South-central Mexico has a lot to offer. As tempting as it may be to exclusively explore things to do in Mexico City, there are way too many potential day trips from Mexico City to stay within the city’s urban sprawl. Check out our guide on the best day trips from Mexico City below.
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First, here’s how to travel from Mexico City
So how exactly does one go about taking a day trip from Mexico City? You have two options.
Rent a car
Public and private transportation in and around Mexico City is pretty solid, but if you’re trying to pack as much as possible into your trip to Mexico City, renting a car makes more sense. For what it’s worth, this also applies to many of the things to do in Mexico City at night.
Shuttles and busses
If renting a car isn’t appealing, many of the best hotels in Mexico City (including the best boutique hotels in Mexico City) provide shuttle and bus services to most of the places listed below.
Psst: Your Fora Advisor can steer you towards the best mode of transport for you.
The best day trips from Mexico City
The best day trips from Mexico City explore ancient ruins, Colonial heritage and some of Mexico’s most beautiful landscapes. Let’s get started!
Every Mexico City vacay should include a trip to Teotihuacán. The city is one of Mesoamerica’s oldest, with current estimates suggesting development first began around 2,300 years ago — more than a millennium before the height of the Aztec Empire.
The twin Pyramids of the Sun and Moon are among the largest in North America, while the ominously-named Avenue of the Dead is filled with impressive artifacts, trails and steps.
Xochimilco technically exists within the Greater CDMX area, but offers just enough to be considered day-trip worthy.
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway (queue our things to do in Mexico City for young adults guide!), you can take a gondola-style ride through the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco where you can explore over 100 miles of flower-filled canals.
Xochimilco is also home to tons of local festivals, flower markets and pre-colonial architecture.
In 1862, the outgunned Mexican army defeated a superior French Force at the Battle of Puebla: the story of el Cinco de Mayo! Likewise, the modern City of Puebla is home to Mexico’s largest Cinco de Mayo festival and is one of Mexico’s many UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Puebla also has a great food scene that rivals Mexico City’s cuisine and it’s also credited as the birthplace of mole.
If you’re looking for family-friendly adventures from Mexico City, Cholula is a good choice.
Cholula isn’t as busy as Mexico City, but it’s still home to many of the things that make the capital so fascinating, including a gorgeous mix of Mesoamerican and European architecture. Boutique hotels, a thriving culinary center and landmarks like the Parque Loro petting zoo make it a fun place for families to visit as well.
Of course, the city’s biggest draw is the Great Pyramid of Cholula, the largest pyramid in the world (by volume). The archeological site bears a resemblance to Teotihuacán but includes a wider range of influences from Mesoamerican cultures, strongly suggesting the site belonged to many different empires over time.
5. San Miguel de Allende
If you don’t mind the 3.5–5 hour drive from CDMX (depending on traffic), San Miguel de Allende is one of Mexico’s top destinations — and an absolutely amazing day trip from Mexico City.
Colonial streets and grand cathedrals speak to the city’s significance since the arrival of the Spanish. And within the city’s historical district, you’ll find many, many cultural and architectural landmarks (comparable to the number of major landmarks in Mexico City).
San Miguel de Allende’s lush botanical gardens and gorgeous hot springs provide a healthy dose of relaxation too. (And don't forget, if you're having trouble deciding what to do your Fora Advisor is here to help!)
Cuernavaca loosely translates to “close to trees” and has provided a natural escape from Mexico’s more industrious cities since the Aztecs called it home.
In the city’s historic center, cobblestone streets are surrounded by greenery and colorful, Neoclassical architecture. Oh, and if Mexico City’s art history's isn’t enough for you, Cuernavaca is filled with murals painted by famous artists such as Diego Rivera! All in all, it’s one of the most unique places to visit in Mexico.
7. Izta-Popo Zoquiapan National Park
Any long weekend in Mexico City is complemented by Izta-Popo National Park’s gorgeous conifer forests and grasslands, which surround two active (and explorable) volcanoes. Here, you can take a breather from Mexico City while hiking through alpine scenery and checking out the park’s many campgrounds.
Side note: if you don’t want to drive the two hours it takes to get to Izta-Popo, Chapultepec Park near Polanco (one of Mexico City’s hippest neighborhoods) is one of North America’s largest urban parks!
8. Taxco de Alarcon
Taxco de Alarcon is unique in that the small city still functions as a (relatively) active silver mine. While mining has actually declined in recent decades, Taxco is still strongly associated with silver and you’ll find jewelry markets throughout its historic and colonial-style streets.
Silver, jewelry markets and more, all in a quick day trip from Mexico City? If you're ready to go, connect with a Fora Advisor to customize & book your trip today.
Nearly a thousand years ago, Tula was one of the Toltec Empire’s most important religious sites before disease and war led to the civilization's collapse.
Today, the site rivals Teotihuacán for its archeological significance. The Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl is still surprisingly intact, with statues of Toltec Warriors still standing guard at the temple’s apex.
Don't forget: Your Fora Advisor can help you find the best mode of travel for day trips from Mexico City.
One of the most beautiful cities in Mexico, Toluca is bisected by the Lerma River at the base of the Toluca Valley. Like Mexico City, which is only about 30 minutes away, Toluca’s architecture blends many European and Mesoamerican influences along with a host of botanical gardens in the city’s metropolitan areas.
The city is also overlooked by the Nevado de Toluca, an active volcano that arguably deserves its own day trip from Mexico City.
Connect with a Fora Advisor to plan amazing day trips from Mexico City.
Your Fora Advisor can help you find the best day trips from (or to!) Mexico City. Get started today.