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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Family Friendly Things to do in Mexico City

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

We found Mexico City to be one of the most underrated cities we have visited! While It typically isn't high up on people’s list of places to visit while in Mexico, it has its own unique charms and offerings. We also found it very family friendly with lots to explore with the kids! These are some of the family friendly things to do in Mexico City with kids.

Driving in the State of Mexico & Mexico City

However, first things first, if you are planning to drive in or around Mexico City, you should be aware of the Hoy No Circula program in the city. The city and state of Mexico have restrictions on when vehicles can be driving on the streets and often there are time periods where you are limited to drive. If you don’t have the proper pass then you risk being fined. However, if you have a vehicle that has license plates from certain states in Mexico or from outside the country you ARE eligible to get a free Tourist Pass so you aren’t restricted to certain days or hours of driving. However, in order to get this pass you have to fill out a form online, which can be found HERE. (Just translate to English.) You can either apply for a 7-day or 14-day pass once during a 6-month period.

We weren’t aware of this until as we were driving into Mexico City, so it caused a bit of stress. We had to pull over and fill out the form, but then the password emailed to us, didn’t work. We sent an email to, but we got an automated response saying that the office hours were from 9 a.m. to 3 pm. and at that point it was already past 3 p.m. We had a hotel reservation in Mexico City for the night so after talking to some people to confirm that there were no official checkpoints for the Hoy No Circula we decided to go for it. Luckily by the time we reached the city, someone had replied back to our email inquiry and after sending our vehicle registration we had the pass by the end of the night. Talk about quick and great service even after hours!

*Therefore, our advice would be to fill out the form online a couple days prior to needing it, but just plan on sending them an email with the registration of your vehicle afterwards. They will then send you the pass back via email. (We read similar experiences as ours, so it seems email is the way to go.)

These are some of the spots within Mexico City that we found to be super family friendly & fun for the kids.

Mexico City Old Town | Plaza de la Constitucion & Templo Mayor (Tenochititlan)
The Main Plaza of the Mexico City Old Town.
Plaza de la Constitucion (or Zocalo) in the center of Mexico City, Mexico.

This is the main square within the Old Colonial part of the city and the spot of many of the iconic photos that you see of Mexico City. It is often referred to as Zocalo – or ‘public square or plaza.‘ The plaza is surrounded by the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, National Palace, Federal District buildings, Old Portal de Mercaderes and the Nacional Monte de Piedad. Because of its importance and central point, this main square has been the site of many Mexican ceremonies, swearing-ins, parades, ceremonies and other important events & celebrations, as well as protests.

Right next to the theatre is Templo Mayor, which are the ruins of Tenochititlan, the main ceremonial & capital city of the Aztec civilization before colonization. It was often thought by the Aztecs that this was the center of the universe.

Ancient ruins in the centre of the Mexico City Old Town - Zocalo
Templo Mayor, which are the ruins of the Tenochititlan of the Aztecs.

There are several parks, green spaces and amazing architecture throughout the Mexico City Old Town.

We also found the food options to be plentiful and cheap! One of the other ‘food related’ things we enjoyed was the plentiful number of bakeries. We had Pasteleria Madrid right across the street from where we were staying and it was one of the biggest bakeries we had seen. It almost felt like we were stepping back in time as well. We’re pretty sure that they would truck in the items from an offsite location, but once you entered it was like an old fashion cafeteria. You would take a tray and go grab whatever item you liked, then when you took it up to the cashier they would wrap it and ring it in on an old fashion cash register. It was a fun little shop to experience.

Two children in front of Pasteleria Madrid in Mexico City.
Fun Bakery across the street from our accommodation where it almost felt like a step back in time.
Papalote Museo del Nino

After exploring the city for a bit, the kids were getting cranky and said they wanted to check out something that was for kids. After a quick internet search, we discovered Papalote Museo del Nino. We took an Uber there and spent the rest of our day exploring this great spot. Basic admission was $99 Pesos ($4.77 USD/$6.07 CDN) per person, so $396 Pesos total for all four of us. It was a great way for the kids to explore and recharge. This admission was just for the museum, but there were other packages that included their iMax theatre.

Papalote Museo del Nino was like a combination between a Science Centre and Children’s Museum. They had different sections dedicated to different subjects, like your body, sea turtles, family, trees, gardens and a special exhibit about dogs because they were showing the “Superdogs” documentary at their iMax theatre. They even had an outdoor playground and an indoor play structure, as well as pretend shopping centre for the young kids. The upstairs was more focused on science and they had a variety of science experiments that people could do. We only did the station where you could make paper because we ran out of time and the language barrier, but there was so much to do in this section.

Bosque de Chapultepec Park & Zoo

We had originally planned on visiting the National Museum of Anthropology to learn more about the Mayan civilization, but when we arrived there was a sign saying that it was closed due to the Health Emergency declared by the city (January 2022). This was the first place we ran into a place being closed. Before heading to the museum we had promised the kids that we would go to the zoo right after, so they were pretty excited that they didn’t end up having to endure the museum at all.

The Chapultepec Park with the zoo was directly across the street from the museum. We were there on a Saturday and we could tell this was a place that locals came to spend time on the weekends, it definitely had weekend vibes. It was a fun cultural immersion as well. Within the park is a lake with paddleboats and row boats you can rent, as well as the zoo.

Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, Mexico.
Lake in the middle of Chapultepec Park in Mexico City where you can rent paddleboats.

The most incredible part about the zoo was that it was FREE to visit! (There was one butterfly exhibit that did require an admission fee.) However, all the large animal exhibits were very well done with nice big enclosures, and it was all very well maintained. They even had animals such as giraffes, hippos and giant pandas on display, plus so much more! We felt like this was such a great value!

After the zoo we headed back out to the main park for some lunch, but we discovered there was tons of things to do here as well. They had a variety of activities that you could do – such as an obstacle course with a zipline, carousel and maze, etc. – ALL for affordable prices! It was one place we felt like we didn’t have to say to the kids, “Sorry, it’s too expensive, we’re going to have to pass.” Instead, they completed the obstacle course and zipline for 40 Pesos per person (about $2 USD) and rode on the carousel for 20 Pesos each (less than $1 USD). There were so many vendors in the park, but for a small bag of popcorn it was only $10 Pesos (about $.50 USD). There were also a great selection of playgrounds. Clara and Connor played there and even made friends with some of the local kids. Because it was the weekend we got to watch street performers; there was definitely no shortage of things to do. To be honest, hanging out and relaxing at the park was one of our favorite things we did in Mexico City.

While we probably didn’t hit all the main tourist areas, we really enjoyed our time in Mexico City, just relaxing and enjoying the places that we discovered along the way! This was such a family-friendly destination with many fun things to do and explore. Check out our next blog on places to visit near Mexico City – either as a day trip or for a few days!

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