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TOP THINGS TO DO IN MEXICO CITY

A FIRST-TIMER’S GUIDE


The first thing you'll notice about Mexico City is how busy and alive it is. In fact, the capital city of Mexico is the most populated city on the continent of North America. It also has the most museums in the world, one of the largest city parks in the world and one of the biggest taxi fleets in the world. With statistics like that, it's no surprise that the list of things to do in Mexico City is extensive, so we've narrowed it down to the top 8 highlights.

Top Things To Do in Mexico City

 

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THE ANGEL OF INDEPENDENCE


The Angel of Independence stands proudly on Paseo de la Reforma; one of the main streets through the city and originally a direct route for the Emperor to travel from his residence to the National Palace. This monument is arguably one of the most recognised landmarks in Mexico City. Construction began in 1910 to mark the centenary of Mexico’s War of Independence. Not only is it one of the most popular tourist attractions, but it is also the focal point for many celebrations and protests that take place in the capital city.



CHAPULTEPEC PARK


Chapultepec Park, or Bosque de Chapultepec, is one of the largest urban parks in the world. Spanning over 1,695 acres, this green oasis in the middle of the city is full of attractions, including museums like the National Anthropology Museum and the National History Museum, Chapultepec Castle, a lake with paddleboat hire, food stalls, markets, monuments and a zoo. Like all great city parks, it also includes many open green spaces, woodlands, walking trails and wildlife.



LA CASA AZUL (FRIDA KAHLO MUSEUM)


La Casa Azul, perhaps better known as the Frida Kahlo Museum, is the former home and studio of artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. After Frida Kahlo’s death in 1958, the house and gardens were turned into a museum of their lives, both personal and professional, and showcasing their impressive collection of photographs, art, books, clothing and artefacts.


This is a very popular attraction in Mexico City. Be sure to book your tickets online in advance to avoid missing out. The price for adults is MXN 250 for weekdays and MXN 270 for weekends. There is an additional price of MNX 30 payable on entry if you want to take photos.
Transport to this location will vary depending on where you are staying. From Downtown, we found the most affordable option was to buy two tickets for the Hop-on, Hop-off bus. It departs from the Angel of Independence and drops you off right in front of the museum. If you have time before or after, you can also use the bus to get to other popular locations and learn more about the city along the way.


COYOACÁN


Before or after visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum, you must check out the surrounding neighbourhood of Coyoacán. This suburb is known for its culture, historic sites, cobblestone streets, markets and food. Visit the Jardín Centenario and Jardín Hidalgo, two parks side by side featuring the Fountain of the Coyotes, the Coyoacán sign and the Church of Saint John the Baptist. Eat churros from one of the many stalls, or head to the Coyoacán Market for some delicious food, fresh produce or souvenirs.



DAY TRIP TO TEOTIHUACAN


Head out of the city for a day to explore the ancient city of Teotihuacan. Although many people mistakenly call Teotihuacan an Aztec city, the ancient civilization actually flourished and ended long before the Aztecs existed. They did, however, give Teotihuacan its name. Upon discovering the ruins of the city, they gave it the name meaning “the place where the gods were created”. Some of the most famous features include the Pyramid of the Moon, the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent and the Avenue of the Dead.


This historical site is located approximately 40 km (25 mi) from Mexico City and can be reached by car or on a guided tour. We recommend picking the latter or hiring a guide, as there is very little signage at the site to complement the ruins you will explore. The tour we booked on Viator included bilingual guides (Spanish and English) and a tequila and mescal tasting.


MARKETS


If you are looking for a Mexico souvenir, the markets are the perfect place to explore and hunt for a bargain. There are stalls all over the city, especially in popular tourist locations, but our favourite place to wander was the Mercado de Artesanías La Ciudadela. This marketplace, located in Colonia Centro, is a maze of stalls selling handicrafts and art. You can find everything here, from keyrings to quality ceramics, beautiful art, clothing, jewellery, and much more. There are also a few restaurants and bars hidden amongst the maze for when you need a break from all that shopping.


At this market, we also found there was much less coaxing or tempting from stall owners trying to get tourists into their shops, which means you can browse without the pressure to purchase.


ZÓCALO


The Zócalo is the main square in the historic district of Mexico City. It is also the largest public plaza in Latin America and often swarming with people. At the centre of the square is a huge flagpole, where the Mexican flag is ceremonially raised in the morning and lowered in the evening. The plaza is surrounded by incredible architecture, from the Palacio Nacional to the Catedral Metropolitana, as well as many museums, including the Templo Mayor Museum, which showcases ruins and archaeological finds from the Aztec civilization.

Decorations in Mexico City - Zócalo


ALAMEDA CENTRAL


Alameda Central is the oldest public park in North America. What was once an Aztec marketplace is now a green park with fountains, seats, walkways and gardens. In the park and on the streets surrounding the park, there are also many monuments, museums and buildings worth a visit. Some of these include Hemiciclo a Juarez, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Casa de los Azulejos, Palacio Postal, Museo Nacional De Arte and Museo Franz Mayer.



OUR GOOGLE MAPS


When planning our travel destinations, we pin our bucket list of sites to see and recommended places to eat and drink on Google Maps. We are then never lost for ideas when travelling, and can easily share these lists for our friends and family to use too.



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