.A travel guide for Mexico City is useful for anyone interested in becoming better acquainted with it, for our beloved capital has so many things to do, that even chilangos (natives and/or Mexico City residents) find new places to explore and spaces with activities for every liking.

Throughout the 573 square miles of extension that this metropolis has, there is an innumerable number of museums, restaurants, bars, entertaining centers, theaters and streets that are worth visiting. It is important for you to know that the Mexican capital is divided into 16 districts, each one with different neighborhoods and zones. Some of the main ones due to their offer are The Zona Rosa, Chapultepec, and Polanco, the Centro Histórico (Historic Downtown), the La Roma neighborhood, the Condesa, and San Ángel.

Its versatility, history, people, gastronomy, and nightlife are some of the things that make Mexico City an attractive and original touristic destination. Therefore, during a short stay, it is always problematic to choose what to see, where to go, and what places to leave for a future visit, thus having tips from a local is a travel game changer for those finding themselves in this situation.

What are must-dos with 24-hours in Mexico City?

It is common that many travelers visit Mexico for business or to enjoy our heavenly sun and beach destinations, and most of them usually save a day to visit the big city. It is then when the dilemma occurs: choosing what to see, what to eat, and what to do to get the most of these 24 hours, as the cultural, gastronomic, and entertaining offer surpasses your expectations. 

If it is not possible for you to reschedule your flight or land transportation in order to stay longer in the city, it is important to have a clear idea of what you would like to experiment during your stay. If you want to get to know the “basics” in the city, keep on reading this article and discover the interesting and varied schedule we have prepared, so you can enjoy 24 fun and entertaining hours in the heart of the city: Historic Downtown. 

Mexico City's main square
Mexico’s crowded main square, with views towards the National Palace.

The Classic Historic Downtown, the colorful Juárez, and the unusual Tabacalera 

Mexico City originated as Tenochtitlan, precisely in the space where the Historic Downtown is located now. This is why this zone and its surroundings are packed with markets, museums, restaurants, bars, and emblematic buildings that will show you around and let you live the hectic Chilango lifestyle. 

If you have only one day to enjoy the Centro Histórico, our advice is for you to find accommodation there, in order to avoid wasting time on the road and make the best out of your visit. “Downtown México” is a local boutique hotel with modern, cozy bedrooms, and a roof with one of Mexico City’s best views. On the other hand, “Casa Pepe” is a hotel with more affordable prices, a very original roof and, above all, a very fun atmosphere.

Once you have booked your hotel, check out this schedule, as it is the best way to spend one day in Mexico City.

Tamales Madre restaurant dish
Rajas and alpino tamal

Breakfast Tamales Madre: with a really modern, but cozy environment, this restaurant offers an original variety of artisanal tamales, prepared with only Mexican ingredients. Suggestion: tamal de nuez (walnut tamal), and tamal de mole con plátano macho (mole and plantain tamal).

Activities Chocolate Museum: You will learn the history behind chocolate, starting from the cacao seed, and exploring its elaboration process. In the MUCHO (Museo del Chocolate) you’ll also understand the importance of this ingredient for the Mexican culture. Suggestion: Enjoy a traditional cacao drink in Fonda Cacao, located inside the museum.

La Ciudadela Handcrafts Market: You’ll be amazed by the variety of handcrafted products from all around the Mexican Republic. Inside this great market, you can find clay handcrafts, purses, clothes, jewelry, toys, textiles, and more. Suggestion: Verify that the products you buy are Mexican because it is common to find bad quality imported fake products.

Lunch San Juan Market: It is one of the most important gourmet markets in the city, for it offers exotic products, imported cheeses, and charcuterie, which is why many chefs and Chilango foodies are usual clients of the place. Suggestion: don’t stop to eat in the first place you see; walk through the entire market and choose the places you find more appealing. That way, you’ll get to taste a bite of everything.

Activities – Palace of Fine Arts: It is known for its exterior beauty, its interior murals, and its importance as an artistic place. It permanently exhibits the work of some of the most recognized artists from the Mexican muralism movement. Suggestion: Ask for the temporary exhibit and for the guided tours inside the theater.

Tacos, beer, and mezcal tour
Mexican mezcal with orange and powdered chili.

Metropolitan Cathedral: This amazing building was constructed during the Spanish Viceroyalty. It is also one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, due to its undeniable greatness. When you enter, you’ll be surrounded by golden altarpieces and grand rock columns. Suggestion: Ask for the guided tours, so you can visit the vestry, understand the altarpieces, and get to know the bell tower.

Snack and drinks Terraza Cha Cha Chá: With one of the best views to the Revolution Monument, you’ll be able to enjoy tropical snacks with street-like flavors, exotic drinks, and great music to enjoy a fun and warming evening. Suggestion: tuétanos con esquite (marrow with corn grain) and xoconostle mezcalita (prepared drink with mezcal).

Dinner: Tacos, Beer, and Mezcal Tour: Apart from discovering and tasting Mexico City’s best tacos, something you will be proud of, on this tour you’ll visit four neighborhoods and enjoy a drink in the first mezcal bar that opened in Mexico City. Suggestion: Book your SMFT tour in advance.

.It is more than clear that Mexico City has so many things to do, that 24 hours will only be enough to give you a brief idea of what the city is like. However, we hope these options help you choose the most adequate and essential activities and places to visit in just one day. We also encourage you to follow us on our social media, Sabores México Food Tours (saboresmexicoft), so you can learn more about how to travel around Mexico City like an authentic local saborista.


Article by: María José Ordóñez Platas