Once the beating heart of the Aztec civilization, Mexico City is a colourful, chaotic, crowded place that couldn’t be more fun to explore. Each year, millions visit the massive metropolis to enjoy its rich culture and cuisine and take part in its exciting Day of the Dead festivities.
The most populous city in North America, Mexico’s cool capital is always pretty packed, with people visiting year-round. October to December is the most popular period, however, as the days are dry and sunny and many of its main events take place. Temperatures are quite cool though, with it getting chilly at night.
To help you organize your trip, let’s take a look month-by-month at what life in Mexico City is like. You can then decide when to go based on its climate, crowds and cultural events.
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What’s the Weather Like in Mexico City?
As Mexico City is located at a high altitude, surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, some visitors may need a bit of time to acclimatize when they arrive. Due to its setting in a valley, the capital’s air quality can also be poor, particularly during the dry season.
This runs from November to April when it barely sees any rain at all. The days can be rather smoggy though with temperatures ranging between 22 and 27°C (71 to 80°F). While the heat and humidity do rise a bit in May, it remains a very pleasant month to visit.
After this, the heavens open up from June to September with each month seeing around 15 to 20 days with at least some rain. The summer and monsoon season are still warm, though you’ll want to spend more time indoors or with an umbrella in hand.
Best months to visit Mexico City
While autumn and the end of the year are its peak season, March through May is when the weather is best in Mexico City. During these sunny, warm spring months, the long, dry days are perfect for sightseeing and enjoying outdoor activities. Lots of celebrations are also held for Semana Santa – Holy Week – and Cinco de Mayo.
Although colder, October to December is another excellent time to visit as the dry conditions are great for ambling about its historic squares, churches and Aztec archaeological sites. On top of visiting its many museums and parks, you can experience its unforgettable Dia de los Muertos celebrations.
Mexico City in January
After the Christmas and New Year’s Eve festivities are over, January is usually a quiet month tourist-wise in Mexico City. Many shops, restaurants and cafes also shut for a couple of days as people stay at home. Epiphany or Three Kings’ Day on the 6th brings the holiday season to a close when various parades take place. Its Six Flags – one of the largest theme parks in Latin America – does leave up its decorations and lights for a bit longer though.
Averages of 22°C (71°F) are the coldest of the year with it often dipping below freezing at night. While it rarely snows or rains, smog is a common occurrence. Its bright blue skies are great though for walking about the city with barely anyone else around. Aside from visiting its Museo de Antropologia or Palacio Nacional, the country’s football league starts up again if you want to watch a match at the iconic Azteca Stadium.
Mexico City in February
While the days are slightly longer, sunnier and warmer, February is still the low season when accommodation prices and airfares are cheaper. If you layer up, it’s a fantastic time to stroll about top sights such as Teotihuacan and Templo Mayor without the crowds. At the end of it, Jacaranda trees bloom along its avenues, creating a very picturesque scene.
Besides Constitution Day, when parades and celebrations are held throughout the city, there are plenty of fun parties to take part in for carnival. Countless artworks and installations are also exhibited for Zona MACO; a huge Latin American art fair. It’s not a bad idea to take day trips to places like Puebla and Taxco before they get busier around Easter.
Mexico City in March
March sees an uptick in visitors as spring is in the air and all the pretty flowers and trees in its parks are beginning to bud. Loads of festivals also take place as people make the most of the good weather. With temperatures rising to 26°C (79°F), there is a lovely, vibrant feel about the capital.
Other than watching spectacular fireworks displays at its National Pyrotechnic Festival, you can join thousands of revelers at Teotihuacan to celebrate the Spring Equinox. Concerts are also put on by big name acts for the Vive Latino music festival. After all this, Semana Santa – one of the country’s most important holidays – sees processions and ceremonies pop up all around town. While prices are higher, the city is actually quieter as so many Chilangos head off for the Easter break.
Mexico City in April
The first week of April is blissfully calm in Mexico City as many people are still away on their holidays. Make the most of its long, sunny, crowd-free days by ambling about Zocalo and its Metropolitan Cathedral. Later in the month, its historic center also hosts two weeks of dance performances, concerts and exhibitions, showcasing Mexican culture.
While April can get a bit hot, the dry conditions are ideal for admiring all the floral designs in the Botanical Garden at Chapultepec. If you’re after an even more awe-inspiring spectacle, then don’t miss the Passion Play of Iztapalapa. For 6 days, thousands of costumed locals put on a riveting reenactment of the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion in their neighborhood.
Mexico City in May
After both the Easter holidays and Holy Week are over, the crowds subside somewhat as the heat, humidity and rain build up. May is by far the hottest month in Mexico City as average temperatures hit 27°C (80°F). While wandering about gets a bit sticky, its 10 days of rain at least mean there is less smog.
Before the monsoon arrives, it’s worth spending time in its parks or taking trips to its Aztec sites and towns like Puebla and Taxco. The former also hosts huge celebrations, parades and reenactments for Cinco de Mayo. Back in the capital, screenings are held for the Ambulante Film Festival while curated design and culinary tours take you around the trendy Roma and Condesa neighborhoods. You can also watch the culmination of the Liga MX football season in the Azteca Stadium.
Mexico City in June
With the skies opening up above the capital, June is definitely the off-season in Mexico City. While it does rain for 15 days on average – usually intense downpours in the afternoon – this does at least clear up the pollution and humidity. If you visit, you’ll want to spend more time in its museums or at indoor markets.
Prices are lower with there also being fewer crowds at its main tourist attractions. If you go in the morning and take an umbrella, it can be a good time to visit Teotihuacan as the skies are usually sunny and blue before the deluges come down.
Mexico City in July
Although July is even rainier, more people visit as the summer holidays start in Europe and the United States. As a result, airfares are much more expensive around this time. As the school year comes to an end in Mexico halfway through the month, more domestic tourists are also on the move around the country.
As it rains for around 20 days on average – the most of the year – you can easily get soaked while sightseeing. In general though, its torrential downpours last for about an hour in the afternoon, with light rain sometimes continuing afterwards. Aside from visiting Palacio de Bellas Artes or Museo de Antropologia, you can watch epic Lucha Libre fights in the evening. Traditional music and dances are also put on for the Fiesta del Virgin del Carmen; one of the city’s most important religious festivals.
Mexico City in August
August is very similar weatherwise with it raining a lot and temperatures remaining around 24°C (75°F). Despite the almost daily rain making both sightseeing and outdoor activities less pleasant, there are still quite a few tourists around due to the holidays. Showers in the morning are followed by heavier storms in the afternoon with its evenings being quite chilly.
On the plus side, there are around 5 hours of sunshine and 13 of daylight on average each day. Other than exploring all its squares and archaeological sites while there are fewer people around, it’s worth checking out its colourful Frida Kahlo Museum. Flight prices remain high, only dropping in September once the summer holidays are over.
Mexico City in September
With the kids back in school in Mexico, the US and Europe, September is a very quiet month tourist-wise in Mexico City. Its streets and city life are as frenetic and fast-paced as always, however, as Chilangos go about their daily lives. It still rains a lot with the temperature also dropping slightly as autumn sets in.
On Independence Day, parades and concerts take place around the capital with many events centered around Zocalo. Lots of shops and restaurants close as it is a public holiday. Plenty of music shows and competitions are also held for the popular Raices Cubanas Festival. Before the crowds arrive in October, it’s well worth visiting Teotihuacan or towns like Cholula, Taxco and Cuernavaca.
Mexico City in October
With the endless rains finally letting up, October sees a huge jump in visitors. Prices are still affordable, though its historic squares, churches and archaeological sites are all much, much busier. As the days are dry but warm, it’s a lovely time to take peaceful boat trips about all of Xochimilco’s canals. At the weekend, there is a very festive feel as mariachi music blasts out everywhere.
In October, dances, concerts and street parties are held for Dia de la Raza which celebrates the country’s indigenous and European heritage. Mexico’s age-old tradition of folk art is also honored with the Alebrije Parade. While Dia de los Muertos only officially starts the evening of the 31st, some festivities do take place in the weeks leading up to it. As such, you’ll often see people readying their costumes, altars and decorations for the big event.
Mexico City in November
November is also the peak tourist season in Mexico City as the weather is dry, the days are sunny and warm and joyous Day of the Dead celebrations take place everywhere. Elaborate altars are erected and floats are paraded through the streets. People don amazing costumes and face paint, gathering in cemeteries to eat, drink and honor deceased loved ones.
As well as attending the unforgettable festivities, you can watch waterfront performances of The Legend of La Llorona set in the enchanting canals of Xochimilco. November also has the Corona Capital Music Festival going on and the Fiesta de Santa Cecilia when mariachi bands and street parties appear everywhere. While prices are higher and there are tons of crowds, it is one of the best months for experiencing Mexico’s unique culture, traditions and cuisine.
Mexico City in December
Although it is one of the coldest months of the year, averaging just 22°C (71°F), December is still a popular month to visit Mexico City. Expect airfares and accommodation to be more expensive as people head here for the Christmas holidays. Both nativity scenes and magical twinkling lights decorate the center with Zolcalo also hosting a humongous ice skating rink.
With 11 hours of daylight and barely any rain, it’s not a bad time to go sightseeing or enjoy some outdoor activities. Its main sights and museums might be a bit crowded though. Other than taking part in a posada party that celebrates the Christmas story, you can join pilgrims honoring the Virgin Mary at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Fireworks and concerts are then held around the Angel de la Independencia and Zocalo to welcome the New Year.