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48 Hours in Mexico City

I don’t know about you, but I get serious FOMO if I don’t take advantage of a long weekend. Getting that extra Friday or Monday is so rare that there’s this self-imposed goal to really make the most of it. Don’t get me wrong- I’m all about the occasional weekend to reset and veg out on Netflix, but sometimes the stars align on the perfect weekend trip, and you just have to go for it.

A late Thursday afternoon at the office before a long weekend, I decided on a whim to search Google flights for inspiration and last minute deals (maybe best not to do this during a meeting- shhh, don’t tell). I set my price parameters and ideal flight times and BOOM. The most perfect flight to Mexico City (or CDMX) for $300 RT. 5 hours later I was in Uber headed to the airport. With little knowledge of Mexico City and what to see in a short amount of time, I asked around the office for suggestions, did a quick trip advisor search, and off I went.

CDMX

If you’re ever crazy enough to take this type of impulsive trip, and the stars also align for you for the perfect flight- here’s what I found worked best for 48 hours in CDMX:

Day 1

El Zócalo

Mexico City is so full of history and culture that you can’t see all of it during a long weekend, but El Zócalo is a worthy start. This plaza in the center of the city is surrounded by a lot of action, food stands, artisanal goods for sale, and sometimes you’ll even catch some music (or even a wedding- see below). If you can, arrive to the city as early as possible and utilize the information counters at the airport, everyone is super friendly and eager to help. There are also lockers at the airport if you need to store any extra large items.

Getting to El Zócalo is easy from the airport by hopping on a bus that in 30-40 min (more if during peak times) will get you straight to the city center. Walk around the plaza, take in the vibrant atmosphere, and for the love of God please eat some tacos. For about $2 you can get a few delicious tacos to hold you over for a bit. Any taco stand will do, and if you walk around for 5 min, you’re guaranteed to find one.

zocalo

wedding

sage cleansing

Brunch

Aside from the rich history and culture, the next highlight for CDMX will be the FOOD. So many options and reasonably priced. If you’re still hungry after tacos, or prefer to opt for brunch, grab an Uber and head to Lalo! in the Roma neighborhood.

Chapultepec

You could spend a whole day here, but focus! We have a lot to see here. Spend at least 4 hours here if you can. Chapultepec is a huge park with lots of people and food vendors, beautiful jacarandas, and best of all, the incredibly impressive Museo Nacional de Antropología. Grab some mango with tajín in a cup (SO good) and head to the museum to get your culture on. I personally don’t prioritize museums when I travel, but I thought this one was worth it.

Mango

Jacarandas

Condessa

After a long day, drop off your stuff and explore the local neighborhood. I enjoyed staying in Condessa, a very nice neighborhood with lots of shops, cafe’s and restaurants. It can be somewhat upscale depending on where you are, but not at all over the top and still reasonably priced if converting to pesos from USD. I stayed at the Stayinn Barefoot Condessa, a no frills hostel that was clean, well-priced, and most importantly the location was fantastic with several options within walking distance. Head to Lardo for dinner and try some Mezcal, a smooth, smokier cousin of Tequila that also comes from the Agave plant.

Day 2

Brunch

I’m begging you- you cannot leave CDMX without eating at Ojo de Agua in Condessa (there are other locations around the city too). This amazing brunch spot has a variety of dishes (Mexican and traditional brunch options), amazing fresh juices, acai bowls, baked goods, and anything else you could possibly want for an epic brunch before exploring more of the town. Head early- lines can get pretty long, but they sometimes move fairly quickly.

Ojo de Agua

Roma

The Roma neighborhood, especially Roma Norte, is the artsy, hipster place to be. There are lots of great shops and great food. Walk about the tree-lined streets and check out the boutiques. Snag yourself a traditional woven top from Oaxaca since you don’t have time to head there on this trip. For a low-key drink, head to Mercado Roma, a massive market that houses many different food stalls and cuisines in one space. Grab a drink or snack and sit on the patio in the front or back. After some walking, eating, and shopping, grab some sangria and enjoy the day.

Sangria

Nightlife

After heading back to the hostel and resting up, throw on that cool outfit you crammed into your daypack and head out to explore the nightlife. There are many options for everyone, including more upscale clubs. But if lounges, music, and craft drinks are more your scene, check out Felix or Departamento- a lounge that looks like an apartment with a DJ playing beats in the living room. Enjoy the craft cocktails and dance the night away before catching your Uber to the hostel and then heading to the airport. Pat yourself on the back for an epic weekend.

The awesome people you meet during a quick weekend trip

Other options

There are so many things to do in CDMX that it’s impossible to squeeze it all in, but that's ok. Now you have an excuse to go back! Here are some other options to check out:

  • See the ruins at Teotihuacán- be aware this takes up most of the day, but the pyramids are beautiful and you can get some great views from climbing to the top. Take a hat as there’s little shade.

  • Check out the Chapultepec castle.

  • See the Frida Kahlo museum and wander around Coyoacan- a 30 min ride outside the city.

  • Eat at one of the best restaurants in the world, Pujol (but make sure to reserve several weeks in advance).

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