Last updated: February 28, 2023
When I told my friends I was going to Mexico City, I was flooded with advice.
I got dozens and dozens of suggestions about where to stay, what to see, and what to eat.
(Separately, I was on a restrictive keto-like diet at the time, so I couldn’t eat any carbs or drink alcohol. That added another layer to the planning. Yes, you can stay sober and tortilla-free in Mexico!)
While I loved hearing my friends’ advice, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of it. Lots of people have visited and enjoyed Mexico City, and the internet is flooded with tips and tricks on how to enjoy this vibrant city.
I want to offer something different. In this post, I’m going to cut through the clutter and tell you my top recommendations for what to see, where to sleep and what to eat in Mexico City.
This is my “do or die” guide — if you have time to go beyond these recommendations, great! But if you’re short on time — and you want to make sure you get the highlights — this is my essential list of where to start.
What to See
The Soumaya Museum
Maybe you’re in Mexico City on a layover. Maybe you want to hit the hottest spot in town first, since you never know what could happen later. (Hey, the Mayans did perfect that whole “predicting the end of the world” thing!)
I’d send you straight to The Soumaya Museum first. It’s my top Mexico City “place to see” recommendation.
- Carlos Slim funded it (which I love)
- Great design!
- I also heard a rumor that… well, I can’t say it here. Email me to find out.
This place is totally worth one hour for everyone to visit.
Where to Stay
Las Suites Polanco
I did a ton of research in this category, since I stayed at a new hotel every night. I booked everything day-of on Hotel Tonight.
Despite my nomadic approach to lodging, I did give one hotel repeat business. That place was Las Suites Polanco. It was the only property that I stayed at for more than one night — that’s how much I enjoyed it.
What I liked:
- Easy to book on HotelTonight
- Affordable, I paid about $90/night
- Big room with suite kitchenette, fridge
- Pool on the roof
- Breakfast included, plus hot coffee and tea 24/7
- Modern interior and super fast wifi
Staying at one place twice does have its drawbacks — I left Mexico City without being able to cross one recommended hotel off my list. Though I visited the Condesa DF one night and hung out in its lobby, I didn’t get a chance to stay at this much-recommended hotel during this trip. It’s on my list for next time. Everyone seems to love it and the neighborhood.
Where to Eat
Cafe for breakfast or lunch
However, as I mentioned, I wasn’t doing carbs or alcohol during my trip, so I didn’t to try the food there.
Trust me, this one’s worth it for the view alone.
Here are some miscellaneous other things I enjoyed:
My Favorite Travel Book on Mexico City:
Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico
The lobby here is a must see. Beautiful stained glass ceilings in the lobby made it well worth a night there. You can check out my hotel review here.
Best Thing to Drink (Non-Alcoholic)
This water with cucumber or lime and salt was so good!
Great view from Mexico City’s Empire State building.
Worst Hotel: Room Mate Valencia
I don’t recommend this place at all. As I mention in the above video, it’s terribly designed. I’m shocked it was on some best-of lists. I couldn’t wait to wake up and get the hell out.
Things I Want to do Next Time
- Explore the food more
- Hire a tour guide to do an Art Deco tour
- Stay at the Four Seasons for a night
Recap of my Essential Mexico City Recommendations
- Must See: Soumaya Museum, aka Museo Soumaya
- Must Stay: Las Suites Polanco for a business hotel, or Gran Hotel for the stained glass ceiling downtown
- Must Eat: El Mayor
- Check out great recommendations that my friends gave me for places to see, sleep and eat in Mexico City.
If you are interested in similar articles, please check my tips and tricks from a travel to Medellin in Columbia.
Original post: January 24, 2017 -- Last updated: February 28, 2023