If Mexico City is on your list of places to visit, you have come to the right place for list of things to do while in the city. This city has something for everyone. Did you know there are over 150 museums? I have put together a small list of things to see and do on a student budget, or just on a budget in general. Mexico City is very budget friendly, so even if you don’t have a small budget in mind you’re bound to find that things are very inexpensive there.
Museo de Arte Popular
A friend had recommended me to visit this museum as she had mentioned it was one of her favorites. Let me tell you, it is now my absolute favorite museum of all. Although, it was a bit small since there was some work going on in one of its 4 floors, it had so much to see. I happened to visit on a Sunday and admission was free. But if you go any other day of the week, admission is also free for students and professors as well as children under 18 years old and the elderly. Everyone else pays $60 MXN which is roughly $2.93 USD. The museum hours are Tuesdays 10am-6pm, Wednesdays 10am-9pm, Thursday-Sunday 10am-6pm, Mondays it is closed.
Museo de Frida Khalo
Also known as La Casa Azul, it is the home where Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera once lived in. This is a must see place as it features many of her works in display throughout the house. The price for students is $48 MXN, roughly $2.35 USD or general admission is $230 MXN roughly $11.28 USD on weekdays, $250 MXN ($12.26 USD) on weekends. Either way, it is a very low price for such an impressive and historic place to visit. I highly recommend that you buy your tickets online, as the lines can be pretty long. When you purchase online tickets, you get a 30 minute time frame to enter the museum and you basically just walk right in. There is an additional $30 MXN ($1.47 USD) fee to take pictures inside the museum and no flash is allowed. Large bags and backpacks must also be left at the front desk before entering.
Museo de la Tortura
I came across this museum on my last day during an uber ride, the driver mentioned it was worth seeing. Although, it was pretty crowded when I visited, the line was about a 30 minute wait. The museum is only one floor and features various rooms with torture machines and devices along with information about when and how they were used. Disclaimer: It may be a bit too graphic for some. The entrance fee for students is $45 MXN ($2.20 USD) for students with valid school/college ID. Regular admission is $60 MXN ($2.94 USD). Hours are everyday from 10am to 6pm.
Piramides de Teotihuacan
The pyramids are a must see. I had visited the Archeology Museum before visiting the pyramids where they had a virtual tour of the pyramids. They looked incredible through the virtual tour, but nothing prepares you to experience them in person. The pyramids are ancient and full of history, yet pretty intact. You can also rent a guide to walk you through and tell you the history of the pyramids of the sun and the moon.
The entrance to the pyramids is $70 MXN ($3.43 USD) for all and free for Mexican citizens. The hours of visit are Tuesdays to Sunday 9am-5pm.
Museo del Tequila
If you know me, you know I love me some tequila. As much as I love Mexican food and drinks, I had not known until I visited the museum that mezcal was just as important as tequila to Mexico. For only $45 MXN ($2.20 USD) students can take a self guided tour to learn about both, tequila and mezcal, from how they are made to how they are bottled and more. General admission to the museum is $60 MXN ($2.94 USD). To end your tour, you are given a free ticket for a tasting of tequila and mezcal. Fun fact: tequila is not meant to be taken as a single shot, but instead it is supposed to be sipped and enjoyed slowly as a drink.
This is an incredible experience. There is nothing like it. So much color, so much music, so much amazing food. The whole idea is that you get in one of the many colorful boats, either with your significant other as a romantic date or in a group. I went with a group from my hostel on a tour. We did a four hour tour, as you’re sailing through the small canal, other boats approach you with mariachis on board, food, selling goods, drinks etc. There are also many stores along the way you can stop, get off the boat and stop to shop around, grab something to eat, or use the bathroom which we did quite a few times thanks to the beers haha. For a private boat you can pay $350 MXN ($17.16 USD) or you can jump on a collective, a shared boat for $40 MXN ($1.96 USD).
I recently went at the beginning of September 2020, due to Covid-19 they had some specials. I rented a trajinera for an hour for 350 mxn pesos which is $16.32 and it was good for up to 10 people. You can schedule ahead of time or simply give them a call but a reservation is not required at the moment.
To be honest, during my visit in October ’18, I was not impressed. However, this time in September ’20 I got the chance to further explore this neighborhood as this is where our Airbnb was located. The Chinatown in Mexico City, rather small, but so interesting to see in the middle of the city. Surrounded by all the Mexican culture, across from the Palacio de Bellas Artes. This three block long neighborhood transports you to a new place. Side note, I had tacos while in Chinatown and they were just as good as the tacos on the little markets across the street! Plus, it costs nothing to walk around and experience the neighborhood.
Some monuments worth visiting while in the city include; the Angel of Independence as well as the CDMX sign in the Zocalo. The Zocalo area itself is worth a visit. You can’t forget to visit the many mercaditos Mexico City has to offer, the one in the picture below is walking distance from the Frida Kahlo museum in Coyoacan. Also pictured below is the Garibaldi plaza, which to be honest during the day is just like any other plaza with not much going on. There are mariachis looking to sing for you for a fee, but the real experience is at night. During this trip I did not visit Garibaldi at night but a lot of people, specially locals do recommend it.
I like to save the best for last! I mean, didn’t we all book the flight to taste authentic Mexican tacos and all their delicious cuisine has to offer? I know I did! From the chicken chilaquiles I had the minute I arrived, to the tacos I ate along the way, everything was to die for.
Fun fact: Huaraches are a blue corn tortilla, with nopales (cactus), cheese, sautéed onions, refried black beans and chicken. Definitely recommend to try them just outside of the Teotihuacan pyramids.
Mexico City is such a big and vibrant city. Very walking friendly but there is public transportation as well. Ubers are very cheap and a good option. I have now visited twice and I did not cover half of what there is to see.
As always, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you end up doing any of the activities let me know, I would love to hear about your experience!