What to Wear for Mexico City’s Climate and Culture

Mexico City is blessed with incredible weather year-round. When I first came to Mexico City, I made the mistake of assuming it would be as hot as other parts of the country like Cancun or Puerto Vallarta. But what I (and many first-timers) didn’t realize is Mexico City has a very distinct climate from other popular destinations in the country. For starters, Mexico City is a high-altitude city (7,546 ft high to be exact). And while you won’t see snow or temperatures below freezing very often, it’s important to know what to wear in Mexico City depending on the time of year you visit.

Mexico City’s Weather and Climate

Although there is a subtle difference between the seasons, Mexico City does have a Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, plus two extra seasons – rainy and dry season! Rainy season is generally June through September and dry season is October to May. I’ll go into detail about the seasons below, but in general, what to wear in Mexico City is more or less the same year-round. The afternoons are almost always warm and sunny so you can get away with just a T-shirt and you’ll want to dress in layers and have a jacket handy for chilly mornings and nights no matter the season. Winter in Mexico City calls for more sweaters and jackets than dresses and tank tops, although it’s still worth bringing a couple of warmer weather options for sunny afternoons.

Since Mexico City’s climate is so comfortable and mild most of the year, buildings such as homes, Airbnbs, small hotels, cafes, and restaurants don’t have central heating and air. And while most of the year it’s perfectly comfortable indoors and out, you’re still at the mercy of the weather. If you want to comfortably drink a mezcal at a bar’s outdoor patio or lounge in your Airbnb without being too cold or too hot, you need to know what to expect during different times of the year and how to dress accordingly.

What to Wear in Mexico City in the Spring (March, April, May)

In my experience, Spring in Mexico City is the hottest time of the year (especially May) since it’s still dry season and there’s no rain yet to cool the city off as temperatures start to rise. The temperature ranges from 50°F in the early mornings and at night to close to 90°F on exceptionally hot days in April or May, but otherwise, you can expect daytime temperatures around 70°F. This is always the time of year when I have to bust out my fan to sleep comfortably.

However, the beginning of Spring can still be quite cold so it’s important to bring warmer clothes like a couple of sweaters, a jacket, and long pants in addition to dresses or shorts-sleeves for the warm afternoons. 

What to Wear in Mexico City in the Summer (June, July, August)

Summer is the start of the rainy season, so while temperatures are consistently warmer day and night, the rains keep things from getting too hot. You can expect lows around 55°F and highs of about 80°F and it’s almost guaranteed a heavy afternoon rainshower around 4 or 5 pm. The rain is usually predictable and short-lived so it’s still a very nice time of year to visit Mexico City. 

The most notable aspect of summer for me is the warmer mornings and nights. I can be sitting outside a bar late at night with a light jacket at the most and be very comfortable. Since temperatures are consistently warm, you can leave the sweaters at home and wear dresses, skirts, short-sleeves, and tank tops, but still bring a jacket or pullover for layering when the sun goes down.

What to Wear in Mexico City in the Fall (September, October, November)

Much like spring, the weather at the beginning of fall is quite different then at the end. September, and the first half of October still have hot days and it is still the rainy season, but the high is usally around 75°F and the low can get down to 45°F in November.

For this time of year, just like the spring, I would bring a mix of warm and cold weather clothes with an emphasis on dressing in layers. You’ll likely need a jacket and a sweater or two for cooler nights, but also dresses and sleeveless tops will be ideal during the day. During the fall I usually wear jeans, a tank top or shorts-sleeve, and have a light jacket handy in case I get chilly.

What to Wear in Mexico City in the Winter (December, January, February)

While winter in Mexico City is very mild compared to most places, it does get cold, especially indoors without any heat. Temperatures drop to 40/45°F overnight, but during the day you can count on plenty of sun and highs of about 70/75°F. Expect to see more sunshine and blue skies this time of year than any other because the rainy season is officially over. 

While afternoons you can get away with shorts-sleeves, you will need sweaters and jackets for mornings and nights. Most days I wear jeans and a sweater and I will have a jacket and possibly a scarf on hand if I plan to be out later at night when it really starts to get cold out. For your comfort, you should bring warm pajamas or lounge clothes for your accommodation as apartments and small B&Bs can get pretty cold since they usually don’t have heat. 

Dressing for Safety

When I’m out walking around Mexico City, I feel extremely safe and you should too, but there are some precautions to take when it comes to what you have on your person when in public. You won’t see many people walking around with flashy expensive jewelry like large diamond rings or thick gold chains. I’m not saying don’t wear jewelry, but do so at your own risk or at least keep it discreet. I wear a dainty gold chain and a simple gold ring daily because I don’t feel like that calls too much attention. However, if you can’t bear to lose something, best to leave it at home.

If you want to walk around with a large DSLR or mirrorless camera that shouldn’t be a problem, but just be vigilant with your surroundings. The same goes for your phone, wallet, and any other valuables. Don’t keep them in your back pocket. I wear a crossbody bag and keep all my valuables within my sight. Anything beyond pickpocketing is pretty unheard of in the tourist parts of Mexico City. It’s always good to be cautious but other than that, relax, explore, and have fun!

Should I Dress Conservatively?

In short, no, you do not need to dress conservatively in Mexico City. However, do locals dress conservatively? Generally, yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to. Mexico City is a multicultural capital city. Chilangos (people from Mexico City) don’t hesitate to show off piercings, tattoos, unique hairstyles, or some skin. With that being said, Mexico is still a predominantly catholic country and that is often reflected in the way people dress. You won’t see women wearing shorts or super short skirts or dresses, and I would recommend you to do the same if you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb. However, when it comes to tops, women often show bare shoulders and even some cleavage. 

Err on the side of caution and cover-up if you plan to take public transport or be in crowded places like the Historic Center. Although it’s rare, verbal and physical harassment happens in Mexico City, just like in any other metropolitan city. Generally, in Mexico City, you have nothing to worry about and can wear whatever is most comfortable for you.

what to wear in mexico city in the fall

What to Pack for Mexico City

The general formula for what to Wear in Mexico City is a pullover or fleece for mornings and nights and short-sleeves during the middle of the day – the key is to dress in layers. You’ll pretty much need the same clothes for Mexico City year-round, but depending on the season, you’ll either bring more warm-weather or cool-weather clothes. Below are clothing items I would pack no matter the time of year. Then, I would just pack more of what is seasonally appropriate for the month that you’re visiting. 

Jacket

For summer, and the warmer months of spring and fall, a light jacket like a fleece or sweatshirt is all you’ll need. During the winter, or the cooler months of spring and fall, you might want to bring a slightly warmer jacket (especially if you’re cold-natured). Nothing super heavy, but something like a quilted jacket, lightweight down jacket, or vest if you’re out exploring early morning or later at night. 

Short-Sleeves/ Tank Tops

Mexico City midday is almost always short-sleeve weather. During the warmer months, I exclusively wear short sleeves and tank tops. For winter, you should bring a couple of T-shirts in addition to your long sleeves and sweaters.

Long Sleeves/Sweaters

Ideal for nighttime or colder months, long-sleeves and sweaters will keep you cozy once the sun goes down. This is what I wear most of the time during winter. They aren’t necessary for summer, but I would consider bringing a few for spring and fall.

Jeans/Long Pants

I wear jeans 95% of the time, but that’s just my preference since they’re the most comfortable and discreet for being out and about and biking in. It’s never too hot in Mexico City for jeans which is why I can comfortably wear them year-round.

Dresses/Skirts

Dresses and skirts are great options for Mexico City as long as they aren’t too short or revealing. Women in Mexico are more conservative when it comes to showing their legs so I wouldn’t recommend anything more than a couple of inches above the knee. 

Walking Shoes

Mexico City is an extremely walkable city (it’s one of the main reasons I moved here!) so bring shoes you can comfortably walk 15-20,000 steps a day in. I would opt for a closed-toe option just because some streets can be dirty and you also don’t want to maneuver tight markets and have your exposed feet stepped on. 

Sunglasses/Hat

If I haven’t emphasized it enough yet, Mexico City is bright and sunny year-round so be sure to bring sun protection. The city has quite a bit of shade from the buildings and trees, especially in the Roma, Condesa, and Narvarte neighborhoods, but Centro Historico is more exposed to sunshine so be prepared if you plan on walking around there midday. 

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