Activities in Mexico City That Will Make You Feel Like a Local

If you’re visiting Mexico City (CDMX) and want to feel like a local, there are many activities you can do to experience the city in an authentic way. From visiting the markets to sampling the street food, here are some activities that will help you feel like a true chilango.

Go to the Local Markets
Mexico City is full of markets where you can find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to handicrafts and second-hand clothes. There are markets on wheels set up on the streets a few days a week, and others are built and open every day of the week.

Some of the best-known and friendliest markets to visit are the Mercado de Medellín (located between the Roma and Condesa neighborhoods), the Mercado de Coyoacán and, for a truly unique experience, the Mercado de San Juan located in the Centro Histórico, known for its gourmet food stalls with exotic meats, insects, wines and cheese that you won't find anywhere else in the city.

Walk the aisles of the local markets, interact with the vendors and sample some of the delicious fruits and foods sold at the stalls. It will be a unique and folkloric experience, and you’ll get an up-close look at local flavors and life.

Wander Around Coyoacán
Mexico City has a rich history, and many neighborhoods reflect the culture and architecture of different eras. Coyoacán is one of the most interesting neighborhoods to enjoy in the city. With cobblestone streets, quaint churches, cozy local cafes, markets and old mansions, it is one of the favorite places where locals go for family gatherings in the evenings and on weekends.

While in Coyoacán, be sure to try the churros and hot chocolate at El Jarocho, a local coffee shop that has been around since 1953 and has several locations in downtown Coyoacán. It is one of the favorite places of the chilangos who live and visit the area.

Try the Street Food
Street food is an essential part of Mexico City's culinary culture. There’s a wide variety of things to try, from tacos and quesadillas to corn and tamales.

No matter where you are in the city, there will always be a street food stand near you. Take the fear out of it and enjoy the delicacies we locals eat on the street daily - don't forget to add some hot salsa!

Visit a Traditional Cantina
Mexico City has a long tradition of cantinas dating back to the end of the 19th century, with more than 1,000 cantinas in the city!

Today there are not so many cantinas, but there are still some that have been open since that time. El Gallo de Oro, La Peninsular and La Ópera are 3 cantinas that are located in the Centro Histórico and have been around for more than 100 years. We recommend you visit them and witness another important part of Mexican culture.

Watch a Movie at the Cineteca Nacional
The Cineteca Nacional is a cultural center dedicated to Mexican and international cinema. Here you can watch independent films, documentaries and cinema classics. It’s a favorite movie spot for locals, mainly by chilangos who live in the city's southern neighborhoods.

It is the place par excellence to see art cinema in CDMX and it was recently remodeled, so you can also enjoy its pleasant spaces with green areas, restaurants and even an outdoor cinema with free screenings.

Attend a Fair, Festival or Public Event
There's always something going on in Mexico City, whether in museums, markets, parks, restaurants, or countless cultural venues. As if there needed to be more, there are also fairs, festivals and public events about gastronomy, culture, art, crafts and music all year.

A very local experience is to attend one of these events to immerse yourself in the city's culture. For example, one of the most popular fairs is the Mole Fair which takes place in October in San Pedro Atocpan, a town on the city's outskirts.

During the Mole Fair, the town's residents prepare large quantities of mole (a spicy sauce based on chiles and spices) and offer free samples to visitors. There's also live music, dancing and other entertainment celebrating Mexican culture.

As well as the Mole Fair, many other events are happening practically every weekend - don't miss the opportunity to experience one of the city's many fairs and festivals!

Take a Trajinera Ride
The trajineras of Xochimilco have a very particular charm. Although they appear in all the tourist guides of the city and, therefore, there’s a lot of tourism, they are still one of the favorite weekend activities for families and groups of friends living in CDMX.

Xochimilco is one of the oldest towns that are now part of the greater Mexico City. It is located south of the city and is famous for its canals and the colorful trajineras used to travel along them.

While you go on the trajinera, other small boats will approach with people selling food prepared on the spot, live music groups to liven up your ride for a while, and beer vendors, among other things.

Join the Sunday Bike Ride
Finally, let's mention the Sunday bike ride that takes place on Paseo de la Reforma and other city streets.

Every Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm, part of the vehicular flow of some streets is closed to give space to enjoy them on bikes, skates or walking. It's one of the locals' favorite activities, as it is very pleasant to stroll through the streets without worrying about cars and admire the buildings, monuments and other details.

As a visitor, you can rent a bike per day at Ecobici or go to one of the loan kiosks on Paseo de la Reforma.

It’s a fun yet relaxing activity that allows you to enjoy the city in a different way.

These are just a few of the many activities you can do in Mexico City to feel like a local. Explore the city at your own pace and don't hesitate to ask the locals for more recommendations.

Enjoy the city! At Central Hoteles, we are waiting for you to offer authentic Mexican hospitality in our beautiful hotels located in the heart of the Centro Histórico.

We look forward to seeing you soon!


Travel, culture and traditions in Mexico City.