Visiting Mexico City - What to See and Do
(Mexico City Benito Juarez International Airport MEX, Mexico)
The sprawling metropolis of Mexico City
is built upon the dry bedrock of Lake Texcoco, where it is seemingly surrounded on all sides by mountainous landscape. This is by far the most advanced city in Mexico
, surpassing New York
as the largest metropolis in North America
. It is traditionally seen as the gateway into Mexico. However, bypassing this fascinating city is simply not an option. There are just too many things to see and do.
Sightseeing in the downtown area will take more than a day, as plenty of ancient and fresh attractions dot Mexico City's landscape. Tourists usually begin at the Plaza de la Constitucion, in the Historic Downtown area. From here, visitors can stream through the arterial streets, stopping at major landmarks like the daunting Cathedral and Basilica of Guadalupe.
The dynamic sights and sounds of the Ciudadela Crafts Market blossom daily, while modern shopping malls line the streets of the downtown area. Don't think for a second that the fun stops after the sun goes down. The night scene across Mexico City is tremendous. From the modern venues of Santa Fe to the lively clubs of Polanco, this city has what it takes to entertain tourists 24 hours a day.
Ten things you must do in Mexico City
- Templo Mayo is an ancient Aztec temple that resides beneath the modern-day landscape of Mexico City. Tours of this archaeological site are available and are definitely recommended for all tourists. Many of the artefacts found in the earlier digs are on display at the Templo Mayo Museum, behind the site.
- Tour the spectacular cathedral, which stands as the largest in the Americas. This 16th-century attraction rivals its European counterparts in size, strength, reputation and beauty. Tours of the upper floors and the bell towers are the most popular activities for tourists. Visitors can take in a bird's eye view of the neighbouring plaza. Inside the cathedral, remember to check out the pure gold alter at the top of the nave.
- Embrace the cultural diversity of Mexico in the lively Ciudadela Crafts Market. Tourists can find a plethora of varied cultural products on display. Some of the items can be purchased and make for excellent souvenirs. Haggling is an art form and one that should be practiced when trying to buy products from this crafts market.
- Marvel at man's astonishing architectural prowess from the very top of the Torre Mayor. This skyscraper is the tallest building in Central America and naturally provides stunning views of Mexico City. However, the city is renowned for its pollution levels, which at times can reduce the visibility from atop the Torre Mayor.
- Take the whole family for a day out at Six Flags Mexico. This is the country's largest and most-thrilling amusement park, located just a few kilometres to the south-west of downtown Mexico City. Heart-stopping rollercoasters and thrill rides dot the park, but visitors with a weak stomach can also find plenty of activities to keep a smile on their face.
- One of the more historical sites in the city is the National Palace. Built as early as 1693, this monumental landmark can be toured by visitors. An entire history of Mexico is found upon the interior murals of the palace, stretching as far back as pre-Columbian times. It is also possible to uncover the home of Benito Juarez while visiting the palace.
- Capture the beauty of Mexico City's most outstanding architectural landmark, the Postal Palace. Even though it was only built in 1906, the delicate interior has placed this site onto the National Heritage Building list. The attraction is open for tourists between 08:00 and 22:00 Monday to Friday, and at the weekends between 09:00 and 17:00.
- Mexico's art scene is still alive and well in the capital. The National Art Museum is home to a permanent collection of the country's greatest artists. In addition, plenty of regional artists are also exhibited here in temporary collections. Of note, the museum opens its doors to the public without charge on Sundays.
- Ancient Mexico is displayed within the Museum of Anthropology, which happens to be one of the world's finest museums. Put aside several hours to see everything that this attraction has to offer. This is why the museum doesn't close until 19:00. Even exhibitions from other Latin nations are also held here.
- The large Chapultepec Park rests in the heart of Mexico City and incorporates plenty of attractions. The Chapultepec Castle can be toured, as can the Modern Art Museum and Children's Museum, which are all located onsite. The city zoo, complete with numerous local and regional wildlife, is another popular attraction found within the park.