How To Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico City

Mexico City is a bustling metropolis filled with history, culture, and vibrant traditions. And comes alive during the first days of November as it prepares to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. This captivating and deeply rooted Mexican holiday is a unique and exciting experience that allows you to connect with the country’s rich heritage and celebrate life and death at its fullest. Here is our guide on what is dia de los Muertos, its importance, where to go and how to make the most of it.

Prepare yourself for a journey into a world of vibrant colors, exciting traditions, and an electrifying atmosphere unlike any other. Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is a celebration that invites you to Mexico City, where life and death dance together in a kaleidoscope of hues and emotions. This captivating and deeply rooted Mexican holiday is an explosion of culture, a celebration of life, and a joyful remembrance of loved ones who have passed away.

Get ready to be swept away by the colorful and exciting world of Dia de los Muertos in Mexico City!

Start planning this amazing experience and let us be your local Mexico City guide even before you arrive. Two Travel can help build your journey – from accommodation to day trips to restaurant reservations and more.

Understanding Dia de Los Muertos, When and What to do

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican tradition that honors and celebrates loved ones who have passed away. Far from being a sad occasion, it’s a lively and colorful festival that reflects Mexico’s unique blend of indigenous and Catholic traditions. The celebration spans from October 31st to November 2nd and is marked by various customs and rituals.

Ofrendas (Altars)
Families create ofrendas, elaborate altars adorned with photographs, favorite foods, and mementos of their departed loved ones. These altars serve as a way to welcome and honor the spirits of the deceased back into the world of the living.

Calaveras (Sugar Skulls)
Sugar skulls, intricately decorated with vibrant colors and elaborated designs, are a hallmark of Dia de los Muertos. These are often given as gifts or placed on ofrendas.

Bright orange marigold flowers, known as cempasúchil, are believed to guide the souls of the departed to the ofrendas. You’ll see them everywhere during the celebration.

Elaborately dressed skeletons known as Catrinas are a prominent symbol of Dia de los Muertos. You’ll find people dressed as Catrinas in all the parades and festivals.

Traditional Foods
Traditional Mexican dishes, such as tamales, pan de muerto (bread of the dead), and mole, are prepared and shared among families during this time.

The Importance of Dia de Los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos holds immense cultural and spiritual significance for Mexicans. It’s a time when families come together to remember and celebrate their ancestors, reinforcing that death is not an end but a continuation of life. This celebration showcases Mexico’s rich indigenous heritage, blending it seamlessly with Catholicism, creating a unique and profound experience for both locals and visitors.

If you need help planning your trip to Mexico, get in touch. We’ll help you create a whole Mexico experience – helping you find accommodation, organizing transport and tours, and getting you that sought-after reservation.

Best Things to Do in Dia de Los Muertos

Parades and festivals are some of the most exhilarating and visually stunning aspects of Dia de los Muertos. These events provide a unique opportunity to witness the lively and colorful traditions associated with the holiday. Here are some of the most prominent parades and festivals, along with tips on when and how to enjoy them:

Desfile de Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead Parade)
The main parade typically takes place on November 2nd, the culmination of the Dia de los Muertos celebrations. Arrive early to secure a good viewing spot along the parade route, which usually runs at Avenida Reforma. The parade features elaborate floats, giant Catrina puppets, marching bands, and people dressed in stunning Catrina costumes. Join in the festivities by wearing your own Day of the Dead-themed attire or face paint.

Mega Ofrenda at Zócalo
The Mega Ofrenda, a massive altar dedicated to the deceased, is on display in the Zócalo, the main square of Mexico City, throughout the Dia de los Muertos celebration.

Visit the Zócalo during your stay to witness this breathtaking ofrenda, which often has a unique theme each year. It’s a free and accessible attraction that allows you to appreciate the artistic and cultural aspects of Dia de los Muertos.

Festivals and Other Traditions in Dia de Muertos

Festival de las Almas (Festival of Souls)
This multi-day festival typically takes place in late October and early November.

Check the festival schedule for events like live music, dance performances, art exhibitions, and workshops held at various venues across the city. It’s an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the artistic and cultural aspects of Dia de los Muertos.

Coyoacán’s Dia de los Muertos Festival
Coyoacán, a historic neighborhood in Mexico City, is renowned for its Dia de los Muertos celebrations. Stroll through its streets adorned with ofrendas, join in the festivities, and enjoy delicious traditional foods and drinks from street vendors.

Xochimilco’s Day of the Dead Traditions
Xochimilco, famous for its picturesque canals and colorful boats, celebrates Dia de los Muertos in a unique way. Take a traditional trajinera (boat) ride adorned with marigold flowers and candles while enjoying live music and food. The atmosphere here is both festive and reflective, making it a memorable experience.

When attending these parades and festivals, be sure to arrive early, wear comfortable clothing, and bring cash for food, beverages, and souvenirs. These events are not just spectacles but opportunities to connect with the cultural richness and vibrant spirit of Dia de los Muertos in Mexico City.

If you are looking for the best neighborhoods and places to stay read our guide to Where to Stay in Mexico City

Other things to do and where to go to make the most of your Dia de Muertos experience

Explore Cemeteries
Visit the cemeteries, especially the renowned Mixquic Cemetery, which is beautifully decorated with candles and marigolds. You can witness families paying their respects and participating in nighttime vigils.

Artisan Markets
Explore the artisan markets, such as Mercado de Jamaica, where you can buy traditional Dia de los Muertos crafts, including sugar skulls and papel picado (decorative paper).

Museums and Galleries
Many museums and galleries host Dia de los Muertos exhibitions, providing insight into the history and artistry of the holiday.

Taste Traditional Foods
Savor authentic Mexican dishes at local restaurants and street food vendors. Try pan de muerto, hot chocolate, and other festive treats.

And now that you finally booked your trip to Mexico City you won’t want to miss all the other things this amazing city has to offer so take a look at our Mexico City Experiences or contact us for a fully planned itinerary, we’re here to help you have the best vacation.

Where to Stay in Mexico City

Mexico City

Mexico City’s size and diversity make it an endlessly exciting destination to explore. And while your trip schedule will probably include stops at most of its fascinating neighborhoods, choosing one to be your home away from home may not be that easy. Luxury rentals are available across the city’s most appealing and welcoming areas, with three to five-bedroom apartments ranging between $200 USD to $750 a night. 

And aside from price, it’s always important to consider factors such as walkability, dining options, and energy levels –while some travelers may love the bustle and hustle of Centro Histórico, others may prefer the charming, almost rural vibes of Coyoacán.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a list of six of the most beautiful and exciting neighborhoods in the Mexican capital to help you decide.


Polanco Neighborhood in Mexico City

Many say Polanco is the prettiest neighborhood in the city, and it’s easy to see why. Luxury condos stand alongside classic buildings, several parks allow for leisurely walks, and excellent dining options are found all across the area. In fact, some of the best restaurants in the entire country are in Polanco, such as the renowned Pujol and Quintonil. You will also find plenty of eateries around the lovely Lincoln Park, perfect for people-watching.

When it comes to shopping, there is no shortage of luxury brands here. On Presidente Masaryk avenue, you’ll find designer boutiques like Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Montblanc. The neighborhood is also home to El Palacio de Hierro, a luxury department store, and Antara Fashion Hall, an outdoor shopping mall with fashion boutiques, a movie theater, and plenty of restaurants. 

It’s no wonder that Polanco is the go-to neighborhood for in-the-know travelers. Hotels like W, JW Marriott, and Hyatt Regency stand on its beautiful Campos Elíseos avenue, while luxury rentals offer a local experience.


Condesa Neighborhood in Mexico City

Tree-lined streets, tranquil parks, and plenty of spots to dine and wine are part of the deal when you book a stay in this beautiful Mexico City neighborhood. Back in the early 20th century, the area was a horse race track, which is why its official name is Hipódromo Condesa, and you’ll notice that one of its main avenues, Amsterdam, is a loop. 

Condesa offers lovely apartments for couples and groups who are looking for that balance between being in the middle of the action and enjoying a more residential feel. A day in Condesa can be spent walking around and getting lost among its coffee shops (Quentin is a great choice for specialty coffee), restaurants (treat yourself to an Israeli feast at Merkavá or a Mediterranean lunch at Lardo), and design shops (find Latin American design at Cardón). For drinks, there are two new options to discover: Bijou, a sleek speakeasy, or Skybar, the rooftop bar at the Mondrian hotel.

Roma Norte & Roma Sur

Roma Norte and Roma Sur

With a high concentration of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, Roma Norte is a coveted destination for those who want to feel Mexico City’s most energetic side. Eating and drinking take center stage here, with iconic fine dining eateries like Máximo Bistrot and Rosetta; as well as casual spots like Mi Compa Chava, a favorite among seafood lovers, or Dooriban, a cozy Korean joint. Cocktail lovers must make a pilgrimage to the legendary Licorería Limantour, the city’s pioneering mixology bar, as well as new, daring concepts such as the women-led Brujas or the intimate 686 Bar.

However, there is more than meets the eye in Roma, and it is possible to experience a more low-key vibe in Roma Sur. Like its sister neighborhood, the Roma Sur area also boasts beautiful mansions from the early 20th century, echoes of the area’s early days. Roma Sur highlights include Bacal, a cozy wine bar serving cocktails and tapas, and the eclectic Mercado Medellín, which sells an impressive array of South American products, a testimony to the neighborhood’s diverse Latin population. This same energy can be found at Comedor de los Milagros, a fun restaurant featuring Latin American specialties.

Centro Histórico

Historical Center in Mexico City

The heart of Mexico City beats in Centro Histórico. Buzzing with activity, the streets of the historic downtown are lined with restaurants, cafés, and specialized shops selling everything from shoes to jewelry to books. Staying in this area means that you can walk among breathtaking historic buildings and easily explore some of the city’s top museums and most iconic sites, such as the Palace of Fine Arts, the Zocalo square, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Templo Mayor Museum. 

In fact, you can find one of the city’s coolest lodging options right behind the Cathedral: Círculo Mexicano, a design hotel by the Mexican group Habita. This converted building boasts modern guest rooms and a lovely rooftop from where to admire the surrounding area. Círculo Mexicano is also home to Caracol de Mar, a delightful seafood spot by the team behind the iconic Contramar in Colonia Roma.

San Ángel

San Angel Neighborhood in Mexico City

With its quaint cobblestone streets, bright bougainvillea flowers, and colonial architecture, parts of San Ángel might make you forget that you’re in one of the busiest cities in the world. And there’s a historic reason for that. This neighborhood was actually a rural area back in the 18th century, where wealthy Mexico City families owned gorgeous country houses for relaxing on the weekend. 

Today, San Ángel boasts excellent museums, like Museo El Carmen, a former convent, and Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, where the iconic painter duo lived and worked. Just across the street stands one of the most beloved restaurants in the city: San Angel Inn, housed in an old hacienda and serving an extensive menu of Mexican and international specialties. Nearby, the charming Plaza San Jacinto becomes a veritable art fair every Saturday, with painters and artists exposing their work. Also on Saturdays, the aptly named Bazar Sábado welcomes Mexican craftspeople and modern designers to showcase their work.


Coyoacan Neighborhood in Mexico City

Located in the city’s southern area, Coyoacán bursts with charm and culture. For centuries, the city’s artistic and bohemian scene has found its soul in Coyoacán, with its coffee shops and mezcal and pulque bars. One of its most famous residents was, of course, Frida Kahlo, whose home became the unmissable Frida Kahlo Museum, also known as Casa Azul. Her husband, Diego Rivera, left a spectacular legacy at the Anahuacalli Museum, another neighborhood jewel.

Stroll around Plaza Centenario to absorb Coyoacán’s magic and stop for delightful street snacks, like esquites (corn kernels with mayo, lime, and chili powder) or churros. Treat yourself to authentic Oaxacan cuisine and mezcal at Corazón de Maguey, or walk to the tiny Café Avellaneda for specialty coffee and original cocktails.

If you’re planning a trip to Mexico City, contact us and we can help you to find the perfect apartment to stay in, especially for groups of 4 or more people. We can also plan your itinerary, setting up day trips, activities and restaurant reservations.