Mexico City Travel Guide [y]

[y] Mexico City Visitors Guide

A city of wondrous architecture, rich culture and truly unique history, Mexico City is one of Latin America’s most acclaimed destinations. Mexico City boasts some of the world’s greatest museums as well as interesting cultural landmarks worth visiting and endless opportunities for shopping, dining, and nightlife to discover. From the city’s graceful cathedrals to its renowned parks and historic sites, Mexico City offers no shortage of amazing things to see and do.

Mexico City, the capital and largest city in Mexico, is located in Central Mexico. The epicenter of one of the world’s largest urban agglomerations, the city is crowded, diverse and packed with historical sites. Mexico City hosts a fairly warm and moderate climate and is divided into several boroughs, similar to New York City and London. It can easily be accessed by car, air or bus.

The city is home to a wide array of attractions and famed landmarks to see. The historic center of the city holds the Plaza de la Constitucion, one of the largest public squares in the entire world, as well as the magnificent Mexico City Cathedral. Another top cultural and historical site worth visiting is the Basilica de Guadalupe, one of the holiest places in Catholicism. The colorful Coyoacan district is home to a wealth of eclectic shops and galleries while Plaza Garibaldi-Mariachi hosts many of the city’s finest shops, restaurants and cafes. Other top landmarks worth seeing include the National Palace, the Plaza de las Tres Culturas and Templo Mayor, the historic site of a ruined Aztec temple.

Mexico City is also renowned for its world-class museums, galleries, and fascinating cultural institutions. From fine art to ancient culture, the city’s acclaimed museums offer something for everyone. The National Museum of Anthropology explores Mexico’s ancient indigenous cultures while the distinguished Fine Arts Palace Museum stands as one of the largest fine arts museum in Latin America. The Museum of Modern Art is yet another top destination to visit as are the fascinating National History Museum and the National Art Museum, one of the world’s finest collections of Mexican art. Other top museums and cultural institutions worth exploring include the San Carlos Museum and Mexico City’s Museum, the leading museum on the city’s rich history and heritage.

The city also boasts some of the world’s greatest urban parks and gardens. Chapultepec Park is the city’s premier central park, home to beautiful landscaping, stunning views and the acclaimed Chapultepec Zoo. Other great parks and gardens include Parque Espana, Parque Mexico and the idyllic Viveros de Coyoacan. One of the city’s most unique parks is Xochimlico, an extensive network of gardens and canals that date back to the Aztec period.

Mexico City Downtown Hotels

Downtown Mexico City blends the best of its rich history with the trends of today. The Centro Histórico, one of the capital’s 16 neighborhoods, abounds with numerous historic colonial, European sites and structures with origins in the 16th century. These buildings coupled with the narrow cobblestone streets have earned the status as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The area centers around the El Zocalo Square lined by the Palacio Nacional, cathedral and the ruins of the Aztec Tenochtitlan featuring the Templo Mayor.

Adjacent to the historic square resides the Mercado de Xochimilco and the culturally rich Museo Castillo de Chapultepec that provides spectacular views of the city. Hotels in the area are suited to meet the needs of leisure and business travelers. Many facilities feature historic, charming settings with inner Spanish patios. Modern amenities include wireless Internet services, fitness centers, business services, and luxurious swimming pools. Guests find accessible splendid dining options as well as venues for shopping near their accommodations and major attractions, enabling them to have a rich, pleasurable cultural experience. Downtown Hotel Service offers Hotels near Downtown Mexico City that are quality hotels at an affordable price.

Mexico City Weather

Know that Mexico City, Mexico offers a medley of colorful and vibrant events year-round to enrich the experience of any visitor. Discover festivals and celebrations that attract tremendous crowds from all over the world.

Enjoy regular concerts at the Foro Sol stadium, a spacious live concert and sporting venue accommodation up to 50,0000 people. Listen to splendid classical music at the refined Imperial Palace of Maximilian of Hapsburg, regarded for its acoustics and attracts, as well as beautiful operas at the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Spring
Witness the splendor and serenity of the Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations at Easter time. See the grand re-enactment of the Passion Play of Christ and Palm Sunday religious parades. Enjoy with your family the Children’s Day based in the historic district of Mexico City abounding with games and puppet shows. Get some cultures at the International Museum Day in May where over 100 cultural institutions throughout the city offer tours, workshops and other activities.

Summer
Revel in the splendor of the Saint Ana Festival featuring marching bands, lively crowds, fireworks as well as a medley of local delicacies. Feel like a movie star at the International Film Festival in July, a Hollywood-influenced event housed at the glamorous Plaza Condesa cinema. Feel joyous at the San Agustin de las Cuevas Festival where you can enjoy horses, folk dancing and savory cuisine.

Fall
Be a patriot at the Independence Day celebration in September commemorating the rebellion against the Spanish Empire. Shout with jubilant locals ‘Viva Mexico’ amongst a spectacular fireworks show. Indulge your playful curiosity at the Festival of Mime featuring silent shows and mime performances. Witness the solemn Day of the Dead Festival with offerings at vigils throughout Mexico City.

Winter
Rejoice at Christmas festivals and celebrations at seasonal markets abounding with local gifts and flowers and plants. Celebrate with the city at the Dia de la Bandera (Day of the Flag) in February that marks the city’s independence. Admire wonderful folk dancing at the Muestra Coreográfica Contemporánea (Exhibition of Contemporary Choreography) featuring performances throughout the Chapultepec district. Enjoy the sounds of cool at the Festival Eurojazz in March featuring a week of jazz at the Blas Galindo Auditorium.

Discover the splendid activities and events in Mexico City that abound with culture, life and wonderful food. Experience the setting through the eyes of the locals and, feel the rich traditions. Whether you come to Mexico City for business or pleasure, trust the city provides a bevy of activities to enrich your experience in this colorful place.

Mexico City Transportation

Air Travel: The overwhelming majority of international travelers will arrive in Mexico City by air. Although it is possible to land at the Licenciado Adolfo López Mateos International Airport, located roughly 50 miles south of Mexico City, the much busier and far more modern facility is the Benito Juárez International Airport. This major airport boasts international flights to most major cities around the world every day, and it is both modern and easy to navigate. After arrival, travelers will want to either take the metro directly from the airport or take a taxi from the designated spot. There are two terminals in the Benito Juárez International Airport, but a free shuttle operates between the two in case travelers need to arrive at one terminal and then leave from another.

Metro: Every day in Mexico City more than four million people use the Sistema de Transporte Colectivo, or metro. Anyone on a budget and planning to spend several days in Mexico City will want to familiarize themselves with the metro routes. Although very few of the signs in the stations are in English, the map itself is color-coded and very simple to understand. Everyone who travels on the metro will need to buy a ticket, and each ticket costs the same amount no matter where the passenger is going. To save time and hassle, it is recommended that visitors buy a few tickets at once since they do not expire. Although the metro can be very crowded and quite hot during the summer months, it is still much more affordable and efficient that any other means of transport in the city.

Buses: There are many different buses available in Mexico City. For those who are familiar with the layout of the city and who speak English, they can be a great way to get around. Unfortunately, the signposts are not always clear and speaking to the driver is often the only way to learn where a particular bus is going. Buses can also be slow during rush hours, so the metro is often a better choice for travelers.

Cars and Taxis: Perhaps the worst way to get around Mexico City is by driving a car. Traffic can be terrible, and many streets are not properly maintained. Many GPS systems are not accurate, and even maps may have entire streets left out. Parking is another concern, as safety cannot also be guaranteed unless drivers utilize expensive hotel parking lots. Taxis are reasonably priced, but when traffic is bad they will obviously be slow. Visitors may want to agree on a price before getting into a taxi.

Mexico City Attractions

Mexico City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico and the home to many of the country’s top cultural and historic attractions. For first-time visitors, a trip to Piramides de Teotihuacan is a must. Located in the San Juan Teotihuacan region of Mexico City, Piramides de Teotihuacan is a chance to step into the city’s Aztec past. It is an active archaeological site, so plan ahead if you want to see a specific structure. Another thing to keep in mind is that Teotihuacan is an open city with very little shade and a limited number of vendors, so bring water and sunhats if you plan to stay for a long time.

For a closer look at Mexico City and the country’s rich cultural history, head to the National Museum of Anthropology in Chapultepec Park. Locally known as Museo Nacional de Antropologia, the city’s National Museum of Anthropology houses a wide variety of fascinating artifacts and exhibits ranging from beautifully made ancient jewelry to incredibly well-preserved Aztec calendars. To avoid afternoon crowds and to have plenty of time to explore the museum’s 23 exhibit rooms, it’s a good idea to arrive in the morning. On your way out, take a break to enjoy folk dancers and other artists who perform in Chapultepec Park near the museum.

Mexico City is the perfect destination for anyone who is interested in learning about Central American History. The city’s historic sites are by no means limited to Piramides de Teotihuacan and the National Museum of Anthropology. Some of the other notable historic attractions include Castillo de Chapultepec, Museo Dolores Olmedo Patino, Palacio Nacional, and Museo del Templo Mayor. If you enjoy colonial architecture, don’t forget to stroll through the city’s Coyoacan neighborhood. Now one of Mexico City’s 16 boroughs, Coyocan is known for its original architecture that dates back for centuries. If you are a fan of art, don’t forget to stop in Frida Kahlo’s Coyoacan home known as La Casa Azul.

To experience Mexico City’s contemporary culture, you can catch a performance at the city’s top-performing arts hall known as Palacio de Bellas Artes. In fact, signs of Mexico City’s rich past and innovative present can be seen practically anywhere within the city limits. Gorgeous murals, colonial government buildings, unique street vendors and humbling religious sites make Mexico City one of the most popular destinations in Central America. Accommodations are available in every class and price range. While many hotels are centrally located, the extensive Mexico City Metro subway system is a great way to get around and avoid the city’s notorious above-ground traffic.

Mexico City Dining

Affordable Local Cuisine: One thing that many tourists miss out on while visiting Mexico City is the opportunity to try the real local cuisine. Start the day with a hot drink like atole, which is made with corn starch and chocolate. This is a typical breakfast for workers who are in a rush in the mornings, and it can be purchased by many of the local street vendors. Puestas are the name for the street vendors that have permanent stalls set up on the sidewalks, and most will specialize in one or two particular items. These puestas are the place to try classic Mexican dishes like tortas, tacos and burritos. Of all the puestas in Mexico City, Taquería Aguayo is the most popular among locals and definitely deserves a visit during any trip. The Mercado San Juan Arcos de Belem is another great option, as it is full of dozens of puestas selling delicious and affordable local cuisine.

Upscale Mexican Fare: Although there is no denying that some of the best food in Mexico city is served up by street vendors, there are also lots of opportunities to try upscale Mexican cuisine in a refined environment. There are several haciendas, or large estates, that have been renovated and now contain exceptional restaurants. A few examples include the Antigua Hacienda de Tlalpan and the Hacienda de los Morales. Perhaps the best formal Mexican dining establishment in Mexico City is located at the Sheraton Hotel in the Centro Historico. The Sheraton boasts El Cardenal, which is run by a top chef with training in the United States as well as France. The flavors of the dishes are unmistakably Mexican, but the presentation style is creative and refined. Other upscale dining options in Mexico city include Aguila y Sol and Los Girasoles.

International Restaurants in Mexico City: Most visitors to Mexico City, as well as most locals, will want to eat a diet primarily made up of Mexican cuisine. However, it would be a mistake to ignore the many restaurants that sell international fare as well as local favorites. El Globo, for example, is a chain of French bakeries with locations throughout the city. It offers exceptional pastries and bread that rival those found in Paris. Asian cuisine is also available in abundance within Mexico City, with Chinese food being the most popular and the most affordable. Even Japanese sushi is available at several restaurants in the area. At chain restaurants like Toks or Sanborns, the menu offers both traditional Mexican dishes and classic international favorites like hamburgers, pizza, and pasta.

Mexico City Events

Know that Mexico City, Mexico offers a medley of colorful and vibrant events year-round to enrich the experience of any visitor. Discover festivals and celebrations that attract tremendous crowds from all over the world.

Enjoy regular concerts at the Foro Sol stadium, a spacious live concert and sporting venue accommodation up to 50,0000 people. Listen to splendid classical music at the refined Imperial Palace of Maximilian of Hapsburg, regarded for its acoustics and attracts, as well as beautiful operas at the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Spring
Witness the splendor and serenity of the Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations at Easter time. See the grand re-enactment of the Passion Play of Christ and Palm Sunday religious parades. Enjoy with your family the Children’s Day based in the historic district of Mexico City abounding with games and puppet shows. Get some cultures at the International Museum Day in May where over 100 cultural institutions throughout the city offer tours, workshops and other activities.

Summer
Revel in the splendor of the Saint Ana Festival featuring marching bands, lively crowds, fireworks as well as a medley of local delicacies. Feel like a movie star at the International Film Festival in July, a Hollywood-influenced event housed at the glamorous Plaza Condesa cinema. Feel joyous at the San Agustin de las Cuevas Festival where you can enjoy horses, folk dancing and savory cuisine.

Fall
Be a patriot at the Independence Day celebration in September commemorating the rebellion against the Spanish Empire. Shout with jubilant locals ‘Viva Mexico’ amongst a spectacular fireworks show. Indulge your playful curiosity at the Festival of Mime featuring silent shows and mime performances. Witness the solemn Day of the Dead Festival with offerings at vigils throughout Mexico City.

Winter
Rejoice at Christmas festivals and celebrations at seasonal markets abounding with local gifts and flowers and plants. Celebrate with the city at the Dia de la Bandera (Day of the Flag) in February that marks the city’s independence. Admire wonderful folk dancing at the Muestra Coreográfica Contemporánea (Exhibition of Contemporary Choreography) featuring performances throughout the Chapultepec district. Enjoy the sounds of cool at the Festival Eurojazz in March featuring a week of jazz at the Blas Galindo Auditorium.

Discover the splendid activities and events in Mexico City that abound with culture, life and wonderful food. Experience the setting through the eyes of the locals and, feel the rich traditions. Whether you come to Mexico City for business or pleasure, trust the city provides a bevy of activities to enrich your experience in this colorful place.

Family Fun near Downtown Mexico City

As one of the world’s biggest cities, Mexico City provides a large selection of attractions and destinations for tons of family fun. Learn about the culture and history of Mexico all while having a blast doing so. Children and adults from all over will find amusement parks, skating rinks and museums that will provide them with hours of enjoyment during each day of their stay.

El Museo del Niño
El Museo del Niño is an interactive, hands-on museum aimed towards families with young children. Children will learn through play in a number of exhibits that allow them to host their very own radio show, go shopping in a fun grocery store and even lay down on a bed of nails. An IMAX movie theater can also be found within El Museo del Niño that features regularly scheduled educational movie showtimes themed around science, technology, history, culture and more.

El Museo Nacional de Historia
El Museo Nacional de Historia is the Natural History Museum of Mexico. Here you will find many different exhibits that each feature precious artifacts discovered by archaeologists from all around the world. The museum can be found directly inside of Chapultepec Castle within Chapultepec Park. Learn about Mexican history from the beginning of the Spanish Empire to the Revolution of 1910. A beautiful garden area can also be found at El Museo Nacional de Historia.

Parque Zoologico de Chapultepec
Parque Zoologico de Chapultepec is one of the largest and best zoos within Mexico. Located in Chapultepec Park, adults and children alike will enjoy walking around the zoo and visiting a number of different animals in their own habitat exhibits. Visitors can see everything from giant pandas and elephants to giraffes and lions within the Mexico City Zoo.

Parque Acuático El Rollo
Parque Acuático El Rollo is a fun-filled water park that will provide guests with hours of fun in the sun. From adventurous water slides to relaxing activities, all families will find something to enjoy at Parque Acuático El Rollo. Relax along the sand, splash about in the wave pool or make your way down thrilling slides for single, couple and group riders. The most popular attractions at this water park include Surfing and Las Olas and La Cascada.

Six Flags México
Six Flags México is the largest amusement park in all of Latin America. When looking to enjoy a day full of excitement with the family, there is no better attraction to visit. Themed areas provide rides for adults, children and families. From jaw-dropping roller coasters to the ever-popular carousel, Six Flags México has it all.

Shopping near Downtown Mexico City

Shopping Malls: Although traditionally shopping in Mexico was done in large outdoor markets, since the 1960s Mexico City has had an influx of large shopping malls that appeal to both local residents and international travelers. Shopping malls range from large and full of affordable Mexican stores to small, exclusive and brimming with clothing from upscale international designers. Antara Polanco, in the western part of Mexico City, is one such example of the small, trendy and upscale shopping mall. The mall is carefully landscaped, boasts dozens of upscale clothing and jewelry stores and is very popular with wealthy visitors. Malls like Reforma 222, Parque Lindavista and Centro Coyoacan are more affordable and have a more local feel.

Boutique Shopping: For those who would rather skip the large generic shopping malls and walk along pedestrian outdoor shopping streets, Mexico City has plenty of options. Centro Historico may be the oldest part of the city and the most historic, but it is also home to several bustling department stores that are located on 20 de Noviembre Street. Those who are searching for luxury brands will want to visit Polanco. On Polanco’s streets like Campos Eliseos and Presidente Masaryk, there are dozens of haute couture shops like Chanel and Prada. In Condesa, many of the pedestrian-friendly clothing stores are small and offer one of a kind pieces, making it a fun place to explore for shopping enthusiasts.

Antiques and Collectibles: One of the great things about shopping in Mexico City is that there are countless chances to find antiques, collectibles and art for surprisingly low prices. Although visitors can find vendors selling these items throughout the city, the best place to get a variety of items for sale is by attending one of the many flea markets. Saturdays are the busiest days for these markets, and places like the Bazar del Sábado and Mercado de Artesanias are only open on that one day of the week. Those who are in the market for locally made arts and crafts will want to check out the variety of vendors at places like the Mercado de Artesanias and the Mercado Insurgentes.

Groceries and Markets: Many visitors coming to Mexico City opt to book self-catering accommodation, meaning that they will need to buy and prepare their own meals during the vacation. The largest supermarkets to find local and international products are chain stores like Chedraui, Soriana, Superama and City Market. To get a more traditional experience, and to find upscale ingredients from around the world, head instead to the Mercado de San Juan by the Salto del Agua metro station.