48 hours is not nearly enough to cover the sprawling Mexico City, also referred to as D.F. (Distrito Federal) or CDMX. Mexico City is the oldest city in the Americas and one of the post populous of over 21 million residents. Even on a limited amount of time, I was able to experience a lot. So let me help you plan your visit if 48 hours is all you got. Then make a promise to go back to D.F. for more ♥.
Lets start DAY UNO at 11 AM for example after you have checked in to whatever hotel/house/airbnb you have chosen.
Need a recommendation on a place to stay? Check into Las Alcobas, a boutique hotel located in the Polanco district. Side note: this is not a budget hotel. So if you’re on a budget, ignore and stay in an Airbnb in the Condesa neighborhood.
Get A Turibus Pass
First thing you should do is get a hop on hop off Turibus pass. It’s under $10 even on weekends and has multiple routes. It’s a great way to get a feel for the layout of the city from the top deck. You can request for an audio guide translated into English. The pass is valid for 24 hours for you to hop on and hop off at your leisure. Take this Turibus to the Zocalo on the downtown route where we begin a walking tour around Centro Historico. Of course, you can skip this and take a taxi or Uber to the Zocalo.
Walk Around el Zócalo
Expect to spend a couple of hours walking around this historic center. Start with exploring the National Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral and Templo Mayor Museum which is tucked in the corner between both. Hungry? You will inevitably run into a taco stand cooking up fresh Al pastor street tacos. For $1USD you can order 5 tacos to-go as you continue your sight-seeing. If you want a sit down meal, try the beautiful but touristy Casa de los Azulejos (House of Tiles). The atmosphere is amazing and my favorite stop on my walking tour around Centro Historico. All the main sights are within walking distance in this area. Check out my full on DIY self-guided walking tour which includes a free printable! I breezed through all these sights quickly since it was raining when I went but I recommend a slower pace to take in all the architectural and cultural beauty.
Choose A Museum And Explore
Whether you’re into art, history, architecture, archeology, there is a museum for you to explore. That is, if you’re still up for it after you’re walking tour. Hop back on the Turibus (if you purchased a ticket) and it will take you back to your stop which all depends on where you are laying your head for the night. The Turibus stops by a couple of museums including the National Museum of Anthropology which is what I recommend. Plus – exploring this museum will prepare you for what’s next on your 48 hour guide to Mexico City. If art is more your thing then check out the 70,000 pieces of art housed in Museo Soumaya located in the Polanco district. Grab some dinner in your area and get a good nights rest for the next adventure.
Don’t Miss Out On Teotihuacán & Climbing the Piramidas
Buenos días por la mañana dos el D.F. Wake up early and excited for DAY TWO to see the awe dropping pyramids of Teotihuacán and pre-hispanic civilization. There are a couple of ways you can do this.
- Driving yourself – assuming you rented a car.
- Taking a taxi or Uber (my Uber ride cost around $800MXN one way).
- Sign up for a guided tour. Turibus will take you on an 8 hour-long guided tour including a stop at Basilica de Guadalupe for around $50USD.
- Or catch a bus departing daily at Autobusus del Norte station.
It’s an hours drive outside the city. Longer depending on traffic. Get here super early and avoid weekends. Especially Sundays when admission is free. Although we were informed that the archeological site opens at 9, I got there 8:30 and was able to roam around with hardly a soul in sight aside from employees and merchants. More tourists start to arrive by 10 AM but if you got there early, you would have been able to climb up both the Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon. Have lunch at La Gruta, a natural cave located behind Pyramid of the Sun. Or save your appetite for a meal back in the city.
Make Time For Chapultapec Castle
If you aren’t occupied on a day long tour after exploring Teotihucan, find your way back to the city and walk around Chapultapec Park. More importantly Chapultapec Castle since this park and can preoccupy you for a half day or more but we’re on limited time here (less than 24 hours left ). The terrace view alone is worth it. Take the tram up since I’m sure you’re tired from climbing the 248+ steps of Pyramid of the Sun. The castle houses a couple different museum exhibits and a look into the rooms. I loved this place. It closes at 5 pm daily. Need 12 more reasons to visit this castle? Read post here.
Got Energy For Another Museum?
Because now would be a great time to visit the National Museum of Anthropology if you weren’t able to the day before. It’s within walking distance of the castle. If not, get ready for dinner around the Roma or Condesa neighborhood.
What To Do In the Final Hours
I know, it’s been a busy almost 48 hours in Mexico but wake up early. We hypothetically started our 48 hours at 11 am on day one so we have a couple of hours left to make it to the airport. Let’s utilize these last couple hours as much as we can since its almost time for that “Goodbye Mexico City, I’ll be back” talk we give ourselves (I tend to do this every time I leave a beautiful city). A couple options:
- I wasn’t able to visit the Frida Kahlo Museum but if it’s on your list, get here as soon as it opens which is 10:00 AM on most days except Wednesdays. It’s located in the Coyoacán neighborhood accessible by the metro.
- Take it easy and stroll around some of the beautiful parks D.F. is known for like parque Mexico. With a pastry in hand from Panaderia Rosetta, this is a great way to end your last day and explore a beautiful neighborhood.
Witness This Beautiful View From Basilica de Guadalupe
- 3. Or you can Uber your way to Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and wander around the gardens and churches.
It has an amazing view if you climb up the steps behind the Basilica. Around here I was able to spend a good 2/3 hours. The church brought me to tears for unknown reasons. Although I am not deeply religious I am very spiritual and attending a short mass here was just what I needed. I grabbed this yummy $1USD drink dubbed diablito (pictured below). YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS! Comes in various flavor including mango which is the one I got. Whichever flavor you decide, this treat accompanied by this view is a great way to spend the last few hours of your trip should you choose to visit the Basilica. From here I was able to take the metro to the airport. More on the metro later – just wanna leave this here – but it is an incredibly efficient way to get around. However, I avoided the “rush hour” and kept a low profile. Felt completely safe which says a lot since I am a young (even younger looking) solo female exploring Mexico City.
Are You Considering A Visit To Mexico City?
48 hours in Mexico City is definitely not enough time. Is it enough time for any city actually? No. No it is not. I was only able to visit for a little over 48 hours because being a mother, I wasn’t able to extend much longer. Still, I loved it. I needed to take the opportunity presented to me and explore this beautiful city. One I had never even considered visiting till this opportunity arrived. I encourage you to visit and experience the culture of this vibrant location. I was able to fit the activities above in such a short amount of time and little sleep. What are your thoughts on Mexico City? Leave a comment below.
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