In 2019, I was blessed enough to take a few trips around the world (bonjour, France), but there was one in particular I looked forward to the most: Mexico City. I had plenty of reasons: it’s a place where I can spend time with family, eat a ridiculous number of tacos, and go catch a soccer (aka football) game of my favorite team (Club America) at the legendary Azteca stadium. With a population of nearly 9 million people, Mexico City is no joke — it’s massive, and that means you can do a lot of walking if you’re interested in exploring.
Personally, I like to walk around the city from neighborhood to neighborhood, although sometimes it’s faster to take an Uber or, why not, a scooter. In October / November, which is when I went last year, the weather can be a bit tricky; warm during the day, cold at night, so you have to be ready for anything, rain included. If you’re looking to visit, and especially if you’re planning to walk as much as possible, I would also recommend packing light as you head out on your day. I usually just carry a bum bag and a cardholder, for instance.
While CDMX is generally safe for tourists, you don’t want to be wearing anything that screams for attention. It’s nothing personal, as I try to do the same when I go to Cancun, Barcelona, Berlin and basically anywhere that’s not my home of New York City. All I have to say is that if you have never been to Mexico City, you’re missing out, and you should definitely try to make that happen as soon as possible. You won’t regret it.
As I mentioned earlier, you’ll probably end up walking a whole bunch in Mexico City, so you should have some comfortable sneakers on your being. You can’t go wrong with a pair of Nike React FlyKnits, which can help you knock two birds with one stone should you choose to go out for a run, as well.
Call it a bum bag, funny pack, waist bag, whatever you want, but I love these things. When I travel, I always have one from a Supreme and Nike collaboration, which unfortunately you can only get on the resale market now. Thankfully, Nike has some great fannies that start at $25, like this SB Heritage one that’s subtle and yet not boring.
The weather in Mexico City can be super weird. It can be hot outside one minute, and so cold the next — I’m no weatherman, but I blame it on the mountains and volcanoes that surround it, and the high altitude (about 7,400 feet). Whatever it may be, it’s smart to have a light jacket on you, and I always go with the classic Levi’s Trucker Jacket, which is relatively affordable and has a bunch of pockets to put small things in.
Speaking of pockets, while the fanny pack is great to put my hand sanitizer, wipes and random papers in, I use a cardholder to keep my credit cards and IDs in. Not to flex, but I have a vintage Gucci one that I bought on a trip to Italy, but there are plenty others that can do the job well. Comme des Garçons has a black classic cardholder for only $70, which is nice enough to put a few cards in and maybe even some cash.
Look, traffic in Mexico City is probably just as bad (if not worse) than Los Angeles. The good news is there’s a way to get around that’s pretty efficient: the Mexico City Metrobus. It has dedicated lines that ease through traffic and can get you to most of the tourist traps quickly, including the Bosque de Chapultepec and Basílica de Guadalupe. You can’t buy the passes online, sadly, but there are stations all over Mexico City where you can get a card starting with about 50 pesos, and that’ll get you a handful of rides. Reload as you go. Image via rucksacksombrero.com.
As cheap and efficient as it is to take the Metrobus in Mexico City, sometimes you just need a good ol’ car somewhere. For the most part, however, trying to hail regular taxi cabs tend to be a nightmare, and that’s where Uber comes in. You probably already know how to use the app, but I will tell you that you’ll be surprised at how cheap rides are in Mexico City. I’m talking like $5 for a 20-minute car ride — I wish it was the same in NYC.
I used to hate electric scooters, but the truth is that they can be so convenient. In Mexico City in particular, you’re going to run into situations where you want to go to a place that’s too far to walk to but close enough that you don’t need a taxi. That’s when having the Bird app will come in handy, since it lets you grab a scooter off the street and be on your way, all directly from your smartphone and in a couple of minutes. Oh, and it’s so fun to be in a scooter while everyone else in a car is stuck in traffic.
You’re going to eat some of the most delicious food ever in Mexico City, we’ve already established that. But, even for serial taco eaters like me, all that deliciousness is bound to take a toll on your body eventually. And when that happens, you should be ready to have some Pepto Bismol on you. Instead of the traditional Pepto in liquid form, I usually take the capsules version with me when I visit, and I carry them in my fanny pack at all times. They’re a must-have, even if it’s just to be safe.