Photo Credit: Nasir Fleming
How To Spend 48 Hours In Mexico City, Mexico
Written by: Nasir Fleming
Mexico City is one of the most complex and exciting places in the Americas. Although tourism in Mexico often favors Tulum, Puerto Vallarta, or Puerto Escondido, Mexico City should not be slept on— especially by travelers who fancy art and coffee.
WHERE TO STAY
Mexico City is an extremely welcoming city. This statement rings true for all accommodation budgets as well.
If you’re feeling luxurious, you might find yourself at the glamorous Condesa DF, a design boutique hotel with one of the nicest rooftops in town. If you’re feeling extra bougie, The Four Seasons hotel is waiting for you.
DAY 1 in Mexico City
To start this trip off, let’s focus on El Centro Histórico. Visiting foreigners are often tempted to focus on hipster areas such as Roma and Condesa. Although these areas are fantastic, the center is a unique experience. So, let’s give this area the love it deserves.
Breakfast and Coffee at Don Porfirio
Kick your morning off at Don Porfirio Café. Walking by, you might miss this gem since it’s hidden on the eighth floor of a Sears building on Avenida Juárez. Once you take the elevator ride, you’ll be invited to enjoy your coffee and breakfast on a terrace that overlooks the iconic Palacio de Bellas Artes.
Give Yourself A Moment To Take It All In
After you’ve fueled up, allow yourself to roam freely around this area. You can start by walking around the Alameda Central; constructed in 1592, this landmark is one of the oldest existing parks in the Americas. This park feels like a center for social events, so it can often be overwhelming, but the soothing sounds of the fountains will easily calm you.
Once you pass through Alameda Central, you’ll find Palacio de Bellas Artes and La Torre Latinoamérica. Located on opposite street corners, each building’s distinct architecture becomes apparent. Bellas Artes looks like a Parisian opera house, its roof dressed in gold, whereas La Torre Latinoamerica resembles an un-impassioned New York City building from the 1980s. Each is fascinating in its own right.
Walking straight ahead, you’ll eventually find yourself in El Zócalo, or the Constitution Plaza, a square in which you can take in the view of a massive Mexican flag and many street performers.
Lunch and Drinks at Terraza Cathedral
Terraza Cathedral is just two blocks from El Zócalo. At this rooftop restaurant, you can enjoy flavorful arrachera (skirt steak) tacos while enjoying a Mexican craft beer and sensual tunes.
Souvenir Shopping at La Ciudadela (Artisanal Market)
During my many years of traveling, I have often put souvenir shopping off until the last day. In a scramble to purchase items for friends and family, I would miss out on enjoying my last day in a city. Instead, let’s get your gift shopping out of the way early.
Since you’re already in the center, head on over to La Ciudadella, an artisanal market worth exploring for hours. From fruit baskets to mezcal made with fermented wasps, leaving empty-handed is a difficult task.
Tip: Although cards are accepted by many vendors, make sure to take out some cash, so you don’t miss out on good deals.
Dinner at Tacos Orinoco
Tacos Orinoco has three locations, so hop into a taxi or an Uber and make your way to whichever is the closest to where you’re staying. This taquería is originally from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon (Northern Mexico), but it is dearly loved in Mexico City. Here’s a fair warning that this popular spot might be at full capacity when you arrive, but don’t worry! You can grab the food “para llevar” (to go) and go eat it in the park.
Tip: Get the pirata or campechana. Don’t ask questions – just thank me later.
DAY 2 in Mexico City
Now that you’ve explored the center and understand a bit more about the foundation of Mexico City, let’s make our way over to a few other bustling areas. These neighborhoods (Condesa, Roma, Nápoles) are vibrant spots for cafés, art, music and all things culture.
Grab Coffee at Isabella Café (Roma or Condesa)
Isabella Café is that adorable all-pink café you might have seen on Instagram or TikTok. This establishment has two locations, one in Roma and one in Condesa. The one in Roma is more popular since it is almost twice the size of its sister café. Grab a pastry and a coffee to get you prepared for the day.
I will admit that Isabella Café understood the assignment and is committed to the bubblegum, sweet-tooth theme— not just in relation to the coffee shop’s aesthetic, the actual drinks are super sugary too.
Take a Stroll Through el Bosque de Chapultepec
Don’t let the English name, “Chapultepec Park” fool you. This place is basically a forest, hence the “bosque” in its title.
Oftentimes, Chapultepec is referred to as Mexico’s Central Park. In reality, it is twice the size of Central Park, so we actually need to start saying that Central Park is New York’s Chapultepec Park.
Grab a Bite at Plantasia (Roma)
Plantasia is a vegan Asian cuisine joint. The play on words is quite impressive. Not only is the restaurant dressed with plants in every corner, but Plantasia is a true aesthetic “fantasía.” Ah, see what they did there?
They have a tasty brunch between 11am – 1pm, and their traditional menu comes out after 1pm. Establishments like this often remind me of how vegan-friendly and diverse Mexico City truly is.
Enjoy a Light Show at Dreams Fantasy Lab (Nápoles)
Make your way down to Nápoles to go to Dreams at Fantasy Lab, one of the most stimulating and immersive light experiences I’ve been to. At any given moment, you might feel impressed, excited, confused, or in love and more. Not only does this experience change your perception of reality by taking you through the dream realm, it helps you to appreciate the beauty of that which we don’t always understand.
Taste All of Latin America at Comedor de los Milagros
El Comedor de los Milagros is a busy food hall with dishes from all over Latin America (including, but not limited to, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru and more.) Oh, did I just say dishes? They have alcohol from these countries too.
Grab yourself a Peruvian pisco sour, a Brazilian caipirinha, or a smokey shot of Mexican mezcal.