Mexico City Roundup!

You've probably surmised from this, this, & this post that I had an amazing time in Mexico City. It's a destination I highly recommend, especially for Americans who are interested in dipping their toe in international travel. Mexico City is a relatively easy distance from much of the United States, is super affordable, & very explore-able making it ideal for those who might be a little wary of a bigger trip. But it's not just for the travel shy! CDMX is a beautiful, vivacious city anyone can have a great time visiting.

So, to help you plan your Mexico City adventure I've got all the tips!

Zocalo Square Dia de Los Muertos festivities.

Getting around.
The subway is amazing in Mexico City. Very affordable (roughly a US dollar) & it goes just about everywhere. A word of warning: it is extremely crowded, especially during rush hour, so be ready to get to know your fellow passengers very well. Yes, Mexico City does have a reputation for pickpockets, so keep your eyes on your bag at all times, don't carry a backpack or purse slung behind you, & guys keep your wallets in your front pocket. I left my passport locked in my hostel just in case, & carried my bag in front of me while on the train & didn't run into any issues.

The first three cars in the subway are for women & children under 12 only (during peak times, but this separation seems mostly respected at other times as well). This makes these cars less crowded & generally safer. The women only sections are clearly marked on the subway platform with large partitions.

The entire system uses pictograms in addition to text; I was able to easily find my way around with my extremely limited Spanish ability. I also downloaded a CDMX subway app which gave great directions, check your app store for options. There is limited cell reception on the subway, making it even easier to find your way.

Besides the metro, Uber is always an option. Uber fares are very low in the city (mine were mostly $5-$12 US) & Uber drivers don't collect tips here. If you want a ride, opt for Uber instead of a traditional taxi as they're usually cleaner, safer, & have a much lower chance of being stopped on the street (a taxi can be, in some areas, a target). I had wonderful Uber drivers throughout my trip! I really recommend taking Uber from the airport. It's easy, safe, & cheap. I don't recommend renting a car. Parking is crazy, traffic is a nightmare, & car theft is a very real concern. Stick to the subway & Uber.

The business district.

Blending in.
CDMX is quite a casual city on the whole. Unless you're headed to a fancy dinner or party jeans & a tee shirt are perfect. The mornings & evenings tend to be a bit cooler, & there can be sporadic bursts of rain. Double check your weather!

Walking shoes are a MUST. I'm a big advocate for walking cities, since it's the best way to see anywhere. Sidewalks are uneven & there are stairs everywhere so good walking shoes are very important.

Many people speak at least a few phrases of English, but I was able to converse & get around with my limited & broken Spanish fairly easily. Learn some key words & you'll do great!

A pedestrian street in Centro Historico.

Staying safe.
The first thing anyone said to me when I told them I was going to Mexico was "but it's so dangerous!" & yes, Mexico does have its issues with crime, but you've got a little bit of street smarts & common sense you should be fine.

After dark I relied mostly on Uber to get me from point A to B. Walking around my neighborhood (Centro Historico) at night felt pretty safe, though this could be because there were outdoor events for Dia de Los Muertos almost every night so there were many people out & about, I'm not sure if this area would be just as busy at other times of year. Just pay attention to where you're going & don't spend the whole trip staring into your phone.

Use your gut when wandering around. I stuck to busier streets when walking through the city alone. The safest neighborhoods for walking are Zona Rosa (the West Hollywood of Mexico if you catch my drift), Coyoacan,  Condesa, Roma, Polanco (the Beverley Hills of Mexico), & Cuauhtemoc. & while I didn't venture into the "bad parts" of town, I felt reasonably safe just about everywhere (I did stumble onto a kind of scary side street where lots of men cat-called me, but it was physically harmless, so I ignored them).

The lake at Chapultepec park.

Pickpockets are real & they've got SKILLS here. Be as aware as you can (bad idea to keep your smartphone in your pocket) but don't carry anything on you that you couldn't live without (passport is a good example). I didn't run into any pickpockets, but several friends I met at my hostel did & didn't even notice until well after the offender had walked off with their iPhone. Just keep your wits about you.

The courtyard of Casa San Ildefonso. Yes, it is that beautiful!

Where to sleep.
I stayed in the absolutely beautiful Casa San Ildefonso, a 19th century manor house turned into a hostel. The rooms are shared, two to a room with a bathroom shared between six, or you can also rent a private hotel like room for slightly more money. This hostel is hands down the best I've stayed in. Gorgeous, centrally located, with a kind & very helpful staff, & a tasty included breakfast. I will be staying here again when I stop by Mexico City.

Now pack your bags! This beautiful city is waiting for you!