North America Chevron
Mexico City Chevron
The 27 Best Things to Do in Mexico City
By Scarlett Lindeman
Mexico City is changing rapidly from the influx of foreigners who have recently discovered the city’s infinite charms. There are dozens of new restaurants, parties, and projects that keep the vibrancy of this capital city (with a population of over 22 million) surging while the storied museums, ancient bars, and cultural sites maintain their standing. An intoxicating mix of ancient and new, you could spend a lifetime here and barely scratch the surface. While there's no way you’ll manage to cover all of the must see and dos in one trip, sticking to one neighborhood a day keeps things manageable. No matter how you end up spending your time in Mexico's capital, one thing is for sure—you’ll be scheduling your second trip before your first is even finished.
Read our complete Mexico City travel guide here .
This gallery has been updated with new information since its original publish date.
All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Colonia Juárez Arrow
The Juarez neighborhood has evolved in recent years. Once gritty, the area is now teeming with great boutiques, bars, parks, and restaurants like Masala y Maiz, which blends Mexican and Indian cuisines, and Niddo, a sunny corner spot that serves a divine brunch. There are loads of hotspots around the leafy central Plaza Washington: La Rifa for artisanal chocolates, Loose Blues for vinyls and vintage denim, and Elly's for natural wines and handmade pastas.
Luis Barragán House and Studio Arrow
The former home and studio of Pritzker-Prize-winning architect Luis Barragán has been transformed into a museum in Mexico City's Hidalgo District. Architecture and design lovers frequent the estate to study the artist's ingenious use of color, light, shadow, form, and texture. From the street, you'd never guess the personality that lies inside: The stark-gray façade humbly blends in with neighboring homes, but walk to the interior of the estate and you'll find striking walls in a kaleidoscope of bright colors, fountains, and pools.
Gran Hotel Ciudad de México Arrow
Even if you're not staying at this hotel on the Zócalo, it's worth stopping just to see the jaw-dropping interior. The building originally opened as a department store in 1899. Since then, its art nouveau bones have been carefully maintained: The curving staircase is a replica of the one at Paris's Le Bon Marché , and the antique elevator, made of iron and concrete, was the first of its kind in Mexico City. But the pièce de résistance is the incredible Tiffany stained-glass ceiling, imported from France in 1908.
El Moro Churerría Arrow
Early evening is churro time in Mexico City—families, couples, and friends all go out for a taste of sweet fried dough and chocolate. You'll often find lines snaking around the block outside this beloved churrería (churro shop). There are shops in Roma, Centro Historico, Condesa, Polanco, and Cuauhtémoc. Most have spiffy interiors with blue and white tile, bright lighting, and long communal tables. Watch the cooks dip, fry, and sugar-coat your long, spindly churro, which is paired with hot chocolate in a flavor of your choosing.
Floating Gardens of Xochimilco Arrow
Drive 40 minutes south of the city and you'll witness the closest approximation to the Valley of Mexico (in which Mexico City lies) before the arrival of the Spanish. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco, the extensive lake and canal system that once connected most of the settlements in the valley, is an incredible vestige of the area's pre-Hispanic past. Start at the Embarcadero Belem dock to board a colorful gondola -like boat, called a trajinera , and explore the waterways and artificial islands or chinampas .
Palacio Nacional Arrow
Diego Rivera's famous mural The History of Mexico, showcases the Aztec era to the conquest to the Revolution to the development of industry. It's grandiose and captivating, a unique opportunity to learn about Mexico's past. Not to mention it's free: The mural is housed in a distinguished building east of the Zócalo that operates as a government office. Among the office workers milling about, you'll see a mix of local, national, and international tourists who come to be awe-stricken by Rivera’s masterpiece.
Templo Mayor Arrow
Templo Mayor (translation: main temple) was the centerpiece of Tenochtitlán, the ancient Aztec capital, constructed in 1325 in the marshes of Lake Texcoco. The temple was mowed over and replaced by a cathedral during the Spanish conquest in 1521. Today, the hulking stone ruins lie at the heart of Centro Histórico, embedded in the blueprint of downtown. Surrounded by streets and buildings, it is hard to imagine the temples in their original Aztecan glory, but the nicely organized museum helps paint the full picture.
Museo Frida Kahlo Arrow
The museum, also known as "Casa Azul" for its shocking cobalt blue exterior, is where Frida Kahlo was born, raised, lived, and died. Visitors can take in a few paintings by Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera, in addition to other contemporary artists of their era. But perhaps more interesting is the voyeuristic window into their creative world. The home is carefully preserved and maintained; it's easy to image the spaces as they were during Kahlo's time. In addition to their personal effects and domestic materials, the collection of clothes and corsets Frida needed to support her body after her traumatic accident give an intimate look at the artist's daily struggles.
Sculpture Garden at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo Arrow
Located on the outskirts of Mexico City proper, at the National Autonomous University of Mexico campus, the Sculpture Park is totally off the tourist track. Featuring a range of grand outdoor sculptures, the park is best explored by foot. The sculpture space, which looks like a giant crater, is one the top things to spot. It's built around lava (which can be seen in the center) and has wonderful views from the ledge.
Mercado Jamaica Arrow
The city’s principal flower market offers visitors a fragrant, colorful walk through much of the region’s native flora and fauna, available to be bundled into a bouquet and taken back to your home. Available for your admiration are roses, lilies, daisies, ferns, and violets galore, among other rare and special species. Visit during Dia de Muertos to see trucks carting in pink and orange cempasuchil , or Mexican marigolds, for family members to buy to decorate their ofrendas at home or their loved ones’ graves. Build a bundle to decorate your hotel room with—or better yet, to dry and frame as a memory for when you return home.
Monumento a la Revolución Arrow
This landmark, located in the heart of Mexico City, commemorates the Mexican Revolution and is the largest triumphal arch in the world. The main structure evolved over twenty-five years of stops and starts and a major redesign. It was finished in 1938, to comprise an eclectic blend of art-deco and Mexican socialist realism styles. A visit to the top observation deck only costs 110 pesos ($5) and there's a museum underground. You don't need much time to witness the glory of the monument. Saunter around, gawk at the creative architectural stylings of the structure, and walk under the arches. History nerds may be more interested in the small museum below, but more than anything it's an architecturally significant piece, and the observation deck has great views. If you keep your eyes peeled while exploring around town, you'll most likely catch a glimpse of the monument down a main street—but a quick glimpse isn't enough, and it's worth the quick 15-minute trip to walk underneath it.
Omusubi House Arrow
In a small storefront in Roma Norte, the husband and wife team, Ichiro Kitazawa and Varia Gonzáles Manuel work side-by-side in the miniscule kitchen, cupping steamed rice into palm-sized balls. They will sink sauteed sweet potato into the omusubi which are speckled like confetti with purple and wild rice, a marriage of Mexican ingredients and Japanese technique. They met while working at a Japanese restaurant years back when Mexico City was still called DF, the federal district. He had arrived ten years earlier by way of Osaka, as a hippy backpacker intent on photographing Latin America but fell into cooking; and she, from Puebla. “Omusubi translates to tying up or to bring together” Kitazawa explains, “which is how we wrap the rice”—and a sound metaphor for the forging of connections between their two countries.
Cárcamo de Dolores Arrow
Second or third-time visitors to Mexico City who think they've seen everything will find something new here. This historic but infrequently-visited site was constructed in 1951 as a hydraulic water system connected to the city's main water lines. And while it no longer acts as a municipal water work but rather a museum and cultural landmark, it underscores the city's complicated relationship with water. In the lesser-traveled section of Chapultepec, it is currently under renovation and closed to the public, though the massive Rivera sculpture of the Azteca water god Tlaloc out front can still be admired.
Eat Like a Local Arrow
Eat Like a Local, a Mexico City–based company, runs culinary tours that immerse visitors in the city's vast food scene. Rocio, the guide, has long been a food blogger , and her knowledge about the Mexico City's food scene is totally on point. She's also passionate about connecting tourists with locals, and impacting Mexico City in a positive, sustainable way. There's a set itinerary, but she's flexible—so go on, order another mezcal or pork carnitas, if you like.
Museo Jumex Arrow
Museo Jumex houses one of Latin America's largest private contemporary art collections, which includes works by Andy Warhol, Martin Kippenberger, Cy Twombly, and Damien Hirst. Mediums range from paintings and drawings to light and video installations. The building is as distinctive as the art: British architect David Chipperfield designed the 15,000 square-foot white-concrete cube with a sawtooth top. (Plus the Soumaya Museum is just across the square, so you can feed two birds with one scone.)
Self-Guided Centro Historico Cantina Crawl Arrow
It's easy to pop around in Centro, hitting up a few cantinas to have a drink or two and to soak up the style of these classic, dive-y spots. The more friends you bring and make, the better. Locals and regulars alike hit the cantinas, which maintain a storied baseline for the drinking culture of Mexico City. Musicians pass through, sorrows are drowned, and gains celebrated. Many cantinas serve food, some better than others, and will often gift snacks and small plates if you consume around three drinks, though each spot has its own rules. Beer and tequila prevail. Simple cocktails, built-in-the-glass rum and cokes, margaritas, sangria, rum, brandy, and mezcal. Some cantinas are known for certain drinks, but craft cocktails this is not.
Lucha Libre at the Arena Coliseo Arrow
A giant venue that hosts sporting and entertainment events, the Arena seats as many as 23,300 spectators. It's best known for hosting Lucha Libre wrestling matches. The stadium is sprawling, and some seats are certainly better than others, depending on how much money you're willing to fork out. If you're here because you're a true Lucha Libre fan, make sure to sit in the front row; if you're here to have a fun night out with friends, the cheap seats will do just fine.
The ancient Mesoamerican pyramids of Teotihuacán, in the Valley of Mexico, once served as the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It is thought that during the first millennium A.D. the city had around 125,000 people, including multi-ethnic groups such as the Otomi, Zapotec, Mixtec, Maya, and Nahua. If you have a few days in Mexico City, it's worth the day trip . (Teotihuacán is about an hour outside the city by car.) Leave early in the morning so you can be back in the city by mid-day—and bring sunscreen!
The Centro Zocalo Historico Bodealores Arrow
The boleadores are dotted around the perimeter of downtown's main square (and almost every other park and plaza in the city) but you'll have a great view of the cathedrals, flagpole, and Palacio Nacional if you get your shoes shined here. Climb up on the elevated perch of the boleador's chair and they will make your boots shine anew. At 50 to 100 pesos ($3 to $6), it's one of the cheapest shoe-shine experiences around. Boleadores are an important part of Mexican street culture and a fixture of pedestrian avenues, a living-breathing mid-century heritage that is not in danger of dying out. But with the proliferation of cheap plastic shoes and mass-market tennis sneakers, "limpiabotes" are a hand-crafted service for giving leather shoes a new life.
Museo Anahuacalli Arrow
Awesome, grand, and out-of-the-way, Anahuacalli is part studio, part museum, and part shrine for Mexican art that Diego Rivera built as an architectural piece uniting past, present, and future to the natural environment. Rivera's personal and expansive collection of pre-Hispanic figurines, carvings, and totems accumulated over a lifetime. The museum itself was constructed around a swath of rocky terrain Rivera and Khalo had purchased for a farm. The main collection features nearly two thousand figurines representing Olmecs, Toltecs, Nahuas, Zapotecs, the people of Teotihuacan, and those of northeastern Mexico as well as Rivera's sketches for murals. There are also temporary exhibits of more modern Mexican artists, with a recent rotation of 30 textural works by Robert Janitz—paintings, large-format sculptures, and an NFT.
Patrick Miller Arrow
From the outside, this dance club looks like dumpy warehouse hidden behind a black gate in Roma Norte. But come on a Friday (the only day it's open), and you'll find a raging party that offers a glimpse of the city's extant disco subculture. An eclectic mix of party-goers show off their moves in dance circles to all kinds of music, from '80s and '90s classics to sub-genres of disco, such as Hi-NRG, Italo, and electro.
Museo Nacional de Antropología Arrow
This massive building in Chapultepec Park is among the city's most famed museums, second only to perhaps the Museo Frida Kahlo . Though the late Mexican architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez designed it in 1964, the mammoth building still looks as avant-garde today as it did then. (How exactly does that giant concrete slab float above a pond?) The museum holds the world's largest collection of ancient Mexican artifacts. Some of the most iconic Mesoamerican artifacts discovered to date can be found across 23 rooms. If you want to understand Mexico's history, then a visit here is a must.
Plaza Garibaldi Arrow
Mexico's roving mariachi bands have been found in this plaza, a few blocks north of the Palacio de Bellas Artes , since the mid-1900s. Though the plaza has deteriorated over the years, it's seen a resurgence thanks to a city-driven effort to clean up the neighborhood by installing new sidewalks and street lamps. It's a cultural meeting point of sorts, where travelers can come day or night (though the best time to go is after 11 p.m.), to watch bands solicit bar patrons, cars, and passersby to buy a song .
Torre Latinoamericana Arrow
This 44-story skyscraper, built in 1965, is the tallest building in Centro Histórico . The tower miraculously withstood both the 8.1-magnitude earthquake of 1985 and the 7.1-magnitude quake of September 2017, making it a rare feat of engineering. The Torre defines Mexico City's skyline (much like the Empire State building in New York) and is a useful tool for orienting oneself in downtown. Head to the top-floor observation deck for jaw-dropping 360-degree views of the city, or to the newly renovated bar/restaurant (one floor below), which has equally impressive views and is almost always empty.
Salón San Luis Arrow
The dance floor at this old-school salon, cloaked in red light, comes alive as locals, tourists, and old timers twirl and shuffle to a live band . Try your hand at salsa, merengue, cumbia, and norteña numbers as waiters in crisp whites with black bow ties circle the room serving liquid courage. There's no shame in bad dancing, so try and learn the steps. (The pros might even show you a thing or two.)
Iglesia San Ignacio de Loyola Arrow
A surprisingly tranquil stop in a high-energy city, this infrequently-visited modernist church is tucked away in plain sight in residential Polanco. Designed by famed architect Juan Sordo, it was completed in 1961 and features a sharp triangular structure covered in handmade yellow ceramic tiles. Show up during visiting hours and you can tour the grounds inside and out. Indoors, the Jesuit temple is encased by multi-colored stained glass windows that catch vibrant fractals on sunny days, with an effect almost like being trapped in a kaleidoscope. It's a place of worship and quiet contemplation, yes, but also a haven for architecture nerds.
La Rifa Chocolateria Arrow
Indigenous to Mexico, cacao has been consumed in the country and played an important role in Mesoamerican societies since 19th BCE; La Rifa continues the tradition with a small roaster on-site. There are a handful of tables sprinkled in the tree-shaded plaza out front, optimal perches for spending an hour or two. Ask to see their production in the back and they will most likely give a tour. The main event is sipping chocolates—water-based and closest to how cacao was consumed, pre-Columbian, before the introduction of the Spanish (and thus cows and milk). The front-of-house folks are happy to explain the finer nuances of their roasting process, flavor-profiles, and history of Mexican chocolate.
This six-seat collection room is a distillate library, a stunning space housed in a centuries-old building in one of Mexico City’s oldest neighborhood. The Porfirio Díaz-era bar and backbar were found in a Puebla antique store and are over 100 years old (once you book here , you'll be notified of the exact location) It'll cost you $75 per-person for a six-spirit sampling, light snacks, and water. Inside, there are only six seats and a knowledgable barkeep/tour guide crafting a rich journey for you and your fellow spirit geeks. While tequila and mezcal are some of Mexico's greatest exports, there are dozens of other plant-based spirits like bacanora, sotol, raicilla, and charanda, distilled in micro-batch quantities in rural communities that never make it into commerical circulation—nor are they intended to. The team behind Ahuehuete has been collecting bottles throughout the years, traveling to rural villages to find interesting batches for their private collection.
The World Is Huge. Don't Miss Any Of It
The 25 Best Places To Visit in Mexico City According To Locals
You'll never run out of places to visit in Mexico City. This vibrant, bustling metropolis contains everything from ancient ruins to sparkling skyscrapers. It's easy to get overwhelmed, which is why we asked some Mexico City locals for their advice.
With their help, we created this guide to the 25 best places to visit in Mexico City.
No one knows a place like the people who live there. Work with a local to build your Mexico City trip.
#1: The Hip Neighborhoods Of Roma & Condesa
Locals tell us that the adjacent Roma and Condesa neighborhoods are a definite must-visit in Mexico City. Here, travelers will find a wealth of bars, restaurants, and charming shops. Even walking around is delightful! Roma and Condesa are full of incredible Art Deco mansions.
Both neighborhoods are well-loved by locals and visitors alike, which means taking advantage of local advice is a good way to avoid the more touristy areas. Our local trip planners in Mexico City suggest exploring Condesa's gloriously green Parque Mexico and checking out the street food at the Chilpancingo metro stop.
#2: The Ancient Pyramids of Teotihuacan
The ancient Mayans built the Teotihuacan pyramids nearly 2,000 years ago—and they're just as stunning today as they were back then. Although this UNESCO site is a bit outside of town, the trip there is definitely worth it.
Locals tell us that the site is more than just pyramids. It's an entire ancient city lost in time. Check out what remains of this amazing civilization, including The Pyramid of the Sun, The Temple of Quetzalcoatl, and the eerily named “Avenue of the Dead.” Climb the pyramids, wander the jungle looking for artifacts, or simply meander the site in wonder.
You can book a tour to see the pyramids with a guide, or your local trip planner can give you detailed instructions on how to get there yourself (so you can explore it at your leisure).
#3: The Floating Gardens of Xochimilco
Mexico City's Xochimilco neighborhood is a gorgeous network of wide canals and ancient, man-made floating islands. Though the Aztecs built these islands to grow crops, today they're used as massive, floating flower gardens.
This stunning site can be enjoyed via trajineras, adorable, colorful riverboats that take visitors through the waters.
#4: El Museo Frida Kahlo
Mexico City is filled with incredible museums (more than 150!) and Museo Frida Kahlo is among the most popular. Located in the quiet Coyoacan neighborhood, visitors can learn about Kahlo’s life and enjoy her art, ensconced in the “blue house” that she called home.
If you're a fan of Frida's art or want to immerse yourself in her world, this is definitely one of the best museums to visit in Mexico City .
#6: El Parnita
Locals tell us that El Parnita is a cute little lunch joint that offers great Mexican fare — from tacos to tortas and beyond.
Tucked into the Roma neighborhood, El Parnita is often called " Mexico City's Favorite Taqueria ". Accordingly, the place gets PACKED.
Our advice: have your trip planner put a meal at El Parnita on your itinerary for when you're already in the neighborhood. That way, if it's too packed, you can keep exploring while the crowds calm down.
#6: El Palacio de Bellas Artes (The Palace of Fine Arts)
El Palacio de Bellas Artes (The Palace of Fine Arts) is more than just a beautiful face—though it does have a gorgeous face.
This fantastic Mexico City landmark can do it all. Locals tell us that visitors can explore the Museum of Architecture on the top floor, attend classical music performances in its fabled concert hall, take in the amazing Diego Rivera murals in the lobby, check out the museum's extensive collection of 19th- ad 20th-century Mexican art, and ogle at the incredible Tiffany glass “curtain” in the theater.
#7: El Zocalo
If you don’t want to miss out on the latest celebration, demonstration, big event, you name it, then locals recommend making a beeline for the Zocalo, Mexico City’s enormous public square (also known as Plaza de la Constitucion).
Even on a “quiet” day, the square is packed with people, dancers, and street musicians. Plus, it’s a great starting point since a lot of Mexico City’s sites encircle the Zocalo.
It can be a little overwhelming — there's so much to see! And do! And eat! —so get some local tips on how to explore this dynamic site.
#8: La Pasteleria Ideal
Voyagers take heed: snacking is an important part of any trip. And locals tell us that Pasteleria Ideal has everything you could possibly want in that department, including a second floor where you can admire their elaborate, tiered wedding cakes.
This pastry shop is known as the best one in Mexico City, so make sure to stop by for some authentic sweets!
#9: Chapultepec Park
Beautiful and green, Chapultepec Park spans nearly 1700 acres. But it offers much, much more than a respite from city life. Locals tell us that every corner of this green oasis is filled with stuff to do, whether that's walking trails, visiting museums, or taking a boat on a lake.
Visitors to Chapultepec will also find an actual *castle* , botanical gardens, and an amusement park. In case you weren’t already impressed.
Local tip: Once a month, locals organize a massive evening picnic in Chapultepec's forests.
#10: The Up-And-Coming Neighborhood Of Juarez
This once-grand neighborhood of Mexico City has seen better days, but Juarez in the midst of a huge bohemian revival.
Today, its Zona Rosa section is considered one of the best places for nightlife in Mexico City, as well as the city’s LGBT capital. Plus, the street food around here is incredible . Locals suggest seeking out quesadillas and pambazos (sandwiches dipped in salsa and then grilled).
Local tip : Juarez is generally safe, but it's good to talk to a local about what areas to avoid at night.
#11: El Murro Churro Shop
Let's talk churros. They're delicious, they're sweet, they're crispy, and in Mexico City, they're dipped in mugs of thick, spiced hot chocolate. If you want authentic Mexican churro goodness, El Murro is the place to go.
This iconic churro shop is one of the city’s favorite spots for a hot, fresh churro and a cup of hot chocolate. Best part? El Murro is open twenty-four hours (so it's perfect for a late-night snack after a few tequilas).
#12: El Centro Historico
Mexico City’s historic center (aka Centro Historico ) is packed with museums, Spanish colonial buildings, and iconic sights like the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Aztec Templo Mayor. It's no wonder why Centro Historico is a UNESCO Heritage site !
With so many amazing things to see—not to mention the amazing Alameda Central Park just next door—it’s easy to spend an afternoon wandering through history here.
#13: Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral)
This enormous cathedral borders the Zocalo, and though building started on it in 1567, it wasn’t completed until more than two hundred years later, in 1788.
The lengthy construction process resulted in an eclectic mix of architectural styles. But it also has a tragic connection to Mexico's pre-Hispanic past: The cathedral is made of stones taken from the destroyed Aztec temple just next door.
Locals say that although visiting the cathedral is not exactly one of Mexico City’s non-touristy things to do , it’s nevertheless well worth a visit.
#13: The Templo Mayor Museum
Speaking of the ancient Aztecs...as the legend goes, they had specific instructions from a higher power to build a city where an eagle stands upon a cactus, with a snake in its mouth.*
They did! But It wasn’t until 1978 that this ancient city (called Tenochtitlan) was rediscovered. Mexico City was literally built on top of it after the Spaniards arrived and destroyed it.
Today, Templo Mayor (roughly translated as the high temple) is a stunning archeological site and museum, which visitors can explore for just 70 pesos, or less than four dollars.
In our opinion, this is among the best things to do in Mexico City . It majestically captures the ancient world of the Aztecs, who, once saw the land as holy ground.
*Sound familiar? Today, this is Mexico’s coat of arms.
#14: Plaza Garibaldi
Locals tell us that Plaza Garibaldi is one of the best places in the city to hear some classic mariachi music!
A short walk north from the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Plaza Garibaldi is surrounded by tons of restaurants, bars, and museums (making for a happening part of town).
However, locals note that (while Mexico City is safe on the whole) this part of town can get dodgy at night.
#15 : El Museo del Tequila y Mezcal
Locals highly recommend a stop in at the Museo del Tequila y el Mezcal . They suggest taking the museum tour (it includes samples!) to give yourself an immersive education on the history and production of tequila and mezcal, two of Mexico's favorite spirits.
The tour ends on the museum’s rooftop, which affords a gorgeous look at Plaza Garibaldi below and a chance to enjoy mariachi music from afar.
Local tip: Although caution should be exercised in Plaza Garibaldi at night, the museum is open late, until 10 PM or midnight depending on the day.
#16: The Charming Coyoacan Neighborhood
Although Coyoacan is a quieter Mexico City neighborhood , that doesn't mean that it lacks exciting activities. Far from it! Definitely check out the stunning Museo Frida Kahlo — one of the area's main draws — but stick around to explore the rest of this gorgeous part of town.
Locals recommend checking out the iconic Vivero Coyoacan (one of Mexico’s national parks) and sampling street food at the Mercado de Coyoacan (a classic Mexico City market—locals say you *must* try the tostadas).
#17: El Museo Soumaya
There are so, so, so many incredible museums in Mexico City. But Museo Soumaya is one of the city's best — and it's free to visit.
Nestled in Mexico City's Polanco neighborhood , Museo Soumaya's bright silver scales and unusual shape make it hard to ignore. But the interior of the museum is just as incredible. It includes 60,000+ pieces of art, including a huge collection of Rodin sculptures, as well as a ton of art by Mexican artists like Diego Rivera .
#18: El Palacio Nacional
The Palacio Nacional, where the president works, is more than a stunning piece of architecture located along the Zocalo.
Free to enter, visitors can explore its museums, beautiful courtyards, and rooms filled with period furniture. Locals say to definitely check out the incredible, sprawling Diego Rivera murals on the second floor.
#19: El Torre Latinoamericana Skyscraper
One of the cool things about Mexico City is that it’s such a combination of old and new. Torre Latinoamericana is an example of this contrast—a skyscraper next to ancient ruins.
Once the tallest building in Latin America, it’s still the tallest building in Centro Historico. Climb to the observation deck for a truly jaw-dropping look at Mexico City from above.
Local tip : If you're looking for great Mexico City views , be sure to check out the Zocalo Central Hotel rooftop restaurant or the Terraza Catedral beer garden.
#20: The Posh Polanco Neighborhood
Wondering where to eat in Mexico City ? You can’t really go wrong with… anywhere. But that being said, locals say that Polanco is a great place to start.
Some of the world’s best restaurants are nestled in this neighborhood. And Polanco is more than just food: visitors will find tons of great markets, shopping, and parks—even a park named for Abraham Lincoln !
#21: El Monumento de la Revolucion
The Monumento de la Revolucíon looks like the Arc de Triomphe—but bigger.
The monument, which commemorates the revolution that liberated Mexico from Spain, is more than what meets the eye. Locals suggest checking out the National Museum of the Revolution , riding a glass elevator to the top to take in sweeping views, or descending to the crypts to pay respects to Mexico’s revolutionary heroes.
Local tip: Adjacent to the San Rafael neighborhood, this is a great spot for a sunset photo.
#22: The Chill Neighborhood Of San Rafael
Like the nearby Juarez neighborhood, San Rafael has seen better days. But it’s in the midst of a grand revival and is perfect for those who want to explore non-touristy areas of Mexico City.
Less crowded than Roma and Condesa, locals tell us there are still tons of great bars, restaurants, and art galleries to check out here. Although it’s a bit off-the-beaten-path, San Rafael is still safe to visit — just exercise normal caution like you would elsewhere in the city.
Local tip: Be sure to pick up some comida corrida (basically Mexican tapas) in San Rafael’s wonderful neighborhood market, Mercado San Cosme.
#24: The Historic Bar La Opera
La Opera , which first opened in the 1870s, embraces an old-time class that's hard to find.
Locals suggest ordering a good tequila, and asking the bartender to point out where Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa once shot a hole in the ceiling. Yeah — it's that kind of place.
#25: El Museo Nacional de Antropologia
Among all of Mexico City’s spectacular museums, the Museo de Antropologia is the shining star. Locals say that visitors could easily spend an entire day exploring Mexico’s largest and most visited museum.
With 22 rooms covering Mexico’s pre-Hispanic past, there’s a ton to take in. Literally— there are millions of archeological pieces to check out. Plus, the museum’s beautiful architecture is a reason in itself to stop by.
Find a local to plan your trip . And for more on Mexico City travel, check out:
- The Ultimate Mexico City Travel Guide 2024
- Flights to Mexico City: Everything You Need to Know
- 2024 Mexico City Travel FAQs
- The Best Time to Visit Mexico City
Looking for more info?
Touropia Travel Experts
Tours & Top Tens
27 Top Attractions & Things to do in Mexico City
Last updated on October 13, 2023 by Carl Austin and Kaeylen McCrea -
With an estimated 20 million people living in the region, Mexico City is one of the world’s largest cities. The origins of this huge city date back to 1325, when the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan was founded.
It was later destroyed in 1521 by Spanish conqueror Hernan Cortes. On its ruins a new city was founded which served as the capital of the Vice-royalty of New Spain and later as the capital of Mexico. The city provides a chance to learn about the Aztecs, one of the world’s great early civilizations, as well as their Spanish conquerors. Many colonial buildings still stand among those of more modern architectural styles.
See also: Where to Stay in Mexico City
One of the most interesting things to do in Mexico City is to see the works of Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera, one of the world’s greatest muralists. Among the top tourist attractions in Mexico City are numerous renowned museums and art galleries with impeccable architectural designs to catch the eye and interest.
You don’t have to go far in Mexico City when you find your appetite rearing. Grab a fresh bite of authentic local cuisine of chapulines, chilaquiles, and tacos al pastor at one of the street vendors dotted around the city to fuel your adventures!
In this post, we'll cover:
27. Museo Mural Diego Rivera
In Downtown Mexico City near the Palacio de Bellas Artes and Museo Franz Mayer, the Museo Mural Diego Rivera is a museum that features exceptional artwork. One such piece is the Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central, which translates to “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Central” by Diego Rivera. This mural specifically imagines colonial-time figures who once walked Mexico City, including Francisco Madero and Benito Juárez.
Diego Rivera is a memorable artist and Mexican painter who actively created artwork for half a century. He established large frescoes that imparted a significant role in the mural movement in Mexico and internationally. This movement aimed to bring art to the masses on public walls to experience the vibrancy, culture, and craft of these masterful works.
26. Angel de la Independencia
More commonly known as El Ángel, the Ángel de la Independencia is the Monumento a la Independencia. The iconic landmark in downtown Mexico City is situated on a roundabout on the high-traffic road of Paseo de la Reforma near the Embassy of the United States of America.
The Ángel de la Independencia is a tribute and symbol of Mexico’s victory in the War of Independence from Spain. A bronze statue of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike, tops the column monument. The structure was constructed by architect Antonio Rivas Mercado, widely known for building the Municipal Palace in Tlalpan.
The architect’s home has been transformed into a museum, the Casa Rivas Mercado in Mexico City, that displays Mercado’s outstanding works.
25. Mercado Roma
An eclectic stop in Mexico City, Mercado Roma is a public market that features gourmet and cultural foods.
In the hipster neighborhood of La Roma, near the Universidad de Londres Plantel San Luis Potosí, the market encapsulates the beauty and flavor of Mexican culinary traditional foods. Throughout Mercado Roma are numerous vendors selling produce and delicacies in a contemporary-oriented space.
The upper levels of the market have an open terraced area to eat and relax in and a bar and restaurants to grab drinks and food at. The market highlights quality food with a traditional market twist. One such space at the market displays a garden wall where restaurants source fresh ingredients for flavorful meals.
Visiting Mercado Roma is an artisanal food experience that welcomes hungry locals and tourists to Mexico City with open arms.
One of Mexico City’s oldest neighborhoods, Coyoacan, is more widely known for being the area where Frida Kahlo lived. The neighborhood is south of the the Zócalo.
Coyoacan is adored for its immaculate and uplifting atmosphere. The colonial architecture and cobblestone streets set an excellent tone for exploring this historic neighborhood.
From the Aztec language, “Coyoacan” translates to “a place of coyotes.” As you tour the neighborhood, notable influences reference this with coyote art and statues sprinkled around the area. One of the most noteworthy is the Fountain of the Coyotes, one of Mexico City’s more well-known fountains.
Tour Coyoacan to explore its quaint bookstores, fresh markets, trendy cafes, and remarkable museums to learn more about local culture, history, and tradition.
23. Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico
Presenting breathtaking views of Zócalo Square below, Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico is a must-visit when stopping in Mexico City on your travels!
Within walking distance of the stunning Palacio de Bellas Artes Theater, Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico is well-known for its spectacular stained glass interior. The hotel was previously a department store that opened in 1899. Since then, it has established itself as a glorious artistic and architecturally designed hotel in Mexico City.
The curving staircase within the hotel replicates the Le Bon Marché in Paris. Its antique concrete and iron elevator was the first of its material to be established in Mexico City.
Stop in for a breathtaking look at the Gran Hotel, an arresting venue that is completely rewarding in its awe-inspiring interior designs.
A museum in Mexico City, Anahuacalli, was designed by renowned painter Diego Rivera. Situated in the San Pablo de Tepetlapa neighborhood, Anahuacalli translates to “house around water” from Nahuatl.
Made of volcanic stone, the museum’s purpose of its construction was to preserve and protect Rivera’s collection of pre-Hispanic art. It also houses one of Rivera’s studios. One such work is the study Man at the Crossroads. Commissioned by the Rockefeller Center, the mural was later destroyed by the center in 1934. Rivera later reproduced this piece in the Palacio de Bellas Artes.
The main collection at Anahuacalli is one that immediately catches the eye. Two thousand statues represent different cultures, including Nahuas, Toltecs, and Olmecs. The museum rotates exhibitions for a more modern addition, ranging from sculptures to paintings.
21. Museo Casa De Leon Trotsky
The Museo Casa De Leon Trotsky, which translates to the Leon Trotsky House Museum, can be found in the neighborhood of Coyoacan. The museum’s official name is Instituto del Derecho de Asilo – Museo Casa de Leon Trotsky.
In honor of Leon Trotsky, the organization promotes political asylum. It is set in the home of Leon Trotsky, a revolutionary who struggled for power against Stalin in the Soviet Union and was expelled in 1929. Trotsky sought refuge in Mexico, going so far as to live in Frida Kahlo’s Blue House with Frida and Rivera.
The Museo Casa De Leon Trotsky is set in remembrance of the day Trotsky was brutally murdered by an agent of Stalin. In the museum are memorabilia, biographical notes, a tomb containing Leon Trotsky’s ashes, and the study room of Trotsky. This room is set in stone to the day Trotsky was assassinated in this same space.
20. Ciudad Universitaria
The Ciudad Universitaria is a neighborhood that is the main campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the oldest and largest university in Latin America. Within Ciudad Universitaria is an extensive complex of buildings and areas that make up UNAM’s campus.
South of the well-known neighborhood of San Angel, the area hosts thousands of students daily on its lawns and inside its buildings.
The Central Library is a notable sight with its exterior design of mosaics created by renowned artist Juan O’Gorman that tell the history of Mexico. The stones used for the mural were sourced natively and produce various he’s when viewed from a distance.
The Philosophy and Literature department features food vendors selling fritangas, chilaquiles, and other foods that suit various tastes and diets.
On the grounds of Ciudad Universitaria is the second largest stadium in Mexico, the Estadio Olimpico. The stadium, specifically designed to replicate a volcano crater and made from volcano rock, was where the 1968 Olympics was hosted.
19. House of Tiles
An 18th-century Baroque palace within walking distance of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the House of Tiles is a favored tourist attraction for its historical and architectural value.
The Casa de los Azulejos, which translates to “House of Tiles,” was constructed by and home to an aristocratic family, the Count of the Valle de Orizaba. Then, later on, it functioned as a workers’ organization. Today, the palace is a popular meeting spot widely known for its eye-catching white and blue Talavera tiles that date back to the 1500s.
Though the House of Tiles was privately owned for many years until the 19th century, it eventually came under the ownership of the American Sanborn brothers. The American brothers ended up investing in the renewal of the palace, which had undergone wear and tear. Finally, they opened a restaurant that has become one of the most renowned in the country.
18. Arena Mexico
An indoor arena in the Colonia Doctores neighborhood, Arena México is a hub for professional wrestling matches. Termed the “cathedral of lucha libre”, the arena hosts shows promoted by Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre, the oldest professional wrestling promotion in the world.
The large venue hosts boisterous wrestling matches and entertainment, welcoming tourists and locals alike. The building was constructed in the 1950s and explicitly designed for wrestling. Since its opening, Arena México has continued to wow and impress with its exuberant atmosphere.
Experiencing a show at the Arena México is one of the most touristy attractions you can visit in Mexico City. It is full of glam, comedy, athleticism, and entertainment for a night you’ll never forget as you watch Mexico’s greatest wrestlers take the stage.
17. Torre Latinoamericana Observation Deck
The Torre Latinoamericana Observation Deck was once the tallest building in Latin America when it was built in 1956. It is encircled by top attractions such as the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Museo del Estanquillo.
There is much significance to this structure other than its immensity. The Torre Latinoamericana is renowned for being the first skyscraper constructed on active seismic land, having survived numerous earthquakes.
The structure makes an iconic feature of the Mexico City skyline. On the 44th floor of the observation deck, visitors can bask in the awe-inspiring panoramic viewpoints of Mexico City from above.
Within the building, after visiting the observation deck, is the highest aquarium in the world and two on-site museums to continue your adventures in Mexico City!
16. Alameda Central Park
The oldest public park in the Americas, Alameda Central Park, was built in 1592. The park is rich with history, once an Aztec marketplace. Today, the park is a refreshing meeting spot for locals and tourists, teeming with inspiring public art, monuments, and fresh greenery.
Alameda Central Park was used as a market for the Aztecs before conquistadors took over. The market was then used during the Spanish Inquisition to burn heretics at the stake.
Afterwards, the governor of New Spain, Viceroy Luís de Velasco, transformed the space into a public park to cement the newly formed society, where parades, meets, and socialization were encouraged. This resulted in the creation of Mexico City’s first public park, Alameda Central Park.
15. La Ciudadela Market
When visiting Mexico City, head to La Ciudadela Market for souvenirs of traditional Mexican handicrafts!
In the historic center, a manageable walk from the Monumento A La Revolución, the La Ciudadela Market is where tourists can experience the vibrancy of the local culture. There are so many fun and vibrant souvenir options to peruse and choose from at the market.
The artisans’ market sells hand-blown glassware and paper maché figurines. Whether a purse, a pottery box, or toys for the kids, this boisterous market is the place to find affordable souvenirs to take home from your trip to Mexico City.
When the weekend rolls around, there is a danzón dance party where the elderly float over to dance along the square across the street from the market. Enjoy freshly made merengue and public salsa for an experience like no other in Mexico City’s La Ciudadela Market.
14. Museo de Arte Popular
Nestled in an old firehouse within Mexico City’s historic center, the Museo de Arte Popular is committed to collecting, preserving, and showcasing authentic Mexican arts and handicrafts.
Near the Museo Mural Diego Rivera and the Museo Franz Mayer, the museum is a welcoming space for visitors to experience the beauty of traditional Mexican folk art. As Mexico is a place of many blends of indigenous folk traditions, the museum responsibly and dedicatedly presents these unique crafts to the world through its exhibitions.
Touring the Museo de Arte Popular visitors can glimpse intricate designs and styles of pottery, dioramas, and skeletons. Or skim religious articles and monsters seen in folk tales of Mexico.
13. Palacio Postal
The Palacio Postal, formerly the Palacio de Correos de México, is on Eje Central close to the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The structure of Palacio Postal was established in 1907 and quickly became one of Mexico City’s top attractions.
The lobby of the Palacio Postal is awe-inspiring with its gold-gilded staircases and eye-catching architecture co-designed by famous Italian architect Adamo Boari. The same architect would become recognized worldwide for his immaculate skill in designing the Palacio de Bellas Artes.
The historic century-old building still functions as a post office with the added benefit of an informative museum housing artifacts and exhibitions dedicated to the Palacio Postal. One such feature is the first stamp issued in Mexico.
12. Museo Soumaya
The Museo Soumaya is a private museum and cultural institution renowned in Mexico City, featuring two museum buildings, Plaza Loreto and Plaza Carso.
The museum was named after the late wife of millionaire Carlos Slim, the owner. Internationally recognized for its architecture, the Plaza Loreto was designed by famed architect Fernando Romero and the Plaza Carso by renowned architect Frank Gehry, an indisputably impactful art collection.
In 2013, the Museo Soumaya was the most-visited museum in Mexico for its striking exhibitions. The museum is a prominent tourist attraction in Mexico City. Its massive private art collection, including the world’s largest collection of pre-Hispanic and Colonial currency and coins, focuses on Mesoamerica to the modern day.
11. Basilica de Guadalupe
The Basilica de Guadalupe, officially known as Insigne y Nacional Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe, is a Catholic Church and sanctuary. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, primarily to her invocation of Guadalupe.
Located in Gustavo A. Madero at the bottom of the Hill of Tepeyac, the historic church is a famous landmark. It is a national shrine housing the iconic image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The church dates back to 1709, having acted as a prominent pilgrimage site for Catholics.
The legend goes that a Christian convert, an Aztec Indian named Juan Diego, claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary at the foot of Tepeyac Hill. More sightings occurred, somehow resulting in the image of the Virgin Mary appearing before Diego embedding to his cloak. Soon after, the local bishop yielded and instructed the construction of a shrine in the Virgin Mary’s honor, designating the site as a place of worship and pilgrimage.
10. Chapultepec Castle
Overlooking a park from the top of a hill, Chapultepec Castle is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Mexico City. It is the only royal palace in North America inhabited by monarchs.
The castle’s history is rumored to be intertwined with foul play, secretive plots to overthrow authority, and executions. Eventually, the castle was abandoned during the tidings of the War of Independence until it would soon memorialize six young men, the Niños Héroes (Hero Children). These young men defended the Chapultepec Castle in the Mexican-American War, falling to their wounds during the Battle of Chapultepec in 1847.
The hill on which the castle resides was considered sacred by the Aztecs. Visitors are welcome to tour Chapultepec Castle to learn more about its impactful findings and history while gazing upon its glorious architecture and design!
9. Museo Frida Kahlo
The museum is found in Coyoacan, in the Colonia del Carmen neighborhood. The museum houses a dedicated collection celebrating the life of Frida Kahlo who was widely known for her self-portraits painted with bold and vibrant colors. Kahlo painted with a folk style that explored different motifs, including identity, death, class, and gender.
Walk through the Museo Frida Kahlo to get a glimpse into the life of the beloved artist Frida Kahlo. From magnanimous famed art pieces to more personal items, such as Frida’s beauty products, photos, and wheelchair, the museum is an intimate glimpse into the famed artist’s life.
8. Palacio Nacional
Found in the Plaza de la Constitución, the Palacio Nacional has acted as the seat of the federal government since 2018. Though this is significant, there is more that draws crowds of tourists to the Palacio Nacional.
Spaniard conquistador Hernán Cortés established the palace on the remnants of Moctezuma II’s palace after invading the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. The palace was bought from the Spanish crown in 1562, eventually becoming today’s Palacio Nacional after Mexico gained its independence.
The magnificence of the Palacio Nacional is unparalleled, and within its grounds are impactful murals painted by Diego Rivera from 1929-1951. These murals are a prominent lure for tourism to the Palacio Nacional. The murals depict cultural and historical aspects of Mexico’s past, from the arrival of Quetzalcóatl, an Aztec god, to Mexican civilization to the post-revolutionary period.
7. Palacio de Bellas Artes
One of the most significant sights in Mexico City, the Palacio de Bellas Artes, is a prestigious cultural center. Near the Museo Nacional De Arte (MUNAL), the center hosts distinguished events from opera, theater, dance, and art exhibitions.
Throughout the white-marbled Palacio de Bellas Artes are breathtaking murals established by renowned Mexican artists, an arts center, and a concert hall. The famous artwork commissioned for the Rockefeller Center in New York is on the third floor of the center. The piece, El Hombre en el Cruce de Caminos (Man at the Crossroads), was painted by renowned Mexican artist Diego Rivera.
Within the Bellas Artes theater is a wonderful stained glass curtain depicting the Valle de Mexico. The design was based on a piece by Gerardo Murillo, a Mexican painter known as Dr. Atl. However, Tiffany & Co, the New York jeweler, assembled the curtain using nearly a million colored glass pieces.
6. Templo Mayor
The Templo Mayor was the primary temple for the Aztecs before Spanish conquistadors decimated the site. In 1978, a carving of the Aztec goddess Cyolxauqui was uncovered, and excavations of the site began to reveal this archaeological find.
Colonial buildings were demolished to continue the excavation of the temple. Today’s Visitors can see where sacrifices were made to the Aztec war god, Huizilopochtli.
From the Plaza del Templo Mayor, the temple’s exterior can be seen without entering the site. On the grounds of the temple is the Museo del Templo Mayor. The museum houses authentic artifacts discovered from the archaeological site and a glimpse into the past of the Aztec civilization.
Tour Mexico City along the routes of Xochimilco, a remaining water transport system established by the Aztecs still used today!
Widely considered one of the best things to do in Mexico City, Xochimilco is known as the Venice of Mexico. This is because of its intricate system of canals established once used by the Aztecs. The channels open up a world of possibilities and a glimpse into the happenings of Mexico City and the time of the Aztecs that once lived here.
On the weekend, Xochimilco is where the party is. The waterways are swarming with colorful boats called trajineras, many of which are stocked with drinks, street food, mariachi music, and great hospitality.
4. Catedral Metropolitana
The Catedral Metropolitana, officially known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, is of great importance. It is renowned for its significance historically, architecturally, and as a spiritual center.
The largest and oldest cathedral in the New World, the Catedral Metropolitana is a prominent attraction for tourists traveling to Mexico City. The cathedral took an impressive three centuries to finish. It combines three distinct styles of neo-renaissance, baroque, and neo-classical in the changing styles throughout the time it took to build the structure.
There are many attractive features of the cathedral. From its stunning bell towers featuring Xalapan designs to the religious artworks decorating the cathedral, the Catedral Metropolitana is one of the most significant tourist attractions in all of Mexico.
3. Museo de Antropologia
The most visited museum in Mexico, the Museo de Antropologia, is also one of the largest in the country.
Near the Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, the national museum features the world’s largest collection of ancient Mexican artifacts. While visiting Mexico City, stroll through the museum to learn about the history of Mexico through its exceptional collection of artifacts of Mesoamerica.
Established in 1964, the museum is fantastically large, with indoor and outdoor exhibits. These exhibits explore the different civilizations that have come and gone in Mexico, including the capital of Tenochtitlan, discovered more than 500 years ago by Spanish conquistadors.
One of the most popular exhibitions at the museum is the Aztec Sunstone, the Piedra del Sol. The stone was crafted and used by the Aztecs in Tenochtitlan, its functional intentions are still debated today, with intricate carvings of the Aztec cosmic cycles.
Northeast of Mexico City, Teotihuacán is an expansive archaeological network of what was once a pre-Columbian city. The site is teeming with ruins of what was the largest pre-Hispanic city in Mexico and one of the largest cities in the world during its prime.
Throughout Teotihuacán are well-preserved remnants of Mesoamerican pyramids that are architecturally significant. The most prominent of these pyramids are the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun – the main highlights of Teotihuacán. It’s no wonder as the Pyramid of the Sun is the third largest pyramid in the world, established well before the help of modern tools.
The main walkway between the pyramids and monuments of Teotihuacán is called the Avenue of the Dead. The Aztecs who found the city in ruins tagged this name, and today it is widely believed that the walkway was paved with tombs.
The main square in central Mexico City, Zocalo, was previously used as the primary ceremonial center for the Aztecs during their reign of Tenochtitlan.
Flanked by the Metropolitan Cathedral to the north, and the National Palace to the east, Zócalo formally goes by Plaza de la Constitución. Noted for its large Mexican flag, the square is the heart of the historic district. It is bustling with people looking to explore all Mexico City offers, from street vendors to traditionally made wares.
Zocalo often holds cultural events, festivals, and concerns celebrating the beauty of Mexico. One such event is the annual Festival de Mexico, which honors Latin cuisine and culture with Mexican margaritas, tequila tastings, beers, music, and dancing.
Map of Things to do in Mexico City
Share this post:
9 Most Beautiful Teotihuacan Pyramids and Ruins
Where to Stay in Mexico City: Best Neighborhoods & Hotels
8 Best Day Trips From Mexico City
15 Best Cities to Visit in Mexico
9 Best Things to Do in Taxco, Mexico
15 Best Things to do in Mazatlan, Mexico
9 Most Beautiful Regions in Mexico
12 Most Fascinating Mayan Ruins in Mexico
10 Things to See in Chichen Itza
12 Most Amazing Volcanoes in Mexico
- Arts & Culture
- Things to do
- Los Angeles
The 10 best attractions in Mexico City
Visiting CDMX but have no idea where to start? These are the best attractions in Mexico City, from museums to monuments.
A bustling metropolis, Mexico City is a place of grandeur and wonder. Its magic was apparent from the start; CDMX sits on the same site as the ancient settlement of Tenochtitlán, where the Aztecs are said to have witnessed an eagle perched atop a cactus while devouring a snake. You might not see such sights here today, but the best attractions in Mexico City will more than suffice.
Put bluntly, Mexico City is jam-packed with brilliant attractions, fascinating history, and gorgeous architecture. This place has been the focal point of civilizations for the better part of a millennium, and its story is told through magnificent museums , galleries, squares, and more. This is the best of the best in Mexico City.
RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in Mexico City
Best sights and attractions in Mexico City
1. Museo Nacional de Antropología (MNA)
- Miguel Hidalgo
Firstly, the architecture might just blow you away. It’s impossible to see the entire museum in one day, but seeing the Coatlicue will change your perception of one of Mexico’s most important museums. After five decades, it was necessary to restore its two most significant murals; The World of the Maya (Leonora Carrington) and the Map of Meso-America (Ernesto Vázquez y Luis Covarrubias). The restoration was impeccable, to say the least.
2. Arena México
Arena Mexico is bubbling with history. It contains traces of glorious battles, from its beginnings with El Santo and Blue Demon to the boxing matches in the 1968 Olympic Games and beyond. These days, it is a cathedral of competition in which every Tuesday (the most popular day due to its lower prices), Friday, and Sunday, people line up to celebrate the magic of lucha libre. Mexican experiences don't come more quintessential than this marriage of physicality and drama.
3. Bosque de Chapultepec
- Walks and tours
Stepping foot in Chapultepec is obligatory for anyone in Mexico City, visitor or resident. The first section possesses an undeniable aura of art and history thanks to museums and cultural buildings like the Museo de Arte Moderno, the Museo Tamayo, and the Museo Nacional de Antropología. The park is also home to the legendary Castillo de Chapultepec, the scene of the Batalla del Molino del Rey, one of the most violent battles during the Mexican-American War of 1847.
4. Ángel de la Independencia
Officially called Monumento a la Independencia, the Angel of Independence is a popular meeting point in Mexico City. Those who step foot here may not know it, but they are standing on the remains of the souls who built Mexico. Before becoming the headquarters for social protests and rallies, the monument was a mausoleum formed by a slanted plinth, a quarry-stone column standing 35 meters high, with a statue of the Winged Victory of Samothrace at the top—designed by architect Antonio Rivas Mercado.
5. Museo Frida Kahlo (Casa Azul)
Frida Kahlo is one of the most famous and celebrated artists of the past century, so it makes sense that this museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in CDMX. This is the house where Kahlo was born, where she lived with Diego Rivera, and where she eventually died. Known as the Cruz Azul (Blue House, bet you can't figure out why), the entire life of a hugely significant artist is contained within. The house is history itself and perfectly captures the scope and creativity of Mexico’s bohemian community in the 1930s and 40s.
6. Palacio Postal
One of Mexico City’s most ornate and beautiful buildings, the Palacio Postal (also known as the Correo Mayor) was designed by the mind of Italian architect Adamo Boari. Its early twentieth-century style combines several historic architectural movements, from Italian renaissance to Spanish Plateresque, and the results are astonishing. It’s the fine details where the Postal shines brightest; check out its Italian ironwork, elaborate stone carvings, and intricately detailed gargoyles.
7. Palacio de Bellas Artes
The construction of Bellas Artes was completed by Italian Architect Adamo Boari. The Palace is as famous for its architecture as its central collection, which houses 17 murals by Mexican artists created between 1928-1963. Standout murals include El hombre Controlador del Universo (1934) by Diego Rivera, La Katharsis (1934) by José Clemente Orozco, and Tormento de Cuauhtémoc (1951) by David Alfaro Siquieros, among others. The Palace is home to the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes and a principal room, an excellent place to enjoy operas, chamber music, and theater.
At the south end of the city is a living vestige of what was the great Tenochtitlán, with its canals and chinampas and green plots of land full of vegetation and fresh air. Xochimilco was named a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site in 1987, and its neighborhoods still breathe tradition and respect for nature. Its Náhuatl name couldn’t be more apt; Xochimilco means “place of fertile earth of flowers.” This place is plenty colorful, to say the least. There are nine dock areas where you can board a trajinera (a flat-bottomed boat built for carrying goods), an absolute must in Xochimilco.
9. Monumento a la Revolución Mexicana
You don't need to be fluent in Spanish to decipher what that means. Monumento a la Revolución is a landmark in downtown Mexico City commemorating the Mexican Revolution of the early 20th century. It is the tallest triumphal arch in the world (220 meters), but there is more to this than meets the eye. The Monumento is also a mausoleum housing the remains of some of Mexico's most important historical figures, while a museum and gallery are also found here. Visitors can also climb the monument using the original elevator, installed in 1938, which rises on an incline between the two copper domes.
- Event spaces
The flat, treeless Zócalo (the informal name for the main square) is one of Mexico City’s most iconic places. The plaza is a hub of entertainment and activities, from concerts to plays, festivals, job fairs, and more. Officially called La Plaza de la Constitución, Zócalo was called the Plaza de Ánimas in the days of New Spain, but its current moniker was given in honor of the area’s prominence during the signing of the Constitution of Cádiz (1812).
Discover Time Out original video
🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!
Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!
- Time Out Group
- Manage cookies
Must-Visit Attractions in Mexico City
Northern England Writer
Mexico City is a place you could get lost in. Whether you’re here for 48 hours or several months – soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of the cosmopolitan capital – you’ll never run short of things to do and see. Here’s our selection of the top sights, attractions and points of interest you shouldn’t miss.
View all trips, stroll through parque méxico.
In the upscale Condesa neighborhood, Parque México has been an icon of both the zone and the city for decades, and is easily one of the loveliest urban green spaces in the capital. As well as being surrounded on all sides by art deco buildings, the park is also home to some similarly impressive stand-out pieces, most notably the sleek blue-and-white clock tower.
Looking for an expert's perspective.
Back to map, southamerica.
Seductive Southern Italy
Edinburgh And The Scottish Highlands By Train
Complete Portugal By Train
Soulful South Korea
1. south korea.
Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam
Secrets Of Sri Lanka By Train
3. sri lanka.
Marvel At The Palacio De Bellas Artes
One of the most well-known landmarks in the city, the image of the sparkling orange-roofed, bright white Palacio de Bellas Artes is one you may already know. A staple feature on any Mexico City guide and promotional material, this art nouveau/art deco building is best known for its impressive collection of murals, shimmering tiled roof and Tiffany glass curtain.
Become a Culture Tripper!
Sign up to our newsletter to save up to 800$ on our unique trips..
Peek Inside The Catedral Metropolitana
Sitting at the heart of the historic center, the sinking Catedral Metropolitana is an unmissable Mexico City sight – both literally and figuratively, given the towering shadow it leaves over the Zocalo. The oldest cathedral in Latin America, the Catedral Metropolitana is made from the stone of a Mesoamerican pyramid and took three centuries to build.
Explore The Neighborhood Of Coyoacán
Food Kiosk, Mexican
Not a sight as such, but the southern neighborhood of Coyoacán is worth at least a day of your time to fully explore. Whether you’re a fan of Frida Kahlo, art in general or even just bustling plazas, this quirky, artistic barrio (neighborhood) is an essential visit. Don’t miss the coffee from Café El Jarocho, or people watching in the central plaza, Plaza Hidalgo.
Ponder Art Inside The Museo Soumaya
Named after founder Carlos Slim’s late wife, Soumaya Domit, the Museo Soumaya (Plaza Carso) is a glittering architectural treat amidst unremarkable business blocks in the center of Polanco. Rising from the ground like a silver geometric dream, it’s filled with plenty of artwork from the European Old Masters and even has some 20th-century Mexican pieces, too.
Buy Fresh Produce At The Mercado De La Merced
If you’re looking for fresh food, or even just want to soak up the sights, sounds and smells of a traditional Mexican market, Mercado de la Merced is a must. Here, you’ll find piles of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as plenty of food puestos – top tip: eat at the busier ones. However, keep your wits about you, as it can be disorienting and getting lost is easy.
Spot The Monumento A La Revolución
Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
If you wander down Paseo de la Reforma at any point in your Mexico City visit – which you should – you’re bound to stumble across the Monumento a la Revolución. This towering triumphal arch – the largest in the world – houses the remains of Mexican Revolutionaries Pancho Villa and Lázaro Cárdenas, as well as a viewpoint and excellently curated museum.
Take A Look Around The Ciudad Universitaria
Mexico City’s UNAM (Universidad Autónoma de México) is so sprawling that its southern campus is practically a mini city in its own right. In fact, it’s actually known as University City and plays host to not just university buildings, but also an epic, Instagram-friendly sculpture park, the MUAC art gallery and the Biblioteca Central. Recognized as a Unesco World Heritage Site, spend a day wandering around this top attraction.
Watch The World Go By At The Kiosco Morisco
A rather more underrated and out-of-the-way attraction, Santa María la Ribera’s elaborate Kiosco Morisco seems somewhat out of place in the heart of Mexico City, given that it’s more or less an oversized, Islamic-inspired bandstand. Impromptu martial arts lessons as well as mother and baby dance classes take place there on a daily basis. Plus, it’s just around the corner from the Biblioteca Vasconcelos.
Visit The Basílica De Guadalupe
The third most-visited religious site in the world, and the top Catholic destination in the country, the emblematic and culturally important Basílica de Guadalupe can’t be missed from any Mexico City itinerary. Legend states this is where the Virgen de Guadalupe appeared to Cuauhtlatoatzin in the 16th century. Even if that’s not the case, both the old and new basilicas are still architecturally impressive.
Stop By Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul
Frida Kahlo is the inescapable representation of Mexico’s artistic heritage on a global level. Although her house is somewhat of a tourist trap, with long queues and pricey entrance fees, it’s also one attraction that can’t be skipped over. It houses many of her personal possessions, artworks and relics – the gardens are especially tranquil and the decor of her rooms is particularly intriguing.
Explore The Castillo And Bosque De Chapultepec
Bosque de Chapultepec, also known as the lungs of Mexico City, is another sight you shouldn’t omit from your Mexico City itinerary, as actively exploring this vast forest is highly encouraged. Filled to the brim with top museums, the Castillo de Chapultepec is a particular highlight – once the backdrop for scenes in Romeo + Juliet , it is now a humble Museo Nacional de Historia and former royal residence.
Tour The Museo Nacional De Antropología
Although the Museo Nacional de Antropología is also located in the aforementioned Bosque de Chapultepec, it more than deserves an entry of its own – given that it’s Mexico’s most-visited tourist attraction. Housing a truly jaw-dropping number of artifacts, relics and temporary exhibits related to the Mesoamerican history of Mexico, everyone from history buffs to the casual observer will leave impressed.
Take A Ride On A Traijinera In Xochimilco
Architectural Landmark, Natural Feature
While there is far more to Xochimilco than the colorful trajineras (canal-type boats), which float up and down the many chinampas (canals) of the region on a daily basis, you can’t really afford to miss this top tourist attraction. Either buy food and pulque from the floating vendors or pack some beers and sandwiches, but be sure not to get scammed on the price.
Wander Around The Roma And Condesa Neighborhoods
Is it cheating to add in two whole neighborhoods as one entry? We don’t think so, especially as Roma and Condesa both have so much to offer the passing or even long-term traveler in Mexico City. Right in the heart of the capital, these hipster hangouts are overflowing with quirky bars, restaurants and art galleries, as well as some of the city’s top street artworks. Don’t go with a plan of attack, just explore at your own pace.
Admire The View From Torre Latinoamericana
Heading to the Torre Latinoamericana for dinner or drinks is never a bad idea. Towering over the Palacio de Bellas Artes, it offers a bird’s eye view of the popular, family-friendly Parque Alameda, as well as the city as a whole. The best time to go is right before sunset, so you can see the capital in all its daytime glory before catching Mexico City transform into its glittering, night-time best.
Learn About Mexico’s History At The Plaza De Las Tres Culturas
Rather sadly known for the student massacres of the last century, Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco is still a worthy entry on our guide to the top attractions in Mexico City. It brings together the three distinct cultural heritages that make up modern Mexico. Pyramids mark the Mesoamerican past, while the colonial Templo de Santiago symbolizes the Spanish Conquistador influence on the culture, and the Torre de Tlatelolco marks the present day.
Discover Movie History At Cineteca Nacional
Cinema, Movie Theater, Theater
In Colonia Xoco, you’ll find one of the most outstanding but overlooked attractions in Mexico City – the Cineteca Nacional. Almost sculptural in design, its sleek, white outer shell conceals numerous relics of the Mexican cinema scene, as well as a handful of screens that regularly host indie films and beautifully curated film cycles. While going to cinema might seem like a mere rainy-day exercise, at the Cineteca it’s anything but.
Watch A Wrestling Match At Arena México
You don’t go to Arena México in Colonia Doctores for the sake of it, but rather you go to catch one of the iconic lucha libres that are hosted year-round in the country and are especially popular in the Mexican capital. Mildly homoerotic, the entertaining if slightly ridiculous luchas are one of those cultural events that you can’t pass up the opportunity to watch.
Climb The Pirámides De Teotihuacán
Our final must-visit Mexico City attraction is actually just outside the city, in the State of Mexico. However, the ysterious Pirámides de Teotihuacán are accessible and impressive. Climb the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, then marvel over the lengthy Avenue of the Dead – but don’t forget to take water and sunblock.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
Meet our local insider.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
What do you love about your job, it's the personal contact, the personal experiences. i love meeting people from all over the world... i really like getting to know everyone and feeling like i'm traveling with a group of friends., what destination is on your travel bucket-list, i have so many places on my list, but i would really lobe to go to africa. i consider myself an “adventure girl” and africa feels like the ultimate adventure.
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
See Our Culture Trips
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.
Guides & Tips
This is the best package deal to book in mexico.
Guide to Mexico's Cobá Ruins and the Best Cenotes Found Nearby
Places to Stay
Discover the best vacation rental apartments in mexico city.
The Best Spa Hotels in Mexico City
The Best Luxury Hotels to Book in Mexico City, Mexico
The Best Cheap Hotels to Book in Mexico City, Mexico
The Best Boutique Hotels to Book in Mexico City
Where to Book Your Stay in Mexico City Like a Local
The best international restaurants in mexico city.
See & Do
Meet mexico’s big cat conservationists.
Food & Drink
The best cheap eats in mexico city.
City on a Plate: The Best Young Chef in Mexico City Takes Us Around the Mexican Capital
Black Friday Offers on Our Trips
- Post ID: 1250530
- Sponsored? No
- View Payload
19 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Mexico City
Written by Meagan Drillinger Updated May 13, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )
Author Meagan Drillinger spends months each year in Mexico, and visited Mexico City most recently in 2023.
Mexico City is, in a word, magic. The capital of the country of Mexico, Mexico City (or Ciudad de Mexico) is a swirl of gorgeous architecture, art museums, fabulous restaurants, and hotels — all set on streets that drip with centuries of history.
The city sits at an altitude of more than 2,200 meters in the Anáhuac Valley, wreathed in mighty mountain ranges — just have a look at the two snowcapped volcanoes, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl, which stand guard in the distance.
Mexico City is one of the largest and most exciting cities in the world . Home to more than 21 million people, it's a thriving (sometimes chaotic) capital, home to the country's top tourist attractions , including the historic city center, more than 170 museums, theater, and even a few Aztec ruins.
Discover more things to do in this vibrant city with our list of the top attractions in Mexico City.
1. Zócalo: The Birthplace of the Constitution
2. the national museum of anthropology, 3. templo mayor and the great pyramid of tenochtitlán, 4. the palace of fine arts, 5. mexico city metropolitan cathedral, 6. the national palace, 7. chapultepec park, 8. paseo de la reforma and the angel of independence, 9. national history museum, 10. coyoacán & the frida kahlo museum, 11. the basilica of our lady of guadalupe, 12. alameda central, 13. the square of the three cultures and santiago de tlatelolco, 14. the house of tiles, 15. museo mural diego rivera and museo rufino tamayo, 16. museo soumaya, 17. explore the polanco neighborhood, 18. visit teotihuacan, 19. church of san francisco, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to mexico city, map of tourist attractions in mexico city, mexico city, mexico - climate chart.
The beating heart of Mexico City is Zócalo — the Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square) — where the country's first constitution was proclaimed in 1813. Measuring some 240 meters in each direction, it's one of the world's largest squares and was laid out almost immediately after the conquest of the former Aztec city of Tenochtitlán on which it stands.
In the early colonial period, the square served a variety of purposes, including as a bullfighting arena and market, while today, it's used for festivals, parades, and demonstrations.
Dominated by three of the city's most visited tourist attractions — the National Palace , the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Templo Mayor with its Aztec relics — Zócalo is the perfect place to begin exploring this historic city.
Hot Tip: A short stroll away from Zócalo, you can view three floors of murals by the famous artist Diego Rivera at the Secretaría de Educación Pública (education ministry). Entry is free.
One of the most important of its kind in the world, the National Museum of Anthropology lies in Chapultepec Park and is hard to miss due to the huge monolithic figure marking its entrance.
Built in 1964, this strikingly successful example of contemporary architecture is famous for its magnificent displays of old Indian art treasures, most notably in the Central Patio, part of which is roofed by a gigantic stone shelter supported by an 11-meter-tall column with waterfalls symbolizing the eternal cycle of life.
As spectacular as the building itself is its vast collection, which includes archaeological finds from extinct Indian cultures along with details of the lifestyles of contemporary Indian inhabitants of Mexico.
Other highlights include the National Library of Anthropology , founded by Lucas Alaman in 1831 and developed by Emperor Maximilian, which boasts more than 300,000 rare volumes.
Address: Av Paseo de la Reforma y Calzada Gandhi S/N, Chapultepec Polanco, 11560 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Despite the widespread destruction after the defeat of the Aztecs, a number of their important historic sites have been unearthed and put on display in recent years. The most important site is Templo Mayor, home to the remains of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlán, including the first relic discovered in 1978, a finely sculpted round disc more than three meters in diameter and weighing eight-and-a-half tons.
Further excavations — including the summit platform of an earlier pyramid with well-preserved temple walls, along with the skulls of sacrificial victims — indicate the temple site had been built over by the Aztecs and their predecessors 11 times.
A highlight of a visit is a walkway past the precinct of the aristocratic "winged warriors," where remains of residences decorated with multi-colored reliefs have been unearthed, along with evidence of the original paintwork.
Hot Tip: The vast majority of relics and artifacts uncovered are housed in two museums: the Templo Mayor Museum built on the temple site, and the nearby National Museum of Anthropology , widely regarded as the most important museum in Mexico.
Address: Seminario 8, Centro Histórico, 06060 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
One of Mexico City's most important cultural landmarks, the Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) is an architectural gem. Towering over the adjacent park, this massive marble building — designed by Italian architect Adamo Boari with Art Nouveau and Art Deco influences — was completed in 1934 and is so heavy that it has sunk more than four meters, despite attempts to lighten it by removing part of its huge dome.
The palace serves as an opera house and concert hall hosting a variety of traditional and international dance and operatic productions. But many visitors also come here to view the impressive murals adorning its interior by famous artists such as Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente.
On the 4th floor is the Museo Nacional de Arquitectura with rotating exhibits on contemporary architecture.
If you happen to be in town on Wednesday or Sunday, tickets to the Ballet Folklorico are a must. For nearly 60 years, this performance has brought the traditional costumes, dance, and music from all regions of Mexico to one stage for a performance that is beyond entertaining, colorful, and beautiful.
Hot Tip : If you're able to see a performance here, you'll also be rewarded with a chance to enjoy the theater's stunning interior décor, including its spectacular glass-mosaic curtain, made by Tiffany's of New York, depicting the Valley of Mexico and its two mighty volcanoes.
Address: Juárez, Centro Histórico, 06050 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Dominating Zócalo Square, the massive Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María) is one of the oldest and largest churches in the Western Hemisphere. Built atop part of the old Aztec temple precinct, construction of this massive basalt and grey sandstone structure began in 1525 and extended over 250 years.
In spite of the two neoclassical towers and certain other features, the façade creates a predominantly Baroque impression with its massive twisted columns. Standout features are the bell towers added in 1793 and the statues of Faith, Hope, and Charity on the clock tower, dating from 1813.
The cathedral's interior also shows a mingling of styles, with particular highlights being the richly carved Altar of the Kings (Altar de los Reyes) from 1739, with its superb devotional painting of the Assumption (Asunción de María) to which the cathedral is dedicated.
Also of interest are a chapel containing the remains of Mexican Emperor Agustin de Iturbide, and the crypt with its tombs of many of the city's archbishops, among them Juan de Zumárraga, the great teacher of the Indians and the first incumbent of the see.
Address: Plaza de la Constitución S/N, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Occupying the east side of Mexico City's main square, Zócalo, the immense National Palace (Palacio Nacional), built of reddish tezontle stone and boasting a 200-meter-long façade, is the official residence of the president.
Built on top of an Aztec palace, it was the seat of the Spanish viceroys during the colonial period and has been much altered and enlarged over the years. One of the oldest and finest buildings in the city, it includes such notable features as the Freedom Bell , rung on September 15th, 1810, at the start of the War of Independence (it's rung on the anniversary of this event each year).
The palace boasts many handsome rooms laid out around its 14 courtyards, some accessible to visitors, the most notable being the arcaded Grand Courtyard with its fine frescoes depicting the country's rich history. Don't miss The History of Mexico mural by Diego Rivera, which adorns the grand staircase.
English-language guided tours explore a museum, a number of large halls, and the parliamentary chamber in which the Reform Constitution of 1857 was drawn up (it and the Constitution of 1917 are on display).
Other attractions here are the State Archives , with important historical documents, and the Biblioteca Miguel Lerdo de Tejada , one of the country's largest libraries.
Address: Plaza de la Constitución S/N, Centro, 06066 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Bosque de Chapultepec is Mexico City's principal park, and covering an area of more than four square kilometers, it is also its largest. Once a stronghold of the Toltecs, it was here in AD 1200 that the Aztecs settled, and according to legend, laid out a park in the early 15th century.
Over time, the hill became a summer residence of the Aztec rulers with water from its springs conveyed to the temple precinct in the capital by means of an aqueduct, the remains of which can still be seen in Avenida Chapultepec. Portraits of the Aztec rulers were carved on the slopes of the hill, remnants of which can still be seen.
These days, the park is popular for its lakes, sports facilities, botanic garden, and museums — you'll find both the National History Museum and the National Museum of Anthropology here — along with numerous fun events, including concerts and theatrical performances.
Also of interest is the Museum of Modern Art (Museo de Arte Moderno), which opened in 1964 and is important for its retrospective look at Mexican art before and during the colonial period and its collection of pictures and sculptures by Mexican artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Chapultepec Zoo is also here with a surprising diversity of animals from around the world.
The principal east-west traffic artery of Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma extends for 15 kilometers from Tlatelolco to the residential district of Las Lomas but is best known for the stretch from Avenida Benito Juárez to Chapultepec Park .
Here, this attractive boulevard widens to 60 meters with a pleasant green strip in the middle containing busts and monuments to numerous national heroes. While now largely known as a busy entertainment and shopping area, this magnificent avenue - laid out during the reign of Emperor Maximilian - is home to a number of important attractions, most notably the massive Independence Monument (Monumento a la Independencia), also known as "El Angel" for the figure of a winged goddess of victory standing atop its tall 36-meter column.
In addition to its fine statues of the heroes of the country's independence movement is the Mausoleum, with its many skulls of some of the country's most important historical figures.
On Sunday mornings, Paseo de la Reforma closes to cars to become a pedestrian and cycle-friendly thoroughfare. It's one of the best things to do for residents of all ages. You may even find a pop-up yoga class happening in the street.
Address: Paseo de la Reforma y Eje 2 PTE, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Another of Mexico City's world-class attractions is the National History Museum (Museo Nacional de Historia). Housed in the 18th-century Chapultepec Castle (Castillo de Chapultepec), on a site once occupied by Aztec buildings and later by a Spanish hermitage, the museum opened in 1944 and is home to an impressive collection of pre-Columbian material and reproductions of old manuscripts, as well as a vast range of exhibits illustrating the history of Mexico since the Spanish conquest.
Highlights include arms and armor, documents, maps, and plans of the Conquest period and its immediate aftermath; ceramics, clothing, jewelry, and coins from three centuries; relics and souvenirs of the struggle for independence and the revolutionary wars; portraits of leading figures in Mexican history; and a number of state carriages, including those used by Benito Juárez and Emperor Maximilian.
Also of interest are the apartments occupied by Maximilian and Charlotte, decorated in neoclassical style and containing furniture brought from Europe. The castle also offers beautiful views over the city.
Address: Castilla de Chapultepec 1a Sección, Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico
Laced with atmospheric cobblestone streets, Coyoacán is one of Mexico City's oldest neighborhoods. Take time to stroll around the maze of laneways here and explore the hidden plazas, colonial-style mansions, and art-filled old churches like San Juan Bautista.
You can also sample exotic fruits and vegetables at the markets. One of the top tourist attractions in the town is the Frida Kahlo Museum in La Casa Azul (The Blue House), where the famous Mexican artist was born and where she frequently returned throughout her life. Here, you can view some of her most important paintings, as well as works by her famous husband, the mural artist Diego Rivera, and personal items from the couple's life. Note that it's best to purchase tickets in advance.
An easy way to see all the highlights of Coyoacán is on the full-day Mexico City Super Saver Tour . This 11-hour excursion begins with a guided tour through the neighborhood, including a visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum and North America's oldest university, as well as a boat tour along the canals of the UNESCO-listed ecological reserve, Xochimilco.
While you're in Coyoacan you can also visit the Museo Casa de Leon Trotsky . This is the house where Leon Trotsky, the exiled Russian politician, spent the final years of his life before he was assassinated.
Address: The Frida Kahlo Museum, Londres 247, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Said to have attracted its first pilgrims when it opened in 1531, the Roman Catholic Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe) attracts millions of visitors and worshipers each year, particularly during the Feast Day each December 12th.
Built adjacent to the hill where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared, the site consists of a complex of buildings overlooking a broad public square adorned with a number of interesting modern sculptures, including a large concrete cross with a unique clock and chime.
Highlights include a splendid altarpiece dedicated to Mary in the 16th-century Old Basilica, and the new Basilica de Guadalupe, built in 1976, and notable for its distinctive modern curved appearance.
Address: Plaza de las Américas 1, Villa de Guadalupe, 07050 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Alameda Central, a shady and beautifully kept park with many splendid fountains and sculptures, was laid out in 1592 on the site of a once-busy Aztec market. It remains a bustling location to this day, especially at Christmas, when it is beautifully illuminated and decorated. Next to the park is the stunning Palacio de Bellas Artes , which hosts music and theatrical performances as well as important art exhibitions.
Address: Av Hidalgo S/N, Cuauhtémoc, Centro, 06010 Ciudad de México
Another of Mexico City's important historic squares is the Square of the Three Cultures (Plaza de las Tres Culturas). The square occupies the site of the main square of the Pre-Columbian town of Tlatelolco and the scene of the last desperate stand by the Aztecs in 1521 - an event remembered by a memorial tablet.
It takes its name from its interesting mix of buildings from three different periods: Aztec pyramids and temples, a Spanish church, and modern tower blocks. In addition to the principal pyramid, other Aztec remains include a number of smaller pyramids, platforms, staircases, walls, and altars, as well as a "tzompantli," a wall of skulls and fine reliefs of Aztec calendar signs.
The square is also home to a rather sobering memorial museum, Memorial 68, commemorating the tragic murder of some 250 protesting students by government forces in 1968.
Also of note is the Baroque church of Santiago de Tlatelolco , built in the early 17th century on the site of a small chapel from 1535 that belonged to the Franciscan convent of Santiago. Adjoining the church is one of the old convent buildings, formerly the Colegio Imperial de Santa Cruz, in which the Franciscans taught the gifted sons of the Aztec nobility (one of the most notable teachers was Bernardino de Sahagún, the great chronicler of the history of New Spain).
Opposite the picturesque Church of San Francisco is the spectacular House of Tiles (Casa de los Azulejos). It was originally built in 1596 and boasts a façade decorated by the Conde del Valle de Orizaba 150 years later, with exquisite blue and white tiles from Puebla.
It became even more famous after artist José Clemente Orozco painted murals on the walls of the staircase in 1925. The House of Tiles is now a restaurant and an evocative venue to dine al fresco in the building's spectacular courtyard, surrounded by what is one very large work of art.
Hot Tip : Be sure to check out the large photo marking the spot where Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa dined together on arrival in Mexico City.
Address: Av Francisco I. Madero 4, Centro, 06500 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
A short walk from the National Museum of Anthropology is Museo Rufino Tamayo, named after Rufino Tamayo (1900-91), one of Mexico's most famous painters. Notable for its unusual interior, the gallery opened in 1981 and, in addition to Tamayo's artwork it also displays his own extensive collection of several hundred works by contemporary artists, including prints, paintings, sculptures, and wall hangings.
Another important art facility worth visiting is Museo Mural Diego Rivera named after one of the country's leading artists whose most famous painting - Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park - in which he caricatured some of Mexico's historical figures, is on display here after years of being banned by the state (Rivera had originally called it Dios no existe , or God does not exist ).
Address: Paseo de la Reforma 51, Bosque de Chapultepec, 11580 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
A trip to Mexico City would be incomplete without a visit to the Museo Soumaya . This futuristic, architectural mind-meld was founded by Carlos Slim, one of the wealthiest men in the world, who named it for his deceased wife, Soumaya. Inside is more than 66,000 pieces of art that span 3,000 years, from sculptures from Mesoamerica right up to works from Tintoretto and Salvador Dali.
The non-profit cultural icon originally was housed in the Plaza Loreto of San Angel until 2011. It was moved to a new building in Plaza Carso in Nuevo Polanco, designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero. The silver, reflective building spans 170,000 square feet of space and is a design feat in itself, pinched at the center like an hourglass, but angular like the hull of a ship.
But the real masterpieces continue inside. The majority of art is from the 15th to 20th centuries, though there is a substantial collection of indigenous Mexican art. Slim is the owner of the world's largest private collection of Auguste Rodin's art, as well, and the museum has the largest collection of casts of his sculptures outside of France.
Address: Blvd. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Granada, Miguel Hidalgo, 11529 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
When it comes to the original "in vogue" destination in Mexico City, Polanco is at the top of the list. This swanky, glitzy, expensive neighborhood has always been about high style, fine dining, and fabulous hotels. Within the neighborhood are countless shops and restaurants, as well as a corner of Chapultepec Park .
If you're looking for one of the most up-scale destinations in Latin America, Polanco certainly takes the lead. The neighborhood's main artery is the Avenida Presidente Masaryk , which is often likened to the 5th Avenue of Mexico City. It's easy to see why when you see art gallery after art gallery, fine dining after fine dining, shopping malls, and gorgeous hotels.
Start at the Antara Fashion Hall , where you'll find all the brand names, from Hugo Boss to Carolina Herrera. You can also visit the Siqueiros Public Art Room, where muralist David Siquieros hosts workshops, talks, conferences, and exhibitions. You can also pop into Chapultepec Park for a lovely little afternoon picnic.
In the evening, snag a reservation at the legendary Pujol restaurant before heading to the Telcel Theatre for a Spanish-language performance of one of the Broadway greats.
Perhaps one of the most culturally and historically significant sites in Mexico City, the archeological zone at Teotihuacan tells so much of the story of the birth of Mexico.
The ancient site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site , was settled around 400 BCE and rose to be one of the most powerful cities in the region. It is still a mystery how the city came to be, but several theories exist surrounding earlier tribes that could have contributed to the city's growth. In the 15th century, the Aztecs claimed the city, naming it Teotihuacan.
Today what remains of Teotihuacan's eight square miles are 2,000 single-story apartment compounds, pyramids, temples, and palaces. It is known for its iconic Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon. The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest structure in Teotihuacan and faces west, measuring roughly 720 feet by 760 feet.
Priests at Teotihuacan were known to practice human and animal sacrifice. In fact, archeologists discovered 18 sacrificial victims buried around some of the temples, including the Pyramid of the Moon.
Today visitors can explore Teotihuacan on their own or as part of a tour. The archeological site is just 30 miles outside Mexico City.
Along Madero Street (the street that leads to the Zocalo), you'll find the stunning Church of San Francisco. It's directly across the street from The House of Tiles. This beautiful, historic convent was once at the heart of a sprawling church and monastery complex. Today, all that remains is the church.
Still, what remains is a spectacular site to behold. Just look at the beautifully carved doorway, which dates back to the 18th century. The reddish bricks that you see to the right are stones that were used originally to build the Aztec buildings that once made up Moctezuma's private zoo.
When first constructed, the church was one of the earliest and most powerful Franciscan monasteries in the city. It also held the first 12 Franciscan friars who arrived in what was then "New Spain."
The church that exists today is actually the third to be built here and dates back to the early 18th century. Services are still held today.
Address: Av Francisco I. Madero 7, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Taking an organized tour is the best way to see Mexico City's top attractions and a convenient way to enjoy day trips to surrounding sites. Guided tours save you time navigating the city's traffic-clogged streets, plus you can learn about the history and culture of the city. These sightseeing tours all include expert guides, entrance fees, and round-trip transportation.
- Coyoacán, National University, and Frida Kahlo Museum: Mexico City's art, history, and nature are covered on the full-day Mexico City Super Saver Tour . This 11-hour excursion begins with a tour through the cobblestone streets of the evocative colonial city of Coyoacán, including a visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum and National University. Top off your city sightseeing adventure with a relaxing boat tour along the canals of the UNESCO-listed ecological reserve Xochimilco.
- Teotihuacan Pyramids: On the eight-hour Early Morning Teotihuacan Pyramids Tour , you'll be one of the first visitors to gain access to this UNESCO-listed archaeological park. Better still, a private archaeologist guides you through the top sites, including the Palace of Quetzalpapalotl, Sun Pyramid, and Moon Pyramid. After exploring these ancient temples, the tour takes you to an obsidian workshop to see local artisans at work.
- Iztaccihuatl Volcano: Avid hikers can enjoy spectacular views of Popocatepetl and the Valley of Mexico on the Iztaccihuatl Volcano Hiking Tour from Mexico City . This 12-hour tour includes a hike up the intermediate trail of this dormant volcano, stopping short of the 5,230-meter summit to admire the panorama.