Mexico City is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. It has so much to offer that is impossible to see and do everything in a few days. That’s why I’m listing the top 10 fun things to do in Mexico City if you are spending only a few days in this amazing place.
Probably the most fun thing I did in Mexico City was going to a Lucha Libre match. These Mexican wrestling matches are held in two arenas (Mexico and Coliseo) Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Tickets are available at the box offices or on Ticketmaster. Once inside the arena, spectators are expected to choose a side. Los técnicos play by the rules (good guys) and los rudos are those who do their own thing (bad guys).
The fights are clearly fake, and nobody gets hurt (too much). The bright and elaborate masks and outfits add to the fun and drama of the spectacle. The athletic abilities of the luchadores are impressive, though. They roll, jump, and fly off the ring with so much ease and grace that you wonder if this should be considered an Olympic sport.
Mexico City Markets
The best way to see Mexico is through its markets. Mexico City has more than 300 established markets and countless tianguis (street markets) that fill neighborhoods with color and music once or twice a week.
You can buy anything imaginable at these markets, from flowers, fruit, and vegetables to beauty supplies, clothes, and even curses and blessings at the witchcraft market of Sonora. Spending a day eating and shopping at a Mexico City market is a must.
Cathedral bell towers
Visiting a church might not sound like a lot of fun. However, the largest Cathedral in the Americas offers guided tours to the top of its bell towers. You get the chance to see the main square from another perspective while listening to fun and interesting stories about the bells and the cathedral. Take the 11 am tour so you get to hear the bells ring while you are on top of the tower.
Mezcal & Pulque Tasting
Maguey, or agave, is one of the most iconic plants in Mexico. From it two great alcoholic beverages are made: pulque and mezcal. Pulque is a fermented drink made with the sap of the plant. Mezcal, on the other hand, is distilled from the crushed sugars of its roots. Pulque has very low alcoholic content while mezcal can be up to 45 proof. Whatever drink you choose, visiting a pulquería or mezcalería can be a lot of fun. These Mexican bars are full of interesting characters and you’re guaranteed to always have a great time, even if you are not a drinker.
Mexico City sits in the basin of what it was once a lake. In pre-Columbian times people created manmade floating gardens to feed themselves and build their dwellings. Over the centuries the lakes and canals that connected the city have been systematically drained. However, in 1987 UNESCO recognized Xochimilco as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and efforts to conserve the remaining canals went underway.
Today, tourists from all over Mexico and the world converge in the Xochimilco wharves to enjoy a trajinera (boat) ride through the beautiful canals. Music, drinks, and food can be purchased from other boats on the canals. Going with a large group is always fun, but small groups can enjoy a quiet and beautiful ride, too.
Cantinas are a type of bar very common in Mexico where people gather to eat and drink. Typical cantinas serve you food and snacks for free with your beverages. One thing that characterizes a cantina is that only men cook and serve. Women weren’t allowed in cantinas until a few decades ago.
Cantinas are a place to eat, drink, play dominoes or cards, and have a good time. Live music is usually played at cantinas and you may even witness a couple of dance while the rest of the bar sings their favorite tunes.
Climb the Sun pyramid
Teotihuacan is technically not in Mexico City, but getting it is easy and fast. The archeological site has a lot of history and great sites to wonder at. However, the most fun part of the trip is climbing to the top of the Sun pyramid.
Its height of 71 meters (233 feet) might not sound like a lot, but the steps can be so steep that it will take a lot of effort to get to the top. However, taking a selfie or a group photo is worth the effort. This is one of the highlights of visiting Mexico City.
Walk on Madero street
Since 2010 Mexico City has been trying to be more pedestrian-friendly. One of the most ambitious projects was to turn Madero street (that runs from the Fine Arts Palace to the main square) into a pedestrian street. The project faced a lot of criticism during its first stages. But 6 years later it has proven to be one of the most acclaimed achievements of the city.
Thousands of people walk Madero street to get to work, to shop, or just for fun every day. Locals and tourists alike get lost in a sea of people that streams up and down along the gorgeous architecture of the buildings. Cafes, restaurants, museums, street performers, and countless city characters make Madero street one of the most fun places to be in Mexico City.
Ride the subway
Commuting doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. But when you’re in Mexico City even these banal everyday activities can be extremely entertaining. For 5 pesos a ride (around .25 USD) you can get to a lot of the city sites while enjoying a performance, listening to the collection of CD vendors, or just people watching. Be aware that the subway gets extremely crowded during rush hour. So you might want to commute using point 10.
Ride a bike
Since Paris introduced its bike-sharing system in 2007, a lot of big cities around the world have followed suit. Mexico City introduced ecobici in 2010 and it has been a big success. Is it safe to ride a bike in Mexico City? I get this question very often (even by locals). And the answer is yes, as long as you’re careful. Traffic in Mexico’s capital city is terrible.
For short trips riding a bike is your best option. Many times you will go faster than car traffic so that makes the dangerous part less scary. If you don’t want to commute using a bike, go to Reforma avenue on a Sunday morning. The city closes the whole avenue for cars to be filled with pedestrians, runners, cyclists, skaters, dancers, etc. There are many fun activities throughout the whole circuit and mechanic services are free. That is the best way to see the city on a beautiful sunny day.