Solo Traveller's Guide to Mexico City - Things To Do Alone
I arrived to Mexico three years ago by myself during my sabbatical year and thanks to locals’ essential tips and some common sense I had some of the greatest adventure of my life, and here I am three years on! Travelling to Mexico City alone seems to be a big deal for people who have never visited because of its somewhat bad reputation, however solo travel in Mexico City is totally possible and I would not only recommend it but also wholeheartedly encourage it, and even as a solo female traveller. I love travelling by myself and that’s how I got to know this city and the country, so read my recommendations to enjoy your solo travel in Mexico City. Whether you are part of the foodies, museums or nature lover group, Mexico City will enchant you!
What to do
As a solo traveler in Mexico City you won’t have any problem visiting the main tourist attractions as well as off the beaten paths gems which are located in safe areas. Don’t miss out the old-fashioned city centre, the biggest park in the city, Chapultepec, the numerous museums, the trendy areas of Roma, Condesa, Polanco, Juarez, and traditional boroughs such as Coyoacan, San Angel and Xochimilco. Check my 2 days in Mexico City guide and enjoy yourself visiting some of these must see spots of the city!
Mexico City is the place for anyone who loves food, both those who love restaurants and those who love getting their hands dirty standing at local food stalls. I must say that Mexico City is one of the best places in the world for a street food experience so everybody should give it a go in order to eat like a local. The variety of food stalls is impressive in any areas, so if you solo travel to Mexico City just choose one and join in and you will feel part of a the Mexican community. My recommendation is to follow locals’ suggestions or to go for places that have a sink and those that are full of people – this is the best guarantee of all!
Mexico City’s nightlife has a lot to offer everyone, from the most chilled person to party lovers. Going out on your own is not an issue if you go to a popular borough, such as La Roma, La Condesa and Polanco. Have a look at my guide to La Roma, my favourite area to go out with my friends, a trendy but chilled neighbourhood, which now has been made even more famous by the Biennale-winner namesake movie directed by Mexican Alfonso Cuarón. From live music to a drink in a chilled place, theatres shows and dancing nights, you can plan your own night according to your mood! There are so many places that offer salsa lessons for free if you want to join in and easily get to know somebody.
Even if you are a female solo traveller, don’t worry about going to markets alone. Visiting some of the numerous markets in the city is actually a must. In my opinion you will not get a proper feel of Mexico without eating and buying some souvenirs at a market. There is one in every borough so you will have your chance. My favourite food markets are that of San Juan in the centre and that in La Portales, close to where I live. Head to la Ciudadela in the historical centre or to Mercado de Artesania, handcraft market, in Coyoacan if you want to buy something traditional. There are also plenty of boutiques in Roma and Condesa if you prefer shops!
Mexico City is said to be the cities with highest number of museums so you will definitely find the one that satisfies your passion. My favourite is the Museum of Anthropology as you can see the capital through the eyes of an archaeologist; the building’s structure itself takes you back to ancient times. Bellas Artes and Chapultepec are a must to those loving murals and wants to discover Mexican muralists, including Diego Rivera. For something less traditional, head to Museo Memoria y Tolerancia, a museum whose mission is to spread the importance of human rights and tolerance, or challenge yourself at MIDE, an interactive museum focused on economic themes, located in one of my favourite historical building in the historical centre.
Where to stay
Stay in a central area if you love going out at night such as Roma, Condesa, Juarez, Polanco as well as the city centre. Those are all good areas that offer a lot of restaurants, bars, coffee shops and nightlife options as well as cultural and artistic must sees. If you fancy something with a traditional village vibe check out Coyoacan and San Angel. If I travel solo, I prefer staying at a hostel in order to meet some other travelers however Airbnb is growing a lot in Mexico City and is the option I would recommend to get to know some locals that could give you some great recommendations. It is possibly the cheapest option around considering the kind of nice rooms or houses on offer.
I love walking so I usually walk an area from top to bottom, as for me there is no better way to discover a place and observe its people. But you’ll need other transport to move to different areas. I usually use the tube and the metro bus, which are safe if you don’t need to use them at peak hours. If you are not a fan of busy places, I would recommend Uber. It works very well in the city, and at night it is a must so don’t forget to download the app if you don’t have it already.
As with many major city, minor theft crimes are not unusual, so stay aware of your surroundings. Don’t keep anything in easy-to-snatch pockets, avoid dangerous areas such as Tepito and dark alleys at night. I love going around with my backpack, but when I am on the tube or in a busy area I always carry it on the front. Moreover it’s a smart idea to keep your valuables in your bag while you’re not using them. Follow common sense’s rules and you will be perfectly fine. Bear in mind that Mexicans are lovely and friendly people!