ve tried a couple implant taco places here and there. We knew exactly what to do when we landed in Mexico City: get tacos. Thus began our little game of roulette, in which we tried several random street stands and restaurants. Next time you’re traveling, we encourage you to try places that aren’t listed on the Yelp’s top. That’s how we found our favorite little gem. Here are some places we recommend for grubbing 🙂
Taquería El Torito
We were blessed to find El Torito. Located on Isabel la Católica, it’s great for a quick bite.
Churrería El Moro
El Moro has pushed our standards way beyond the expensive street churros we only experience at Disneyland. This place is highly rated and requires you to wait in a long line during busy hours, but it is totally worth it. We actually found that the churros were fresher during rush time. And yup. that’s a churro ice cream sandwich.
Café de Tacuba
On our first Sunday night, we quickly learned that stores close fairly early on this day of the week. We decided to give Café de Tacuba a try, as it was one of the only few open with good reviews. It ended up being a very memorable dinner. We secretly called the mariachi band to sing a birthday song for our friend, Edouard, and cheered to sangrias!
Located a few blocks from our Airbnb, this place became our go-to for breakfast pastries and packable sweets. The place gets crowded in the mornings, and they have a pretty good system here for a quick in and out grab. We’re not big sweets people, but we loved everything we tried here.
Comedor Lucerna is a little hipster cafeteria with a sun-room like atmosphere. Among the variant options, we went with the ceviche and seafood cocktail. For the price and ambience, the meal was well worth it!
No photos from here because we just wanted to chill 🙂 As a part of the world’s 50 best bars, this is a place to wind down and chat with your friends over mezcals and appetizers. Four of us ordered different cocktails and agreed that each one tasted good.
Palacio de Bellas Artes
Mexico City’s palace of fine arts is a classic main attraction. The splendor of its architecture is equally beautiful during the night time as it is during the day. Inside, we viewed art exhibits of the famous Picasso and murals by Rivera.
Castillo de Chapultepec
Save yourself with a comfortable pair of shoes if you’re ever headed to see the Chapultepec castle. We started at the entrance of the surrounding park and slowly made our way through the jungle of street stands to the front steps of what used to be a vacation home for the presidents. Now, the castle is publicly open to all and sits on top of a view high enough to see the remainder of the city. It was a lovely spot to take lots of photos and soak in the sun.
This built-by-hand city’s origin is still a mystery, and the name Teotihuacan was only given by the Aztec who found the abandoned area. Now, it’s an archaeological site that is crawled over by tourists, souvenir sellers, and dogs! It took us about 3 paced hours to explore up, down, and around the Pyramid of the Sun. We recommend that you bring snacks and water because there aren’t any food stands within the perimeter.
Museo de Frida Kahlo
Exploring the nooks and crannies of Casa Azul was unique compared to visiting the conventional museum. We patiently stood in line for about 30 minutes like guests of an open house. It was engaging to see pieces of Frida Kahlo’s life in the context of her home. Our favorite room displayed some of Frida’s clothing pieces: dresses, corsets, and even braces she wore due to her injuries.
La Condesa is a posh and hip neighborhood in the city. Here, you can see people chatting over cocktails or folks typing away on their laptops out in the patios. There’s even an outline of a pet & leash on the streets’ cross path sign. Nothing new for city millenials, but hey, even upscale neighborhoods have personalities of their own. Here, we took a nice walk and had drinks at a mezcal bar.
Mercado de Artesanias La Ciudadela
Let’s be frank here. A lot of the colorful goods marketed as “artisanry” were just touristy knick-knacks (probably wholesaled from somewhere). If you look closely and try hard enough, you can find some worthwhile goodies, but we didn’t have much time and just eye-shopped the edges of the market.
An authentic Mexican experience
From brightly colored masks to choreographed wrestling moves, Lucha Libre has everything you need to keep you entertained. Each round begins with dramatic entrances of the luchadores in extravagant spandex costumes. “Gold Angel!” “Next up, Blueeee Panther!” With beer in one hand and a fist in the other, the crowd cheered as the luchadores performed their scripted fights. The luchadores went as far as falling into the front row seats and fighting off the ring, and their performances had us laughing and enjoying the night.
Overall, Mexico City kept our itineraries full and our itchy feet satisfied. There were lots to do within easy-to-get-to distances, and we weren’t even able to cover all of the main attractions! We highly recommend stopping by 🙂
A Few of our Favorites