If you find yourself in CDMX having exhausted your Mexico City trip itinerary and you have some extra time coupled with a thirst for adventure, you should most definitely spend the time exploring the surrounding cities, towns, and villages only a few hours away!
Each location has an abundance of art, festivals, interesting local cuisine, and historic architecture to behold. There’s truly something for everyone, and the immense variety will make it challenging to pick only one destination!
This post will cover a handful of my favorite weekend getaways from Mexico City. If you’ve got the chance to extend your CDMX trip, you’ve gotta make time for some of these nearby adventures!
Some of my personal faves? San Miguel De Allende, Santiago De Querétaro, Grutas Tolantongo, and Tepotzotlán!
You ready to get explorin’?
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Table of Contents
MEXICO CITY IN A NUTSHELL
Here’s a quick overview of all the useful info you need to plan an awesome trip!
When To Go: During the dry season, which runs from December to April.
Nearest Airport: Mexico City International Airport (MEX)
How to Get Around:
- Uber: Uber is probably the safest way to get around the city. However, you’ll want to keep your doors locked and your windows rolled up to prevent thieves on motorcycles from rolling by and snatching things from you! (I’ve witnessed this with my own eyes in CDMX — it happened to our Uber driver!)
- Taxi: You should only use authorized taxis or taxi apps, such as Easy Taxi or Cabify.
- Metro – The Mexico City Metro is an affordable way to get around the city. It is one of the largest metro systems in the world and has 12 lines that serve different parts of the city. The metro has women/children-only train cars for safety. Having said that, riding the Metro is not the safest way to travel throughout the city. There have been horror stories about people getting pickpocketed or robbed at knifepoint. Ride with caution!
Must-Do’s: Go to the Frida Kahlo Museum (at her actual house!), explore the colorful district of Coyoacán (one of Mexico City’s oldest districts), take a free walking tour of Centro Historico, take a day trip to Teotihuacan — the City of the Gods!
Before You Go: Make sure you can get into the country.
- Check that you have a valid passport and that it won’t expire within 6 months of your trip!
- Mexico requires travelers to fill out an Official Entry Immigration Form (or Tourist Card) before passing through customs at the airport. The Tourist Card is NO LONGER provided by commercial airlines. You’ll want to fill out the entry immigration form online, which is free to do.
‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You’ in Spanish: “Hello” = “Hola” and “Thank you” = “Gracias”.
Currency: the Mexican peso (MXN) – click for current conversion rates
14 Fun-Filled Weekend Trips From Mexico City
Distance from Mexico City: 30 miles (48 kilometers), 1 hour by car.
A day trip to Teotihuacan from Mexico City is a great way to explore one of Mexico’s most iconic archaeological sites. Plus, it’s one of the easiest to do given that it’s such an iconic landmark in Mexico!
It was once a thriving metropolis that was home to over 100,000 people and is known for its impressive architectural and cultural achievements.
Teotihuacan is located about 30 miles (50 km) northeast of Mexico City, so it is best to start your day trip early to avoid crowds and traffic. You can take a bus, a taxi, or opt for one of the many guided tours to get there.
Once you arrive at Teotihuacan, take some time to explore the site and marvel at the ancient pyramids and temples. The site is home to several iconic landmarks, including the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon, and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent.
To learn more about its fascinating history and culture, visit the on-site museum, which features exhibits on the site’s architecture, art, and daily life.
After exploring the site and learning something new at the museum, take some time to enjoy the local cuisine! Teotihuacan is known for its delicious street food, including casual bites like tacos, tamales, and churros. Be sure to try some of the local specialties and sample some of the delicious fresh fruit and juices too!
🎈 One of the coolest ways to see Teotihuacan is from way up in the sky by hot air balloon. Book your hot air balloon flight over Teotihuacan here before they sell out!
2. Santiago De Querétaro, Querétaro
Distance from Mexico City: 135 miles (217 kilometers), 2 hours 25 minutes by car.
Santiago de Querétaro, or simply Querétaro, is a beautiful colonial city in central Mexico. Founded in 1531, Querétaro has a rich history evident in its well-preserved architecture and museums. The city is also home to delicious food, lively markets, and friendly locals.
Santiago de Querétaro is one of the few historic silver mining towns northwest of Mexico City. The city is also a UNESCO World Heritage site with vibrant colonial architecture, lovely cobblestone alleys, and hundreds of tree-lined plazas. It’s absolutely eye candy!
The historic center, which includes the spectacular 18th-century Baroque home Casa de Ecala and the town’s iconic 16th-century aqueduct, still provides water today. It stands tall as one of the highlights of the town, and a great way to experience it is with a trolley bus tour of the center – the kids will adore the sights, too!
A trip along the cheese and wine trail is one of the most popular weekend activities for couples or friends in Querétaro. These excursions feature cheese-making demonstrations with a lot of opportunities for tasting, of course!
Furthermore, the unique setting allows an excellent opportunity for the whole family to experience the intricacies of farm life.
Where To Stay: Gran Hotel de Querétaro
3. San Miguel De Allende, Mexico
Distance from Mexico City: 168 miles (270 kilometers), 3 hours, 16 minutes by car.
San Miguel de Allende is a lovely historical town in Guanajuato state with a somewhat cosmopolitan vibe. Its mild climate, authentic Mexican cultural feel, and stunning esthetics make it irresistible!
The place has a habit of charming many individuals from the United States, inviting them in with its alluring charms. Consequently, many tourists have migrated to San Miguel and are now calling it home, especially in the last decade.
Start your exploration in Centro Historico (historic downtown) at the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel. The numerous photos of San Miguel sometimes capture the beauty of a distinctive pink-colored Gothic church from the 17th century – one of Mexico’s most beautiful churches.
If you want to acquire Mexican folk art souvenirs, go to the open-air San Miguel de Allende Mercado de Artesanias – the Artisan Market. It’s one of the best places to find souvenirs or exciting things to take home as presents.
After a few hours of seeing the city, you may satisfy your hunger at Chocolates y Churros San Agustin, one of the finest restaurants in San Miguel de Allende. Alternatively, you may snack on a bench in El Jardin, the garden located in the main town square.
If you feel like venturing to a location outside of town, visit the El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden and the two most incredible hot springs in San Miguel de Allende, Spa La Gruta and Escondido Place.
Where To Stay:
- Casa No Name – a magical little luxury hotel
- Hotel Casa Blanca 7 – amazing location, even more amazing breakfast!
4. Cholula, Mexico
Distance from Mexico City: 80 miles (128 kilometers), 1 hour 51 minutes by car.
Cholula, Mexico is a beautiful town located in Central Mexico in the metropolitan area of Puebla, Mexico. The town is best known for its stunning scenery, friendly people, and delicious food.
The town is situated atop a mountain, which provides stunning views of the surrounding area. The buildings in Cholula are also very beautiful, and many of them date back hundreds of years.
When visiting Cholula, be sure to check out its archaeology park, which is host to Mexico’s largest pyramid—Pyramide Tepanapa. This is one of the largest structures in all of Mesoamerica. Climb to the top for a breathtaking view of the city below.
Then, explore one of the many local markets for some delicious Mexican cuisine. Don’t forget to try a traditional Pueblan dish like mole poblano!
If you’ve had enough of Cholula, there’s still a lot to see in the nearby towns/villages of Puebla, Tonantzintla, and Acatepec. Consider booking a few nights at Quinta Luna for your home base as you explore the region more.
Where To Stay: Quinta Luna
5. Tepotzotlán, Mexico
Distance from Mexico City: 25 miles (40 kilometers), 1 hour by car.
Situated in a highland mountain valley and flanked by dramatic and lush mountain cliffs, Tepoztlán is one of Mexico’s unique colonial towns and hidden gems.
Tepoztlán is just 75 km (46 miles) south of Mexico City and 17 km (11 miles) northeast of the popular colonial town of Cuernavaca, making it an easy day trip from CDMX, though I’d definitely recommend staying overnight for one or two nights to fully appreciate all this town offers.
When it comes to Tepotzotlán, Mexico, there is no shortage of reasons to visit this beautiful place. For starters, the town is home to some of the most stunning colonial architecture in all of Mexico.
In addition, the town is also home to a number of important historical sites, including the former home of Emperor Maximilian I.
But that’s not all that Tepotzotlán has to offer. The town is also home to a number of great restaurants and cafes, as well as a vibrant nightlife scene.
Tepotzotlán is home to some of the most vibrant markets in Mexico. Stroll through the stalls and take in the sights and sounds of this lively place. Be sure to bargain for souvenirs! Don’t miss the traditional town market which opens daily just off the main square, as well as the lively Weekend Artisan and Foods Market which sets up every weekend in town.
From there, head to archaeological sites like Piramide del Tepozteco. Explore the ruins of ancient civilizations and learn about the history of this region. Built atop a mountain cliff that overlooks the town and the entire valley below, the temple was built in honor of Tepoztecatl, the Aztec god of harvest, fertility, and Pulque.
This is going to be a bit physical, as there is a trail that leads to the top of the mountain ridge where the temple zone begins. If you can handle the climb, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the town and valley in addition to the temple itself.
If you’re looking for a charming Mexican town to visit that’s off the beaten path, Tepotzotlán should be at the top of your list!
Where To Stay: Mansion Tepotzotlan
6. Cuetzalan, Puebla
Distance from Mexico City: 185 miles (299 kilometers), 4 hours 27 minutes by car.
The breathtaking drive from Mexico City to Cuetzalan is one of the region’s most thrilling journeys and is ideal for a road trip!
Beyond the Zaragoza exit, you’ll find twisting pathways and hairpin twists that add to the sightseeing experience. Once you traverse the interesting pathways and take in the sights, you will be in the state of Puebla.
Cuetzalan, an indigenous town in Puebla, is a bit farther out than your usual weekend getaway location, but tourists interested in Mexico’s indigenous history and culture will find it well worth the extra travel time!
The town is well-known for showcasing its culinary achievements and customs, such as the Feria del Café y del Huipil, which takes place in early October and celebrates both coffee and indigenous blouses.
On the other hand, Cuetzalan stands out not just as a remote town on a map but also for its world-renowned voladores who perform in front of the Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís. They are known as flying dancers because they whirl around a tall pole while being strapped from their ankles. In fact, UNESCO officially designated their dance as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
If you enjoy trying the local cuisine within a city, you can buy numerous specialties at roadside stands, including fruit wines and smoked meats. In particular, xoco atoll is a fermented rice drink with a unique taste, while dulce de tejocote is a type of yellow hawthorn fruit in anise syrup.
Some of the most remarkable monuments that rise over Cuetzalan are the Gothic spire of the Parroquia de San Francisco, the French Gothic Santuario de Guadalupe, and the plaza’s freestanding clock tower. The Santuario de Guadalupe, in particular, has some extremely interesting ornamental rows of los jarritos –clay vases modeled on the Lourdes sanctuary.
7. Tula, Hidalgo
Distance from Mexico City: 53 miles (86km), 1 hour 22 minutes by car.
If you’re looking for a quick day trip as opposed to an overnight stay, Tula is a quick and easy trip from Mexico City. Tula, also called Tollan, was the ancient capital of the Toltecs in Mexico.
Located about an hour and a half drive from Mexico City in the state of Hidalgo, this area is famous for its archeological site, which is home to the ruins of an ancient city. The site was once a major center of trade and commerce but today, it’s a popular tourist destination.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Mexico, then Tula is a great place to visit.
The magnificent ancient complex includes a large pyramid, a palace complex, and a number of other buildings. The city was abandoned in the early 13th century, but it has been extensively excavated and studied since then.
The complex, believed to have been inspired by the Maya civilization in Yucatán, was initially occupied during the early 7th century and later decades by the militaristic Toltecs. They included aspects of the Mayas’ artistic talents.
They gave eagles and jaguars significant symbolic meaning, and findings also indicate human sacrifice activities to satisfy the gods.
A series of finely carved columns and monumental sculptures known as the Atlantes now stand erect on the platform of the temple pyramid, used to support the temple’s roof.
A small on-site museum displays ceramics, jewelry, metalwork and stone figures from ancient civilizations throughout Mexico. Your admission includes entry to the museum as well.
8. San Sebastian Bernal, Querétaro
Distance from Mexico City: 147 miles (236 kilometers), 2 hours 40 minutes by car.
San Sebastian Bernal is a small town located in the Mexican state of Querétaro. If you’re looking for a more off-the-beaten-path weekend getaway, a visit to Bernal is going to fit that bill.
Bernal is a beautiful location to unwind and forget about the rest of the world. The town’s central square is small yet attractive, with good eateries and excellent architecture. The area surrounding Bernal is known for its beautiful scenery and its many hiking trails.
When you’re not out hitting the trails, spend a few hours meandering through town enjoying the traditional Mexican restaurants and shops.
Bernal’s most notable feature, though, is the massive stone monolith that stands right in front of the village. The Pea de Bernal, at 1,421 feet (433 meters), is the world’s third-largest monolith, trailing only Spain’s Gibraltar Rock and Brazil’s Sugarloaf Mountain.
And of course, when there’s a monolith, there are going to be climbers who’ll want to climb it. If that sounds like you, you can go on an excursion to climb the rock. Otherwise, there are many other local activities to enjoy.
Where To Stay: Hotel Quinta Mirador Zacualli
9. Cuernavaca, Morelos
Distance from Mexico City: 54 miles (87 kilometers), 1 hour 20 minutes by car.
Cuernavaca, Morelos also goes by the name of the City of Eternal Spring, thanks to its year-round balmy weather.
If you do make this city a priority, you should definitely make your way to the Palacio de Cortes, an ancient palace dating back to 1526. This two-story stone palace was built over the ruins of a Tlahuica Aztec tribute collection center that the Spanish destroyed during the conquest. Hernán Cortés turned it into his personal residence to demonstrate his rule over the local people.
The previous mansion now houses the Museo Regional Cuauhnáhuac, which has a mural by Diego Rivera on the upstairs balcony.
Then, head to the Templo de Santa Prisca y San Sebastian, an 18th-century church that’s simply stunning. Of course, you can’t visit Cuernavaca without taking a stroll through the Jardin Borda, one of the most beautiful gardens in all of Mexico.
The Museo Robert Brady, which displays the private art collection of American artist and collector Robert Brady, is well worth a visit. Brady resided in Cuernavaca for 24 years but traveled extensively, collecting paintings, sculptures, and fabrics from all around the world. All of them are on exhibit at his former home, among works by well-known Mexican painters.
Xochicalco, which translates to ‘in the home of flowers’ in Nahuatl, is a lovely side trip about 29 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of Cuernavaca. The ruins surrounding the city are well-preserved pyramids, ball courts, an observatory, and the Site Museum.
Trust us, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Cuernavaca!
Where To Stay:
10. Mineral De Chico
Distance from Mexico City: 77 miles (127 kilometers), 2 hours by car.
Mineral De Chico is a small and charming old mining town located in the Mexican state of Hidalgo. The town is home to a number of mines, which produce a variety of minerals including gold, silver, and copper.
Although it is not a particularly popular tourist destination, Mineral De Chico is definitely worth visiting. The town has a number of interesting historical and cultural sites, and the surrounding countryside is absolutely beautiful.
This village is among the newest pueblos mágicos, boasting a lot of allure for those looking to enjoy a weekend away for fresh air. For instance, you can visit Parque Nacional El Chico, a reserve established in 1898.
The views are lovely, the air is crisp, and the mountains offer some of nature’s most spectacular views; plus, they are great if you’re an avid hiker who enjoys making your way up rock formations to beautiful waterfalls.
Many exciting backstreets lead from the main street, revealing the beauty of the surrounding valleys, such as Corona del Rosal. Another great spot is Capilla del Calvario, a maze of walkways that include a rustic 19th-century chapel on Calvario, uphill from the church.
Where To Stay: Hotel Bello Amanecer
11. Grutas De Cacahuamilpa National Park
Distance from Mexico City: 100 miles (160 kilometers), 2 hours, 19 minutes by car.
Grutas De Cacahuamilpa National Park is a must-visit if you’re interested in natural wonders that lie underground.
The Grutas de Cacahuamilpa Caverns are a globally-known phenomenon, taking the title as one of the world’s most extensive cave systems, together with a lesser network known as the Grutas of Carlos Pacheco, which are the main attractions in this magnificent park.
You can expect to see some of the most spectacular underground landscapes anywhere, including long tunnels carved out by underground rivers and a variety of fascinating dripstone formations extending through 16 chambers and reaching heights of 252 feet (77 meters) and widths of 262 feet (80 meters).
Since their discovery in 1835, numerous tunnels deeper than 10 miles (16 kilometers) have been made to explore the caves’ depths. As a result, various guided tours are available, including rock climbing and rappelling opportunities.
Visitors to the park can explore the caves, hike through the jungle, or take a dip in one of the many rivers and waterfalls.
Where To Stay:
12. Valle De Bravo
Distance from Mexico City: 86 miles (139 kilometers), 2 hours, 10 minutes by car.
Valle de Bravo is another quaint colonial town about two hours from Mexico City. Proclaimed a Pueblo Magico in 2005, there is indeed a lot of magic here!
The town is known for its cobblestone roads, colorful market, amazing hiking trails, and outdoor activities, as well as its beautiful lake, which is popular for swimming, fishing, and boating.
The surrounding mountains are perfect for hiking and there are many trails to explore. Valle de Bravo is also home to a number of waterfalls, which are popular tourist destinations as well.
For an easy 5.4-mile hike, opt for the Ruta El Plato hike in the Reserva Estatal Monte Alto. For an epic waterfall hike, check out the 4-mile Cascada Secreta de Avandaro hike.
In addition to its natural beauty, Valle de Bravo has a rich history dating back to the Aztec period.
Originally a Matlatzinca settlement, followed by Aztecs, Mexico’s Federal Commission on Electricity transformed it into an electricity hub, which generated electricity and provided a part of the water system that supplies Mexico City by the 20th century.
Although the Valle de Bravo lake is artificial, it displays a genuine, natural beauty that is hard to ignore. As such, Valle de Bravo is popular among many weekend travelers coming from Mexico City, particularly those who desire colorful country cabins, golf courses, hotels, and life on the lake.
The lake is often packed with people enjoying the water and having fun kayaking, water skiing, sailboating, speedboating, and going on catamaran tours.
Within the town, visitors should start at Calle 5 de Mayo, the heart of the town. From there, do not miss the St. Mary’s Chapel, which is noted for its medieval architecture and Spanish style.
The archaeological museum, which has 300 objects from the 3,000 prehistoric sites located solely in the state of Mexico, is also a must-see.
Where To Stay:
- Mesón De Leyendas Breakfast & Downtown – affordable chic option great for couples and families
- Rodavento Boutique Hotel & Spa – perfect for a romantic little getaway in the middle of the forest!
13. Malinalco, Mexico
Distance from Mexico City: 62 miles (101 kilometers), 2 hours by car.
Less than two hours from southern Mexico City, the spiritual town of Malinalco is a great destination for tourists looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the heavily-populated capital.
If you’re itching for a bit of history and that “authentic Mexico” atmosphere, this is a great spot to visit.
The pre-Hispanic town of Malinalco is best known for its Aztec archaeological ruins, which are remarkably well-preserved and offer beautiful views over the valley.
Some residents believe the remains, which were once the location of horrific rites, now have healing energies. In fact, it’s not unusual to find individuals meditating or experimenting with hallucinogenic mushrooms in the region!
The village also has an incredible 16th century monastery called La Parroquia del Divino Salvador, lovely cobblestone lanes, and modest art galleries for souvenirs or browsing.
The charming village, surrounded by magnificent mountains and forests, is ideal for leisure, evoking a profound sensation that nothing has changed for hundreds of years.
After strolling through town, it’s time to sightsee. Undoubtedly, the main attraction in town is the Cuauhtinchan Archeological Ruins, which are very well preserved and definitely worth a visit. For more history, head to Museo de Malinalco offers fascinating insights into the town’s history and culture.
14. Grutas Tolantongo
Distance from Mexico City: 125 miles (200 kilometers), 3 hours 45 minutes by car.
I’m thrilled to spill the beans on a place that’ll leave you utterly mesmerized—Grutas Tolantongo, a hidden paradise in the state of Hidalgo just a stone’s throw away from Mexico City.
Here’s what you can expect in this otherworldly oasis — a series of hot springs (turquoise blue water!) cascading down the side of a steep canyon, creating natural pools that overlook the breathtaking landscape. If the sound of that doesn’t make your jaw drop, I invite you to refer back to the photo!
Oh yeah, and the waters? They’re warm! Even the waterfalls! Spending a day here is like being welcomed into a spa day hosted by Mother Earth herself.
You can choose to soak in the hot springs pools or the much larger hot springs river, explore the Tolantongo caves, zipline, and even go hiking. Needless to say, this is a great excursion from Mexico City for all my adventure travelers!
If you’ve got a car, it makes sense to linger a bit longer and plan out your own weekend adventure.
However, if you’re limited on time, you can book an early-morning Tolantongo day trip from Mexico City to see the caves and hot springs. I recommend sticking to the “early morning” tours in order to beat the crowds — sadly, this place has gotten more Instagram famous as of late.
When you opt for a guided tour, all the logistics of what to see/how to get there will be taken care of for you.
Interested in pairing the Grutas Tolantongo with another destination from this list?
I’d recommend Santiago de Querétaro as it’s just a few hours to the west of Tolantongo. There’s even an overnight tour from Santiago de Querétaro: Grutas de Tolantongo Overnight Tour
We hope this post on the best weekend trips from Mexico City has inspired you to visit somewhere new. If you had a chance to visit any of these towns and villages, let us know how you liked it!
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