While we think it's hard to underrate any destination in Mexico, many travelers regularly overlook some of the coolest destinations found across the country.
Yes, we love Tulum and Cancun and Los Cabos — but Mexico has way more to offer than beaches and all-inclusive resorts. From ancient cities to dazzling untouched beaches and amazing foodie destinations, Mexico is packed with hidden gems. Check out the list of underrated destinations before you book your next Mexico vacation, and we guarantee you'll feel like you're in the know.
Editor's Note: Save these Mexican destinations for when it's safe to travel again. Be sure to check the travel rules for visiting Mexico before planning a trip.
1. Mexico City: One of the World’s Great Cultural Capitals
OK, Mexico City isn’t unknown. It’s the largest city in North America, has more museums than any city in the world, and is home to some of the best street food on the planet. It’s also one of the most visited cities in Mexico. However, the majority of American travelers give Mexico City a wide berth and head straight to Mexico’s famous beach destinations. And my oh my — what they are missing.
Where to start? Museums. The space-age Museo Soumaya is just one of the city’s many hubs of culture. You’ll find Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s former house — La Casa Azul (The Blue House, or Museo Frida Kahlo) — in the charming Coyoacan district. There’s also the epic National Museum of Anthropology and the Palacio de Bellas Artes (which hosts live events as well). That’s to say nothing of the famous murals that are found throughout the city — from street art to formal settings like the National Palace and Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, where Rivera, Orozco and others painted.
Food is stellar everywhere in Mexico City — from holes-in-the-wall like Las Buenas Migas, to internationally famous spots like Pujol. Of course, street food is very much where it’s at in CDMX, and you’ll find stands slinging tortas, tacos, tlayudas, tlacoyos, and nearly every type of regional cuisine on seemingly every other block across the city.
If you’re looking to shop, there’s no shortage of that, either. From the indie boutiques of Roma and Condesa to the more high-end offerings in Polanco, the city is flush with places to drop some pesos on only-in-Mexico souvenirs. You’ll also find history here in spades. The entire Centro Historico is one of the largest preserved colonial zones in the Americas, and has block after block of beautiful architecture. It also holds the ruins of Templo Mayor — the main temple of the Mexican people who populated this region before the Spanish invaded.
And while crime is a rising issue across Mexico, and Mexico City isn’t completely immune, the city’s most touristed neighborhoods (Juarez, Condesa, Roma and Polanco) are relatively safe. Keep your wits about you when walking around these areas at night, but bar-hopping and heading to the dozens of nightclubs in them is exactly what the locals are doing — and so should you.
2. Puebla: Incredible Local Cuisine and Amazing Art