The Best Things to Do in Mexico City
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
The old, the new, and the scarcely imagined sit side by side in Mexico City, and no one blinks an eye. The more you can be curious about that balance—and the more you can achieve it yourself—the better you'll understand and enjoy this magical city.
Mosqueta, Eje 1 Nte. S/N, Buenavista, 06350 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Simply put, Biblioteca de México José Vasconelos (not to confuse with Biblioteca Vasconcelos) is my favorite place in Mexico City. It hosts five beautiful book collections that belonged to famous Mexican writers, and it is a treasure trove of...
Plaza de la Constitución S/N, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Set atop an ancient Aztec site, the spires of the Metropolitan Cathedral can be seen from miles around. Construction began in the 1500's and it took around two centuries to build. While the building is impressive from any vantage point, it is the...
Calle Salvador Díaz Mirón S/N, Sta María la Ribera, 06400 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Forever on the verge of being the next big target of gentrification, the district known as Santa María la Ribera—northwest of downtown—retains its neighborhoody, down-at-the-heels charms. Its streets are home to a mix of...
Av. Juárez, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06050 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández is Mexico’s oldest, finest, and most celebrated dance company. Dancer and choreographer Hernández founded the company in 1952 to preserve Mexico’s dance...
Plaza de la Constitución S/N, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06066 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Mexico's Palacio Nacional (National Palace) is full of history, both inside and out. The site itself dates back to the age of the Aztecs, with some of the building materials literally as old as Montezuma. It's a grand building, both in scale and...
Calle Isabel la Catolica 21, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
The splendid neoclassical church of San Felipe Neri (commonly called “La Profesa”), whose present structure was completed in 1720, is a gem in Mexico’s bustling downtown that many visitors never see, with a balanced, harmonious...
Seminario 8, Centro Histórico, Cuauhtémoc, 06060 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
When you have fantastic ancient Aztec ruins located smack-dab in the middle of the city, you have no excuse but to go see them. So, if you’re visiting Mexico City, you have to go to Templo Mayor. Templo Mayor was one of the main temples of...
Justo Sierra 16, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06020 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Mexico City has no shortage of museums—in fact, it's second only to Paris in the total number of cultural institutions that are open to the public—and many of them are free. Art lovers may find it challenging to narrow down the museums to...
Lázaro Cárdenas, Tlatelolco, 06900 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
One of Mexico City’s most historic neighborhoods—a once-independent city-state politically joined to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan—Tlatelolco is a fascinating side trip few tourists make. At its center lies the...
Calle del Mercado 133, San Jerónimo, 16420 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Xochimilco was originally on a lake with a causeway to the ancient city of Tenochtitlan. Now a day trip outside Mexico City, it is known for its flower market. Climb aboard one of these lovely trajineras and spend the afternoon floating among the...
Historic center of Mexico City, Centro, 06000 Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico
A long layover in an exciting city, like Mexico City, can actually become an unanticipated highlight of your trip. I had a long layover in Mexico City, but the flight got there early in the morning and I went ahead and had a cab drop me off at the...
Londres 247, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
You can't go to Mexico City and not know who Frida Kahlo is. My friend suggested I read up on her before she comes up in conversation. Locals are very proud of their talented artist, Frida Kahlo. I didn't make it inside because there was a long...
Gral. Francisco Ramírez 12-14, Ampliación Daniel Garza, Amp Daniel Garza, 11840 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Though from Guadalajara (he never let friends forget), Pritzker Prize–winning architect Luis Barragán lived much of his life in Mexico City, where he designed and constructed this, his last residence, completed in 1948. A UNESCO World...
Gobernador Rafael Rebollar 94, San Miguel Chapultepec I Secc, 11850 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Perhaps Mexico City's most popular gallery–a superlative it seized and has held pretty much since it opened in its own space near Bosque Chapultepec in 2008 (previously, it chose spaces around the city based on each...
Gral. Francisco Ramírez 5, Ampliación Daniel Garza, Daniel Garza, 11830 Distriro Federal, CDMX, Mexico
Pamela Echeverría founded her original Avenida Ámsterdam space in 2010, after experiences at Galería OMR and the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil. Since then, the gallery has made a name for itself by providing a forum for...
Calle Diego Rivera s/n, San Ángel Inn, 01060 Álvaro Obregón, CDMX, Mexico
One could spend an entire Mexico City trip visiting the homes of famous artists and architects, and an indispensable stop on a themed circuit of this type is the home studio of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Now a museum, this site retains the feel...
Av. Hidalgo 45, Centro Histórico, Guerrero, 06300 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Museo Franz Mayer occupies a former colonial convent and is home to its namesake patron’s vast decorative-arts collection, focused on Mexico’s viceregal and early-republican epochs. Rarely crowded, the museum’s an oasis and...
Blvd. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303, Granada, 11520 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
You used to have to be both adventurous and patient if you wanted to see the holdings of Jumex, one of Mexico's juice and canned good producers; its art gallery was beyond city limits and required a taxi or a combination of Metro and bus rides to...
Paseo de la Reforma & Calzada Gandhi S/N, Chapultepec Polanco, Miguel Hidalgo, 11560 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
My wife and I traveled through Mexico for over a month, visiting the fabulous ruins of the Toltecs, Aztecs, Maya, Olmecs, and so on, and staying in beautiful colonial towns absorbing the cultures of each region. We traveled central and southern...
Blvd. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303, Granada, 11529 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Calle de Tacuba 8, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
The smallish Plaza Manuel Tolsá—at the end of Calle de Tacuba—is an all-but-perfect urban conglomeration that will thrill architecture fans. To the south lies the 18th-century Palacio de Minería (a former engineering...
Insurgentes 3000, Ciudad Universitaria, 04510 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
After centuries downtown, Mexico’s National Autonomous University's main campus was moved to the city’s (then) far south in 1954, to a gleaming, contemporary quadrant designed to symbolize the nation’s engagement with...
Córdoba 55, Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
The close-in neighborhood called Colonia Roma was first developed at the dawn of the 20th century as a high-end suburb laid out along tree-lined boulevards and plazas. Prominent families erected elaborate residences in architectural styles ranging...
Ignacio Allende Esquina Av. Miguel Hidalgo, Coyoacán TNT, Coyoacán, 04000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
When in Mexico City, Coyoacán is a must-see: a magical and bohemian neighborhood filled with colorful facades, great restaurants, markets, cultural performances, museums, and amazing people. Some of its famous residents were Frida Kahlo and Diego...
Calle Dr Mora 9, Colonia Centro, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Originally laid out during Spanish rule, the Alameda Central was Mexico City’s first municipal park, at one time reserved for the elite. Today it’s a well-manicured garden for all, especially popular with working-class crowds on...
Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico
On a warm day in the middle of March, el Bosque is a beautiful outdoor space in the midst of the Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City. You could spend an entire day walking through it, enjoying the Museo de Nacional Antropología and the...
s/n, Av México, Hipódromo, 06100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Long the heart of the Condesa district (even during the dark days following Mexico City’s devastating 1985 earthquake), today’s Parque México is the quintessential urban park. Well-manicured with ample seating and a...
Dr. Lavista 189, Doctores, 06720 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Experience the Mexican WWE—Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre! As the world's oldest pro wrestling promotion, a CMLL match at Arena México is almost a cultural institution and an unmissable event. Watch luchadores do acrobatic stunts in...
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