The 10 Best Neighborhoods in Mexico City
One of the coolest parts about traveling to Mexico City is exploring its hundreds of incredible neighborhoods. Yes, Mexico City has literally hundreds of neighborhoods — about 350! — and they all offer a different kind of experience.
That’s why we asked locals about the best neighborhoods in Mexico City. Below, see which neighborhoods are local favorites and which ones locals say visitors should avoid.
No one knows a place like the people who live there. Work with a local to build your trip to Mexico City.
“Linelly helped us beyond anything we could’ve planned ourselves. Everything she suggested for us was spot-on, and I feel we got the best experience by following a local’s guidance.”
1: Roma: Young and hip
Roma was designated as a “ Barrio Magico ” by the city—and the magic of this place will be *instantly* clear when you see Roma’s vibrant Art Deco architecture.
Here, locals say you’ll find a spectacular food scene. They can recommend specific restaurants or bars based on your travel style, but most of our locals recommend a visit to the Mercado Roma . This fancy food hall offers everything from churros to craft beer, as well as an impressive view from its rooftop.
Locals say that Roma is also known for its stellar cafes. You’ll find a good one just by wandering around, but locals note that Buna has a sterling reputation when it comes to coffee.
Exploring the wild and colorful street art in Roma is a great non-touristy activity in Mexico City (plus, it’s free!)
2: Condesa: Chill and authentic
Roma and Condesa are sister neighborhoods with a shared history, and their proximity puts them high on our list of places to visit in Mexico City . Like Roma, Condesa is flush with color, which makes this a gorgeous day trip or home base for visitors.
Plus, its wide, leafy boulevards also make Condesa feel far from the hustle and bustle of downtown (even though Centro Historico is only a few miles away). One of Condesa’s main attractions, the gorgeous Parque Mexico, is filled with dogs, music, and plenty of benches to take it all in.
For some of the best street food in Condesa, you should head to a surprising spot: the Condesa metro station at Chilpancingo. Browse the stalls just outside the station for tons of delicious local options like tlacoyos, thick corn patties stuffed with beans and meat
Let’s face it. People want different things when they travel. Rather than spending hours sifting through blogs and top 10 lists written by people who may have totally different interests than you, why not start by sharing a little about what’s important to you when exploring a new destination?
Select your travel preferences below and let a local take it from there. Your personalized guidebook to Mexico City is just a few clicks away.
3: Polanco: Sleek and fun
Polanco is filled with high-end shopping, fancy cocktail bars, and some of the world’s best restaurants. If you’re wondering where to eat in Mexico City , you might want to start in Polanco.
And Polanco’s not just a beautiful face with a meh personality. It contains some of Mexico City’s best places to go . Visitors can explore the brilliant Museo Soumaya (another great, free activity) and the beloved Museo Nacional de Antropologia .
Locals tell us that like Roma and Condesa, Polanco is considered to be among Mexico City’s safest neighborhoods.
Polanco is also intertwined with some of Mexico City’s best parks, including a section of the truly astounding Chapultepec Park.
4: Coyoacan: Artsy yet traditional
Coyoacan | Carl Campbell/Flickr
Ohhh Coyoacan. Coyoacan is the quiet artsy kid among Mexico City’s neighborhoods. It has a lot of the same attributes that make Roma and Condesa sparkle, but since it’s a bit further away it has a quieter, chiller vibe.
Since Coyoacan is a bit off the beaten path, it’s a place where local advice is valuable. Our trip planners tell us that Coyoacan has two great markets: Mercado Coyoacan and Mercado de Antojitos. They suggest sampling the fried quesadillas and tostadas, and then, working it off by talking a vigorous stroll in the nearby Viveros de Coyoacan park.
Coyaocan’s biggest draw is the spectacular Museo de Frida Kahlo . If you’re hoping to visit the museum as a day trip, t he Mexico City metro is a good option.
5: Juarez: Eclectic and up-and-coming
Once one of the grandest neighborhoods in Mexico City, Juarez has had some difficult years. But this Mexico City neighborhood is currently experiencing an exciting renaissance.
As a result, locals tell us that Juarez offers an eclectic mix of hip new businesses and classic spots. This is a great part of town if you want to explore art galleries and speakeasies.
One of Juarez’s newest draws is Milan 44 , a fancy mall-type place where you can buy local cheese and sign up for an afternoon yoga class.
6: Zona Rosa: CDMX’s party central
Zona Rosa has amazing nightlife | Free-Photos/Pixabay
Nestled in Juarez is Zona Rosa, a neighborhood-within-a-neighborhood known for its nightlife. There are tons of clubs, restaurants, and bars in the area, including Mexico City’s best gay bars .
During the day, Zona Rosa is a great place to go shopping, or as a destination to see one of the city’s most famous monuments: El Angel (officially Monumento a la Independencia, or, basically, Angel of Independence ). The monument was finished in 1910, which coincided with the 100-year anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain.
However, Zona Rosa gets mixed reviews when it comes to safety at night—after all, drunk club-goers are easy targets for pickpockets.
Check out Little Seoul, Mexico City’s Koreatown. It’s located mostly in and around Zona Rosa.
7: San Rafael: Quirky and vibrant
Like the nearby Juarez neighborhood, San Rafael is on the upswing . The mansions from its glory days still largely remain, which results in an eclectic architectural vibe. Locals say San Rafael also has tons of great food, including the mouth-watering Mercado San Cosme.
If you’re a foodie, locals tell us that San Cosme is one of the best places to visit in Mexico City —it’s swimming with stalls offering things like tortas (delicious meat-packed Mexican sandwiches) and pambazos (delicious meat-packed Mexican sandwiches dipped in salsa and then fried).
For those looking to get off the beaten path, San Rafel is an excellent place to explore—with some local insight. Our trip planners tell us that the neighborhood is becoming a hub for artists, especially as they’re priced out of Roma and Condesa. As a result, you’ll find tons of great galleries.
Even though it’s under the radar, San Rafael is considered to be fairly safe.
Visitors will also notice leftovers of San Rafael’s glory days, like the eerie, abandoned Cine Opera .
8: Centro Historico: Glamorous and historical
Centro Historico | Wikimedia Commons
Hey—just because there’s “history” in its name doesn’t mean that Centro Historico is boring. Locals tell us that some of the best things to do in Mexico City can be found in the Centro Historico. But since Centro Historico can lean touristy, take advantage of local suggestions to avoid getting ensnared in a tourist trap.
Among the best things to see in this neighborhood are Palacio Nacional , where the president works, Zocalo Square, where all big national events or holidays are celebrated, Catedral Metropolitana, the city’s enormous historic cathedral, and the just-adjacent (and absolutely incredible) ruins of the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan .
Centro Historico is pretty safe, especially during the day. At night, locals say to use caution if you wander to some of Centro Historico’s adjacent neighborhoods.
9: San Angel: Off-the-beaten-path and colorful
Just south of Coyaocan, San Angel shares the quiet, thoughtful nature of its sister neighborhood to the north.
Here, locals suggest checking out the wonderful San Angel’s Bazar Sabado, a fantastic Mexico City market. Visitors can march across the cobblestone streets, enjoy the colorful historic mansions and old churches, and stop in the market for authentic souvenirs.
If you’re looking for something *completely different*, then check out the mummies at the Templo y Ex-Convento del Carmen , an ancient monastery that has been converted to a museum.
10: Narvarte: Tacos, tacos, tacos
Narvarte has amazing tacos | Yezmin/Pixabay
Mexico City neighborhoods like Juarez and San Rafael are considered to be off the beaten path for travelers. But Narvarte is a true hidden gem.
Locals tell us that this middle-class, non-touristy neighborhood is known for its international cuisine, great bars, and some of Mexico City’s best tacos.
While Narvarte is considered to be fairly safe, it is also an often overlooked destination—which means it’s a great neighborhood to explore as the locals do. Our trip planners tell us that Navarte, just across the highway from Roma, is also an easy stop to add to a Mexico City itinerary.
*Bonus*! Neighborhoods to avoid
While Mexico City is safe on the whole, locals note that there are still some areas that visitors should avoid. These include:
That said, most of Mexico City is just like any other big city. There are great neighborhoods and ones you should avoid. Just as in London, Paris, and New York, constant vigilance is the name of the game.
If safety is a concern, then get up-to-date advice from the people who know best—Mexico City locals.
Why not ask someone who lives there? ViaHero connects you with a local to help plan your trip. They’ll create a guidebook based on your personal travel style.
You’ll see a unique side of a destination and travel independently—all while saving time and money in the planning process. Find a local today.
What To Do in Mexico City: 23 Things You Can’t Miss
In that time, I found it impossible to see and do everything I had hoped to. Still, you can enjoy a great deal within a short period due to the close proximity of many major attractions in Mexico City.
It’s an intoxicating, passionate, and culturally-rich place with a largely misunderstood reputation. Though stories of crime and violence have warded off some travelers, the people who go are quick to tell you that it is one of their favorite destinations in the world. Like any big city, chaos is available to those who seek it, but most tourist areas are relatively safe attracting roughly 40,000 visitors each year.
Unlike any big city, Mexico City has a personality that is enchanting beyond imagination. You must visit to understand the spell it gives.
Built upon an ancient lake bed and site of an Aztec city, Mexico City is brimming with history, breathtaking architecture, world-class art and museums, limitless entertainment, and some of best street food that will ever hit your tastebuds.
To help you make the most of your time, here are the top 23 things you don’t want to miss during your trip to Mexico City!
Plan your stay in Mexico City
Things to do in Mexico City
If you’re wondering what to do in Mexico City, the following are some of the main attractions that should definitely top your list.
1. The Zócalo
Not only is a visit to the historic Zócalo, or central plaza, a proper introduction to the city, but it will help you get your bearings and discover a plethora of nearby attractions and delights. Also known as the Plaza de la Constitución, it’s home to the National Palace, the famous Metropolitan Cathedral, and several other historic federal buildings.
By day, the square is host to public events and festivals. By night, concerts are often played and are sometimes free to attend. Stroll the Zócalo at sunset to watch the changing scenery as the lights come on over the city.
Book a guided walking tour: starting at Zócalo square, this historic downtown walking tour on GetYourGuide by a passionate local guide is the perfect introduction to Mexico City and its history and culture. You can also view the top 10 Mexico City walking tours on Viator.
2. Ruins of Templo Mayor
Though unexpected, Templo Mayor became one of my favorite places to visit in the city. Preserved just behind the Zòcalo, these ruins are what remains of the ancient Aztec city, Tenochtitlán.
Phases of building as leaders changed over the centuries can be viewed — a unique feature not easily seen at many other pre-hispanic archaeological sites. Original sculptures maintain some of their vibrant colors. The adjoining museum showcases the history with an array of artifacts and cultural information. Relics, such as a skull rack, have only been excavated in recent years and new discoveries are continuing to be collected each year.
3. Museums, museums, and more museums!
With over 150 museums, Mexico City is a Mecca for history buffs, art and culture enthusiasts, and anyone craving to learn a bit more about Mexico, the world, innovative concepts, and perhaps about themselves too.
Though the list of phenomenal offerings is long, The National Museum of Anthropology is a top choice. With two massive floors of high-quality exhibits, you should plan to dedicate most of a day here.
Museo Soumaya is one of the best things to do in Mexico City, home to a private collection of over 66,000 pieces of ancient and modern art. And the Museum of Memory and Tolerance is an interactive memorial and education center dedicated to highlighting the consequences of intolerance and indifference int he world. Exhibiting history from modern-day genocides, this is a heavy, but highly impactful and moving stop.
Book this trip: Explore the legacy of Mexico’s indigenous peoples in greater depth with an English-language tour of the Anthropological Museum. Book this on GetYourGuide or book this tour with Viator.
4. Chapultepec Forest
The hustle and bustle of the city can get a little overwhelming at times. Fit in a trip to Chapultepec Forest, conveniently located to downtown and Condesa. One of the world’s largest urban parks, it spans 450 acres and provides numerous enjoyment options, including botanical gardens, a lake with paddle boats, hiking trails, special events and three of Mexico City’s best museums, including the National Museum of Anthropology.
To top it off, Chapultepec Castle rests atop of the hill where Aztec rulers once convened for respite. Here you can enjoy one of the best views of the city and take in the city’s history as you wander the this Nueva España estate.
5. Palacio de Bellas Artes
Palacio de Bellas Artes takes the cake for stunning architecture. In spring time, the purple jacarandas bloom for an impressive sight. But any time of the year, Palacio de Bellas Artes provides a spectacular ambiance at golden hour.
Next to Parque Alameda, couples tend to mingle here, basking in the romance. It also offers great entertainment with offerings of the Ballet Folklorico, world-class art exhibits, and other events.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Xochimilco is a southern barrio offering one of the most quintessential experiences in the city. Xochimilco contains a large system of ancient canals that serves as a major agricultural center for the region. Visitors can ride on the traditional, but now touristy brightly colored boats, or trajineras, through the canals.
It’s either a peaceful, refreshing experience or a private party, depending on the crowd you bring. A boat fitting up to 20 people costs about $40 USD for 2 hours. Other excursions include night tours or an extended ride to the spooky Isle of Dolls. As with everywhere, respect the natural area as preservation of this historic site is under threat.
Book this trip: Float down the canals of Xochimilco and visit the colonial district of Coyoacan with this full-day tour via GetYourGuide or see these Xochimilco tours on Viator.
7. Sunday Lagunilla Flea Market
Hands down, my favorite place to shop in Mexico City…If you haven’t already booked your travel, plan to be in the city on a Sunday so you can visit this epic antique and flea market.
A historic establishment dating back to the pres-hispanic era, it’s one of the Americas’ most important trading posts. Now, you’ll find a wide range of worldly treasures, Mexican folk art, and oddities. While Lagunilla Market is a typical market present all days of the week, the flea market is reserved to one lot and only happens Sundays 9-12.
While every colonía seems to offer some sort of charm, Cóyoacan is one of the most striking in its historic and vibrant appeal. Visited by most tourists hoping to tour Frida Khalo’s home, Casa Azul, Cóyoacan is an alluring day trip for art lovers and history buffs. The Frida Khalo museum is a very interesting stop, but is a bit pricey by Mexico standards at $12 for general admission.
Other intriguing stops nearby include the Museo Casa Leon Trotsky Museum, the Diego Rivera Museo Anahuacalli, and the Museo Nacional de las Culturas Populares.
And yet, simply walking the streets of Cóyoacan is rewarding enough with beautiful gardens and courtyards, quaint squares, brightly colored colonial homes, and mouth-watering food.
9. Roma Norte-Condesa
I could write a lengthy travel guide on this trendy area alone, but it’s better that you jump in and discover it all on your own. With an unbelievable collection of diverse restaurants and sidewalk cafes, excellent nightlife, boutique shops, and some of the most beautiful parks in the city… it’s a bit of a paradise for foodies and dreamers, often cited for being a haven for hipsters.
But, it is actually diverse with community events, shows, and festivals offering something for everyone. Spend a day or two here…maybe longer if you find you can’t leave like me! Definitely stroll or take a run on Avenida Amsterdam, an old horse track turned into a gorgeous Art Deco residential street with a pedestrian loop through lush gardens.
Day Trips from Mexico City
If you’re headed to Mexico City, you’ve most likely heard of this ancient Aztec civilization. Many travel guides refer to Teotihuican as being a destination in Mexico City, but it is really an hour out of the city, easily done by public bus.
People often question whether or not to visit many of the popular pre-hispanic sites in Mexico due to increasing number of tourists. And while sharing the experience with a crowd of people can take away from the overall enjoyment… a visit to Teotihuiccan is absolutely worth it. Try to visit early morning before the tour buses arrive.
The largest temple, the Sun Pyramid is the most well-known and can be climbed. Be sure to grab a map to explore the great variety of historical sites and especially make sure you visit The Temple of the Feathered Serpent, my personal favorite! As with many other top tourist attractions, beware of souvenir sales tactics here…”Almost free,” is not almost free and “One dollar” usually means “one dollar off.”
Book this trip: experience Teotihuican to its fullest with an expert English-speaking guide. This Teotihuican full-day tour On GetYourGuide will also take you to the fascinating Shrine of Guadalupe and Tlatelolco. This archeological tour on Viator is led by a historian and provides deeper insight into Teotihuican.
In the mood for something truly epic? Enjoy incredible views of Teotihuican pyramids from a hot air balloon (via GetYourGuide or Viator)
Mexico has designated over 100 “magical towns,” or “Pueblos Mágicos,” Aimed at increasing tourists to these places, finding these destinations is truly a great way to discover some of Mexico’s most special communities. Tepoztlán, is a particularly special destination, offering unique opportunities to become more acquainted with pre-hispanic cultures. The local market is home to one of the best stands I found in Mexico, offering foods that highlight traditional pre-hispanic herbs, seeds, and produce.
Another treat is the hike up to Tepozteco, an Aztec archeological site sitting atop a steep cliff. The hike takes about 1.5 hours and is strenuous, but people with diverse fitness levels complete it daily. At the top, you’ll likely make amigos with the friendly Coati—avoid feeding them. A small restaurant at the bottom of the hike offers large cervezas for post-hike celebratory rejuvenation. Tepoztlán is a little over an hour south of the city by bus.
12. Paso de Cortes
This scenic pass actually flows between two massive volcanos, the active warrior Popocatépetl and the sleeping woman, Iztacchíuatl. Spend the day or a couple of days hiking up Izta. A short hike will reward you with incredible beauty. Skilled hikers can navigate the snowcaps, but be aware this is a technical hike and people have died. Staying overnight is possible by bringing a tent or arranging at the park office to stay in the old microwave station… which is a bit spooky.
From the station, the trail heads down to the base of Popo through dreamlike meadows. Though a day trip is possible, I recommend staying overnight to enjoy the sunrises, sunsets, and many hours of exploration and hiking available. From Mexico City, you can take a public bus to the small town of Amecameca to sign in at the national park office and arrange a shuttle up to the La Joya parking lot at the base of Izta.
Puebla is the fourth largest city in Mexico, but maintains a relaxed small-town vibe. As one of the oldest cities, Puebla is a great destination to enjoy historic sites, visit museums, and stroll colonial streets. Puebla is where the misunderstood Cinco de Mayo celebration originated, following the Battle of Puebla in which the Mexican Army achieved an unlikely victory over the occupying French troops.
Check out Museo Amparo and do not leave until you’ve eaten the tacos árabes, a local Arab-Mexican creation of schwarma-style meat and pita-style tortillas dating back to the 1930s.
Book this trip: visit both Puebla and Cholula on this small group full-day tour via GetYourGuide or book it at Viator. This trip also includes a traditional Mexican lunch and a visit to the Talavera factory, which makes the famous colorful Mexican pottery.
Just outside of Puebla, this Pueblo Mágico is an easy day trip from Mexico City or an extension to your weekend in Puebla. Known as the City of Churches, the small town of Cholula is home to 365 churches.
Undoubtedly the most visited one is La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora that sits upon the big “hill.” Actually, underneath the church is the Great Pyramid of Cholula, the largest pyramid in the world by volume… once abandoned, overgrown and later mistaken as a hill by the Spanish. Cheap semi-structured trolly tours from Puebla depart multiple times daily.
Food in Mexico City
Where to start?…Anywhere. If you see something tasty, I say be brave and go for it. Okay, first make sure you see a clean source of water and follow the rule—eat where other people are eating… it’s a good sign that it is tasty, safe, and food is turning over quickly.
To help you make sense and prioritize your food options, here are some of the best choices.
Mexico City food tours: get a crash course in Mexican street food (GetYourGuide) with a local foodie’s walking tour. Alternatively, check out this 5-hour food tour in the historical center (Viator). Or take this market tour where you’ll learn not just about the flavors but also discover medicinal plants and mystic traditions.
15. Street food!
The street food options are practically endless in Mexico City and can be found on most blocks. One option is to find a Tianguis, or small street market, distinguished by outdoor tents and various vendors. The Tuesday Condesa Tianguis is a great spot where you can try many different dishes as you stroll the local produce market. Other permanent markets, such as Mercado Jamaica offer daily options.
Tacos al pastor: schwarma-style pork topped with pineapple, onion, and cilantro on fresh corn tortillas.
Tortas: the Mexican sandwich on a large airy bun, stuffed with your favorite provisions.
Huaraches: “Sandal”-shaped, oblong masa boats filled with refried beans and queso, cooked on a comal (Mexican griddle).
Tamales and Atol: traditionally served together for breakfast, the tamal is savory or sweet masa steamed in corn husks or banana leaves, often stuffed with meat, salsa, or fruit. Atol is a thickened hot masa beverage, usually served plain or champurrado (with chocolate).
Juices & Licuados: While it’s true, you need to be careful about eating raw fruits and veggies, I just can’t resist the fresh juices and smoothies available in the city. The variety and richness of the produce is unreal and these make for a great late morning refreshment.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Plantains: Though I sometimes found the late night sounds of the steam whistle maddening, I now think back on those sounds fondly…the sound alerting us to the man wandering the streets with a small roasting cart, full of sweet potatoes and plantains. If you’re out late enough (or sleeping in your bed), you’ll surely hear or see him. These are a must try delicacy.
Pro tip: With street food, always ask how much before ordering, pay after you eat, and eat there at the stand.
Churros: Essentially fried dough covered in cinnamon sugar…yes you need them.
Pasteleria: Bake shops, which seem to line every street in Mexico City offer more carby, sugary things than you could imagine. With a few pesos, you can walk out with a box full of goodies.
Keep your eye out for some of these authentic specialities for a uniquely preserved culinary experience.
Huitlocochle: The Mexican truffle, a rich corn fungus, often served warm with cheese and bread for dipping…trust me, it’s wonderful.
Hoja santa: A savory large-leaf herb with a sassafras profile, frequently served with melty Oaxaca cheese.
Chapulines: Not my favorite on account of an intense bug phobia…these are actually one of the most popular snacks for locals in the region. Streetside vendors sell them in bulk, or you may find them accompanying your mezcal at the bar. Roasted crispy, they resemble pumpkin seeds.
18. Celebratory favorites
Pozole: The stew of celebrations, this tomato-based soup incorporates hominy, meat (usually pork), and an array of garnishes. It’s a quick, nourishing, and absolutely delicious meal.
Chile en Nogada: Arrive in Mexico City anytime between August and October and you’re likely to see advertisements for these roasted peppers all over the city. Traditionally stuffed with pork and fruit, then topped with a creamy walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds, this dish symbolizes the Mexican flag in celebration of Independence Day, September 15th.
19. World cuisine
Don’t get me wrong—the Mexican food is mind blowing. But you’d be amiss if you didn’t take advantage of some of the global eats in the city. Asian food was particularly impressive, with a revitalizing Chinatown and numerous Japanese eateries. Great options for Lebanese, French, Italian, Brazilian, Colombian, and American gastro are also in plenty.
Nightlife in Mexico City is excellent and available til sun up for those who seek it. A few places to start are:
20. Mezcalerías: usually laid-back, chill bars offering tequila’s cousin…a unique, smoky liquor, harvested from wood-fired agave.
21. Pulquerías typically alternative dive bars serving pulque, a traditional thick fermented drink made from agave sap.
22. Colonias Juarez, Roma-Condesa, and Polanco: the hot spots for world-class nightclubs, dance parties, shows, and the like.
23. Lucha Libre: A truly unique local entertainment experience—a famous professional, albeit scripted and comical wrestling match of masked figures that dates back to the early 20th century.
Where to stay: Selina in downtown Mexico City is a perfect jumping-off point for exploring everything the city has to offer. They provide various styles of accommodation, a cowork office, and a tour desk.
Transportation: Public transportation is plentiful and cheap with an extensive bus and subway system. Ubers are inexpensive, and in my experience, reliable (though some may try to take you the long route). Taxis can be obtained from official stands in the airport. Otherwise, I would avoid them due to the perils of cash handling, such as refusal to provide change or having a “broken” meter. Mexico City is not an ideal place to rent a car.
Money Matters: ATMs are readily available and stocked throughout the city. For street (food and shopping) purchases, you’ll need cash (pesos). Otherwise, most places accept cards.
Safety: Particularly at late night hours, travel with a group in well-lit, public areas. Keep your passport in a safe, secure place. NEVER keep your wallet in your pocket, but especially not on the bus/subway. Methodical thieves are known to work together to crowd and push people, while one takes the wallet…unbeknown to the person until later when they go to make their next purchase. I follow the two-zipper rule (money in a zipper, in a zipper).
Earthquakes do happen in the city and are typically felt stronger in Roma-Condesa and Juarez colonies due to their position on the old lake bed. Always be aware of your exits. It’s a good idea to keep your passport and other essential items in a easily accessed location.
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35 Best Places To Visit in Mexico
What are the best places to visit in Mexico? This list of destinations will help you start planning your trip.
With bustling cities, pristine beaches, colorful hill towns, ancient ruins, and natural wonders, Mexico is the gift that keeps on giving for travelers. Unfortunately, many skip Mexico entirely thanks to its less than stellar reputation.
Table of Contents
While there are certainly dangerous areas, most of the best places to visit in Mexico are quite safe. Would you skip out on the Grand Canyon because you read about violence in Chicago? I didn’t think so!
The Best Places To Visit in Mexico
With so many amazing places to see and things to do in Mexico, give yourself some time here. Mexico travel is exciting, simple, and affordable.
Check out this list of the best places to visit in Mexico and start planning your trip to the land of tequila and tacos!
1. Mexico City
When it comes to the best places to visit in Mexico, we have to start out with the country’s vibrant capital city. Mexico City (or CDMX as it’s known to locals) is one of the liveliest cities out there. There are so many things to do in Mexico City that a couple of days in the city or even a week isn’t really enough.
Spend your days visiting museums on a wide range of topics, from anthropology to art, to history, and even tequila. You can also see the ruins of the former Aztec capital city and a stunning cathedral right downtown.
Sightseeing is great but it’s the culinary and nightlife scene in Mexico City that makes it one of the best places to visit in Mexico.
Foodies and party animals alike will be in paradise here. You’re spoiled for choices with a bounty of street food, international restaurants, bars, and clubs. There are endless things to do in Mexico City, with every night out being a great one.
☞ Click here to compare prices on all accommodation options available in Mexico City on Booking.com, and click here to search for places to stay on Airbnb. Or, have a look at our list of the best Airbnb stays in Mexico City.
Mexico’s 2nd largest city definitely lives in the shadow of the capital, but Guadalajara has enough going on that you should also include it when choosing your places to visit in Mexico. After all, this is the birthplace of tequila and mariachi.
In addition to sampling both (ideally at the same time), there are quite a few cultural sights to take in. Most of these are located in the Centro Historico and are easily visited in a day.
For sports fans, Guadalajara is home to two football teams. You can catch the wildly popular Chivas or the ultimate underdog Atlas for a wild, beer-soaked good time.
No visit to Mexico would be complete without an evening of lucha libre, and the Estacion Pub runs a great party bus to the arena every Tuesday night. Be sure to grab a colorful mask as a great souvenir.
When backpacking Mexico, don’t miss all of the amazing things to do in Guadalajara and the party nights!
☞ Click here to compare prices on all accommodation options available in Guadalajara on Booking.com, and click here to search on Airbnb.
Do a quick Google search of the best places to visit in Mexico, and you probably won’t find the country’s 3rd largest city there. Known more as an industrial city, Monterrey often flies well under the radar of tourists.
Surrounded by epic mountains, it’s actually a great choice for eco-tourism and you can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and more, all within reach of the city.
In the city, you can enjoy a stroll through the Macroplaza to take in some cutting-edge architecture.
After visiting the massive Mexican History Museum, take a boat cruise up the manmade river to Parque Fundidora and stick around for sunset. Be sure to work up an appetite and dig into a plate of cabrito (slow-roasted goat), the local specialty.
☞ Click here to see all accommodation options available in Monterrey, and click here to search on Airbnb.
4. Puerto Vallarta – Definitely One of The Best Places to Visit in Mexico!
Forget the touristy Yucatan area and head to Mexico’s west coast for your beach vacation. Puerto Vallarta has been making lists of the best places to visit in Mexico for decades now and for good reason.
While it is well-known as an all-inclusive resort and spring break party destination, PV is so much more than that.
There are numerous activities, excursions, and tours in Puerto Vallarta to keep you busy. Adventure junkies will love this place, as you’ve got sky diving, bungee jumping, and paragliding all on tap here.
Speaking of on tap, PV has two craft breweries and several fantastic cocktail bars. Enjoy the amazing food by eating your way through the city while searching for the best Puerto Vallarta restaurant.
The real fun goes on outside of the resorts in town, where the party goes all night. There’s some awesome nightlife in PV, numerous incredible beaches to see and endless things to do in Puerto Vallarta!
Having spent six months in Puerto Vallarta, I can say with confidence that this is also a great place to live as a digital nomad. Although it’s on the coast and is wildly popular, it’s surprisingly affordable.
Read more about the cost of living in Puerto Vallarta and you’ll be ready to move there as well. Puerto Vallarta has something for everyone, it’s a great place for digital nomads, retirees, solo travellers, couples, and one of the best places to visit in Mexico with family.
Looking for more information on Puerto Vallarta? Since Puerto Vallarta is one of the top places to visit in Mexico, it’s no surprise that we have numerous articles about this beach town on our website! Check out these posts:
How does a pristine and undeveloped stretch of beach sound? If you’re into that, you should probably be planning a trip to this gorgeous part of Oaxaca.
Huatulco is home to nine bays and thirty-six beaches, and many of them are ecological preserves where development is not allowed. It’s actually the only resort area in Mexico that has won a Green Globe award.
In addition to sunbathing, you can also visit nearby coffee farms and waterfalls or join a rafting or cycling trip. This hidden gem is mostly popular with domestic tourists, but it won’t be long until the secret is out.
This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Mexico this year, so start planning! Make sure to check out nearby Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca too.
Free Mexico Travel Guide
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to travelling Mexico. Our epic guide includes when to visit, the best things to see and do, information on Mexican culture, the best foods to sample, how to get around the country and much more. Check out our free Ultimate Guide to Travelling Mexico and start planning your trip. Happy travels!
Once upon a time, Tulum was considered an off-the-beaten-path destination in Mexico. The path has definitely been beaten now, as more and more travelers flock here for the white sand and turquoise waters.
That being said, you’ll still find far smaller crowds here than you will in nearby Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Just be sure to get to the ruins early in the morning to avoid the tour buses.
The beaches are great here, but you can’t come to this part of Mexico without taking a dip in a cenote. These sinkholes are abundant in the Yucatan, and they’re a great place to do a bit of snorkeling or scuba diving.
Back in town, there are tons of choices to wine and dine the night away — Tulum is one of the best places in Mexico to party. Although not a hidden gem, there are numerous fun things to do in Tulum and it’s still one of the best places to visit in Mexico.
Find out how to visit the ruins in our complete guide to the ruins of Tulum. Find the best places to stay in Tulum on Airbnb, here.
Looking for more Mexico posts? See Also:
- – A List of The Top 15 – A List of The Top 21 – A List of The Top 10 – Top Reasons To Travel Here Now
When visiting Mexico City, be sure to set aside a day to explore the ancient city of Teotihuacan. It was the largest pre-Colombian city in the Americas, with a population of around 150,000 at its peak.
As the legend goes, this is the place where the gods planned the creation of man.
Here you’ll be able to climb on some of the largest ancient pyramids in the world. After taking in the views from atop the Temple of the Sun, you can sit down to lunch in a cave.
La Gruta is located right outside of the ancient city and is the perfect place to cool down. Oh yeah, the food is pretty good, too! There are numerous Mexico City tours that will take you here.
If you’re into ancient ruins, the best time to visit Mexico to see the sites without tons of tourists would be during the shoulder season in April or May.
Make sure you spend some time around the Yucatan, visiting the other amazing ruins of Ek Balam, Coba and Chichen Itza — some of the best Mayan ruins in Mexico.
Located in the state of Chiapas (which in itself is one of the best places to visit in Mexico), the Mayan ruins at Palenque are much smaller than some of the more well-known sights.
8. Palenque (best place to go in Mexico for ruins)
Surrounded by jungle and far from any major city, it also means that they’re far less crowded. In addition to exploring the ruins, you’ve also got several waterfalls and caves in the area to check out.
While some travellers visit the ruins on a long day trip, you’re better off basing yourself in one of the cool forest hideouts.
Spending the night at one of these funky spots allows you to get an early start and take in the ruins before the hottest part of the day. Check out accommodation options in Palenque here.
9. Chichén Itzá
As one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it should come as no surprise to see Chichén Itzá on a list of the top places to visit in Mexico.
Be prepared to be awestruck by the amazing El Castillo (The Castle), which was built to honor a Mayan serpent deity. This is one place where it’s well worth it to shell out a few extra pesos for a guide, so you can learn the fascinating details of this impressive structure.
While hordes of tourists descend upon the site on a daily basis, it’s very easy to escape the crowds. Stay at a hotel a few miles up the road rather than visiting on a day trip, and you’ll almost have the place to yourself in the early morning. Even the vendors and touts aren’t going yet when the doors open.
Visiting this incredible site is one of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen, and Mexico in general. Find out more in our complete guide to visiting Chichen Itza.
☞ Click here to see all accommodation options available near Chichén Itzá on Booking.com, and click here for Airbnb
10. San Miguel de Allende
A longtime favorite destination for “Mexpats,” San Miguel de Allende was recently awarded the Best City in the World by Travel + Leisure.
This charming, colorful city boasts a temperate climate, a vibrant arts scene, and a beautiful church at its center. There are numerous things to do in San Miguel de Allende to keep you busy. Outside of town, you’ll find hot springs, horseback riding, cycling, and more.
While it’s true that San Miguel is somewhat of a “Gringolandia,” that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a local experience here.
It’s one of the best places in Mexico to study Spanish, and there are several options for homestays where you can live with a local family and get lots of practice.
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit more authentic, check out the things to do in Guanajuato, which is just an hour and a half away.
☞ Click here to see all accommodation options available in San Miguel de Allende on Booking.com, and find beautiful places to stay here on Airbnb.
11. Oaxaca City (one of the best cities to visit in Mexico for culture)
This beautiful colonial city is the capital of the state by the same name, and it definitely earns its spot on the list of top places to visit in Mexico.
In case you were wondering, it’s pronounced wa-HAH-ka. Here you’ll find some of the best cuisine in Mexico, bustling markets, and a thriving arts and crafts scene.
Oaxaca is also home to the Guelaguetza festival, which highlights the indigenous culture of the area and is focused primarily on traditional dancing. This is one of the best festivals in all of Mexico.
The city also throws one of the biggest celebrations in the country for the Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) – this is one of the best things to do in Oaxaca, don’t miss it.
Once a thriving silver mining town, Guanajuato is now a huge draw for tourists and expats. It’s a gorgeous city located on the steep slope of a ravine, with a name meaning “Place of the Frogs.”
Walking around town, you can admire the colonial architecture and bright houses, pausing to chill in tree-filled plazas or quaint cafes.
☞ SEE ALSO: Manzanillo, Mexico – The Ultimate Travel Guide
It’s a very cultural city, with plenty of museums, theaters, music venues, and festivals. Be sure to join a walking tour with the city’s famous callejoneadas, a band of musicians and storytellers who lead you through the meandering alleyways on a musical journey like no other.
There are numerous things to do in Guanajuato, including a great food tour, for those of you who want to eat all of the tacos and then some. Plus, Guanajuato’s wine region is pretty fantastic. This is one of the best places in Mexico for couples.
With colourful buildings, historical sites and an awesome vibe, Guanajuato is definitely one of the most vibrant places to visit in Mexico.
This small fishing village once attracted famous actors and musicians (like Bob Dylan), who sought an escape here in this little slice of paradise in Mexico.
You might not find Mr. Tambourine Man hanging in Yelapa anymore, but you’ll be able to enjoy horseback riding, hiking to a waterfall, or just chilling in a hammock listening to the sounds of waves crashing and kids playing.
Life is slow here, and life is good. Don’t miss Yelapa if you’re looking for unique places to visit in Mexico.
14. Los Cabos
Los Cabos is the collective name for two towns found at the southern end of Baja — Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.
This was a remote, rural area until a few decades ago when the Mexican government developed it for tourism. It’s now one of the most popular places to visit in Mexico, famed for its world-class beach resorts, excellent sport fishing, and championship golf courses.
The two towns are only about 20 miles away from each other, but they feel worlds apart. San Jose is a more traditional Mexican town that still has cobblestone streets and a tree-lined plaza centered around a gorgeous cathedral.
Cabo San Lucas, on the other hand, is far more touristy and is known for its raucous nightlife. There are many other things to do in Cabo San Lucas if you aren’t into partying, so give yourself some time here to explore.
There’s now a corridor of resorts and golf courses in between the two towns where many vacationers choose to stay.
If you’re heading to the Baja, don’t miss the Valle de Guadalupe, it’s one of the best places to visit in Mexico near the border.
Once a sleepy fishing village, Zihuatanejo experienced a tourism boom with the development of the nearby resort city of Ixtapa.
Skip the government-planned resort and head instead to this chilled-out town that locals simply call Zihua. Roam the cobblestone streets, feast on the super fresh catch of the day, and just kick back and relax on the idyllic beaches.
If this seems familiar, that’s because this is the paradise that Andy and Red escaped to in The Shawshank Redemption. After a few days lounging in Zihua, you’ll probably be planning your permanent escape here as well.
Click here to search Airbnb to find a beautiful villa, apartment or house to rent during your stay in Zihuatanejo.
16. Cozumel (one of the must visit places in Mexico for scuba diving)
If you’d like to add a Caribbean island to your Mexico trip, you can catch a quick ferry from Playa del Carmen over to Cozumel.
The main draw here is the incredible diving and snorkeling that’s quite possibly the best in all of Mexico. There are tons of dive shops here, and it’s a great place to finally get certified if you’re not already.
There are numerous things to do in Cozumel, so rather than just visit on a day trip, it’s well worth it to spend a few days here. Rent a scooter and explore small Mayan ruins, an excellent national park, and the rugged beaches on the east coast.
You have plenty of choices when it comes to places to stay, eat, and party in Cozumel, but it’s still far less developed than its neighbors over on the mainland. Search for accommodation in Cozumel on Airbnb, here.
17. San Pancho
“The San Francisco You’ve Never Heard Of” is a popular nickname for this beach town. It’s more commonly referred to as San Pancho, and it’s a little slice of paradise on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
While it’s just up the coast from Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita, it’s less built up and crowded than its neighbors.
Even though it’s a small, sleepy pueblo, there are plenty of things to do in San Pancho. You can take yoga classes, check out the polo club, volunteer at the excellent community center, and so much more. Not bad for a little beach town of only 2,000 people!
18. Isla Holbox (one of the top places to visit in Mexico to relax)
Often touted as Mexico’s best-kept secret, Holbox is a tiny island off the north coast of the Yucatan peninsula. This is a great spot for wildlife spotting, highlighted by the whale sharks that visit in the summer months.
There’s not much else to do here, but that’s the point. Simply enjoy this beautiful, laid-back place where you can spend the majority of your time barefoot. Isla Holbox is one of the top places to visit in Mexico if you’re seeking some relaxation.
To get here, you’ll need to drive or take a bus to the town of Chiquila and then catch a ferry. Cars are not allowed on the island, so if you do have one you’ll need to leave it parked in Chiquila.
Since there are no cars here, your options for getting around include rented bicycles or golf carts.
19. Isla Mujeres
The “Island of Women” is located in the Caribbean, just a few miles off the coast of Cancun.
If you’re wondering where the name comes from, it’s because the island was once a Mayan sanctuary dedicated to the goddess of childbirth and medicine named Ixchel. When the Spanish arrived and saw all the images of the goddess, they called it Isla Mujeres.
While most travelers simply visit for the day, for such a small island there are many things to do in Isla Mujeres and it’s definitely worth a longer stay if you’ve got the time.
Rent a scooter or a golf cart and spend a couple of carefree days beach hopping and enjoying the relaxed pace of life.
Search for a beautiful place to stay in Isla Mujeres on Airbnb here.
Although it’s often mentioned on lists of the most beautiful cities in Mexico, Morelia still remains off the beaten path. The capital of Michoacan, this gorgeous colonial city is so well-preserved that it was given UNESCO status in 1991.
There are over 200 historic buildings here that were built out of the pink stone that’s characteristic of the region.
Morelia is also a cultural hub in Mexico. The city is home to several big events and festivals throughout the year. Whether it’s food, dance, or film, there’s probably something going on in Morelia, and there are lots of fun things to do to keep you busy.
21. Puerto Morelos
If you’re looking for a more authentically Mexican experience in the Riviera Maya than what you’ll find in Cancun or Playa del Carmen, look no further than Puerto Morelos. This peaceful beach town is located between the two tourist hot spots, meaning you still have easy access to both.
Although it’s geographically close, Puerto Morelos feels the world’s apart from the glitz of Cancun.
You won’t find massive resorts in town, as buildings are limited to three stories here to retain its small-town feel. If you still want that luxurious vacation, though, there are some amazing resorts on the coast.
Just offshore is the Great Mesoamerican Reef, which is the second-largest reef system in the world. This is one of the best places to visit in Mexico if you’re into snorkeling or scuba diving.
Located just south of the US border with San Diego, Tijuana is one of Mexico’s fastest-growing cities. It’s a pretty wild place, to say the least.
Gringos flock here for cheap everything — dental work, pharmaceuticals, eyeglasses, Cuban cigars, plastic surgery, and a good time.
If you can look past the absurdities like donkeys painted as zebras for you to pose with, there’s plenty to discover in Tijuana.
The city has an impressive art scene, which is centered around the massive Centro Cultural Tijuana. You’ll find lots of vibrant street art here as well. Tijuana loves its sports, as the city is home to several professional teams. You can also catch a night of lucha libre wrestling while you’re here.
Of course, you’ll also want to indulge in the city’s famous nightlife scene, whether it’s trying out the various craft breweries or doing a tequila tasting.
For Americans, Tijuana is one of the easiest places to visit in Mexico, but it’s still worth a visit if you’re not coming from the States.
Tijuana Airport is a jumping-off point for many who are visiting the Baja Peninsula to check out the fantastic wine and food in the Guadalupe Valley (Valle de Guadalupe). If you’re coming from San Diego, you can simply cross the Mexican border and drive to the Valley!
23. Puerto Escondido (one of the best places to visit in Mexico for surfing)
The name of this Oaxacan beach town translates as “Hidden Port” in English. Despite being a longtime favorite of surfers and backpackers, it remains a relatively undiscovered corner of Mexico.
That’s probably because there are no direct flights here from the US or Canada, and it’s a bumpy 7-hour bus ride from Oaxaca City. It’s well worth the effort to get here, though!
Even if you’re not here for the waves, there’s plenty to keep you busy. You can take a boat tour to spot marine life, swim in the bioluminescent lagoon, or even go sky diving.
After all that excitement, kick back and relax in a temazcal — an indigenous steam bath. Don’t miss our Travel Guide to Puerto Escondido.
New Orleans and Rio may get all the hype, but did you know there are plenty of huge Carnaval celebrations in Mexico as well?
One of the most famous takes place every year in the coastal city of Mazatlan. For one week, the oceanfront Malecon is packed full of revelers who come out to enjoy the massive parade, fireworks, live music, and the epic party that ensues.
Outside of Carnaval, there are still numerous things to do in Mazatlan. Explore the beautiful historic centre, take part in some water sports, play a round of golf, or just go lounge on the beach on nearby Stone Island.
Valladolid is a fine example of the blending of cultures that exists across Mexico. The colonial city in the Yucatan is just as much Mayan as it is Spanish.
Walking around the main square, you’ll see women wearing traditional Mayan dresses walking by the pastel buildings and the beautiful central cathedral. The pace of life is slow here, as most shops shut down for an afternoon siesta.
There are thousands of cenotes (underground sinkholes) around the Yucatan, and you can easily visit several of them from Valladolid. There’s even one just a short walk from the square.
The impressive ruins at Ek Balam are nearby as well. Unlike Chichen Itza, you can still climb up the ruins here, and you may even end up with the entire place to yourself. Learn more about visiting Valladolid, in our complete guide.
The colorful capital of the Yucatan state, Merida was recently named the American Capital of Culture. Its culture is a unique blend of ancient Mayan traditions and customs brought by the Spanish conquistadors.
Days here can be spent taking in the gorgeous architecture, visiting world-class museums, and of course, digging into the mouth-watering cuisine.
If you’re looking for the perfect base to explore all that this corner of Mexico has to offer, look no further.
From here, you’re just a short ride away from the beach (Progreso and Sisal), numerous archaeological sites, the city of Campeche, and plenty of opportunities for adventure. It’s a great alternative to overly touristy places like Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
Learn more in our article showcasing the best things to see in Merida.
27. San Cristobal de las Casas
All across Mexico, there are places designated as Pueblos Magicos (Magic Villages). One of the best is the lovely town of San Cristobal de las Casas in the southern state of Chiapas.
As with many other colonial towns, San Cristobal de las Casas features red-tiled roofs and scenic cobblestone streets. Start your day with some famous Chiapas coffee and head out to take in the plazas, museums, cathedrals, and markets.
It lies in a valley and is surrounded by hills, meaning you have plenty of choices for getting out and enjoying the great outdoors.
There are day trips around Chiapas to canyons, waterfalls, eco-reserves, and so much more at your fingertips here. Keep in mind that the elevation here is 2,200 meters, so you may want to get acclimated before doing anything too intense.
Ah, Cancun — the gateway drug to travel in Mexico. This is the first place many people visit in the country, myself included. It’s probably the most popular tourist destination in all of Mexico, thanks to its picturesque beaches and wild nightlife.
While it’s easy to dismiss Cancun as a sort of “Disneyfied” version of Mexico, it’s worth it to visit and make up your own mind.
Once you get out of the glitzy hotel zone, you’ll find a truly Mexican city full of taco vendors, bustling markets, and rowdy salsa clubs. It’s not all beaches here! There are many cool things to do in Cancun that don’t involve laying in the sun.
Cancun is considered to be the gateway to El Mundo Maya (the Mayan World), meaning you’re not far from several Mayan temples including the famous Chichen Itza. Before you head out there, be sure to check out the informative Mayan Museum in the city.
Just about an hour up the coast from Puerto Vallarta, you’ll find the bohemian beach town of Sayulita. This chilled-out town in Nayarit attracts surfers, yogis, and artists looking for a more laid back vibe.
If you’ve never been on a surfboard before, this is a great place to learn. The waves are pretty calm and there are plenty of instructors available for hire.
If you want to get off the beach for a bit, you have a lot of different options. Sayulita is surrounded by jungle, where you can enjoy some hiking, horseback riding, or cruising on an ATV.
Visiting between November and January gives you the chance to head out on a boat trip to do a bit of whale watching.
Despite being the 4th largest city in Mexico, Puebla is often forgotten in the shadow of its neighbor — Mexico City. It’s only 110 km away from the capital, meaning you can easily visit on a day trip while you’re in CDMX.
With a day here, you can explore the historic downtown area that was granted UNESCO status in 1987.
Puebla’s biggest claim to fame is Cinco de Mayo. The holiday celebrates the victory of the local army over French expeditionary forces in 1862.
You won’t find people chugging margaritas and stuffing their faces with nachos to celebrate, but you will find a festive atmosphere around the historic forts where the battle took place. See also: 15 Best Things To Do in Puebla, Mexico
31. Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is a popular beach destination located right in the heart of the Riviera Maya. Its central location between Cancun and Tulum (with easy access to Cozumel) makes it a great choice for a base from which to explore the region.
Playa – as the locals call it – is naturally home to several stunning beaches. Spend your days snorkeling, fishing, yachting, or just kicking back and chilling at one of the many excellent beach clubs.
You don’t come all the way to Mexico just to sit on the beach, though. There are several eco-parks nearby Playa del Carmen, where you can enjoy some bird watching, explore caves and underground rivers, or even swim with sea turtles.
Back in town, your options are endless for wining, dining, and dancing the night away. Oh ya, there are lots of fun things to do in Playa del Carmen. It’s also becoming a hotspot for digital nomads.
Looking for more posts on Playa del Carmen? Check out our articles here:
32. Lake Chapala
Just south of Guadalajara, you’ll find Mexico’s largest freshwater lake. Known for its pleasant climate, lovely scenery, and friendly locals, this is definitely one of the best places to visit in Mexico.
There are several towns around the lake, with the most popular being Chapala and Ajijic.
While the lake is easily visited on a day trip from Guadalajara, you’re better off staying a few days. Just be warned that you may fall in love with the place and want to move here. And who knows, maybe someday you will. After all, it is one of the most popular retirement destinations in the world.
33. La Paz
Most travelers to Baja California Sur flock straight to Cabo San Lucas. If you’re headed to this part of Mexico, you might as well include a stop in La Paz.
This scenic capital city has some amazing beaches on the Sea of Cortez. Fun fact: this sea is one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth!
There’s an abundance of marine life here, meaning you can swim with sea lions, go diving with hammerhead sharks, and head out on a whale-watching adventure.
In order to see the majestic whales, you’ll have to visit between January and March. After all that fun in the water, you can enjoy a nice stroll on the long waterfront Malecon that’s full of shops, restaurants, and bars. There’s a wide range of things to do in La Paz Mexico, make sure you add it to your list.
34. Valle de Guadalupe (best place to go in Mexico for wine)
If you’re interested in wine, food, beautiful accommodations and a low-key vibe, the Valle de Guadalupe (Valle) is for you.
The Guadalupe Valley is basically an extension of the Napa Valley in California — but with winery visits and accommodation costing a fraction of the price. Located in Baja California, this underrated area of Mexico is a great place for a fun weekend with friends, a romantic getaway, or if you just want to eat good food and drink excellent wine.
The boutique hotels, villas, and restaurants blend into the desert landscape, and visitors dress to impress by weartng a desert-inspired colour palette.
We recently ate and drank our way through the Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley) on a week-long trip and recommend it as one of the best places to visit in Mexico for foodies and wine aficionados. See also: Valle de Guadalupe – Complete Travel Guide
Located on the Yucatan Peninsula, close to the border with Belize, you’ll find the stunning La Laguna de los Siete Colores (the 7 color lagoon), or simply, Bacalar.
With crystal clear water, this freshwater lagoon looks like something you would find in the Maldives or the Caribbean. Bacalar is a slow-paced destination in Mexico where swinging in your hammock and swimming in the water is the best way to pass the day.
Other options include taking a boat trip (I recommend a sailboat to help keep the water free from pollution), dining at one of the local waterfront restaurants, and cycling around the town. Don’t miss Bacalar, it’s one of the best places to visit in Mexico for a relaxing holiday.
FAQs About The Places to Go in Mexico
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about visiting Mexico.
The nicest part of Mexico is probably the Yucatan Peninsula. With Caribbean beaches, colonial architecture, ancient ruins, and cenotes scattered throughout the area, the Yucatan is a beautiful place in Mexico.
Some safe areas in Mexico include San Miguel de Allende, Merida, and Puerto Vallarta. Although bad things can and do happen in Mexico, if you keep your wits about you and aren’t involved in drugs, you should be fine.
According to Statista, Mexico City is the most popular place in Mexico, followed by Cancun, Acapulco, and the Riviera Maya. If you’re looking for a bustling city, the capital is a great choice. For beautiful beaches and relaxation, consider the pacific coast (Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Escondido or Zihuatanejo), or the Yucatan Peninsula.
If you’re a tourist staying in tourist towns or resort areas, Mexico is totally safe. There are some very off-the-beaten-path border towns and areas of major cities where you have to keep your wits about you, but generally, you’ll be totally safe in the areas where tourists frequent.
Pack Your Bags!
Now you know where to go in Mexico. These are just a few of the best places to visit in Mexico, a list that could easily top 100.
It’s a vast, diverse, and incredible country with a fascinating culture. From its lively capital and ancient ruins to the pristine beaches and colorful colonial towns, Mexico ticks all the boxes for a perfect travel destination.
The fact that Mexico has some of the best food in the world is just the icing on an already incredible cake.
The question isn’t whether or not to go to Mexico, but rather where to go in this amazing country. Hopefully, we’ve given you some good ideas. Mexico is waiting for you. Vamos, amigos!
*Note: Some images in this article are courtesy of Shutterstock.com.
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Written by Sasha Savinov
Sasha is a regular contributor to Goats On The Road where he shares his advice as a full-time traveler and digital nomad. In particular, Sasha is an expert in travelling the United States, Mexico and Thailand. He’s also an online English teacher and a video producer. In fact, he studied video production at Michigan State University. He and his wife Rachel share their adventures on their website, Grateful Gypsies.
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23 thoughts on “ 35 Best Places To Visit in Mexico ”
Mexico is one of my all-time favorite tour destination, thanks for sharing this post, really interesting to read, the pictures are stunning too.
There are certainly dangerous areas in the world, not just Mexico, look at what’s happening in the U.S. crime happening all over the country every day, central and south America are also dangerous places so why just pick on Mexico? American media/government have done so much harm to Mexico’s image in the world.
All the places are stunning! Great job!
Great picks! I’m definitely on board with Palenque being one of the coolest Mayan ruin sites I’ve ever seen. And it wasn’t *nearly* so crowded as Chichen Itza where I found it a bit like being in a zoo. Plus in Palenque you can climb on the ruins and in Chichen Itza everything is strictly hands-off (understandably).
Your suggestion for Huatulco is intriguing – I like finding quiet places that aren’t overrun (yet). One of my favourite remote Mexican beach towns is Xcalak, way at the southern tip of the Yucatan peninsula.
Thanks for helping me find some places I hadn’t thought to visit in Mexico!
Dariece Swift says:
Thanks Heather! Palenque is definitely an amazing site
Thanks for the article, Sasha! My husband and I are planning a first-time trip to Mexico. I’m hoping you or another reader could give some feedback on my thoughts.
As a couple:
Like to backpack, so we are up for a good hike
Recently married, so are not opposed to some beach time/pampering
Have traveled in U.S.A, but never in a non-English speaking country without a “guided-tour” scenario. We are adventurous, so we are up for “figuring it out” as we go, but a little nervous.
Would like to see Paricutin volcano–one of the natural wonders of the world
Huatulco sounds like a good beach for us . . . less crowded/touristy and many recreational activities, but we are up for other suggestions
Transportation? I would think renting a car would be a sensible option to get around. Is this a good idea in Mexico? Or, is public transportation a better option?
It seems like flying in and out of Mexico City would be best, especially if renting a car. Thoughts?
I appreciate any tips you (or anyone) can send our way!
I haven’t been to all of these locations, but I have spent time in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey. Mexico City was really fun exciting and lively. Guadalajara was also interesting. A lot of culture and a youthful thing going on. Monterrey on the other hand, was boring, you can see everything which is really only a couple museums in one day. Most the areas in Monterrey seemed seedy. The better areas by the Macroplaza and Barrio Antigue (I think that’s what it’s called) are ok but can be seen in 1 day and really compared to other places in Mexico, is nothin special. The restaurants close very early and I was told not to go walking at night by more than 1 local. When inquiring about some of the outdoors stuff Inwas warned that there had been problems with robberies and kidnappings when traveling into the outskirts. Never had locals in the other areas of Mexico seem almost scared. I wasn’t comfortable when I was there, wouldn’t go back and wouldn’t recommend anyone going there for vacation. It’s really a boring city that is more for business travelers and students for the university.
Hey I just wanted to say that I love your articles! My family and I sold everything to travel full time through Mexico. I use your article for ideas all the time! Thank you so much!! you guys are awesome!
Dariece Swift says:
Thanks for the kind words Ashley! Happy travels to you and your family
It is a blog is nice and helping information unique and best place to visit in Mexico.
Thank you for share us
Wow! What a great ultimate guide with ALL the necessary details. I’m pinning this so I can find it again later. Puerto Vallarta is on our list of places to visit, thanks!
Dariece Swift says:
Thanks for reading and commenting! Happy travels
Ooo wow, thanks for giving such wonderful information where to travel … I wish to travel to Mexico once…thanks for the Information…
Totally agree on Tulum and above all, Holbox! Such a wonderful island!
How do you NOT HAVE Queretaro, Tequis, and Bernal on this list. And Patzcuaro? Tlaquepaque or Tonala?
You have all of these beaches instead? If you want touristy Mexico — look at this list.
If you want the real Mexico, add the 3 I listed and many more…and take off all of these beaches set up for pure tourism from non-Mexicans.
Good try, though — I appreciate the effort.
What a great list! I’ve visited Los Cabos before, and loved it! Many of the cities you mention, I haven’t heard of before other than Tulum and Oaxaca, but now I definitely want to visit all of them, especially those near cenotes and ruins.
What a great list! I’ve visited Los Cabos before, and loved it! Many of the cities you mention, I haven’t heard of before other than Tulum and Oaxaca, but now I definitely want to visit all of them, especially those near cenotes and ruins. Did you get a chance to swim in cenotes when you visited?
Erm I love Mexico
Also the COPPER CANYON is amazing we have been in the grand canyon and we liked more the Copper Canyon, take the CHEPE TRAIN and enjoy beautiful sceneries, they also have the longest and fastest zip rider, we spent some days in Creel getting to know the indigenous rarámuri (great runners ) and we took a tour to the mennonite city and we stayed in Chihuahua really nice City a lot of history and museums, I recommend this trip one of the best in México.
Also la Huasteca Potosina wonderful waterfalls
Dariece Swift says:
Absolutey! So many wonderful things to do in Mexico
What a great list! I want to use your article for my guide when I travel to Mexico. Huatulco sounds like an awesome beach for me and my family! Thank you so much for this.