Mexico City is one of the most extraordinary cities in the world, with seven centuries of history, culture, art, architecture and a unique dynamic street energy all its own.
But because it’s so impossibly huge and challenging to navigate, it’s intimidating for many visitors. David Lida —whose book First Stop in the New World is considered by many the definitive text on Mexico City— can take you inside in ways it would be impossible to find on your own.
David Lida knows the capital intimately and offers small group walking tours that will give you exceptional insights and glimpses into this magnificent and historical capital city. His knowledge and personal approach to creating tours for between one and six people offer unique perspectives and value that commonly offered public tours cannot touch.
Delve into Mexico City’s charms on a tour formed around your interests
Mexico City has many attractions to offer, and visitors are often faced with a bewildering choice of options. To get the most of your limited time, it’s helpful to have someone who understands your interests and offers you a tour that’s formed around them.
David’s tours focus on one or two neighborhoods or areas of interest per day, and give you and your party an intimate glimpse into the capital’s history and contemporary character.
David will meet you at your accommodations (or other agreed starting point) and you will travel together using Uber or Didi cabs to arrive at the start of your walking tour. Unless you want to end the tour elsewhere, he will also accompany you back to where you’re staying. Tours typically last between five to six hours.
Mexico City Tours by area
David offers unique insights into several areas of Mexico City. The tours described below can be arranged on their own, or can be combined. If you want something fully-customized, David that can help with that—use the request form below to indicate your choices and share further information about your interests.
Trendy neighborhoods of La Condesa and La Roma
These are Mexico City’s hippest neighborhoods, and have been gentrifying quickly. Sometimes you hear more English (or French) spoken on the streets than Spanish. Yet there are still echoes of the traditional atmosphere if you know where to look. David can help you explore the contrasts between the trendy and the traditional on a tour that reveals how the capital’s neighborhoods move through cycles influenced by time and fashion.
Discover new surprises in the Centro Histórico
David’s walking tour of the capital’s historic downtown will introduce you to the most famous sights in Mexico City’s most energetic neighborhood including the Zócalo, Bellas Artes, and the Plaza Santo Domingo. The tour will also take you to fascinating places often overlooked by most visitors, such as a sexually ambiguous monument to bullfighters, a stained-glass ceiling you’d swear was Parisian, and the biggest bag of cheese doodles you will ever see in your life.
Quaint colonial enclaves of Coyoacán and San Angel
Once an enchanting village on the outskirts of the capital, today San Ángel is one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in the city, known for its colonial architecture, outdoor art markets, and dining within the walls of 17th-century mansions converted into fine restaurants.
Nearby Coyoacán is the de facto bohemian quarter of the capital, underpinned by Frida & Diego’s former home and Trotsky’s residence in exile. These colonial enclaves offer visitors a distinctive shift away from the capital’s sprawl and a glimpse back to an era of quiet cobblestoned streets, unspoiled colonial architecture, vibrant traditional markets (and an ample selection of places to enjoy a delicious meal).
Mexico City markets and street food
Since ancient times, Mexico City has been a hotbed of trade and commerce and this is reflected in its diverse and atmospheric markets which continue to thrive and surprise. The profusion of stalls selling food along the streetscape are among the most alluring and varied you’ll find anywhere.
When Anthony Bourdain visited Mexico City, his team hired David to find the best street food stalls, holes-in-the-wall, and cantinas for his television show (and even put him on camera). David will introduce you to the glorious and lively markets, and the most reliable and delicious street food in the capital.
Discover the floating gardens of Xochimilco
About 500 years ago, most of the Valley of Mexico City was a vast system of lakes, canals, and islands. This bygone era can still be experienced in Xochimilco. David will take you to this southern enclave of the capital to spend an afternoon floating along these ancient canals in a barge, amidst a tranquil and pastoral setting that will make you wonder if you’re still within the limits of one of the world’s largest cities.
Tribute tour to Luis Barragán
Considered to be Mexico’s most important architect of the 20th century, and the country’s only Pritzker prizewinner, Luis Barragán’s spaces dramatically utilize light, shadow, and color to evoke an uncanny tranquility. This tour can include a visit to his former residence, a chapel he designed for Capuchin nuns, and various houses he conceived in the capital.
Explore Mexican Muralism in Mexico City
One of Mexico’s most important contributions to twentieth-century art was the muralist movement, led by its three most famous practitioners: Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros (as well as some lesser-known artists). This tour will reveal to you their stories, their rivalries, their contradictions, and their distinct techniques as you tour some of their most important murals, many of which are now timeless and iconic art statements.
Discover the unique personalities of Mexican cantinas
Mexico City’s cantinas have as much personality as London pubs, Paris cafés, or New York bars. At lunchtime most of them serve botanas—delicious food at no extra charge, for those who keep ordering drinks. David will take you on a tour of two, three (or more) hand-picked cantinas, depending on how much you and your party would like to drink around lunchtime.
Mexico City off the beaten path
Mexico City has so much to offer visitors with world-renowned sites, neighborhoods, and historical landmarks. But if you want to discover some lovely neighborhoods where tourists seldom set foot, David will take you to three of them, all hand-picked near the center of the capital, all of which are gentrifying (although slowly and imperfectly).
If you’re unsure of which places to visit first, or last, or together on the same tour day, David offers custom-designed tours that will be crafted around your party size, interests, and available time. The tours ensure you get the most from your visit to the capital without cramming so that you can truly experience and absorb what each place has to offer. You can use the form below to request a custom-designed tour.
Custom-designed tour prices
Every tour is hand-crafted based on your interests, party size, and time available. Tours typically last five to six hours.
- Custom tour prices typically range between US$165 and US$375 per person, based on a party of two to six people touring together.
- Single traveler tours can be arranged by request; however, party size cannot exceed six people in these purposely small, highly customized tours.
- Typical expenses for food, drinks and sundries are about US$30 per person, and will vary depending on the type of food establishment you choose to eat at, and how much you drink.
Your day tour price includes
The tour price includes:
- A personal consultation with David to create a carefully crafted walking tour of the capital, designed and formed around your party’s interests, party size, and available time;
- You will be met personally by David at your accommodations, or some other mutually-agreed meeting point;
- David will take you on the fully escorted and highly customized tour that is designed around your party’s interests and will accompany you back to where you are staying five to six hours later.
Your day tour price excludes
The following things are not included in your tour price
- Local transport and transfers (Uber/Didi)
- Entry fees to sites, museums, archaeology centers, etc.
- Food purchased at street stalls, markets, fondas, restaurants, etc.
- Drinks, including any alcoholic drinks, you may consume on the tour
- Tips for the waiting staff, drivers, and guide.
Complete the tour info request form below and David will contact you to talk about the custom requirements for your party and create a custom quote based on your interests, party size and time available.