How to Get the Most Out of One Full Day in Mexico City

Get a taste of this buzzy metropolis with bike tours, pan dulce, lucha libre, and more.

The largest city in North America, Mexico City can be explored for days on end, thanks to its lineup of eclectic architecture, expressive art history, and spicy street food. But we believe you can still get a taste of this ancient Aztec city in just 24 hours—all you’ll need are some comfy shoes and a little bit of café de olla to get you through.

Start the day off with an indulgent brunch at Niddo. With its mirrored walls and curved red booths, the chic cafe evokes mid-century modern glam on an unassuming corner in the Juarez neighborhood. Breakfast at Niddo embraces global influences, so you can choose from soufflé-style buttermilk pancakes or traditional chilaquiles—we recommend ordering both, for that perfect combo of sweet and savory.

From Niddo, hop in a cab and make your way over to the cobblestone streets of Coyoacán, Frida Kahlo’s hometown. It’s a historic village with Jardín Centenario at its center. The public garden boasts a can't-miss coyote fountain, inaugurated to celebrate the first centenary of Mexican independence. Explore the area on a bike tour, and as you pass by vibrant artisan markets, don’t forget to stop at Mercado de Coyoacán’s famous Tostadas Coyoacán, a booth slinging crisp tortillas topped with everything from nopal to octopus.

Next, make your way to the historic center, or Zócalo. It’s a massive square built on what once was the main ceremonial center of the pre-Colombian Aztec city, Tenochtitlan. Today, it’s bordered by the Metropolitan Cathedral as well as a few impressive government buildings—for instance, Diego Rivera’s The History of Mexico mural is housed in the National Palace—with a giant Mexican flag billowing above. At this point, you might be in need of a sweet treat, so pop into Pastelería Ideal for some delicious pan dulce.

Once you’ve whetted your appetite, it’s time to head back to Juarez—you’ve got dinner reservations at Rosetta, after all. You might recognize the name from the adjacent TikTok-famous panaderia, known for its spectacular guava rolls. But stashed inside a restored Beaux Arts mansion surrounded by a verdant courtyard, the larger restaurant offers a more serene experience. The menu changes according to the seasonality of ingredients, but expect to find Italian dishes with a Mexican twist, like tortellini with hoja santa (pepperleaf) and potato gnocchi with huitlacoche (corn smut).

End the night by watching burly men in colorful face masks battle it out at Arena Mexico, located about a 10-minute drive from the restaurant. Lucha Libre has been declared an intangible cultural heritage of Mexico City by UNESCO (no thanks to Jack Black). But before you sit back and enjoy the show, pregame at a Lucha Libre-themed speakeasy for a run-down of the famed sport. After this action-packed day—and a little mezcal for good measure—you might just find yourself dreaming about getting tossed in the ring.

Here’s a closer look at the itinerary, via our TikTok channel:

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Jessica Sulima is a staff writer on the Travel team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram