Mexico City in 4 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Mexico City is one of the most important global cities in Latin America and has many attractions to offer. Here are the main activities you can do during a short stay in this destination.

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

11 min read

Mexico City in 4 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Mexico from above | ©Ricky Esquivel

If you plan to visit Mexico City during a short stay, getting to know it in depth might seem too much like an impossible mission. However, if you have a detailed tour and follow an orderly itinerary, you may be able to discover the attractions that make it famous as one of the most important global cities in Latin America.

Some of the best things to do in Mexico City during a 4-day visit include visiting the Palace of Fine Arts, touring the historic district, taking a walk through Coyoacan, visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum, discovering Mexico City's nightlife at the Tenampa Salon and marveling at the Aztec Stadium. Are you ready for an adventure?

Day 1: Visit the Palacio de Bellas Artes, visit the Templo Mayor Museum, take a guided tour of the historic center and see the views of the city from the Torre Latinoamericana

Palace of Fine Arts| ©Ivan Hernández
Palace of Fine Arts| ©Ivan Hernández

Mexico City is a very large city, so the ideal way to visit the city in a few days is to divide the tour by geographical areas. For the first day, I suggest a tour of the main sites of the historic center, which contains many of the most significant attractions of the Mexican capital.

Visit the Palace of Fine Arts

If you are looking for an enriching cultural experience in the heart of Mexico City, you can't miss the iconic Palacio de Bellas Artes. This building, with its neoclassical and art nouveau architecture, is a living testimony to Mexico's artistic and cultural legacy. You can get there on Metro lines 2 and 3 and on buses lines 7B, 7C and 15A.

One of the greatest treasures the palace houses are the murals of Diego Rivera. As you walk through the corridors and galleries of the palace, you will be surrounded by the grandeur of the author's works. From Man at the Crossroads to Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Central Alameda, each mural tells a captivating story.

However, this palace is much more than a museum; it is a tribute to human creativity and a window to the soul of Mexico. There you can also enjoy a varied cultural program that includes opera, ballet, music and temporary exhibitions of renowned national and international artists, so your visit is often recommended in the best tours of Mexico City.

Book a tour of the palaces of CDMX

Visit the Templo Mayor Museum

To continue learning about Mexican culture, the next step of the itinerary will include a visit to the Templo Mayor Museum. This exhibit, located in what was once the great Tenochtitlán, will give you the opportunity to explore the depths of the culture of the ancient Mexicas.

This museum, located five blocks from the Palace of Fine Arts, houses a collection of artifacts and objects from the archaeological excavations of this sacred site. Here you can also discover the structure of the Templo Mayor itself. This monumental work was the epicenter of the ancient city.

The history of the Templo Mayor spans centuries of construction, reconstruction and transformation. Initially built in the 14th century, this temple was dedicated to the deities Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc, symbolizing the duality between sun and rain.

Visit the Zócalo

If you want to get to know Mexico's historic center, you cannot leave out of the tour El Zócalo, the immense main square that is usually the starting point that will allow you to get to know centuries of cultural and architectural legacy. This will be the next stop after the Plaza Mayor and from its esplanade you can discover the facade of the Metropolitan Cathedral.

From El Zócalo you can also see the imposing size of the National Palace, which marks the starting point of the Federal District as a global city, since it was there that the Spanish conquistadors first established control of the continent.

If you want to know all the secrets of El Zócalo and the surrounding buildings, you can choose to participate in a guided tour of downtown Mexico City. An ideal option for you to delve even deeper into the historical past and legacy of each of the places you pass through.

Join a guided tour through the historic center of Mexico City

Contemplate the views of the city from Torre Latinoamericana

For the evening of the first day I suggest you rise above the hustle and bustle of Mexico City to contemplate the panoramic views from the Torre Latinoamericana. This building, an icon of the city's skyline, will offer you a unique and captivating perspective, especially if you plan to visit Mexico City in the summer, when the sky is usually clear.

From the top of the tower you will be able to discover the urban mosaic that encompasses modern skyscrapers, historic squares and crowded streets. The view from the Zócalo will connect you with Mexico's rich history from a different perspective. From El Zócalo you can reach the tower in a 10-minute walk down five streets or take Metro line 2.

From the tower, you can also see Reforma Avenue, which is flanked by iconic monuments, such as the Angel of Independence monument. If you plan to visit Mexico City during the high season, I advise you to buy tickets to the Torre Latinoamericana observation deck in advance.

Buy tickets for the viewpoint of the Torre Latinoamericana

Day 2: Visit the Azteza Stadium, take a guided tour of the river canals of Xochimilco and visit the Basilica of Guadalupe

Aztec Stadium| ©Chelo
Aztec Stadium| ©Chelo

Once you have seen the historic center of Mexico City, the second day will take you on a tour of the city's surroundings, including a visit to one of the most important stadiums in the world, a guided tour of the Mexican Venice and a stop at the Basilica of Guadalupe.

Visit the Azteca Stadium

If you are a soccer fan, a visit to the Azteca Stadium will allow you to soak up the history and passion of the sport. And if you are not, you can still discover this emblematic venue, which is much more than just a stadium; it is a sports temple where legendary moments in the World Cups have been lived.

The best alternative to know it is to opt for a guided tour, which will offer you a tour of the locker room, the press room, the stands and the playing field. The best way to get to the Azteca Stadium is by bus lines 17A, 17C, 17D, 17E, 17H and the Taxqueña-Valle de San Lorenzo branch of the long distance bus.

Visit the canals of Xochimilco

To get the most out of your trip through the south of Mexico City, I suggest you visit the canals of Xochimilco. This river tour will immerse you in the culture and daily life of pre-Hispanic Mexico.

On board the iconic trajineras, boats decorated with colors and flowers, you will embark on a tour that evokes the pre-Hispanic and colonial history of the region. You can choose to hire a navigation on your own or join a guided tour. One way or another, you will be able to cross the intricate canals, surrounded by the exuberant vegetation that characterizes Xochimilco.

In these tours you will have the opportunity to interact with the locals. Whether as a couple, with friends or as a family, this experience on the trajineras will allow you to explore a quiet and picturesque side of Mexico City that is worth discovering. From the Aztec State you can reach Xochimilco by bus on line 24B and the Salto del Agua-Cuemanco branch of the long-distance bus, which takes approximately 25 minutes.

Book a tour of Xochimilco

Visit the Basilica of Guadalupe

If you want to really get to know Mexican idiosyncrasy, you can't miss a visit to the Basilica of Guadalupe. This iconic church is an epicenter of Marian devotion, as it is believed that the Virgin of Guadalupe, considered the patron saint of Mexico, appeared in this place in 1531.

The architecture of the Old Basilica exhibits a combination of Baroque and Renaissance styles, and houses the original image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The New Basilica is notable for its modern design and distinctive inverted shell shape. The sanctuary of this site also houses a rich collection of religious art.

If you plan to visit Mexico City in December, you can also participate in the patron saint festivities. From Xochimilco, you can reach the basilica on Metro lines 1, 2 and 3 and on the Taxqueña-Valle de San Lorenzo branch of the long distance bus, which you should combine with Metro lines 2 and 3 during the final stretch.

Book tickets to visit the Basilica of Guadalupe

Day 3: Lose yourself in the streets of Coyoacán, visit the Frida Kahlo Museum and experience Mexican nightlife at the Tenampa Salon in Plaza Garibaldi

In Coyoacán| ©Fido
In Coyoacán| ©Fido

The third day's itinerary will take you through two of Mexico City's main neighborhoods: Coyoacán and Garibaldi. There you will be able to visit typical attractions of the capital such as the Frida Kahlo Museum and the Tenampa Salon.

Lose yourself in the streets of Coyoacán

Getting lost in the picturesque streets of Coyoacán is like entering an enchanted world full of history, culture and vitality. This bohemian neighborhood will invite you to explore its cobblestone streets and soak up the colonial architecture mixed with modernity. The best alternative to get to the neighborhood is to take trolley lines 1 and 7.

Coyoacán's main square is the center of activities in the neighborhood. Surrounded by historic buildings, this plaza is a space where locals and visitors gather to enjoy the outdoors. In the surrounding area you can participate in some of the best gastronomic tours in Mexico City.

In Coyoacán, which is one of Mexico City's best neighborhoods, you can delve into the very essence of Mexican culture and discover the daily life of a community that prides itself on its history and creativity.

Join a guided tour of Coyoacán

Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum

Continuing on to Coyoacán, you can't miss one of the neighborhood's main attractions, which is the Frida Kahlo Museum. La Casa Azul, as this site is known, will take you on a journey through the eyes and mind of one of the most iconic artists of the 20th century. There, Frida Kahlo was born, lived and created much of her work.

La Casa Azul is a sanctuary that reveals the life and legacy of Frida Kahlo through her paintings, personal objects and everyday details. Located about four blocks from Coyoacán's main square, you can explore the rooms where Frida lived and worked.

Considered one of Mexico City's finest museums, this exhibit is a moving tribute and a testament to her impact on art and culture. The changing exhibitions and permanent collections allow visitors to delve into different aspects of his life and work, as well as the influence he had on other artists.

Buy tickets to visit the Frida Kahlo Museum

Discover Mexico's nightlife at the Tenampa Salon

To close the third day in Mexico City I propose you to discover the city's nightlife at the iconic Salón Tenampa. Located in front of Plaza Garibaldi, this lounge is a temple of traditional Mexican music, in addition to offering one of the best things to do at night in Mexico City.

The atmosphere of the Tenampa Lounge is a fusion of tradition and modernity, where the notes of mariachi resound in the air and the aromas of Mexican cuisine intoxicate the senses. There you can enjoy, at the same time, live performances by renowned mariachi groups and the best tequila in the capital.

The décor and architecture of Salón Tenampa evoke the golden age of Mexican music and the artists who have passed through its doors over the years. The walls adorned with photographs and memorabilia tell stories of celebrities, artists and music lovers who have found inspiration and joy in this place. From Coyoacán you can reach the Tenampa by bus on the L1 line and the long distance bus on the Taxqueña-Bosques branch.

Day 4: Tour Chapultepec Castle, visit the National Museum of Anthropology and bid farewell to Mexico City by contemplating the night illumination of the Angel of Independence.

In Chapultepec| ©Ari Helminen
In Chapultepec| ©Ari Helminen

For the last day in Mexico City I propose a tour of the most traditional profile of Mexico, which includes the Chapultepec Woods and the popular National Museum of Anthropology.

Tour Chapultepec Castle

Touring Chapultepec Castle will allow you to delve into the history, architecture and splendor of Mexico. Located at the top of Chapultepec Hill, this castle has witnessed centuries of historical events and has been the scene of important moments in the country's history. You can reach it on the city's tourist bus or make a stop during one of the best bike tours in Mexico City.

The castle's architecture is an amalgam of styles that reflect the influence of different historical periods. In addition, this site houses the National Museum of History, which tells the history of Mexico from pre-Hispanic times to the Revolution.

Join a guided tour of Chapultepec Castle

Visit the National Museum of Anthropology

On the fringes of Chapultepec Forest, a visit to the National Museum of Anthropology will immerse you in a journey through Mexico's cultures and diversity. This museum houses a large collection of pre-Hispanic art exhibits.

One of the museum's most emblematic pieces is the Coatlicue Monolith, a sculpture representing the Aztec goddess of the earth and fertility. Other treasures include the Sun Stone and the Penacho de Moctezuma, an intricate feathered creation symbolizing the high Aztec hierarchy. You can reach the museum by a 20-minute walk through the forest or by bus on lines 18B, 18C and 18D and Metro lines 1 and 7, which run along Chapultepec.

Buy tickets for the Museum of Anthropology

Say goodbye to Mexico City with a view of the Angel of Independence at night

One of the best ways to say goodbye to Mexico City, if there is such a thing, is to see the Angel of Independence lit up at night, in what is one of the best nighttime activities in Mexico City. Located on Paseo de la Reforma, this emblematic monument rises amidst the traffic and lights of the city as a symbol of freedom and sovereignty.

This monument, erected to commemorate the centennial of Mexico's Independence, is a tribute to the heroes and fighters who helped forge the nation. From the National Museum of Anthropology, you can reach the monument by Metro line 7 and bus line 18A.

The combination of its presence and the surrounding lights creates a poetic and solemn atmosphere that invites contemplation and reflection. Saying goodbye to Mexico City with the image of this monument shining at night is an unforgettable way to take away a piece of the essence and spirit of the capital.

Itinerary of the 4-day tour of Mexico City

  • Day 1
  • Tour the Palace of Fine Arts
  • Visit the Templo Mayor Museum
  • Participate in a tour of the historic center
  • Climb the observation deck of the Latin American Tower
  • Day 2
  • Visit the Aztec Stadium
  • Walk through the canals of Xochimilco
  • Visit the Basilica of Guadalupe
  • Visit the Sanctuary of the Virgin
  • Day 3
  • Walk through Coyoacan
  • Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum
  • Walk around Plaza Garibaldi
  • Dinner at Salón Tenampa
  • Day 4
  • Visit the Chapultepec Museum
  • Visit the Anthropology Museum
  • Visit the Angel of Independence
  • Say goodbye to Mexico... and promise to come back!