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Best Things to Do with Kids in Mexico City

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The best things to do in Mexico City with kids include a boat ride down the ancient canals of Xochimilco, visits to the Papalote Museo de Los Ninos and Museo Nacional de Antropología, time spent playing in the city’s beautiful playgrounds, and of course, lots of incredible food.

The best things to do in Mexico City with kids include a boat ride down the ancient canals of Xochimilco, visits to the Papalote Museo de Los Ninos and Museo Nacional de Antropología, time spent playing in the city's beautiful playgrounds, and of course, lots of incredible food.

Upon checking into our room on the twelfth floor of the St. Regis, my first observation was that it is massive. The city, dotted with skyscrapers, seemed to stretch on to the mountains in the distance. In fact, the city is quite large. It spans 571 square miles, nearly double the size of New York City (304 square miles of land), and more than double Chicago’s 228 square miles. 

The vast size of Mexico City lends to its allure. There is simply so much to explore, both in terms of neighborhoods to visit and centuries of history to examine. 

My husband, daughter (she was nearly 4 at the time), and I spent six days in Mexico City and loved getting a taste of this welcoming, historic, and grand city. While I am not an expert on Mexico City, we did a good job of checking out the best things to do in Mexico City with kids.

What to Know About Visiting Mexico City

Here are some tips and tricks that will help you during your trip to Mexico City.

Most Museums are Closed on Mondays

The best things to do on a Monday are to visit the Teotihuacán pyramids or to visit Xochimilco.


Ubers are very useful since the city is so spread out, but traffic is a consideration. It can take 30 minutes to go two miles. There are lots of buses and a subway system, but we stuck to Uber and walking.

Keep Small Bills on Hand

I went to the ATM at the airport, which dispensed 500 peso (about $27) notes. Some vendors were unable to break these bills. Starbucks can be very usual if you find yourself in this situation, since they seemed to be the only quick service place to take my 500 peso bills. Small bills are very handy when your child wants an ice cream or paleta from a vendor. Plus, some of the public bathrooms have a 5 peso charge. 


We live in Chicago and have traveled extensively, so my barometer for safety might be different. I walked around alone after dark and didn’t feel unsafe, but we also stayed in a touristy area. We spent our time in Roma Norte, Juarez, La Condesa, and Polanco and I feel comfortable recommending those neighborhoods. There was an armed guard outside our hotel, but that is not the norm. I suspect that there might be more security offered at high-end hotels due to some of the guests that may stay there.

How Long to Visit Mexico City

Four full days left just right. We arrived on a Wednesday afternoon, had four full days to sightsee, and left on a Monday afternoon. In that time, we visited four museums, the zoo, several playgrounds. Plus, we dined at a handful of restaurants, saw a few neighborhoods, and took a boat ride down the Xochimilco canal. We started our days at 9am, ate dinner at 6pm (early, but necesssary for us), and went to bed early. We saw a lot during our time in Mexico City; the only thing that I feel like we really missed was the Teotihuacan Pyramids, which we skipped because we visited during a heat wave and we felt our daughter was a bit young for this excursion. 

They Don’t Do Daylight Savings

Mexico City doesn’t change its clocks, so the sunset is a bit earlier than we were used to in June.

Altitude and Weather

Mexico City has an elevation of over 7,000 feet and mild temperatures. It was 82 degrees when we visited in June and that was considered to be a heat wave.

Another City to Visit

San Miguel de Allende is just about a 3.5-hour drive from Mexico City and a few days here would be the ideal way to extend your stay in Mexico. We cannot stop raving about the incredible hospitality and food at the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende and the Spanish Colonial city is filled with charm. You can read my review of the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende here

Where to Stay in Mexico City with Kids

St. Regis

We love the ease of staying in a hotel when we are visiting a place for less than a week. After much research, I chose St. Regis since they have a kid’s club that offers childcare on Sundays plus lots of amenities for little ones. I will say that it didn’t feel like luxury hotel specifically in Mexico. The rooms and decor in the hotel are pretty standard for the chain and it didn’t feel uniquely Mexican. But, the hospitality was top-tier. The location can’t be beat – El Bosque de Chapultepec was just down the street and we were able to walk to many attractions.

Kimpton Virgilio

While we didn’t stay at the Kimpton Virgilio in Polanco, I took a quick look for a friend who is planning a wedding in Mexico City. I have a feeling that this is where we will stay on our next visit. I loved the glimpse that I got of the Polanco neighborhood; it’s filled with restaurants offering outdoor dining and beside a large park. What struck me about this hotel was the rooftop pool (it’s small, but my daughter loves a pool) and its proximity to the Lincoln Park playground. 


If you want to stay at an Airbnb, there are many in the La Condesa neighborhood. You might want to find one that is near either Parque Espana or Parque Mexico. 

Four Seasons

In my research, the Four Seasons was highly recommended for families. It is location very near the St. Regis and El Bosque de Chapultepec.

Best Things to Do with Kids in Mexico City


Best Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids: Xochimilco

Xochimilco is a neighborhood in southern Mexico City whose name translates to “where flowers grow”. The name “Xochimilco” is synonymous with brightly painted canal boats. Similiarly to Venice, these long boats are powered by a person using a pole to push the boat through the water. Boats can be hired for an hour or two – or even longer – and have a long table with chairs in the middle. You can bring your own food and drinks or purchase tacos, elotes, and other snacks from boats in the floating market or from stalls by the docks. 

When researching things to do in Mexico City, Xochimilco tours filled the search results. Some of the tours are advertised as all-you-can-drink, and I was a little hesitant to bring a toddler. Once I realized that we would be on our own private boat, we went for it, and we thought that this was the very best thing to do in Mexico City with kids. We all loved it. 

You can either arrange a visit to Xochimilco as part of a tour, which we did through our hotel, or you can go on your own and hire a boat (but you might risk there being no boats available if you choose a busy day or time). We paid 1500 pesos (about $80) for a two hour boat ride and a few adult beverages. Two hours felt like the perfect amount of time for us.

Bring cash in smaller bills so that you can buy things from the smaller boats selling drinks, snacks, flower crowns, toys, and souveniers. And, you will definitely want to hire a mariachi band to come aboard to play a song or two – my daughter loved this!

The thing that stood out about Xochimilco was that there were more locals there than tourists. We were in a boat alongside people celebrating birthdays and engagements and groups that had just gathered for a fun afternoon.

I want to point out that we boarded our boat at noon. The guide made it clear that Xochimilco becomes a different, much more party-centric, scene at night. During the afternoon it was tame.

While the boats are small and don’t have bathrooms, there are bathrooms available at the dock (pay 5 pesos) and there are some more bathrooms along the canal. 

El Bosque de Chapultepec

Best Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids: El Bosque de Chapultepec

This absolutely massive 1,700-acre park is home to over half a dozen museums, the zoo, gardens, green spaces, a couple of small lakes, and some small playgrounds. The walkways in the park are lined with hundreds of small stalls selling snacks, toys, and souvenirs.

Zoológico de Chapultepec

Best Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids: The Zoo

This large free zoo is home to giraffes, zebras, leopards, tigers, lions, and a giant panda. We spent over two hours here. Note: there is a 5 peso charge to use the bathrooms here, so have some coins on hand. There are plenty of food vendors ranging from an on-site Dominos to stands selling snacks and paletas.

We stuck to the zoo’s free sections, but some special exhibitions charge a small entrance fee.

San Angel Saturday Bazaar (El Bazar Sábado)

We had a tour guide/driver, and with help from the hotel concierge, we created our own itinerary of visiting Xochimilco, the Frida Kahlo Museum, and the Saturday Bazaar. 

The Saturday Bazaar takes over the San Angel neighborhood’s central plaza, Plaza de San Jacinto. Artists display and sell their work ranging from paintings and sculptures to jewelry and other handcrafts. Since San Angel borders Coyoacán, it is easy to pair a visit to the bazaar with a visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum.  

Walking Tour of Zócalo

Visiting the downtown city center of Mexico City, Zócalo is a must. This area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was home to the Aztec city called Teonotitlan, a city with a complex canal system used for agriculture. 

Two things impressed me about our tour of this area: the Spanish colonial architecture and the Aztec history and ruins. Our tour focused on Plaza de la Constitución, which was the center of the pre-Columbian city of Tenochtitlan. Today, the plaza has a mix of grand colonial architecture and Tenochtitlan ruins.

Templo Mayor, the ruins of the large temple at the center of Tenochtitlan, is a must-see. Discovered by electricians in 1978, this temple was the main temple in Tenochtitlan. The temple is said to be located on the spot where the god Huitzilopochtli told the ancient people that they had reached the promised land: an eagle on a cactus holding a snack. The excavation is ongoing, and visitors can see the temple and models showing what the complete temple complex would have looked like.

In addition to Templo Mayor, the tour included visits to nearby Spanish Colonial buildings such as the
Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Palace, Alameda Central, and the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

We booked this tour via Viator, and our guide, Erik, was patient with our energetic toddler and very knowledgeable.

Mexico City Museums

My impression of the museums in Mexico City is that they are far less expensive than the ones in the United States. For example, the anthropology museum cost about $5 and entrance to the natural history museum was about $3. 

When compared to museums in other large cities like New York City and London, they were a bit smaller, but I loved being able to spend two hours and leave knowing that I saw everything. 

Papalote Museo de Los Ninos

Best Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids: Papalote Children's Museum

The prime age for this museum is six, since some hands-on activities are for children six and up, but there was plenty to keep my three-year-old busy. She especially loved the outdoor play area, the mini grocery store, the Lego lab, and building her own paper rocket. 

What impressed us about this museum is the number of hands-on activities. Activities for older children include science experiments and a large jungle gym. This museum is one of the very best things to do in Mexico City with kids.

Museo de Historia Natural

Best Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids: The Museum of Natural History

This museum is just a 10-minute walk from the Papalote Museo de Los Ninos, so we combined the two and made a morning out of it. The big hit here was the Evolution exhibit which has dinosaur skeletons and taxademy of animals including the giant sloth, polar bears, and numerous birds. 

Museo Nacional de Antropología

Best Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids: Anthropology Museum

The older your children, the more they will probably enjoy this museum. My three year old loved the exhibits with the ceremonial and traditional clothing and the sections of Aztec temples, but we sped through some sections.

Unless your children are very interested in history and archeaology, I recommend choosing to visit either the Teotihuacán pyramids or the Anthropolgy Museum. Both might be overkill.

Frida Kahlo Museum

As someone with a degree in Art History, I could not pass up the opportunity to visit the Frida Kahlo Museum, which is located in what was the artist’s home. It isn’t the most kid-friendly museum, but it is also a small museum that you can easily see in an hour, and it has a large courtyard where children can have a snack and get their wiggles out. If you have older children, they might enjoy it!

I loved getting to see the bedrooms where Kahlo painted some of her iconic self portraits. Currently, some dresses and other items from the artist’s wardrobe are on display. The home, painted in a vibrant hue of blue, is beautiful.

The Frida Kahlo Museum is in the Coyoacan neighborhood, which is known for its Spanish colonial architecture. Coyoacan is in southern Mexico City, about 30 minutes from Juarez. It’s on the way to/from Xochimilco and many people combine visits to the two.

Lastly, due to the small size of the museum and its popularity, you absolutely must book tickets in advance. If you want your pick of times, book at least a week in advance. 

Best Playgrounds in Mexico City

Mexico City has some wonderful playgrounds and visiting them is one of the best things to do in Mexico City with kids. Our three favorite playgroudns are listed below. I want to point out that we did spend a lot of time walking around Chapultepec Park and noticed several small playgrounds, but we didn’t see anything so outstanding that I would recommend making a special trip to any of them. 

I always recommend taking a walk through a new-to-you playground before letting your kids loose. Identify any potential trouble spots. For instance, Lincoln Park’s playground had a very high and steep staircase, and I would run over to spot my daughter when she went down it. Different cultures take different approaches when it comes to playground safety, and while the Mexico City playgrounds seemed to have safety standards in line with the U.S., I am not an expert.

Parque España

Best Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids: Playgrounds

Located in La Condesa, the Parque España playground has so many play structures that someone described it as being the equivalent of seven U.S. playgrounds, and I agree. There are areas for toddlers and older children and my daughter played here for a full hour.

From here, it was a short walk to Casa Virginia where we had dinner.

Parque México

Parque México is just two blocks away from Parque España and has a large playground.

Lincoln Park

Best Things to Do in Mexico City with Kids: Playgrounds

Located in the Polanco neighborhood, I liked that the swings were in a shady area. Again, this was a very large playground and there are bathrooms on site.

Where to Eat with Kids in Mexico City

Locals in Mexico tend to eat a later dinner, after 8 p.m., but many restaurants are open all day. This worked in our favor since we were able to have early 6 p.m. dinners with a lively child without having to worry about disrupting other diners. 

La Califa

Where to Eat with Kids in Mexico City

A recommendation from the staff at our hotel when we told them we wanted a quick bite, La Califa is a local taco spot with multiple locations. The large menu has kid-friendly classics like quesadillas and many different types of tacos. 

Casa Virginia

Easily our favorite meal of the trip, Casa Virginia, in Roma Norte serves elegant Modern Mexican cuisine. While they didn’t have a children’s menu, the chef was able to simplify their risotto.

Where to Eat with Kids in Mexico City

The portion was large, which meant that my husband and I got a taste of the delightful risotto. I had short ribs with a red wine sauce, and my husband had the filet with a chile sauce.


Where to Eat with Kids in Mexico City

In the same family of restaurants as Contamar and Entremar, Merotoro focuses on Baja-style surf and turf. It doesn’t have a kid’s menu, but it does offer children fresh fettucini drowned in butter and topped with cheese. We loved the roasted cauliflower and the whole roasted chicken with gnocchi.

La Esperanza

Where to Eat with Kids in Mexico City

A large bakery in Juarez offering sweet and savory pastries plus tamales. I went to get some sweet treats one evening and was surrounded by locals pilling their trays high with cookies, cakes, and bread.


Niddo has multiple locations, including coffee shops and a sit-down restaurant. It is a quick and easy place to grab a meal. We went for breakfast, and they very kindly made our daughter some simple scrambled eggs. Charles and I both had chilaquiles.


A beautiful French-inspired restaurant beside Lincoln Park in Polanco. The large menu includes lots of kid-friendly fare like fresh pastries, fruit, eggs, and pancakes. I had the Huevos Rotos, fried eggs served atop French fries with a mushroom sauce. Charles had an elevated version of avocado toast topped with salmon. From there, we went to the playground in Lincoln Park. This breakfast/playground combo should rank highly on your list of things to do with kids in Mexico City. Sadly, after the playground we had to leave for the airport, and I wish we could have explored Polanco more.


Animal is one of the restaurants located within the St. Regis, where we stayed. My husband and I had a memorable meal here while our daughter played in the hotel’s kid’s club. While we dined kid-free, the restaurant is family-friendly. There is a kid’s burger on the menu and there were lots of children there. (Note: it was Father’s Day so there may have been more children there than is typical). The menu focuses on sushi and steak, but of course, they offer a few tacos, too.

Amilado Helado

An ice cream shop in Juarez with sophisticated flavors like pistachio chip, chocolate with mezcal, carrot cake, and basil.

Tacos Frontera

A little hole-in-the-wall taqueria pointed out by our tour guide when we visited the Saturday Bazaar in San Angel, Tacos Frontera was a great find. I had the Rajas Con Crema, a typical Mexican dish made with thinly sliced poblanos in a creamy sauce. Charles had beef tacos topped with satisfyingly crispy cheese.

Rosetta and Panadería Rosetta

Our friend in the restaurant industry spoke very highly of both Rosetta and Panadería Rosetta and while we didn’t have a chance to dine here, I wanted to include a mention.

Things to do in Mexico City with Kids that are Older

Here are some activities that came up again and again in my research that we skipped since my daughter is only three.


Kidzania is an immersive play experience where children take on jobs in a mini-play city. While this activity isn’t specifically related to Mexican history or culture, I hear that kids love it.

Lucha Libre

Seeing lucha libre wrestling is one of the most popular activities for tourists in Mexico City. On Sunday afternoons, there are some family-friendly shows.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

I’ll warn you that this activity requires waking up before sunrise, but I hear it is worth it. 

Teotihuacán Pyramids

We skipped this since we are confident we will be returning to Mexico City, and our daughter seems a bit young for such a big day trip. The drive from Mexico City to Teotihuacán is about an hour and 15 minutes, and day trips last about 5 hours. The ancient pyramids at Teotihuacán pre-date the Aztec empire by over a thousand years. Teotihuacán is the site of four pyramids, including the Pyramid of the Sun, which is the fourth largest pyramid in the world.

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