4 Days in Colorful Mexico City

Mexico City is a vibrant place full of life, color, and culture. Wander the city to see the gorgeous Spanish influenced historic district, the colonial homes of Roma Norte, and the ruins of Ancient Mesoamerica. Sight-see and taste your way through the markets and restaurants of this beautiful and bustling metropolis. In this post I’ll lay out a 4-day itinerary for sightseeing around Mexico City. You can also modify this itinerary by substituting with some fun activities on Get Your Guide.

Where to stay

The best neighborhoods to stay in Mexico City that are safe and have loads of amazing restaurants, bars and shops are Roma Norte and La Condesa. Here are a few gems based on reviews and location on Booking.com.

  • Casa Decu, Condesa - Each room has a different and particular design, based on Mexican Art Deco. This hotel has a beautiful tiled rooftop to enjoy.

  • NaNa Vida CDMX, Roma - Well priced in a great location

  • AR 218 by ULIV, Condesa - Wonderful roof deck with nice views, great for mid day relaxation or evening sunsets.

  • Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico, Centro (City Center) - If you prefer the more touristy part of the city with Spanish buildings and archeological ruins, this a great place to stay. This hotel is stunning.

Trip Itinerary. Day One.

Overview: Lunch at Contramar, Explore Chapultepec Park and Dinner at Ticuchi

Start with Lunch at Contramar

Situated in the upscale Roma neighborhood, Contramar is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The restaurant is especially famous for its signature dish, the "tostadas de atún" (tuna tostadas), which have become an iconic representation of the restaurant's culinary excellence.

The iconic fish dish at Contramar is the "Pescado a la Talla." This dish features a whole fish, typically a red snapper, that's butterflied open, grilled to perfection, and slathered with Contramar's signature two sauces: a red chili adobo sauce and a refreshing green parsley and garlic sauce. The contrasting flavors and textures of the sauces complement the tender and flaky fish, creating a mouthwatering culinary experience that keeps patrons coming back for more. Pescado a la Talla has become synonymous with Contramar's reputation for innovative seafood creations that capture the essence of Mexican coastal cuisine.

Explore Chapultepec Park

There are so many things to see in Chapultepec Park, from a 19th century castle perched high on a hill to the Museum of Modern Art. We decided to visit the most popular Museum In Mexico City that lies within the park, The National Anthropology Museum.

You can go explore this large park on your own or take the Chapultepec Castle and Anthropology Museum Tour with Get Your Guide if you prefer.

Visit the Museo Nacional de Antropología

Outside the Museum of Archeology

Outside the Museum of Archeology

The National Anthropology Museum is a massive museum filled with native ancient relics, but housed in an ultra modern building by famous Mexican architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez. The building itself is a work of art, with beautiful cascading patterns of steel surrounding a courtyard. The architect didn't want the interior courtyard to be indoor, but Mexico City gets a lot of rain, so he designed a massive "umbrella" that has a single large pillar in the center with a protective structure above. This way you can be outdoors while still staying dry. 

This museum has 23 rooms for exhibits and is nearly 20 acres in size. I loved seeing all of the ancient statues and folk art, but I especially enjoyed exploring the exterior with it's temples and sculptures all around. Needless to say, we didn't see everything.

Dinner at Ticuchi

Wander north of Chapultepec Park and grab dinner in Polanco afterwards. Ticuchi is an intriguing dark, atmospheric restaurant with the culinary mastery of Mexican chef Enrique Olvera. While it leans towards a bar atmosphere, it offers stellar food prepared in an open kitchen. The focus is on agave spirits, including mezcals and unique options like sotol, paired with an impressive cocktail selection. The food menu features inventive vegetarian and pescatarian takes on Oaxacan cuisine.

Trip Itinerary. Day Two.

Overview: Take a Day Trip to Teotihuacan, Lunch at La Gruta, Visit Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe & have Dinner at Rosetta in Roma Norte

Visit Teotihuacan & La Gruta

You can book a day trip with Get Your Guide to visit Teotihuacan, Shrine of Guadalupe & Tlatelolco if you want someone to explain the history as you wander around these historic ruins.

Tip: Alternatively you can take an uber if you don't want to tour with a guide, ubers are very inexpensive in Mexico City

Grab breakfast beforehand, or grab street food at the entrance. When we went to Teotihuacan, there was a vendor with delicious tamales. I didn't realize it was a thing in Mexico, but you can ask for a tamale as a sandwich inside a torta, which is kind of like a bun. They also had coffee at the stand which is safe to drink since it's boiled, but be aware that Mexico likes their coffee sweet so it has a LOT of sugar added. 

Teotihuacan is an ancient city located about 40min from Mexico City. The approximate date is 100 BC, and it was the largest and most populated city in the pre-Columbian Americas. We toured the site early before the crowds showed up and it was silent and serene as we walked among the ancient ruins and learned about it's history.

Eat lunch at La Gruta

"La Gruta," or The Grotto restaurant, is located inside a natural cave near Teotihuacan. With colorful chairs and twinkling candle lights, it's quite the atmosphere to dine in after visiting the temples. I loved the chicken mole! And the colorful chairs! The service was not the best, but Mexico culture is to have long meals to talk and relax. If you’re in a rush just try and flag the waiters down. Also be sure to ask for the check, generally they won’t bring it until you ask. It’s a cultural thing, they aren’t trying to be rude.

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Visit Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Once again, you can book a day trip with Get Your Guide to visit Teotihuacan, Shrine of Guadalupe & Tlatelolco, or just get ubers around.

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic site in the world, even more frequented than the Vatican. It was built in the 17th century, but the instability of the foundation made it unsafe, so a second basilica was built in the 70s’ by the same architect as the Archeology museum, Pedro Ramírez Vázquez. As you can see in the image below, it has a 70s vibe with the colors used and the artwork. This newer basilica houses what is known to be the original image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

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Dinner at Rosetta

Rosetta in La Roma is on every blog list, and for good reason! The ambiance of this restaurant is perfection, candlelit with vintage plates and delicious food.

Trip Itinerary. Day Three.

Overview: Visit Frida Kahlo Museum (Casa Azul) & Xochimilco

Visit Casa Azul (The Frida Kahlo Museum)

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The Frida Kahlo Museum, or "Casa Azul," is a vibrant and beautiful sanctuary in Mexico City. You can tour the grounds to view art by her and Diego Rivera, as well as rooms like their kitchen and bedrooms. The most interesting room was her art studio, which has been left as it was the day she left this earth in 1954. While it's one the the most crowded tourist destinations in Mexico City, it was still my favorite. There was something so special and inspiring about being in the space of such an influential artist.

Tip: Book in advance! This place sells out. Alternatively you can book a tour that includes the Frida Kahlo House & Xochimilco.

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Ride the Colorful Boats of Xochimilco

Xochimilco is like the Venice of Mexico, but with a little more fiesta, and a little less romance. You can head to the river and negotiate a price or you can book a trip like this top-rated tour Xochimilco Boat Tour with Lunch and Drinks.

It's BYOB on the river, so people bring booze, snacks, and boom boxes to cruise around and party in these colorful boats.

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If you come empty handed, not to worry, there are loads of little restaurants right off the river waiting for your business and that have very reasonable prices. You can grab some micheladas (beer, lime juice, and assorted sauces, spices, and peppers) and hit the water. Also, there are boats that float around with food and drinks, ready to fill you up if you run out snacks or beer. There were boats with full party mode happening that looked pretty fun!


Trip Itinerary. Day Four.

Overview: Cafe Rosetta, Casa Barragán & Historic Downtown 

Grab Breakfast or a Bite at Cafe Rosetta

Cafe Rosetta is a charming and renowned culinary gem nestled in the heart of the city's Roma neighborhood. Known for its artisanal approach to coffee and baked goods, the café offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere where visitors can savor expertly crafted espresso beverages and indulge in a delectable array of freshly baked pastries and bread. Try the Guava Roll, it combines the rich sweetness of guava with the soft and fluffy texture of a roll. Delish!

Visit Casa Gilardi and Casa Barragán

Casa Gilardi was built in 1976 by famous Mexican architect Luis Barragán. It was the last project he completed before he died. It's privately owned, so we contacted the owner to schedule a tour. It was such an incredible experience to have the owner give us a personal tour of her home. The house has a bottom level indoor pool, a gorgeous outdoor courtyard, and Barragán's signature vibrant colored walls throughout. It feels like Mondrian's artwork has turned into a 3 dimensional space. Book it on Facebook (privately owned resdience). 

Tip: If you like architecture you can also book Casa Barragán, which was Luis Barragán’s residence. Book in advance, we weren’t able to go because we didn’t.

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Free Activity: Explore the Museum of Popular Art

The Museum of Popular Art is near the Historic Center of town and completely FREE to go and check out. A lot of Mexico City museums are free, which is surprising! Especially one as pristine as this. It's a multi-level presentation of Mexican folk art, with a gorgeous glass ceiling that has artistic kites hanging down. The art here is 3D and colorful, showcasing all kinds of whimsical creatures and tales of Mexico's folkloric past.

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View the beautiful murals or go see a show at The Palace of fine arts

The Palace of fine arts is in the Historic Center of Mexico City. It's a massive building with murals throughout from all kinds of masterful artists. The outside is primarily Art Nouveau and Neoclassical and the interior is Art Deco. We went in to check out the art (free of charge). There are countless gorgeous murals inside, the most famous are by Diego Riviera.

We also bought tickets to the Ballet Folklorico for the evening. I used to do this type of dancing when I was a kid so it was a treat to watch it in Mexico on this grandious stage. The show was head's above some of the folk shows I've seen across the world, but side note it was about 30-45min too long with no intermission. 

Tip: Book a tour of Historic Downtown to learn all about it’s fascinating history.

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Roam the Historic Center

The historic center also has some major excavations of Aztec civilization. These excavations weren’t made until 1978, when some workers found an amazing eight ton stone depiction of an Aztec goddess. Now you can wander these ruins that lie amongst the ornate Spanish buildings. A visual reminder of Mexico’s history.

Ancient ruins in the middle of downtown

Ancient ruins in the middle of downtown

Dine at Azul Historico

If you stick around the Historic District until the evening, eat dinner at Azul Historico, traditional Mexican food inside a beautiful open square with twinkling lights. It’s a beautiful setting, open air and surrounded by cute boutique shops. Leave some time before dinner to go shop around.

Tip: Book dinner in advance, this place fills up

Dancers performing in the main square

Dancers performing in the main square

Tips & Highlights

To Stay.

Hotel Parque México Boutique in Condesa - centrally located to all the tourist attractions, Condesa is a perfect place to stay (we stayed at an Airbnb here)

Hotel MX Roma in Roma Norte - Hip and trendy newer part of the city filled with nice bars and restaurants

To Eat. 

Wander around Roma Norte and there are loads of amazingly gorgeous restaurants to choose from!

Casa Virginia in Roma Norte - the red snapper was delish!

Azul Historico in Centro - Traditional Mexican food inside a beautiful open square with twinkling lights

Mercado Roma - New age market with lots of hipster restaurants with things like tacos, sandwiches, beer, ice cream, and coffee

To Do.

Anthropology Museum 

Frida Kahlo Museum

Museum of Popular Art

Casa Gilardi by architect Luis Barragán private home tour

Casa Barragán

Diego Rivera Mural Museum


Ubers are cheap and plentiful, besides walking, this is how we got around the city

There isn't a lot of English spoken in Mexico City, brush up on your Spanish and try and use it as much as you can!

Explore more tours and activities in Mexico City here on Get Your Guide.

Book Your Trip

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Take a Tour of Casa Gilardi


Visit the Museum of Popular Art