With over 22 million people, Mexico City, including its metropolitan area, is one of the most populated cities in Latin America. That’s a lot of exploring that can potentially be done, although if you’re a wheelchair user, you’re surely wondering how accessibility looks in Mexico City.
We’ll cover how to get around Mexico City with a wheelchair, places to visit, and the restroom conundrum.
General Wheelchair Accessibility in Mexico City
Mexico City is a place of tacos and potholes, mariachi and stairs, and architecture and uneven sidewalks.
In other words, it’s not ideal for wheelchair users.
However, with a healthy dose of determination, flexibility, and a sense of humor, you can make do.
You’re going to have moments that require going into the street to avoid enchilada stands, popping up over curbs that don’t drop down all the way, and having people shove tattoo business cards in your face.
We’re here to give you the facts, but not to deter you from Mexico City. After all, this cultural hub that so many tourists skip can be your playground, and we’re going to show you sixteen ways to do so.
Wheelchair accessible restrooms in Mexico City
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we didn’t come across a single accessible public restroom in Mexico City during our three-week stay, with the exception of Xochimilco. And this is coming from a city where we’ve never seen so many public restroom opportunities in all our travels.
You can literally look down a street and see three or more “WC” signs at once. Impressive and unimpressive all at once.
Therefore, we recommend planning your Mexico City excursions around stopping at your hotel and/or visiting some museums which oftentimes have accessible restrooms.
Wheelchair accessible things to do in Mexico City
Without further ado, below are sixteen activities you can do in Mexico City as a wheelchair user. You’ll need about four or five nights to get through all of them, as some require half to a full day. So, if your Mexico City trip is limited, choose the ones that strike your interest the most.
Mexico City may be big, but reference points revolve around the zócalo.
Zócalo is the Mexican name for “plaza.” Therefore, while in Mexico City, you may hear the word zócalo thrown around for smaller plazas, too. However, you’ll know without a doubt when they’re referring to the zócalo.
Technically, the main zócalo in Mexico City is called the Plaza de la Constitución. However, no one calls it that, so to avoid sounding extra foreign, stick to its Mexican nickname.
Everything about the zócalo is wheelchair friendly. The plaza is wide, flat, cement, and has drop-down curbs at crosswalks.
Of all the plazas you may have seen in your life, the zócalo will give them all a run for their money in size.
Oftentimes, there are free public events held at the zócalo, particularly on weekends. We happened to run into a festival for Corn Day where dozens of corn-themed booths were set up around the plaza with free samples and items for purchase.
Psst! Check out my article, Is Mexico City Safe? if you’re curious about safety during your trip.
2. Metropolitan Cathedral
From our experience, most churches in Mexico require stairs or other haphazard, inaccessible avenues to enter. However, the Metropolitan Cathedral is a wonderful exception.
Enjoying a spot at one end of the zócalo, the Metropolitan Cathedral, a catholic place of worship, steals the architecture show in the zócalo.
The cathedral gives any European church a run for its money in terms of accessibility- brightly colored yellow, metal ramps are permanently installed at both of the main doors.
The two accessible entries are located in the front of the cathedral, facing the zócalo. Just don’t confuse it with a door to the far right, which is for an inaccessible chapel.
However, it would be remiss of us if we didn’t note a caveat here. The gate leading to the leftmost cathedral door requires going down an approximately 4” ledge. The gate leading to the rightmost cathedral door is better, but not perfect.
In this case, there’s a downward gap you’d have to wheel over. However, the door on the right is by far the preferred entrance for wheelchair users.
Therefore, when standing at the zócalo and facing the cathedral, enter through the right, front door.
Once inside the cathedral, you’ll have full access to explore as you please. Just as wonderful, the Metropolitan Cathedral is free to enter.
3. Mirador Torre Latinoamericana
The Mirador Torre Latinoamericana (translated to Latin American lookout tower in English), is a must during your time in Mexico City.
This building was once the highest tower in Mexico. It was a structure the world marveled at during its time, due to it being built to withstand Mexico City’s active seismic zone.
A flat entry will take you to a ticket counter towards the back of the first floor. Here, you can purchase your tickets. There are two museums that you can purchase tickets to- the La Ciudad y La Torre a Través de los Siglos ticket, which you want since this will get you up to the Mirador, and the Museum Bicentenario, which is smaller, and all information is in Spanish only.
Travel Tip: If you want to skip the entrance fee, let the elevator attendant know that you’ll be dining in the restaurant (41st floor) or Skybar (40th floor). These are on public floors and offer stunning views of Mexico City.
An elevator will take you to the 37th floor first. Here, there’s a small cafeteria and souvenir stand. This is also where you’ll get your first views of the city.
Spoiler alert: We found the 37th floor to offer the best views since it’s lower, offering more intricate details of the architecture and life below.
From the 37th floor, you’ll be able to board and de-board the elevator for floors 38 (the museum) through 42 (an indoor viewing area). An employee remains inside the elevator, controlling the ride.
The elevator ends after the 42nd floor, so the 43rd indoor viewing platform and the 44th outdoor viewing platform are not wheelchair accessible.
However, you’re going to be able to get very good views from the lower floors. We wouldn’t be surprised if Torre Latinoamerica becomes one of your favorite places in Mexico City!
Just in case it isn’t obvious, make sure to go on a clear day, eh?
4. Parque España & Parque México
The zócalo may be the heart of Mexico City, but there are so many other incredible plazas and parks to explore. Namely, Parque España and Parque México.
Straddling the trendy neighborhoods of Roma and La Condesa, stepping into these parks may make you feel that you’re in a jungle in southern Central America. Dense foliage, towering palms, and birds chirping will surround you.
Both parks have wheelchair accessible entries by means of drop-down curbs at the main entrance points. Other less popular entrances can be hit or miss depending on whether or not there will be drop-down curbs.
Both Parque España and Parque México have cement sidewalks. The sidewalks aren’t perfectly maintained, with bumps along the way, most likely the result of tree roots. However, they’re manageable with a chair.
At some points along the sidewalks, there are dirt paths that veer off into side paths. If it’s dry, they’ll be easy to explore with a wheelchair. However, you’ll want to steer clear of them if it’s been raining as they get muddy.
While you’re exploring Parque España and Parque México, make sure to stop at one of the many restaurants and cafes in the area.
5. Templo Mayor Museum
Located behind the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Templo Mayor Museum is a must-visit, even if you don’t plan on paying the entrance fee to enter.
In front of the museum, you’ll come across an expansive area of open ruins. This was formerly the city of Tenochtitlan.
They’ve done an excellent job displaying the ruins for both the public and paying museum-goers to see, with a glass wall and paths around the circumference of the ruins.
If you’d like to enter the museum, you can do so via a small gate to the right, when standing to the side of the Metropolitan Cathedral. From here, a ramp will take you around the upper area of the ruins.
Only the upper level of the ruins is accessible. However, once inside the museum, there’s an elevator to take you to the various indoor floors.
6. Wander along Paseo de la Reforma
Paseo de la Reforma is a huge street that passes through modern skyscrapers, hotels, and restaurants.
Wide sidewalks and a flat surface make Paseo de la Reforma a great wheelchair accessible activity in Mexico City.
While strolling along the sidewalk, you’ll come across outdoor vendors, countless cafes and restaurants, and the Angel of Independence, locally referred to as “El Ángel” in Spanish.
A site for both ceremonies and protests, El Ángel is an iconic landmark in Mexico City.
Getting up to El Ángel itself isn’t accessible, as there’s only access via stairs. Therefore, skip trying to zig-zag through traffic to get there and enjoy the views of the statue from the sidewalk.
7. El Moro
You haven’t eaten churros until you’ve tasted the ones at El Moro.
Located in downtown, Roma Norte, and a few other spots throughout the city, you’ll want to allow time in your schedule to visit El Moro a few times over.
We went to the El Moro in both downtown Mexico City and Roma Norte, so we’ll comment on the wheelchair accessibility in these two places.
The entrance to El Moro in Roma Norte is completely flat from both sides of the restaurant since it has two open walls to the sidewalk.
For the El Moro that’s located in downtown, there’s a (rather narrow) ramp leading to the inside. However, the sidewalk around downtown El Moro is usually packed to the brim making it a less appealing option for accessibility compared to Roma Norte.
Nonetheless, the downtown El Moro is near the Torre Latinoamericana, so it’s a nice option logistically if you don’t plan on visiting Roma Norte.
Regardless of which El Moro you visit, make sure to try the churro ice cream sandwich (called consuelo in Spanish). It’s to die for!
8. Calle Francisco I. Madero Street
Calle Francisco I. Madero Street, locally referred to as Madero Street, is one of the most wheelchair accessible parts of Mexico City. This wide, flat pedestrian boulevard connects Palacio de Bellas Artes to the zócalo.
As you stroll along Madero, you’ll pass by lots of performers, people trying to sell you eyeglasses, tattoos, meals, etc. It’s exciting and has the feel of being touristy without many foreign tourists. After all, hoards of foreign tourists aren’t a thing in Mexico City.
While you’re roaming Madero Street, make sure to stop at one of the three Santa Clara ice cream shops. You read that right- a single street has three of the same shop.
It’s that popular and that good. Then again, our heart is still torn between Santa Clara and El Moro’s churro ice cream sandwiches…
9. Lucha Libre
Can you really say that you’ve been to Mexico City if you haven’t attended a Lucha Libre?
Lucha Libre, a theatrical kind of wrestling, is iconic of Mexico and a sport that Mexicans are passionate about.
Make sure to arrive early so that you have plenty of time to enjoy the pre-parties in the streets around the Arena México, lovingly called the “Cathedral of Lucha Libre.”
If you want to fit in, buy one of the colorful masks sold for just over $1 USD. Just make sure not to miss the match before it starts- it’s easy to get caught up with all the fun options available.
Once you’re at the main entrance of the Arena México, keep right. Here, you’ll see a ramp and door designated for wheelchair users.
There are a lot of employees working at the entrance. They’ll make sure you get to the accessible seating area. Tipping is common in Mexico City, so we recommend having some pesos on hand.
As you would expect from similar venues, vendors will come around selling beer and snacks during the match.
We recommend purchasing your tickets in advance. Between crowds and already narrow ticket booth stands, it’ll make your life infinitely easier. You can check availability and purchase your tickets here.
10. Palacio de Bellas Artes
Mexico City has a number of stunning buildings. But to us, nothing compares to the colors and architecture of Palacio de Bellas Artes.
Getting into Palacio de Bellas Artes feels a bit odd, as stairs leading through the main door mean that the accessible entrance is via a delivery area. From there, an elevator will take you to the various floors.
Aside from performances at the theater, one of the biggest attractions of Palacio de Bellas Artes are the murals. Works of art from various well-known artists, including Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, are featured.
11. Frida Kahlo Museum
Even if art isn’t your thing, visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum is one of the top activities for anyone to do in Mexico City. The museum is located in the district of Coyoacán, south of the historical center.
This was formerly Frida’s home, so adjustments have been made to make the museum wheelchair accessible. Upon entering, you’ll need to pass over about a 2″ ledge. From there, the entire ground floor is accessible with a wheelchair lift to take you to an area displaying Frida’s wardrobe.
There’s also a long, cement ramp leading to the second floor. This area will take you through former rooms of Frida’s house, which showcase her paintings, portraits, and artifacts that she and her husband Diego Rivera collected.
There’s a bit of a caveat here for wheelchair users. Whereas able-bodied people can detour to the third floor and return to the second floor to exit through a set of stairs, wheelchair users need to head back the way they came to go down the ramp.
The Frida Kahlo Museum is almost always crowded. In fact, if you don’t purchase your ticket in advance, you’ll get stuck waiting in line since entrances are timed. The wait is known to be two or more hours long!
Travel Tip: Purchase your Frida Kahlo Museum tickets online in advance to skip the line. You can do so here.
One of the best parts about visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum is that it also gives you the opportunity to explore Coyoacán.
This quaint district will make you feel like you stepped into a small town, instead of a part of bustling Mexico City.
Absolute must-dos in Coyoacán include visiting the Plaza Hidalgo and the Coyoacán Market.
A fun excursion during your Coyoacán explorations is also visiting the Vivero Coyoacán, a huge, wooded park with squirrels that will practically crawl onto your lap if you let them. Feeding the squirrels isn’t allowed, although you’ll see plenty of people doing so.
We were blown away by accessibility in Coyoacán. Not only did all the curbs we come across fully drop down, but they were usually labeled with both a sign and a wheelchair symbol engraved into the sidewalk.
Xochimilco, lovingly called “little Venice” by locals, is an experience like none other. The canals in this region of southern Mexico City were built by the Aztecs and are now used primarily for tourism, although there are still a number of people that use the canals to get to their homes.
The brightly colored boats are accessible via a ramp leading down to the port, followed by some assistance since the boat entrance isn’t flush with the port.
Once on the boat, you’ll get to enjoy mariachi bands and a type of floating market with boats rowing up to yours to sell you everything from grilled corn to toys.
Because we fell in love with Xochimilco, and there’s so much more that needs to be covered than in a listicle post like this, we’ve put together a post on Xochimilco for Wheelchair Users: A Complete Guide.
14. Plaza Garibaldi
We’ve mentioned mariachi a few times here, but nothing beats a Mexican experience like watching dozens of mariachi bands perform live.
Where can you be guaranteed to see this?
Plaza Garibaldi is located in downtown Mexico City. This large plaza is surrounded by restaurants. Choose from any of these restaurants which offer traditional Mexican food but are typically prepared as best as possible for tourists’ stomachs. Most of the restaurants offer accessible first-floor seating, with some restaurants even offering an elevator to the second floor.
Then, wait to be approached by a number of (very insistent) mariachi bands. For a small price, they’ll perform a mariachi song for you at your table. However, if you’re unsure about how to negotiate with them, and/or don’t like the direct attention, rest assured you’ll be able to hear plenty of mariachi songs from nearby tables.
It’s best to visit Plaza Garibaldi in the evenings or weekend afternoons since part of the fun is being surrounded by others enjoying (and paying for!) the mariachi bands.
If you’re short on time and/or would like to avoid the high cost of paying for a private wheelchair accessible van in Mexico City, consider taking the Turibus.
Turibus offers a hop on hop off service that’ll take you to the most popular attractions in Mexico City. The first floor of all the buses offers a wheelchair designated area.
The drivers are trained to stop in wheelchair accessible areas, making it easy to get on and off the bus as you wish. However, because Mexico City is so big and there are so many places to cover, you’ll want to choose where you get off wisely so that you have time to pass by everything.
Although not technically in Mexico City, Teotihuacan is a popular day trip that you should make time for. These pyramid ruins will make you feel like you stepped into Egypt!
Learn more about exploring Teotihuacan in our post on accessibility in Teotihuacan.
Calling All Animal Lovers!
If it breaks your heart to see homeless dogs and cats, volunteering or donating to an animal shelter in Mexico City is an excellent way to help.
Mexico City may not be a wheelchair user’s paradise, but there are a lot of accessible things you can do. In fact, Mexico City is so big that we won’t even try to claim that this list covers all of the accessible things to do there.
Have you been to Mexico City? What are your favorite accessible places there? If you’re planning a trip to Mexico City as a wheelchair user and have questions, leave us a comment and we’ll be happy to help.
P.P.S.- Will you be in Mexico for Day of the Dead? If so, check out our post on Day of the Dead in Oaxaca: Your Questions Answered.