Top 10 Free Things to Do in Mexico City

Enjoy fun and educational activities without spending a peso

Palace Post Office

TipSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Mexico City is an ideal destination for travelers on a budget. There are excellent options for low-cost accommodations, delicious economical food is plentiful, and there is lots to see and do without even spending a peso. On this page, you'll find a list of the best things to do for free on your visit to Mexico City.

01 of 10

Walk the Centro Historico

Mexico City's Plaza de la Constitución with a large Mexico flag

 TripSavvy / Angelina Pilarinos

Address de la Constitución S/N, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06010 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

A good place to begin any visit to Mexico City is the historical center, el centro historico. Here you can stroll through the Zocalo (the main square), gaze at the Templo Mayor, the main Aztec temple, and appreciate the beautiful architecture from Mexico's colonial period. This walking tour of Mexico City will lead you through the main sights to see in this area.

02 of 10

Admire the Churches

Inside the basilica de guadalupe

TripSavvy / Jorge Castro 

Fray Juan de Zumárraga No. 2, Villa Gustavo A. Madero, Gustavo A. Madero, 07050 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Phone +52 55 5118 0500

There are a multitude of churches to visit in Mexico City and many have impressive colonial period art and architecture. Two churches that you shouldn't miss are the world's second most visited church, the Básilica de Guadalupe, and the oldest cathedral in the Americas, the Catedral Metropolitana.

03 of 10

Explore Mexico City's Parks

View of skyscrapers from Chapultapec Park

TipSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Mexico City may be known for its crowds, buildings and traffic, but it also has many pleasant green areas to explore. Parque Mexico in the Condesa neighborhood (Chilpancingo metro station), has well-maintained paths, plentiful vegetation and art-deco benches and decorations. You can even enjoy a free tango class in Parque Mexico on Sundays starting at 5 pm. Chapultepec Park (Chapultepec or Auditorio metro station) is another popular park that is well worth a visit. It offers green spaces and natural areas as well as a lake with paddle-boats for rent, museums and amusement parks.

04 of 10

See the Animals at Chapultepec Zoo

A jaguar sleeping at the Chapultepec Zoo

TripSavvy / Jorge Castro 

Calz. Chivatito s/n, Bosque de Chapultepec I Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11850 Cdad. de Mexico, CDMX, Mexico
Phone +52 55 5553 6263

One of the main attractions at Chapultepec Park is the zoo, which is home to 252 species of animals, 130 of which are native to Mexico. The zoo is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 4:30 pm, closed on Mondays. This zoo contains seven different biome areas and nearly 250 species of animals from Mexico and around the world. Admission to the zoo is free.

Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10

Appreciate Murals

Diego Rivera mural

TipSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Address de la Constitución S/N, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06066 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Phone +52 55 5093 4900

There's no better place to appreciate Mexican muralism than in Mexico City. Begin with Diego Rivera's "The Epic of the Mexican People" in the National Palace, then move on to the Secretary of Public Education at Republica de Argentina #28, where there are over 200 Rivera murals. There are four Jose Clemente Orozco murals in the Supreme Court building at Pino Suarez #2, on the second floor, as well as murals by George Biddle, and Hector Cruz García. Rivera's "The History of Theater" is on the facade of the Insurgentes theater on Insurgentes Sur #1587. The Universidad metro station has a mural by Arturo Garcia Bustos, and Jesus Nazareno church located at Pino Suarez #34 contains a fresco by Jose Clemente Orozco.

06 of 10

Browse the Markets

The Ciudadela Market

TripSavvy / Jorge Castro 

Balderas S/N, Colonia Centro, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06040 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Phone +52 55 5510 1828

Mexico City has many huge and fascinating markets that you could spend days exploring. You don't have to buy anything to enjoy these markets. The Mercado de la Ciudadela (Balderas metro station) has a wide variety of crafts from all over the country. On Saturdays head to the Bazar Sabado in San Angel to see high-quality handicrafts for sale. The more adventurous may like to check out the sprawling Mercado La Lagunilla (Lagunilla metro station), where anything from clothes to electronics to antiques are sold - Sunday is the best day. For produce and other food products, check out the Mercado de la Merced, or the adjoining Sonora market for creepy santeria and witchcraft paraphernalia.

Remember to leave your valuables behind when exploring Mexico City's markets - and take sensible safety precautions.

07 of 10

Discover the UNAM campus

A tower covered in Murals surrounded by trees at UNAM

TripSavvy / Jorge Castro 

University City, Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico

One of Mexico's UNESCO world heritage sites, the campus of Mexico's National Autonomous University (UNAM) is well worth a visit and has plenty for visitors to see and do. See the mosaic mural by Juan O'Gorman on the university library building and the mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros on the Rectoria building, then explore the campus. Don't miss the espacio escultorico (sculptural space), or the botanical garden.

08 of 10

See Street Performances

A person blessing a passerby in Zocalo

TripSavvy / Jorge Castro

Address de la Constitución, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

You will most certainly come across public performances during your explorations of Mexico City. Aztec dancers in costume perform traditional ceremonies and dances in the Zocalo or nearby. The Voladores perform several times a day outside the National Museum of Anthropology. In the evening, you can head to Plaza Garibaldi (Garibaldi metro station) to hear the Mariachi play (hiring them to sing for you specifically is pricey, but you can listen to them play for others for free).

Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10

Visit the Plaza de las Tres Culturas

Plaza de las Tres Culturas

TipSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas S/N, Tlatelolco, Cuauhtémoc, 06900 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

An archaeological site, a colonial-period church, and modern-era apartment buildings converge on Tlatelolco, representing the three different cultures that have occupied Mexico City over its long history. This is also the site where one of Mexico's modern tragedies took place - on October 2nd, 1968, the Mexican army and police massacred some 300 students who had gathered here to protest the repressive government of President Diaz Ordaz.

10 of 10

Go to Museums

Exterior of the maya museum

TipSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Blvd. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Granada, Miguel Hidalgo, 11529 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Phone +52 55 1103 9800

Most of Mexico City's museums charge for admission, but there are some museums which are completely free to visit, or offer free admission one day of the week. Here are a few:

  • Museo Soumaya was created by Mexican business tycoon Carlos Slim, and contains a varied private art collection. There are two locations, and both offer free admission every day of the week. 
  • Museo de la Charreria at Isabel la Catolica #108 offers free admission to its exhibits relating to the charro tradition, including costumes and items used by Pancho Villa.
  • The Museo Palacio Cultural Banamex at Madero #17 (2nd floor), has a rich collection of art, including paintings by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, Dr. Atl, Frida Kahlo and Joaquín Clausell, as well as a large collection of photographs by Manuel Alvarez Bravo.

You can take advantage of one free day during the week offered at some Mexico City museums, for example, the Museo Dolores Olmedo offers free admission on Tuesdays and the Museo Nacional de Arte is free on Sundays. There is also a Noche de Museos "Museum Night" in Mexico City which is usually held on the last Wednesday of each month. Several museums offer free admission on that evening (from 6 pm on) and host special activities.

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Top 10 Free Things to Do in Mexico City