This article includes links to our travel partners at Tripadvisor, where you can read traveller reviews, book tours and plan your visit to Mexico City.
There’s a charm about Mexico City that’s hard to put into words. Imagine bringing together Aztec ruins, endless art galleries, street food that stands in the annals of world street food, and national parks just on its outskirts—that is Ciudad de México.
If you’re thinking up what to do in Mexico City on a layover, we’ll have you covered with this guide. Being just 10 miles away from the airport (a 20-60 minute ride), the capital is close enough to spend your stopover hours exploring centuries of history, cuisine, and getting Mariachi Music a la real deal.
Have a layover but need to stay airport-bound? Mexico City Airport (also known as Juarez Intl Airport, code: MEX) with its two terminals provides free WiFi throughout, over 100 eateries, economy to first-class lounges, and 24-hour shopping. For a unique souvenir: drop by The Silver Designer selling jewelry from one of the best locales for silver in the world. To find out plenty more details of what you can get up to there, check out our Mexico City Airport Guide.
Mexico City Sightseeing Attractions
Frida Kahlo Museum & Museo Nacional De Antropología
As the capital that can boast of having the most museums in the world, the Frida Kahlo Museum is unmissable. A family house turned museum where the fiery Mexican artist was born and later lived, it’s filled with her sketches, personal items, and ample descriptions. The Museo Nacional De Antropologia is where Mayan civilization is brought alive. You can easily spend half a day here, checking out the thousands of statues, carvings, paintings, and the massive surrounding park with its many walking paths.
- Time Required: For the Frida Kahlo museum, 1.5-2 hours would do you well. Museo Nacional De Antropologia can take you either 2 hours or 2 days—so come knowing you’ll likely leave too soon!
- Getting There: For Museo Nacional De Antropologia, take the Line 5 subway followed by the Line 1 subway (43-minute travel time, cost of $10), while the Line 5 subway followed by the Line 3 subway would take you to Frida Kahlo museum (a 56-minute journey, cost of $10).
- Plan Your Visit: Check out Tripadvisor for more details, visitor reviews, and tours on both the Frida Kahlo Museum and Museo Nacional De Antropologia
Tour of Teotihuacan & Tequila Tasting
If you’ve got a long stopover and want a deep dive into Mexican heritage then this tour is for you. You might want to visit the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan (once the largest city in all the Americas 1000+ years ago).
But with stops at a 14th-century market town, a popular pilgrimage site, and a sweep of tequila tastings—this action-packed, knowledge-filled tour (with raved-about guides!) might be your vacation sorted.
- Time Required: 9 hours with a starting time of 8:20 AM.
- Getting There: There are 2 pick-up spots available. MIGA Café and the avenue right behind the Palace of Fine Arts—both are 20 minutes from the airport by taxi or a 38-minute journey by public transport.
- Plan Your Visit: Check out Tripadvisor for more details, visitor reviews, and booking options for the tour.
Dining at El Turix and Lardo
First word: Tacos. Next word: Mind-blowing. With a far-sung rep as having the best tacos in the city, El Turix promises exquisitely fresh salsa, dripping meat juices, and perfection of spices—a winner combo for post-long-flight food.
If your call’s for classy dining, Lardo’s symphony of flavours is a go-to. Treat yourself to burrata cheese or fig pizzas, rabbit & artichoke lasagnas, and tahini sour cocktails. They cater to gluten-free, but their freshly baked bread is culinary mastery on its own.
- Time Required: For both, 2-3 hours would be ample dining time. Be sure to book at least 2 days ahead for Lardo and expect long, but fast-moving queues at El Turix
- Getting There: From MEX airport, El Turix is a 28-minute taxi ride away (1 hour by public transport) while Lardo is 30 minutes away by taxi/car (50 minutes by public transport).
- Plan Your Visit: Check out Tripadvisor for more details and visitor ravings on both El Turix and Lardo
Parque Nacional Los Dinamos
Need to remedy jet lag after a long flight? Los Dinamos Park, located on a hill just above the Mexico City sprawl, is a place to relax in, rejuvenate in—and if you’ve got the appetite for it—adventure in.
With dense forests, roaring rivers, and stunning views, head here for fresh air and a picnic—or hike along the river before digging oyster mushroom soup & mixiote at Doña Pilar’s restaurant.
- Time Required: Depends on what you do. But 2-3 hours will have you sorted for a fresh air & lunch break.
- Getting There: A 40-minute taxi ride from the airport will get you there, while public transportation takes a much longer 1 hour and 40 minutes.
- Plan Your Visit: Check out Tripadvisor for more details on Los Dinamos and options for some hiking tours.
Airport Layover Transportation
With Mexico City Airport being just 10 miles away from the city center and its attractions, it’s easy to get there by either public or private transport.
Your public transit options:
- Bus: Take the Line 4 Metrobus outside Terminals 1 and 2, and in 30 minutes, you’ll be at the capital. Buses operate every 15 minutes, from 04:30 to midnight, and cost just $1.50 one-way.
- Subway: A short walk away from Terminal 1 is a subway to the city center (Metro Line 5). It’s extremely cost-effective (0.50 cents one-way) but does take longer (50 minutes).
Your private transit options:
- Taxi: Skip the unlicensed taxis and go for the airport’s official ones. They run 24/7, get you to Mexico City in 20 minutes for $13-15, and you can easily buy a taxi ticket at the “Transporte Terrestre” kiosk.
- Car rentals: You’ll have plenty of options for car rentals at MEX, from Enterprise to Hertz, AVIS, National, and many more. Check out Tripadvisor to compare prices.
Before You Go: Layover Tips
Now that you are motivated and excited about your mini layover vacation, just make sure to check a few final logistical concerns off your list before you fully commit.
- Do you need to organize a visa to leave the airport? Requirements change frequently and for each nationality, so be sure to seek out current details on the availability, cost and procedures of obtaining a transit visa.
- When is your next flight’s check-in time? Make sure you double-check with your airline exactly when you need to be at the airport – and plan your layover accordingly.
- What are security wait times like at the airport? Some airports are notorious for long security wait times, so be sure to do a bit of research in advance and factor that into your overall time budget.
- What’s happening with your luggage? When you check in to your first flight, be sure to confirm whether your luggage is checked through or needs to be picked up between your connecting flights. Check out our Mexico City Airport Guide for information on luggage storage.
Other Useful Resources
Finally, here are a few handy resources to help you plan your layover even more thoroughly: