The single best thing any traveler to Mexico City can do to get the most of the markets, street food, and nightlife is:
Hire a tour guide. Even if you're a seasoned traveler, even if you think you hate tours, if you plan to spend less than six months in Mexico City — and are struggling to remember those two semesters of high school Spanish from over a decade ago — taking a food tour is the only way to ensure you don't get stuck in a tourist trap. You get to taste some of the city's finest street food, among the best in the world. Along the way you'll be introduced to the finer points of dining culture in DF, receive tips and tricks for navigating the ordering process at street stalls, and taste tacos, tortas, and tostadas that you might otherwise never stumble upon.
We tested four of Mexico City's popular food-focused tour companies. Here are our notes:
Who is it for? Adventurous food lovers looking for a truly one-of-a-kind experience will not be disappointed by this tour, which circles the city's central district and offers at least eight street eats and beverages. Sometimes the guides even go into Tepito, a dense commercial district that plays by its own rules and is home to some of the city's best street food.
How much is it? DF Street Food Essentials is $85 USD per person.
Who is it for? One of the most popular food tour companies in the city, Eat Mexico's Street Food, Merced Market, and Late Night Taco tours are especially worthwhile. The stops on each tour are approachable for the first time traveler to Mexico City, but may not satisfy the more adventurous. The guides are friendly locals ready to offer insights into Mexican culture and politics. Personal tours can be arranged and are highly recommended.
How much is it? Tours start at $85 USD for one person but there's a sliding scale if you're with a group.
Who is it for? The green traveler who just wants to have a good time (maybe with the family), see a few sights, and possibly meet some new people. The bites will be good but they're nothing special.
How much is it? $55 USD per adult, $45 USD per child.
Who is it for? First-time visitors who won't mind it if some of the stops are designed for tourists, not locals.
How much is it? Depending on the tour, per person prices range from $45 USD to $59 USD (adults); $25 USD to $39 USD (children).
Header photo by Helen Rosner