Three Days in Mexico City

This is the second post in the Adventures of An Island Girl: Mexico Edition series. If you haven’t yet read part one, go back and read it here.
Our Mexican adventure started in the capital, Ciudad de México (Mexico City), the oldest capital city in the Americas and the most populous city in North America. Mexico City is located in the Valley of Mexico and sits at an altitude of 2,240 meters (7,350 ft) above sea level. 
Mexico City has it all. There’s history, art, culture, food and even streets lined with bookstores! But with only three full days to explore, how much do you think we did?
three days in Mexico City

Three Days in Mexico City

Where We Stayed

We stayed at an Airbnb in Roma Norte, a neighborhood widely considered one of Mexico City’s best. You’ll find restaurants and cute cafés, shops and art galleries, and lots of options to stay. Roma Norte’s location makes it easy to get around for sightseeing, whether via public transportation, metered taxis and Uber, and on foot. 

three days in Mexico City
Mexico City skyline from the Airbnb’s rooftop

Where We Ate

Mexico City is a food lover’s dream. From street food to restaurants you’ve seen on Netflix, there is no shortage of great food to be had. So what does make the food in Mexico City stand out? Well, Mexico has seven main regional cuisines, all of which you can find in Mexico City, leading to a variety of tastes, flavours and culinary experiences. 

In restaurants…

Since I was the first of the group to arrive, I spent the afternoon wandering around the streets that were home for the next 4 days. I played it safe with my first meal – arroz con pollo – because I don’t care what that mean owl said, Duolingo did not prepare me for life outside the app.

three days in Mexico City
My first meal in Mexico City at Santo Habanero. That molé was delicious. Also, I have no idea what I ordered to drink. I just remember nodding and saying “sí”

Everyone I told I was heading to Mexico City said that we should eat at Pujol and Contramar, numbers 1 and 3 on this 27 Best Restaurants in Mexico City list. However, it seemed like a lot of other people got the same advice, because despite our best efforts, we could not get a table. So, when you head to Mexico City, make sure to make dining reservations well in advance. 
But all was not lost! We were able to dine at Maximo Bistro (also on the list), which was just around the corner from our Airbnb. Two years later and I still think about how good that cauliflower was.
three days in Mexico City
We ordered a few dishes to share. In addition to the beef, cauliflower and French toast dessert, we had an octopus ceviche, buffalo chicken, and a salad.

In a bookstore…

Yes. I dragged my friends to brunch in a bookstore. No regrets. Cafebrería el Péndulo is a bookstore and café with a few locations around Mexico City.

three days in Mexico City
Had I not had my friends with me, I might have stayed there all day

On the streets…

Seriously, there was something to eat every few steps. From tacos to tamales, elotes and mango, deliciousness filled the streets. This Eater guide explains the types of street food you’ll find in Mexico City.
A lot of people asked if I was worried about eating street food. I wasn’t. Our rule of thumb was to stick to the carts where other people were being served. I also found that the vendors took incredible care and pride in their surroundings. At the end of the night, I saw them washing down their carts with disinfectant and sweeping around the cart, and repeating the process the next morning.

three days in Mexico City
I inhaled those tacos 😀

What We Did

Visited the Historic Centre of Mexico City…

Templo Mayor, constructed in 1325 in Tenochtitlàn (the Aztec capital city), was the Mexica people’s main temple. By the time the Battle of Tenochtitlán came to an end in 1521, Templo Mayor was mostly destroyed.
three days in Mexico City

The ruins of Templo Mayor remained buried until 1978 when electricity workers discovered the stone-disc carving of Coyolxauhqui, the Aztec goddess . The decision was then made to fully excavate and recover the Templo Mayor. Years later, the Museo de Templo Mayor opened in 1987. According to the museum’s description, the “collection shows the political, military and aesthetic relevance of the city that dominated Mesoamerica before the Spaniards arrived.”

three days in Mexico City
Ceramic sculpture showing Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec God of Death at Museo de Templo Mayor

Hopped on and off a bus…

When you don’t have much time to explore, a hop-on/hop-off bus tour helps you move around and see the sights.

three days in Mexico City
View from the top of the sight seeing bus. The Angel of Independence (ángel de la independencia) monument is ahead.

Went to the Frieda Kahlo Museum…

Well, we tried to. 
three days in Mexico City

Frieda Kahlo is one of Mexico’s most famous artists. Her house, Casa Azul, is now a museum dedicated to her work and life. Casa Azul is a popular tourist stop, so if you’d like to experience it, plan to arrive before the masses and buy your tickets online to skip the line. 

Floated down a canal…

The floating gardens of Xochimilco, also called the Xochimilco canals, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it is “the only reminder of traditional Pre-Hispanic land-use in the lagoons of the Mexico City basin.” 
three days in Mexico City

Xochimilco is popular hang out spot on the weekend, and with good reason. It’s the perfect way to spend time with family and friends for a leisurely cruise or a party. Grab some food and drinks from one of the stalls on the dock before boarding a brightly painted trajinera (gondola) to cruise past the chinampas (floating gardens). 
three days in Mexico City

Took a sunrise flight…

One of the most popular day trip excursions from Mexico City is a sunrise hot air balloon trip over the Archaeological Zone of Teotihuacan to see the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon. And we almost didn’t get to do it.
We did not make a decision on this excursion until we were already in Mexico, and by then all the tours on the usual sites – Viator, Get Your Guide, Expedia – were already sold out. Looked like my first hot air balloon ride was not going to be in Mexico. Oh, well. We still wanted to see the pyramids though. We were able to find a fantastic driver, Fernando, who was available to bring us there and back.
“Don’t you want to do the balloon ride too?” he asked.
“Yes! But aren’t they sold out?” we replied.
I’ll take care of it,” he said.

three days in Mexico City
The Pyramid of the Sun, San Juan Teotihuacan

Archaeological Zone of Teotihuacan

The Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest tourist attractions in Mexico.  The holy city of Teotihuacan – where men became gods –  was built between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D. and was one of the most powerful cultural centres in Mesoamerica.
The Avenue of the Dead connects the Pyramid of the Moon to the north and the Ciudadela in the south. The Pyramid of the Sun, one of the largest pyramids in the world, sits between them. Teotihuacan’s history is truly fascinating. Check out this entry to learn more.

three days in Mexico City
Facing the Pyramid of the Moon


three days in Mexico City
One of these days I’ll stop doing dance poses for every photo. Maybe…

Our visit to Teotihuacan coincided with the Spring Equinox, the day that thousands of people – both visitors and locals – face the Pyramid of the Sun with arms outstretched to receive their energy for the year.
three days in Mexico City
Energy for the year secured!


We did manage to squeeze a lot into three days. So, three days in Mexico City is doable…it’s just not enough!
The adventure heads to Oaxaca next! Stay tuned.


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  1. Pingback: Adventures of an Island Girl: Mexico Edition

  2. Katherine A MacNeil April 27, 2024 at 9:25 am

    Thanks for sharing. It sounds like a fun visit.

  3. Joshua Y. April 27, 2024 at 9:59 am

    The hot air balloon + pyramid adventures are now firmly on my bucket list.


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