How to Visit Mexico City on a Budget

mexico city

While most tourists flock to beach destinations like Tulum and Cancun, Mexico has so much more to offer than sand and surf. Mexico City is a rising destination for those looking to explore the country’s history and culture. This landlocked city is home to an incredible array of museums, historic monuments, and lush urban parks. Best of all? If you’re looking for an affordable weekend getaway, it’s never been easier to visit Mexico City on a budget.

This colorful city is one of the best budget destinations in Latin America. Keep reading for our top money-saving tips, so you can make the most of your time in Mexico’s charming capital.


Mexico City on a budget: Know before you go


The city is larger than you think it is

Mexico City is the second-largest city in the Americas. It outranks both New York and Chicago, and is second only to São Paulo, Brazil.


Be prepared for altitude

The city sits even higher above sea level than Denver. This means two things: Brace yourself for the altitude and don’t expect beach weather 24/7 (you’re not in Cancun!).


Mexico City has more museums than any other city in the world

That’s right, even more than London and Paris. Some are even free or offer free admission days if you’re visiting Mexico City on a budget.




Free and cheap things to do in Mexico City


Explore the Zócalo

mexico city cathedral

As the historic center of Mexico City, the Zócalo is one of the city’s top attractions. In the area surrounding this famous plaza, you’ll find the awe-inspiring Metropolitan Cathedral and Templo Mayor, both built upon the sacred ruins of the Aztec people’s main temple in their capital city of Tenochtitlan.


Shop for handicrafts at La Ciudadela


If you’re the type of traveler who can’t get enough locally made handicrafts, La Ciudadela is the place for you. At this traditional-style market, you’ll find more than 300 stalls of vendors selling crafts from across Mexico – from hand-painted ceramic and glass pieces to colorful textiles and jewelry.


Escape the city in Chapultepec Park

The stunning and serene Chapultepec Park (Bosque de Chapultepec) is a great place to escape the sometimes chaotic energy of Mexico City. At almost 1,700 acres, more than twice the size of New York City’s Central Park, it’s one of the largest city parks in the Western Hemisphere. Kill a couple of hours in Chapultepec Park by taking a stroll and stopping by the lake, castle, or even the popular Chapultepec zoo!


Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Anthropology Museum)

CDMX museum

Located within the grounds of Chapultepec Park, the world-renowned Museo Nacional de Antropología is Mexico’s largest and most visited museum. Inside this world-class museum, you get an in-depth look at artifacts and sculptures from Mexico’s pre-Hispanic civilizations, including the famous Piedra del Sol (the Aztec Calendar Stone) and 16th-century statue of Xochipilli, the Aztec god of art, games, dance, maize, and beauty.


Enjoy a night out in the Zona Rosa

Zona Rosa is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Mexico City, home to some of the city’s best bars and restaurants. The lively nightlife scene caters to every budget and taste, from clubs to karaoke bars. Those traveling to Mexico City on a budget will be pleasantly surprised by the well-priced drinks.

During daylight hours, Zona Rosa is also a great budget-friendly shopping destination. Independent shops line the streets, selling everything from antiques to the latest fashions.


Visit the city’s famous library


The Biblioteca Vasconcelos is a book lover’s dream. Featuring transparent glass walls and a 26,000 square meter garden, the library houses over 600,000 books and is often referred to as a ‘megalibrary’. Cultural events are also hosted in this space, including concerts, theater performances and dance shows, making it one of the top places to visit in Mexico City on a budget.


Marvel at the Basilica de Guadalupe


The world famous Basilica de Guadalupe is built on the site where Saint Juan Diego claimed to have seen the Virgin of Guadalupe in 1531. The church contains an image of her and remains one of the most famous religious icons in Mexico. Thousands of pilgrims visit the basilica each year to pay their respects.


Where to stay in Mexico City on a budget


Domingo Santo

Domingo Santo appropriately bills itself as a place where the modern and traditional world meet. This adults-only hotel is situated in a beautiful, historic building that combines elegant rooms with old school hospitality. The rooftop restaurant overlooking Plaza de Santo Domingo is guaranteed to make your stay truly memorable.


Casa Pepe

Conveniently located just a short walk from the Zócalo, Casa Pepe is one of Mexico City’s most popular places to stay on a budget. At this trendy boutique hostel, it’s all about the communal vibe. The unique common areas include a stage with instruments, a cozy library full of books, or a bungee-style hammock area with Nintendo 64. Dorm and private rooms available.


Hostel Home

Every good travel destination needs one of those hostels that just feels like home. As the name suggested, Hostel Home is certainly that place in Mexico City. As the city’s first backpacker hostel, it hasn’t forgotten its quirky, slightly rugged roots. The rooms are modest yet cozy; simple yet comfortable. But it’s the staff and fellow guests that make this the quintessential place to stay in Mexico City on a budget.


El Patio 77

Located in the heart of the city, El Patio 77 is one of the best places to stay in Mexico City on a budget. This cozy bed and breakfast offers comfortable rooms at an affordable price, with a mix of traditional and modern furnishing. Choose a balcony room, with views overlooking the peaceful garden courtyard.




Cheap flights to Mexico City

Recently, Dollar Flight Club members have saved between 70-90% on cheap flights to Mexico City. On average, our members spent $$$ on their tickets and saved over $$$ per ticket. Here are a few samples of cheap flight deals that Dollar Flight Club members have received recently.

New York City (JFK) to Mexico City (MEX)

Price with Dollar Flight Club: $$$

Average Price: $$$

Boston (BOS) to Mexico City (MEX)

Price with Dollar Flight Club: $$$

Average Price: $$$

Los Angeles (LAX) to Mexico City (MEX)

Price with Dollar Flight Club: $$$

Average Price: $$$


CDMX tacos


Where to eat in Mexico City on a budget

La Casa Del Pan Papalotl

This hole in the wall joint serves up traditional Mexican fare, plus some vegetarian-friendly options. La Casa Del Pan Papalotl is the perfect place to try authentic food in Mexico City on a budget. If you’re here in November, make sure to try the famous pan de muerto (Day of the Dead bread).


El Califa Taqueria

If you’re looking for tacos on a budget, El Califa is the place to be. Their specialty is the local favorite, tacos al pastor – spit-roasted meat wrapped in a tortilla and marinated with spices and chili peppers. So much flavor in every bite!


Churrería El Moro

You can’t leave Mexico without trying traditional churros – deep-fried pastry smothered in cinnamon, sugar, and melted chocolate. This sugary snack is affordable, too – a churro from El Moro will set you back just 30 cents. Founded in 1935, you can trust this local joint is serving up the real deal.


Los Cocuyos

Old-fashioned street tacos at bargain prices. Is there anything better? Los Cocuyos is the authentic experience – no table service, just delicious food and unbeatable prices. Most tacos cost 70 cents, so live large and try a few!


Dalis Pizza

Tired of tacos? Head to Dalis Pizza, just a 15 minute walk from the Zócalo. This authentic Italian restaurant is the best in town. With prices starting at $2 USD a slice, what’s not to love?


CDMX tortillas


Start planning your trip to Mexico City

Mexico’s capital is one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in Latin America. Spend a weekend (or longer!) exploring all this incredible city has to offer. Party it up in Zona Rosa, soak up some history in the Zócalo, and sample the mouthwatering street tacos. There’s no shortage of fun to be had in Mexico City on a budget!

Remember to save this budget travel guide and sign up to receive cheap flight deals, so you can start planning your trip to Mexico City today!

  • Zach Anderson

    Zach was a digital marketer, copywriter, and flight deal expert at Dollar Flight Club where he helped 1 million people travel more. As a digital nomad, he is deeply passionate about location independence, Thai food, and helping others see the world affordably.

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