36 hours in Mexico City – itinerary for first-timers (2024)

There’s so much more to Mexico than just sombreros and beaches. In this post, I’ve rounded up the top activities during your 36 hours in Mexico City.

Plan your 36 hours in Mexico City

👩🏻 Best guided tours in Mexico City

🫶🏼 Where to stay in Mexico City

Mexico City was our first stop in Mexico; and honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Would it be dangerous? And what did the city have to offer?

Well, a whole lot, it seems.

It turns out that despite its layered history of violence and corruption, Mexico City (AKA CDMX) is sprawling with world-class museums, colorful neighborhoods, and bustling markets. 

From Lucha Libre fights to the great Teotihuacan Pyramids and delicious tacos, here’s how to spend 36 hours in Mexico City.

Got more time? Check out my 4 days in Mexico City itinerary.

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Is Mexico City safe?

Tourists are generally safe in Mexico City and most of Mexico.

Yes, there are dangers here like many other places in the world, but if you listen to your intuition, stay alert, and avoid unsafe places and walking alone at night, it’s safe to visit the Mexican capital.

Areas to avoid in Mexico City

Unsafe places in Mexico City include TepitoIztapalapa, Neza, Ecatepec, and Doctores. Bear in mind, though, that these are places you wouldn’t visit anyway. There’s nothing to do here for tourists.

Read next: Is Mexico City worth visiting? Pros and cons

Mexico City
How to spend 36 hours in Mexico City

Day 1 in Mexico City

Walking tour of Mexico City

A walking tour is a great way to see the best of the city in a short time.

You’ll spend 3 hours with a private guide who’ll take you to the highlights. Make sure to ask them about insider tips like great restaurants or info about the places you visit.

Book here – Best Private Walking City Tour of the Historic Center

36 hours in Mexico City - CDMX

Chapultepec Park 

Next, head to to Chapultepec Park.

Chapultepec has water activities, a modern art museum, and a zoo, but the must-see attractions are the Museum of Anthropology and Chapultepec Castle (Mexico City’s version of Versailles).

Mexico City
Chapultepec Park

The Museum of Anthropology

Located inside Chapultepec Park, you’ll find the Museum of Anthropology, Mexico’s most visited museum.

The museum is huge, with 23 halls and over 3,000 years of history!

The highlights include the Aztec calendar, Coatlicue statue, Moctezuma’s headdress, and the massive Olmec heads from an ancient civilization. They have one-hour English tours.

Book here – Museum of Anthropology: a look at Mexico’s past

Mexico City
Mexico City
The Museum of Anthropology

Museum of National History

If you venture to Chapultepec Castle – still inside the park – you’ll get to the National Museum of History.

The museum offers an overview of Mexico’s history from the conquest and formation of New Spain up to the early 20th century.

Mexico City

Frida Kahlo Museum

Next, go to the Frida Kahlo Museum, also called the ‘Blue House’. You’ll find it in the historic Coyoacan area of Mexico City.

The museum is located in Frida Kahlo’s birth house, which she also shared with Diego Rivera. It displays her artwork and personal items.

Although the museum is small, I recommend doing the 1.5-hour audio tour is highly recommended because it shows you pictures and has activities, too.

Book tickets – Tour to the Frida Kahlo Museum

36 hours in Mexico City - frida kahlo museum


Before you call it a day, swing by Xochimilco (pronounced: So-chi-mil-co) and spend the afternoon floating through the canals on brightly painted boats called trajineras

A fair price is 500-600 pesos (about $25-30 USD) per boat per hour, but prepare to bargain for it.

You can also join a tour with tickets to the Frida Kahlo Museum.

Book here – Xochimilco, Coyoacán and Frida Kahlo Museum Tour

Lucha Libre

Think Mexican wrestling, colorful masks, and “high-flying” maneuvers. 

There are Lucha Libre fights on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at Arena Mexico, and the atmosphere is crazy.

Book a tour – Lucha Libre and Mezcal Tasting in Mexico City

36 hours in Mexico City - Lucha Libre
36 hours Mexico City

Day 2 in Mexico City


On your second day in Mexico City, I highly recommend going to Teotihuacán, which is home to a complex of majestic temples.

Known for its two massive pyramids, the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, the site is more than 2,000 years old and shrouded in mystery.

Teotihuacán is just an hour from Mexico City and 100 % worth the trip!

Book here – Teotihuacan Private Tour from Mexico City

Teotihuacan, Mexico

Where to stay in Mexico City

Roma and Condesa are the most popular neighborhoods in Mexico City. Both areas are in the heart of the city and it’s easy to get to the most important landmarks. Plus these areas are walkable and very safe.

Condesa DF

Surrounded by stylish bars and restaurants, this popular hotel (with elegant rooms!) is located in the chic and bohemian Condesa neighborhood. There’s a rooftop terrace and you’ll get tequila on arrival. Click here to see the latest prices. 

Capital Suites Luxury Residences & Offices

Gosh, this place, you guys! It’s super spacious, and modern, the staff is so helpful and it’s cheap! It’s located in Roma, close to nice restaurants and sights. Click here to see the latest prices. 

Mexico City
A typical street scene in Roma

FAQ – 36 hours in Mexico City

How to spend 36 hours in Mexico City?

To spend 36 hours in Mexico City, start with a morning visit to the historic Zócalo square. Next, explore the Frida Kahlo Museum in Coyoacán.

For lunch, try local tacos. In the afternoon, visit the Chapultepec Park and Castle. In the evening, experience vibrant nightlife in Condesa.

On day two, start with a trip to the Teotihuacán Pyramids. Then, stroll through the colorful markets, like La Ciudadela. End your trip with a relaxing evening at a traditional cantina.

How much time should I spend in Mexico City?

Spend at least three to four days in Mexico City to experience its rich culture, history, and cuisine.

This time allows you to visit key attractions like the Frida Kahlo Museum, Zócalo, and Teotihuacán Pyramids, while also enjoying the local food and markets.

If you can extend your stay, a week would be ideal to explore more neighborhoods and perhaps take a day trip to nearby sites.

How to spend 24 hours in Mexico City?

Here’s how to make the most of your 24 hours in Mexico City:

  • Morning: Start at Zócalo, and explore the historic center.
  • Late Morning: Visit Palacio de Bellas Artes.
  • Lunch: Enjoy street tacos in La Condesa.
  • Afternoon: Head to the Frida Kahlo Museum in Coyoacán.
  • Evening: Relax at a rooftop bar in Roma, savoring city views.
  • Night: Take a stroll along Paseo de la Reforma.
  • Tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes and carry a map.

What to do in Mexico City for 48 hours?

This is how to spend 48 hours in Mexico City, the capital of Mexico:

  • Day 1 Morning: Explore Zócalo and the historic center.
  • Day 1 Afternoon: Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum in Coyoacán.
  • Day 1 Evening: Enjoy dinner and nightlife in La Condesa.
  • Day 2 Morning: Tour the Teotihuacán Pyramids.
  • Day 2 Afternoon: Stroll through Chapultepec Park and visit the castle.
  • Day 2 Evening: Experience local cuisine and culture in Polanco.

Read more posts about Mexico City

Save it!

Discover the vibrant heart of Mexico City with my curated 36 hours in Mexico City itinerary. Explore the historic Zócalo, marvel at the Frida Kahlo Museum, unwind in Chapultepec Park, and indulge in authentic Mexican cuisine. This CDMX travel guide ensures you experience the essential sights and flavors of Mexico City, making every moment count. #MexicoCityTravel #36HourItinerary #CulturalExploration

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  1. Skip Mexico City people. I’ve lived here for two years and am excited to be leaving. The comparison of Polanco as Beverly Hills? Talk about hyperbole and just outright false. The city is overcrowded, pollution abounds, crime is on the rise, the drug cartels are slowly moving in and the people are generally just rude and ignorant. This past weekend my african american friend was called a monkey to his face. Did Infoget to mention that many Mexicans are racist, classist and homophobic. Avoid this place if you can.

    1. Hi Brad,
      I’m sorry to hear about your experience with Mexico City. I guess when you stay in a place for long, you really get to see all the good and bad sides, and in your case – mostly bad.

    2. Agreed! I’m Caribbean of African descent. I lived in Mexico for 4.5 years while going to uni. I visited Mexico City and Teotihuacan several times and loved them both but the city is polluted; you can see the smog as you near the city, and those people are indeed racist. I guess if you are Danish, as is this writer, your skin colour is fine. As soon as I was finished with my degree, I was out of there, and never looked back.

  2. Hey Miriam, I am originally from Mexico City and really love and appreciate your intake on your visit to my lovely home town, One thing to note: for a better and more authentic shopping experience visitors should pay a visit to Cuidadela which is right outside Metro Balderas. This open space market sells many handcraft goodies that its hard just to buy just a few.

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