Total Trip: a medium-budget (long) weekend in Mexico City

I’m a California-based photographer who recently visited Mexico City for a weekend getaway with my girlfriend.

I had heard time and time again how amazing the city is. Given its proximity to Los Angeles, I needed to check out its exciting food scene, world-class museums, trendy neighborhoods and beautiful parks for myself.

My biggest concern of the trip was: how was I going to experience all of this in just three days? 

Get local insight on destinations all over the world with our weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox. Street-food tacos in Mexico CityI enjoyed one of the best tacos I’ve ever had at Tacos Chanito © Evan Ruderman

Pre-trip spending

Accommodation: $163.34 per person for four nights in an Airbnb in Roma Norte.

On the ground


Airport transport: We landed late Thursday night, and transport options were limited. Inside the airport, we were told a taxi would cost 580 pesos ($32.98); outside the airport, we were quoted a fare of 275 pesos ($15.63). After the confusion, we found that actually, Uber was cheaper, at 199 pesos ($11.34), so we went with that.

Total: $5.67 (for my half of the expenses; my girlfriend and I split everything down the middle)

Friday strolls in Mexico CityFriday strolls through the markets of Roma Norte and Condesa © Evan Ruderman


Breakfast: Breakfast was two coffees and chilaquiles at a nearby joint called Enhorabuena Café for 260 pesos ($14.79). You can’t drink tap water in CDMX, so we bought a two-liter bottle of water (22 pesos; $1.25) to keep us hydrated throughout the day.

Lunch: We spent a few hours exploring our neighborhood of Roma Norte and nearby Condesa before grabbing lunch: eight mouth-wateringly delicious tacos we got from a street stand (Tacos Chanito) for 150 pesos total ($8.53), 50 pesos of which was a tip.

Neon signs at Orinoco TacosTacos! Tacos! Tacos! at Tacos Orinoco © Evan Ruderman

Activities: We then took an Uber (210 pesos / $11.95) to the Museo Frida Kahlo, which had a steep-ish entrance fee of 250 pesos ($14.22). Afterward, we spent the afternoon roaming local markets (including the Mercado de Coyoacán) before returning to our Airbnb on the Metro for just 10 pesos each ($0.57).

Dinner: You’d think I’d had my fill of tacos for the day…but no. There’s always room for more. For dinner, we got more tacos at the deservedly famous Tacos Orinoco (286 pesos / $16.27), followed by some drinks at La Clandestina, a local craft cocktail bar (305 pesos / $17.35).

Total: $49.57


Breakfast: A tasty breakfast at WO Barra De Café (I went for the chilaquiles, my girlfriend the eggs) came to 278 pesos ($15.82). We grabbed another bottle of water for the day (22 pesos / $1.25) and went on our way.

Activities: We then took an Uber (119 pesos / $6.77) Centro Histórico, CDMX’s historic heart. We could have taken the Metro, but found the extra few bucks split between worth the time-saving convenience.

Mexico Citys Museum of AnthropologyWe could have spent the entire day at Museo Nacional de Antropología © Evan Ruderman

We spent the morning roaming around, checking out Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Zócalo until heading to another part of town. Since traffic was crazy, it seemed easier to jump in a taxi than to call an Uber – which was a mistake. We ended up paying 510 pesos ($29.01), probably twice what we should have. You live, and you learn.

Lunch & activities: After a quick lunch of tacos, tortas, grilled onions and a beer (341 pesos / $19.40), we headed to the Museo Nacional de Antropología. It’s one of the most-visited museums in the world and holds a wealth of pre-Hispanic culture. The entrance fee was only 90 pesos each ($5.12), and, honestly, we could have spent the entire day (or more) in this incredible place. One day isn’t enough.

Rows of pastries at Pasteleria SuizaPasteleria Suiza was so good… we had to visit twice © Evan Ruderman

Snacks: When we finally managed to tear ourselves away, we enjoyed a walk home with a pit stop at the delightful Pasteleria Suiza for a few sweets. These baked goods were as tasty as they were visually appealing – we got two for 105 pesos ($5.97).

Dinner: We splurged on dinner at Meroma, an upscale restaurant where a meal including bright ceviche, grilled artichokes, crispy farm-suckling pig and wine set us back 2004 pesos ($114.01) in total.

Total: $101.23 

Tour guide at TeotihuacanOur tour guide leads the way at Teotihuacán © Evan Ruderman


Breakfast: An early start on Sunday to head to Teotihuacán, a colossal archaeological site 30 miles (50km) outside of the city. We grabbed a quick breakfast of two espressos and a mango smoothie at La Balance (153 pesos / $8.70) to set us up for the morning.

Activities: For the sake of time, we took Uber to Teotihuacán (664 pesos / $37.77) and paid an entrance fee of 90 pesos ($5.12). We hired a tour guide for two hours  at 1000 pesos ($56.89). I’ve done similar sightseeing trips before and found that paying extra for a tour guide goes a long way in giving you a detailed experience. We hopped on the bus back home for 60 pesos each ($3.41).

Tamales in Mexico CityTacos and tamales from El Turix © Evan Ruderman

Lunch: Lunch was a plate of tacos and tamales to share for 150 pesos ($8.53) at hole-in-the-wall El Turix. We couldn’t help but have another round of pastries from Pasteleria Suiza on the way home (it was on the same block as our Airbnb). We spent 95 pesos ($5.40) on what I think was the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. 

Dinner: We wandered around, enjoying our neighborhood after a busy day, before an incredible dinner and drinks at Polpo, an elegant bar we happened to pass. Three shared plates (including creamy saffron rice with prawns and crispy-skinned beef with a smoky coffee rub) and two cocktails came to 1132 pesos ($64.40) total.

Total: $99.35

Dinner and cocktails in Polpo, Mexico CityCrispy steak and herbal cocktails at Polpo, Mexico City © Evan Ruderman


Airport transport: Reluctantly, we headed to the airport at 5am, with an off-peak Uber fare of 109 pesos ($6.20). 

Total: $3.10

The final tally: $422.26

While I often travel on a very tight budget, my girlfriend and I were happy to spend a bit more on this mini vacation. It’s easy to enjoy Mexico City on a shoestring budget, however, sticking to the superb street food and casual spots. We found that cocktails were quite expensive relative to food so that’s something to bear in mind if planning a night out. But beers were reasonably priced.

We also spent a decent amount of money on transportation, choosing to save time by taking Ubers and taxis; the Metro covers the entire city, at a fraction of the cost. To avoid too much traveling around, I’d recommend carefully researching which neighborhood to stay in. We chose Roma Norte for its close proximity to great restaurants, cafes, bars and art.


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