I partnered with Tripadvisor to research this article. All thoughts, opinions, and photography are my own unless otherwise specified.
As one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the world, solo travel in Mexico City can seem like a daunting task. Traveling to Mexico solo generally tends to get a bad rap thanks to mainstream news and media, but increasingly more and more people are venturing out to discover the rich culture and wealth of experiences this amazing country has to offer.
Personally, I’ve done my fair share of solo travel in Mexico. From spending an entire summer living and freediving in Tulum, to learning Spanish in Oaxaca, to workcationing in Guadalajara, to treating myself to a spa stay in Los Cabos, I can speak from experience when I say Mexico is easily one of my favorite places to be as a solo female traveler!
When I travel alone, finding things to do can be a struggle. Now, I won’t say no to a restaurant or activity typically meant for two, but I hate having to pay extra or get rejected for a tour or experience simply because I’m by myself. That said, of all places to visit in Mexico, solo travel in Mexico City is particularly exciting because there are endless things to do and experiences to have that are legitimately easy to do on your own!
Below, you’ll find some of the best things to do in Mexico City especially selected for solo travelers and first-timers. Check out my solo female traveler safety tips and my roundup of places to stay in Mexico City next!
How to Pick the Best Things to Do When Traveling Solo
This might seem intuitive, but hear me out! There are countless things to do that are easily conducive to being solo. Going to a restaurant alone, joining a walking tour, and visiting a museum are just some examples of easy, no-fuss solo activities anyone can do anywhere.
But it can often feel limiting when you’re traveling by yourself and find that the things you want to do are designed for bigger groups! Full-day tours, active experiences, and evenings out on the town often fall into this category. It also can be frustrating to plan out the logistics of a solo itinerary like transportation and timing.
So, how do you navigate it all?
Whenever I research things to do as a solo traveler, I use tools like the Tripadvisor app to scour booking options, transportation offerings, and reviews from fellow solo travelers. I am a solo travel research fiend and will consider every last detail before I book!
*Valid on all experiences booked on the app (mobile only) through 12/31/23.
Things to Look Out For When Deciding What to Do While Traveling Solo:
- Can this experience be booked as a solo traveler? And, if yes, does the price stay relatively the same or skyrocket because I’m by myself? You can often find this out by simply toggling the number of people you’re trying to book for to “1” and see if you’re allowed to book as a party of 1! Other times, you might be able to reach out to the company and ask directly.
- Do other reviewers (specifically solo travelers) online have positive things to say? While all reviews are important, solo traveler feedback is what gives me the most relevant guidance. I often search for keywords like “solo,” “alone,” and “by myself” to guide me to reviews from fellow solo travelers so I can see their opinions first.
- Is this a tour that offers transportation, such as pick-up and drop-off? Or, if you’re booking a hotel, do they offer airport transfer? This can be a game-changer for solo travel peace of mind and safety.
- Is this something I would feel safer doing in a group? Often, I’ll think about this when I want to see or do something in a remote or crowded area.
- Is this something I would have more fun doing in a group? Things like cooking classes, bike tours, and bar crawls fall into this category for me.
It’s easy to feel lonely as a solo traveler, so being able to scatter in group experiences and activities throughout your trip can help combat any feelings of solo blues! And who knows, you might even meet some fellow solo travel friends along the way 🙂
How to Plan Your Solo Trip in Mexico City (and Anywhere!)
Once you have a ‘wish list’ of things to do, you’ll want to make an itinerary or at least keep track of everything in one place. Since you’ll be by yourself, it’s important to have quick access to your notes, important addresses, tour meet-up information, and more throughout your trip.
Three Easy Ways to Plan Things to Do on Your Solo Trip:
- Use the Tripadvisor App: You can create trips, save your must-sees and must-dos, and organize your itinerary day-by-day. I like to use the app on shorter 1-2 week trips where I’m mostly going to be sightseeing and exploring, and I love being able to see each day’s activities all in one place. Because you can also book experiences and tours directly within the app, all your tour information (like where to meet and how to get in touch with your guide) can be referenced here too!
- Use Google Maps: I mostly use Google Maps to save places I enjoyed after I’ve visited them. BUT, you can absolutely use Google Maps to plan a trip from start to finish! This is best if you just need quick access to names, locations, and directions vs things like tour information, scheduling tools, and booking features.
- Use a Spreadsheet: Call me old-fashioned, but I like to use spreadsheets when I plan my trips. I use spreadsheets when my trip is longer than 2 weeks because usually on longer trips I’m doing less rigorous sightseeing and don’t need a day-by-day itinerary. On any given travel spreadsheet, I record all kinds of information. Taking a month in Belize for example, I might make note of all the cities and islands I’m visiting, some restaurants and landmarks I’d like to check out in each place, and logistical information like flights, lodging, and car rentals. Then, I leave my day-to-day open for spontaneous exploration.
No matter how you plan your solo trip, each of these methods are great because once you have your trip organized, you can (and should) share them with close friends and family. This is an easy and important safety tip so others can know where you’ll be while you’re away!
Now, let’s get into my list of things to do in Mexico City so you can start planning your trip!
The Best Things to Do in Mexico City for Solo Travelers
1. Take a Guided Tour of the City
Guided tours are amazing anywhere you go. You get to learn about the place you’re visiting as told by a local, you get a helpful aide that’s usually more than willing to help you snap a solo photo, and you gain access to an insider that can answer any questions you might have about what to do while you’re in town. Tour guides have been lifesavers for me and have helped me with everything from better understanding the history of a place, to making a list of must-visit restaurants and bars in safe neighborhoods, to showing me what to do while experiencing my very first earthquake in Mexico.
I consider tour guides to be the best resource for a solo traveler anywhere, and Mexico City is no exception!
Best Ways to Take a Guided Tour in Mexico City as a Solo Traveler
- Take a guided walking tour of Mexico City’s most known neighborhoods, like the Centro Historico or La Roma. These tours are often quite cheap (sometimes, you can find free walking tours too!) with knowledgeable local guides.
- Take a guided tour of a particular landmark or attraction, like Mexico City’s Chapultepec Castle and National Museum of Anthropology. These tours often include entry/admission and help you see and learn more than you might if you were visiting alone.
- Take a bike tour to cover a larger area, like Coyoacan, the birthplace of Frida Kahlo. Bike tours are an amazing way to see more of a city, they’re super safe, and they sometimes will offer other fun inclusions like food stops, entrance to attractions, and more. This bike tour I did in Coyoacan included the most delicious food stops (tostadas and churros!) and easy access to the Frida Kahlo museum with zero wait time. The last time I was in Mexico City I was turned away from the museum because I couldn’t buy tickets online and you’re not able to buy tickets at the door, so finding a tour that included museum tickets was a game-changer for me!
2. Visit Teotihuacán on a Day Trip from Mexico City
Teotihuacán is arguably one of the most popular things to do in Mexico City. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Teotihuacán was known to Aztecs as the “Birthplace of the Gods” and is regarded today as one of the most architecturally significant remnants of pre-Hispanic times. Plan at least a half day to visit these pyramids – they’re located about an hour outside of the touristic core of Mexico City but are well worth the time!
Best Ways to Visit the Pyramids of Teotihuacán as a Solo Traveler
- Take the public bus or a rideshare to Teotihuacán and DIY your own half-day archeological tour. There is a bus that runs directly from the Autobuses del Norte bus station to the ‘Puerta 2’ stop at the archaeological zone. Buses depart in either direction every 10-15 minutes throughout the daytime. You can also take a rideshare, though it’ll be more expensive.
- Book a tour of Teotihuacán with a guide. These guided tours typically include things like entry/admission to the archeological zone, round-trip transportation, and other interesting stops in the area like a local obsidian workshop, tequila tastings, or breakfast.
- See Teotihuacán from the sky with a morning hot air balloon ride. I did this tour, and highly recommend! Be warned, it’s a very early morning that departs for Teotihuacán around 4:30 AM so you can be in the air by 6 AM. But you’ll be rewarded by peaceful views of colorful hot air balloons dotting the sky with the pyramids as a backdrop. Hot air balloon tours of Teotihuacán often include round-trip transportation and the option of visiting the archeological zone for an added fee (just 80 MXN or $4 USD per person). You’ll also typically get coffee, an included breakfast stop, and other interesting stops like obsidian workshops and tequila tastings, before your taken back to your hotel. Hot air balloon rides are on the romantic/couple-y spectrum when it comes to things to do in Mexico City, but don’t let that stop you – many hot air balloon tours, like the one that I did, can be booked solo!
3. Enjoy Cafe Culture in Mexico City’s Endless Coffee Shops
Spending time in a local cafe or coffee shop is one of the easiest things to do solo in any city. You get to people watch, cute dog watch, traffic watch, and just enjoy being a part of the neighborhood scene while sampling local food and drinks – it’s a win-win! Mexico City is home to an endless array of specialty cafes and coffee shops big and small, and perfectly demonstrates how third wave coffee culture has taken this country by storm.
What’s more, Mexico City is known to have some of the best coffee shops for working remotely. So, you can often find fast wifi, places to charge your phone, and ambient energy that allows for focused work if that’s what you’re looking for.
Best Coffee Shops and Experiences in Mexico City to Check Out as a Solo Traveler
- For cool vibes and delicious specialty coffee, check out Quentin Cafe (multiple locations), Cicatriz Cafe (Juarez), Cardinal Casa de Cafe (Roma Norte & Condesa), Camino a Comala (multiple locations), El Ilusionista Café (Escandón), and Almanegra Café (multiple locations)
- For reliable wifi and digital nomad ambiance, head to Blend Station (multiple locations), Madre Cafecito (Roma Norte), and Hule (Condesa)
- For a unique setting that’s more bookstore than coffee shop, check out Cafebreria El Pendulo (multiple locations)
- For the most iconic view in Mexico City, have a coffee at the Finca Don Porfirio (Centro). While the coffee is pretty basic, this coffee shop on the rooftop of the Sears building overlooks the magnificent Palacio de Bellas Artes, pictured above.
- For a journey through the intricasies of Mexico City’s coffee scene, try a coffee tasting with an expert Q Grader (a coffee sommelier!)
- For a look at the culture behind some of Mexico’s favorite drinks, including coffee, take a coffee tour that includes sampling hot chocolate, Mexican wine, and specialty coffee along the way.
4. Savor Mexico City’s Unrivaled Food Scene
Mexico City is one of the greatest food cities in the world. Even if you don’t consider yourself a foodie, you can’t visit Mexico City without indulging in its impressive food scene. From easy, affordable street food staples like tacos and churros, to more cross-cultural mash-ups and Mexican fine dining, if there’s a flavor and price point you crave, you’ll find it here.
DIY your own taco crawl, take a food tour, try out a cooking class, or plan to indulge in any CDMX hot spots you can get a reservation at. Odds are, as a solo traveler, that reservation or bar seat will be much easier to snag!
Best Foodie Experiences in Mexico City as a Solo Traveler
- Plan your own DIY food crawl and hop around to a couple of popular tacos and churros spots. Some of my favorite taco spots include Tacos San Juan, Tacos Hola el Güero, Tizne, and Taqueria El Greco. For churros, the most notorious local chain is Churrería El Moro.
- Experience Mexico City fine dining and make a reservation at hotspots like Pujol, Quintonil, Rosetta, and Balta.
- Take a guided gastronomic tour through Mexico City’s markets and local favorites. You can find endless food tour experiences based on neighborhood, local cuisine, and dietary preference.
- Participate in a cooking class where you can shop for ingredients in a local market and then learn how to make traditional Mexican staples. Cooking classes are one of my favorite activities to do anywhere I go, especially when I am traveling solo!
5. Cruise Down the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco
Xochimilco is yet another incredibly popular thing to do in Mexico City, whether you’re solo or in a group! You’ll find everyone from solo female travelers to couples, bachelorette parties to family reunions cruising down the ancient canals of Xochimilco on colorful trajineras (boats). The word ‘Xochimilco’ is a Nahuatl word meaning “flower field.” An impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site, Xochimilco is comprised of a series of channels and artificial islands that demonstrate the innovative ways Aztecs once inhabited Mexico City back when it was largely comprised of lakes and lagoons.
Today, colorful trajineras will take you around the canal where you’ll find everything from floating mariachi bands to michelada vendors that you can purchase from throughout your experience. This is easily one of the most unforgettable things to do in Mexico City!
Best Ways to Visit Xochimilco as a Solo Traveler
- Plan your own DIY visit to Xochimilco. You can visit any of the eleven embarcaderos in Xochimilco to find an available trajinera for a one-hour tour. Be prepared to negotiate the price if you’re by yourself, or find a group of other people you can split the cost with. You should expect to pay around 500 MXN per hour.
- Join an organized Xochimilco tour where you can expect your own dedicated trajinera, included drinks, and snacks. Be sure to bring cash so you can purchase extra food, drinks, and music from the passing boats carrying mariachi bands.
- If you are short on time, many companies offer combo tours that pair Xochimilco with other things to do in the Coyoacan area like, most commonly, the Frida Kahlo museum.
6. Visit Mexico City’s Museums
Fun fact: Mexico City has some of the most museums of any city in the world, and it consistently ranks as one of the greatest cities on the planet for culture. In Mexico City, you’ll be amazed to find well preserved Aztec artifacts and folk art, historical collections and geological attractions, and other fascinating (and sometimes random) exhibits.
You can easily pass hours and hours exploring the museums in Mexico City and it is one of the easiest activities for any solo traveler.
Best Museum Experiences to Have in Mexico City as a Solo Traveler
- Plan your own DIY museum tour and spend a day (or more!) getting lost in some of Mexico City’s most famous – or most unique – museums. Some of the most popular museums to visit in Mexico City include the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the National Anthropology Museum, the National Museum of Art, the the Frida Kahlo Museum. Some museums, like Frida, require tickets to be purchased in advance. Buy them here or book a tour that includes museum entry as part of the cost.
- Take a guided museum tour with a local expert. If you’re really into history or art, a guided tour is the way to go as you’ll get expert commentary and more context behind the exhibits you’re seeing along the way.
7. Get Lost in Mexico City’s Beautiful Parks
For a major metropolis, Mexico City has an impressive number of parks, squares, and green spaces to escape to. A visit to any of these parks is one of the best free things to do in Mexico City! Strolling through the Bosque de Chapultepec or the Parque Espana is an easy way to get a glimpse into the happenings of Mexico City day-to-day life. On any given afternoon, you’ll find anything from school groups of children in uniforms, to salsa dancing classes, to street performers, to picnics, to lovers taking photos near bridges and fountains. Some parks will even be lined with street vendors selling food, toys, and souvenirs.
Best Parks in Mexico City to Visit as a Solo Traveler
- For attractions, food vendors, museums, castles, and more, head straight to the Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City’s Central Park. Here is where you’ll find the National Anthropology Museum and Chapultepec Castle, the only true castle in the entire North American continent and the site of the famous turning point in the Mexican-American War – the Batle of Chapultepec.
- For prime people watching surrounded by some of Mexico City’s best restaurants and most hip neighborhoods, head to Parque Mexico and Parque España.
- For beautiful greenery and outdoor recreation south of Mexico City, check out Viveros de Coyoacan.
8. Immerse Yourself in the World of Lucha Libre
One of the best things to do in Mexico City for a fun night out is to experience lucha libre. More than a wrestling match, it’s a cultural experience that represents centuries of Mexican wrestling, rivalry, and showmanship.
At first, I didn’t think I’d be into lucha libre, but I finally decided to check it out on my 4th visit to Mexico City and I had an awesome time! I recommend going as part of a tour, especially if you’re solo. My guide – a former luchador himself – was able to explain the rules behind the spectacle unfolding in front of me. We even chose our own masks to wear throughout the evening, and cheered on our favorite wrestlers as a group. I don’t think I would have had as fulfilling of an experience had I done this by myself.
Best Ways to Experience Lucha Libre in Mexico City
- Experience lucha libre on your own at the Arena México. Tickets can be purchased online using this link or at the box office when you arrive.
- Join a guided tour and experience lucha libre in a group. I highly recommend taking this route vs going solo for lucha libre – it’s so much fun, our guide was a former luchador, and we got to learn about the culture behind Mexican wrestling ahead of time which helped contextualize the whole experience before I got to see it with my own eyes.
There you have it! If you have the Tripadvisor app, don’t forget to use code RACHELINAPP for 12% off experiences in this article and more (expires 12/31/23; code valid for in-app bookings only). And, be sure to check out my list of places to stay in Mexico City next so you can keep planning!
Read This Next:
- 6 Incredible Places to Visit in Mexico for First-Timers
- The Coolest Woman-Owned Boutique Hotels in Mexico City
- How to Prepare for Your First Solo Trip
- How to Overcome Feeling Lonely While Traveling Solo
- Solo Female Traveler Safety Tips Every Woman Should Know