If you plan it well, a weekend in Mexico City is enough time to sample some of the city’s famous street food, explore the ancient Aztec ruins and convince yourself that you need to book a return trip for longer.

Once home to the Aztec capital of Tenochitlán, Mexico City is now a booming metropolis with over 20 million residents. There are restaurants to suit every budget, with tacos costing less than a dollar in the same neighborhoods as some of the world’s top 50 restaurants. A weekend in Mexico City should center around food with plenty of sites to explore in between meals. Here's your guide to the perfect weekend in Mexico City. 

The modern CDMX sculpture in El Centro Histórico's Zocalo near Cathedral
The modern CDMX sculpture in El Centro Histórico's Zócalo near Cathedral © Pe3k / Shutterstock

Friday Evening – El Centro Histórico

Mexico City airport is a short taxi ride from the city center. If it’s your first trip to the city, a stay in the Centro Histórico is a must – it’s the neighborhood you absolutely can’t miss. Book a stay at the centrally located Chillout Flat or the historical Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico.

For drinks and a quick bite, walk from your hotel to Comedor MATA Cantina. They have a nice selection of classic Mexican dishes like ceviche tostadas, aguachile and flautas, all paired well with their selection of mezcals, tequilas and Mexican craft beers. There’s live music on most Friday nights.

Don’t stay out too late – you’ve got a full weekend ahead!

The colorful cityscape of Mexico City
The Centro Histórico should be your first stop in Mexico City © Esdelval / Getty


Morning – Breakfast at El Cardenal

Rise early to make the most of your short break in the city. A breakfast at El Cardenal is a must. The pan dulces are made fresh each morning; the sweet breads pair perfectly with the hot chocolate and strong coffees. On a more savory note, the chilaquiles are a heavy start to the day, but they’ll keep you full well into the afternoon. 

After breakfast, hop in an Uber to the quaint suburb of San Ángel and the city’s best craft market, Bazaar Sábado (Saturday Bazaar). This market is only open on Saturdays and sells some of the most exquisite pieces from local artisans. Outside the market itself, stalls selling all types of souvenirs have popped up. 

Where to find artisan-produced textiles in Mexico

Two travelers shopping together in Mexico City market
Colorful souvenirs fill the many shops and stalls of Mexico City © Linka A Odom / Getty

Afternoon – Coyoacán

Once you’ve gotten your fill of shopping, you can hop in a taxi to nearby Coyoacán. This colonial village used to be a city in its own right, but is now well and truly part of Mexico City life. 

If you’re feeling hungry, head to Mercado Coyoacán. Look for all the yellow: yellow tables, yellow signs, yellow stools and staff in yellow shirts. This is Tostadas Coyoacán. There are over a dozen tostado (deep fried tortilla) toppings to choose from, such as ceviche, chicken mole, pork and plenty of vegetarian options, too. 

The Frida Kahlo museum- a blue concrete building with red trip, green windows, a green door, and a tree in guarding the front door

The Frida Kahlo Museum (also known as the Blue House) is a five-minute walk from the market. Be sure to book your tickets beforehand so you don’t have to wait in line for over an hour. Learn about the life and work of this artist, whose face you’ll see all over Coyoacán, and why she is beloved by so many.

Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with our weekly newsletter.


After leaving the Frida Kahlo Museum, hop in a taxi or take the metro back to the city center and drop off all your newly purchased souvenirs. If you want to splurge on a meal while you’re in Mexico City, Saturday night is the right time to do it. Take note: many popular fine dining restaurants require reservations at least four weeks in advance. Standout options include Quintonil, Pujol, Lorea and Sud 777

Pre-dinner drinks at Limantour are a perfect way to start the evening. This cocktail bar consistently ranks as the number one bar in all of Latin America and even boasts as one of the world's 50 best bars. Their cocktails are unmatched in the city for both flavor and creativity. 

If you’d prefer something delicious, but perhaps don’t want to break the bank, Merotoro, Pasillo de Humo or Fonda Fina are top class restaurants with shorter wait times and lower menu prices.

A giant stone snake in the midst of Aztec ruins
Stone Snake at the Aztec ruins of Templor Mayor © DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI / Getty



For a low-key breakfast, head to one of the Centro Histórico’s classic diner experiences: Café el Popular or La Pagoda cafetería. They have all of the classic Mexican breakfast dishes like enchiladas, molletes and huevos rancheros, all served with pan dulces and strong coffee.

From here, it’s a short walk into the Zócalo, or main square. This square is home to the city’s Metropolitan Cathedral, the supreme court building, the Aztec ruins of Templo Mayor and the National Palace which is the national parliament building. The National Palace has been the home of the government since the Aztecs ruled over Tenochitlán in 1400 AD.

All the buildings are free to enter, other than Templo Mayor, which has an entry fee of 75 Pesos. 

The grandiose and ornate Metropolitan Cathedral
The Metropolitan Cathedral is one of Mexico City's most iconic structures © Alexcrab / Getty


For lunch, head on a self-guided taco tour of the Centro Histórico’s most famous stands. You can’t miss the pastor tacos from El Huequito. This taquería is one of many around the city that claim to be the first to make these marinated pork tacos. Next up, Los Cocuyos is the place to head for suadero, a slow-roasted beef taco that will truly melt in your mouth. Last up, have a few tacos de canasta, or basket tacos, from El Flaco. They are pre-made and left to steam inside a basket, giving them a very soft texture.

Two dancers dance in the Alameda Central near Mexico City's Zócalo
Two dancers dance in the Alameda Central near Mexico City's Zócalo © NurPhoto / Getty Images


On your last evening in Mexico City, head for pre-dinner drinks at Bar La Ópera, a famous cantina in an old opera house. The interior is beautiful and so is the mezcal selection. Then head for an early dinner at El Lugar Sin Nombre, the place with no name. The restaurant is a relatively new spot that is serving up the city’s best Oaxacan-style food. The plates are as beautiful as the food is delicious.

Finish the weekend with a flourish by taking in the Folkloric Ballet at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The ballet takes place every Sunday evening starting at 8:30, and is a truly magical experience. Performers show off dances from around the country in colorful costumes, accompanied by live music. You’ll be buzzing all week afterward, thinking about the city that stole your heart in 48 hours.

You might also like: 
Local's guide to Mexico City
Best places to eat in Mexico City in 2020
How to enjoy Mexico City’s free Sunday bike rides

This article was first published September 2019 and updated October 2021

Explore related stories

BEIJING, CHINA - AUG 8: First anniversary celebration of Olympic game on August 8, 2009 in Beijing. Stadium is light up in red with water reflection.; Shutterstock ID 60333574; GL: -; netsuite: -; full: -; name: -


9 modern architectural marvels worth traveling for

Mar 26, 2024 • 8 min read