What to Do in Mexico City With Your Kids

January 16, 2020

Thomas and I just spent a week in Mexico City with our 3.5 year old and 19 month old kiddos. It was an absolute blast!! But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the tears and sleep-deprived tantrums (sometimes by our kids, but mostly by this mama!). One thing that kept us all sane was our new stroller Buggy Board and loads of fresh churros. Since we’re currently based in Denver, Colorado, we love that CDMX isn't too far of an international trip for our young kids. Plus there's tons of buzz-worthy, family-friendly activities in the city. It's really a perfect destination for families who want to explore a major international city -- and expose their kiddos to amazing food, beautiful architecture, and a new culture -- without flying halfway around the world.

The flight to CDMX is direct for us, only 4 hours or so, and we basically stayed in our same time zone. This is a HUGE WIN right now since our kids are still young enough where naps and sleeping arrangements are top-of-mind. 

We kept our trip pretty loose and easy,  giving our kiddos ample time for running through plazas chasing pigeons, long meandering strolls at random parks, and late lunches exploring all the ways to eat chilaquiles.

Here's a quick round-up of our favorite kid-approved activities in CDMX:

Chapultepec Zoo (Parque Zoológico de Chapultepec)

I have a few recommendations of places to go within Chapultepec Park. The park itself is absolutely huge and often compared with Central Park in NYC, although twice as large. In Chapultepec Park I highly recommend the zoo for a free and fun kids activity. I was under the (false) impression that a free zoo meant a small zoo. Not the case! This zoo felt huge -- lots of curious animals and interesting exhibits. The short walk into the zoo from the park entrance is fun for kids, too. The thoroughfare is lined with snack vendors and toy huskers…. always entertaining for our group! After the zoo we found a little restaurant for lunch inside of Chapultepec Park, located adjacent to one of the many playgrounds. The girls ran around while we munched on tacos and Tecate.

Chapultepec Botanical Gardens & Lake (Jardín Botánico del Bosque de Chapultepec)

Not only should you and your kiddos spend hours at the zoo, or just wandering around this peaceful park loaded with natural beauty, happy squirrels and playgrounds galore, there’s some other can’t-miss activities like the Chapultepec Lake -- a sizable pond where you can rent a paddle boat and chase ducks -- and the Botanical Gardens. Oh my goodness, you guys, the Botanical Gardens were amazing. And these gardens have been cultivated for over 600 years and include indigenous Mexican and Central-American specimens as well as fauna and flora from all over the world. There are some hands-on exhibits designed for kids and adults-alike to play on. All in all, an excellent way to blow off some pent up energy!


Hop on, hop off tour of the city. My kids were tickled to not be sitting in a car seat. 15+ stops, WIFI on board, children’s audio, and a pretty robust schedule. So that means when you’re waiting for the bus with your hungry, antsy kids, you won’t be waiting too long for the bus to arrive. On that note, I do not recommend Turibus’s competitor, CapitalBus. Between the two, it seemed like CapitalBus had a much slower schedule for buses. If you have plenty of time to hang out waiting for the bus, it’s no big deal. But again, with antsy kids, you really need a robust bus schedule. We saw El Zocolo, La Condesa, and Polanco in one day. Really, it was great for young kids. I didn’t get to enjoy too much of the audio tour, of course, but the girls had fun.

Parque Mexico & Parque Espana

Both these parks had awesome playgrounds and were within walking distance of our Airbnb in La Condesa. Parque Mexico was super charming, lined on all sides by beautiful buildings, coffee shops, and art deco architecture. Be prepared to meet a ton of Americans. :) No joke, I was pushing my daughter on the swing and met a little girl who lives less than a mile from us in Denver. Sooo, obviously this place is a tourist destination. But my kids had fun and we enjoyed the views. Parque Espana has one of the best playgrounds I’ve ever been to and is also located in La Condesa. It’s also known for some famous dog trainers, but we didn’t see them that day!

The Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

Located about 40 minutes by car outside of La Condesa, Xochimilco is known as the Venice of Mexico City. Hmm, I wouldn’t go that far, but it was still pretty awesome. You can go by public train, but we just got an Uber because... well... kids. And on that note, once we were in Xochimilco, we bought a 2 hour ride (as opposed to 4 or 5 hours) because you never know when a sleep deprived 19 month old will lose her cool. Ask your Uber driver to drop you off at the Belem pier and you’ll easily find a guide/boat captain because there are official guides walking around everywhere. You’ll know they are official because they wear permits around their necks. Pricing is prominently posted throughout the area to ensure you won’t be scammed. We went on a Sunday, supposedly the most crowded and busy day of the week, and we had so. much. fun! The girls enjoyed watching the large family groups, the vibrant mariachis, the faux La Llorona, and the chaos of too many boats on a narrow canal. I think if we would’ve showed up on a Monday morning we would have been bored. Pro Tip: There are plenty of opportunities to stop for potty breaks on the trip at one of the many greenhouses. You can bring snacks and drinks on the boat.


We dragged the girls to a few different markets on our trip. Luckily they take after their parents and love to shop! La Ciudadela Crafts Market (Mercado de Artesanías de La Ciudadela) features a variety of curiosities and crafts handmade in Mexico. They had a great family-friendly restaurant located in the center of the market, and some of the more reasonable souvenir prices on our trip.

We also loved Coyoacan Market, located near the Frida Kahlo museum. For the adults, we had the best chilaquiles on our trip at one of the food stalls surrounding the market. For the kids, the market was especially fun because they had a vibrant butcher section and bootleg Frozen 2 DVDs. What’s great about this market-- and neighborhood -- is that you’ll find plenty of other markets and shops within an 8 block radius. Make sure to also check out Mercado Artesnal Mexicano on the other side of Plaza Hidalgo in Coyoacan.

Have you been to Mexico City yet with kiddos in tow? I'd love to hear your recommendations!

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