After a fast-paced first two days in Mexico City, you can relax more on day three by exploring the quieter southern part of the city. Coyoacán, Chimalistac, and San Ángel all have that traditional old-Mexico vibe to them and are perfect for simply wandering around. But if you still have the energy, they’re also packed with activities to keep you entertained for the whole day. Either way, be sure to save a little time to take a trajinera boat in Xochimilco.
Start your day early in Coyoacán’s main square and get yourself a nice cup of coffee and a pastry at Avellaneda, a small cafe in Higuera street that has some of the best coffee in the city.
Once you’ve got your caffeine fix, get ready to explore Coyoacán’s collection of picturesque alleys and plazas. Here, you’ll find the Frida Kahlo Museum (booking in advance is highly recommended) and some of the oldest constructions around Mexico City, including the Conchita church, the first Catholic temple of the Americas.
From Coyoacán’s main square, Jardín Centenario, head west via Francisco Sosa street. This scenic street will lead you directly to Chimalistac, another tranquil neighborhood full of cobblestones and colorful houses. In Chimalistac, explore the small streets around the San Sebastian Church and the Jardín de la Bombilla garden.
Just across Insurgentes Avenue, Chimalistac gives way to San Ángel, filled with public plazas, markets, and one of the most important arts and crafts bazaars in the city (Bazar del Sábado is next to Plaza San Jacinto but only opens on Saturdays). Besides the traditional markets, you’ll find Mercado del Carmen, a gastronomic market in Amargura alley packed with interesting options to grab a bite full of traditional Mexican flavors.
Go back to Insurgentes Avenue and take the Metrobus south to the University City. Explore the main campus and take a rest in one of the university’s multiple gardens. All buses inside the campus are free and hopping on and off the multiple routes is a great way to admire this urban planning masterpiece. Some of the highlights inside the campus are the University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC), the Botanical Gardens, the University Stadium, the Central Library, and the Rectory building.
Once you’re done with the university, grab a trusted taxi and head towards Xochimilco. It should be a half-hour ride if you avoid rush hour. Ask your driver to drop you at the Nuevo Nativitas pier and once you’re there, rent a trajinera, and stroll through the multiple canals guided by your personal oarsman. You can go to the famous Island of Dolls or just wander up and down the area while you listen to live mariachi bands, get stuffed with quesadillas, and even grab a couple drinks delivered directly to your trajinera by the smaller boats around the area.