Anyone visiting Mexico City is instantly captivated by the cultural riches of this magical city. Its charisma, tradition, history, and gastronomy make the Mexican capital a metropolis full of adventures suitable for all types of travelers. As one of the largest cities in Latin America, Mexico City has an endless list of attractions. From restaurants considered among the best in the world and/or in Latin America, to pre-Columbian monuments, Aztec history, its colonial heritage, to their theater, artistic and cultural movements, and family attractions, this city offers a full compass of exploration and discovery that never ceases to amaze you at every turn.
With seven Hilton properties located around the city, you can find the perfect place for your stay, whether you’re in town for business or on vacation with your partner, friends or family. Being such a bustling destination, there is a long list of activities of things to do and see and experience, which can make it a little overwhelming to narrow down and choose. To assist you with this endeavor, we have created a list of the 12 best places and things to do to make the most of your visit to this charming city.
#1. Explore the historical center
Begin your journey through Mexico City by touring the historic center. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this area of the city is where you can find the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts)as well as the Palacio de Correos (Post Office Palace), which are revered as architectural icons of the country. Walk through Madero, one of the busiest streets in the country, and enjoy its colonial history and culture, watching the various street performers, and do not hesitate to make a pitstop at one of the many restaurants or bars that are found throughout the area.
#2. Visit the Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral)
When you stand in front of the largest cathedral in the Americas, you will have no choice but to admire its imposing façade. Its history goes back to 1573, when its construction first began, and was completed in 1813, and thus the structure itself carries so much of Mexico’s history within. Go and marvel at its dome as it’s the perfect spot for a breathtaking photograph, which was created by Manuel Tolsa, and considered to be one of its most striking elements.
#3. Take a stroll along Xochimilco
Known as the Venice of Mexico, Xochimilco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 for its great respect for nature. Take a walk through its canals in a traditional trajinera, and during your tour you can find several boats with mariachis, trio rancheros, or marimbas, to liven up your afternoon. During your visit make sure to go through the Isle of the Dolls, which albeit a little scary, does have an interesting story behind it that shouldn’t be missed.
#4. Visit the Bosque de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Park)
Located in the heart of the city, the Bosque de Chapultepec is a 1,700-acre park, where you can spend an entire day getting lost among its endless offering of adventures and activities. From museums, fountains, a zoo, a fair, monuments, auditoriums and sports areas, there is something for everyone.
#5. Walk along the Paseo de la Reforma and meet the Angel of Independence
One of the most important streets in the entire city’s landscape, Paseo de la Reforma has everything you are looking for during your stay. From museums, parks, shops and restaurants, this avenue is a main artery of the city and takes you deep into the heart of Mexican culture. It will take you directly to the Angel of Independence, an emblematic sculpture measuring 52 meters in height, which you can climb to see sweeping panoramic views of the city.
Frida Kahlo is one of the most famous artists from Mexico, as well as from Latin America. Her life and great love story have crossed borders, reaching the hearts of people around the world for her remarkable perseverance despite all the obstacles she faced in her life. Kahlo has become an icon of female talent and someone who gives great pride to the Mexican people. Located in the heart of her favorite neighborhood in Coyoacán, you will find Casa Azul (Blue House), known as the Museo de Frida Kahlo (Frida Kahlo Museum), which is really the house where she lived with her husband, fellow artist Diego Rivera. As soon as you enter the house, you are greeted with some of her most important works, such asViva la Vida and Frida and her caesarean section, as well as read some of her diaries, see the mirror used to create many of her works, her clothing, and even the bed where the acclaimed artist slept.
#7. Discover Coyoacán and San Ángel
If you visit the Frida Kahlo Museum, don’t miss the opportunity to really get to know Coyoacán. Named the magical neighborhood of Mexico City since 2011, this area has retained its colonial design over the years, including its narrow streets and colorful squares. Here you can find the Museo Casa de León Trotsky (Museum House of Leon Trotsky) or also the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares(National Museum of Popular Cultures), and even the heritage of the University City decorated with murals by Diego Rivera and other artists. You can visit the Centennial Garden and the Plaza Hidalgo and then a stop in San Ángel is a must, where you will be enchanted by its cobblestone streets and large number of cafes around the Plaza San Jacinto.
#8 Visit Garibaldi Plaza
Who doesn’t get excited by the sound of a mariachi’s trumpets or hasn’t sung “but I’m still the king” at the top of his lungs? In Garibaldi Square, you can do just that and much more. Sing your favorite rancheras along with the mariachis who convene and perform in the square, and if you want to continue the party, you can visit some of the bars that line this magical neighborhood where music is part of daily life.
#9 Visit the murals of the Palacio Nacional (National Palace)
When you look at the murals of artist Diego Rivera at the National Palace, you are witnessing Mexican history. On the same balcony that you step out into while visiting the palace, is where priest Manuel Hidalgo rang the bell for the very first time that called for the armed movement, and ultimately led to the country’s independence. To this day, every year the Mexican president looks to that balcony to give the “cry” in commemoration of that day.
#10 Discover Mexico’s museums
Mexico City is home to the most museums, at a total of 150, so no trip to this city would be complete without taking advantage of the cultural wealth offered by the city. Do not forget to pay a visit to the Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Museum of Anthropology), one of the largest in Mexico and Latin America, which includes 23 exhibit rooms, and has the famous Aztec sun stone (Piedra del Sol) on display. Another museum that you should consider is the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (University Museum of Contemporary Art), which includes exhibits by national and international artists, film presentations, and stage art. Take the opportunity to stop at the Museo Nacional de Arte (National Museum of Art), located in the center of the city, where the history of Mexican art is told from the mid-sixteenth century to the first half of the twentieth century. Inside the Bosque de Chapultepec, next to Paseo de la Reforma, you will find the Museo de Arte Moderno (Museum of Modern Art), where you can see works from popular world renowned artists, such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, and Julio Castellanos, among others. Finally, we recommend you to stop into the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes (Museum of the Palace of Fine Arts), where you will find several murals developed by local artists and you can take advantage of exciting temporary exhibitions.
#11 Explore the Polanco neighborhood
Polanco is one of the busiest neighborhoods in the city because it has a wide range of restaurants, parks, shops, and bars that cater to different tastes and travelers. From fine dining options and outstanding restaurants to more casual places with large terraces, here you can find the ideal place to enjoy a relaxing afternoon with some of the best offerings of Mexican gastronomy.
#12 Take a bike tour through Condesa and Roma
One of the best things you can do is tour the city like a local, by bike. In order to do so, you should start by navigating the Condesa (Countess) and Roma (Rome) neighborhoods, with its tree-lined avenues, art deco-style apartments and art nouveau mansions, as its distinctive European style will invite you to explore. Also, with so many cafes, bistros, and taquerias, you will always find a good place to grab a delicious bite to liven up your excursion.
These are just some of the places and things to do that are not to be missed the next time you are in Mexico City. Its essence, history, culture, and traditions, besides being a culinary mecca, offer endless roads of exploration and routes to travel, enriching and nourishing each one of your senses. It is a city of so many riches that it will be easy to fall deeply in love with it, leaving you wanting to visit it again and again.