This is our adventure of approximately 24 hours in Mexico City. It was not a consecutive amount of time, but for the sake of a story we can spare the semantics and just stick to some math. Despite spending a few chunks of days in Mexico City, the hours add up to be about a single full day in CDMX. Kind of a Frankenstein, pieced together style of adventure for us, and that’s just the kind of chaos and randomness that helps to keep things interesting (is what I keep telling myself…)
Since our flight was scheduled to be arriving late, and the plan was to immediately catch a bus in the morning out of Mexico City, we originally had only our final day of the Mexico trip planned for spending time in CDMX. Mexico City was just a flight hub for our trip and the true destinations were the Pueblos Magicos of Cuetzalan, Puebla City and Taxco. However, in the end, Mexico City would soon teach us why it is also a worthy travel destination in itself.
The story goes, that while still in Austin, at the beginning of our 10 hour layover, and thanks to Jessica’s tough negotiation phone skills with airline customer service, our time of eating soup and snacks while washing it down with breakfast beer and margaritas in the airport of Texas was cut short by eight hours. She had successfully got us booked on an earlier flight and thus gaining an extra, unplanned evening in Mexico City. The original schedule of arriving around midnight and heading straight to bed had now been put to rest.
To catch up on the previously mentioned time math, with our now earlier than planned arrival, it might still seem like there was still more than 24 hours for us in Mexico City on our trip, like I said, we had scheduled one full day at the end of the trip, plus now this extra evening. So, it seems like more than 24 hours now, right? The thing is, this is where more math comes into play (fun?)
Something I did not mention earlier, was that on that last day in Mexico City, we had plans of doing work stuff, you know, boring stuff, like meeting with a textile factory and shopping the markets for lace and trims, while also seeking out some contacts and suppliers. Typical boring fashion stuff and we can all universally agree that doing work related business does not count towards “Mexico time”- so, let’s use the new factors in our math problem now to subtract the business errands morning out of the schedule and there we have it:
One last full day, plus the first evening we arrived, minus a whole morning of work meetings, equals, give or take, a single 24 hour period spent in Mexico City. See? Math is fun!
Anyways, now that you know way too much irrelevant information about how we did our trip (what is this, some sort of online recipe blog?), it’s time to move onto the good stuff, and finally get into some things to do while in Mexico City for 24 hours.
We stayed in the historic center of CDMX at Hostal Regina in one of the private rooms. Arriving here was our first contact with how super friendly people in Mexico are, and this is especially in Mexico city. We checked in and were told to make sure to be around at 9:00pm for a free pizza and sangria party. Being human (I think), we didn’t need to be told twice!
Enjoying the fact that the sun was still up, we journeyed out to explore the pedestrian street of Calle Regina, which is conveniently located directly beside the hostel. In fact, our room had a view from the window.
We walked up and down the lane, taking in the sights of restaurants and patio life, the architecture and historic buildings, cool street art and even saw some buskers. Definitely a great street for a wander and we made note of some taco carts to return to at a later time. For now, it was time to return to Hostal Regina and enjoy some free food at the little party being hosted there. What a great start!
After meeting some of the other people from the hostel and drinking wine while eating pizza, we were indeed stuffed, but that didn’t stop us from still wanting to satisfy our sweet tooth. Even though it was getting a bit late into the evening, we were off to El Moro for some delicious churros for dessert.
It was about 11pm and really packed at El Moro, however, we managed to get a seat in a fast amount of time. They got this big crowds thing down to a science! We placed our order and were soon greeted by a whole plate of churros, with dipping creme and hot chocolates to wash it all down with. It was a massive amount of sugar and deep fried goodness, that came in at a cost of just under 100 pesos. A must do while in Mexico City!
Feeling adventurous, or maybe, mostly just hungry; in the morning we woke up to check out the Zocalo and grab some breakfast from Mercado de la Merced. My golden travel tip is: bring a map- because we never actually made it to the market. Although, I think we probably walked past it, or at least, we were really close to it a couple of times.
Regardless, there is always plenty of amazing food options, especially in a food destination like Mexico City. So, we grabbed some street tacos from a lady who was just setting up her grill for the day and headed off to the bus station to start the trip to the mountains of Cuetzalan.
I only get distracted from talking about just the 24 hours in Mexico City, because I want to talk about some of that friendliness found in the city again.
When we got to the bus station, we probably looked lost, because we were. A gentleman asked where we were heading, as did another couple. He then walked and talked with us for most of the way, even mentioning he is heading to Toronto soon. He then pointed in the direction we needed to go to catch our bus and we parted ways. I’ve read that people do this at stations for tips, and it was what I was expecting, but as I turned around to thank him, he was already well on his way as he gave a friendly wave goodbye.
Now we fast forward a week, or so, (Best results are achieved while making the VCR fast forward sound in your head) and here we are now back in Mexico City and it is the afternoon after a morning of doing some business stuff (remember, we talked about that before, with all that nerdy math stuff.) So, let us now continue on our journey of 24 (chopped up) hours in Mexico City.
My bad, rewind just a bit, I want to make a note about breakfast. We woke up early and arrived at 6:00am for more El Moro churros, ’cause that’s what a 24 hour churro place is for-o! This time there was no one except for us sitting in the restaurant, but still a large lineup of people getting churros from the to-go window. We enjoyed our sitting spot as the locals grabbed their sweet sugar sticks and headed off to work.
After taking care of business in the morning, we had built up some afternoon hunger. It was time for ricos tacos! Having just dropped off our work stuff at Hostal Regina, we were running low on energy, but had no leads on where to go for some grub. So, like a taco toucan, I just followed my nose!
A few doors down from the hostel, I managed to find the best tacos I’ve ever had. No sign over the door, just good smells and a grill out front. This is how the best stuff in Mexico is found. The hot sauce was hot, and the lady was shaking her head “no” when I put it on, even though it did in fact pack a good bite of heat, I liked it enough to put it on the next round too. She encouraged us to really load up on the potato salad and cucumbers as well. Best tacos ever, that’s what I’m taco-ing about!
Staying at Hostal Regina, there was a flyer for a lucha libre and pulque tour with Estacion Mexico Tours. I had a birthday coming up, so I convinced Jessica that this was the gift I wanted and she obviously could not say no to that. It took all of the previous week of convincing, but I had finally won the battle without having to resort to putting a lucha mask on.
First stop of the night, after meeting up with our tour group, was at the Pulquería La Hija de Los Apaches. A bar owned by a former lucha libre, and we were for for some pre-show for pulque, a drink made from the fermented sap of the agave plant.
It was raining quite heavily that night, so it was decided by the tour operators that they would order more rounds and encouraged us to fill up on big beers while there, because “it’s much cheaper than at the arena.” The night had live music and the whole place was dancing and moving. As part of the tour, we were also provided with masks to further set the lucha libre mood before making our way to the arena.
Because of the rain, we arrived late to the match, but we were full of extra pulque and beer and there was no denying that we were all having a good time! Despite our lateness, we still managed to catch about half the matches, as our guide taught us the proper insults to hurl and cheers to chant. The arena was packed and the crowds were very passionate with cheering the good guys and booing the baddies. A highly entertaining experience!
Upon leaving, it was dark outside and still raining, but the street back to the subway station was now a midway of merch tents selling all the good lucha libre stuff. Being the fashion people we are, we grabbed a cape to go with our masks before hopping on a subway back to the hostel.
When we got back, the night wasn’t over yet. On weekends, Hostal Regina, has a rooftop nightclub with electronic music, DJs and really large margaritas. We had an early flight in the morning, so rather than catching some sleep before heading out, we decided to head up and party a bit before packing and catching the subway at 5am to the airport.
On the way to the airport, things were muggy in the subway tunnels, but luckily we were riding just before the morning rush really kicked in. The heat, lack of sleep and likely also dehydration had Jessica starting to faint. Luckily, I caught her as she was going down and there was a group of police officers who ran over to help. They walked us to a water fountain, wanted us to go get food and air too, but we told them we had a flight to catch, so they grabbed our bags and lead us to where we needed to be. Jessica survived to live another adventure, she just needed some fresh air and plenty of sleep and water. We were greatly appreciative for all the help and kindness we had experienced during our short stay, Mexico City is a super welcoming and friendly place!
That’s it, that was our 24 hours in Mexico City and it’s not even the tip of the iceberg of all the things to be done while in CDMX. My advice, is plan more time to spend in Mexico City, because 24 hours gave us a good taste, and left us already planning a more extended trip for next time.