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Mexico City (for Dummies)

Here are a few things you should know before travelling to CDMX.

 Bellas Artes Museum in the Heart of Mexico City 

Mexico City, or la Ciudad de Mexico (CDMX) as locals call it, is a beautiful, vibrant sprawl of a place with incredible museums, sites, food, culture, and some of the warmest people you will ever meet. But before you book your flight to this memorable metropolis, here are a few simple things that may go a long way in making your visit more enjoyable.


A Metrobus

CDMX is one of the largest cities in the world, and you won't make it to all the sites on your list on foot. This isn't to discourage you from walking around on the contrary, many of its neighbourhoods are pedestrian-friendly, and there's no better way to truly get to know a place than by walking down its streets. However, you'll probably want to take a taxi, Uber, bus, or the metro at some point.

If you have the choice, I would suggest taking an Uber, rather than the more expensive (and less safe) taxi services. Uber also has a set price for distance, whereas taxi drivers often increase the price of a ride for foreigners.

The metro is very efficient, but can be incredibly busy, especially during the work commute (7-10am and 5-9 pm). I would strongly recommend taking the Metrobus, an express bus with its own lane. The bus is typically less busy than the metro and it's affordable—it costs the equivalent of US $0.30 per trip.

Both the metro and metrobus have cars reserved for women, children, seniors, and folks with disabilities.


CDMX, as many large cities, is not always safe. In terms of finding a secure place to stay, Airbnb is a fantastic option. The safest areas are Condesa-Roma and Polanco, although this does not mean you shouldn't visit other neighbourhoods! 

As a rule of thumb, avoid the very northern and southern parts of the city after dark. Centro Histórico (the historical centre) is a must-see, however, be extra aware when it gets dark, be wary of pickpockets, and avoid the Tepito or Merced neighborhoods. I would recommend staying out of Iztapalapa to the south altogether and visiting Tlalpan, Xochimilco and Tlatelolco during the day.


The average temperature in CDMX is between 15-25C (59-77F), but this can be misleading. Nights can be very chilly from October to March, so make sure to bring a sweater if you're going for dinner or out early in the morning. May to October brings the raining season, and although the rain usually comes down in the evening and overnight, the downpours can be torrential and unexpected, so be prepared!


Mexico City has some of the best food I have ever had. Not only is it home to fantastic Mexican cuisine, but, do to the expats living there, to all sorts of international food as well. On the same street, you can find a wonderful taqueria, a French bistro, a local cafetería, a Mexican-style bakery (panadería), and a burger joint. Food is also much cheaper than in Europe, Canada, or the US, so take advantage! Definitely try tacos al pastor (a dish based on shawarma spit-grilled meat brought by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico). Tamales are a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of a corn-based dough, which is steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf, and a must-try. They are best bought from street vendors, and try to get one in the morning when they're fresh.  

On that note, don't hesitate to buy food from street carts and small, family-owned restaurants. There's often a stereotype that such food will make you sick, but you can get food poisoning from your supermarket around the corner at home, so live a little! If you want a true taste of Mexico, these are the people you want to go to.

Mexican coffee is also very delicious, so I would recommend stopping by one of the hundreds of amazing cafes for a taste!

Enjoy your trip!

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Mexico City (for Dummies)
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