Mexico is a fantastic city that offers a range of activities to people who visit it. From pristine beaches to parks and museums, there are a lot of tourist attractions in Mexico City (Ciudad de México) to be seen and experienced. Things to do in Mexico City consists of visiting historic attractions such as Muse De Templo Mayor, Chapultepec Castle, Palace of Fine arts and Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
While the attractions are strewn around the city but most of them are concentrated in the historic point of interest, including the Plaza de la Constitucion or Zocalo, the National Palace (Palacio Nacional), Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana), Templo Mayor, and Alameda Park. The city is populated with attractions that will acquaint you with the ancient past embedded in the form of ruins such as those of Hispanic towns. As you move ahead, you will hop to the colonial past through numerous temples, beautiful houses, patios with arches and water fountains. For those who are interested in visiting museums, they can visit National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropologia), Museum of memory and Tolerance, Museo De Soumaya and Frida Kahlo museum amongst others.
Here's is the list of top things to do in Mexico City :
1. Learn about the fascinating Aztecas at Museo Nacional de Antropologia
The largest and the most-visited museum in Mexico, Museo Nacional de Antropologia, also known as The National Museum of Anthropology, is a place known for its outstanding collection of significant archaeological and anthropological artifacts from Mexico's pre-Columbian heritage. The most popular gems in this astounding collection are the Stone of the Sun (or the Aztec calendar stone) and the Aztec Xochipilli statue. A widespread choice on the list of things to do in Mexico City, the best way to make the most of Museo Nacional de Antropologia is by opting for the free one-hour guided tours.
2. Admire the breathtaking murals by legendary artists at Palacio de Bellas Artes
One of Mexico City’s popular tourist attractions, Palacio de Bellas Artes is an elegant structure boasting of an ornate, white Carrara marble façade and breathtaking interiors. A prominent cultural center in Mexico City, it is a renowned venue for hosting programs, shows, events and exhibitions spanning across the fields of art, music, dance, theatre, opera and literature. The building is best known for its spectacular murals by legends like Diego Rivera, Siqueiros and many others.
3. Discover more about the religion and culture of Aztecas at Templo Mayor
An ancient Aztec temple dedicated to the Huitzilopochtli, god of war, and Tlaloc, god of rain and agriculture, Templo Mayor consists of two shrines built atop a pyramidal structure. Located in the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, it was a focal point of the Aztec religion. The pyramid was razed following the Spanish Conquest and was buried beneath 19th century CE colonial buildings in downtown Mexico City. The structure that we see today is a result of the excavations at this site which began in the late 1970s. Probably the most popular and most revered Aztec monument, the Templo Mayor has to be one of the top attractions in Mexico City.
4. Take a tour of the only royal castle in North America at Chapultepec Castle
The residence of Mexican Emperor Maxmilian I and Empress Carlota from 1864, the Chapultepec Castle is located on top of Chapultepec Hill. The word Chapultepec means "at the grasshopper's hill" and the site was a sacred place for Aztecs. Though abandoned during the Mexican War of Independence, the castle rose to fame again when it became the site of the deaths of the Niños Héroes, or “the hero children,” who died defending it in 1847 during the Mexican-American war. After being in the eye of the storm for quite a few decades, the castle was declared as seat for the National Museum of History in 1939. The Chapultepec Castle was also the site for the filming of Baz Luhrmann’s wildly successful Romeo Juliet film, thus making it one of primary points of interest in Mexico City.
5. Witness the Aztec ethos come to life at Zócalo
A prominent plaza in the Mexico City, Zócalo is also known as the Plaza de la Constitución. The word Zocalo means plinth or pedestal, and the plaza was so named when a pedestal was set up in the center of Mexico City's main square to create a base for a monument to commemorate Mexican independence. Though the monument never got constructed, the square itself retained the name as Zócalo. The plaza is located over the ruins of the Aztec capital city Tenochtitlan and is a center point of the city. Today, this square is a hub of tourists looking forward to witnessing the Aztec culture. With dancers and performers wearing typical Aztec garments and accessories and chanting in Náhuatl gracing the area, Zócalo is indeed one of the things that you have to do in Mexico City.
6. Absorb the essence of Mexico City by walking across Paseo de la Reforma
One of Mexico’s most iconic avenues, the Paseo de la Reforma is an impressive street that runs diagonally across the heart of Mexico City. Modeled after the great boulevards of Europe by architect Ferdinand von Rosenzweig in the 1860s. Housing many of Mexico's tallest buildings such as the Torre Mayor, Paseo de la Reforma is one of the fascinating places to visit in Mexico City. Traversing across many of the city’s significant financial and business districts, this boulevard takes you from the downtown area all the way to the famous Chapultepec Park.
7. Get to know about the life and works of Frida Kahlo at The Frida Kahlo Museum
Museo Frida Kahlo, also known as La Casa Azul, or The Blue House is a historic house and an art museum dedicated to the life and work of world-renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Located in Coyoacán in Mexico City the house is the birthplace of Kahlo, the place where she spent her life with her husband Diego Rivera, and also the place where she died. Today, Museo Frida Kahlo displays a staggeringly huge collection of the couple’s artwork and as well as pre-Hispanic artifacts, photographs, memorabilia, and personal items. Undoubtedly, this museum is one of the most popular places of interest in Mexico City for art enthusiasts and history buffs.
8. Appreciate colonial legacy at Coyoacán
Coyoacán, or ‘the place of coyotes,’ in Nahuatle, is a quirky yet a serene neighborhood whose independent vibe and historic personality makes it stand out from the rest of the neighborhoods in Mexico City. Filled with plenty of museums, cafés, bookstores, parks and markets, there is something of interest for every tourist, irrespective of the age, visiting this locality. From the distinct architecture to the abundance of greenery, there is nothing to find fault with in Coyoacán. Home to some of the prominent tourist attractions in Mexico City like The Frida Kahlo Museum, Museo Nacional de las Intervenciones, Mercado de Coyoacán and Zoológico Los Coyotes, this neighborhood gives you a chance to experience the best of the city, all at one place.
9. Boat through the canals at Xochimilco
Often known as the Venice of Mexico City, Xochimilco is a locality that has been founded on a network of lakes and rivers. Full of waterways and floating islands, a trip to Xochimilco is definitely one of the most unusual things to do in Mexico City. Enjoy live Mexican music, eat in floating restaurants, explore historic churches, visit art museums and most importantly, boat across the canals when in Xochimilco!
10. Catedral Metropolitana
An impressively towering structure, the Catedral Metropolitana is the first and largest cathedral in the Americas. Mexico City’s most iconic structure, the construction of this cathedral was started in 1573 and went on in phases till 1813 and thus incorporates numerous architectural styles. Nearly all the stone used in the construction of this cathedral came from the demolition of Temple Mayor after Hernan Cortez and other Spanish conquerors tore down the Aztec temples and converted them into churches. Today, Catedral Metropolitana houses 16 chapels, numerous alters, a parish church replete with gold, paintings, and sculptures, and 25 bells measuring in tons. A visit to this cathedral is one of the things that you have to do in Mexico City.
11. Relive the journey from Mexican civilization to present-day at Palacio Nacional
Located in Mexico City’s central square, Palacio Nacional frames the entire east side of the Zócalo. Decorated with murals and adorned with paintings, the present-day structure was built by Cortes in 1521. Today, the palace is home to numerous prominent offices, including those of the president of Mexico and the Federal Treasury. The most popular attraction at this palace is the Campana de Dolores, the bell rung in the town of Dolores Hidalgo by Padre Miguel Hidalgo in 1810 at the start of the War of Independence. The Palacio Nacional is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Mexico City.
12. Snap photos of the El Angel de la Independencia
Touted to be the symbol of Mexico’s capital, El Angel de la Independencia is officially known as Monumento a la Independencia. Built in 1910 during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz to commemorate the centennial of the beginning of Mexico's War of Independence, this statue is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Mexico City. Located on the Paseo de la Reforma, El Angel de la Independencia is essentially a quadrangular structure with each vertex featuring a bronze sculpture symbolizing law, war, justice and peace. The golden statue of the Greek god Victory towers above these figures and celebrates the struggle for independence from Spanish colonizers.
13. See the miraculous Virgin at Basílica de Guadelupe
An important Catholic shrine in the Mexico City, Basilica of Guadalupe is one of the most visited churches in the world. Constructed between 1974 and 1976, the current Basilica was built with a circular floorplan so that Virgin can be seen from any point within the edifice. Basílica de Guadelupe is also known as La Villa de Guadalupe or, La Villa, as it has several churches and related structures. A significant pilgrimage site, this place is one of the top attractions in Mexico City and draws tourists from all over the world.
14. Get ready to be freaked out at La Isla de la Muñecas
One of the most unusual things to do in Mexico City, La Isla de la Muñecas was never mean to be a tourist attraction. La Isla de la Muñecas, literally translated means Island of the Dolls. Deriving its name from the fact that hundreds of eerie, decomposed dolls hang from trees there, this island was created as a dedication to the lost soul of a girl who is said to have drowned in the nearby lake. An island resident Don Julian Santana is said to have collected creepy dolls from the canal and trash and hung them over the entire island.
15. Learn about the life of Marxist revolutionary Trotsky at Museo Casa de León Trotsky
Formerly the home of Marxist revolutionary León Trotsky, Museo Casa de León Trotsky is a museum dedicated to this leader. This is also the house where he was murdered by a Spanish Stalin supporter due to his criticism of Joseph Stalin's government. Even today, the house has been kept as it was at that time and visitors can see the study in which Ramón Mercader killed Trotsky with an ice axe. Trotsky’s personal items as well as the tomb containing the ashes of both Trotsky and his wife can be viewed by the visitors at this museum. Due to the immense political significance of Trotsky and his work, Museo Casa de León Trotsky is one of the popular tourist attractions in Mexico.
16. Lose yourselves in the city of books at Biblioteca Vasconcelos
A gigantic library in the downtown of Mexico City, Biblioteca Vasconcelos is a humungous collection of books which is dedicated to José Vasconcelos, the philosopher and former presidential candidate of Mexico. Spread across 38,000 square meters, this library holds around 470,000 books! Known for its unique architecture of suspended bookshelves, Biblioteca Vasconcelos designed by Alberto Kalach and featuring transparent walls is one of the popular things to do in Mexico City for bibliophiles.
17. Relive history at Plaza de las Tres Culturas
Plaza de las Tres Culturas translated in English means the plaza of three cultures. It is so named due to the fact that three periods of Mexican history are reflected through the buildings in the plaza - the Aztec pyramids of Tlatelolco, the 17th-century Spanish Templo de Santiago and the contemporary tower that houses the Centro Cultural Universitario. This is one of the best things to do in Mexico City, apart from the Chapultepec Castle, for those who want to relive the transformation of this area from Aztec era to present-day.
18. Stroll around Espacio Escultórico
Espacio Escultórico is a sculptural masterpiece right in the heart of the Mexico City. Designed by the talented sculptor Federico Silva in 1979, it was constructed with the aim of combining arts and nature in one public space. Located in the campus of Ciudad Universitaria, Espacio Escultórico consists of a volcanic rock ring with black lava soil in the center surrounded by uniformly placed rectangular structures. This entire masterpiece represents the cosmos with reference to the pre-Hispanic culture. Indeed, one of the most unusual things to do in Mexico City, a walk around Espacio Escultórico will be a refreshing experience for sure.
19. Be mesmerized by different art forms at Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros
A private museum which accommodates multiple artistic, cultural, social and political expressions, Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros is a facility located in Mexico City as part of the World Trade Center Mexico City. The primary point of attraction at this private museum is the largest mural work in the world called ‘La Marcha de la Humanidad’ that is housed inside it. Apart from the theatre and galleries inside Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros, the Forum Universal containing the interior portion of David Alfaro Siqueiros' mural work is a major crowd-puller. The reason why this museum is counted among the best things to do in Mexico City is that visitors can experience the mural while standing on a rotating stage, listening to Siqueiros narration!
20. Spend some time amidst wilderness at Parque Nacional Desierto de Los Leones
The Desierto de los Leones National Park is located in the Sierra de las Cruces mountain range west of the city center. Though people might be confused about the use of the word ‘desert’ in the context of a national park, the word is used here to refer to the wild, unpopulated area rather than the barren eco-system. The forest consists mainly of pines, oyamel firs and holm oaks vegetation and also houses many brooks, ravines and waterfalls within its periphery. It also consists of numerous hermitages which were built with the purpose of having a place far away from the city for relaxation and meditation. For those craving for a secluded and a peaceful place, this is a primary point of interest in the Mexico City.
21. Absorb the essence of the Mexican Muralism Movement at San Ildefonso College
A museum and cultural center in Mexico City, San Ildefonso College hosts numerous permanent and temporary art and archeological exhibitions. Also boasting of murals painted on its walls by José Clemente Orozco, Fernando Leal, Diego Rivera and other talented artists, San Ildefonso College is considered to be the birthplace of the Mexican muralism movement. One of the top attractions in Mexico City for art enthusiasts, San Ildefonso College is simply surreal!
22. Walk down the sculpture galleries at Museo De Soumaya
Designed by the Mexican architect Fernando Romero, Museo De Soumaya is a private museum in Mexico City housing 66,000 works from 30 centuries of art including sculptures from Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica, works by European legends such as Auguste Rodin, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Salvador Dalí, and Tintoretto, and 19th- and 20th-century Mexican art. Considered to be most visited art museum in Mexico, Museo De Soumaya is one of the things that you have to do in Mexico City!
23. Chill and party at Zona Rosa
One of the popular things to do in Mexico City at night, Zona Rosa is a Bohemian neighborhood attracting all types of tourists due to its lively scene and welcoming vibe. Renowned for its vibrant and electric nightlife, Zona Rosa is home to a huge plethora of bars, karaoke places, pubs and dance clubs which are full of people grooving to the peppy music. Thanks to its lively restaurant scene, Zona Rosa is also one of the well-known places to eat in Mexico City.
24. Take a trip back in the Holocaust era at Museo de la Memoria y Tolerancia
Museo de la Memoria y Tolerancia (Museum of Memory and Tolerance) does a fantastic job at explaining how the city's Jewish population mushroomed during the mid-20th-century. Established with the aim of spreading awareness about the values of diversity and tolerance based on historical memory through the use of interactive displays, presentations and genocide exhibitions, this museum evokes the memory of the Holocaust by recreating the memories of the survivors. A somber place which is one of the unusual things to do in Mexico City, a trip to this museum is surely enlightening.
25. Have a grand time at Polanco
One of the most upscale neighborhoods in Mexico City, Polanco is home to numerous luxury shopping destinations, opulent hotels and restaurants, museums as well as embassies. A happening area in the city, Polanco is flooded with tourists as well as locals and is deemed as one of the popular places to visit in Mexico City. A great place to make the most of your Mexico City vacation, head to Polanco for a grand time!