Alyssa has been writing about exciting travel topics for Trips to Discover since 2013. After living the big city life in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Atlanta, Alyssa sold the bulk of her possessions and became a digital nomad, living full-time in her camper and working from wherever she could find an outlet and an internet connection for her laptop.
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There are lots of amazing destinations in Mexico to visit, but one of the best for architecture, museums, markets, and food is Mexico City. Since this is a huge city is filled with bustling crowds and busy traffic, you’ll likely want to decide on a few itinerary items to make your visit more manageable. Here are some of the best things to see and do when you check out Mexico City.
Mexico City’s Palace of Fine Arts is a wonderful palace that features art-deco architecture and a grand interior. It was built between 1904 and 1934 and has art galleries, a museum, concert hall, and a large theater. This is a place to see a wide variety of performances, such as music, dance, opera, and theater. The National Museum of Architecture is located on the top floor of the palace. The palace museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10am to 6pm.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is another top attraction in Mexico City because it is an important religious site connected to the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. At this site, you can see the ancient church, visit the gift shop with lots of religious items, and explore the museum and library. Mass is held here regularly, and you can take a guided tour to learn more about the basilica. Check the basilica’s website to learn about regular mass schedules and what else may be going on here during your visit. For example, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe takes place on December 12. This is a sacred pilgrimage site that is worth learning a bit about before your visit.
Sampling some authentic street food is a must when you’re in Mexico City. Tacos al Pastor are a street food favorite here, as well as churros that are fried and covered in cinnamon and sugar. Also, keep an eye out for gringas and chicharron de queso. Some popular eateries include El Vilsito, Taqueria El Abanico, and El Esquina de Chilaquiles.
If you only have time to visit one museum in Mexico City, make it the National Museum of Anthropology. At this fascinating museum, you can see a replica tomb, giant statues from ancient civilizations, Mayan treasures, masks, and much more. The museum has artifacts that date back to 100 B.C. and is so large that you could spend a whole day here if you have the time and love learning about history. Onsite, you’ll also find a gift shop and cafeteria for your souvenir and snack needs. Overall, this is a great place to learn about history, culture, and traditions in all parts of Mexico, not just Mexico City. The museum is open year-around from Tuesdays through Sundays from 9am to 7pm.
This is the central square of Mexico City and a very popular tourist destination today. This place used to be a place for Aztec ceremonies and has great historical significance. Today, there is a giant Mexican flag when you enter the square, which is a popular spot for public events and gatherings. This is also where you can begin your exploration of Mexico City’s National Palace and National Cathedral. The city frequently hosts children’s events here, and the September 15 Mexican Independence Day celebration is here too.
Chapultepec Park is an exciting place to visit in Mexico City because there’s always something fun to do here. At the park, you’ll find a zoo, paddleboat recreation on the lake, vendor stalls for shopping, and museums nearby. The park is huge and much larger than even Central Park in New York City. There are three sections of the park to visit depending on whether you want to see the museum area, the amusement park, or the woods and wildlife.
Xochimilco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a colorful place to visit on your trip to Mexico City. Visitors can ride on a boat through the water with a local boatman. This destination is a bit further away from the other city attractions, but it’s well worth the trip to see the beautiful canals, listen to the music of mariachi bands, and find some fun souvenirs. Keep in mind that Xochimilco often gets crowded, so you might want to plan your boat ride on a weekday if you’re looking for a more peaceful experience.
It’s also fun to visit the various local markets in Mexico City to shop and get to know the soul of the city a bit better. Mercado Coyoacan is a popular public market with a little of everything, Mercado Medellín is a Colonia Roma market with lots of produce, and Milan 44 is a modern market with a microbrewery.
The Metropolitan Cathedral is next to El Zócalo and an excellent example of classical architecture with ancient ruins nearby at Templo Mayor. Built between 1573 and 1813, this cathedral features naves, chapels, underground catacombs, and famous paintings. The cathedral is massive in size and is free to explore.
Frida Kahlo is a famous artist whose works you have likely seen in museums in other places around the world. There is a great museum here dedicated to her in Mexico City, which is the former home of the artist where she was born, lived with her husband and fellow artist Diego Rivera, and died. Inside the museum, which is also known as the Blue House, you can see works of art of both Frida and Diego. The museum is open between 10am or 11am to 5:30pm except for Mondays.