Mexico City: My Top 3 Must-See Things

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!)

And they've got great marble vanities!
Las Suites Hotel in Polanco was a relaxing property amid the chaos of the city.

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

It has a very light interior as well
Mexican architect Fernando Romero designed 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.

Here’s why:

  • 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

And they've got great marble vanities!
Las Suites Hotel in Polanco is a relaxing property amid the chaos of the city.

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

El Mayor

Cafe for breakfast or lunch

I loved the view + outdoor patio at this place. Have a look:
El Mayor
El Mayor
El Mayor Cafe
Another view from the El Mayor cafe


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.

Random Recommendations

Here are some miscellaneous other things I enjoyed:

My Favorite Travel Book on Mexico City:

I downloaded a few travel books about the city. This one was my favorite. I got it on Amazon.
Mexico City: An Opinionated Guide for the Curious Traveler
Mexico City: An Opinionated Guide for the Curious Traveler
Best Place to Stay Runner-Up:

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.

Beautiful stained glass ceiling in the lobby

Best Thing to Drink (Non-Alcoholic)

Penafiel Water

This water with cucumber or lime and salt was so good!

Bubbly flavored water
Bubbly flavored water

Mexico City

Great view from Mexico City’s Empire State building.


Worst HotelRoom 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

If you are interested in similar articles, please check my tips and tricks from a travel to Medellin in Columbia.

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