We’ve all had those moments – you’re getting to the end of your trip, you’re running out of money, and you’re wondering how you are going to be able to enjoy the city with just the tiny bit of cash left in your pocket. Have no fear, Mexico City has a bevy of free activities for the public (that’s you!) to enjoy everyday. Here are just a few of the thing you can do in CDMX without spending a dime.
On most Sundays, the city shuts down the Paseo de Reforma, the main urban thoroughfare that splits the city, and transforms it into a biking, skating and running paradise. If you are wondering how you can bike Reforma without a bike of your own, just bring your passport to one of the Bicigratis stands along Reforma, and they will loan you a bike for a three-hour stint, no strings attached (you just have to bring back your bike to get your ID back!).
Mexico’s reputation as a megalopolis causes some to think that it’s all cement and smog. The truth is the city is extremely green, and its main park, the Bosque de Chapultepec, is double the size of New York’s Central Park. Plus, there are a million smaller parks spread throughout the city with walking and running paths, basketball and soccer courts, and even exercise machines! How about that, a workout that doesn’t require a gym membership?
Sundays are great day to visit museums in the city, as many are free of charge. The Tamayo Art Museum, the National Art Museum, the National History Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, along with dozens more, are all free on Sundays. Here is a complete list of all the wonderful places you can see absolutely free.
From the photography exhibits that line the Reforma Avenue gates of Chapultepec Park, to the park’s statues and monuments, to the obligatory stop at the Jorge Marin’s golden angel wings outside of the Museum of Anthropology, this is an amazing city for public art. Street muralists are at the height of their fervor in Colonia Roma, Condesa and Juarez. Even the beautifully colored colonial houses can be a source of eye candy if you are paying attention.
While visiting the market might have you aching to buy stuff, if you can control the urge, markets are an amazing place for people-watching, learning about local products, and getting a sense of life in the city. The bonus is that many market vendors also pass out samples of fruits, jams or cheese, especially more tourist-friendly destinations like the San Juan Market Gourmet Market in the Centro Historico.
While you have hundreds of options for spending your coins on a tour in Mexico City, there are also plenty of free options. A good advance purchase is the Opinionated Guide for the Curious Traveler, which lays out dozens of self-guided tours designed with the perspective of a local by Jim Johnson. There are also the Free Tour Mexico folks that offer free group walking tours everyday in Mexico City (it’s a good idea to plan to tip) and the GPS My City site,where you download self-led walking tours onto your device and go it alone.
There are endless opportunities to listen to free music in Mexico City. The Bellas Artes often broadcasts weekend performances on a massive movie screen outside of the museum. In the Bosque de Chapultepec, the Audiorama offers you an opportunity to sit for a spell, relax, and listen to some beautiful classical music. Whether you love them or hate them, the organ grinders are a part of the city’s musical landscape, but if you wander among the streets of the Centro Historico, you will not only see them but also groups of jazz, rock, and blues musicians playing their hearts out for tips. The Plaza de Santo Domingo is often host to singers and players, and the park outside of Ciudadela Park has a danzón on the weekends.