Unique places to visit in Mexico City (Backpack Mexico 2022)

Author Carina Klein
· 7 min read · 12 comments

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This Mexico City travel blog covers everything you need for backpacking in Mexico City. We showcase many non-touristy things to do in Mexico City on a budget. If you’re interested in off-the-beaten-path Mexico or hidden gems, this is the article for you.

This week, I was lucky to have my friend, the local globewanderlove, showing me her Mexico City. We did an easy self-guided walking tour and she showed me some of her favourite bars and cafes – all in Mexico City center.

Travel restrictions in Mexico

Update February 11, 2022: Epicurean Expats let us know that Mexico does not require anyone to fill out the health questionaire when entering the country by plane. This is a recent change.

I travelled to Mexico City in January 2022. There were no special entry requirements but I had to fill out the cuestionario de pasajero, a questionnaire asking about my health status. Entry into the country went very smoothly.

When I visited, it was mandatory to wear a mask in closed spaces and voluntary outdoors. Mexicans are generally very exemplary wearing masks and you can pretty much buy them everywhere - even in the Metro.

The week I visited, all museums closed down due to COVID indefinitely so I sadly didn’t manage to visit any of them...

Please keep us updated about any new regulations and developments in the comments! We would love to keep this blog post as updated and relevant as possible for you!

Picture of notification of the closure of the museums
Notification of the closure of the museums

Solo travel Mexico City

I travelled Mexico City alone as a solo female traveller and I felt completely safe walking the neighbourhoods Centro Historico, Roma Norte, and La Condesa.

I also braved the public transport system to save some money and did not encounter any problems. You pay 15 MXN for the Metro Card and 5 MXN per Metro ride (4 MXN for the Metro Bus) so it’s much cheaper than an Uber. There are women’s only compartments in the trains and buses for extra security.

Picture of women’s only compartment in the Metro
Women’s only compartment in the Metro

Walking tour Mexico City

Metro Station Palacio de Bellas Artes

Start your tour at the Palacio de Bellas Artes Metro Station. It’s not only a convenient starting point but also features the Galeria Metro - an art exhibition that’s free to visit for everybody with a Metro Ticket. On some days you can even see a light installation!

Picture of art exhibition at Palacio de Bellas Artes metro station
Art exhibition at Palacio de Bellas Artes metro station

Palacio de Correos de Mexico

The Postal Palace of Mexico City is a hidden gem, which is completely free to visit. Its architectural style is a mixture of Art Nouveau, Plateresque, and many more. The staircase and the dome are its most noteworthy features but don’t miss the elevator- it’s one of the first three elevators that were installed in Mexico City!

Picture of Palacio de Correos de Mexico
Palacio de Correos de Mexico

Casa de los Azulejos

I know the Casa de los Azulejos is not exactly a hidden gem. But did you know that it features the most beautiful public toilets in Mexico City which you can use free of charge? Additionally, you can find the mural Omniscience by Jose Clemente Orozco in the stairwell.

Picture of mural at Casa de los Azulejos
Mural at Casa de los Azulejos

"Dali" exhibition

Right across the street from the Casa de los Azulejos, a free Dali exhibition takes place. The Soumaya Museum and the Mexico City municipal government showcase 20 bronze statues. And the best? - It’s completely free to visit!

Picture of free Dali exhibition
Free Dali exhibition

Chinatown Mexico City

A stroll through Chinatown with its many colourful lanterns and umbrellas will lead you to your next stop, San Juan Market. Don’t miss the big Chinese style gates!

Picture of Chinese Gate at China Town
Chinese Gate at China Town

San Juan Market

Strengthen yourself on San Juan Market for the next leg of your tour. Here, you can not only find Mexican street food classics but also very unique dishes. Why not try insects like grasshoppers (which I really liked) or tarantulas (which I was not brave enough for)? You can also try exotic meats like crocodile, armadillo or even lion!

Picture of insect sampler at San Juan Market
Insect sampler at San Juan Market

Hotel Imperial

Hotel Imperial is the Flatiron Building of Mexico City. But it’s not the only highlight in this area. Keep your eyes open for some amazing art installations at Banco Santander. Additionally, this is a good place to admire some of Mexico City’s many skyscrapers.

Picture of Hotel Imperial
Hotel Imperial

Monumento a la Revolucion

The Monument to the Revolution is the world’s tallest triumphal arch with a height of 65m (213 ft). The monument was built in the 1930s. While the monument itself is well-known, the glass elevator leading you to an observation deck inside the cupola is lesser-known. Why not go up and enjoy an off-the-beaten-path view of Mexico City’s skyline?

Picture of Monumento a la Revolucion
Monumento a la Revolucion

Mexico City cafes

Torre Latinoamericana

While the Torre Latinoamerica is a well-known sight, only a few people know that it also features a restaurant and a bar. Here, you can enjoy a reasonably priced drink with the best view of Mexico City without having to pay the entrance fee of the observation deck.

A little lower but also with a free entry you can find the cafe of the Sears shopping centre right next door. Here, you have a great view over the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Picture of Torre Latinoamericana bar
Torre Latinoamericana bar

Churreria El Moro

Make a stop a Churreria El Moro for the best churros in town. Not much more to say here.

Picture of churros from Churreria El Moro
Churros from Churreria El Moro


While it’s not exactly on the route of our walking tour, I still had to mention this beautiful motto cafe. Everything is pink here - from the outside over the decorations to the drinks. This is probably the most instagrammable spot in Mexico City!

Picture of Isabella pink cafe
Isabella pink cafe

How many days in Mexico City

We only spent 4 days in Mexico City because the museums were closed but that’s around the time you’ll need at least.

  • Day 1: Explore the Centro Historico
  • Day 2: Day trip to Teotihuacan
  • Day 3: Walk around Roma Norte and La Condesa
  • Day 4: Explore the Coyoacan neighbourhood and go on a boat ride in Xochimilco
  • Optional: Make time for the many museums. The Museum of Anthropology, the Chapultepec Castle, and many more came highly recommended.
Picture of Teotihuacan

Mexico City travel budget

I spent around 30€ or 30$ per day:

  • 15€ accommodation (hostel dorm)
  • 5€ transport (public transport and Uber)
  • 10€ food and drinks (mostly local but always eating out)

Of course, any tours or entrance fees will add to this, but there are so many things you can do for free on your own as our walking tour shows.


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Paul (Paul Passing Through)

12.02.2022, 17:03

So many great pieces of art showcased here. I’ve only ever been to resort areas in the Cancún area. I need to visit other parts of Mexico!

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

13.02.2022, 20:41

On our first trip we've only been to Yucatan. On this trip we realized that Mexico is so much more!

Hannah S

12.02.2022, 09:03

It looks like you had ana amazing time exploring - some of those viewpoints and builds look lovely. I'd never really thought about visiting Mexico City but now I'm intrigued!

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

13.02.2022, 20:45

Mexico City was just supposed to be the starting point of our trip but it quickly became so much more!


11.02.2022, 05:03

I’m a huge fan of Mexico, but have never been to Mexico City. Beautiful!

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

11.02.2022, 16:58

We are huge Mexico fans as well. Mexico City was a pleasant surprise - it really blew us away...

Elena at TravelByExample

08.02.2022, 23:36

So many things to see in Mexico City, it's still on my to do (or 'to visit') list.
Now, I have one question - did you like that insect sampler plate? 😮

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

11.02.2022, 17:36

Honestly, I thought that they would all just taste deep fried. But some were actually quite nice. For example, I thought that the grass hoppers tasted grassy and kind of pleasant.

Chalk and cheese travels

08.02.2022, 23:32

Sounds like a great tour to do with so many sites. I would be with you in not eating the tarantula, that would freak me out

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

11.02.2022, 17:04

I am really not a fan of spiders - alive or dead^^

Tiffany Pence

08.02.2022, 22:48

I love Mexico City! You mentioned a lot of places I still need to check out. El Morro is definitely a spot people have to check out (and you can get chocolate or cajeta sauce for dipping!) I haven't tried the metro, so that will be something for next time, especially since it takes at least 30 minutes to drive anywhere in Mexico City. FYI: Mexico does not require anyone to fill out the health questionaire when entering the country by plane. This is a recent change.

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

14.02.2022, 11:41

Thank you so much for your update!

Lisa at Following the Rivera

08.02.2022, 18:57

Mexico City looks wonderful! I’d most like to see Isabella and the torre. Hopefully we get to return again one day.

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

11.02.2022, 16:55

Mexico City is one of the places I can see myself return to as well!

John Quinn

08.02.2022, 18:25

You have done anything to dampen my enthusiasm to visit Mexico City. Love that market with the weird food, I’d be right there trying it all. Two tarantula please. I can’t say toilets are usually top of my to do list but you’ve even sold those.

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

11.02.2022, 17:44

Mexico City was such a pleasant surprise. I did not expect much but I even prolonged my stay!


08.02.2022, 16:46

Great post. we have been to coastal areas of Mexico but never Mexico city. Looks like a lot to see and experience

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

11.02.2022, 17:23

Mexico City is such a great addition to the coastal areas with amazing food, history, and culture!


08.02.2022, 16:24

If it comes with a palace like the Palacio de Correos de Mexico then by all means count me in: I'll go postal. I also always like the idea of combining underground train stations and art. Mexico City looks very charming.

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

11.02.2022, 17:28

Mexico City is so full of art in unexpected places!

Mitch - Very Tasty World

08.02.2022, 14:57

We're still yearning to visit Mexico after our cancelled trip and are hoping that it won't be long before we can travel. This guide was so helpful - lots of practical advice alongside a lot of info about things to do that we hadn't previously considered. The insect sampler at San Juan Market looked like fun! And we love Dali so would definitely like to check out the exhibition.

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

08.02.2022, 10:02

Thank you! I know that feeling of cancelled trips. I think a trip to Mexico will be possible soon. Mexico is one of the most open countries for travelers at the moment...

Peggy Zipperer

08.02.2022, 03:53

I'm just dying to go here. Trying to talk Patti into it, maybe a working vacation :)
Always enjoy your content!

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

08.02.2022, 10:00

Thank you! The city is amazing. You and Patti won't regret a trip! They also have many nice co-working spaces:)