Mexico City, Mexico

The Epicenter of Mexican History and Culture

 

Trip Cost ($ – $$$): $

Time to Hit the Highlights: 4 days

Must See: Teotihuacan, Chapultepec Park, Museum of Anthropology, Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

Time of the Year to Visit: Any Season!

Audience: Everyone

 

About Mexico City

  • Where we grew up there were a lot of preconceived notions about Mexico City, and unfortunately they weren’t positive. Regardless of any “warnings” we went anyways, and goodness we are so happy we did! Mexico City is more than worth the exploration.
  • As the 7th biggest city in the world, it is easy to lose yourself in this city’s vibrant history, culture, food and colors.
  • You can learn more about Mexico City on the city’s website here: https://www.mexicocity.com/

 

Getting There

  • Flying into Mexico City (MEX) is easy and not too long of a flight from the continental US. If you’re coming from another country, or a smaller city you may have a layover, but there are many direct flights to Mexico City as it is a large airport and city.
    • There are many airlines that will take you to Mexico City, but by far AeroMexico has the most options if you’re willing to fly the local airline.
  • Once on the ground, we took taxis and rideshare services to get around. You can also look into hiring a driver for your time there, as your expenses on this trip will unlikely be high.

 

Staying There

  • We stayed in a friend’s house in San Simon, a smaller, very local neighborhood, but there are many other neighborhoods closer to the downtown action that are popular for visitors.
    • These neighborhoods include the central Centro Historico, the bohemian Condesa, the young Roma, the historic Coyoacan, and pedestrian-friendly Zona Rosa.

 

Being There

Teotihuacan

  • Just an hour drive northeast of Mexico City, this world heritage site is a must see!
  • This Mesoamerica city is amazingly intact with several large pyramids waiting for you to climb them. Walk the Avenue of the Dead, see the views from atop the Pyramid of the Sun and relax atop the Pyramid of the Sun.
  • Teotihuacan shows you firsthand the story of civilizations in this area. You’ll learn about the region’s culture, lifestyle and changes of power that led us to where we are today.
  • Be sure to arrive early to avoid the traffic and crowds!

 

Centro Historico

  • The historic center of Mexico City is booming with amazing places to see. You can spend many days walking the streets and exploring the parks, churches and museums of this area.
  • Zocalo is one of the largest squares in the world, and a plaza used for city events throughout the year. The square is open to the public all year round for your enjoyment and amazement. Once you’ve taken in the size of this huge space, head towards the amazing Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral built in 1656.
  • If you head west of Zocalo you’ll eventually land at the Palacio de Bellas Artes next to Alameda Central, an enchanting public park. The Palacio de Bellas Artes may be one of the most well known buildings in Mexico City. You’ll find that the exhibits and events inside the museum are as wonderful as its exterior of Italian Carrara marble and Tiffany glass. Take the time to enjoy the ins and outs of Mexico City’s cultural center.
  • As you walk the streets of the historic center you’ll notice the large number of churches. There’s a lot!! And even better, they’re colorful, ornate and beautiful. Many of them are open to the public and welcome visitors to walk through the courtyards and buildings.
  • The Casa de los Azulejos or what is affectionately known as the “Tile House” is an 18th century palace whose facade is covered in beautiful blue and white tile. Today it is a restaurant where you can enjoy the building’s beauty and murals. You’ll find this destination on Callejón de la Condesa.

 

Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo

  • There are several museums that house the work and collections of these renowned Mexican artists.
  • The Anahuacalli is located in Coyoacán and was built as a museum by Rivera and Kahlo. Here you will find artifacts from many Mexican ancient civilizations and their history.
  • If you are looking for Rivera’s work then head to the Diego Rivera Mural Museum, located next to Almeda Central in the historic center. This museum is small but houses some of his greatest murals!
  • For the Frieda fans, you can enjoy a museum dedicated to her in the heart of Coyoacán. Rivera and Kahlo’s old home has been converted into the Frieda Kahlo museum where you can revel in her amazing art.

 

Chapultepec Park and Castle

  • It is worth spending a day in this ginormous park that houses many fun sights and activities.
  • The park itself is simply wonderful to walk through, but here you can also access the Zoo, Botanical Gardens, Castle and the famous Museum of Antropology.
  • It is definitely worth taking the walk up to and through the Chapultepec Castle. There is a small entry fee and probably a line, but the views from the castle are incredible.
  • You’ll enjoy the history, ornate rooms and magical gardens of this castle that used to house the emperors of Mexico.

 

Museum of Anthropology

  • You cannot come to Mexico City without exploring the incredible exhibits and architecture of the Museum of Anthropology found in the Chapultepec Park. .
  • The architecture buffs will love the incredible fountain just inside the museum, as well as the unique courtyard and outdoor areas for exhibits.
  • History lovers will be amazed by the large array of artifacts throughout the museum that take you through the evolution of man through the local history.
  • Be warned that much of the museum is in Spanish, but there are English translations for certain items. In any case, if you enjoy museums and history, you’ll love the incredible collection at the Museum of Anthropology.

 

Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

  • About an hour southeast of downtown, Xochimilco is a great experience for families, couples and friends.
  • You’ll have your choice of several companies willing to take you on the river. Don’t feel pressured to make a choice before you arrive, as many people on bikes will try to sell you before you even make it to the boats.
  • Once you’re on your boat, your guide will push you down the river where you’ll encounter vendors selling crafts and food, as well as mariachi bands that for a few pesos will come aboard your boat for a few songs.
  • Xochimilco makes for a colorful day where you can enjoy the weather and local flare.

 

Eating There

  • Mexico City is a foodie town where you will never go hungry! You can spend very little to a lot on a meal depending on your preference, but the food is always good!
  • Some of the best fun and eats will just happen upon you as you walk down the streets of Mexico City where you can find many local haunts with great food and drinks
  • Just southeast of the Zocalo you’ll stumble into La Merced, a large market where you can wander and eat like kings. You’ll get swept up in this maze of amazing food that will satisfy any tastebud.
  • Neighborhoods we enjoyed eating in included Polanco and La Condesa, but there is an ever rotating list of must eat restaurants popping up in Mexico City, so be sure to research and make reservations in advance for popular spots.

 

More Information

  • Some places will take USD in Mexico City, as well as credit/debit cards, but it is always best to keep some pesos on hand.
  • You can exchange money before you arrive or once you’re in country, we personally prefer to just take currency out of the ATM as we need it. Just make sure your bank won’t charge you extra for international cash withdrawals.
  • You should be able to drink the water in Mexico City due to its great filtration system, however if that makes you uncomfortable, you can buy bottled water!
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