I arrived in CDMX on March 13th and was only able to stay 6 days before needing to go to a wedding in the US. However, COVID-19 hit and altered our plans. However, I still had an amazing experience (and felt very safe as a young woman traveling) and wish I had more time in Mexico.
The first 4 nights we stayed at Casa Pepe in the historic center. We had heard mixed feelings about the center at night but I felt very safe and loved my experience here. Someone who works at Casa Pepe gave us a list of vegan places in CDMX and I was VERY happy with these recommendations (I recommend them even if you aren't vegan). Here are a few: Gatorta (my #1), Por siempre vegana 2, Pan D'Monium, Punto gozadero, A darle que es taco vegano.
The following day we walked around the center, walked through the Jardín Botánico del Bosque de Chapultepec (botanical garden, free of charge, full of native plants), to the Angel of Independence and through the neighborhood La Condesa in the evening. There is so much to see in CDMX, it can be a little overwhelming!
The next day we went to the National Museum of Anthropology. This museum is huuuuge! There is so much to learn about and the building itself is very impressive BUT don't expect to get through it all in one day. My guess is that it would take about 8 hours to actually see everything here. If you are a museum and/or anthropology buff, I recommend you plan on coming here at least twice and really giving it the time it deserves.
The next day we went to the canals of Xochimilco with a local friend we made (my uber driver from the airport). Xochimilco is just outside of the city border (about an hour from the historic center) and can get pretty crowded. Despite the crowds and the long distance traveled, I definitely think it is worth a visit. There's a lot of ambiance on the canals. We paid 60 Mexican Pesos for an hour. Every trajinera (the brightly colored boats) had it's own music and many were full of big groups of people drinking and eating. There are a lot of places you can stop and visit along the canal. Other smaller boats will also sell pulque (alcoholic beverage made from the fermented agave sap), grilled corn, flower tiaras, and even musicians that will come onto your boat to sing. I recommend at least an hour here, but maybe not more than 2 or 3 on the canal. There are a few signs to see axolotls and other animals but they are all in small, cramped conditions and look very sad. Do not recommend trying to see axolotls here.
The neighborhood of Coyoacan was definitely my favorite. Here you'll find the Frida Kahlo Museum (the Blue House). Definitely buy your tickets ahead of time if you are planning on visiting the museum. The one thing I found to be annoying about the Frida Museum is that you have to pay to be able to take photos, even in the gardens. Otherwise, I think it lives up to the hype and offers a lot of cool art and history of Frida and Diego Rivera's life.
You can also visit Leon Trotsky's house but I didn't have the time. Coyoacan in itself is worth the visit, don't just stop by Frida's house and leave! It is a very peaceful, beautiful, walkable place, but also quite as not as trendy and touristy as La Condesa and Roma.
We also took a day trip to the pyramids of Teotihuacan. You can get here via bus but, since Coronavirus was starting to arrive in CDMX, we played it safe and took an Uber (yes, it felt silly to Uber to a pyramid but it was not that expensive either). The drive is about an hour and a half and once you arrive, there is no shade! So plan accordingly or you will quickly burn and/or become dehydrated. That being said, the tour guides are a little pricey (300 MXN) but definitely worth it. It would be a shame to make it all the way to Teotihuacan and not learn about it's history....
Although we visited a few other places in CDMX, during our the last few days, the museums started to close because of Coronavirus. We decided it would be best for us to play it safe. We stayed in a bed and breakfast in Coyoacan, borrowed some bikes, drank coconut water (directly from the coconuts, of course) and enjoyed the sun.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
I would've loved to plan more trips outside of CDMX
How was the food?
Gatorta had amazing vegan tacos
CDMX is a city so dress like you're in a city, not at the beach. It is very warm though.
The Mexico City Metro is pretty easy to use!