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The 27 Best Things to Do in Mexico City

By Scarlett Lindeman

Mexico City is changing rapidly from the influx of foreigners who have recently discovered the city’s infinite charms. There are dozens of new restaurants, parties, and projects that keep the vibrancy of this capital city (with a population of over 22 million) surging while the storied museums, ancient bars, and cultural sites maintain their standing. An intoxicating mix of ancient and new, you could spend a lifetime here and barely scratch the surface. While there's no way you’ll manage to cover all of the must see and dos in one trip, sticking to one neighborhood a day keeps things manageable. No matter how you end up spending your time in Mexico's capital, one thing is for sure—you’ll be scheduling your second trip before your first is even finished.

Read our complete Mexico City travel guide here .

This gallery has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

All listings featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

sites to visit in mexico city

Colonia Juárez Arrow

The Juarez neighborhood has evolved in recent years. Once gritty, the area is now teeming with great boutiques, bars, parks, and restaurants like Masala y Maiz, which blends Mexican and Indian cuisines, and Niddo, a sunny corner spot that serves a divine brunch. There are loads of hotspots around the leafy central Plaza Washington: La Rifa for artisanal chocolates, Loose Blues for vinyls and vintage denim, and Elly's for natural wines and handmade pastas.

Luis Barragan House and Studio

Luis Barragán House and Studio Arrow

The former home and studio of Pritzker-Prize-winning architect Luis Barragán has been transformed into a museum in Mexico City's Hidalgo District. Architecture and design lovers frequent the estate to study the artist's ingenious use of color, light, shadow, form, and texture. From the street, you'd never guess the personality that lies inside: The stark-gray façade humbly blends in with neighboring homes, but walk to the interior of the estate and you'll find striking walls in a kaleidoscope of bright colors, fountains, and pools.

Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico  Mexico City

Gran Hotel Ciudad de México Arrow

Even if you're not staying at this hotel on the Zócalo, it's worth stopping just to see the jaw-dropping interior. The building originally opened as a department store in 1899. Since then, its art nouveau bones have been carefully maintained: The curving staircase is a replica of the one at Paris's Le Bon Marché , and the antique elevator, made of iron and concrete, was the first of its kind in Mexico City. But the pièce de résistance is the incredible Tiffany stained-glass ceiling, imported from France in 1908.

El Moro Churerria Restaurant Mexico City

El Moro Churerría Arrow

Early evening is churro time in Mexico City—families, couples, and friends all go out for a taste of sweet fried dough and chocolate. You'll often find lines snaking around the block outside this beloved churrería (churro shop). There are shops in Roma, Centro Historico, Condesa, Polanco, and Cuauhtémoc.   Most have spiffy interiors with blue and white tile, bright lighting, and long communal tables. Watch the cooks dip, fry, and sugar-coat your long, spindly churro, which is paired with hot chocolate in a flavor of your choosing.

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Floating Gardens of Xochimilco Mexico City

Floating Gardens of Xochimilco Arrow

Drive 40 minutes south of the city and you'll witness the closest approximation to the Valley of Mexico (in which Mexico City lies) before the arrival of the Spanish. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco, the extensive lake and canal system that once connected most of the settlements in the valley, is an incredible vestige of the area's pre-Hispanic past. Start at the Embarcadero Belem dock to board a colorful gondola -like boat, called a trajinera , and explore the waterways and artificial islands or chinampas .

Palacio NationalDiego Rivera murals Landmark murals art landmark Mexico city

Palacio Nacional Arrow

Diego Rivera's famous mural The History of Mexico, showcases the Aztec era to the conquest to the Revolution to the development of industry. It's grandiose and captivating, a unique opportunity to learn about Mexico's past. Not to mention it's free: The mural is housed in a distinguished building east of the Zócalo that operates as a government office. Among the office workers milling about, you'll see a mix of local, national, and international tourists who come to be awe-stricken by Rivera’s masterpiece.

Temple Mayor Mexico City

Templo Mayor Arrow

Templo Mayor (translation: main temple) was the centerpiece of Tenochtitlán, the ancient Aztec capital, constructed in 1325 in the marshes of Lake Texcoco. The temple was mowed over and replaced by a cathedral during the Spanish conquest in 1521. Today, the hulking stone ruins lie at the heart of Centro Histórico, embedded in the blueprint of downtown. Surrounded by streets and buildings, it is hard to imagine the temples in their original Aztecan glory, but the nicely organized museum helps paint the full picture.

Casa Azul Museo Frida Kahlo Museum Mexico City Blue House

Museo Frida Kahlo Arrow

The museum, also known as "Casa Azul" for its shocking cobalt blue exterior, is where Frida Kahlo was born, raised, lived, and died. Visitors can take in a few paintings by Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera, in addition to other contemporary artists of their era. But perhaps more interesting is the voyeuristic window into their creative world. The home is carefully preserved and maintained; it's easy to image the spaces as they were during Kahlo's time. In addition to their personal effects and domestic materials, the collection of clothes and corsets Frida needed to support her body after her traumatic accident give an intimate look at the artist's daily struggles.

Sculpture Garden at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporneo Mexico City

Sculpture Garden at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo Arrow

Located on the outskirts of Mexico City proper, at the National Autonomous University of Mexico campus, the Sculpture Park is totally off the tourist track. Featuring a range of grand outdoor sculptures, the park is best explored by foot. The sculpture space, which looks like a giant crater, is one the top things to spot. It's built around lava (which can be seen in the center) and has wonderful views from the ledge.

flower market. red and orange flowers

Mercado Jamaica Arrow

The city’s principal flower market offers visitors a fragrant, colorful walk through much of the region’s native flora and fauna, available to be bundled into a bouquet and taken back to your home. Available for your admiration are roses, lilies, daisies, ferns, and violets galore, among other rare and special species. Visit during Dia de Muertos to see trucks carting in pink and orange cempasuchil , or Mexican marigolds, for family members to buy to decorate their ofrendas at home or their loved ones’ graves. Build a bundle to decorate your hotel room with—or better yet, to dry and frame as a memory for when you return home.

Building the Revolution in Mexico City with water features

Monumento a la Revolución Arrow

This landmark, located in the heart of Mexico City, commemorates the Mexican Revolution and is the largest triumphal arch in the world. The main structure evolved over twenty-five years of stops and starts and a major redesign. It was finished in 1938, to comprise an eclectic blend of art-deco and Mexican socialist realism styles. A visit to the top observation deck only costs 110 pesos ($5) and there's a museum underground. You don't need much time to witness the glory of the monument. Saunter around, gawk at the creative architectural stylings of the structure, and walk under the arches. History nerds may be more interested in the small museum below, but more than anything it's an architecturally significant piece, and the observation deck has great views. If you keep your eyes peeled while exploring around town, you'll most likely catch a glimpse of the monument down a main street—but a quick glimpse isn't enough, and it's worth the quick 15-minute trip to walk underneath it.

outside omusubi restaurant Mexico City

Omusubi House Arrow

In a small storefront in Roma Norte, the husband and wife team, Ichiro Kitazawa and Varia Gonzáles Manuel work side-by-side in the miniscule kitchen, cupping steamed rice into palm-sized balls. They will sink sauteed sweet potato into the omusubi which are speckled like confetti with purple and wild rice, a marriage of Mexican ingredients and Japanese technique. They met while working at a Japanese restaurant years back when Mexico City was still called DF, the federal district. He had arrived ten years earlier by way of Osaka, as a hippy backpacker intent on photographing Latin America but fell into cooking; and she, from Puebla. “Omusubi translates to tying up or to bring together” Kitazawa explains, “which is how we wrap the rice”—and a sound metaphor for the forging of connections between their two countries.

Tlaloc Fountain and Dolores Carcamo MuseumMuseo del Carcamo de Dolores Diego Rivera Mexico City Mexico

Cárcamo de Dolores Arrow

Second or third-time visitors to Mexico City who think they've seen everything will find something new here. This historic but infrequently-visited site was constructed in 1951 as a hydraulic water system connected to the city's main water lines. And while it no longer acts as a municipal water work but rather a museum and cultural landmark, it underscores the city's complicated relationship with water. In the lesser-traveled section of Chapultepec, it is currently under renovation and closed to the public, though the massive Rivera sculpture of the Azteca water god Tlaloc out front can still be admired.

sites to visit in mexico city

Eat Like a Local Arrow

Eat Like a Local, a Mexico City–based company, runs culinary tours that immerse visitors in the city's vast food scene. Rocio, the guide, has long been a food blogger , and her knowledge about the Mexico City's food scene is totally on point. She's also passionate about connecting tourists with locals, and impacting Mexico City in a positive, sustainable way. There's a set itinerary, but she's flexible—so go on, order another mezcal or pork carnitas, if you like.

Museo Jumex Mexico City Museum

Museo Jumex Arrow

Museo Jumex houses one of Latin America's largest private contemporary art collections, which includes works by Andy Warhol, Martin Kippenberger, Cy Twombly, and Damien Hirst. Mediums range from paintings and drawings to light and video installations. The building is as distinctive as the art: British architect David Chipperfield designed the 15,000 square-foot white-concrete cube with a sawtooth top. (Plus the Soumaya Museum is just across the square, so you can feed two birds with one scone.) 

Cantina Bar Mexico City

Self-Guided Centro Historico Cantina Crawl Arrow

It's easy to pop around in Centro, hitting up a few cantinas to have a drink or two and to soak up the style of these classic, dive-y spots. The more friends you bring and make, the better. Locals and regulars alike hit the cantinas, which maintain a storied baseline for the drinking culture of Mexico City. Musicians pass through, sorrows are drowned, and gains celebrated. Many cantinas serve food, some better than others, and will often gift snacks and small plates if you consume around three drinks, though each spot has its own rules. Beer and tequila prevail. Simple cocktails, built-in-the-glass rum and cokes, margaritas, sangria, rum, brandy, and mezcal. Some cantinas are known for certain drinks, but craft cocktails this is not.

Mexican wrestlers take part in a tribute to Mexican fighter Silver King  who died after collapsing during a show in...

Lucha Libre at the Arena Coliseo Arrow

A giant venue that hosts sporting and entertainment events, the Arena seats as many as 23,300 spectators. It's best known for hosting Lucha Libre wrestling matches. The stadium is sprawling, and some seats are certainly better than others, depending on how much money you're willing to fork out. If you're here because you're a true Lucha Libre fan, make sure to sit in the front row; if you're here to have a fun night out with friends, the cheap seats will do just fine.

Teotihuacan Pyramids Mexico City

Teotihuacán Arrow

The ancient Mesoamerican pyramids of Teotihuacán, in the Valley of Mexico, once served as the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It is thought that during the first millennium A.D. the city had around 125,000 people, including multi-ethnic groups such as the Otomi, Zapotec, Mixtec, Maya, and Nahua. If you have a few days in Mexico City, it's worth the day trip . (Teotihuacán is about an hour outside the city by car.) Leave early in the morning so you can be back in the city by mid-day—and bring sunscreen!

Shoe shine stands in the historic Zocalo or plaza in Oaxaca Mexico.

The Centro Zocalo Historico Bodealores   Arrow

The boleadores are dotted around the perimeter of downtown's main square (and almost every other park and plaza in the city) but you'll have a great view of the cathedrals, flagpole, and Palacio Nacional if you get your shoes shined here. Climb up on the elevated perch of the boleador's chair and they will make your boots shine anew. At 50 to 100 pesos ($3 to $6), it's one of the cheapest shoe-shine experiences around. Boleadores are an important part of Mexican street culture and a fixture of pedestrian avenues, a living-breathing mid-century heritage that is not in danger of dying out. But with the proliferation of cheap plastic shoes and mass-market tennis sneakers, "limpiabotes" are a hand-crafted service for giving leather shoes a new life.

MEXICO CITY MEXICO  OCTOBER 30 Terracotta Daughters sculptures a work of art by French visual artist Prune Nourry...

Museo Anahuacalli Arrow

Awesome, grand, and out-of-the-way, Anahuacalli is part studio, part museum, and part shrine for Mexican art that Diego Rivera built as an architectural piece uniting past, present, and future to the natural environment. Rivera's personal and expansive collection of pre-Hispanic figurines, carvings, and totems accumulated over a lifetime. The museum itself was constructed around a swath of rocky terrain Rivera and Khalo had purchased for a farm. The main collection features nearly two thousand figurines representing Olmecs, Toltecs, Nahuas, Zapotecs, the people of Teotihuacan, and those of northeastern Mexico as well as Rivera's sketches for murals. There are also temporary exhibits of more modern Mexican artists, with a recent rotation of 30 textural works by Robert Janitz—paintings, large-format sculptures, and an NFT.

sites to visit in mexico city

Patrick Miller Arrow

From the outside, this dance club looks like dumpy warehouse hidden behind a black gate in Roma Norte. But come on a Friday (the only day it's open), and you'll find a raging party that offers a glimpse of the city's extant disco subculture. An eclectic mix of party-goers show off their moves in dance circles to all kinds of music, from '80s and '90s classics to sub-genres of disco, such as Hi-NRG, Italo, and electro.

Museo Anthropologia Mexico City

Museo Nacional de Antropología Arrow

This massive building in Chapultepec Park is among the city's most famed museums, second only to perhaps the Museo Frida Kahlo . Though the late Mexican architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez designed it in 1964, the mammoth building still looks as avant-garde today as it did then. (How exactly does that giant concrete slab float above a pond?) The museum holds the world's largest collection of ancient Mexican artifacts. Some of the most iconic Mesoamerican artifacts discovered to date can be found across 23 rooms. If you want to understand Mexico's history, then a visit here is a must.

Plaza Garibaldi night mexico city musicians

Plaza Garibaldi Arrow

Mexico's roving mariachi bands have been found in this plaza, a few blocks north of the Palacio de Bellas Artes , since the mid-1900s. Though the plaza has deteriorated over the years, it's seen a resurgence thanks to a city-driven effort to clean up the neighborhood by installing new sidewalks and street lamps. It's a cultural meeting point of sorts, where travelers can come day or night (though the best time to go is after 11 p.m.), to watch bands solicit bar patrons, cars, and passersby to buy a song .

Torre Latinoamericana Mexico City

Torre Latinoamericana Arrow

This 44-story skyscraper, built in 1965, is the tallest building in Centro Histórico . The tower miraculously withstood both the 8.1-magnitude earthquake of 1985 and the 7.1-magnitude quake of September 2017, making it a rare feat of engineering. The Torre defines Mexico City's skyline (much like the Empire State building in New York) and is a useful tool for orienting oneself in downtown. Head to the top-floor observation deck for jaw-dropping 360-degree views of the city, or to the newly renovated bar/restaurant (one floor below), which has equally impressive views and is almost always empty.


Salón San Luis Arrow

The dance floor at this old-school salon, cloaked in red light, comes alive as locals, tourists, and old timers twirl and shuffle to a live band . Try your hand at salsa, merengue, cumbia, and norteña numbers as waiters in crisp whites with black bow ties circle the room serving liquid courage. There's no shame in bad dancing, so try and learn the steps. (The pros might even show you a thing or two.)

sites to visit in mexico city

Iglesia San Ignacio de Loyola Arrow

A surprisingly tranquil stop in a high-energy city, this infrequently-visited modernist church is tucked away in plain sight in residential Polanco. Designed by famed architect Juan Sordo, it was completed in 1961 and features a sharp triangular structure covered in handmade yellow ceramic tiles. Show up during visiting hours and you can tour the grounds inside and out. Indoors, the Jesuit temple is encased by multi-colored stained glass windows that catch vibrant fractals on sunny days, with an effect almost like being trapped in a kaleidoscope. It's a place of worship and quiet contemplation, yes, but also a haven for architecture nerds.

sites to visit in mexico city

La Rifa Chocolateria Arrow

Indigenous to Mexico, cacao has been consumed in the country and played an important role in Mesoamerican societies since 19th BCE; La Rifa continues the tradition with a small roaster on-site. There are a handful of tables sprinkled in the tree-shaded plaza out front, optimal perches for spending an hour or two. Ask to see their production in the back and they will most likely give a tour. The main event is sipping chocolates—water-based and closest to how cacao was consumed, pre-Columbian, before the introduction of the Spanish (and thus cows and milk). The front-of-house folks are happy to explain the finer nuances of their roasting process, flavor-profiles, and history of Mexican chocolate.

sites to visit in mexico city

Ahuehuete Arrow

This six-seat collection room is a distillate library, a stunning space housed in a centuries-old building in one of Mexico City’s oldest neighborhood. The Porfirio Díaz-era bar and backbar were found in a Puebla antique store and are over 100 years old (once you book here , you'll be notified of the exact location) It'll cost you $75 per-person for a six-spirit sampling, light snacks, and water. Inside, there are only six seats and a knowledgable barkeep/tour guide crafting a rich journey for you and your fellow spirit geeks. While tequila and mezcal are some of Mexico's greatest exports, there are dozens of other plant-based spirits like bacanora, sotol, raicilla, and charanda, distilled in micro-batch quantities in rural communities that never make it into commerical circulation—nor are they intended to. The team behind Ahuehuete has been collecting bottles throughout the years, traveling to rural villages to find interesting batches for their private collection.


The St. Regis Mexico City

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19 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Mexico City

Written by Meagan Drillinger Updated Dec 26, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Author Meagan Drillinger spends months each year in Mexico, and visited Mexico City most recently in 2023.

Mexico City is, in a word, magic. The capital of the country of Mexico, Mexico City (or Ciudad de Mexico) is a swirl of gorgeous architecture, art museums, fabulous restaurants, and hotels — all set on streets that drip with centuries of history.

The Palace of Fine Arts

The city sits at an altitude of more than 2,200 meters in the Anáhuac Valley, wreathed in mighty mountain ranges — just have a look at the two snowcapped volcanoes, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl, which stand guard in the distance.

Mexico City is one of the largest and most exciting cities in the world . Home to more than 21 million people, it's a thriving (sometimes chaotic) capital, home to the country's top tourist attractions , including the historic city center, more than 170 museums, theater, and even a few Aztec ruins.

Discover more things to do in this vibrant city with our list of the top attractions in Mexico City.

1. Zócalo: The Birthplace of the Constitution

2. the national museum of anthropology, 3. templo mayor and the great pyramid of tenochtitlán, 4. the palace of fine arts, 5. mexico city metropolitan cathedral, 6. the national palace, 7. chapultepec park, 8. paseo de la reforma and the angel of independence, 9. national history museum, 10. coyoacán & the frida kahlo museum, 11. the basilica of our lady of guadalupe, 12. alameda central, 13. the square of the three cultures and santiago de tlatelolco, 14. the house of tiles, 15. museo mural diego rivera and museo rufino tamayo, 16. museo soumaya, 17. explore the polanco neighborhood, 18. visit teotihuacan, 19. church of san francisco, where to stay in mexico city for sightseeing, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to mexico city, map of tourist attractions in mexico city, mexico city, mexico - climate chart.

Zócalo: The Birthplace of the Constitution

The beating heart of Mexico City is Zócalo — the Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square) — where the country's first constitution was proclaimed in 1813. Measuring some 240 meters in each direction, it's one of the world's largest squares and was laid out almost immediately after the conquest of the former Aztec city of Tenochtitlán on which it stands.

In the early colonial period, the square served a variety of purposes, including as a bullfighting arena and market, while today, it's used for festivals, parades, and demonstrations.

Dominated by three of the city's most visited tourist attractions — the National Palace , the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Templo Mayor with its Aztec relics — Zócalo is the perfect place to begin exploring this historic city.

Hot Tip: A short stroll away from Zócalo, you can view three floors of murals by the famous artist Diego Rivera at the Secretaría de Educación Pública (education ministry). Entry is free.

Aztec Sun Calendar at the National Museum of Anthropology

One of the most important of its kind in the world, the National Museum of Anthropology lies in Chapultepec Park and is hard to miss due to the huge monolithic figure marking its entrance.

Built in 1964, this strikingly successful example of contemporary architecture is famous for its magnificent displays of old Indian art treasures, most notably in the Central Patio, part of which is roofed by a gigantic stone shelter supported by an 11-meter-tall column with waterfalls symbolizing the eternal cycle of life.

As spectacular as the building itself is its vast collection, which includes archaeological finds from extinct Indian cultures along with details of the lifestyles of contemporary Indian inhabitants of Mexico.

Other highlights include the National Library of Anthropology , founded by Lucas Alaman in 1831 and developed by Emperor Maximilian, which boasts more than 300,000 rare volumes.

Address: Av Paseo de la Reforma y Calzada Gandhi S/N, Chapultepec Polanco, 11560 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Templo Mayor and the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlán

Despite the widespread destruction after the defeat of the Aztecs, a number of their important historic sites have been unearthed and put on display in recent years. The most important site is Templo Mayor, home to the remains of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlán, including the first relic discovered in 1978, a finely sculpted round disc more than three meters in diameter and weighing eight-and-a-half tons.

Further excavations — including the summit platform of an earlier pyramid with well-preserved temple walls, along with the skulls of sacrificial victims — indicate the temple site had been built over by the Aztecs and their predecessors 11 times.

Templo Mayor

A highlight of a visit is a walkway past the precinct of the aristocratic "winged warriors," where remains of residences decorated with multi-colored reliefs have been unearthed, along with evidence of the original paintwork.

Hot Tip: The vast majority of relics and artifacts uncovered are housed in two museums: the Templo Mayor Museum built on the temple site, and the nearby National Museum of Anthropology , widely regarded as the most important museum in Mexico.

Address: Seminario 8, Centro Histórico, 06060 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Templo Mayor - Floor plan map

One of Mexico City's most important cultural landmarks, the Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) is an architectural gem. Towering over the adjacent park, this massive marble building — designed by Italian architect Adamo Boari with Art Nouveau and Art Deco influences — was completed in 1934 and is so heavy that it has sunk more than four meters, despite attempts to lighten it by removing part of its huge dome.

The palace serves as an opera house and concert hall hosting a variety of traditional and international dance and operatic productions. But many visitors also come here to view the impressive murals adorning its interior by famous artists such as Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente.

On the 4th floor is the Museo Nacional de Arquitectura with rotating exhibits on contemporary architecture.

The Palace of Fine Arts

If you happen to be in town on Wednesday or Sunday, tickets to the Ballet Folklorico are a must. For nearly 60 years, this performance has brought the traditional costumes, dance, and music from all regions of Mexico to one stage for a performance that is beyond entertaining, colorful, and beautiful.

Hot Tip : If you're able to see a performance here, you'll also be rewarded with a chance to enjoy the theater's stunning interior décor, including its spectacular glass-mosaic curtain, made by Tiffany's of New York, depicting the Valley of Mexico and its two mighty volcanoes.

Address: Juárez, Centro Histórico, 06050 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

Dominating Zócalo Square, the massive Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María) is one of the oldest and largest churches in the Western Hemisphere. Built atop part of the old Aztec temple precinct, construction of this massive basalt and grey sandstone structure began in 1525 and extended over 250 years.

In spite of the two neoclassical towers and certain other features, the façade creates a predominantly Baroque impression with its massive twisted columns. Standout features are the bell towers added in 1793 and the statues of Faith, Hope, and Charity on the clock tower, dating from 1813.

Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

The cathedral's interior also shows a mingling of styles, with particular highlights being the richly carved Altar of the Kings (Altar de los Reyes) from 1739, with its superb devotional painting of the Assumption (Asunción de María) to which the cathedral is dedicated.

Also of interest are a chapel containing the remains of Mexican Emperor Agustin de Iturbide, and the crypt with its tombs of many of the city's archbishops, among them Juan de Zumárraga, the great teacher of the Indians and the first incumbent of the see.

Address: Plaza de la Constitución S/N, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Cathedral of Mexico City (Catedral Metropolitana) - Floor plan map

Occupying the east side of Mexico City's main square, Zócalo, the immense National Palace (Palacio Nacional), built of reddish tezontle stone and boasting a 200-meter-long façade, is the official residence of the president.

Built on top of an Aztec palace, it was the seat of the Spanish viceroys during the colonial period and has been much altered and enlarged over the years. One of the oldest and finest buildings in the city, it includes such notable features as the Freedom Bell , rung on September 15th, 1810, at the start of the War of Independence (it's rung on the anniversary of this event each year).

The palace boasts many handsome rooms laid out around its 14 courtyards, some accessible to visitors, the most notable being the arcaded Grand Courtyard with its fine frescoes depicting the country's rich history. Don't miss The History of Mexico mural by Diego Rivera, which adorns the grand staircase.

English-language guided tours explore a museum, a number of large halls, and the parliamentary chamber in which the Reform Constitution of 1857 was drawn up (it and the Constitution of 1917 are on display).

Other attractions here are the State Archives , with important historical documents, and the Biblioteca Miguel Lerdo de Tejada , one of the country's largest libraries.

Address: Plaza de la Constitución S/N, Centro, 06066 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Chapultepec Park

Bosque de Chapultepec is Mexico City's principal park, and covering an area of more than four square kilometers, it is also its largest. Once a stronghold of the Toltecs, it was here in AD 1200 that the Aztecs settled, and according to legend, laid out a park in the early 15th century.

Over time, the hill became a summer residence of the Aztec rulers with water from its springs conveyed to the temple precinct in the capital by means of an aqueduct, the remains of which can still be seen in Avenida Chapultepec. Portraits of the Aztec rulers were carved on the slopes of the hill, remnants of which can still be seen.

These days, the park is popular for its lakes, sports facilities, botanic garden, and museums — you'll find both the National History Museum and the National Museum of Anthropology here — along with numerous fun events, including concerts and theatrical performances.

Also of interest is the Museum of Modern Art (Museo de Arte Moderno), which opened in 1964 and is important for its retrospective look at Mexican art before and during the colonial period and its collection of pictures and sculptures by Mexican artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Chapultepec Zoo is also here with a surprising diversity of animals from around the world.

Paseo de la Reforma and the Angel of Independence

The principal east-west traffic artery of Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma extends for 15 kilometers from Tlatelolco to the residential district of Las Lomas but is best known for the stretch from Avenida Benito Juárez to Chapultepec Park .

Here, this attractive boulevard widens to 60 meters with a pleasant green strip in the middle containing busts and monuments to numerous national heroes. While now largely known as a busy entertainment and shopping area, this magnificent avenue - laid out during the reign of Emperor Maximilian - is home to a number of important attractions, most notably the massive Independence Monument (Monumento a la Independencia), also known as "El Angel" for the figure of a winged goddess of victory standing atop its tall 36-meter column.

In addition to its fine statues of the heroes of the country's independence movement is the Mausoleum, with its many skulls of some of the country's most important historical figures.

On Sunday mornings, Paseo de la Reforma closes to cars to become a pedestrian and cycle-friendly thoroughfare. It's one of the best things to do for residents of all ages. You may even find a pop-up yoga class happening in the street.

Address: Paseo de la Reforma y Eje 2 PTE, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

National History Museum

Another of Mexico City's world-class attractions is the National History Museum (Museo Nacional de Historia). Housed in the 18th-century Chapultepec Castle (Castillo de Chapultepec), on a site once occupied by Aztec buildings and later by a Spanish hermitage, the museum opened in 1944 and is home to an impressive collection of pre-Columbian material and reproductions of old manuscripts, as well as a vast range of exhibits illustrating the history of Mexico since the Spanish conquest.

Highlights include arms and armor, documents, maps, and plans of the Conquest period and its immediate aftermath; ceramics, clothing, jewelry, and coins from three centuries; relics and souvenirs of the struggle for independence and the revolutionary wars; portraits of leading figures in Mexican history; and a number of state carriages, including those used by Benito Juárez and Emperor Maximilian.

Also of interest are the apartments occupied by Maximilian and Charlotte, decorated in neoclassical style and containing furniture brought from Europe. The castle also offers beautiful views over the city.

Address: Castilla de Chapultepec 1a Sección, Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico

Coyoacán & the Frida Kahlo Museum

Laced with atmospheric cobblestone streets, Coyoacán is one of Mexico City's oldest neighborhoods. Take time to stroll around the maze of laneways here and explore the hidden plazas, colonial-style mansions, and art-filled old churches like San Juan Bautista.

You can also sample exotic fruits and vegetables at the markets. One of the top tourist attractions in the town is the Frida Kahlo Museum in La Casa Azul (The Blue House), where the famous Mexican artist was born and where she frequently returned throughout her life. Here, you can view some of her most important paintings, as well as works by her famous husband, the mural artist Diego Rivera, and personal items from the couple's life. Note that it's best to purchase tickets in advance.

An easy way to see all the highlights of Coyoacán is on the full-day Mexico City Super Saver Tour . This 11-hour excursion begins with a guided tour through the neighborhood, including a visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum and North America's oldest university, as well as a boat tour along the canals of the UNESCO-listed ecological reserve, Xochimilco.

While you're in Coyoacan you can also visit the Museo Casa de Leon Trotsky . This is the house where Leon Trotsky, the exiled Russian politician, spent the final years of his life before he was assassinated.

Address: The Frida Kahlo Museum, Londres 247, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Said to have attracted its first pilgrims when it opened in 1531, the Roman Catholic Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe) attracts millions of visitors and worshipers each year, particularly during the Feast Day each December 12th.

Built adjacent to the hill where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared, the site consists of a complex of buildings overlooking a broad public square adorned with a number of interesting modern sculptures, including a large concrete cross with a unique clock and chime.

Highlights include a splendid altarpiece dedicated to Mary in the 16th-century Old Basilica, and the new Basilica de Guadalupe, built in 1976, and notable for its distinctive modern curved appearance.

Address: Plaza de las Américas 1, Villa de Guadalupe, 07050 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Alameda Central

Alameda Central, a shady and beautifully kept park with many splendid fountains and sculptures, was laid out in 1592 on the site of a once-busy Aztec market. It remains a bustling location to this day, especially at Christmas, when it is beautifully illuminated and decorated. Next to the park is the stunning Palacio de Bellas Artes , which hosts music and theatrical performances as well as important art exhibitions.

Address: Av Hidalgo S/N, Cuauhtémoc, Centro, 06010 Ciudad de México

The Square of the Three Cultures and Santiago de Tlatelolco

Another of Mexico City's important historic squares is the Square of the Three Cultures (Plaza de las Tres Culturas). The square occupies the site of the main square of the Pre-Columbian town of Tlatelolco and the scene of the last desperate stand by the Aztecs in 1521 - an event remembered by a memorial tablet.

It takes its name from its interesting mix of buildings from three different periods: Aztec pyramids and temples, a Spanish church, and modern tower blocks. In addition to the principal pyramid, other Aztec remains include a number of smaller pyramids, platforms, staircases, walls, and altars, as well as a "tzompantli," a wall of skulls and fine reliefs of Aztec calendar signs.

The square is also home to a rather sobering memorial museum, Memorial 68, commemorating the tragic murder of some 250 protesting students by government forces in 1968.

Also of note is the Baroque church of Santiago de Tlatelolco , built in the early 17th century on the site of a small chapel from 1535 that belonged to the Franciscan convent of Santiago. Adjoining the church is one of the old convent buildings, formerly the Colegio Imperial de Santa Cruz, in which the Franciscans taught the gifted sons of the Aztec nobility (one of the most notable teachers was Bernardino de Sahagún, the great chronicler of the history of New Spain).

The House of Tiles

Opposite the picturesque Church of San Francisco is the spectacular House of Tiles (Casa de los Azulejos). It was originally built in 1596 and boasts a façade decorated by the Conde del Valle de Orizaba 150 years later, with exquisite blue and white tiles from Puebla.

It became even more famous after artist José Clemente Orozco painted murals on the walls of the staircase in 1925. The House of Tiles is now a restaurant and an evocative venue to dine al fresco in the building's spectacular courtyard, surrounded by what is one very large work of art.

Hot Tip : Be sure to check out the large photo marking the spot where Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa dined together on arrival in Mexico City.

Address: Av Francisco I. Madero 4, Centro, 06500 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Museo Mural Diego Rivera

A short walk from the National Museum of Anthropology is Museo Rufino Tamayo, named after Rufino Tamayo (1900-91), one of Mexico's most famous painters. Notable for its unusual interior, the gallery opened in 1981 and, in addition to Tamayo's artwork it also displays his own extensive collection of several hundred works by contemporary artists, including prints, paintings, sculptures, and wall hangings.

Another important art facility worth visiting is Museo Mural Diego Rivera named after one of the country's leading artists whose most famous painting - Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park - in which he caricatured some of Mexico's historical figures, is on display here after years of being banned by the state (Rivera had originally called it Dios no existe , or God does not exist ).

Address: Paseo de la Reforma 51, Bosque de Chapultepec, 11580 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Museo Soumaya

A trip to Mexico City would be incomplete without a visit to the Museo Soumaya . This futuristic, architectural mind-meld was founded by Carlos Slim, one of the wealthiest men in the world, who named it for his deceased wife, Soumaya. Inside is more than 66,000 pieces of art that span 3,000 years, from sculptures from Mesoamerica right up to works from Tintoretto and Salvador Dali.

The non-profit cultural icon originally was housed in the Plaza Loreto of San Angel until 2011. It was moved to a new building in Plaza Carso in Nuevo Polanco, designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero. The silver, reflective building spans 170,000 square feet of space and is a design feat in itself, pinched at the center like an hourglass, but angular like the hull of a ship.

But the real masterpieces continue inside. The majority of art is from the 15th to 20th centuries, though there is a substantial collection of indigenous Mexican art. Slim is the owner of the world's largest private collection of Auguste Rodin's art, as well, and the museum has the largest collection of casts of his sculptures outside of France.

Address: Blvd. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Granada, Miguel Hidalgo, 11529 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Sunrise in Polanco, Mexico City

When it comes to the original "in vogue" destination in Mexico City, Polanco is at the top of the list. This swanky, glitzy, expensive neighborhood has always been about high style, fine dining, and fabulous hotels. Within the neighborhood are countless shops and restaurants, as well as a corner of Chapultepec Park .

If you're looking for one of the most up-scale destinations in Latin America, Polanco certainly takes the lead. The neighborhood's main artery is the Avenida Presidente Masaryk , which is often likened to the 5th Avenue of Mexico City. It's easy to see why when you see art gallery after art gallery, fine dining after fine dining, shopping malls, and gorgeous hotels.

Start at the Antara Fashion Hall , where you'll find all the brand names, from Hugo Boss to Carolina Herrera. You can also visit the Siqueiros Public Art Room, where muralist David Siquieros hosts workshops, talks, conferences, and exhibitions. You can also pop into Chapultepec Park for a lovely little afternoon picnic.

In the evening, snag a reservation at the legendary Pujol restaurant before heading to the Telcel Theatre for a Spanish-language performance of one of the Broadway greats.


Perhaps one of the most culturally and historically significant sites in Mexico City, the archeological zone at Teotihuacan tells so much of the story of the birth of Mexico.

The ancient site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site , was settled around 400 BCE and rose to be one of the most powerful cities in the region. It is still a mystery how the city came to be, but several theories exist surrounding earlier tribes that could have contributed to the city's growth. In the 15th century, the Aztecs claimed the city, naming it Teotihuacan.

Today what remains of Teotihuacan's eight square miles are 2,000 single-story apartment compounds, pyramids, temples, and palaces. It is known for its iconic Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon. The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest structure in Teotihuacan and faces west, measuring roughly 720 feet by 760 feet.

Priests at Teotihuacan were known to practice human and animal sacrifice. In fact, archeologists discovered 18 sacrificial victims buried around some of the temples, including the Pyramid of the Moon.

Today visitors can explore Teotihuacan on their own or as part of a tour. The archeological site is just 30 miles outside Mexico City.

Church of San Francisco

Along Madero Street (the street that leads to the Zocalo), you'll find the stunning Church of San Francisco. It's directly across the street from The House of Tiles. This beautiful, historic convent was once at the heart of a sprawling church and monastery complex. Today, all that remains is the church.

Still, what remains is a spectacular site to behold. Just look at the beautifully carved doorway, which dates back to the 18th century. The reddish bricks that you see to the right are stones that were used originally to build the Aztec buildings that once made up Moctezuma's private zoo.

When first constructed, the church was one of the earliest and most powerful Franciscan monasteries in the city. It also held the first 12 Franciscan friars who arrived in what was then "New Spain."

The church that exists today is actually the third to be built here and dates back to the early 18th century. Services are still held today.

Address: Av Francisco I. Madero 7, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

If you're traveling to Mexico City for the first time, the best area to stay is in the historic city center (Centro Histórico de la Ciudad). This UNESCO World Heritage Site centers around the Zócalo, with the Metropolitan Cathedral, National Palace, and Templo Mayor.

The affluent Polanco neighborhood, also makes a great base, with its luxury hotels and upscale restaurants. It's about a 30-minute drive from the Centro Histórico, but near all the attractions of Chapultepec Park and the famous shopping street, Paseo de la Reforma. Here are some highly rated hotels in these convenient locations:

Luxury Hotels:

  • If you like grand historic hotels, the Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico in the Centro Histórico has affordable rates and an unbeatable location, within walking distance of the major historical attractions and with a rooftop terrace overlooking the Zócalo.
  • A dazzling stained-glass ceiling caps the elegant lobby. In the quieter Polanco neighborhood, a short stroll from Chapultepec Park, JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City features a full-service spa and outdoor pool.
  • Near Polanco and just a short walk to the Chapultepec Castle, the St. Regis overlooks Paseo de la Reforma and occupies a sleek modern building with contemporary decor to match.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • A 10-minute walk to Zócalo, near restaurants and shops, the boutique Historico Central , in a beautifully restored 18th-century building, blends history with modern decor and thoughtful added touches such as artisan soaps.
  • Also in a historic building is the Hampton Inn & Suites Mexico City - Centro Historico , featuring a gorgeous stained-glass ceiling. It lies within walking distance of the Zócalo, Alameda Cathedral, and the Palacio de Bellas Artes.
  • The name says it all when it comes to location at the Zocalo Central , in an elegant building dating from the late 19th century. Some rooms score a bird's-eye view over this famous square.

Budget Hotels:

  • Near the Palacio de Bellas Artes, a 20-minute walk from the Centro Histórico, the good-value One Ciudad De Mexico Alameda has clean, compact rooms and free breakfast.
  • A few blocks from Paseo de la Reforma, Hotel Bristol is popular for its friendly service and comfortable rooms, while the modern City Express Plus Reforma El Angel is a short cab ride away from the historical center.

Taking an organized tour is the best way to see Mexico City's top attractions and a convenient way to enjoy day trips to surrounding sites. Guided tours save you time navigating the city's traffic-clogged streets, plus you can learn about the history and culture of the city. These sightseeing tours all include expert guides, entrance fees, and round-trip transportation.

  • Coyoacán, National University, and Frida Kahlo Museum: Mexico City's art, history, and nature are covered on the full-day Mexico City Super Saver Tour . This 11-hour excursion begins with a tour through the cobblestone streets of the evocative colonial city of Coyoacán, including a visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum and National University. Top off your city sightseeing adventure with a relaxing boat tour along the canals of the UNESCO-listed ecological reserve Xochimilco.
  • Teotihuacan Pyramids: On the eight-hour Early Morning Teotihuacan Pyramids Tour , you'll be one of the first visitors to gain access to this UNESCO-listed archaeological park. Better still, a private archaeologist guides you through the top sites, including the Palace of Quetzalpapalotl, Sun Pyramid, and Moon Pyramid. After exploring these ancient temples, the tour takes you to an obsidian workshop to see local artisans at work.
  • Iztaccihuatl Volcano: Avid hikers can enjoy spectacular views of Popocatepetl and the Valley of Mexico on the Iztaccihuatl Volcano Hiking Tour from Mexico City . This 12-hour tour includes a hike up the intermediate trail of this dormant volcano, stopping short of the 5,230-meter summit to admire the panorama.

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The 20 Best Things to Do in Mexico City

The beautiful Zocalo square at sunset, with the Metropolitan Cathedral, President's Palace, and huge Mexican flag in the center

Mexico City is the fifth largest city in the world, a sprawling metropolis where history and culture converge in a dynamic tapestry of bright colors, diverse cuisines, and lively districts.

I love it here. I’ve been a handful of times and never get tired of exploring and eating my way around the city. I always have an amazing time. In fact, I love the city so much I even ran tours here (and every single person I showed around was blown away). No one hates this place.

Unsurprisingly, in a city so large and with such a long history, there’s a ton to see and do here, from visiting world-class museums to feasting at tiny taco stands to exploring offbeat neighborhoods. You could easily spend a week here and not even scratch the surface.

Here are what I think are best things to do in Mexico City so that you can have fun and really get to know the city and culture on your trip to this vibrant capital!

Table of Contents

1. Take a Walking Tour

2. visit the museo nacional de antropología, 3. tour frida kahlo’s house, 4. attend a lucha libre, 5. day trip to teotihuacán, 6. peruse the mercados, 7. take a food tour, 8. sample mezcal, 9. float along the xochimilco canals, 10. admire the view from torre latinoamericana, 11. wander the zócalo, 12. relax in chapultepec park, 13. visit castillo de chapultepec, 14. check out the art and history museums, 15. tour a megalibrary, 16. marvel at the soumaya museum, 17. escape to the unam botanical garden, 18. stroll around roma and condesa, 19. visit a pueblo mágico, 20. offbeat things to do in mexico city.

Walking tours are an excellent way to learn a destination’s history and avoid missing any must-see stops. I always start my trips off with at least one walking tour as it’s the best way to get the lay of the land and connect with a local guide that can answer all your questions.

Estación Mexico Free Tours and the Monkey Experience both have a free historic downtown tour that can show you what the city has to offer. The former also offers four other free tours of different neighborhoods too. Even though the tours are technically free, always remember to tip your guide at the end!

For more walking tour recommendations (including paid options), check out this post .

Found within Chapultepec Park, this world-class anthropology museum is the largest museum in Mexico (it’s also the most visited, receiving over two million guests per year). Since 1964, it has housed the largest global collection of sculptures, jewels, and artifacts from ancient Mexican civilizations. The different time periods are grouped into comprehensive (and massive) exhibition halls with bilingual information signs, so be sure to give yourself ample time to explore it all. There’s a beautiful courtyard in the center where you can sit and people-watch for a bit.

Av. P.º de la Reforma s/n, +52 (55) 5553-6266, Open Tues-Sun 9am-6pm. Tickets are 95 MXN. Guided tours of the highlights start at 375 MXN (includes admission).

Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera are two of the biggest names in Mexican art. Frida was particularly famous for her portraits and self-portraits. A tour of their old home (“Casa Azul”) is a worthwhile experience to see where and how she lived, as well as some of her original artwork. It’s a really interesting house with a beautiful garden and lots of information about her life. The residence also hosts a variety of artistic workshops monthly, so check out the schedule if you’re interested.

This guided tour of Coyoacán (the surrounding neighborhood) includes a ticket to the museum, which you’ll visit at your own pace after learning about the area in which the two artists lived and worked.

Londres 247, Del Carmen, +52 55 5554 5999, Open Tues-Sun 10am-6pm (Wednesdays at 11am-6pm). Tickets are 250 MXN (270 MXN on the weekends). You must buy your tickets well in advance (at least a month out), because they are in incredibly high demand.

Mexican “free wrestling” is a favorite national pastime. Extremely entertaining and affordable, lucha libre takes the sport to a whole new level. Grab a beer or a shot of tequila, and whatever you do, do not look away during a match as anything can — and will — happen. (Do not bring your camera though, as you will be forced to check it at the door.)

Arena México and Arena Coliseo are the main places to see a match. General seating tickets can be as little as 56 MXN (do not buy from scalpers, because the police are always around and you’ll get in trouble). Look for a taquilla (ticket booth) sign to be sure that you are paying the right price.

Guided experiences, like this lucha libre experience , are also available. During the match, you’ll enjoy a mezcal tasting and munch on chips and guacamole, and at the end, you’ll leave with your very own lucha libre mask.

Arena México: Dr. Lavista 189, +52 55 5588 0266, Shows on Fridays at 8:30pm, Sundays at 5pm, and Tuesdays at 7:30pm

Arena Coliseo: República de Perú 77, +52 55 5588 0266, Shows on Saturday nights at 7:30pm.

Several large pyramids at Teotihuacan near Mexico City, Mexico

I’ve been a few times and can’t recommend it enough (especially if you’re a history buff). We took our tour groups here and everyone always had an amazing time.

You can either do the day trip yourself (there are plenty of buses) or go on a guided tour that also stops at the Guadalupe Basilica , an important pilgrimage site. Either way, don’t forget to bring sunscreen, as the sun is punishing, and there’s little to no shade.

Admission to the pyramids is 80 MXN, while a full-day tour including transportation and a local guide is 540 MXN.

Mexico City boasts a kaleidoscope of bustling markets, each with its own unique charm. Among the most famous is Mercado de la Merced, a sprawling market hailed as the largest in town. Located east of the Zócalo, it’s mainly focused on food, with vibrant displays of fruits, vegetables, meats, and spices.

Another iconic market is Mercado Roma, a contemporary gastronomic hub that showcases the city’s culinary diversity through gourmet treats and artisanal products. For something a little different, Mercado Jamaica is a beautiful flower market, full of vibrant colors and fragrances. And for unique souvenirs, head to La Ciudadela, an artisan market which boasts an extensive collection of traditional textiles and handicrafts.

Finally, Mercado de Sonora stands out for its mystical ambiance, renowned for catering to spiritual and esoteric needs, offering everything from traditional herbs and potions to ritualistic artifacts. There’s truly a market for everything in Mexico City!

If you don’t want to explore on your own, you can join a guided tour that visits both Mercado de la Merced and Mercado de Sonora, including many stops to sample lots of authentic local treats Tickets are around 1,100 MXN.

A hand holding a paper plate full of fresh tacos in Mexico City, Mexico

My friend Anais runs Devoured Tours , offering in-depth tours into the food scene of CMDX, with five different four-hour options to choose from. On each tour, you’ll meet a local “tastemaker,” an expert in their craft who shares the process behind Mexican gastronomic traditions like making mouthwatering tacos or crafting exquisite mezcal cocktails. Tours start at 1,625 MXN.

If you just want to eat all the tacos (who doesn’t), join Sabores Mexico Food Tours on its Tacos & Mezcal Night Food Tour . You’ll enjoy tacos at a mix of traditional and contemporary taquerias and end your night sampling in the first mezcal bar in Mexico City.

I love mezcal. It’s is a traditional Mexican distilled spirit, crafted from agave, that’s renowned for its smoky flavor and complexity. I’ve learned a ton about it over the course of my visits to Mexico, but I’m always looking to try new flavors and dive deeper into the distilling process.

If you want to try mezcal and learn more about it, some unique places to sample it include La Mezcaloteca (a bar/library where you can do a tasting of five mezcals) and La Clandestina in Condesa (with 25 mezcals from all over the country)

At the Museum of Tequila and Mezcal near Plaza Garibaldi, knowledgeable guides will lead you through the intricate process of production, from harvest to distillation. You’ll also get to sample types of mezcal alongside different tequilas, so you can appreciate the differences between Mexico’s main two spirits. A ticket that includes tastings costs 340 MXN.

A young boy pushes a colorful boat down a river with a long stick in the Xochimilco Canals in Mexico City, Mexico

If you’re an early riser, you can even opt for a sunrise tour, during which you’ll get the waterways virtually to yourself. Tours start at 890 MXN.

Torre Latinoamericana is an iconic skyscraper in the heart of Mexico City. Completed in 1956, it was once the tallest building in Latin America. Designed by architect Augusto H. Álvarez, the tower rises 183 meters (600 feet) and consists of 44 floors. (It has resisted numerous earthquakes, thanks to its innovative design featuring a stabilizing core.)

The tower offers panoramic views from its observation deck, giving a good perspective on just how massive the city is. It costs 200 MXN to visit the observation floor ( get advance tickets here ), but if you go to the bar on the floor just below, you’ll get the same view for the price of a drink.

Francisco I. Madero Avenue 1, +52 55 5518 7423, Open daily 9am-10pm. Tickets are 200 MXN.

A large Mexican flag in front of one of the many historic buildings in Mexico City, Mexico

Originally the main ceremonial center in the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlán (located where Mexico City now stands), the Templo Mayor was destroyed to make room for the cathedral in 1521. In fact, the very stones that made up the temple were used to create the cathedral. You can now view ancient artifacts uncovered from the site, rediscovered in the 1970s, at the Museo del Templo Mayor (95 MXN to enter the museum and archaeological site).

When you’re done, head over to admire the stunning Spanish colonial architecture of the La Catedral Metropolitana. This 16th-century building dominates the northern half of the Zócalo and is free to enter. Inside, it’s incredibly ornate, with a floor that’s noticeably tilted thanks to the perpetual sinking of the city (due to its construction on a lake and swamp).

Chapultepec means “Hill of the Grasshopper” in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. Spanning 686 hectares (1,700 acres), this park in the heart of Mexico City is the second largest urban park in Latin America (the biggest is in Santiago, Chile ). It’s one of the world’s most visited too, not only by visitors but locals, who love to set up shop grilling and picnicking on Sundays. You can also rent a rowboat or paddleboat and go out on Chapultepec Lake. Whenever I want to just relax and soak up the sun, this is where I go.

In addition to the countless paths to stroll, Chapultepec is home to a zoo and several important museums, including the Museum of Anthropology (mentioned earlier) and Chapultepec Castle (see below).

The park is divided into three sections. Section 1 houses most of the museums and is open Tuesday-Sunday 5am-6pm. Sections 2 and 3 are open 24/7, though like many city parks, it’s likely not the best idea to walk through it alone after dark.

The only castle in North America to house monarchs, Chapultepec Castle was built in 1725 as a large manor house for the viceroy (the Spanish colonial administrator). Abandoned during the Mexican War of Independence in 1810, it later became the residence of Emperor Maximilian I and Empress Carlota in 1864, during the Second Mexican Empire (1864–67).

Today, you can visit the castle and meander through the magnificently decorated period rooms, manicured gardens, and terraces offering impressive panoramas. The castle is also home to the Museo Nacional de Historia (see below), which tells the story of Mexico from the time of Tenochtitlán to the Mexican Revolution.

Bosque de Chapultepec, Section I, +52 55 5256 5464, Open Tues-Sun 9am-5pm. Admission 95 MXN.

The Art Nouveau Palacio de Bellas Artes with its beautiful domed rooftop on a sunny day in Mexico City, Mexico

  • Palacio de Bellas Artes (Fine Art Museum) : This impressive Art Nouveau building with an Art Deco interior is a massive cultural center that hosts performing arts events. Its various galleries include murals by Diego Rivera and rotating temporary exhibitions. It is also home to the Museum of Architecture.
  • Museo Nacional de Historia (National History Museum) : This museum, located in Chapultepec Castle, tells the history of Mexico over 12 permanent exhibition halls.
  • Museo de Arte Moderno (Museum of Modern Art) : Located within Chapultepec Park, this museum focuses on modern Mexican art. Its most famous piece is Frida Kahlo’s The Two Fridas .
  • MUAC (University Museum of Contemporary Art of UNAM) : This art museum on the university’s grounds also focuses on contemporary Mexican art, with video and sound installations, paintings, drawings, and more.
  • Museo Nacional de Arte (National Art Museum) : Mexican art from the mid-16th century to the mid-20th century is divided into three main time periods (colonial, post-independence, and post-revolution).
  • Museo de Arte Popular (Folk Art Museum) : This museum’s collection of Mexican folk art and handicrafts features traditional textiles, pottery, glass, piñatas, and alebrijes (brightly colored sculptures of fantastical creatures).
  • Memory and Tolerance Museum : This newer museum tells the history of genocides and crimes against humanity, with a section promoting tolerance and inclusion of all groups of people.
  • Tamayo Museum : Born out of the private collection of artist Rufino Tamayo, this museum concentrates on 20th-century international art (especially of the avant-garde variety).

Ticket prices vary, but generally range from free to 100 MXN.

The Biblioteca Vasconcelos, located in the Buenavista neighborhood, is a temple to books, often referred to as a “megalibrary.” The largest library in the entire country, it opened in 2006, covers an incredible 38,000 square meters (409,000 square feet), and houses over 600,000 books.

But the real draw for the visitor is not in the collection (which, though large, isn’t particularly noteworthy) but the building itself. The architecture is stunning, featuring transparent walls, six intentionally mismatched floors, and sculptures by prominent artists. It also has a focus on sustainability, with rainwater collection barrels on the roof, windows designed to light almost the entire interior naturally (yet without harming the books), and a green roof covered in plants that keep the building cool.

Don’t miss popping around the back to stroll through the quiet and spacious garden filled with trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. Admission is free.

Housing 66,000 pieces of Central American and European art, the Soumaya Museum displays works not only by Mexican artists such as Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo but also by famous masters such as Botticelli, Dalí, and Rodin. The museum was donated and constructed by one of the world’s richest men, Carlos Slim Helú (a Mexican business magnate). The Soumaya is a stunning piece of art on its own, as it is covered in 16,000 hexagonal aluminum tiles that sparkle in the sunlight. It’s considered the most beautiful modern building in Mexico City. Admission is free.

Blvd. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. +52 55 1103 9800, Open daily, 10:30am-6:30pm. Free entry.

If you’re seeking a temporary escape from the hustle and bustle of Mexico City, look no further than the Botanical Garden at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Rooted in Aztec traditions that valued gardens for both medicinal and ornamental purposes, this sanctuary also emphasizes conservation and environmental education. It’s situated around lava formations from the Xitle volcano eruption, and the paths meander through naturally formed grottoes and past waterfalls and ponds teeming with koi and turtles.

The plants you can admire here include the world’s most diverse cactus collection, with 800 different varieties; there’s also an orchidarium and a medicinal garden. This is also a habitat for wildlife: keep an eye out for woodpeckers, owls, hummingbirds, rattlesnakes, lizards, and the Pedregal tarantula, a species exclusive to this small area of Mexico City.

University City, Coyoacán. +52 56 22 90 63. Open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, Saturdays from 9am-3pm. Admission is free.

A quiet street with colorful houses in Condesa, Mexico City with a car parked on the street

Roma is renowned for its bohemian atmosphere, European-inspired architecture, and colorful street art. Condesa is a bit more laid-back, high-class, and refined, featuring Art Deco buildings and lots of sidewalk cafés. Parque México and Parque España are iconic green spaces that divide the two neighborhoods and are perfect places to sit and people-watch for a bit.

The pueblos mágicos (magical towns) are towns and villages that the Mexican government has recognized for their cultural, historical, and natural significance. To be so designated, a place must meet specific criteria, including having historical and cultural richness and unique architecture, traditions, and folklore. These towns often feature well-preserved colonial architecture, lively cultural traditions, and a welcoming atmosphere.

While they are scattered all across the country, there’s one located just over an hour from Mexico City: Tepotzotlán.

Known for its beautiful colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, vibrant murals, and hikes to sacred sites in the surrounding mountains, it makes for a fun day trip, or if you have the time, even an overnight. There are buses that go to Tepotzotlán from Taxqueña (Mexico City’s southern bus station) every 30 minutes. A ticket is 184 MXN.

There are lots of unconventional things to see and do that a lot of visitors don’t experience. Here are a few suggestions of some of my favorites:

  • Palacio de Correos de México : This beautiful post office is a fascinating mix of architectural styles, including Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Gothic Revival, and others. There’s a free museum on the ground floor featuring various elements of the post office’s history, including a huge mural made entirely of stamps!
  • Ballet Folklórico de México : This renowned folk-dance ensemble showcases traditional Mexican dance and music. Their permanent home is the Palacio de Bellas Artes, where tickets start at 1,200 MXN .
  • Museo del Objeto del Objeto (Museum of the Object of the Object) : This quirky museum is dedicated to everyday objects, showcasing the evolution of design and consumer culture in Mexico. Free admission.
  • Museo del Chocolate : Learn about the importance and cultivation of cacao throughout Mexico’s history. There’s also an attached café, where you can sample chocolates in plenty of different forms. Museum admission is 80 MXN.

Mexico City is one of the world’s greatest metropolises. From iconic landmarks like the historic Zócalo and the majestic Teotihuacán pyramids to the vibrant markets, diverse neighborhoods, and thriving culinary scene, it is utterly captivating. No matter how long you have here, these things to do will keep you busy and ensure that you have an amazing visit.

Book Your Trip to Mexico City: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned!

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

If you’re looking for a place to stay, here are my favorite hostels in Mexico City .

This post can help you pick the best neighborhoods to stay in .

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • Safety Wing (best for everyone)
  • Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
  • Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on Mexico City? Be sure to visit our robust destination guide to Mexico City for even more planning tips!

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.

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The 17 Best Things to Do in Mexico City: Top Itineraries for First-timers

  • Updated on January 2, 2024
  • Things to Do

Things to Do in Mexico City

What You Will Learn (Click to Expand)

Introduction, exploring mexico city: the ultimate first timer's guide.

Embarking on a journey to discover Mexico City comes with high expectations – bustling energy, rich history, savory food, dynamic arts, and thirst-quenching nightlife.

For first-time visitors, the promise of adventure makes you relish every moment.

So let’s explore the 17 Best Things to Do in Mexico City .

Navigating Iconic Historical Sites

1. metropolitan cathedral: a testament of time.

Things to Do in Mexico City

Welcome to the largest and oldest cathedral in Latin America – The Metropolitan Cathedral . Built over a span of 250 years (from 1573 to 1813), this magnificent edifice showcases an eclectic mix – of Baroque, Neo-Classic, and Neo-Renaissance architectural styles.

Its exterior alone carries centuries-worth of grandeur. But stepping inside is where the magic truly begins. Expect to be dazzled by gold-coated surfaces and an array of religious relics adorning every corner. Don’t miss out on the gilded Altar of Forgiveness and the painted canvases lining the sacristy.

A special note for dark tourism enthusiasts: the Cathedral offers a night tour of the crypts underneath, offering a whole new perspective. The Cathedral is also a reflection of the city’s past, with materials from a destroyed Aztec temple incorporated in its construction. It’s an awe-inspiring encounter that should be at the top of your itinerary.

2. The National Palace (Palacio Nacional): A Repository of History

Another stop of great historical significance is The National Palace – Palacio Nacional . With a history tracing back to the Aztec era, this building has served as the Mexican federal government’s seat for centuries. Remarkably, much of the modern palace was constructed from materials from a former palace used by Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II.

Aside from its historical value, the palace houses several murals by famous artist Diego Rivera depicting Mexico’s history in captivating detail. Highlights include the brilliantly colored mural “The Epic of the Mexican People in their Struggle for Freedom and Independence.” This masterpiece, so massive Rivera took years to complete, winds around the palace’s central staircase.

This iconic structure is open from 9 am to 5 pm (excluding Mondays), and entry is free. However, ensure you carry a photo ID for access. For a more insightful experience, consider taking a walking tour with a knowledgeable guide to fully understand this emblematic building’s significance. The tour also covers other historical sites in Mexico City.

3. Zocalo: Heart and Soul of the Mexican Republic

sites to visit in mexico city

Discover Zocalo , the beating heart and soul of the Mexican Republic. Better known as Plaza de la Constitución, the square extends over an expansive area of 3½ square miles, making it one of Latin America’s most generous open spaces.

Surrounded by national treasures like the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace, the plaza is forever abuzz with activity – swaying dancers, melodious street musicians, and bustling locals, all contributing to the Zocalo’s lively ambiance.

You won’t be short of things to do here. Start with a guided walking tour to cover all corners of this humongous plaza. Whether you’re looking for the latest big event or just want to soak in the energy of Mexico City, a trip to Zocalo is an absolute must-do on your checklist.

My Complete Mexico Packing List will help ensure you have everything you need.

Museums Immersion in the Hustle-Bustle

4. national museum of anthropology: trip down ancient paths.

The National Museum of Anthropology, or Museo Nacional de Antropología in Spanish, offers a profound and extensive look at Mexico’s indigenous cultural heritage. Rated 4.5 out of 5 from over 2,685 reviews and noted as Mexico City’s most-visited museum, you can immerse yourself here in the ancient civilizations of Mexico.

Notable exhibits include the massive Aztec Sun Stone, Olmec giant carved heads, and the Aztec Xochipilli statue. You can also discover the tomb of Mayan King Pakal, explore Teotihuacan sculptures, and so much more! Their vast collection and detailed exhibits extend across the vast museum, truly making a day trip worthwhile.

You can find the National Museum of Anthropology located in the heart of Chapultepec Park with an entrance fee of just 85 pesos (around 4.35 USD). Because of the museum’s extensive size, guided tours are available, helping visitors identify landmark artifacts and comprehend their importance.

Besides the inside of the museum, don’t forget to stroll around the museum’s ethereal central courtyard featuring a vast ‘umbrella’ stone fountain.

5. Templo Mayor: Glimpse into Aztec History

sites to visit in mexico city

Unearth pieces of Aztec history at Templo Mayor , the archaeological site that revealed the Aztec Empire’s roots. Discovered in 1978 during electrical cable repairs, it soon became an important landmark, now attracting visitors from all over the world.

Templo Mayor was the main temple of the Mexica people, dedicated jointly to the god of war – Huitzilopochtli, and the god of rain and agriculture – Tlaloc. Today, the site consists of meticulously excavated ruins of the temple, a ceremonial plaza, and a museum holding relics unearthed during excavation.

Standouts among these artifacts are the Coyolxauhqui Stone, a bas-relief of the moon goddess said to represent how Templo Mayor was believed to be the center of the universe, and the eagle warriors – an homage to the elite soldiers in Aztec society.

Set right in the heart of the city, it’s an experience not to be missed for history and archaeology buffs. Don’t forget to check out the museum showcasing Aztec culture and civilization after exploring the ruins. Here, you get to delve deep into the culture and see the Aztec civilization’s intricately carved relics from multiple angles.

Artistic Bridge to Mexico's Culture

6. palacio de bellas artes: unveiling masterpieces.

If you’re an art enthusiast, buckle up for an enriching tour at the Palacio de Bellas Artes . Known as the “cathedral of art in Mexico”, it stands tall in the city’s historic center, calling art lovers worldwide.

Nowhere else in Mexico City will you find such an abundance of art and cultural performances under one beautiful Art Nouveau and Art Deco structure. Starting with the stunning murals by famous artists such as Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, the palace boasts a variety of artistic genres reflecting different periods.

The Palace of Fine Arts plays host to the Museum of Architecture on the top floor. This allows you to marvel at Mexico’s architectural evolution presented through models and designs. It also houses an extensive collection of 19th- and 20th-century Mexican art in its museum.

On the ground floor, you can enjoy its fabled concert hall, hosting cultural events, ballet performances, and music concerts. Visit during springtime when jacarandas bloom for an unforgettable aesthetic experience.

The entrance is free, although there’s a $70 MXN fee for the museum. This is one visit sure to leave you culturally enriched and artistically inspired.

7. Bustling Art Scene at Museo Frida Kahlo

sites to visit in mexico city

Glide further into Mexico’s art culture with a visit to the Museo Frida Kahlo , or ‘The Blue House.’ Known for its bold blue façade, it’s the birthplace and family home of one of the most well-known Mexican artists, Frida Kahlo.

This house holds a fascinating collection of personal artifacts, furnishings, sketches, and paintings, offering a glimpse into both the life and artistry of Frida Kahlo. The rooms and gardens are preserved exactly as she and her artist husband, Diego Rivera, had kept them alive with art.

The museum is most well known for drawing in Frida fans with exhibits like “Long Live Life,” “Frida and Diego: Mirrors of Each Other,” “Appearances Can Be Deceiving,” and more. With over 150 museums in Mexico City, Museo Frida Kahlo is among the top picks for art lovers.

Situated in the tranquil Coyoacán neighborhood, visitors can learn about Kahlo’s life, marvel at her art, and even enjoy some on-site special exhibitions. To avoid lines and ensure entry, you’re advised to book tickets in advance, which go for around 230 pesos (or ~$11) for general entry.

Every corner of this place breathes in art, making it a must-visit destination.

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Unique food experiences worth trying, 8. savour a slice of mexico at quintonil.

Mexico City’s culinary scene is among the city’s many highlights, and rightfully so. One of the most notable gastronomical attractions is Quintonil . Run by the dynamic duo Alejandro Bremont and Alejandra Flores, it has established its place among The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Why did it make it on our best list? Quintonil masters the art of Mexican cuisine with intriguing dishes like charred avocado tartare with ant larvae and roast chicken with macadamia nut mole. Moreover, the restaurant uses locally sourced ingredients, enhancing its sustainability efforts – a noteworthy aspect.

Here are the top 5 features that make Quintonil a must-try:

  • Seasonal 10-course tasting menu
  • Inventive use of traditional local ingredients
  • Vegan and vegetarian-friendly options
  • Wine pairing curated from Mexican wineries
  • Garden-like ambiance enhancing the dining atmosphere

Benefits of Dining at Quintonil:

  • Authentic taste of Mexico’s flavors
  • Refined presentation of every meal
  • Insightful waitstaff knowing menu intricacies
  • Featured in Netflix’s “Chef’s Table” series
  • The honor of dining at one of the world’s best restaurants

Cons: While the food and ambiance are top-notch, the price tag matches that standard. Certainly, it’s worth every penny, but a meal here might be a special occasion or culinary splurge for many. Also, given its acclaim, do make a reservation well in advance as last-minute bookings might not be feasible.

The restaurant suits foodies looking for an upscale dining experience and the joy of tasting one-of-a-kind offerings from Mexican cuisine.

9. Casual yet Delicious Tacos at El Tizoncito

sites to visit in mexico city

For a more casual foodie experience that equally deserves the label ‘unforgettable’, head to El Tizoncito . Renowned for being the birthplace of the iconic “Tacos al Pastor,” this eatery is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Located in the trendy neighborhood of Condesa, El Tizoncito serves some of the best tacos in Mexico City.

Why would El Tizoncito make the best list? Carved right off the spit, their mouth-watering tacos al pastor, layered with thinly sliced marinated pork, topped with raw onion, fresh cilantro, and slivers of sweet pineapple, are a sensory delight. Besides, they boast an inviting, casual ambiance that feels truly authentic.

Here are the top 5 features of El Tizoncito:

  • Birthplace of Tacos al Pastor
  • Diverse Taco menu with various fillings
  • Family-friendly atmosphere
  • Open until late hours
  • Multiple Locations

Benefits of dining at El Tizoncito:

  • Authentic and scrumptious Mexican fast-food
  • Quick service
  • Budget-friendly
  • Positive vibes from live music occasionally
  • Vegan and Vegetarian-friendly options available

The two cons for El Tizoncito would mainly be the waiting time due to its popularity and limited seating space. However, these minor inconveniences are a testament to its outstanding reputation. Ideal for food lovers who want to enjoy delicious, no-fuss Mexican street food in a vibrant setting.

You can’t leave Mexico City without trying their famed Tacos al Pastor!

Quench your Nighttime Thirst for Adventure

10. epic lucha libre matches: fight night in mexico city.

sites to visit in mexico city

Fancy a taste of the dramatic and vivacious? Step into the world of masked warriors for a night at a Lucha Libre fight. An integral part of Mexican culture, Lucha Libre dates back to the early 20th century. Similar to WWE-style wrestling, the matches feature iconic masked Mexican wrestlers engaging in a part theatrical, part athleticism performance.

What’s the best place to witness a match? The top spot is Arena Mexico in the capital, especially on Tuesday and Friday nights, as well as on Sunday afternoons. Fridays are particularly thrilling as it signals the start of the weekend. Ringside seating, a Lucha Libre mask, tequila: it serves not just as a match but as a full-on fiesta.

Witnessing a Lucha Libre fight is more than just the match – it’s about the audience’s reactions too, making the experience even more entertaining. Conjoining the energy, thrilling performance, and lively crowd, it’s no surprise that the experience has become one of the top things to do in Mexico City.

However, do remember big cameras are not allowed inside, narrowing your memories down to what you store in your mind (or smartphone!) For those seeking an authentic taste of Mexican pop culture and a unique spectacle, a night at the Lucha Libre match is an exhilarating experience you’ll never forget.

11. Experience the World's Favorite Fifty Mils Bar

No trip is complete without experiencing the local nightlife, and when in Mexico’s capital, Fifty Mils is the place to be. Nestled within the elegant Four Seasons Hotel, Fifty Mils has been recognized among the World’s 50 Best Bars, cementing its reputation as a must-visit spot in Mexico City.

Why did it make the best list? Fifty Mils strikes a perfect balance between innovation and tradition, offering a wide selection of libations that play with classic drinks and introduce fresh, locally inspired cocktails. Their desserts, from doughnuts to mochi, served during brunch, also steal the show.

Here are the top 5 features that make Fifty Mils shine:

  • Specialist mixologists creating unique cocktails
  • Comfortable indoor and patio seating
  • Extensive whiskey and tequila selection
  • Renowned for brunch
  • Unique signature cocktails

Benefits of Unwinding at Fifty Mils:

  • Opportunity to taste world-class mixology
  • Relaxing and sophisticated ambiance
  • Regular live music performances
  • Late-night service
  • Excellent service from friendly staff

The top two cons: Fifty Mils is on the pricier side and can be quite busy at times, so making a reservation is advised. Fifty Mils is an excellent recommendation for those who cherish the pleasure of savoring creative cocktails in a top-class setting!

Embracing Nature amidst the Urban Jungle

12. escaping to the lush bosque de chapultepec.

sites to visit in mexico city

Amid the city’s hustle and bustle, you can find your retreat inside the city itself – Bosque de Chapultepec . Consuming more than 1,600 acres, Chapultepec Park is more than just a park; it’s a sanctuary. It is known as “the lungs of Mexico City” due to its vast expanse of foliage. Its vast size and packed roster of attractions make it Latin America’s second-largest park!

The park houses a zoo, eight museums, a lake bobbing with paddleboats, and historical monuments, including the impressive Chapultepec Castle, once a viceroy’s residence and now home to the National History Museum. Street performers, vendors, and picnickers add to the park’s lively energy, especially on weekends.

A special local tip: locals organize a massive evening picnic once a month in Chapultepec’s forests – a unique way to blend in with the locals. It is the perfect place for nature lovers and city dwellers alike, plus heaven for families thanks to the child-friendly activities available at every turn.

So, be sure to set aside some time to explore this vibrant, verdant gem!

13. Soak Up Serenity in the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

Your journey to Mexico City wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco . Known as Mexico City’s Venice, Xochimilco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, often hailed as the last link to the Aztec civilization, with its network of ancient canals and floating islands called “chinampas.”

A visit to Xochimilco is a chance to soak up the serene atmosphere and enjoy the delightfully colorful scenery. Hop aboard a brightly-painted flat-bottomed boat called a “trajinera” and let the journey through the picturesque canals begin.

Adorned with flowers and festoons, the boats are a sight to behold, often led by local guides and serenaded by floating Mariachi bands. Historically, these chinampas were used to grow crops, but today, they serve as massive, floating flower gardens, making Xochimilco one of the world’s most delightful gardens.

Visitors often visit Xochimilco as a day trip, enjoying the leisurely boat ride while feasting on delicious street food sold by canal-side vendors. It’s a fulfilling local experience not to miss and a beautiful sight for nature and photography lovers. Remember to bring your camera; the vibrant, flower-scented canals offer ample picturesque opportunities.

Venture out for Exciting Day Trips

14. ancient marvels at teotihuacan.

Just a short drive away from Mexico City center remains one of the world’s most stunning cultural sites – the ancient city of Teotihuacan . Known as the City of the Gods, it was once the largest metropolis in the region, boasting towering pyramids and intricate murals.

Just as impressive today as it was nearly 2,000 years ago when the ancient Mayans built it, Teotihuacan is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit site near Mexico City.

Teotihuacan isn’t just about the two famous pyramids, the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. It’s an entire ancient city waiting to be explored. Discover remnants of this civilization, including The Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Avenue of the Dead. Climb the pyramids, wander through ancient ruins, or simply appreciate this architectural marvel.

If you have a few days in Mexico City, it’s worth the day trip. Advice from locals suggests leaving early in the morning so you can be back in the city by midday—and definitely bring sunscreen! You can book a tour to see the pyramids with a guide, or if you’d rather explore at your leisure, detailed instructions are available on how to get there yourself.

Make sure to mark this destination on your list; it’s an unforgettable experience of awe and wonder.

15. Spiritual Getaway to Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe

Ascend for a spiritual journey to one of the most visited Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world – the Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe , or the Shrine of Guadalupe. Located atop Tepeyac Hill, it commemorates the Virgin Mary’s legendary 16th-century appearance to Juan Diego, a local peasant.

The shrine houses the original cloak harboring an imprint of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s picture, attracting millions of devoted followers each year. The old and the new Basilica boast an impressive lineup of religious art and captivating architecture, making it more than just a pilgrimage site.

Visitors can explore the Basilica grounds, where each corner unravels its own intriguing chapter from the past. The site becomes especially bustling around mid-December to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Feast Day.

Whether you come for the rich history, spiritual devotion, or aesthetic satisfaction, the enchanting Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe stands out as one of Mexico City’s must-visit sites. The feeling of serenity that envelops you within its premises is one worth experiencing.

Don’t forget to stop by their on-site museum, home to a broad collection of religious art.

Niche Nooks Worth Exploring

16. snapshot of literature at biblioteca vasconcelos.

sites to visit in mexico city

Welcome to Biblioteca Vasconcelos , the centerpiece of learning and literature in the Buenavista neighborhood. Covering an impressive 38,000 square meters, this architectural gem is more than just a library; it’s a hub of education and community, uniting bookworms and architectural enthusiasts alike.

Inside, you’ll find a breathtaking arrangement of hundreds of thousands of books across a seven-level network of floating shelves. With diverse collections ranging from literature to philosophy to science fiction novels, the library is a paradise for readers and knowledge seekers.

Also known as the “megalibrary,” Biblioteca Vasconcelos stuns with its futuristic and near-fictional design. Cantilever bookshelves appear to be floating from the ceiling, while smoked-glass floors give a dizzying multilevel twist, embracing an industrial aesthetic. Unquestionably, this place merits inclusion in your Mexico City itinerary.

Apart from the extensive literary collection, Biblioteca Vasconcelos is an architectural marvel in itself. Grab your camera and let your explorative instincts guide you through this fascinating space of knowledge and marvel.

Remember, it’s not just books; there’s also a large collection of multimedia items, including music and films, all available to the public.

17. Sneak a Peek at surrealist Leon Trotsky’s House

Take a detour from the usual routes and pay a visit to the Leon Trotsky House Museum or “Museo Casa de Leon Trotsky.” This museum, formerly the home of Leon Trotsky – a Russian revolutionary, is a chance to step back in time and understand an intriguing layer of world history.

Exiled from the Soviet Union and seeking asylum, Trotsky settled in Coyoacán, within this very home that now serves as a perfectly preserved snapshot of his life in Mexico. Trotsky lived here until his assassination in 1940, and today, you can explore rooms left intact since then, revealing his humble lifestyle and political intrigues.

For history enthusiasts, the museum offers an offbeat perspective of the life of this once influential figure. It’s also a short walk from Frida Kahlo’s house, making it easy to club both visits during a single day.

While not as frequent as the most popular sites, this museum hosts a wealth of knowledge and a deeper understanding of global history right in Mexico City. Don’t miss the chance to see the preserved rooms, government documents, photos, and the tomb where Trotsky and his wife are interred, located in the garden.

The Trotsky Museum is more than a fascinating share of history; it’s also a unique way to understand how Mexican and world history often become intertwined.

Adding it to your travel itinerary can provide an enriched experience of niche trail exploration.

How safe is Mexico City for tourists?

Mexico City is generally safe for tourists, much like most major U.S. or Canadian cities.

While traveling, it’s always a good idea to be mindful of your surroundings, especially in crowded places or at night. Keep an eye out for pickpockets, particularly on public transportation, and stick to age-old travel advice, like not flaunting expensive items.

Also, it’s a good idea to check the U.S. or Canadian government travel advisory websites before your trip.

What are the top tourist attractions in Mexico City to see with kids?

Mexico City is a great place to visit with kids.

Top attractions for a family-friendly visit include:

  • Papalote Museo del Niño: This hands-on, interactive children’s museum is packed with fun exhibits on science, technology, art, and culture.
  • Chapultepec Park: Home to a zoo, a castle, and the National Museum of Anthropology, the park has plenty of attractions sure to captivate kids.
  • Xochimilco: Known for its colorful boats and Chinampas (floating gardens), Xochimilco is a fun trip for any family.
  • Six Flags Mexico: A great choice for thrill-seekers, Six Flags hosts rides and attractions suitable for all ages.
  • Parque Bicentenario: A 55-hectare park with playgrounds, artificial lakes, and a greenhouse. A great spot for a family picnic.

Remember to plan your days according to your kids’ schedules and always have a backup plan in case of an unexpected situation.

How many days are ideal for a Mexico City trip?

sites to visit in mexico city

While you can get a taste of Mexico City in three days, to fully appreciate the depth and breadth of what the vibrant city offers, ideally, allocate at least five days for your visit.

This will allow you to thoroughly explore the major museums and historic sites, immerse yourself in the local cuisine and markets, and even take a day trip or two outside the city to sites like Teotihuacan or Xochimilco.

This also gives you the flexibility to adapt your schedule based on how you feel each day or if you discover a new, unexpected interest during your trip.

What is the best time to visit Mexico City?

The best time to visit Mexico City largely depends on the weather.

The city can be enjoyed year-round due to its high altitude, offering pleasant temperatures. However, the prime time to visit is between March to May , when the average temperatures are between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The weather is warm without intense heat or rain, and the city is in full bloom, particularly in February and March , when the jacaranda trees are in bloom.

Another ideal time is between October and December when the weather is also mild and dry. Just note the best weather comes with bigger tourist crowds.

So, if you want to bypass frequent rain, avoid planning your trip in the rainy season, from July to September .

What are some cool things to do around Mexico City for young adults?

sites to visit in mexico city

Mexico City offers a variety of activities that will appeal to young adults:

  • Bar Hop in Roma and Condesa: Known for buzzing nightlife, both neighborhoods boast a selection of hip bars and restaurants.
  • Attend a Lucha Libre match: These high-energy wrestling matches offer a unique slice of Mexican culture and a fun night out.
  • Explore street art: Mexico City is renowned for its vibrant street art. Discover murals in neighborhoods like Roma, Condesa, and Juarez.
  • Bike ride around Chapultepec Park: Rent a bike and explore the city’s “lungs,” home to the largest zoo in Latin America, a castle, and several museums.
  • Visit Mercado Roma: This gourmet market is a haven for foodies, with stalls selling everything from artisanal ice cream to tacos and craft beer.
  • Take a day trip to the pyramids of Teotihuacan: Just a short drive from the city, Teotihuacan is a must-visit for any history enthusiast.

What are the top 3 fun activities Mexico City is known for?

Mexico City is known for its rich culture, vibrant nightlife, and diverse food scene.

Here are three activities the city is most known for:

  • Visiting Teotihuacan: A trip to these ancient pyramids, located just outside of Mexico City, is a must. One can climb the massive Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon and explore the complex’s other ruins.
  • Exploring Chapultepec Park: Often referred to as the “lungs of Mexico City,” this expansive park hosts a castle, zoo, and multiple museums. It’s a popular spot for picnics, boat rides, and leisurely walks.
  • Dining on Roadside Tacos: With a rich street food culture, devouring tacos from a street stand is a quintessential Mexico City experience. Whether it’s Al Pastor, Carnitas, or Barbacoa, the city’s tacos are known worldwide.

These activities offer a comprehensive experience of the city’s rich history, natural beauty, and tantalizing cuisine and are worth adding to your itinerary.

What are some things to see in Mexico City near the airport?

If you’re near the Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City and have some time to spare, here are a few attractions to consider:

  • Palacio de los Deportes: A massive sports and entertainment venue, it hosts numerous events throughout the year.
  • Templo Mayor: Although it’s a 30-minute drive from the airport, this major archaeological site is worth a visit. Here, you’ll find the ruins of an ancient Aztec pyramid right in the heart of Mexico City.
  • Parque Tezontle: A large shopping mall with a variety of stores, restaurants, and a cinema. It’s a great spot for last-minute shopping or a quick meal.
  • The Foro Sol: This is another large entertainment and sports venue that hosts a wide range of events, including concerts and baseball games.
  • Mercado Sonora: This bustling market is known for its selling spiritual artifacts, medicinal plants, and traditional toys. The market is quite famous amongst Mexico City’s local population.

All these spots are within a short drive from the airport and offer a pleasant excursion if you’re stuck on a long layover or awaiting a delayed flight.

Is Mexico City walkable?

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Yes, Mexico City is pleasantly walkable, especially in neighborhoods like Centro Historico, Roma, Condesa, and Polanco.

These areas are dense with attractions, restaurants, and shops, making them perfect for walking tours. The city also has excellent public transportation with its Metro system if you need to cover longer distances.

However, like any major city, it’s always safe to exercise caution, stay aware of your surroundings, and stick to well-lit, populated areas, especially at night.

Is it cheap to visit Mexico City sights?

Visiting Mexico City is generally quite affordable compared to other major cities. Many of the city’s attractions are free or have nominal entrance fees.

For instance, admission to the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace is free, while museums like the Frida Kahlo Museum and the National Anthropology Museum have affordable tickets. The cost of dining is also relatively low, with a wide range of options from street food to high-end restaurants.

The city’s extensive metro system makes transportation around the city affordable, too. However, costs can add up with guided tours, souvenir shopping, and enjoying the city’s nightlife, so plan according to your budget.

Here are all the Best Places to Visit in Mexico .

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Conclusion: Things to Do in Mexico City

From ancient ruins and iconic landmarks to vibrant markets and world-renowned restaurants, Mexico City offers an exciting mix of cultural, historical, and culinary experiences.

You can admire the splendor of the Metropolitan Cathedral and National Palace, explore vibrant neighborhoods, dine at some of the world’s best restaurants, and discover Mexico’s rich history at the Anthropology Museum and Teotihuacan.

Whether you wish to delve into the city’s vibrant arts scene, soak up the flavors of street food, or enjoy retracing the steps of ancient civilizations, there is indeed no shortage of things to do in Mexico City.

Take your time and immerse yourself in each experience. Enjoy the moment, the sites, the people, and the culture. After all, exploring Mexico City is not just about ticking off a checklist; it’s about savoring everything the city brings to life. Happy travels!

And if I missed anything, let me know in the comments below!

Picture of Chip Ge

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The Metropolitan Cathedral facing Constitution Square in Mexico City, Mexico

The Mexican flag flies over the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral in Constitution Square.

Top 10 Things to Do in Mexico City

Follow the footsteps of the Aztecs, admire the brushstrokes of Frida Kahlo, and experience centuries-old traditions during Day of the Dead.

Built on the ruins of the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, Mexico City is one of the oldest and largest cities in the Americas. Colonial architecture, iconic artwork, spicy cuisine, and a rich cultural heritage offer visitors an endless array of activities that will satisfy any appetite.

Centro Histórico: City of Palaces

The Aztecs built their empire on Lake Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico—a great island city connected by canals and protected by fortresses. When Spanish conquerors arrived in Tenochtitlan in the 16th century, they destroyed the island, drained the lake, and constructed a “city of palaces” over the ruins. Past and present blend together in the 10-acre Historic Center of Mexico City —its museums, cathedrals, and temples reveal a storied past. The Zócalo, the city’s main public square, is second largest in the world after Moscow’s Red Square and within a short distance of several significant sites. Highlights include the Palacio Nacional , home to the president’s offices. The colonial building is located at the site where the palace of the Aztec ruler Moctezuma once stood, and it’s decorated with murals by Mexican artist Diego Rivera. The Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, built over a period of more than 200 years, is the largest in the Americas and combines Renaissance, baroque, and neoclassical architectural styles.

Xochimilco: Where the Flowers Grow

boat in a canal in Xochimilco, Mexico City, Mexico

A brightly painted flat-bottom boat navigates the canals of Xochimilco.

In the south of Mexico City, a network of canals weaves through a series of man-made islands in Xochimilco, the so-called “ Venice of the New World.” Xochimilco, meaning “where the flowers grow,” is aptly named for its chinampas , or floating gardens. Farmers constructed reed rafts on the lake, slathered them with mud, and cultivated fruits, vegetables, and flowers right on the water. Over time, the gardens rooted and became islands. On weekends, trajineras , brightly decorated flat-bottom boats, carry passengers through the canals. Small boats also navigate the waterways, delivering drinks and snacks to lively passengers. The floating city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987—the only remaining example of traditional pre-Hispanic land use of the lagoons in the Mexico City basin.

Teotihuacan: City of the Gods

Mexico boasts more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any other country in the Americas, like the ancient archaeological site of Teotihuacan , located 45 minutes northeast of Mexico City. Lining the Avenue of the Dead, the monumental Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon stretch across the valley in geometric patterns—a model of urbanization and city planning that guided subsequent cultures. The towering structures represent only 10 percent of the total surface, a testament to one of the largest and most powerful cultural and artistic centers in Mesoamerica. In fact, this site is so awe-inspiring, some people believe it was built by aliens .

Art: Mesoamerica to Modern Mexico

Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Mexico

The Palacio de Bellas Artes is an early 20th-century cultural center located in the Centro Histórico.

Mexico City has more than 150 museums and galleries. The Soumaya Museum was designed by the Mexican architect Fernando Romero and is one of the most visited in Mexico City. It hosts a collection of more than 66,000 works spanning 3,000 years, including pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica, 19th- and 20th-century Mexican art, and works by European masters such as Auguste Rodin, Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent van Gogh. Palacio de Bellas Artes is a stunning work of early 20th-century architecture located in the Centro Histórico. The palace hosts temporary art exhibits and features permanent murals by some of Mexico's most celebrated artists, including Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and Rufino Tamayo. The Dolores Olmedo Musuem ’s beautiful five-building complex features a collection of pre-Hispanic, colonial, folk, and contemporary art, including a large collection of works by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Bosque de Chapultepec: An Outdoor Oasis

At more than 1,600 acres, Chapultepec is Mexico City’s largest park and home to several significant historical sites. Near the park’s main entrance stands the Monument of Young Heroes, which honors six young cadets who refused to surrender at the Battle of Chapultepec in 1847 during the Mexican-American War. Follow the road to the top of the hill overlooking Mexico City, where Chapultepec Castle houses the National History Museum . Other attractions in the sprawling park include botanical gardens, a modern art museum, Tamayo Museum, and National Museum of Anthropology . Outside the main entrance of the anthropology museum, costumed entertainers perform the ancient rite of the voladores (fliers), in which four instrument-wielding men swing around a tall pole as if they were flying.

Coyoacán: Place of Coyotes

park with coyotes fountain in Coyoacan, Mexico City, Mexico

The Centenario Garden showcases a fountain honoring the coyote—the animal that gave Coyoacán, “the place of coyotes,” its name.

One of Mexico City’s “ magical neighborhoods ,” Coyoacán has vibrant cobblestone streets, colonial churches, and bustling markets that transport visitors back in time. The main plaza, Jardín Centenario (Centenario Garden), showcases a fountain honoring the coyote—the animal that gave Coyoacán, “the place of coyotes,” its name. Across from the plaza, the early 16th-century San Juan Bautista Cathedral towers into the sky, while vendors peddle toys and snacks outside. Sit down for some classic Mexican cuisine at Los Danzantes , and enjoy the scene. A 15-minute walk from the plaza leads to La Casa Azul (the Blue House), the former home of Mexican icon Frida Kahlo, which was converted into a museum after her death. If you’re feeling inspired, all sorts of Frida Kahlo-shaped earrings, T-shirts, and purses can be found in the Bazar Artesanal Mexicano , along with a multitude of other traditional handicrafts.

Cuisine: Spice Things Up

Fifty regional cuisines from across the country can be found in Mexico City. When you’re not savoring the vibrant street-food scene, the city offers fine-dining options at modest prices. At Guzina Oaxaca , chef Alejandro Ruíz uses fresh, organic ingredients to craft traditional dishes that transport diners to the southern state of Oaxaca. Adventurous eaters should order the delicacy, chapulines , or dried grasshoppers. Venture to Blanco Colima in the heart of Mexico City's Roma Norte neighborhood. Operating out of a decadent 20th-century mansion, a blend of modern art with classical touches makes the atmosphere as exquisite as the cuisine. Looking to taste a little bit of everything? Mexican Food Tours offers a range of gastronomy tours and cooking classes.

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Día de los Muertos: An Ancient Tradition

sugar skulls for sale during Mexico City's Día De Los Muertos

Sweet shops throughout Mexico City sell sugar skulls during the Day of the Dead.

Each year from late October to early November, people throughout Mexico celebrate the pre-Hispanic traditions of Día de los Muertos , or Day of the Dead. In Mexico City, neon alebrijes —sculptures of fantastical beasts—line the streets in a splash of color. Ofrendas , or offerings, to dead loved ones can also be viewed throughout homes, cemeteries, and public spaces across the city. These altars are often draped in bright marigolds, sugar skulls, photos, food, and drink—gifts to welcome the dead back to the realm of the living. In 2016, Mexico City held its first ever Day of the Dead parade. Giant floats, colorfully costumed entertainers, and beautifully painted skeleton ladies (Catrinas) danced through the streets while thousands of joyful spectators lined sidewalks and balconies stretching from the Angel of Independence to the city’s main square. Día de los Muertos earned a spot on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008.

Templo Mayor: Aztec Ruins

Beneath Mexico City lie the ruins of the pre-Hispanic Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, and its center was the Templo Mayor. In the mid-20th century, the religious site was discovered under the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral and excavated by archaeologists in the 1970s. Visitors can view pyramids, ceremonial platforms, and the complex’s main temples dedicated to the gods of war and rain. The Templo Mayor Museum showcases many of the era’s artifacts—which continue to be unearthed—such as obsidian knives, clay pots, masks, skulls, and urns.

Puebla: Must-Do Day Trip

church with volcano in background in Cholula, Mexico

Popocatépetl volcano looms over the Great Pyramid of Cholula in the state of Puebla, Mexico.

Just two hours south of Mexico City, the colonial city of Puebla sits at the foot of the snowcapped Popocatépetl volcano. The enchanting historic center of Puebla —a UNESCO World Heritage site—has preserved baroque cathedrals, palaces, and azulejos (tiled houses) dating back to the 16th century. In the evening, the lively Zócalo buzzes with life, music, and food, and the charming pastel buildings and intricately designed churches light up against the night sky. A few blocks from the Zócalo, a large artisanal market sells textiles, tchotchkes, artwork, and more. Just a few miles away, the small town of Cholula is home to hundreds of beautiful churches, as well as the largest pyramid in the world. If you have more time to spend in Puebla, consider exploring the towns of Tochimilco , Atlixco , and Cuetzalan .

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Atardecer en el Monumento a la Revolución

The 10 best attractions in Mexico City

Visiting CDMX but have no idea where to start? These are the best attractions in Mexico City, from museums to monuments.

John Bills

A bustling metropolis, Mexico City is a place of grandeur and wonder. Its magic was apparent from the start; CDMX sits on the same site as the ancient settlement of Tenochtitlán, where the Aztecs are said to have witnessed an eagle perched atop a cactus while devouring a snake. You might not see such sights here today, but the best attractions in Mexico City will more than suffice.

Put bluntly, Mexico City is jam-packed with brilliant attractions, fascinating history, and gorgeous architecture. This place has been the focal point of civilizations for the better part of a millennium, and its story is told through magnificent museums , galleries, squares, and more. This is the best of the best in Mexico City.

RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in Mexico City

Best sights and attractions in Mexico City

Museo Nacional de Antropología (MNA)

1.  Museo Nacional de Antropología (MNA)

  • Miguel Hidalgo

Firstly, the architecture might just blow you away. It’s impossible to see the entire museum in one day, but seeing the Coatlicue will change your perception of one of Mexico’s most important museums. After five decades, it was necessary to restore its two most significant murals;  The World of the Maya  (Leonora Carrington) and the  Map of Meso-America  (Ernesto Vázquez y Luis Covarrubias). The restoration was impeccable, to say the least.

Arena México

2.  Arena México

Arena Mexico is bubbling with history. It contains traces of glorious battles, from its beginnings with El Santo and Blue Demon to the boxing matches in the 1968 Olympic Games and beyond. These days, it is a cathedral of competition in which every Tuesday (the most popular day due to its lower prices), Friday, and Sunday, people line up to celebrate the magic of lucha libre. Mexican experiences don't come more quintessential than this marriage of physicality and drama.

Bosque de Chapultepec

3.  Bosque de Chapultepec

  • Walks and tours

Stepping foot in Chapultepec is obligatory for anyone in Mexico City, visitor or resident. The first section possesses an undeniable aura of art and history thanks to museums and cultural buildings like the Museo de Arte Moderno, the Museo Tamayo, and the Museo Nacional de Antropología. The park is also home to the legendary Castillo de Chapultepec, the scene of the Batalla del Molino del Rey, one of the most violent battles during the Mexican-American War of 1847.

Ángel de la Independencia

4.  Ángel de la Independencia

Officially called Monumento a la Independencia, the Angel of Independence is a popular meeting point in Mexico City. Those who step foot here may not know it, but they are standing on the remains of the souls who built Mexico. Before becoming the headquarters for social protests and rallies, the monument was a mausoleum formed by a slanted plinth, a quarry-stone column standing 35 meters high, with a statue of the Winged Victory of Samothrace at the top—designed by architect Antonio Rivas Mercado.

Museo Frida Kahlo (Casa Azul)

5.  Museo Frida Kahlo (Casa Azul)

Frida Kahlo is one of the most famous and celebrated artists of the past century, so it makes sense that this museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in CDMX. This is the house where Kahlo was born, where she lived with Diego Rivera, and where she eventually died. Known as the Cruz Azul (Blue House, bet you can't figure out why), the entire life of a hugely significant artist is contained within. The house is history itself and perfectly captures the scope and creativity of Mexico’s bohemian community in the 1930s and 40s.

Palacio Postal

6.  Palacio Postal

One of Mexico City’s most ornate and beautiful buildings, the Palacio Postal (also known as the Correo Mayor) was designed by the mind of Italian architect Adamo Boari. Its early twentieth-century style combines several historic architectural movements, from Italian renaissance to Spanish Plateresque, and the results are astonishing. It’s the fine details where the Postal shines brightest; check out its Italian ironwork, elaborate stone carvings, and intricately detailed gargoyles.

Palacio de Bellas Artes

7.  Palacio de Bellas Artes

The construction of Bellas Artes was completed by Italian Architect Adamo Boari. The Palace is as famous for its architecture as its central collection, which houses 17 murals by Mexican artists created between 1928-1963. Standout murals include  El hombre Controlador del Universo  (1934) by Diego Rivera,  La Katharsis  (1934) by José Clemente Orozco, and  Tormento de Cuauhtémoc  (1951) by David Alfaro Siquieros, among others. The Palace is home to the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes and a principal room, an excellent place to enjoy operas, chamber music, and theater.


8.  Xochimilco

At the south end of the city is a living vestige of what was the great Tenochtitlán, with its canals and chinampas and green plots of land full of vegetation and fresh air. Xochimilco was named a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site in 1987, and its neighborhoods still breathe tradition and respect for nature. Its Náhuatl name couldn’t be more apt; Xochimilco means “place of fertile earth of flowers.” This place is plenty colorful, to say the least. There are nine dock areas where you can board a trajinera (a flat-bottomed boat built for carrying goods), an absolute must in Xochimilco.

Monumento a la Revolución Mexicana

9.  Monumento a la Revolución Mexicana

You don't need to be fluent in Spanish to decipher what that means. Monumento a la Revolución is a landmark in downtown Mexico City commemorating the Mexican Revolution of the early 20th century. It is the tallest triumphal arch in the world (220 meters), but there is more to this than meets the eye. The Monumento is also a mausoleum housing the remains of some of Mexico's most important historical figures, while a museum and gallery are also found here. Visitors can also climb the monument using the original elevator, installed in 1938, which rises on an incline between the two copper domes.


10.  Zócalo

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The flat, treeless Zócalo (the informal name for the main square) is one of Mexico City’s most iconic places. The plaza is a hub of entertainment and activities, from concerts to plays, festivals, job fairs, and more. Officially called La Plaza de la Constitución, Zócalo was called the Plaza de Ánimas in the days of New Spain, but its current moniker was given in honor of the area’s prominence during the signing of the Constitution of Cádiz (1812). 

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The 25 Best Places To Visit in Mexico City According To Locals

sites to visit in mexico city

You'll never run out of places to visit in Mexico City. This vibrant, bustling metropolis contains everything from ancient ruins to sparkling skyscrapers. It's easy to get overwhelmed, which is why we asked some Mexico City locals for their advice. 

With their help, we created this guide to the 25 best places to visit in Mexico City. 

No one knows a place like the people who live there. Work with a local to build your Mexico City trip. 

#1: The Hip Neighborhoods Of Roma & Condesa

Roma Places To Visit In Mexico City

Locals tell us that the adjacent Roma and Condesa neighborhoods are a definite must-visit in Mexico City. Here, travelers will find a wealth of bars, restaurants, and charming shops. Even walking around is delightful! Roma and Condesa are full of incredible Art Deco mansions. 

Both neighborhoods are well-loved by locals and visitors alike, which means taking advantage of local advice is a good way to avoid the more touristy areas. Our local trip planners in Mexico City suggest exploring Condesa's gloriously green Parque Mexico  and checking out the street food at the Chilpancingo metro stop. 

#2: The Ancient Pyramids of Teotihuacan

Pyramids of Teotihuacan Places to Visit in Mexico City

The ancient Mayans built the Teotihuacan pyramids nearly 2,000 years ago—and they're just as stunning today as they were back then. Although this UNESCO site is a bit outside of town, the trip there is definitely worth it.

Locals tell us that the site is more than just pyramids. It's an entire ancient city lost in time. Check out what remains of this amazing civilization, including The Pyramid of the Sun, The Temple of Quetzalcoatl, and  the eerily named “Avenue of the Dead.” Climb the pyramids, wander the jungle looking for artifacts, or simply meander the site in wonder.

You can book a tour  to see the pyramids with a guide, or your local trip planner can give you detailed instructions on how to get there yourself (so you can explore it at your leisure).

#3:  The Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

Xochimilco Places To Visit In Mexico City

Mexico City's Xochimilco neighborhood is a gorgeous network of wide canals and ancient, man-made floating islands. Though the Aztecs built these islands to grow crops, today they're used as massive, floating flower gardens.

This stunning site can be enjoyed via trajineras, adorable, colorful riverboats that take visitors through the waters. 

#4: El Museo Frida Kahlo 

Museo Frida Kahlo Places To Visit In Mexico City

Mexico City is filled with incredible museums (more than 150!) and Museo Frida Kahlo is among the most popular. Located in the quiet Coyoacan neighborhood, visitors can learn about Kahlo’s life and enjoy her art, ensconced in the “blue house” that she called home.

If you're a fan of Frida's art or want to immerse yourself in her world, this is definitely one of the best museums to visit in Mexico City .

#6: El Parnita 

Tacos Places to Visit in Mexico City

Locals tell us that El Parnita is a cute little lunch joint that offers great Mexican fare — from tacos to tortas and beyond.

Tucked into the Roma neighborhood, El Parnita is often called " Mexico City's Favorite Taqueria ". Accordingly, the place gets PACKED.

Our advice: have your trip planner put a meal at El Parnita on your itinerary for when you're already in the neighborhood. That way, if it's too packed, you can keep exploring while the crowds calm down.

#6: El Palacio de Bellas Artes (The Palace of Fine Arts)

Palacio de Bellas Artes

El Palacio de Bellas Artes (The Palace of Fine Arts) is more than just a beautiful face—though it does have a gorgeous face. 

This fantastic Mexico City landmark can do it all. Locals tell us that visitors can explore the Museum of Architecture on the top floor, attend classical music performances in its fabled concert hall, take in the amazing Diego Rivera murals in the lobby, check out the museum's extensive collection of 19th- ad 20th-century Mexican art, and ogle at the incredible Tiffany glass “curtain” in the theater.

#7:  El Zocalo

El Zocalo Places To Visit In Mexico City

If you don’t want to miss out on the latest celebration, demonstration, big event, you name it, then locals recommend making a beeline for the Zocalo, Mexico City’s enormous public square (also known as Plaza de la Constitucion).

Even on a “quiet” day, the square is packed with people, dancers, and street musicians. Plus, it’s a great starting point since a lot of Mexico City’s sites encircle the Zocalo.

It can be a little overwhelming — there's so much to see! And do! And eat! —so get some local tips on how to explore this dynamic site. 

#8: La Pasteleria Ideal

La Pasteleria Ideal Places to Visit in Mexico City

Voyagers take heed: snacking is an important part of any trip. And locals tell us that Pasteleria Ideal has everything you could possibly want in that department, including a second floor where you can admire their elaborate, tiered wedding cakes.

This pastry shop is known as the best one in Mexico City, so make sure to stop by for some authentic sweets! 

#9: Chapultepec Park

Chapultepec Park Places To Visit In Mexico City

Beautiful and green, Chapultepec Park spans nearly 1700 acres. But it offers much, much more than a respite from city life. Locals tell us that every corner of this green oasis is filled with stuff to do, whether that's walking trails, visiting museums, or taking a boat on a lake. 

Visitors to Chapultepec will also find an actual *castle* , botanical gardens, and an amusement park. In case you weren’t already impressed.

Local tip:   Once a month, locals organize a massive evening picnic in Chapultepec's forests.

#10: The Up-And-Coming Neighborhood Of Juarez

Juarez Places to Visit in Mexico City

This once-grand neighborhood of Mexico City has seen better days, but Juarez in the midst of a huge bohemian revival.

Today, its Zona Rosa section is considered one of the best places for nightlife in Mexico City, as well as the city’s LGBT capital.  Plus, the street food around here is incredible . Locals suggest seeking out quesadillas and pambazos (sandwiches dipped in salsa and then grilled). 

Local tip : Juarez is generally safe, but it's good to talk to a local about what areas to avoid at night. 

#11: El Murro Churro Shop

El Murro Places to Visit in Mexico City

Let's talk churros. They're delicious, they're sweet, they're crispy, and in Mexico City, they're dipped in mugs of thick, spiced hot chocolate. If you want authentic Mexican churro goodness, El Murro is the place to go.

This iconic churro shop is one of the city’s favorite spots for a hot, fresh churro and a cup of hot chocolate. Best part? El Murro is open twenty-four hours  (so it's perfect for a late-night snack after a few tequilas).

#12: El Centro Historico 

Centro Historico Places To Visit In Mexico City

Mexico City’s historic center (aka Centro Historico ) is packed with museums, Spanish colonial buildings, and iconic sights like the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Aztec Templo Mayor. It's no wonder why  Centro Historico is a UNESCO Heritage site !

With so many amazing things to see—not to mention the amazing Alameda Central Park just next door—it’s easy to spend an afternoon wandering through history here.

#13: Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral)

Catedral Metropolitana Places To Visit In Mexico City

This enormous cathedral borders the Zocalo, and though building started on it in 1567, it wasn’t completed until more than two hundred years later, in 1788.

The lengthy construction process resulted in an eclectic mix of architectural styles. But it also has a tragic connection to Mexico's pre-Hispanic past: The cathedral is made of stones taken from the destroyed Aztec temple just next door.

Locals say that although visiting the cathedral is not exactly one of Mexico City’s non-touristy things to do , it’s nevertheless well worth a visit.

#13: The Templo Mayor Museum

Templo Mayor Places to Visit in Mexico City

Speaking of the ancient the legend goes, they had specific instructions from a higher power to build a city where an eagle stands upon a cactus, with a snake in its mouth.*

They did! But It wasn’t until 1978 that this ancient city (called Tenochtitlan) was rediscovered. Mexico City was literally built on top of it after the Spaniards arrived and destroyed it. 

Today, Templo Mayor (roughly translated as the high temple) is a stunning archeological site and museum, which visitors can explore for just 70 pesos, or less than four dollars.

In our opinion, this is among the best things to do in Mexico City . It majestically captures the ancient world of the Aztecs, who, once saw the land as holy ground. 

*Sound familiar? Today, this is Mexico’s coat of arms.

#14: Plaza Garibaldi

Plaza Garibaldi Places To Visit In Mexico City

Locals tell us that Plaza Garibaldi is one of the best places in the city to hear some classic mariachi music!

A short walk north from the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Plaza Garibaldi is surrounded by tons of restaurants, bars, and museums (making for a happening part of town).

However, locals note that (while Mexico City is safe on the whole) this part of town can get dodgy at night.

#15 : El Museo del Tequila y Mezcal

Museo De Tequila Y Mezcal Places To Visit Mexico City

Locals highly recommend a stop in at the Museo del Tequila y el Mezcal . They suggest taking the museum tour (it includes samples!) to give yourself an immersive education on the history and production of tequila and mezcal, two of Mexico's favorite spirits.

The tour ends on the museum’s rooftop, which affords a gorgeous look at Plaza Garibaldi below and a chance to enjoy mariachi music from afar.

Local tip: Although caution should be exercised in Plaza Garibaldi at night, the museum is open late, until 10 PM or midnight depending on the day.

#16: The Charming Coyoacan Neighborhood

Coyoacan Places To Visit In Mexico City

Although Coyoacan is a quieter Mexico City neighborhood , that doesn't mean that it lacks exciting activities. Far from it! Definitely check out the stunning Museo Frida Kahlo — one of the area's main draws — but stick around to explore the rest of this gorgeous part of town. 

Locals recommend  checking out the iconic Vivero Coyoacan (one of Mexico’s national parks) and sampling street food at the Mercado de Coyoacan (a classic Mexico City market—locals say you *must* try the tostadas).

#17: El Museo Soumaya

Museo Soumaya Places To Visit In Mexico City

There are so, so, so many incredible museums in Mexico City. But Museo Soumaya is one of the city's best — and it's free to visit.

Nestled in Mexico City's Polanco neighborhood , Museo Soumaya's bright silver scales and unusual shape make it hard to ignore. But the interior of the museum is just as incredible. It includes 60,000+ pieces of art, including a huge collection of Rodin sculptures, as well as a ton of art by Mexican artists like   Diego Rivera .

#18: El Palacio Nacional

El Palacio Nacional Places To Visit In Mexico City

The Palacio Nacional, where the president works, is more than a stunning piece of architecture located along the Zocalo.

Free to enter, visitors can explore its museums, beautiful courtyards, and rooms filled with period furniture. Locals say to definitely check out the incredible, sprawling Diego Rivera murals on the second floor.

#19: El Torre Latinoamericana Skyscraper

El Torre Latinoamericana Places to Visit in Mexico City

One of the cool things about Mexico City is that it’s such a combination of old and new. Torre Latinoamericana is an example of this contrast—a skyscraper next to ancient ruins.

Once the tallest building in Latin America, it’s still the tallest building in Centro Historico. Climb to the observation deck for a truly jaw-dropping look at Mexico City from above. 

Local tip :  If you're looking for great Mexico City views , be sure to check out the Zocalo Central Hotel rooftop restaurant or the Terraza Catedral beer garden. 

#20: The Posh Polanco Neighborhood

Polanco Places To Visit in Mexico City

Wondering where to eat in Mexico City ? You can’t really go wrong with… anywhere. But that being said, locals say that Polanco is a great place to start.

Some of the world’s best restaurants are nestled in this neighborhood. And Polanco is more than just food: visitors will find tons of great markets, shopping, and parks—even a park named for Abraham Lincoln !

#21: El Monumento de la Revolucion

Monumento De La Revolucion Places To Visit In Mexico City

The Monumento de la Revolucíon looks like the Arc de Triomphe—but bigger.

The monument, which commemorates the revolution that liberated Mexico from Spain, is more than what meets the eye. Locals suggest checking out the National Museum of the Revolution , riding a glass elevator to the top to take in sweeping views, or descending to the crypts to pay respects to Mexico’s revolutionary heroes.

Local tip: Adjacent to the San Rafael neighborhood, this is a great spot for a sunset photo.

#22: The Chill Neighborhood Of San Rafael

San Rafael Places to Visit in Mexico CIty

Like the nearby Juarez neighborhood, San Rafael has seen better days. But it’s in the midst of a grand revival and is perfect for those who want to explore non-touristy areas of Mexico City.

Less crowded than Roma and Condesa, locals tell us there are still tons of great bars, restaurants, and art galleries to check out here. Although it’s a bit off-the-beaten-path, San Rafael is still safe to visit — just exercise normal caution like you would elsewhere in the city. 

Local tip: Be sure to pick up some   comida corrida (basically Mexican tapas) in San Rafael’s wonderful neighborhood market, Mercado San Cosme.

#24: The Historic Bar  La Opera

La Opera Bar Places To Visit In Mexico City

La Opera , which first opened in the 1870s, embraces an old-time class that's hard to find. 

Locals suggest ordering a good tequila, and asking the bartender to point out where Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa once shot a hole in the ceiling. Yeah — it's that kind of place. 

#25: El Museo Nacional de Antropologia

Museo Nacional de Antropologia Places to Visit in Mexico City

Among all of Mexico City’s spectacular museums, the Museo de Antropologia is the shining star. Locals say that visitors could easily spend an entire day exploring Mexico’s largest and most visited museum.

With 22 rooms covering Mexico’s pre-Hispanic past, there’s a ton to take in. Literally— there are millions of archeological pieces to check out. Plus, the museum’s beautiful architecture is a reason in itself to stop by.

Find a local to plan your trip . And for more on Mexico City travel, check out: 

  • The Ultimate Mexico City Travel Guide 2024
  • Flights to Mexico City: Everything You Need to Know
  • 2024 Mexico City Travel FAQs
  • The Best Time to Visit Mexico City


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Must-Visit Attractions in Mexico City

The stunning Palacio de Bellas Artes is one of Mexico Citys cant-miss attractions

Northern England Writer

Mexico City is a place you could get lost in. Whether you’re here for 48 hours or several months – soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of the cosmopolitan capital – you’ll never run short of things to do and see. Here’s our selection of the top sights, attractions and points of interest you shouldn’t miss.

Stroll through parque méxico.

In the upscale Condesa neighborhood, Parque México has been an icon of both the zone and the city for decades, and is easily one of the loveliest urban green spaces in the capital. As well as being surrounded on all sides by art deco buildings, the park is also home to some similarly impressive stand-out pieces, most notably the sleek blue-and-white clock tower.

sites to visit in mexico city

Marvel At The Palacio De Bellas Artes

sites to visit in mexico city

One of the most well-known landmarks in the city, the image of the sparkling orange-roofed, bright white Palacio de Bellas Artes is one you may already know. A staple feature on any Mexico City guide and promotional material, this art nouveau/art deco building is best known for its impressive collection of murals, shimmering tiled roof and Tiffany glass curtain.

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Peek Inside The Catedral Metropolitana

© David Crossland / Alamy Stock Photo

Sitting at the heart of the historic center, the sinking Catedral Metropolitana is an unmissable Mexico City sight – both literally and figuratively, given the towering shadow it leaves over the Zocalo. The oldest cathedral in Latin America, the Catedral Metropolitana is made from the stone of a Mesoamerican pyramid and took three centuries to build.

Explore The Neighborhood Of Coyoacán

Food Kiosk, Mexican

© Lucas Vallecillos / Alamy Stock Photo

Not a sight as such, but the southern neighborhood of Coyoacán is worth at least a day of your time to fully explore. Whether you’re a fan of Frida Kahlo, art in general or even just bustling plazas, this quirky, artistic barrio (neighborhood) is an essential visit. Don’t miss the coffee from Café El Jarocho, or people watching in the central plaza, Plaza Hidalgo.

Ponder Art Inside The Museo Soumaya

© Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 2 / Alamy Stock Photo

Named after founder Carlos Slim’s late wife, Soumaya Domit, the Museo Soumaya (Plaza Carso) is a glittering architectural treat amidst unremarkable business blocks in the center of Polanco. Rising from the ground like a silver geometric dream, it’s filled with plenty of artwork from the European Old Masters and even has some 20th-century Mexican pieces, too.

Buy Fresh Produce At The Mercado De La Merced

© Lucas Vallecillos / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re looking for fresh food, or even just want to soak up the sights, sounds and smells of a traditional Mexican market, Mercado de la Merced is a must. Here, you’ll find piles of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as plenty of food puestos – top tip: eat at the busier ones. However, keep your wits about you, as it can be disorienting and getting lost is easy.

Spot The Monumento A La Revolución

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

sites to visit in mexico city

If you wander down Paseo de la Reforma at any point in your Mexico City visit – which you should – you’re bound to stumble across the Monumento a la Revolución. This towering triumphal arch – the largest in the world – houses the remains of Mexican Revolutionaries Pancho Villa and Lázaro Cárdenas, as well as a viewpoint and excellently curated museum.

Take A Look Around The Ciudad Universitaria

© Cathyrose Melloan / Alamy Stock Photo

Mexico City’s UNAM (Universidad Autónoma de México) is so sprawling that its southern campus is practically a mini city in its own right. In fact, it’s actually known as University City and plays host to not just university buildings, but also an epic, Instagram-friendly sculpture park, the MUAC art gallery and the Biblioteca Central. Recognized as a Unesco World Heritage Site, spend a day wandering around this top attraction.

Watch The World Go By At The Kiosco Morisco

© Eman Kazemi / Alamy Stock Photo

A rather more underrated and out-of-the-way attraction, Santa María la Ribera’s elaborate Kiosco Morisco seems somewhat out of place in the heart of Mexico City, given that it’s more or less an oversized, Islamic-inspired bandstand. Impromptu martial arts lessons as well as mother and baby dance classes take place there on a daily basis. Plus, it’s just around the corner from the Biblioteca Vasconcelos.

Visit The Basílica De Guadalupe

© Jerónimo Alba / Alamy Stock Photo

The third most-visited religious site in the world, and the top Catholic destination in the country, the emblematic and culturally important Basílica de Guadalupe can’t be missed from any Mexico City itinerary. Legend states this is where the Virgen de Guadalupe appeared to Cuauhtlatoatzin in the 16th century. Even if that’s not the case, both the old and new basilicas are still architecturally impressive.

Stop By Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul

© Brian Overcast / Alamy Stock Photo

Frida Kahlo is the inescapable representation of Mexico’s artistic heritage on a global level. Although her house is somewhat of a tourist trap, with long queues and pricey entrance fees, it’s also one attraction that can’t be skipped over. It houses many of her personal possessions, artworks and relics – the gardens are especially tranquil and the decor of her rooms is particularly intriguing.

Explore The Castillo And Bosque De Chapultepec

© Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Bosque de Chapultepec, also known as the lungs of Mexico City, is another sight you shouldn’t omit from your Mexico City itinerary, as actively exploring this vast forest is highly encouraged. Filled to the brim with top museums, the Castillo de Chapultepec is a particular highlight – once the backdrop for scenes in Romeo + Juliet , it is now a humble Museo Nacional de Historia and former royal residence.

Tour The Museo Nacional De Antropología

sites to visit in mexico city

Although the Museo Nacional de Antropología is also located in the aforementioned Bosque de Chapultepec, it more than deserves an entry of its own – given that it’s Mexico’s most-visited tourist attraction. Housing a truly jaw-dropping number of artifacts, relics and temporary exhibits related to the Mesoamerican history of Mexico, everyone from history buffs to the casual observer will leave impressed.

Take A Ride On A Traijinera In Xochimilco

Architectural Landmark, Natural Feature

© Jesse Kraft / Alamy Stock Photo

While there is far more to Xochimilco than the colorful trajineras (canal-type boats), which float up and down the many chinampas (canals) of the region on a daily basis, you can’t really afford to miss this top tourist attraction. Either buy food and pulque from the floating vendors or pack some beers and sandwiches, but be sure not to get scammed on the price.

Wander Around The Roma And Condesa Neighborhoods

Architectural Landmark

© Cathyrose Melloan / Alamy Stock Photo

Is it cheating to add in two whole neighborhoods as one entry? We don’t think so, especially as Roma and Condesa both have so much to offer the passing or even long-term traveler in Mexico City. Right in the heart of the capital, these hipster hangouts are overflowing with quirky bars, restaurants and art galleries, as well as some of the city’s top street artworks. Don’t go with a plan of attack, just explore at your own pace.

Admire The View From Torre Latinoamericana

© Elijah Lovkoff / Alamy Stock Photo

Heading to the Torre Latinoamericana for dinner or drinks is never a bad idea. Towering over the Palacio de Bellas Artes, it offers a bird’s eye view of the popular, family-friendly Parque Alameda, as well as the city as a whole. The best time to go is right before sunset, so you can see the capital in all its daytime glory before catching Mexico City transform into its glittering, night-time best.

Learn About Mexico’s History At The Plaza De Las Tres Culturas

© F1online digitale Bildagentur GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Rather sadly known for the student massacres of the last century, Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco is still a worthy entry on our guide to the top attractions in Mexico City. It brings together the three distinct cultural heritages that make up modern Mexico. Pyramids mark the Mesoamerican past, while the colonial Templo de Santiago symbolizes the Spanish Conquistador influence on the culture, and the Torre de Tlatelolco marks the present day.

Discover Movie History At Cineteca Nacional

Cinema, Movie Theater, Theater

© Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

In Colonia Xoco, you’ll find one of the most outstanding but overlooked attractions in Mexico City – the Cineteca Nacional. Almost sculptural in design, its sleek, white outer shell conceals numerous relics of the Mexican cinema scene, as well as a handful of screens that regularly host indie films and beautifully curated film cycles. While going to cinema might seem like a mere rainy-day exercise, at the Cineteca it’s anything but.

Watch A Wrestling Match At Arena México

© Chico Sanchez / Alamy Stock Photo

You don’t go to Arena México in Colonia Doctores for the sake of it, but rather you go to catch one of the iconic lucha libres that are hosted year-round in the country and are especially popular in the Mexican capital. Mildly homoerotic, the entertaining if slightly ridiculous luchas are one of those cultural events that you can’t pass up the opportunity to watch.

Climb The Pirámides De Teotihuacán

© Starcevic / Getty Images

Our final must-visit Mexico City attraction is actually just outside the city, in the State of Mexico. However, the ysterious Pirámides de Teotihuacán are accessible and impressive. Climb the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, then marvel over the lengthy Avenue of the Dead – but don’t forget to take water and sunblock.

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Home » North America » Mexico City

9 BEST Places to Visit in Mexico City (2024)

The buzzing capital of Mexico, Mexico City is a beautiful and megadiverse city with much history, modern culture, politics, arts, and archaeological sites. There are nearby natural wonders to discover and it’s a terrific place for an adventure.

With almost 20 million people living in Mexico City, and the city sprawling over a huge distance, the crowds and distances can be rather overwhelming. Indeed, it’s the biggest Spanish-speaking city in the whole world! Tackling the city as a traveler can be daunting.

Don’t fret! We’ve put together a list of the best places to visit in Mexico City to make planning your trip a breeze. Combining off-the-beaten-track treasures and popular hotspots, there’s never a dull moment in the Mexican capital.

Tick off these best places to visit in Mexico City and you cannot help but be amazed!

Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in Mexico City:

These are the best places to visit in mexico city, faq on the best places to visit in mexico city.

Roma, Mexico City

Roma is home to Mexico City’s quirky subculture. It was the original home of many wealthy Europeans who flocked to Mexico at the turn of the 20th century, and French-style mansions can still be found dotting the avenues and lanes.

  • Admire the street art found all around the neighborhood
  • Try alcoholic-beverage flavored ice cream at Helado Obscuro
  • Chill out in Plaza Rio de Janeiro – Roma’s most tranquil open space

And now onto the best places to visit in Mexico City!

There is heaps to do in Mexico City for backpackers and all sorts of travellers! And when we say heaps, we mean A LOT. If you’re just staying for a short while, we’d recommend coming up with a rough Mexico City Itinerary so you won’t wander around the city without a plan. To help you decide on the best hotspots, check out the best places in Mexico City below. 

sites to visit in mexico city

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#1 – Zocalo – Possibly one of the most important places to visit in Mexico City


  • Main city square
  • Origin of the constitution
  • Iconic structures
  • Archaeological remains

Why it’s awesome: Zocalo is one of the main and biggest city squares in the world located in the Centro Historico, one of coolest areas to stay in Mexico City . It is filled with exciting architecture and has a long history. Visitors can discover great moments from the city’s past; interestingly, this is the spot where the country’s constitution was born. The Cathedral, one of the most iconic landmarks in Mexico City, is the perfect spot to start explorations of the large square.

With two towers, three main gateways, and five naves, the Cathedral Metropolitian is a Mexico City must-see. The National Palace is another remarkable landmark; it has a museum of Mexican history, a display of Mercian governors, and a lovely sculpture garden. There are plenty of shops close to hand as well as an interesting art museum.

What to do there: Gaze up in awe at the massive Mexican flag right in the middle of the city square. The flag ceremony is well worth seeing, where the troop squeezes in, lines up, and marches with the flag; it takes place at 6 am and 6 pm. Top tip: wear a hat or grab a spot in the shade to watch the cool ceremony as the square is mainly open and the sun is strong! Wander around the square and admire the gorgeous architecture, see a wide range of works in the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), and head to the west side of Zocalo for great shopping at Portal de Mecaderes. Want to look into the future? Visit one of the fortune-tellers!

#2 – Mercado de Sonora – Quite the quirky place in Mexico City!

Mercado de Sonora

  • Array of goods on sale
  • Traditional market
  • See local life
  • Witchcraft-related items

Why it’s awesome: Mercado de Sonara is located in Colonia Merced Balbuena, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Mexico City. It’s a traditional market that dates back to the 1950s. A popular place for locals to pick up an array of items, it’s also a fantastic spot to observe local life and find unusual local souvenirs. The bustling market is also famous for its huge selection of items related to witchcraft and the occult. Many people head here to stock up on items ahead of the annual Day of the Dead celebrations. Noisy, eclectic, hectic, and crowded, it’s atmospheric and a great place to get cool photos to fill up your Instagram feed.

What to do there: Wander through the vibrant market and view the huge assortment of goods on sale. From ceramics, music, clothes, and toys, to pets, books, and medicinal herbs, you’ll find numerous items to catch your eye. There are many food items too as well as places where you can sit down and enjoy a meal. Seeing the large collection of magical items is, however, what makes visiting the market a Mexico City must do. Ogle things like candles used for love spells, colourful and pungent potions in mystical bottles, amulets, water supposedly imbued with magical powers, horseshoes, and much more. Pick up things to increase your fortunes, encourage love, aid health, get rid of evil, and so on. You can even visit a spell caster to seek a variety of outcomes.

#3 – Cathedral Metropolitan – One of the most religious places to see in Mexico City

Cathedral Metropolitan

  • Eye-catching architecture
  • Rich history
  • Several ruins to explore
  • Amazing interiors

Why it’s awesome: An impressive building constructed over the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan and with stones from the ancient temples, Cathedral Metropolitian is one of Mexico’s ancient architectural masterpieces. It is also the oldest cathedral in Latin America. In the past, the area was submerged underwater. Preservation efforts subsequently led to the discovery of the ruins. The area consists of the adjacent tabernacle and numerous chapels beautifully designed in a Spanish Baroque (Churrigueresque) style. The interiors are impressive, with high vaulted ceilings, countless paintings, revered altars, and colourful statues. One of the most famous places in Mexico City, it is often considered to be one of the most beautiful cathedrals around the world. There’s no charge to enjoy the splendor, though donations are gratefully received.

What to do there: Feast your eyes on the handsome and grand building from the outside, complete with magnificent towers and gates, before stepping inside to be wowed by even more beauty. Absorb the tranquil religious vibe and sit for a while in quiet contemplation. Religious devotees might like to attend a solemn mass service here too. Admire the sculptures and paintings and walk around the cathedral’s edges to step inside the smaller side chapels.

#4 – Templo Mayor – One of Mexico City’s coolest historical sites!

Templo Mayor

  • At the heart of an old city
  • Identical shrines
  • Interesting Aztec artifacts
  • Archaeological wonder

Why it’s awesome: Templo Mayor was at the heart of ancient Mexican civilization when the old capital was known as Tenchochtitlan. Today, you’ll find it in the centre of Mexico City. It was the main temple in the past, with several identical shrines and staircases. The identical temple was dedicated to two deities: Huitzilpochtli, the God of War, and Tlaloc, the God of Rain. It was the scene of many human sacrifices and hunting rituals during the Aztec era. There are fascinating Aztec artifacts housed in the well-preserved archaeological wonder today.

What to do there: The Templo Mayor is one of the coolest archaeological sites in Mexico City, and you can travel back in time to the Aztec period. Take time to explore the public area before paying the nominal fee for a closer peek. Discover the wide array of artifacts and exhibits across the museum’s different sections and learn more about history, heritage, culture, and the people of the past.

#5 – Chapultepec Park – A beautiful outdoor place to visit in Mexico City

Chapultepec Park

  • Large urban park
  • Varied museums
  • Family-friendly
  • Diverse recreational activities

Why it’s awesome: The expansive Chapultepec Park is the oldest and largest urban park in Latin America. It was once a retreat center for Aztec rulers in the past. The enormous area has a number of interesting and famous attractions. The park is divided into three main areas, which include museums, lakes, lawns, historic spots, an amusement park, a zoo, a botanical garden, and more. Various activities are available in the park and it’s a top spot to enjoy some relaxation away from the busy city streets. It’s an especially fantastic addition to any Mexico City itinerary for families and couples.

What to do there: Take kids to the amusement park and watch as they giggle on various rides. See a large assortment of creatures, including the popular pandas, in the zoo. Follow well-marked walking routes around the large park, spot a variety of flora and fauna, find a quiet spot to unwind and relax, watch the entertaining street performers, and ride a paddleboat across the lake. Visit the different museums and art galleries, with something to suit almost all tastes. If visiting with the family, kids can catch the little train that tours around the park. It’s a good place for joggers and cyclists, especially in the morning.

#6 – The Palace of Fine Arts – A great place to visit in Mexico City if you are alone/travelling solo

The Palace of Fine Arts

  • Cultural treasure
  • Majestic architecture
  • Artworks by renowned artists
  • Performances and shows

Why it’s awesome: The Palace of Fine Arts is one of the most well-known points of interest in Mexico City. Indeed, it is famous around the world for its distinctive cultural and artistic values and (in my opinion) it’s best when you’re visiting Mexico alone AKA having as much time as you want! Interestingly, it took 30 years to complete the building and collection. The majestic design blends Neoclassical and Art Nouveau architectural styles, while the interior is largely Art Deco in appearance. The huge structure is so big that it actually sunk more than four metres (13 feet)! The museum contains works by both local artists and those that are internationally renowned. The expansive museum also has a huge theatre, a concert hall, balconies, and halls, along with the galleries that house the diverse collection of beautiful artworks. The balcony lobbies boast admirable murals by famous artists like Diego Rivera, David Alfora Siqueriros, and Jose Clemente, adding even more for visitors to enjoy. It’s certainly a top place to visit in Mexico City for any art lover.

What to do there: Marvel at the stunning solid marble central stairways. Flood your emotions and provoke your thoughts as you view the stunning collections, which contain paintings, murals, sculptures, statues, and other artistic treasures. It is worth paying extra for a ticket to watch the incredible traditional performances for a taste of Mexican culture. If you need a break you will find a nice restaurant inside the palace. You might also want to view the building at night too when it’s strikingly illuminated.

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#7 – National Museum of Anthropology – An awesome place to visit in Mexico City for half a day!

National Museum of Anthropology

  • Educational museum
  • Well-preserved artifacts
  • Various eras explored
  • In-depth descriptions

Why it’s awesome: A Mexico City must-do for anyone with an interest in history, cultures, and art, the educational National Museum of Anthropology takes visitors on a journey through Mexico’s history . It covers all time periods, from before the Aztec society to the Spanish invasion. It’s a fantastic place to learn more about Mexico’s pre-Columbian heritage, with terrific artifacts like the significant Aztec Sun Stone (which was essentially an early tool that was part of the Aztec calendar), a recreation of Pakal’s tomb, and the mask of Jada. Other items include artworks, sculptures, jewellery, clothing, and tools, as well as eerie human remains. Items are well preserved and well presented, and in-depth descriptions help visitors to fully appreciate the vast collections.

What to do there: Step back in time as you learn all about ancient Mexican cultures. View the diverse anthropological artifacts in the well-designed exhibits and appreciate stunning artworks. Highlights include gigantic stone heads from the Olmec civilization, a reconstruction of the ancient city of Tenochtitlan, the Frieze of Placeres, a turquoise-covered skull, and various statues and masks. See the crowd-pleasing waterfall at the middle of the museum too. All plenty of time to fully explore the museum; There are 23 exhibit halls! Be sure to explore the surrounding streets, filled with statues, structures, and art, after your visit.

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# 8 – Xochimilco – One of the more unique places to visit in Mexico City!


  • Ride on colourful boats
  • Important water source during the Aztec period
  • An unusual island full of dolls
  • Organic farm

Why it’s awesome: Xochimilco was a major water transportation route during the Aztec period. Located on the outskirts of Mexico City, visitors can discover the ancient Aztec waterways and enjoy a variety of recreational activities. There’s a network of canals, with colourful boats called trajineras adding to the scenic beauty. There’s also a floating island that practices organic farming. Several vendors sell fresh food and drinks, Mexican cuisine and handicrafts. The area is also home to one of the most unusual things to do in Mexico City: the creepy, quirky, and spooky Doll Island. It’s a great place to learn more about Mexico City’s unique culture , as well as spending time outdoors.

What to do there: Experience rich Mexican traditions with a ride along the canals on one of the brightly coloured and highly decorated trajineras. Soak up the views as you pass by trajineras selling food, drinks, and handicrafts. Listen to traditional Mexican music as you float along the waterways. Check out the organic farm too; the area is truly beautiful with gorgeous scenery. Don’t miss visiting one of the creepiest attractions in Mexico City: Doll Island. One of the best Mexico City vacation ideas for fans of the macabre, unusual, and strange, the island is covered with many decaying dolls hanging lifelessly from the trees!

#9 – Chapultepec Castle – A great place to see in Mexico City if you love architecture

Chapultepec Castle

  • Former home of royalty and presidents
  • Historic battle site
  • Wide array of items on display
  • Spectacular views

Why it’s awesome: Sitting majestically on top of Chapultepec Hill, the grand Chapultepec Castle was built during the 1780s. Originally intended to be a stately summer home, it has served various purposes over the years. As well as a royal abode, it has been used as storage for the military, as the presidential home, and it is now home to an interesting museum. The site was once important for the Aztecs and battles have taken place here. The elevated position provides amazing views of the surroundings. The museum has two main sections and there are regular temporary exhibitions and events.

What to do there: Appreciate the enormous and spectacular castle from a distance; the architecture is awe-inspiring. Make the uphill walk to reach the main entrance, passing through foliage and nature. The historical site will give you an overview of Mexico from the Aztec era right up to the present day. Inside, admire the lavish rooms, complete with period furnishings, and see how wealthy people lived in times gone by. You can also see large collections of paintings, murals, magnificent jewels, and more. Furthermore, the monuments of brave Hero Cadets are displayed with pride. Enjoy the greenery that adds extra beauty, and soak up the spectacular city views from the top of the hill.

Get insured for your trip to Mexico City!

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Find out what people want to know about the best places to visit in Mexico City

Is Mexico City good for tourists?

Sure is! It’s jam packed with culture, archaeological sites, sick places to eat and it’s lively as heck!

What are the best cultural things to do in Mexico City?

The heart of the old city can be seen at the impressive Templo Mayor. Dating back to the Aztec period it’s one of the most important sites for Mexican culture.

What are the most fun things to do in Mexico City?

Explore all the wild and wonderful trinkets on offers at the Mercado de Sonora, a a traditional market dating back to the 50’s.

What is there for couples in Mexico City?

Take a ride along the beautiful Xochimilco and take in the scenery along this ancient Aztec waterway just outside of the city.

A few more of the best places to visit in Mexico City

Visiting Mexico City with kids? Check out the interactive Papalote Museo del Niño, watch various sea creatures at Acuario Inbursa, let younger kids have fun at KidZania, and visit the planetarium. Older children (and adults!) can have a fun-filled day with plenty of thrills at Six Flags Mexico.

The stunning hidden gem of the Palacio Postal is one of the most underrated places to see in Mexico City. Take a trip to Coyoacán to see where famous artist Frida Kahlo lived. Admire the views from the top of Torre Latinoamericana or the Revolution Monument. La Lagunilla is a great place in Mexico City if you love to shop! See art in the free-to-enter Museo Soumaya, a perfect place to visit in Mexico City if you are on a budget. You can also take a day trip to the nearby Teotihuacan to explore the fascinating ancient ruins.

You’ll definitely have plenty of adventures and terrific experiences as you work your way through these best places to visit in Mexico City.

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And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Claire Martin

Claire Martin

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27 Top Attractions & Things to do in Mexico City

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With an estimated 20 million people living in the region, Mexico City is one of the world’s largest cities. The origins of this huge city date back to 1325, when the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan was founded.

It was later destroyed in 1521 by Spanish conqueror Hernan Cortes. On its ruins a new city was founded which served as the capital of the Vice-royalty of New Spain and later as the capital of Mexico. The city provides a chance to learn about the Aztecs, one of the world’s great early civilizations, as well as their Spanish conquerors. Many colonial buildings still stand among those of more modern architectural styles.

One of the most interesting things to do in Mexico City is to see the works of Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera, one of the world’s greatest muralists. Among the top tourist attractions in Mexico City are numerous renowned museums and art galleries with impeccable architectural designs to catch the eye and interest.

You don’t have to go far in Mexico City when you find your appetite rearing. Grab a fresh bite of authentic local cuisine of chapulines, chilaquiles, and tacos al pastor at one of the street vendors dotted around the city to fuel your adventures!

27. Museo Mural Diego Rivera

Museo Mural Diego Rivera

In Downtown Mexico City near the Palacio de Bellas Artes and Museo Franz Mayer, the Museo Mural Diego Rivera is a museum that features exceptional artwork. One such piece is the Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central, which translates to “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Central” by Diego Rivera. This mural specifically imagines colonial-time figures who once walked Mexico City, including Francisco Madero and Benito Juárez.

Diego Rivera is a memorable artist and Mexican painter who actively created artwork for half a century. He established large frescoes that imparted a significant role in the mural movement in Mexico and internationally. This movement aimed to bring art to the masses on public walls to experience the vibrancy, culture, and craft of these masterful works.

26. Angel de la Independencia

Ángel de la Independencia

More commonly known as El Ángel, the Ángel de la Independencia is the Monumento a la Independencia. The iconic landmark in downtown Mexico City is situated on a roundabout on the high-traffic road of Paseo de la Reforma near the Embassy of the United States of America.

The Ángel de la Independencia is a tribute and symbol of Mexico’s victory in the War of Independence from Spain. A bronze statue of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike, tops the column monument. The structure was constructed by architect Antonio Rivas Mercado, widely known for building the Municipal Palace in Tlalpan.

The architect’s home has been transformed into a museum, the Casa Rivas Mercado in Mexico City, that displays Mercado’s outstanding works.

25. Mercado Roma

Mercado Roma

An eclectic stop in Mexico City, Mercado Roma is a public market that features gourmet and cultural foods.

In the hipster neighborhood of La Roma, near the Universidad de Londres Plantel San Luis Potosí, the market encapsulates the beauty and flavor of Mexican culinary traditional foods. Throughout Mercado Roma are numerous vendors selling produce and delicacies in a contemporary-oriented space.

The upper levels of the market have an open terraced area to eat and relax in and a bar and restaurants to grab drinks and food at. The market highlights quality food with a traditional market twist. One such space at the market displays a garden wall where restaurants source fresh ingredients for flavorful meals.

Visiting Mercado Roma is an artisanal food experience that welcomes hungry locals and tourists to Mexico City with open arms.

24. Coyoacan


One of Mexico City’s oldest neighborhoods, Coyoacan, is more widely known for being the area where Frida Kahlo lived. The neighborhood is south of the the Zócalo.

Coyoacan is adored for its immaculate and uplifting atmosphere. The colonial architecture and cobblestone streets set an excellent tone for exploring this historic neighborhood.

From the Aztec language, “Coyoacan” translates to “a place of coyotes.” As you tour the neighborhood, notable influences reference this with coyote art and statues sprinkled around the area. One of the most noteworthy is the Fountain of the Coyotes, one of Mexico City’s more well-known fountains.

Tour Coyoacan to explore its quaint bookstores, fresh markets, trendy cafes, and remarkable museums to learn more about local culture, history, and tradition.

23. Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico

Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico

Presenting breathtaking views of Zócalo Square below, Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico is a must-visit when stopping in Mexico City on your travels!

Within walking distance of the stunning Palacio de Bellas Artes Theater, Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico is well-known for its spectacular stained glass interior. The hotel was previously a department store that opened in 1899. Since then, it has established itself as a glorious artistic and architecturally designed hotel in Mexico City.

The curving staircase within the hotel replicates the Le Bon Marché in Paris. Its antique concrete and iron elevator was the first of its material to be established in Mexico City.

Stop in for a breathtaking look at the Gran Hotel, an arresting venue that is completely rewarding in its awe-inspiring interior designs.

22. Anahuacalli


A museum in Mexico City, Anahuacalli, was designed by renowned painter Diego Rivera. Situated in the San Pablo de Tepetlapa neighborhood, Anahuacalli translates to “house around water” from Nahuatl.

Made of volcanic stone, the museum’s purpose of its construction was to preserve and protect Rivera’s collection of pre-Hispanic art. It also houses one of Rivera’s studios. One such work is the study Man at the Crossroads. Commissioned by the Rockefeller Center, the mural was later destroyed by the center in 1934. Rivera later reproduced this piece in the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

The main collection at Anahuacalli is one that immediately catches the eye. Two thousand statues represent different cultures, including Nahuas, Toltecs, and Olmecs. The museum rotates exhibitions for a more modern addition, ranging from sculptures to paintings.

21. Museo Casa De Leon Trotsky

Museo Casa De Leon Trotsky

The Museo Casa De Leon Trotsky, which translates to the Leon Trotsky House Museum, can be found in the neighborhood of Coyoacan. The museum’s official name is Instituto del Derecho de Asilo – Museo Casa de Leon Trotsky.

In honor of Leon Trotsky, the organization promotes political asylum. It is set in the home of Leon Trotsky, a revolutionary who struggled for power against Stalin in the Soviet Union and was expelled in 1929. Trotsky sought refuge in Mexico, going so far as to live in Frida Kahlo’s Blue House with Frida and Rivera.

The Museo Casa De Leon Trotsky is set in remembrance of the day Trotsky was brutally murdered by an agent of Stalin. In the museum are memorabilia, biographical notes, a tomb containing Leon Trotsky’s ashes, and the study room of Trotsky. This room is set in stone to the day Trotsky was assassinated in this same space.

20. Ciudad Universitaria

Ciudad Universitaria

The Ciudad Universitaria is a neighborhood that is the main campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the oldest and largest university in Latin America. Within Ciudad Universitaria is an extensive complex of buildings and areas that make up UNAM’s campus.

South of the well-known neighborhood of San Angel, the area hosts thousands of students daily on its lawns and inside its buildings.

The Central Library is a notable sight with its exterior design of mosaics created by renowned artist Juan O’Gorman that tell the history of Mexico. The stones used for the mural were sourced natively and produce various he’s when viewed from a distance.

The Philosophy and Literature department features food vendors selling fritangas, chilaquiles, and other foods that suit various tastes and diets.

On the grounds of Ciudad Universitaria is the second largest stadium in Mexico, the Estadio Olimpico. The stadium, specifically designed to replicate a volcano crater and made from volcano rock, was where the 1968 Olympics was hosted.

19. House of Tiles

House of Tiles

An 18th-century Baroque palace within walking distance of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the House of Tiles is a favored tourist attraction for its historical and architectural value.

The Casa de los Azulejos, which translates to “House of Tiles,” was constructed by and home to an aristocratic family, the Count of the Valle de Orizaba. Then, later on, it functioned as a workers’ organization. Today, the palace is a popular meeting spot widely known for its eye-catching white and blue Talavera tiles that date back to the 1500s.

Though the House of Tiles was privately owned for many years until the 19th century, it eventually came under the ownership of the American Sanborn brothers. The American brothers ended up investing in the renewal of the palace, which had undergone wear and tear. Finally, they opened a restaurant that has become one of the most renowned in the country.

18. Arena Mexico

Arena México

An indoor arena in the Colonia Doctores neighborhood, Arena México is a hub for professional wrestling matches. Termed the “cathedral of lucha libre”, the arena hosts shows promoted by Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre, the oldest professional wrestling promotion in the world.

The large venue hosts boisterous wrestling matches and entertainment, welcoming tourists and locals alike. The building was constructed in the 1950s and explicitly designed for wrestling. Since its opening, Arena México has continued to wow and impress with its exuberant atmosphere.

Experiencing a show at the Arena México is one of the most touristy attractions you can visit in Mexico City. It is full of glam, comedy, athleticism, and entertainment for a night you’ll never forget as you watch Mexico’s greatest wrestlers take the stage.

17. Torre Latinoamericana Observation Deck

Torre Latinoamericana Observation Deck

The Torre Latinoamericana Observation Deck was once the tallest building in Latin America when it was built in 1956. It is encircled by top attractions such as the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Museo del Estanquillo.

There is much significance to this structure other than its immensity. The Torre Latinoamericana is renowned for being the first skyscraper constructed on active seismic land, having survived numerous earthquakes.

The structure makes an iconic feature of the Mexico City skyline. On the 44th floor of the observation deck, visitors can bask in the awe-inspiring panoramic viewpoints of Mexico City from above.

Within the building, after visiting the observation deck, is the highest aquarium in the world and two on-site museums to continue your adventures in Mexico City!

16. Alameda Central Park

Alameda Central Park

The oldest public park in the Americas, Alameda Central Park, was built in 1592. The park is rich with history, once an Aztec marketplace. Today, the park is a refreshing meeting spot for locals and tourists, teeming with inspiring public art, monuments, and fresh greenery.

Alameda Central Park was used as a market for the Aztecs before conquistadors took over. The market was then used during the Spanish Inquisition to burn heretics at the stake.

Afterwards, the governor of New Spain, Viceroy Luís de Velasco, transformed the space into a public park to cement the newly formed society, where parades, meets, and socialization were encouraged. This resulted in the creation of Mexico City’s first public park, Alameda Central Park.

15. La Ciudadela Market

La Ciudadela Market

When visiting Mexico City, head to La Ciudadela Market for souvenirs of traditional Mexican handicrafts!

In the historic center, a manageable walk from the Monumento A La Revolución, the La Ciudadela Market is where tourists can experience the vibrancy of the local culture. There are so many fun and vibrant souvenir options to peruse and choose from at the market.

The artisans’ market sells hand-blown glassware and paper maché figurines. Whether a purse, a pottery box, or toys for the kids, this boisterous market is the place to find affordable souvenirs to take home from your trip to Mexico City.

When the weekend rolls around, there is a danzón dance party where the elderly float over to dance along the square across the street from the market. Enjoy freshly made merengue and public salsa for an experience like no other in Mexico City’s La Ciudadela Market.

14. Museo de Arte Popular

Museo de Arte Popular

Nestled in an old firehouse within Mexico City’s historic center, the Museo de Arte Popular is committed to collecting, preserving, and showcasing authentic Mexican arts and handicrafts.

Near the Museo Mural Diego Rivera and the Museo Franz Mayer, the museum is a welcoming space for visitors to experience the beauty of traditional Mexican folk art. As Mexico is a place of many blends of indigenous folk traditions, the museum responsibly and dedicatedly presents these unique crafts to the world through its exhibitions.

Touring the Museo de Arte Popular visitors can glimpse intricate designs and styles of pottery, dioramas, and skeletons. Or skim religious articles and monsters seen in folk tales of Mexico.

13. Palacio Postal

Palacio Postal

The Palacio Postal, formerly the Palacio de Correos de México, is on Eje Central close to the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The structure of Palacio Postal was established in 1907 and quickly became one of Mexico City’s top attractions.

The lobby of the Palacio Postal is awe-inspiring with its gold-gilded staircases and eye-catching architecture co-designed by famous Italian architect Adamo Boari. The same architect would become recognized worldwide for his immaculate skill in designing the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

The historic century-old building still functions as a post office with the added benefit of an informative museum housing artifacts and exhibitions dedicated to the Palacio Postal. One such feature is the first stamp issued in Mexico.

12. Museo Soumaya

Museo Soumaya

The Museo Soumaya is a private museum and cultural institution renowned in Mexico City, featuring two museum buildings, Plaza Loreto and Plaza Carso.

The museum was named after the late wife of millionaire Carlos Slim, the owner. Internationally recognized for its architecture, the Plaza Loreto was designed by famed architect Fernando Romero and the Plaza Carso by renowned architect Frank Gehry, an indisputably impactful art collection.

In 2013, the Museo Soumaya was the most-visited museum in Mexico for its striking exhibitions. The museum is a prominent tourist attraction in Mexico City. Its massive private art collection, including the world’s largest collection of pre-Hispanic and Colonial currency and coins, focuses on Mesoamerica to the modern day.

11. Basilica de Guadalupe

Basílica de Guadalupe

The Basilica de Guadalupe, officially known as Insigne y Nacional Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe, is a Catholic Church and sanctuary. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, primarily to her invocation of Guadalupe.

Located in Gustavo A. Madero at the bottom of the Hill of Tepeyac, the historic church is a famous landmark. It is a national shrine housing the iconic image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The church dates back to 1709, having acted as a prominent pilgrimage site for Catholics.

The legend goes that a Christian convert, an Aztec Indian named Juan Diego, claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary at the foot of Tepeyac Hill. More sightings occurred, somehow resulting in the image of the Virgin Mary appearing before Diego embedding to his cloak. Soon after, the local bishop yielded and instructed the construction of a shrine in the Virgin Mary’s honor, designating the site as a place of worship and pilgrimage.

10. Chapultepec Castle

Chapultepec Castle

Overlooking a park from the top of a hill, Chapultepec Castle is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Mexico City. It is the only royal palace in North America inhabited by monarchs.

The castle’s history is rumored to be intertwined with foul play, secretive plots to overthrow authority, and executions. Eventually, the castle was abandoned during the tidings of the War of Independence until it would soon memorialize six young men, the Niños Héroes (Hero Children). These young men defended the Chapultepec Castle in the Mexican-American War, falling to their wounds during the Battle of Chapultepec in 1847.

The hill on which the castle resides was considered sacred by the Aztecs. Visitors are welcome to tour Chapultepec Castle to learn more about its impactful findings and history while gazing upon its glorious architecture and design!

9. Museo Frida Kahlo

Museo Frida Kahlo

The museum is found in Coyoacan, in the Colonia del Carmen neighborhood. The museum houses a dedicated collection celebrating the life of Frida Kahlo who was widely known for her self-portraits painted with bold and vibrant colors. Kahlo painted with a folk style that explored different motifs, including identity, death, class, and gender.

Walk through the Museo Frida Kahlo to get a glimpse into the life of the beloved artist Frida Kahlo. From magnanimous famed art pieces to more personal items, such as Frida’s beauty products, photos, and wheelchair, the museum is an intimate glimpse into the famed artist’s life.

8. Palacio Nacional

Palacio Nacional

Found in the Plaza de la Constitución, the Palacio Nacional has acted as the seat of the federal government since 2018. Though this is significant, there is more that draws crowds of tourists to the Palacio Nacional.

Spaniard conquistador Hernán Cortés established the palace on the remnants of Moctezuma II’s palace after invading the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. The palace was bought from the Spanish crown in 1562, eventually becoming today’s Palacio Nacional after Mexico gained its independence.

The magnificence of the Palacio Nacional is unparalleled, and within its grounds are impactful murals painted by Diego Rivera from 1929-1951. These murals are a prominent lure for tourism to the Palacio Nacional. The murals depict cultural and historical aspects of Mexico’s past, from the arrival of Quetzalcóatl, an Aztec god, to Mexican civilization to the post-revolutionary period.

7. Palacio de Bellas Artes

Palacio de Bellas Artes

One of the most significant sights in Mexico City, the Palacio de Bellas Artes, is a prestigious cultural center. Near the Museo Nacional De Arte (MUNAL), the center hosts distinguished events from opera, theater, dance, and art exhibitions.

Throughout the white-marbled Palacio de Bellas Artes are breathtaking murals established by renowned Mexican artists, an arts center, and a concert hall. The famous artwork commissioned for the Rockefeller Center in New York is on the third floor of the center. The piece, El Hombre en el Cruce de Caminos (Man at the Crossroads), was painted by renowned Mexican artist Diego Rivera.

Within the Bellas Artes theater is a wonderful stained glass curtain depicting the Valle de Mexico. The design was based on a piece by Gerardo Murillo, a Mexican painter known as Dr. Atl. However, Tiffany & Co, the New York jeweler, assembled the curtain using nearly a million colored glass pieces.

6. Templo Mayor

Templo Mayor

The Templo Mayor was the primary temple for the Aztecs before Spanish conquistadors decimated the site. In 1978, a carving of the Aztec goddess Cyolxauqui was uncovered, and excavations of the site began to reveal this archaeological find.

Colonial buildings were demolished to continue the excavation of the temple. Today’s Visitors can see where sacrifices were made to the Aztec war god, Huizilopochtli.

From the Plaza del Templo Mayor, the temple’s exterior can be seen without entering the site. On the grounds of the temple is the Museo del Templo Mayor. The museum houses authentic artifacts discovered from the archaeological site and a glimpse into the past of the Aztec civilization.

5. Xochimilco


Tour Mexico City along the routes of Xochimilco, a remaining water transport system established by the Aztecs still used today!

Widely considered one of the best things to do in Mexico City, Xochimilco is known as the Venice of Mexico. This is because of its intricate system of canals established once used by the Aztecs. The channels open up a world of possibilities and a glimpse into the happenings of Mexico City and the time of the Aztecs that once lived here.

On the weekend, Xochimilco is where the party is. The waterways are swarming with colorful boats called trajineras, many of which are stocked with drinks, street food, mariachi music, and great hospitality.

4. Catedral Metropolitana

Catedral Metropolitana

The Catedral Metropolitana, officially known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, is of great importance. It is renowned for its significance historically, architecturally, and as a spiritual center.

The largest and oldest cathedral in the New World, the Catedral Metropolitana is a prominent attraction for tourists traveling to Mexico City. The cathedral took an impressive three centuries to finish. It combines three distinct styles of neo-renaissance, baroque, and neo-classical in the changing styles throughout the time it took to build the structure.

There are many attractive features of the cathedral. From its stunning bell towers featuring Xalapan designs to the religious artworks decorating the cathedral, the Catedral Metropolitana is one of the most significant tourist attractions in all of Mexico.

3. Museo de Antropologia

Museo de Antropologia

The most visited museum in Mexico, the Museo de Antropologia, is also one of the largest in the country.

Near the Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, the national museum features the world’s largest collection of ancient Mexican artifacts. While visiting Mexico City, stroll through the museum to learn about the history of Mexico through its exceptional collection of artifacts of Mesoamerica.

Established in 1964, the museum is fantastically large, with indoor and outdoor exhibits. These exhibits explore the different civilizations that have come and gone in Mexico, including the capital of Tenochtitlan, discovered more than 500 years ago by Spanish conquistadors.

One of the most popular exhibitions at the museum is the Aztec Sunstone, the Piedra del Sol. The stone was crafted and used by the Aztecs in Tenochtitlan, its functional intentions are still debated today, with intricate carvings of the Aztec cosmic cycles.

2. Teotihuacan


Northeast of Mexico City, Teotihuacán is an expansive archaeological network of what was once a pre-Columbian city. The site is teeming with ruins of what was the largest pre-Hispanic city in Mexico and one of the largest cities in the world during its prime.

Throughout Teotihuacán are well-preserved remnants of Mesoamerican pyramids that are architecturally significant. The most prominent of these pyramids are the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun – the main highlights of Teotihuacán. It’s no wonder as the Pyramid of the Sun is the third largest pyramid in the world, established well before the help of modern tools.

The main walkway between the pyramids and monuments of Teotihuacán is called the Avenue of the Dead. The Aztecs who found the city in ruins tagged this name, and today it is widely believed that the walkway was paved with tombs.


The main square in central Mexico City, Zocalo, was previously used as the primary ceremonial center for the Aztecs during their reign of Tenochtitlan.

Flanked by the Metropolitan Cathedral to the north, and the National Palace to the east, Zócalo formally goes by Plaza de la Constitución. Noted for its large Mexican flag, the square is the heart of the historic district. It is bustling with people looking to explore all Mexico City offers, from street vendors to traditionally made wares.

Zocalo often holds cultural events, festivals, and concerns celebrating the beauty of Mexico. One such event is the annual Festival de Mexico, which honors Latin cuisine and culture with Mexican margaritas, tequila tastings, beers, music, and dancing.

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10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico City

Posted by Guest Blogger | Updated on Apr 4, 2024 | Published on Jan 17, 2024 | Mexico | 0

10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico City

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

Guest Post by Soumya Gayatri

If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Mexico City, you’re in the right place.

With its rich and storied history, Mexico City is home to many iconic landmarks and well-known monuments. 

From the magnificent Metropolitan Cathedral in the Historic Center to the famous Frida Kahlo Museum in the quaint neighborhood of Coyoacan, the list of exciting places in Mexico City is endless. 

In this ultimate CDMX bucket list, we delve into the ten best places to visit in Mexico City. 

10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico City | The Common Traveler | image: Temple Mayor

Centro Historico

One of the top places to visit in Mexico City is its historic center, Centro Historico. 

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Historic Center of Mexico City was built on the top of the ancient Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, by Spanish conquerors who took over Mexico in the 16th century.

Today, the Historic Center is home to the ruins of the Aztec temple called the Templo Mayor and several beautiful colonial buildings such as the Mexico City National Palace , the Palace of Fine Arts, and the Postal Palace. 

You’ll also find the largest cathedral in North America here. It is called the Metropolitan Cathedral. 

At the center is Mexico City’s main public square, the Zocalo, which is the perfect place for people-watching. Mexico City’s famous Day of the Dead celebrations are also held at the Zocalo.

Best things to do in the Historic Center of Mexico City

  • Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral for its churrigueresque-style altars with elaborate ornamentation and decorative detailing. 
  • Join a guided tour of Mexico City National Palace and see some of Diego Rivera’s best murals. The massive “History of Mexico” mural, depicting Mexico’s ancient, colonial, and modern histories is a highlight.
  • Explore the ruins of Tenochtitlan and see what remains of Templo Mayor, the main Aztec temple.
  • Head to Palacio Bellas Artes or the Palace of Fine Arts for more murals by the Mexican mural masters, including Diego Rivera. Watch a folkloric ballet for a deep dive into Mexican culture.
  • Climb up to the observation deck of Torre Latino Americana for splendid views of the historic center and beyond.

The best way to explore the treasures of the historic center is on a Mexico City walking tour , where a knowledgeable guide gives rich insights into the history of the city and its important landmarks.

10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico City | The Common Traveler | image: Museo Frida Kahlo

Coyoacan is a quaint Mexico City borough known for its association with the famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. 

Frida Kahlo was born in Coyoacan and lived and died here. Casa Azul, the blue-colored house of Frida Kahlo, is now a museum where you can find her paintings, personal memorabilia, and photographs.

Frida Kahlo Museum is one of the most popular places to visit in Mexico City. It is so popular that tickets get sold out weeks in advance. Be sure to book your Frida Kahlo tickets well ahead of time.

Other attractions in Coyoacan include the Leon Trotsky Museum, the Diego Rivera Anahuacalli Museum, and the Rivera and Kahlo Studio House. 

The San Juan Bautista Church, with its ornate gilded interior, is not to be missed either.

Be sure to spend some time at the Fountain of Coyotes, from which Coyoacan gets its name.

Travelers often combine Coyoacan with Xochimilco on full-day tours like this one . 

A better idea is to combine Coyoacan with the lesser-known neighborhood of San Angel, where you can visit a lively artisan market every Saturday. Called Bazar Sabado, this local market is the best place to shop for Mexican crafts, textiles, handmade ceramics and jewelry, and paintings by local artists.

San Angel is also home to the 17 th -century El Carmen Monastery, which has a museum of religious art and twelve mummies from the 1600s. 

10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico City | The Common Traveler | image: Teotihuacan Pyramids

Teotihuacan Pyramids

One of the most fascinating places to visit near Mexico City is the Archeological Site of Teotihuacan. 

Located just 30 miles north of Mexico City (about an hour's drive), Teotihuacan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to three massive pyramids almost 2,000 years old. They are called the pyramids of the Sun, the Moon, and the Feathered Serpent.

Best things to do at Teotihuacan

  • Marvel at the pyramids of the Sun, the Moon, and the Feathered Serpent aligned along a north-south axis called the Avenue of the Dead. The pyramids are no longer open to climbing but you can appreciate their sheer size and history.
  • Discover murals painted by the ancient people of Teotihuacan thousands of years ago at the Palace of Butterflies, Tepantitla Architectural Complex, and the Beatriz Fuente Mural Museum. 
  • Ride a hot air balloon to get the most stunning views of the ancient city from above.

It is easy to get to Teotihuacan from Mexico City by public transport. Board a Teotihuacan Autobus from the Norte Terminal in Mexico City and get to Teotihuacan in an hour. 

You can also rent a car and drive (beware, Mexico City traffic is notoriously slow!) or book a guided tour with hotel pick-up and drop-off.

10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico City | The Common Traveler | image: colorful boats at Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

Mexico City is full of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the most unique ones is the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco.

Located on the southern borders of Mexico City, the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco are a group of artificial islands created by the Aztecs in the 14th century. They are still used to grow crops, and rear animals like the Aztecs did 700 years ago.

Xochimilco’s Floating Gardens are also a popular tourist attraction today. 

Visitors can ride on brightly colored gondolas called trajineras and explore the canals of Xochimilco. 

Trajinera tours usually include food, drinks, dance, and music, making Xochimilco a fun day trip from Mexico City. 

10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico City | The Common Traveler | image: statue of the Angel of Independence

El Angel Monument

If you’re looking for the most iconic Mexico City attractions, visit the monument of El Angel or the Angel of Independence.

Located in downtown Mexico City, the Angel symbolizes Mexico’s War of Independence and its victory over Spain. 

The Angel is a 120-foot-tall column topped by a bright golden statue of Nike. The mortal remains of many Mexican revolutionaries, including those of Father Hidalgo , are buried under the monument. 

El Angel stands right in the middle of the busy Paseo de la Reforma and is one of the most photographed attractions in Mexico City. 

10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico City | The Common Traveler | image: colorful buildings in Roma and Condesa

Roma and Condesa

Roma and Condesa are two of Mexico City’s coolest neighborhoods, with cute restaurants, artsy cafes, and trendy boutiques. Tree-lined streets and old art nouveau buildings further add to the charm.

Over time, both Roma and Condesa have come to house artists from all over the world.

Therefore, you’ll find a lot of original street art as well as modern art galleries in these neighborhoods.

Best things to do in Roma and Condesa:

  • Stroll in Parque Mexico, a lush green park full of exotic flora and fauna, ponds and fountains, interesting sculptures, and long winding trails.
  • Head to Mercado Roma and sample authentic Mexican cuisine from the local food stalls.
  • Visit chic art galleries like Galeria OMR and Arto Otra and shop for artsy Mexican souvenirs. Or join a walking tour to explore the eclectic street art of Roma and Condesa.
  • Try vegan tacos at Por Siempre Vegana in Roma Norte, one of the best places for vegan Mexican fare.

10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico City | The Common Traveler | image: Chapultepec Castle

Chapultepec Park and Castle

Next up on this list of best places to visit in Mexico City are the iconic Chapultepec Park and Chapultepec Castle. 

Often referred to as the lungs of Mexico City, Chapultepec Park is a large urban park in the heart of the city. 

Apart from charming walking trails and a beautiful lake, the park has many more attractions, including museums, a zoo, Chapultepec Castle, the Ninos Heroes Monument, and several local restaurants. 

The National Museum of Anthropology, one of Mexico City’s most famous museums, is located within Chapultepec Park. It is the best place to learn about the pre-Hispanic civilizations of Mexico, including the Mayans, Aztecs, and Olmecs. 

Other notable museums inside Chapultepec Park are the Museum of Modern Art, Rufino Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum, and Papalote Children’s Museum. 

On the top of a small hill in Chapultepec Park, you will find the Chapultepec Castle, the only royal castle in the Americas. 

The castle is home to the National Museum of History, where you can delve into Mexico’s rich history. You can also tour the lavishly decorated staterooms and check out beautiful stained-glass windows inside the castle.

The castle is also the best place to get panoramic views of Chapultepec Park and the Mexico City skyline.

Chapultepec Park is so huge and full of attractions that you can easily spend an entire day here without running out of things to do.

10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico City | The Common Traveler | image: Soumaya Museum

Polanco is one of Mexico City’s most upscale neighborhoods and is home to high-end restaurants, luxury boutiques, expensive hotels, and classy galleries and museums. 

Polanco has not one but two Michelin-starred restaurants – Pujol and Quintonil. Whether you choose to eat at one of these or a streetside taco stall, you won’t be disappointed. The food in Polanco is delicious everywhere.

Shop at the posh Antara Fashion Hall or take a walk in Parque Lincoln. Everything in Polanco is classy and dripping with swank.

The highlight, however, is the privately-owned Soumaya Museum, which has one of the largest collections of art in all of North America. From masterpieces of European old masters to modern 20th-century Mexican art pieces, the museum has over 60,000 pieces of art open for public viewing free of charge.

10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico City | The Common Traveler | image: Giant Olmec Head at Anthropology Museum

Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, or UNAM, is not only an educational institution but also a popular place to visit in Mexico City.

The Central University Campus of UNAM is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it presents a rare example of 20th-century modernist architecture.

The University Library is a fascinating building with its entire façade adorned by a stunning mosaic by Juan O’Gorman. The mosaic depicts different stages in the history of Mexico, starting with the pre-Hispanic civilizations, the colonists, and modern Mexican people. 

If you’re an art enthusiast, visit the University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC), which features some of the most innovative and unconventional art creations.

UNAM is located about 10 miles south of the Historic Center of Mexico City. Therefore, travelers often visit UNAM on a full-day tour with Xochimilco Floating Gardens and Frida Kahlo Museum.

10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico City | The Common Traveler | image: Mexico City Cathedral

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of Latin America’s most visited religious sites. 

Located only 30 minutes from the Mexico City center, the Basilica is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is known to house a famous cloak that has the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The impressive architecture of the Basilica is another draw. The old and the new basilicas stand side by side, representing Mexico’s rich architectural history. 

Millions of pilgrims visit the Basilica every year. The crowds are enormous on the 12th of December, the Day of Saint Mary of Guadalupe.

You can easily combine the Basilica with a full-day tour of the Teotihuacan pyramids and the Tlatelolco Archeological Site.

Tips for visiting Mexico City Attractions

  • Many Mexico City attractions are closed on Mondays. If you’re in Mexico City on a Monday, indulge in a day trip to Teotihuacan or Xochimilco.
  • Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world and is home to over 22 million people. Therefore, traffic can get terrible sometimes. Use the metro and Metrobus to get to your destination on time. Getting a Metro Card is extremely helpful.
  • The best time to visit Mexico City is in the spring months of March–May. The weather is cooler and drier than in summer, making it perfect to explore outdoors. Jacarandas are also in full bloom during this time, making the areas around Paseo de la Reforma, Centro Historico, and Chapultepec Park even prettier. October-November is also a good time if you plan to attend Day of the Dead festivities.
  • Frida Kahlo Museum is extremely popular among tourists. Therefore, tickets sell out fast. Book your Frida Kahlo tickets at least a week in advance.

If you’re looking for more amazing things to do in Mexico City and nearby, head to the beautiful colonial towns of San Miguel de Allende and Puebla, and immerse yourself in the rich Mexican heritage and culture.

About the Author Soumya is a history and culture enthusiast who helps her readers plan immersive cultural trips through her travel blog, Stories by Soumya . Her writings about travel and culture have been published in BBC Travel, Architectural Digest, National Herald, and many more. Mexico City is one of her favorite places in the world, and she keeps coming back here for the history, the culture, and the food.

Check out these related posts:

  • Mexico’s Pueblos Magicos
  • Best Things to Do in Bacalar
  • Best Things to Do in Mazatlan
  • Amazing Things to Do in Oaxaca

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Visiting Mexico City: Top 45 Amazing Things to Do and See!

45 best things to do in mexico city: all best places to visit.

You’re planning to visit Mexico City on your next trip?

Great idea!

Mexico City , also known as DF (Federal District) or CDMX, is the capital of Mexico . It is surrounded by several mountain ranges at an altitude of 2250 m.

It has a rich and fascinating history. It was founded in the 14th century by the Mexica as Mexico-Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire . It was conquered by the Spaniards in 1521, who built Mexico City on its ruins. It was the capital of New Spain until the end of the War of Independence in 1821.

Today, Mexico City is a vibrant, historic, and modern city with so much to offer visitors!

Here is my guide to Mexico City with the 37 best places to visit and things to do , including activities for the whole family. You’ll find my best tips and advice to make the most of your next visit to the capital.

I also suggest some itineraries to visit Mexico City in 1, 2, 3 and 4 days , along with my best hotel recommendations for all budgets. In short, everything you need to know to plan your trip!

And now, are you ready to discover what to do in Mexico City?

The best tours in Mexico City

1. plaza de la constitución, 2. the templo mayor, 3. colegio de san ildefonso, 4. latin american tower, 5. attending the ballet folklorico de mexico show, 6. the palace of fine arts in mexico, 7. alameda central, 8. franz mayer museum, 9. kaluz museum, 10. casa de los azulejos, 11. francisco i. madero street, 12. national museum of art (munal), 13. la opera bar, 14. the mariachis of plaza garibaldi, 15. tequila and mezcal museum, 16. watching a lucha libre fight, 17. celebrating the day of the dead, 18. taste the diversity and flavor of mexican cuisine, 19. the roma and condesa neighbourhoods, 20. plaza de las tres culturas, 21. basilica of our lady of guadalupe, 22. museum of popular art, 23. san juan market, 24. monument to the revolution, 25. zona rosa, 26. ángel de la independencia and paseo de la reforma, 27. glorieta de los insurgentes, 28. chapultepec castle, 29. bosque de chapultepec, 30. national museum of anthropology, 31. polanco.

  • 32. Coyoacán and the House of Frida Kahlo

33. Azteca Stadium

34. san angel and chimalistac, 35. trajinera ride in xochimilco, 36. the archaeological site of teotihuacan, 37. fly over teotihuacan, 38. exploring the great works of muralism, 39. discovering street art, 40.  chocolate museum, 41. museum of antique mexican toys, 42. papalote children’s museum, 43. natural history museum, 44. six flags park, 45. universum, what to do in mexico city in 1 day, 2 days in mexico city, 3 days in mexico city, 4 days in mexico city, staying in mexico city, where to buy souvenirs in mexico city, rent a car in mexico city, getting around mexico city, how to find the best price for your flight ticket, how to get from mexico city airport to your hotel, where to change money in mexico city, when to visit mexico city, tourist map of mexico, you’re traveling in mexico these articles will help you.

If you don’t have time to read the article (although I recommend it so you can discover all the activities!), here is a summary of the best tours to do in Mexico City.

The good thing is that for all the activities I have suggested in this article, you can cancel them at no cost.

Just click on the name of the ticket to book it:

Visiting Mexico City: The 45 must-see tourist attractions

The   Zócalo or Plaza de la Constitución has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site .

It is the largest square in Latin America and a major tourist attraction in Mexico City, because it houses all the main buildings of the capital.

Here is what to see in the Zócalo , one of the most important tourist attractions in Mexico City :

  • The Metropolitan Cathedral: It  is the Largest cathedral in Latin America and one of the most important catholic buildings in the world. An imposing building with fourteen chapels, it was built over the ruins of the Templo Mayor of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Admission is free , but I recommend you visit the cathedral’s bell towers for 30 pesos.
  • National Palace: has been the seat of government since Aztec times (even Montezuma’s palace was there!). Part of the building has been transformed into a museum and houses frescoes by Diego Rivera such as “The History of Mexico” . Free admission, but ID is required.
  • The Old Portal of Merchants: Occupies one side of the square with several commercial buildings dating back to the 16th century. Here you can find shops, hotels, and luxury restaurants.


Just behind the cathedral is the “ Templo Mayor”, which was the main temple of the city of Tenochtitlan.

However, it wasn’ t until the late 1970s that its location was accidentally discovered during construction work – can you imagine, the pyramid was 45 metres high!

To better understand the importance of the Templo Mayor, you can visit the museum, which has many pre-Hispanic objects, such as the monolith of Coyolxauhqui, the goddess of the moon.

  • It’s open every day (except Mondays) from 9am to 5pm. Admission is 90 pesos.
  • Get your Skip-the-Line Entry Ticket to Templo Mayor here!


The Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso was one of the largest educational institutions in New Spain .

Years later it became a preparatory school and later a university. Great figures such as Frida Kahlo studied there. And it was precisely there that she met Diego Rivera , who went to paint his first mural “La Concepción” in the Teatro Simón Bolívar .

There are also works by great artists such as Jean Charlot, Fernando Leal, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Ramón Alva de la Canal, Fermín Revueltas and José Clemente Orozco.

My advice  Orozco’s “ Cortés and La Malinche ” (1926) is one of many works not to be missed. The mural depicts Hernán Cortés and La Malinche, two key figures in Mexican history at the time of the conquest.

Cortés was the leader of the invasion of ancient Mexico and La Malinche was his slave and interpreter. Although their relationship remains highly controversial, the play represents the country’s mestizo identity.

  • Address: Justo Sierra 16, Historic Centre of Mexico.
  • Open Tuesday – Sunday from 11 am to 6pm (last admission is at 5.30 pm)
  • Admission is 50 pesos

Colegio de San Ildefonso mexico city

Taking the pedestrian street Madero from the Zócalo, you will arrive at the “ Latin American Tower “one of the city’s tallest skyscrapers in the city .

The ascent to the observation deck is definitely one of the main tourist attractions in Mexico City .

Here is what you will find:

  • 36th floor: Bicentennial Museum (20 pesos adults, 10 pesos children)
  • 37th floor: café and souvenir shop
  • 38th floor: permanent exhibition “The city and the tower through the centuries”
  • 40th floor: a modern bar called “40th floor” ideal for a drink in the evening
  • 41st floor: restaurant-bar Miralto with large windows to enjoy a magnificent view while having a bite to eat.
  • 42nd and 43rd floors: two spaces with large windows and temporary exhibitions.
  • 44th floor: the mirador latino , an open terrace with the best view!


The Ballet Folklorico de Mexico is a must-see show in Mexico City !

It presents legends, dances, songs and traditions from different states of Mexico through a colourful show in the famous Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts).

  • You can buy your tickets for the show here! (hotel pick-up included)

My tip Those who know me know that I always fall asleep during shows (yes, even in front of Cirque du Soleil 😆- it’s my inner granny). But there is one exception: this folk show.

El Ballet Folklórico de México

A few metres from the Torre Latino is the Palace of Fine Arts, a magnificent building built in the early 1900s.

The imposing exterior is in the style of  art nouveau and the interior is art deco . It was made of white Italian marble and houses paintings  done  by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco and Rufino Tamayo . A real jewel to visit in Mexico City .

Inside the palace you can find the Museum of Fine Arts (85 pesos, Sundays free), the Museum of Architecture (55 pesos, Sunday free) and the theatre where the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico performs.

  • Address : Avenida Juárez corner Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas, Mexico. Tue – Sun from 10am to 6pm. Website

The Palace of Fine Arts Mexico City

In front of the Palace of Fine Arts is the Alameda Central, the oldest public park in Mexico and the Americas (1592), with its benches, fountains and impressive sculptures.

Nearby is Diego Rivera’s mural museum (admission 45 pesos, Sunday free), with his work entitled “ Sueño de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central ” (Dream of a Sunday afternoon in the Alameda Central).

  • Laboratorio Arte Alameda (entrance 45 pesos, Sunday free) with contemporary exhibitions in a former church.
  • La Azotea de Barrio Alameda , a terrace on the top floor of the Barrio Alameda building. It’s worth going up (there’s no elevator) to enjoy the view with a coffee, or a cocktail depending on the time of day. I’ve heard that on weekends, the wait can be long, but I’ve always gone in the morning on weekdays, and there’s hardly anyone there. It’s my little oasis in the chaos of the center. ❤️

Alameda Central Mexico

The Franz Mayer Museum boasts Latin America’s most extensive decorative arts collection .

Franz Mayer gathered an eclectic mix of artworks, books, furniture, and more, mostly from Mexico but also from Europe and Asia, spanning from the 15th to the 20th centuries.

The collection features unique handcrafted pieces, including textiles and Talavera pottery, often overlooked in historical preservation.

Nestled in Mexico City’s historic heart, the museum is set in an 18th-century building , once the San Juan de Dios monastery and hospital.

While it displays only a fraction of Mayer’s finds, the museum continues to expand its collection, offer workshops, and host temporary exhibits. It also has a charming café in the courtyard.

It may not be the most famous or largest museum in the capital, but for me, it’s one of the most beautiful museums in Mexico City!

You can get your tickets to the Franz Mayer Museum here:

franz mayer museum mexico city

Housed in a magnificent historic building, it exhibits Mexican art from the 18th to the 21st century.

You can climb up to the rooftop terrace for a drink, coffee or bite to eat. You can even see the Torre Latinoamericana from the terrace.

  • 10-18h, closed Tuesdays
  • entrance 90 pesos for foreigners, 60 pesos for Mexicans

kaluz museum terrace mexico city

The Casa de los Azulejos (House of Tiles) or Casa de los Condes del Valle de Orizaba is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful buildings in Mexico City .

It is easily recognized by its unique blue façade, entirely covered in Talavera pottery from Puebla .

Don’t miss the opportunity to enter and see the interior . There is currently a Sanborns (store and restaurant), but even without consuming anything, you can climb to the second floor to enjoy a beautiful view.

It’s on Calle Francisco Madero, a stone’s throw from the Palacio de Bellas Artes, so you’re sure to find it on your way!

casa de los azulejos mexico

This important pedestrian street is a must-see in Mexico City, because in addition to being an important shopping area , it links the Palace of Fines Arts Artes to the Zócalo.

On this street, you can visit:

  • the Torre Latinoamericana observation deck
  • the Temple of San Francisco
  • Palacio de Iturbide (one of my favorite spots in downtown Mexico City!)
  • Estanquillo Museum
  • MUMEDI (Mexican design museum)

My advice There are always a lot of people on this street, so I recommend keeping an eye on your belongings, especially when waiting at corners to cross the street.

Mind you, I’m not saying it’s a dangerous place, but the more people there are, the happier the pickpockets will be 😉 .

francisco madero street mexico city

A few steps away from Bellas Artes, in front of the Manuel Tolsá Square, you will be able to see a building that is considered one of the most important architectural works of the early 20th century in the country.

It is true that the building (inside and out) is a real work of art – I was really impressed!

It houses an art collection of 3000 pieces (16th to 20th centuries).

  • Address : Calle de Tacuba 8, Historic Centre of Mexico City. Admission is $85 pesos. Tue – Sun from 10am to 5:30pm. Web Site

museo nacional de arte méxico

La Ópera is a historic cantina in Mexico City, famous for the bullet Pancho Villa left in its roof.

The story goes that, in the midst of the revolution, Pancho Villa came in with his men and shot through the roof of the cantina because no one was listening to him.

Honestly, I don’t know if this is true or just a legend, but what is certain is that this place is a veritable institution , which has been frequented by many illustrious figures.

It was founded by two French sisters named Boulangeot in 1876, inspired by the cafés and tearooms of Paris. They moved to the present location in 1895, a stone’s throw from the Latin American Tower and the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Because of its location and notoriety, I thought La Ópera was going to be one of those overrated, touristy places that rely solely on their glorious past, but I took advantage of my mother’s visit to Mexico City to go there: what a pleasant surprise I had!

It’s a real immersion in the past, with an Art Nouveau interior, wallpaper from the time of Porfirio Diaz, an imposing bar imported from New Orleans , wooden furniture with red velvet seats, and walls covered with photos that bear witness to its illustrious past.

The waiters were friendly, the food was good (although it was not unforgettable, but I remember the dishes were decent).

As I was with my mother, I paid for a few songs to the musicians and it was definitely worth it to complete the experience.❤️

My mother was delighted, took lots of pictures and still talks about the La Opera bar as one of her best memories of her trip to Mexico City.

The next time I roam in the center, I’ll definitely come back for a drink (but maybe not for food) and enjoy the interior. It’s a little gem.

  • Av. 5 de Mayo #10, Historic Center of Mexico City Mon-Sat 1pm-11pm, Sun 1pm-6pm

musicians La Ópera bar Mexico City

La Plaza Garibaldi is the best place to see mariachis in Mexico City.

Singers and musicians happily dress in traditional Mexican mariachi garb to perform a variety of songs, allowing themselves to be photographed and videotaped by tourists and onlookers (be prepared to tip!).

The atmosphere is certainly particular, as Garibaldi is a very popular place, and although you will often come across drunken characters, especially on weekends, it is undoubtedly a real institution in the capital.

In my opinion, this is one of the most important places to visit in Mexico City!

The best thing you can do to enjoy Garibaldi is to relax on a terrace and enjoy the music. I recommend the Salon Tenampa,   a traditional Mexican cantina (1925).

My advice In terms of safety, it’s definitely better to go to Plaza Garibaldi during the day, although its atmosphere is really at night .

If you decide to go at night, it is best to take a taxi directly to the place and avoid walking through the surrounding streets .

A good option to enjoy the mariachis safely is to join this mariachis and lucha libre tour that includes a visit to cantinas (traditional bars) and a wrestler mask!

Book it here:


The Museo de la Tequila y del Mezcal is located on the Plaza Garibaldi, with 2 rooms, one dedicated to tequila and mezcal , the other to the history of mariachis and the Plaza Garibaldi .

Your ticket also includes a tasting of 3 types of Tequila and 2 Mezcals.

You can get your ticket here:

tequila and mezcal museum mexico city

Along with the mariachis the Lucha Libre is, without a doubt, the other image that forms part of the collective imagination when one thinks of Mexico.

The origin of mexican professional wrestling dates back to the french intervention in Mexico inspired by Greco-Roman wrestling (1861-1867).

The famous masks came later, at the beginning of the 20th century. Most of them represent gods, historical heroes, animals and other characters that are proudly embodied by the wrestlers.

What an electrifying atmosphere! These are the places to visit in Mexico City to enjoy  the Lucha Libre:

  • Arena Mexico: Also known as the Cathedral o f Lucha Libre , it is a huge venue with a capacity to hold up to 16 000 spectators . It w as built in the fifties and it is here that you can see the greatest Mexican wrestlers . Wrestling: Tuesday 19h30, Friday 20h30 and Sunday 17h. Address: Dr. Lavista 187, Doctores, Mexico City.
  • Arena Coliseo : It is older and smaller than Arena Mexico , which is why its counterpart was built. Today, many spectators still flock to watch the fights. Fights: Saturdays 19h30 . Address: República de Perú 77, Downtown Mexico City.

If you haven’t already bought a mask at the market, you’re sure to find some for sale outside the arenas.

  • You can only take pictures of the fight with your phone, as cameras are prohibited.
  • Rows 1 to 3 are forbidden for minors.

My advice The arenas are located in areas that are not exactly known for their safety , especially at night , so on your way out, avoid staying too long, walk around the area and quickly hail a taxi .

You can book your ticket for the wrestling show , which includes pick-up from the historic centre with a guide, entrance, a wrestler’s mask and a shot of tequila !

lucha libre mexico city

The Day of the Dead is an important tradition that is part of Mexico’ s popular culture .

If you are in Mexico City between 31 October and 2 November, you can attend the big Day of the Dead parade , or see the beautiful offerings in the neighbourhood of Coyoacán .


Mexico City is a gastronomic paradise, where you can enjoy the rich and diverse flavors of Mexican cuisine, which was recognized as UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage !

But don’t just take my word for it: experience it for yourself with a food tour that will take you to the best places to eat , drink, and learn about Mexican food culture.

I’ve done a lot of food tours in Mexico City , but this one is my favorite  ❤️:

It’s a bike tour that combines delicious food and fun sights through the Roma, Condesa, and Chapultepec Park .

You’ll start with coffee and pan dulce in Condesa , then ride to Roma for tamales. You’ll visit a market and Parque Mexico for more snacks. You’ll finish with churros and drinks in Condesa. The guides are awesome and will share tips and stories along the way.

It’s a great way to experience the authentic Mexican food culture! Book it here:

My advice Do you want to discover more of Mexico City’s delicious food scene? Don’t miss the opportunity to join these other great food tours:

  • Explore the colorful markets of La Merced and Sonora, where you’ll find everything from fresh produce to exotic spices. Don’t miss the impressive Santa Muerte  shrine – Book the market tour here!
  • Cook your own Mexican feast in a fun cooking class. You’ll learn how to make various dishes from scratch and enjoy them afterwards – Book your cooking class here !
  • Experience the cantina culture of downtown Mexico City (traditional taverns), where you’ll sample tasty snacks and drinks (mezcal, tequila, etc.) in traditional taverns – Book your cantina tour now!

street food mexico city

For me, they are the most attractive neighbourhoods in Mexico City!

You can find beautiful streets with big trees, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Modernist style houses, along with art galleries, shops, cafés, restaurants and trendy bars, all in a very bohemian atmosphere.

If there is a difference to be made, I would say that La Roma is more rebellious and La Condesa has more style. In both you will find good examples of urban art from Mexico .

Go to the Mercado Roma , to the Medellin Market or to the La Condesa tianguis (street market) .

There are several places you should not miss: Alvaro Obregón street, Plaza Luis Cabrera, Cibeles Fountain, Jardín Pushkin, Avenida Amsterdam, Parque México, Plaza Río de Janeiro, Parque España, Fuente de Cibeles


The Plaza de las Tres Culturas (Place of the Three Cultures) owes its name to the presence of elements of 3 cultures:

  • Tenochtitlan culture: pyramids and Aztec ruins. Here was the famous Tlatelolco market, with products from all over Mesoamerica!
  • Spanish culture : The church and convent of Santiago from colonial times.
  • Modern Mexican culture : Tlatelolco Tower where the University Cultural Centre and the UNAM’s 68th anniversary memorial are located .

It is quite unusual to see all this in the same place. It is a good idea to have a guide to understand its importance and transcendence.

  • Address: Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas corner Flores Magón, Nonoalco, Tlatelolco, Mexico City. Open every day from 8 am to 5 pm. Admission is 75 pesos. Web site


With around 20 million visitors a year, it is the most visited Catholic monument after St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

The basilica is dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico City, Mexico, and Latin America . It is definitely a place to see and visit in Mexico City !

There are two main buildings: The old basilica, completed in 1709, and the new basilica,   completed in 1976 because the old building threatened to collapse due to subsidence of the ground .

Today, the building has been reinforced, but as soon as you enter, you can feel the pressure of the structure, it is impressive!

The new basilica is a modern structure that can accommodate up to 40,000 people . Masses are celebrated all day long. You have to go down to see the most important relic of the place: the ayate de Tepeyac with the image of the Virgin .

Also located on the site are: The Parish of Santa Maria de Guadalupe, “Capuchinas”, the Capilla del Pocito (Chapel of the Little Well)  and the Old Parrish of the Indians.

  • Address: Plaza de Las Americas 1, Villa de Guadalupe, Gustavo A. Madero, Mexico City. Free admission


Right in front of the Alameda Central is located an important art deco style building called Museo de Arte Popular.

It contains 2600 pieces of mexican folk art (ceramics, silver, wood, glass, paper, etc.) classified by themes: fantasy, roots of popular art, daily life, and the sacred, as well as a room with temporary exhibitions.

  • Address: Revillagigedo 11, Colonia Centro. Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm
  • Admission is 60 pesos, with free admission for children under 18 and seniors, and free admission on Sundays

museum art mexico city historic center

Located in the heart of the city center and with 150 years of existence, this is one of the oldest markets in the Mexican capital, which has become an important place to visit in Mexico City for food lovers.

If you have a curious palate, this is the place to visit because, in addition to the usual products, you will find several exotic meats such as ostrich, iguana, crocodile, paca (a large rodent that lives in tropical areas of America), armadillo and even skunk.

And even more: you can find a huge multitude of insects! Scorpions, crickets ( chapulines ), agave worms (or maguey worms), frogs, snails, and others that have been eaten since pre-Hispanic times .

Not feeling so adventurous? Then you can choose from one of the kiosks selling cheese and charcuterie. I ‘ve made some interesting discoveries of Mexican cheeses and charcuteries, which you can taste on the spot, accompanied by a good glass of wine with mexican cheeses on site!

  • Address: 2ᵃ Calle de Ernesto Pugibet 21, Colonia Centro, Mexico City. Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m


From the Alameda Central taking the Avenida Juárez after the Avenida de la República one comes across an impressive structure located in the centre of the Plaza de la Republica : the Monumento a la Revolucion.

It is a mausoleum dedicated to the heroes of the Mexican Revolution, among them, Pancho Villa. It is considered the highest triumphal arch in the world.

You will also find: the Museum of the Revolution with a collection of 400 pieces, the panoramic elevator, the intermediate viewpoint (65.7 m) to admire the 360º view and the Lantern with a fantastic view of the surroundings .

When night falls, don’t miss the play of water and lights of the Centennial Fountain in the Plaza de la República.

  • Address: Plaza de la República, Mexico City.
  • Admission is 120 pesos or 100 pesos for children under 13 years old
  • Open Monday to Thursday from 12h to 20h, Friday to Saturday from 12h to 21h, and Sunday from 11h to 20h


Located in Colonia Juárez, the zona Rosa of Mexico City is one of the most touristy and lively corners of the capital.

In fact, it has several hotels, restaurants, galleries and exchange offices, although people tend to go there mainly for partying, it also has several cabarets, discos and bars to suit all tastes.

This is the gay district of Mexico City , located mainly around Amberes St. If you are looking for atmosphere, the Zona Rosa will not disappoint you!


The Angel of Independence at Paseo de la Reforma is one of the great symbols of Mexico City.

Inaugurated in 1910 for the centenary of the Mexican independence represents Niké, the Greek goddess of the Victory. It is a seven-ton bronze statue covered in twenty-four carat gold.

The Paseo de la Reforma is the most important avenue of the capital.

It has an extension of 15 km, connects several areas of the city, and is home to important sites of interest in Mexico City such as the Angel of Independence , the tallest skyscraper in Mexico City – Torre Reforma tower, the Diana Cazadora Fountain or the monument to Cuauhtémoc.


It is one of the main roundabouts in Mexico City , located at the intersection of Chapultepec and Insurgentes avenues.

It is a large pedestrian area that connects the Zona Rosa with the colonia Roma Norte through ten passageways.

It contains several small shops and the Insurgentes metro station . Sooner or later, we all end up passing through there!


The Castillo de Chapultepec was the residence of emperor Maximilian and his wife Carlota in  1864.

The castle contains furniture, tapestries, gardens, 17th and 18th century paintings, works by Orozco and Siqueiros (artists of Mexican muralism),  and the National Museum of History .

From the castle you have a great view of Mexico City!

  • Admission is 90 pesos, and free for children under 13 years and adults over 60 years old
  • Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9am to 5pm.

You can also book your visit to Chapultepec Castle and the Museum of Anthropology , including guide and tickets, here:


The Chapultepec Park, also called Bosque de Chapultepec, is an immense green space of 500 hectares that includes a hill.

It is the second largest urban park in Latin America and has several sculptures, fountains, gardens, a lake, restaurants, and museums.

This is what you can see in Chapultepec :

  • Chapultepec Castle: a magnificent 18th century palace on top of the hill, offering a breathtaking view of the surrounding area .
  • National Museum of Anthropology : one of the most important museums of the American continent, it has an immense collection on the different cultures of Mesoamerica and the indigenous peoples of present-day Mexico. Buy your tickets here!
  • Museum of Modern Art : has a collection of modern Mexican art (from 1895 to 1955), as well as temporary exhibitions . Admission 70 pesos. Open Tue-Sun from 10.15 am to 5.30 pm. Website
  • Museo de arte contemporáneo Rufino Tamayo : a collection of 315 works by the most renowned artists of the second half of the 20th century, such as Picasso and Miró . It also hosts temporary exhibitions. Admission: $85 pesos. Website
  • Botanical Garden: Where you will find beautiful examples of cacti, agaves, and orchids.
  • Natural History Museum : dedicated to biodiversity . Open Tue-Sun from 10 h to 5pm. Admission $32 pesos, $15.00 pesos for children from 3 to 12 years old, and free admission for adults over 60 years old and children under 3 years old . Website
  • Centro Cultural Casa del Lago : located in a building near the lake, it houses a small gallery, and offers shows and special events . Open Tue-Sun, from 11am to 6pm. Website
  • The National Auditorium: it is considered one of the most important performance halls in the world and can hold up to 10000 people.

bosque chapultepec

Love at first sight! With its 23 rooms for exhibits on 8 acres, this is the largest museum in Mexico and one of the most important museums in the world.

The museum is divided into two sections: the archaeological collection and the ethnography collection.

  • The archaeology collection includes artifacts from the different cultures that have formed Mexico, divided into different rooms: the American settlement, the preclassic period of the Central Altiplano, Teotihuacan , the Toltecs, Mexicas (Aztecs), the Oaxacan Cultures, the Gulf Coast cultures, the Mayas, the Western cultures, and the Northern cultures.
  • The ethnographic collection I found was the most interesting, as it allows you to understand the cultural identity of the indigenous peoples that make up Mexico, with their way of life, their traditional clothing and textiles, handicrafts, beliefs, agriculture, and much more!

There is also a collection of very impressive artifacts such as:

  • The Sun Stone (cuauhxicalli), one of the most famous works of Aztec art.
  • A replica of Montezuma’s headdress , the feathered crown of Montezuma II
  • The statue of Xochipilli , a statue carved around the 16th century representing the Aztec goddess of art, games and dance.
  • The replica of the Tomb of King Pakal (Mayan governor, “K’inich Janaab Pakal I”), the original being located in Palenque , Chiapas . There is a magnificent jade mask and several objects that were also uncovered when the mausoleum was discovered in 1952.
  • The Mayan Hall contains several reproductions such as the Chac Mool of Chichen Itza , paintings of Bonampak, or the temple of Hochob in the region of Campeche in the garden .

You cannot understand the scale and richness of this museum before setting foot in it. In fact, it deserves the top position of places to see and visit in Mexico City !

Book your visit to the anthropology museum

To enjoy the anthropology museum to the fullest, these are the 4 different tickets you can pick from ( click on the tour name to book it )

  • Open Tue-Sat from 10am to 5pm (I suggest you arrive at 10am because there is so much to see). Web site


Polanco is the elegant neighborhood of Mexico City. There are embassies, restaurants, boutiques and hotels, luxury, but also beautiful green areas. A safe and pleasant place to walk in Mexico City .

Here’s what to do and see in Polanco :

  • Museo Soumaya: a free museum with unique architecture. It has a collection of 66,000 pieces done by great painters and sculptors, truly a must-see in Mexico City!
  • Museo Jumex : the largest private collection of contemporary art in Latin America!
  • Shopping : Avenida Presidente Masaryk is one of the most expensive streets in the capital. It is home to several luxury boutiques. Also visit the Palacio de Hierro and the Antara Shopping Mall .


32. Coyoacán and t he House of Frida Kahlo

 Coyoacán is one of my favorite places in the city!

It is a traditional neighborhood of cobblestone streets and small plazas with churches.

It has a bohemian atmosphere, with many cafes, art galleries, cultural centers, and restaurants. Coyoacán is better known as the neighborhood of Frida Kahlo.

The area is frequented by artists and intellectuals, but also by families who, during the weekend, come to stroll through the different markets and enjoy the entertainment offered by street performers (mimes, clowns, etc.).

Here are some of the main tourist attractions of Coyoacán :

  • Francisco Sosa Street: it links the Church of San Antonio de Padua with the Jardin del Centenario . There are several beautiful houses and important attractions including the Fonoteca Nacional , the Casa de Cultura Jesús Reyes de Heroles and the Plaza Santa Catarina.
  • Plaza Jardín Hidalgo : is the second most visited place in the capital . It is home to the Jardín del Centenario and the Fuente de los Coyotes , the San Juan Bautista church, and the Museo Nacional de las Culturas Populares (National Museum of Popular Cultures).
  • Frida Kahlo Museum : Frida’s famous Casa Azul ( blue house) where she lived with Diego Rivera. In addition to discovering the house and the objects of her daily life, you will be able to see part of her work and that of other artists who frequented the place.
  • Viveros de Coyoacán : A large green space where a great variety of tree species grow for reforestation. It is an ideal place to walk, run, and get a good dose of oxygen.

Don’t forget to visit the local markets where you can find good, beautiful and cheap food, the small flowery streets, and the charming squares.

  • Read more: Check out My  complete guide to visit Coyoacán with attractions, restaurants, and hotel recommendations!

My advice It is now mandatory to buy the tickets to Frida Kahlo’s Museum in advance and enter at the time on the ticket. You can book them here:


The Azteca Stadium is one of the most famous stadiums in the world .

It is the only one that has hosted two FIFA finals : Italy vs. Brazil in 1970 and Germany vs. Argentina in 1986 . It is possible to attend a match of Club America, the Mexico City team , or the Mexican national team called the Tricolor .

  • You will find all the dates on the official website
  • Address: Calz. de Tlalpan 3465, Coyoacan , Mexico.


In the same spirit as Coyoacán ( but less touristy) are the typical neighborhoods of San Ángel and Chimalistac . They are contiguous neighborhoods in the south of Mexico City with narrow, cobblestone and flowery streets, old buildings, plazas, gardens, and local markets .

What to see in San Angel:

  • The architectural heritage, in baroque, neoclassical and neocolonial styles: Casa del Mayorazgo de los Fagoaga, Centro Cultural San Angel, Casa del Obispo Madrid, Casa de Chucho el Roto, Casa de la Plaza de los Licenciados, Casa de la Marquesa de Selva Nevada, Casa Blanca, Casa del Risco or Casa Azul (not to be confused with Frida’s Casa Azul).
  • Casa del Risco: 18th century residence located in front of the San Jacinto Garden, which contains 600 pieces of sculpture and painting .
  • Plaza del Carmen : a beautiful square, a meeting point for painters
  • Museo del Carmen : with the most important collection of colonial religious art in Mexico .
  • Casa Estudio Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museum

What to see  in Chimalistac:

  • Walk along the beautiful Santa and Calle de Hipo streets
  • Federico Gamboa Square (or Plaza Chimalistac)
  • Cámara del Secreto: Also called Ermita del Secreto , it was built by the Carmelites in 1620 to provide a place to meditate or pray in total calmness .
  • Casona de Chimalistac : an old house that holds numerous books and manuscripts on the history of Mexico .
  • Table Park : a beautiful and peaceful green space

If you don’t want to miss any of these picturesque corners of Mexico City, you can take this guided tour of San Angel and Chimalistac that includes the pick up at your hotel:

I book the San Angel tour now! I want to visit San Angel and Chimalistac


Several centuries ago, different bodies of water covered the region.

In order to provide sustenance to the dense population, the A ztecs filled portions of the lake with chinampas, a  kind of artificial island that served for cultivation.

Over time, the lake became narrower and narrower and what remains of it today are the canals of Xochimilco .

Today you can tour the canals in one of the famous trajineras ( traditional and colorful wooden boats).

On your journey through the canals, you will find several boats with food and drink vendors and mariachis! Imagine the festive atmosphere (especially on weekends) a multitude of colorful boats and traditional Mexican music! It is a unique activity to do in Mexico City.

  • Check out:  How to Visit Xochimilco (Mexico City): The Ultimate Guide!

Things to see also in Xochimilco:

  • Xochimilco Market: the ideal place to go to buy fresh supplies much cheaper than in the canals .
  • Isla de las Muñecas : an island open to the public where the hermit Julian Santana Barrera has collected thousands of dolls. It takes two hours to get there by boat.
  • Dolores Olmedo Museum : The largest collection of Diego Rivera’s works located in a 17th century hacienda.

Beware of the price! Obviously you have to negotiate, but it is good to know that the government has set a maximum price per hour of $500 pesos, but prices are negotiated on the spot. It is not a price per person, but per boat, no matter the number of people.

My advice To visit Xochimilco you can get there by yourself (by Uber or 1h30 by metro – Xochimilco station) or opt for a guided tour of Xochimilco with transportation included and visit to Coyoacán :

You can book it here:


Built from the year 100, Teotihuacan was one of the largest cities of its time. At its peak, under the reign of the Aztec empire, it had up to 250,000 inhabitants! It had great commercial and political influence in Mesoameric a.

Today it is one of the main places to visit near Mexico City and one of the most important archaeological sites in Mexico .

What to see in Teotihuacan:

  • The Pyramid of the Sun , the highest of all (213 ft) and the Pyramid of the Moon ( 148 ft) 
  • The Citadel, formed by the Great Plaza and the temple of Quetzalcoatl (or Temple of the Feathered Serpent), which was the heart of the city .
  • The Avenue of the Dead
  • The Palace of Quetzalpapálotl where the elite resided
  • The Palace of the Jaguars and the Temple of the Feathered Snails
  • The Teotihuacan Museum

Visiting Teotihuacan

  • You can take a bus to Teotihuacan at Terminal del Norte, gate 8 (departures every 20 minutes. One hour trip, $50 pesos. Buy a round trip). It is best to arrive early because there is a lot to see.
  • Opens daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Admission is 90 pesos. Includes the museum.

Pyramid of the Moon Teotihuacan

For the ultimate experience, you can fly over Teotihuacan in a hot-air balloon.

For around 45 minutes, you’ll have a breathtaking view of the entire archaeological zone and the Teotihuacan Valley.

Needless to say, since it’s no longer possible to climb to the top of the pyramids , places are going even faster, so I suggest you book well in advance to make sure you get the date you want.

My advice It’s important to choose carefully who you book with , making sure that the company is licensed and complies with safety standards.

Volare’s fleet of hot-air balloons is the most modern and safest in Mexico . It is nationally and internationally certified!

Activity includes hotel pick-up , coffee, breakfast, toast and flight certificate. Book it here:


Chances are you’ve already heard of Diego Rivera , Frida Kahlo’s husband.

He is one of the most recognized artists of Mexican muralism , along with José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros , which is an artistic movement that developed in the early 20th century.

In downtown Mexico City you can find beautiful examples of muralist works, such as in the Secretaría de Educación Pública, the Colegio de San Ildefonso, and the Palacio Nacional.

Don’t miss Diego Rivera’s “The History of Mexico” at the National Palace!

If you are interested in art, I recommend you take the guided tour on Mexican muralism , which will allow you to learn a lot about this movement. Book it here:

history of mexico diego rivera

Mexico City is far from being a gray city. On the contrary, it is a dynamic city where many Mexican and international artists decide to leave their colourful mark.

You can easily see beautiful examples of street art walking through the streets of the Colonias Roma, Condesa, Juarez, but also in other places like the historic centre, the Doctores, etc.

To discover the street art of Mexico City , its artists, and their messages, I suggest this guided bike tour that will take you through various areas of the capital. And you can also take the opportunity to try some street food!


The MUCHO is a museum dedicated to chocolate , offering a guided tour to discover its origins, the cultivation of cocoa, its importance to Mesoamerican cultures and its evolution up to its arrival in Europe.

There’s also a store selling top-quality handmade chocolates at an attractive price (ideal as a gift), but you’ll probably want to head to the museum’s café for a good chocolate because of the aroma that wafted through the air throughout the visit!

Buy your tickets for the Chocolate Museum here:

  • Calle Milán 45, Colonia Juárez, México
  • Open from 11am to 5pm

musee chocolat mexico city

Family-friendly activities in Mexico City

Traveling as a family? Here’s what to do in Mexico City with kids :

MUJAM is an unusual, chaotic, yet fascinating museum.

There are 45,000 pieces spread over six rooms on several floors, with corners dedicated to Barbie, King Kong, dolls, robots, the circus, and wrestling. From small figures to large structures, there’s so much to look at!

Before leaving, don’t miss the parking lot decorated with impressive murals.

  • Address: Dr. Olivera 15, Col. Doctores, Mexico City.
  • Open Mon-Fri from 9 am to 6 pm, Sat from 9 am to 4 pm, and Sun from 10 am to 4 pm.
  • Admission is 75 pesos

My advice You can walk around the area during the day, I didn’t have any problems, but it is perceived that the neighborhood (Colonia Doctores) is not as safe as its neighbor, La Roma .


Located in Chapultepec Park , the Papalote is a museum with exhibits on science, technology and art, designed especially for children .

There are around 288 interactive exhibits spread over six thematic rooms , each with a space dedicated to younger children (5 years old and under) . There is also a Mayan garden with a pyramid to explore.

In addition, the museum houses are some of the largest IMAX theaters in the world .

This is, without a doubt, the place to visit with children in Mexico City!

Also located in Chapultepec the museum contains about 2275 pieces related to biodiversity, and a collection of 55,000 insects.

But the big star! A replica of the skeleton of a Diplodocus carnegii, a dinosaur that lived in the western United States, 150 million years ago!

  • Admission is 32 pesos, 15 pesos for children 3 to 12 years old

Here there are attractions for the whole family , some of them being very adrenaline-pumping (such as CraZanity, which breaks the world record for the highest pendulum in the world – 164ft!).

But there are also areas for children such as Bugs Bunny Boomtown and DC Super Friends.

  • Click on the link to buy your Six Flags ticket with transportation (very convenient if you don’t have a car!)


A museum dedicated to science and technology , which belongs to the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). It has thirteen rooms with exhibits on different topics: health, evolution, the universe (there are moonstones that have been donated by NASA!), the brain, etc.

Also, don’t miss the Golem, a robot designed to interact with children.

  • Admission is 90 pesos, 80 pesos for children under 12 years old , and children under 2 years old do not pay ticket.

How many days to visit Mexico City?

Mexico City is a huge city , even a month would not be enough to discover all it has to offer!

To help you make the most out of your stay in Mexico City, here are my suggested itineraries for visiting Mexico City in 1, 2, 3 and 4 days:

The Capital is immense and if you don’t have more than 1 day in Mexico City, you will have to choose.

Fortunately, with a little organization, you will be able to see several must-see sites.

  • Early in the morning, head to the viewpoint of the Latin American Tower for a breathtaking view of the city.
  • Take the pedestrian street Francisco I. Madero (on the way take a picture of the Casa de los Azulejos! ) to the Zocalo.
  • Visit the Cathedral and take the tour of the Templo Mayor, everything is very close.
  • Discover National Palace with works of great Mexican artists such as Diego Rivera.
  • It should be lunchtime by now, so head over to the San Juan Market where you can sample the famous insects. If that doesn’t appeal to you, there are also several cheap kiosks (tacos, seafood, etc.). One block from the market is the Pulqueria Los Duelistas perfect for tasting some pulque, a traditional fermented drink.
  • Then visit the magnificent Palace of Fine Arts and stroll through the Alameda Central. If you still have energy, visit the Museum of Popular Art.
  • It’s time to leave the center to get to know the neighborhoods: Roma and Condesa. Feel free to get lost in these streets, among stores, cafes, and street art. This is the perfect place to have a drink at night.

Don’t miss my ultimate itinerary: 1 Day in Mexico City

On the first day, follow the suggested program above.

  • On the morning of day two, go to Teotihuacan . This visit will take you all day, but it is really worth it, there is so much to see!
  • After some rest (you’ll need it after Teotihuacan), go to a lucha libre fight !

Check out my detailed article: 2 Days in Mexico City

If you are looking for an itinerary in Mexico City for 3 days , you can follow the program for day 1 and 2:

  • Spend the entire morning of the third day at the great National Museum of Anthropology
  • Stroll through the Chapultepec Park and visit the Chapultepec Castle
  • Now head south and discover the Coyoacán neighborhood , you are sure to find a nice restaurant for lunch
  • Walk through its streets and squares, and don’t forget to visit the Frida’s  Casa Azul
  • At night you will find many  very nice bars to have a drink

Check out my extensive article: 3 Days in Mexico City

To see Mexico City in 4 days, you can follow the program of day 1, 2 and 3. On the 4th day:

  • In the morning, take a ride on a trajinera through the canals of Xochimilco
  • In the afternoon, stroll through Coyoacán , the charming neighborhood of Frida Kahlo . Discover El Mercado de Coyoacán, the Jardín Centenario, the Jardín Hidalgo, and of course Frida’s Casa Azul (House and Museum).

You can get your tickets for Casa Azul (click here) or book the complete tour (click here) that includes the pick-up at your hotel, the ride on a trajinera through the canals of Xochimilco and the visit to the Frida Kahlo museum.

My advice: Don’t miss all the details in my 4-day itinerary in Mexico City !

  • Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral (historic center): one of the best hostels in Mexico City . Clean dorms and rooms, amazing rooftop terrace with bar , great atmosphere and an exceptional view over the cathedral and the Zocalo, starting at 15$usd for a dorm and 32 $usd for a private room!
  • Hotel Villa Condesa (Condesa): if you are looking for a romantic hotel in Mexico City , this is a little oasis in the heart of La Condesa. It is an elegant house with small green terraces and tastefully decorated rooms. Rooms are spacious, breakfast is very good and the service is particularly attentive. Around  160$usd per night!
  • Casa Goliana (Roma Norte): high-end hotel with the best value for money in its category, located in an early 20th century house, typical of the Roma area. Rooftop terrace, comfortable rooms, very attentive staff, and good breakfasts. Around  190$usd per night
  • Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City (Juarez): this 5 star hotel is one of the best hotels in Mexico City , ideal for a business trip or a romantic stay . Located on Paseo de la Reforma between Colonia Juarez and Roma Norte. A large indoor garden, gym, swimming pool, spa, restaurant, and bar, Around 640$usd per night!

mexico hotel de lujo four seasons

The best place to buy souvenirs in Mexico City is undoubtedly La Ciudadela, located in the center.

It’s a huge market selling souvenirs from all over Mexico (keychains, plates from Puebla, magnets, textiles from Tlaxcala, souvenirs with Frida Kahlo, lucha libre masks, typical Mexican sweets, alebrijes, etc.).

If you can’t find what you want at La Ciudadela Crafts Market , you won’t find it anywhere else – it’s that simple!

After visiting the market countless times (and getting lost every time with my amazing sense of direction 🤣), I can say that my 2 absolute must-stops are:

1) San Germán (aisle 1, room number 6): a real gem for beautiful handmade ceramic tableware (bowls, plates, etc.) straight from Tonalá ( Guadalajara region). This is quality, at a very fair price, and not the “Made in China” products you see elsewhere.

2) Ocelotl ( Instagram / Facebook) : a café and boutique where I love to stop for their “ café Ocelotl “, which resembles a traditional olla coffee, with orange zest and spices. When I need a little pick-me-up, I take the option with “piquete”, i.e. a drop of mezcal, and it’s delicious 😉

They have a very surprising collection of mezcals: with scorpion, snake and even mushrooms…

cafe ocelotl ciudadela market

Renting a car is for sure the best way to explore Mexico and make the most of your stay!

While it’s not super useful to visit the city, having a car is a must to discover the rest of the country.

To rent a car, personally, I always use, for a few reasons:

  • You can easily compare the rental cars prices between all the agencies: for sure the easiest way to find the best rate!
  • Cancellation is often offered free of charge: no need to worry if you change your mind
  • Rentalcars offers full insurance coverage at a lower price than the rental companies , so it’s an instant saving with no effort

Simply click on the green button to find your rental car at the best price:

Turibus (hop on and off all day)

This is the city’s tourist bus. As there is a lot of walking in Mexico City so it is a good way to save a little energy and have easy access to the tourist sites of Mexico City .

  • The Turibus offers 4 circuits in Mexico City that can be done with the same ticket.
  • You can buy a one-day or two-day ticket, which allows you to get on and off the bus as many times as you want.

Buy your tickets here:

The Metrobus network is very extensive, with 7 lines and many lanes reserved for single use, making it a very convenient way to travel cheaply .

Relatively few tourists use the Metrobus, probably because it is hot and crowded (be careful with your pockets), however, it is a very practical option.

  • Before boarding you must buy the Tarjeta de la Ciudad ( or MB ) for 21 pesos, which includes one ride, then you have to load it. Each trip costs 6 pesos
  • The ride to the airport (Ruta Norte, line 4) costs 30 pesos
  • You can download the Mexico City Metrobus map here .

I can’t deny it: it’s my favorite option!

Especially because Uber is usually cheaper and safer than regular cabs and they have always provided me with a good service .

It allows you to go almost everywhere safely (very useful especially at night!), and you can always see on the app’s map exactly where you are (and the route the car follows).

A public bike system (some are electric) that offers an ecological option to get to different places to visit in Mexico City . It has 480 bike stations with room for 6800 bikes in 38 km² .

First, register in the app, which you can download here [ Android – iPhone ], then go to a bike terminal (with a credit card). 

Ecobici offers a variety of short-term subscription options, beginning with a one-day plan for 118 peso s and extending to three days, one week, or annual plans. Prices include  unlimited use of bicycles  for trips of  maximum 45 min .

  • Ecobici website

ecobici rent bike mexico city

Mexico City Airport officially named Benito-Juárez International Airport receives a lot of national and international flights. It is the most important airport in Latin America!

To save money on flight tickets , you can use our flight comparator for Mexico, in partnership with Skyscanner: it’s the guarantee to pay the best price for your international and domestic flights!

There are several safe ways to get from the Benito Juarez International Airport to your hotel.

By private transportation

A good and safe option to get from the airport to the hotel is to book a private car with a driver. It can accommodate up to 3 people.

To book, click here:

Using Uber is a good way to go from Mexico City airport to your hotel. Just tell them which door to meet you at and watch carefully for your car, as it’s often busy there!

Metrobus (line 4)

  • Buses arrive every 15 minutes from 4:30 am to midnight, for 30 pesos.
  • Departures from Terminal 1 (between gates 6 and 7) or Terminal 2 (first floor, gate 3).
  • Approximately 1 hour to reach the historic center. Beware, if you are not staying in the historic center you will have to change lines or take a cab, so it is not an option I recommend at night.

Official airport taxi

At the Mexico City airport there are several taxi companies. First you pay at the taxi stand and they tell you where the taxi waiting line.

taxi airport mexico city

Surprising but true, the best place to change money in Mexico City is the airport!

I have tested many money exchange offices in Mexico City and the airport always offers a slightly better rate.

  • Be careful: this is not the case in other cities in Mexico, like Cancun airport for example.

One of the great advantages of the capital is that you can visit all year round!

  • Winter is cool, but quite pleasant
  • Summer , especially from June to September, is rainy, but not paralyzing. It can be quite gray (the sun appears for a few hours around noon) and rain falls almost every afternoon (around 4 p.m., rarely in the morning or for long). It’s the same almost every day, so it’s just a matter of being well organized.

The best time to visit Mexico City is from March to May when the city is at its most beautiful and flowery . It is not too hot and there is practically no rain.

November is also a good time to visit Mexico City because during the first two days of the month the famous Day of the Dead festivities are celebrated.

  • To explore all the exciting activities in  Mexico City  during this time of year, be sure to check out  My Definitive Guide to the Day of the Dead!  

Discover all my articles about Mexico : All my articles to help you plan your trip to Mexico are listed there.

  • The 35 Best Things to Do in Mexico
  • 1 Day in Mexico City – How to spend  just 24h in the Mexican capital
  • 2 Days in Mexico City  – The perfect itinerary for 48h!
  • 3 Days in Mexico City – The Best Itinerary + Where to Stay
  • 4 Days in Mexico City – Your Four-Day Must-See Guide
  • Mexico City on a Budget: Guide + All my Best Tips to Save Money
  • The Definitive Guide to 40 Best Free Things to Do in Mexico City
  • Teotihuacan (Mexico City) : The Definitive Guide + Tips
  • How to Visit Xochimilco (Mexico City): The Ultimate Guide
  • Coyoacán (Mexico City) : the Best Things to Do in Frida Kahlo’s Neighborhood
  • Day of the Dead (Mexico) : How to Celebrate Día de Muertos Like a Local
  • 40+ Wifi Cafes in Mexico City that Every Digital Nomad Should Know About
  • Muralism in Mexico City : The Essential Guide to the Best Murals
  • Itinerary : 10 days in Mexico – Mexico City, Chiapas and Yucatan
  • Itinerary : 2 weeks in Mexico   – Best itinerary to discover the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas!
  • Itinerary : 3 weeks in Mexico – Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca , Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatán and Riviera Maya
  • Itinerary : 1 month in Mexico – My Epic 30-31 Days Itinerary from Mexico City to Cancun
  • Road trip in Mexico : The best itineraries for 10, 15, 21 days and a month
  • Itinerary : 1 week in Yucatan – The Ultimate 6, 7 or 8 days Itinerary
  • Itinerary : 10 days in Yucatan – Best Itinerary for 9, 10 or 11 Days in Yucatan
  • Itinerary : 2 weeks in Yucatan – Epic Itinerary + All my Best Tips!
  • Itinerary : 3 weeks in Yucatan – Best things to do in 20-21 days
  • Itinerary : 1 month in Yucatan – Yucatan Peninsula in 29, 30 or 31 days from Cancun
  • Road trip in Yucatan : The best itineraries for 7, 10, 15, 21 days and 1 month

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I have created this blog to give you all my best tips to plan your next trip to Mexico, regardless of your budget. I share detailed itineraries, advice about places to visit as well as recommendations for transportation, hotels and restaurants. I hope I will also help you to discover amazing off the beaten path destinations in Mexico!

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Best places to visit in mexico for 2023-2024.

With year-round warm weather and diverse destinations ranging from metropolitan Mexico City to the sands of Tulum, Mexico boasts vacation spots that appeal to all sorts of visitors. To help you determine which locale is best for you, U.S. News compiled this list of the best places to visit in Mexico by factoring in cultural attractions, food options, beaches, water-based activities and nightlife, along with traveler votes and expert opinions. Vote for your favorite vacation spots below to help us determine next year's ranking. (Note: The U.S. Department of State advises against traveling to certain Mexican states due to crime; check the  website  for updates before booking your trip, and be cautious if you decide to travel.)


Isla mujeres, isla holbox, mexico city, playa del carmen.

sites to visit in mexico city

Located on Mexico's Pacific coast, Zihuatanejo offers travelers an authentic Mexico experience full of brilliant sunsets and laid-back vibes. In this fishing village, shopaholics can buy local handicrafts (think: ceramics and woodcarvings), and foodies can savor fresh fish tacos and ceviche along the beach. The city's Playa La Ropa serves as the main beach and stands out because of its clean, family-friendly atmosphere. Playa Larga, another excellent beach option, is set slightly outside of town, so it offers a quieter atmosphere and plenty of room to sprawl out. Just off the coast, divers and snorkelers can pick from several dive sites brimming with marine life.

sites to visit in mexico city

Home to Mexico's most famous waterfront Mayan ruins, Tulum appeals to history buffs and water lovers alike. Positioned along a coastal stretch of the Riviera Maya, about 40 miles south of Playa del Carmen, Tulum offers some of the best hotels in Mexico , ranging from small boutique hotels to wellness retreats to all-inclusive resorts. Regardless of where you stay, you can spend time lounging on some of the world's most beautiful beaches (try traveler-approved Playa Paraíso or Playa Ruinas), exploring ancient ruins (consider booking a daytrip to nearby Chichén Itzá for a larger-scale site) and swimming in secluded cenotes, unique underwater caves located around the Yucatán Peninsula.

sites to visit in mexico city

This island is probably best known for two things: coral reefs and cruise ships. Travelers love this destination's brilliant blue water and laid-back beaches, plus its abundance of water sports activities. Numerous outfitters and resorts offer kayaks, paddleboards and snorkeling gear. While you could spend every minute in the water or on the beach with a good book, Cozumel is also a quiet place to learn about Mayan culture. Visit the Mayan ruins at San Gervasio archaeological site for a dose of pre-Hispanic history.

sites to visit in mexico city

Ixtapa's curved coastline is packed with hotels, restaurants and nightlife, giving the Pacific coast city (located just north of Zihuatanejo) a bustling vibe. Playa El Palmar, the main beach, often proves better for sunset strolls and people-watching than swimming or snorkeling due to the strong waves. Still, warm, clear and generally gentle water and coral beds farther offshore make Ixtapa one of the best places for beginner scuba enthusiasts. Anyone interested in the area's history should also explore the Archaeological Museum of the Costa Grande, a small museum that details the various cultures and events that make the region unique. 

sites to visit in mexico city

A great option for a weekend stay or a quick daytrip tour , Isla Mujeres is set off the coast of Cancún and offers beautiful beaches perfect for relaxation and coral reefs ready for exploration. In fact, it's one of the best places to go snorkeling in the world thanks to a unique underwater museum and one of the world's largest coral reefs (home to all sorts of colorful fish). See marine life from another perspective on a glass bottom boat. When you want to catch some rays, Playa Norte is the most popular beach, framed by white sand, turquoise water and swaying palm trees.

sites to visit in mexico city

Quiet beaches, a relaxed atmosphere and stunning crystal-clear water are some of Isla Holbox's standout attributes. This up-and-coming slice of paradise is perfect for travelers looking to truly get away from it all, thanks to its car-free, off-the-beaten-path location. Isla Holbox is situated off the northern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula and only 26 miles long. Expect quaint boutique hotels, stretches of white sand beaches (Playa Punta Cocos and Punta Mosquito are two top spots), opportunities for snorkeling and sailing, and more than 100 species of birds, including vibrantly colored flamingoes.

sites to visit in mexico city

About 25 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is a small beach town known for awesome surfing conditions and scenic stretches of sand. If you've never surfed before, sign up for a lesson from a local to learn. Visitors can also go whale watching, snorkeling, scuba diving, horseback riding or zip lining, or hop on a relaxing boat tour. After a day of fun in the sun, head into town to check out the local art galleries and grab a bite to eat at one of the tasty restaurants (Sayulita is a burgeoning foodie destination), which feature everything from cheap eats to fine dining.

sites to visit in mexico city

Anglers recognize Manzanillo as a world-class deep-sea fishing destination for anyone searching for sailfish and marlin, but many types of travelers will enjoy a trip to this Pacific coast destination, located 170 miles south of Puerto Vallarta. The city's two bays mean there is no shortage of beaches for visitors to swim and sunbathe on: Top spots include Playa la Audiencia and Playa Salagua. Water sports like snorkeling and kayaking are also popular activities to enjoy here. If you have time, visit the small town of Barra de Navidad (about 30 miles northwest) for charming hotels, restaurants and stores along the beach. 

sites to visit in mexico city

Dreamy white sand , nightclubs, all-inclusive resorts and inexpensive flights from the U.S. make Cancún a go-to spot for spring breakers and vacationers seeking an easy beach getaway. But this city on the Yucatán Peninsula also sits close to lush jungles and tranquil cenotes, making it an excellent option for nature lovers. Not to mention, travelers will find diverse and cheap street food served from various carts in the downtown area. Visiting in fall or winter will ensure you see this city (one of the most-visited spots in Mexico) in its most tranquil light, but December through April is when the weather is closest to perfect.

sites to visit in mexico city

Ornate baroque and neoclassical buildings, busy plazas and colorful homes are everywhere you turn in this UNESCO World Heritage-listed city. Guanajuato, situated about 50 miles west of San Miguel de Allende, is known for its subterranean streets and tunnels, which you can explore on a walking tour or at your own leisure. After admiring the city's cobblestone roadways and charming colonial architecture, grab a souvenir or bite to eat at the bustling Mercado Hidalgo. If you enjoy art, arrive in October when the popular Festival Internacional Cervantino takes place.

sites to visit in mexico city

As the capital of Yucatán, Mérida's rich culture is visible around every turn. White stone mansions line Paseo de Montejo (the city's main street), while vibrant Sunday markets provide a taste of old-world Mexico. Those looking for Mayan ruins are also in luck; many ancient archaeological sites are in close proximity, including the famed Chichén Itzá just 75 miles east. Meanwhile, museum and art enthusiasts praise El Gran Museo del Mundo Maya de Mérida, as well as the city's art galleries and local murals. When it comes to lodging, travelers will have their pick of quaint boutique hotels.

sites to visit in mexico city

The most populous city in Mexico is steeped in history and culture. Mexico City boasts delectable cuisine, ancient Aztec sites and world-class hotels – all at fairly low costs – but if you feel like splurging, you'll find an array of high-end shops along the tree-lined Avenida Presidente Masaryk in the Polanco neighborhood. Must-see attractions in Mexico City include the Zócalo, the Palace of Fine Arts, Chapultepec Castle and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. And if you want to eat your way through the city, consider signing up for a food tour .

sites to visit in mexico city

For a vacation packed with authentic character, head to Puebla. This city, which sits about 80 miles southeast of Mexico City, is filled with colonial architecture and numerous churches, but its main draws are its stunning Talavera pottery, its historical forts and museums, and its sweet and spicy cuisine. Visitors must try mole poblano (made with numerous ingredients, including chiles, meat, chocolate, cinnamon and garlic) and chiles en nogada (chiles stuffed with beef and served with a walnut sauce and fruit like peaches, apples and pomegranate seeds). When the sun sets, venture to Callejón de los Sapos to listen to live music.

sites to visit in mexico city

Playa del Carmen boasts an exciting food scene, with eateries dishing out everything from delectable tacos and tostadas to sushi and expertly cooked seafood, plus an even hipper bar culture. What's more, this destination in the Riviera Maya beckons to vacationers with its soft white sand blanketing its beaches and its stunning shoreline views. Visitors can also bike to a nearby cenote for a refreshing dip or hit the links at one of the numerous surrounding golf courses. All-inclusive resorts , vacation rentals and boutique properties abound in Playa del Carmen, too, giving travelers plenty of options to find the best fit for their preferences and budgets.

sites to visit in mexico city

This secluded vacation spot is known for its luxurious lodging options (from vacation rentals to high-end hotels like the St. Regis and the Four Seasons), golf courses and charming beaches, such as El Anclote and Playa de Punta Mita. The small resort village of Punta Mita sits on a peninsula in Banderas Bay and most appeals to travelers seeking a relaxing atmosphere. Those interested in scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing and surfing will be able to enjoy those activities here as well. If you're visiting between December and March, book a whale watching tour for a chance to see humpback or orca whales.

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

sites to visit in mexico city

Puerto Vallarta

sites to visit in mexico city

Cabo San Lucas

sites to visit in mexico city

San Miguel de Allende

sites to visit in mexico city


sites to visit in mexico city

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Cheapest Places To Visit in May: Affordable Vacation Spots 

These travel destinations are some of the cheapest places to visit in May. Learn more about where to vacation on a budget this spring.

Sarah Rand • Apr 15, 2024

sites to visit in mexico city

May is a great time to travel to countless places. Especially if travelers want to appreciate the spring blooming season and peaking summer sun. The weather during May is typically warm but not sweltering. Since shoulder season commonly falls during the spring, May is one of the most ideal times to travel. This means that travelers can miss the crowds too.

Having plenty of space to explore the best features of a destination sounds like a great way to start celebrating springtime. However, it’s also a great time to save, especially after tax season . Here are a few of the cheapest places to visit in May where travelers can enjoy a trip while also not breaking the bank. 

Belize City, Belize

ruins in Belize on a sunny day

Belize City is a popular area for tourists to explore during their time since it is home to the country’s only international airport. It is centrally located, so travelers will save money by staying close to the city. There are also historic sites like Altun Ha and Xunantunich, which are very popular with tourists. The Belize Zoo, Great Blue Hole, and Caye Caulker are also popular spots to explore. 

The Chocolate Festival of Belize occurs in May. During the first or second week of the month, travelers can enjoy the sweet local tastings of cacao . The most exciting parts of the festival include the elegant chocolate gala and chocolate cruiser. The cruiser is a party bus that has several stops that explore cacao farming and many chocolate tastings throughout the ride. Travelers can enjoy the cruiser ride and gala for around $35 (per person, each event) but there are other free events to enjoy. 

In May, there is also better weather. The month of May marks the end of the dry season. Travelers can enjoy the warm Belizean sun without the heavy rains that sometimes accompany it. Visiting during May also means that travelers do not have to withstand the heat and humidity that usually hit the region around June and July. Temperatures in May are usually around 80 degrees. 

Affordability in Belize

Between November and mid-May is the best time to visit Belize for many reasons, including prices. This period is when travelers will notice lower prices for accommodations. This month also has fewer crowds since it is technically the shoulder season. Belize also has many affordable accommodations. The average price for tourism accommodations in Belize ranges from $20 – $100 per night, depending on the area and type. From street food to restaurants, travelers can expect to spend between $1 to $30 for a meal. Belize’s low prices make it clear why it is one of the cheapest places to visit in May.

Barcelona, Spain

Learn more about how Barcelona is one of the cheapest places to visit in May. pictured: a view of Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain on a bright clear day

Barcelona, Spain is popular for its unique architecture and culturally significant buildings. Since Barcelona is a very walkable city travelers can easily explore the most popular sites. La Sagrada Familia , Barri Gòtic, Casa Batlló, and Park Güell are just a few of the top-rated attractions in Barcelona.   

Between March and May are the best times to sightsee in Barcelona. Travelers will experience much more manageable weather so they can walk around comfortably. Temperatures are usually in the low 70s during May, so the sticky heat of summer can be avoided. The short spring season is also less crowded in general. For travelers wanting to avoid the summer tourist rush, May is a great time to visit. 

Affordability in Barcelona

Travelers who want to save money during their May Barcelona trip should book accommodations early. There are some spring events, like the Primavera Sound Music Festival that may increase prices. But generally, during May, accommodations in Barcelona are cheaper. This is especially true in comparison to summer prices. Travelers can expect central accommodation options to cost them around $50 – $80 a night. 

Sayulita, Mexico

Warm orange sunset on a beautiful beach in Mexico

Sayulita, Mexico is a destination that is best known for its beautiful beaches. The area experiences gentle water conditions, so travelers are welcome to swim and surf. Travelers who prefer a small-town feel will flourish in Sayulita. Locals are welcoming and charming, so visitors will get to know the culture of the town. Some of the most popular things to do in Sayulita are kayaking, snorkeling, boat tours, and enjoying local cuisine. The town is certainly a nice place where travelers can relax.

Sayulita, Mexico is technically a hidden gem since it is an underrated fishing town. Travelers who want to avoid crowds are in luck since May is not the high season there. The high season in Sayulita is between November and March, so the crowds generally are nonexistent by May. Since Sayulita has a subtropical climate, it only has two seasons. May is technically in the winter, which usually means dry and warm weather. Temperatures usually are between the 70s and 80s. Visitors traveling to this area of Mexico in May will also enjoy not having to deal with the humidity.  

Affordability in Mexico

The busy season in Mexico is generally between November and April, so travelers who visit outside of that are likely to experience lower prices. There is also plenty to do in Sayulita on a budget, so travelers will not be bored even if they do not want to spend a lot. Four-star hotels in Sayulita will cost travelers around $30 – $100 a night, depending on their preferences. Many local restaurants have delicious cheap eats too, so travelers can thoroughly enjoy themselves without their pockets hurting. Mexico is one of the cheapest places to visit in May, especially if travelers are selective.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida 

Fort Lauderdale, Florida beach

Fort Lauderdale is popular for its beachfront bars and water activities, with plenty to do there on a budget. Fort Lauderdale Beach, Las Olas Boulevard, Historic Fort Lauderdale, and Hugh Taylor Birch State Park are some of the most popular things to see. Travelers can also take riverboat tours, enjoy kayaking adventures, or simply enjoy the toasty sun to stay within budget. 

The best time to visit Fort Lauderdale is between May and August. This is due to the better weather. Temperatures are typically between 70 and 80 degrees in May. There is a moderate amount of rain during that month. However, in comparison to the peak summer time, the rainfall is nothing to worry about. Travelers wanting to avoid crowds should go to Fort Lauderdale in either late April or early May. 

Affordability in Fort Lauderlade

The cheapest time to go to Fort Lauderdale is during the shoulder season, which is between late spring and early summer. This means that May and the beginning of June will see the most affordable prices. May is generally the cheapest time to fly to Florida, so travelers will benefit from that. Hotels right on the beach will cost travelers around $50 – $100 per night. There are also plenty of affordable restaurants in the area since it is a popular tourist destination.

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20 amazing places to visit in Mexico

Posted: November 1, 2023 | Last updated: October 31, 2023

If you’re looking for a versatile destination offering both breathtaking scenery and fascinating historical sites, Mexico is your next country of destination. From white sandy beaches to ancient Maya cities nestled in the heart of the jungle, Mexico offers a multitude of incredible places to visit! Discover 20 destinations to add to your next vacation bucket list.

Refreshing cenotes

The Mayas believed that cenotes were entrances to the world of the dead. These sacred sites are now popular with travellers to the Yucatán. Nothing’s more relaxing than floating in the crystal-clear waters of these natural underground pools. More intrepid visitors can explore them via scuba diving or snorkelling. The country’s most spectacular, must-see cenotes include Dos Ojos , Gran Cenote , Ik-Kil (photo) and Suytun .

<p>The ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza is located on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Every year, thousands of visitors come to admire the spectacle of the spring equinox, when a shadow is cast over the Pyramid of Kukulkan, as the Maya witnessed many years ago.</p>

Chichén Itzá

You can’t travel through Mexico, or more specifically, the Yucatán Peninsula, without spending a day visiting its wonder of the world, the mythical city of Chichén Itzá with its Pyramid of Kukulkán , also known as El Castillo. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was once a major centre of Maya civilization where important rituals took place. The temple was built according to the sun’s movement, and each equinox brings a play of light and shadow in the image of a snake crawling up the structure’s north steps.

<p>Attracting thousands of vacationers each year, <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Tulum’s popular beaches</a> are as much appreciated for their tropical landscape as for their historical location. Located at the foot of an archaeological site of Maya ruins, Tulum is perfect for enjoying several activities in a single day.</p>

Tulum ruins

One of the Yucatán’s most popular attractions, the ruins of Tulum , also features one of the region’s most beautiful beaches . This historical hillside site is well preserved, and visitors can explore a structure known as El Castillo as well as several temples like the Templo del Dios de Viento.

<p>The pretty colonial town of <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Mérida</a> was <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">founded in 1542</a>. The capital of the Yucatán boasts many colourful buildings and authentic gourmet restaurants. Explore a few of Mérida’s most beautiful spots with a stroll around Plaza Grande and a visit to its cathedral and Palacio Cantón.</p>

The pretty colonial town of Mérida was founded in 1542 . The capital of the Yucatán boasts many colourful buildings and authentic gourmet restaurants. Explore a few of Mérida’s most beautiful spots with a stroll around Plaza Grande and a visit to its cathedral and Palacio Cantón.

<p>Travel about 30 minutes north of Tulum by car to find the sublime <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Akumal</a> beach, one of the Riviera Maya’s most famous coastlines. If you’ve always dreamed of taking a guided swim with sea turtles, this is the place for you. Watch turtles return to Akumal to lay eggs, admire magnificent coral and observe a host of fish species in five different bays.</p>

Travel about 30 minutes north of Tulum by car to find the sublime Akumal beach, one of the Riviera Maya’s most famous coastlines. If you’ve always dreamed of taking a guided swim with sea turtles, this is the place for you. Watch turtles return to Akumal to lay eggs, admire magnificent coral and observe a host of fish species in five different bays.

<p>Surrounded by mountains, the lesser-known destination of <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Oaxaca de Juárez</a> is well worth a visit. Its unique architecture and cuisine are sure to charm, as are the natural wonders just a short drive away. The most fascinating is, without a doubt, <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Hierve el Agua</a>, a thermal spring with petrified waterfalls and mineral pools located in the state of Oaxaca’s central valleys.</p>

Surrounded by mountains, the lesser-known destination of Oaxaca de Juárez is well worth a visit. Its unique architecture and cuisine are sure to charm, as are the natural wonders just a short drive away. The most fascinating is, without a doubt, Hierve el Agua , a thermal spring with petrified waterfalls and mineral pools located in the state of Oaxaca’s central valleys.

<p>Well known for its rock arch and magnificent <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">lovers’ beach</a>, <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Cabo San Lucas</a> is a traveller’s dream offering golden sands and immense limestone structures. Located south of the Baja California peninsula, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, Cabo San Lucas is an incredible destination for water sports. The seaside resort, with its opulent hotels and numerous spas, will also delight those seeking a luxurious getaway.</p>

Cabo San Lucas

Well known for its rock arch and magnificent lovers’ beach , Cabo San Lucas is a traveller’s dream offering golden sands and immense limestone structures. Located south of the Baja California peninsula, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, Cabo San Lucas is an incredible destination for water sports. The seaside resort, with its opulent hotels and numerous spas, will also delight those seeking a luxurious getaway.

<p>For a cultural feast, add a foray into <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Mexico City</a>. In addition to its superb historical downtown, visit the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Frida Kahlo Museum</a> (her former home) and numerous art galleries or cruise through the nearby floating gardens of <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Xochimilco</a>. The <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Roma Norte</a> neighbourhood is also a must-see, as is the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Mercado de San Juan</a>, <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Plaza de la Constitución</a> and Aztec ruins of the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Templo Mayor</a>.</p>

Mexico City

For a cultural feast, add a foray into Mexico City . In addition to its superb historical downtown, visit the Frida Kahlo Museum (her former home) and numerous art galleries or cruise through the nearby floating gardens of Xochimilco . The Roma Norte neighbourhood is also a must-see, as is the Mercado de San Juan , Plaza de la Constitución and Aztec ruins of the Templo Mayor .

<p>Often compared to Andalusia for its festive atmosphere, <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">San Miguel de Allende</a> is a colonial town listed as an <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">UNESCO World Heritage Site</a> and the pride of Mexico. Its Spanish-style piazzas, art galleries and up-and-coming restaurants will have you thinking you’re on another continent and wanting to come back again and again. Stroll along Calle Aldama and visit the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel</a> with its pink cathedral, and you’ll be sold.</p>

San Miguel de Allende

Often compared to Andalusia for its festive atmosphere, San Miguel de Allende is a colonial town listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site and the pride of Mexico. Its Spanish-style piazzas, art galleries and up-and-coming restaurants will have you thinking you’re on another continent and wanting to come back again and again. Stroll along Calle Aldama and visit the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel with its pink cathedral, and you’ll be sold.

<p>For an exciting train ride, climb aboard the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">El Chepe</a> and explore <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Copper Canyon</a> in the state of Chihuahua. Taking its name from the colour of its walls, the series of canyons offers extraordinary panoramic scenery and is one of Mexico’s most famous natural attractions.</p>

Copper Canyon

For an exciting train ride, climb aboard the El Chepe and explore Copper Canyon in the state of Chihuahua. Taking its name from the colour of its walls, the series of canyons offers extraordinary panoramic scenery and is one of Mexico’s most famous natural attractions.

<p>In the state of Quintana Roo, near Mexico’s border with Belize, lies the small town of <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Bacalar and its lagoon, celebrated for its seven shades of blue</a>, white limestone floor and clear waters. Diving enthusiasts will definitely want to add this fantastic spot to their Mexico itineraries. Meanwhile, several cenotes and examples of Maya archaeology await those who’d rather <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">explore the surrounding area</a>.</p>

Bacalar Lagoon

In the state of Quintana Roo, near Mexico’s border with Belize, lies the small town of Bacalar and its lagoon, celebrated for its seven shades of blue , white limestone floor and clear waters. Diving enthusiasts will definitely want to add this fantastic spot to their Mexico itineraries. Meanwhile, several cenotes and examples of Maya archaeology await those who’d rather explore the surrounding area .

<p>With its cobbled streets and delightful colonial buildings, the Centro Histórico is a must-see when visiting <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Mazatlán</a>. For sunbathing and swimming in the Pacific Ocean, stop off at the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Zona Dorada</a> or take an oceanside stroll atop the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Malecón</a>. Culturally minded visitors shouldn’t miss the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Mazatlán Art Museum</a> and its <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">famous cathedral</a>. Finish your trip at the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Mercado Pino Suárez</a> to stock up on fresh, local ingredients for a delicious dinner featuring the flavours of this flamboyant city!</p>

With its cobbled streets and delightful colonial buildings, the Centro Histórico is a must-see when visiting Mazatlán . For sunbathing and swimming in the Pacific Ocean, stop off at the Zona Dorada or take an oceanside stroll atop the Malecón . Culturally minded visitors shouldn’t miss the Mazatlán Art Museum and its famous cathedral . Finish your trip at the Mercado Pino Suárez to stock up on fresh, local ingredients for a delicious dinner featuring the flavours of this flamboyant city!

<p>About two hours north of Tulum, the island paradise of <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Cozumel</a> is ideal for water sports enthusiasts. Start by going for a dive among its incredible reefs where you’ll see a multitude of colourful fish and breathtaking coral formations. Cozumel’s most spectacular beaches include Playa El Cielo, Playa Palancar and Playa Mia, all offering crystal-clear waters for swimming, paddleboarding and simply relaxing.</p>

About two hours north of Tulum, the island paradise of Cozumel is ideal for water sports enthusiasts. Start by going for a dive among its incredible reefs where you’ll see a multitude of colourful fish and breathtaking coral formations. Cozumel’s most spectacular beaches include Playa El Cielo, Playa Palancar and Playa Mia, all offering crystal-clear waters for swimming, paddleboarding and simply relaxing.

<p>Located in western Mexico, the city of <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Guadalajara</a> serves as capital of the state of <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Jalisco</a>, the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">birthplace of mariachi music</a>. Culture vultures are in for a treat, starting with a visit to the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Palacio del Gobierno</a> to admire frescoes by painter <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">José Clemente Orozco</a>. Continue your tour at <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Hospicio Cabañas</a>, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, followed by a soothing stroll through the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Parque Agua Azul</a>. Lastly, be sure to sample Guadalajara’s famous street tacos and catch an authentic Mexican rodeo, or charreada.</p>


Located in western Mexico, the city of Guadalajara serves as capital of the state of Jalisco , the birthplace of mariachi music . Culture vultures are in for a treat, starting with a visit to the Palacio del Gobierno to admire frescoes by painter José Clemente Orozco . Continue your tour at Hospicio Cabañas , an UNESCO World Heritage Site, followed by a soothing stroll through the Parque Agua Azul. Lastly, be sure to sample Guadalajara’s famous street tacos and catch an authentic Mexican rodeo, or charreada.

<p><a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Sayulita</a>, on the Riviera Nayarit, is an ideal destination for <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">surfers</a> travelling to Mexico. Its beaches are not only less crowded than elsewhere in the country but also close to abundant natural areas guaranteed to enchant. Rainforest hikes and whale watching at sea are also popular Sayulita activities.</p>

Sayulita , on the Riviera Nayarit, is an ideal destination for surfers travelling to Mexico. Its beaches are not only less crowded than elsewhere in the country but also close to abundant natural areas guaranteed to enchant. Rainforest hikes and whale watching at sea are also popular Sayulita activities.

<p>In the heart of southern Mexico’s state of Chiapas, visitors can marvel at one of Mexico’s natural gems, the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Agua Azul waterfalls</a>. They’re actually a series of falls on the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Xanil River</a> and excellent places to take a dip and cool off (cautiously, of course). Look for numerous species of colourful birds and butterflies along multiple lush trails that show the way.</p>

In the heart of southern Mexico’s state of Chiapas, visitors can marvel at one of Mexico’s natural gems, the Agua Azul waterfalls . They’re actually a series of falls on the Xanil River and excellent places to take a dip and cool off (cautiously, of course). Look for numerous species of colourful birds and butterflies along multiple lush trails that show the way.

<p>Nicknamed the Yellow City, <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Izamal</a> will appeal to architecture enthusiasts and travellers fascinated by Maya culture. Start your trip with a visit to the convent of <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">San Antonio de Padua</a>, an imposing colonial structure in the heart of the city. Other nearby historical sites include the pyramids of <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Kinich Kakmó</a> and <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Itzamatul</a>.</p>

Nicknamed the Yellow City, Izamal will appeal to architecture enthusiasts and travellers fascinated by Maya culture. Start your trip with a visit to the convent of San Antonio de Padua , an imposing colonial structure in the heart of the city. Other nearby historical sites include the pyramids of Kinich Kakmó and Itzamatul .

<p>Interested in how this <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Mexican spirit</a> is made and want to learn more about cultivating blue agave? Then the town of Tequila, located about 90 minutes from Guadalajara, is the place for you. In addition to exploring numerous mountainside fields, visit the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Museo Nacional del Tequila (MUNAT)</a> to learn more about the history of this iconic beverage. Wrap up your visit by tasting multiple varieties of tequila while enjoying <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">regional cuisine</a> at local restaurants.</p>

Interested in how this Mexican spirit is made and want to learn more about cultivating blue agave? Then the town of Tequila, located about 90 minutes from Guadalajara, is the place for you. In addition to exploring numerous mountainside fields, visit the Museo Nacional del Tequila (MUNAT) to learn more about the history of this iconic beverage. Wrap up your visit by tasting multiple varieties of tequila while enjoying regional cuisine at local restaurants.

<p>In addition to luxury hotels and dreamy beaches on the Caribbean Sea, <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Cancún</a> also offers a wide range of exciting activities like kitesurfing, flyboarding and scuba diving. Its location is also perfect for exploring <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Isla Mujeres</a>, <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Isla Holbox</a> and <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Cenote Azul</a>.</p>

In addition to luxury hotels and dreamy beaches on the Caribbean Sea, Cancún also offers a wide range of exciting activities like kitesurfing, flyboarding and scuba diving. Its location is also perfect for exploring Isla Mujeres , Isla Holbox and Cenote Azul .

<p>Located in the state of San Luis Potosí, <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Huasteca Potosina</a> is a bucolic region rich in nature. Majestic waterfalls, crystal-clear rivers and breathtaking scenery make Huasteca Potosina a true tropical paradise for adventurous outdoor enthusiasts. See the Tamul, Micos and Tamasopo <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">waterfalls</a>, stroll through the <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">surreal gardens of Xilitla</a> and go rafting or zip-lining through verdant mountains.</p>

Huasteca Potosina

Located in the state of San Luis Potosí, Huasteca Potosina is a bucolic region rich in nature. Majestic waterfalls, crystal-clear rivers and breathtaking scenery make Huasteca Potosina a true tropical paradise for adventurous outdoor enthusiasts. See the Tamul, Micos and Tamasopo waterfalls , stroll through the surreal gardens of Xilitla and go rafting or zip-lining through verdant mountains.

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Eclipse 2024: Time, best places to watch, latest weather forecast, ZIP code tool, what will you see?

  • Updated: Apr. 08, 2024, 3:05 p.m. |
  • Published: Apr. 07, 2024, 9:16 a.m.

eclipse 2024

FILE - This combination of photos shows the path of the sun during a total eclipse by the moon Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, near Redmond, Ore. AP

The Great North American eclipse is Monday, April 8 and skywatchers – with proper glasses, of course – are ready to see the moon blocking out the sun during a solar eclipse.

What you will see, how long it will last and when it will take place will depend on where you live. While all states in the contiguous U.S. will experience some level of the eclipse, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, as well as small parts of Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee are along the path of totality and will experience the greatest periods of darkness.

In the U.S., the path of totality will start in Texas at 1:27 p.m. CT and will end in Maine at 3:35 p.m. ET (2:25 CT.) In those states, the periods of greatest darkness will reach up to 4 minutes, 27 seconds.

Here’s everything you need to know about the total solar eclipse 2024:

2024 eclipse primer

Total solar eclipse on April 8: Why this eclipse will be much different than the 2017 version

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The path of totality will start in Mexico and move across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine before heading out over the North Atlantic. Small portions of Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee will also experience almost the entirety of the eclipse. The eclipse will enter Canada in Southern Ontario, and continue through Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. The eclipse will exit continental North America on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, Canada, at 5:16 p.m. NDT.

Where to see solar eclipse 2024: NASA eclipse map shows best places along path of totality

During the eclipse, the sky will darken as if it were dawn or dusk. Weather permitting, people in the path of totality will be able to see the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, which is usually obscured by the bright face of the sun, NASA explains. Outside the path of totality, viewers will see a partial eclipse with the moon covering varying degrees of the sun.

How much will you see where you live?

April 8 eclipse in Alabama: How much coverage you’ll see in your city and when

Although Alabama is not in the path of “totality” during the April 8 eclipse – meaning we won’t see total darkness when the moon covers the sun – residents will see from 78 to 92 percent coverage, depending on location.

Total solar eclipse path 2024: Search your city, ZIP code for best viewing times

People viewing the eclipse from the path of totality will be treated to the ghostly-white outer atmosphere of the sun, known as the corona, when the moon completely blocks out the sun’s disk during the total eclipse, NASA explained. Along the path, the sun will be blocked out for about 4-and-a-half minutes.

April 8 solar eclipse path of totality: What time does the eclipse start?

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April 8 total solar eclipse: Texas officials warn people to stock up on food ahead of solar eclipse

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Total solar eclipse on April 8: How to safely look at an eclipse

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How One Family Lost $900,000 in a Timeshare Scam

A mexican drug cartel is targeting seniors and their timeshares..

This transcript was created using speech recognition software. While it has been reviewed by human transcribers, it may contain errors. Please review the episode audio before quoting from this transcript and email [email protected] with any questions.

Hello, James.

Hey. How’s it going?

Yeah. I’m not having much luck. So the problem is funding. And all of my money is in Mexico, all of it.

From “The New York Times,” I’m Katrin Bennhold. This is “The Daily.” A massive scam targeting elderly Americans who own timeshare properties has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars sent to Mexico.

Once you move forward and make your payment, if anything were to happen, he will directly pay you the full amount of what you’re entitled to, including the gains. He will pay you the full amount.

You’ve got all my money. It’s been sent. I sold a freaking house.

Listen to this. I sold a house that I grew up in so that I could come up with funds to send to Mexico.

I don’t even have anything from the sale, nothing.

My colleague Maria Abi-Habib on one victim who lost everything and the people on the other side of the phone.

That’s it. That’s it. There’s nothing —

You know what? That’s what has been said every freaking time. Every time, just pay this. That releases the funds.

But that’s why we won’t allow it to happen again. This is the last time, James.

It’s Friday, April 12.

Maria, you’ve been looking into this scam that’s targeting Americans. Where did your investigation start?

So several weeks ago, I received a phone call from a lawyer based in St. Petersburg, Florida, who had been contacted by a family who was very concerned that the father, this man named James, was in the middle of being scammed. He’d sent hundreds of thousands dollars to Mexico. And he was considering sending another $157,000 when his daughter decided to call up this law firm and try to get her father to stop, stop sending money to Mexico.

So I called him a few weeks ago as I was trying to understand what was going on.

Hi, James. How are you?

Good. Thank you.

He’s asked that his last name be withheld for privacy concerns because he’s quite embarrassed about the story that I’m about to tell you.

You’re retired now, but what were you doing for work? And if your wife was working, what was her job?

I was with the Highway Patrol.

James is a retired state trooper from California. And his wife Nikki is a former school nurse.

She was born in ‘51. So 71-ish.

Two. She’s just reminded me, 72.

And they’re both in their early 70s. And they own this timeshare that is in Lake Tahoe, California. And they bought it in the 1990s for about $8,000.

And for someone who did not grow up vacationing in a timeshare, remind me how exactly timeshares work.

Timeshares are essentially vacation properties. And they tend to be beach resorts. And multiple people can buy into this property. The ownership is a shared ownership. And this gives you the right to use the timeshare for one to two weeks out of every year.

And so James and Nikki used their timeshare every other year with their daughters. But as they hit retirement age and their daughters are growing up and starting their own families, they’re just not really using it that much anymore. And timeshares require the owners to pay off yearly maintenance fees. And so they’re starting to think about maybe letting go of their timeshare and selling it.

Then one day, in late 2022, James gets a phone call from a company that is purporting to be based out of Atlanta, Georgia called Worry Free Vacations.

Worry Free Vacations?

That sounds enticing.

Yeah. And they start off with a simple question, which is, do you want to buy a timeshare? And James says, I already have a timeshare. And then they say, great. Well, what about selling the timeshare? Do you want to sell? There’s this Mexican businessman, and he’s interested in your timeshare. And he’s willing to buy it for about $20,000.

So we figured, well, what the heck? If we can make a few bucks on it, we’ll go for it.

And James jumps at the opportunity.

And did he do anything to try and verify that this was real?

Yeah. So remember, James is former law enforcement. And he feels very confident in his abilities to sniff out untrustworthy people. So he goes online, and he googles this Mexican businessman and sees that, yeah, he is a real person.

He’s a very well-respected individual in Mexico, very well off. And —

And this makes James feel at ease, that he’s selling to a legitimate person, that Worry Free Vacations are who they claim to be and that he’s going to double his money overnight, essentially.

And what happens next?

Well, a couple of weeks after he makes the agreement with the buyer, he’s told that he needs to send a couple thousand dollars to facilitate the purchase.

What does that mean, facilitate?


I can’t remember specifically whether it was supposed to be cross-border registration —

So he’s being told that there are these fees that are paid directly to the Mexican government.

Or SPID or some other fee that was Mexican government required or not.

A lot of these fees are the same types of fees that you would pay in the United States for a real estate transaction. So he begins wiring money to an account in Mexico.

After that —

— a few days later, we get a notification. Well, everything went well, except that we have to pay an additional fee.

Every time that he sends one fee, he’s being told that he’s got to send another fee right afterwards.

Does he get suspicious at any point?

His wife is suspicious. After the first couple of payments, she starts saying, this does not feel right.

But James is the former law enforcement officer, right? And he’s the one that basically handles the family finances. And he’s confident that all of this is going to work out because he’s being told that the buyer of the timeshare will reimburse James for all of these fees once the sale goes through.

Michael from the Worry Free Vacations was constantly reassuring me the money’s in that account. Check with the commercial escrow account. It’s there. It’s just these fees have to be paid, and you’re being reimbursed for all of this.

They’re sending James documents that show all of the reimbursements that he’s owed and how much money he’s going to get. And this just makes him feel like all of this is kosher.

We have this commercial escrow company that was involved out of New York. So there was an air of legitimacy that I was comfortable with.

Maybe OK, these guys just need one more fee and everything is going to finally be cleared.

But about a year in, James starts to get suspicious. He begins asking questions because he wants his money.

And every time I asked, hey, is there a way I can get a partial release of these funds, there was always no, these funds have to be paid from your account before they’re released.

But Worry Free Vacations, they pivot. And they tell him that, listen, there are all these complications. It’s going to be really hard to get your money out from this transaction.

I could pay about $30,000 and change to reinvest the $313,000 into an environmentally-conscious development in Loreto, Mexico.

Instead, we’ve got this other investment opportunity in Mexico.

And I’m sure you know where that is, over on the East Coast of Baja.

And that is going to make you a huge return, even more money than you had thought that you were going to make, much more than the $20,000.

I’m supposed to have 54 million pesos in a Mexican bank account.

So this is now no longer just about his timeshare. They are now partners in a real estate investment.

Right. And there’s this whole new round of fees and fines associated with that.

So how many payments would you say?

Quite a few. Couple dozen at least, maybe more.

When was your last payment?

It would have been 17 January.

Uh-huh. And what was that for?

Good question.

And all along, he believed it was necessary to pay these costs just to get the money that he’s owed.

The amount of money that I’ve sent to Mexico is just freaking exorbitant. And I mean, it is approaching $900,000 or more.

And at this point, he’s sent about $900,000 to Mexico over about a year and a half.

Nearly $1 million.

That was almost all the money that he and his wife had saved for their retirement.

It also included money from the sale of James’s childhood home and money that he had borrowed from his daughter and son-in-law, about $150,000 from them.

It’s awful. So they were completely cleaned out by these guys.

Yeah. And this is when his daughter asks a law firm to look into this, which is the point in the story when I meet James. And when we start talking, it was clear to me that he just did not know what to think, even after losing this much money.

So this started in 2022. When did it end?

We’re still in it.

And he’s still talking to the scammers.

And as a matter of fact, presently, there was a request for $157,000 and change to clear up this whole thing. It would clear the entire issue out. Now —

And James is even considering putting a second mortgage on his house to send that money that he’d been promised would finally clear all this up — one final payment of $157,000.

It really sounds like he’s still wanted to believe that this was somehow legit.

Yeah. It was pretty clear to me that he was being scammed. But I didn’t definitively know what was going on, so I asked him if he could start recording his phone calls with the scammers.

Would you be so kind as to do me a favor?

Would you be willing to give them a call and record them?

[LAUGHS]: I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve been recording them.

And it turns out he already had been.

Worry Free Vacations.

So he shared the recordings of these calls that he’d had with these scammers over the last year or so. And it was just remarkable. It gave me huge insight into how the scam worked and the way that it sounded over the phone.

Is this is Michael in? I think he’s trying to call me. I couldn’t get through pick up.

Yes, I believe he did try to call you, sir. Give me a second. I think he’s only going to be in for a couple of minutes. One second.

There are two main takeaways for me listening to these calls.

Good afternoon. Michael McCarthy.

Michael, I missed your call. I was trying to pick up.

Yeah, don’t worry. Yeah, I figured something was wrong with your phone. Everything OK?

The first is that these scammers had really gotten to know James so well, and they really made James believe that Worry Free was a company that was working for him.

That’s why we need to hurry up and get this money over to you. Because hey, I’m losing my mind too. I’m not even here to convince you, James. I’m not — I’m your broker, and —

One of the things they continuously say is, trust me.

Look, I’m doing everything I can in my power and will on my end. So James, just look — like I told you from the get-go, I’m going to resolve this. And we are doing it. I just need you to focus on the goal.

They would refocus the conversation on what James needed to do to get his money back.

Look, if you make your payment as a security deposit, right away they will release the funds to you. With these —

And the other thing —

I’ve been having so much trouble trying to reach you, and I have not been successful.

— is that the scammers had created this elaborate cast of characters.

Why don’t you answer my calls?

And some of them were really aggressive. James shared a recording of this one man who claimed to be an agent for the Mexican government. And he basically started yelling at James.

I don’t care if your wife is at the hospital. To be honest with you, I don’t give a damn! But you know where I do give a damn? It’s your money, and my name is written all over it! Do you understand?

And he even threatened James. If James didn’t pay off these fines, then he would lose all the money that he’d sent to Mexico already.

You could get the best lawyer you want. You could get whoever you want. And this is not a threat. This is facts. But anyways, who am I to convince you, right?

Well, thank you for the information. And — are you still there? Hello?

Wow. So these scammers were basically doing a good cop, bad cop routine to stop James from walking away and to squeeze every last penny out of him.

If you provide me your email, contact information, I will certainly be happy to forward all of the wire transfer information from my bank account to you so that you can see where those funds went.

Yeah, that would be great. I have your email.

James asks me, a reporter who’s based in Mexico, who speaks the language, if I could help him figure out where his money had gone to.

Thank you very much. I really appreciate your assistance.

I’m just doing my job. Thanks again, and we’ll talk soon.

And the only way that I could figure that out was to understand who was on the other side of the phone.

We’ll be right back.

So Maria, who was on the other side of that phone line?

So by the time that I’d met James, I’d already gotten a tip from US law enforcement agencies that they were seeing a new trend. Mexican drug cartels were getting involved in the timeshare scam industry.

Drug cartels?

Yeah. And not just any drug cartel. This is one of the most notorious, violent, bloody drug cartels that exists in Mexico and Latin America, the Jalisco New Generation cartel. And when I looked at James’s bank records, guess what? All the money that he was sending was going to various bank accounts that were all located in Jalisco state in Mexico.

Wow. So why would the drug cartels get into the timeshare scamming business?

It is a huge business. The FBI told me that it’s about $300 million in profits over the last five years.

But the thing is is that the potential for it to actually be multitudes more is huge. Because the FBI estimates that most of the scams are actually not even reported. In fact, only about 20 percent are. So that means the total timeshare scam business could actually be much larger than the $300 million that they have knowledge of over the last five years.

But wait. I thought the drug business was a pretty lucrative business in itself. So why get into the scamming of elderly people for their properties in Lake Tahoe?

Well, you have to remember that these drug cartels, they’re not just doing one thing. They’re doing multiple things. They’re essentially conglomerates. Because it’s really expensive to run a cartel. You need to pay off officials, both Mexican and American. You need to maintain basically an army in order to secure your routes up to the United States, ports of entry into Mexico from Colombia. And any big business, you need to diversify your income to make sure that you keep the money flowing. Because you never know when one business is going to be shut down by authorities or taken over by your rivals.

We’ve reported that they’re now in the avocado business and the construction business. And timeshare fraud is basically no different than any of those. So we’re seeing that the cartels have their fingers in many pies, the legitimate and the illegitimate economy here in Mexico.

It’s kind of fascinating to think of these drug cartels as like sprawling diversified business empires. But when did the cartels first get into the scamming business?

So Jalisco New Generation started about 15 years ago.

And when they started to consolidate their empire in Jalisco state, they found that there were all these scam timeshare call centers all over the state that were being run by various players, and that this was a huge, huge moneymaker. Because essentially, all you have to do is call up retired senior citizens in the US and Canada. It doesn’t take that much money to run that kind of a scheme. There’s no product you’re making.

So essentially, they conducted a hostile takeover of these call centers. They went in. They kicked down doors and dragged out the people who were managing these call centers by their hair and threatened to kill them unless they gave up the call centers or started handing over a cut of what they made. And slowly, slowly Jalisco New Generation cartel took over the entire timeshare fraud industry.

Interesting. Were you able to find any of these call centers?

So these call centers are pretty hard to find. They look like any other storefront. But I was able to visit two that were located in an upscale neighborhood in Guadalajara, which is the capital of Jalisco state. And it was just really perturbing because it was just so normal. Two villas about a mile away from each other outside. Outside of one villa, parents were walking by, holding their children’s hands as they did drop off at school.

It was right next to a park where people taking their morning exercise or their dogs for a walk. There was no real sign that the cartel was doing business there. But a few months before, Mexican law enforcement had found the bodies of eight young people who had used to work at one of these call centers and said that the Jalisco cartel had killed them.

Wow. What happened?

So I wasn’t able to talk directly to any of the victims’ families. They’re just too scared. But in general, this is usually how it starts.

The cartel seeks out English speakers to work for their call centers. Sometimes they don’t even tell them what exactly they are doing. They would tell the recruits that the job was adjacent to the hotel industry.

You have to remember, Jalisco is a huge, huge tourism magnet for Americans and Canadians and others. And the cartel would get their call lists from bribing hotel employees to give them the names of people who stayed at these hotels and also at the timeshare resorts. And the people who would work at the call centers are provided the names and a manual of what you need to do when you call, like a loose script of how to try to suck as much money as you can out of these people up North in Canada and the States.

So we don’t know for sure what exactly happened with the eight young Mexicans who were killed last year. But through an intermediary, one sibling told us that when their family member knew what their job actually was, they became extremely uncomfortable and tried to leave the call center and find another job maybe.

But the Jalisco New Generation cartel is known for being extremely brutal. They chop off heads, and they’ll put them on the gates of a playground, for instance. So that everybody in the neighborhood knows what went down. And in this case, it’s possible that they wanted to send a warning that there’s no defection from their timeshare call centers.

So basically making a very scary example of these guys, in case anyone else is thinking about quitting one of the call centers.

Exactly. And one man, who runs an organization who advocates for missing people and actually organizes search parties to comb the forests of Jalisco state looking for the missing, says that he knows of about 30 people who have disappeared from the call centers in Jalisco state since 2017. So while Americans and Canadians might be losing much of their life savings, in Mexico, this is actually deadly.

Are the authorities doing anything about this?

Not really, other than the fact that these two call centers were shut down. The authorities haven’t arrested others. They’re not putting pressure on Mexican banks, for instance, to look into these payments coming from senior citizens in the US or Canada. And you have to remember that people are really afraid. But you also have to remember that in Mexico things are not that clear. There is a lot of corruption and government collusion with organized crime and cartels.

And the tourism industry, it is huge in Mexico and particularly in Jalisco state. This is a multi-billion dollar industry. They don’t want Americans or Canadians or Europeans who are coming to Jalisco for its beautiful beaches and its mountains to hear about these stories regarding the cartels being involved in the tourism industry and think, I’m not going to send my family there for that beach vacation. It’s just simply too dangerous.

So everybody has an incentive to have the scam continue, whether because they’re too afraid and don’t want to speak out or because they’re in on it.

So in a way, local authorities have an interest in sweeping it under the carpet in order to just maintain this idea of a tourist destination.

Exactly. I mean, the spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office was very responsive to me until I told her what I wanted to ask her questions about. And then she just simply never answered any of my texts or phone calls.

So Maria, based on everything you know, all the information you have, would you say that you’re confident that the cartels were the ones who scammed James?

Yes, 100 percent. Everything I’ve seen points in that direction.

What did James say when you told him this?

So it took him quite a while to really allow himself to believe it. On the advice of his lawyers, he stopped picking up the phone calls. And about a week ago, they stopped after the scammers kept trying to call him.

But you said he was in it for over a year. Why do you think it took him so long?

Can you tell me, after all of that had been presented to you, why do you think you weren’t willing to be entirely convinced?

Well, I actually asked him that question.

That’s a very good question. Why wasn’t I able to pick up on that right away? And I think in the back of my mind, I’m finding out that I’m a little more stubborn than I thought I was.

And for him, it was pretty complicated.

And I think that I didn’t want to believe that I had fallen for this. I didn’t feel I was that foolish and stupid when it came to this. You know? I guess I didn’t want to believe that I could be fooled.

To come to terms with the fact that he had lost so much money was to come to terms with the fact that he wasn’t the person that he thought that he was, that he wasn’t this kind of clever former law enforcement officer who was used to fighting the bad guys and winning.

I’m disappointed in myself. There’s a huge level of anger towards the perpetrators. And all of those things wrapped into one. And part of that, I think, contributes to not wanting to actually believe that I was wrong.

Hmm. Yeah, I hear you. I’m sorry. I can hear the pain in your voice.

[LAUGHS]: Yeah.

Some of it’s based on shame, right? That he lost all this money, everything that he’s worked for, and the fact that this was all supposed to be money that his children and his grandchildren were going to inherit. And now it’s gone.

And have you told your daughter that you think you’ve come to terms with the fact that this might have been a scam?

Oh, she’s been involved. Yeah. They know.

My daughter does.

I’m sorry. This is a tough time.

So I’ve got to make some sort of arrangement to compensate them for this on top of our regular debt. So yeah. It’s been a swell experience, all of it brought on by my — evidently, my stubbornness to believe that I couldn’t possibly be a victim.

How’s your wife doing throughout this whole process, with this new knowledge?

She’s not real happy, obviously, at all. I hear a lot of “I told you so.” And at this point, I’ve got no defense. She’s absolutely right. There’s no question about it.

Do you worry this is going to affect your marriage?

Yes, there has been an effect.

And do you think that at this point there’s any way for James and his family to get some kind of justice or at least find some kind of closure?

Ay. Justice? Unlikely.

At this point, I’m not necessarily expecting much in the way of restitution.

And as for closure, it’s a little bit too soon to tell. In a way, James has gone through several stages of acceptance for what happened. There’s fear. There’s shame. There’s resignation. And now he’s talking to me partly because he feels like it’s a public service, that he needs to be vocal so that other people don’t go through what he’s gone through and fall for the scam. And I think it also helps him feel a little bit empowered in a situation for over the last year and a half he was at the mercy of these people who were calling him multiple times a week.

I want to try to get as much information to as many of these official organizations as possible. I have a streak of anger through me now that I’ve developed to the point where I’m not going to let this go.

Well, Maria, thank you.

Thank you for having me.

Here’s what else you need to know today. OJ Simpson, the football star who was accused and later acquitted of murdering his former wife and her friend, died of cancer at his home in Las Vegas, his family said Thursday. He was 76.

Today’s episode was produced by Astha Chaturvedi and Will Reid, with help from Clare Toeniskoetter and Lindsay Garrison. It was edited by Brendan Klinkenberg and Michael Benoist, contains original music by Marion Lozano, Rowan Niemisto, Dan Powell, Pat McCusker, and Will Reid, and was engineered by Chris Wood. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly.


That’s it for “The Daily.” I’m Katrin Bennhold. See you on Monday.

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  • April 15, 2024   •   24:07 Iran’s Unprecedented Attack on Israel
  • April 14, 2024   •   46:17 The Sunday Read: ‘What I Saw Working at The National Enquirer During Donald Trump’s Rise’
  • April 12, 2024   •   34:23 How One Family Lost $900,000 in a Timeshare Scam
  • April 11, 2024   •   28:39 The Staggering Success of Trump’s Trial Delay Tactics
  • April 10, 2024   •   22:49 Trump’s Abortion Dilemma
  • April 9, 2024   •   30:48 How Tesla Planted the Seeds for Its Own Potential Downfall
  • April 8, 2024   •   30:28 The Eclipse Chaser
  • April 7, 2024 The Sunday Read: ‘What Deathbed Visions Teach Us About Living’
  • April 5, 2024   •   29:11 An Engineering Experiment to Cool the Earth
  • April 4, 2024   •   32:37 Israel’s Deadly Airstrike on the World Central Kitchen
  • April 3, 2024   •   27:42 The Accidental Tax Cutter in Chief
  • April 2, 2024   •   29:32 Kids Are Missing School at an Alarming Rate

Hosted by Katrin Bennhold

Produced by Asthaa Chaturvedi and Will Reid

With Clare Toeniskoetter and Lynsea Garrison

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Original music by Marion Lozano ,  Rowan Niemisto ,  Dan Powell ,  Pat McCusker and Will Reid

Engineered by Chris Wood

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Warning: this episode contains descriptions of violence.

A massive scam targeting older Americans who own timeshare properties has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars sent to Mexico.

Maria Abi-Habib, an investigative correspondent for The Times, tells the story of a victim who lost everything, and of the criminal group making the scam calls — Jalisco New Generation, one of Mexico’s most violent cartels.

On today’s episode

sites to visit in mexico city

Maria Abi-Habib , an investigative correspondent for The New York Times based in Mexico City.

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How a brutal Mexican drug cartel came to target seniors and their timeshares .

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The Daily is made by Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, M.J. Davis Lin, Dan Powell, Sydney Harper, Mike Benoist, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi, Rachelle Bonja, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano, Corey Schreppel, Rob Szypko, Elisheba Ittoop, Mooj Zadie, Patricia Willens, Rowan Niemisto, Jody Becker, Rikki Novetsky, John Ketchum, Nina Feldman, Will Reid, Carlos Prieto, Ben Calhoun, Susan Lee, Lexie Diao, Mary Wilson, Alex Stern, Dan Farrell, Sophia Lanman, Shannon Lin, Diane Wong, Devon Taylor, Alyssa Moxley, Summer Thomad, Olivia Natt, Daniel Ramirez and Brendan Klinkenberg.

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Katrin Bennhold is the Berlin bureau chief. A former Nieman fellow at Harvard University, she previously reported from London and Paris, covering a range of topics from the rise of populism to gender. More about Katrin Bennhold


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Where to See the Solar Eclipse: The 15 Best Cities to Watch the Event

By Katherine McLaughlin

totality during a total solar eclipse

If you’re a fan of astronomy or otherwise interested in unique natural phenomenons, you may be wondering where to see the solar eclipse today—or if the big event will be visible from your home. Today, a number of cities throughout Mexico , the United States, and Canada will experience brief moments of dawn- or dusk-like darkness right in the middle of the day. Officially described as a total solar eclipse, the occurrence happens when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth and blocks the entirety of sun’s face.

Because it’s not something that happens everyday, the marvel has been prompting locals and travelers alike to scope out the best viewing locations, but fear not if you don’t have your spot figured out yet. Todays’s eclipse will travel along a wide, densely populated path. NASA estimated that 31.6 million people live in an area that will see the total solar eclipse and another 150 million are within 200 miles of it. What’s more, there won’t be another total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States until 2044, according to NASA , making it all the more important to catch this one.

For most of the United States, the eclipse won’t happen until the afternoon, meaning there’s still time to figure out how you’ll watch it. Here, AD covers everything you need to know about the upcoming event, including the 13 best cities to see the eclipse.

What is a total solar eclipse?

There are a number of different types of eclipses, which offer different views of either the sun or moon. As NASA explains it, “A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, casting a shadow on Earth that either fully or partially blocks the sun’s light in some areas.” A total solar eclipse means the moon will completely block the sun’s face, and if you’re in the path of the eclipse, you’ll be able to see the sun’s corona and outer atmosphere, weather permitting. Other types of eclipses, like a partial solar eclipse, occur when the moon covers only some of the sun, resulting in a crescent shape.

ring of fire during total solar eclipse

A total solar eclipse is seen on a partly cloudy day.

How do you safely watch the total solar eclipse?

Not only are solar eclipses special because of their relative rarity, they’re unique in how they’re watched. For the few minutes when the moon is fully blocking the sun—know as totality—viewers can look directly at the sun without any eye protection. Any other time, including the hours before and after totality when you’ll see a partial eclipse, it’s important to wear protective eye gear, such as solar eclipse glasses. “As soon as you see even a little bit of the bright sun reappear after totality, immediately put your eclipse glasses back on or use a handheld solar viewer to look at the sun,” NASA explains.

How often do solar eclipses happen?

Solar eclipses, of one kind or another, happen between two and five times a year. Total eclipses happen about once every 18 months. However, this doesn’t mean one will be visible from your home this often. According to the Natural History Museum, London , a total solar eclipse is viewable from any one place about once every 400 years. For example, the last total solar eclipse visible from the United States happened in 2017 and followed a track from Oregon towards South Carolina. This year, the solar eclipse’s path will start in Texas and move northeast towards Maine. The next total solar eclipse will happen in 2026 and will be visible from the Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, and northern Spain.

How long will the 2024 solar eclipse last?

Total solar eclipses can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. The difference in totality length has to do with how far apart the sun, moon, and Earth are at any given time, since the latter two bodies both orbit in elliptical paths.

When the Earth is furthest from the sun—making the star appear smaller—and the moon is closest to the Earth—which makes the moon look big—totality can last for over seven minutes. As Astronomy Mag reports, these circumstances will line up in about 160 years, when a solar eclipse on July 16, 2186, will see almost seven-and-a-half minutes of totality. On the other extreme, if the Earth is at its closest point to the sun and the moon is at its furthest point from Earth, humans won’t see a total solar eclipse, even if all of the celestial bodies are in line. Since totality is all about the perspective of the viewer, this is also why each city will experience the 2024 eclipse differently.

This year, totality will last for a little over four minutes in some areas, which is significantly more than the two minutes that people experienced during the 2017 eclipse. As NASA notes, “During the 2017 total solar eclipse, the moon was a little bit farther away from Earth than it will be during the upcoming total solar eclipse, causing the path of that eclipse to be a little skinnier.” Seven years ago, the path of totality—which shows which parts of the world will be able to see the total solar eclipse—was only about 62 to 71 miles wide. This year, that path ranges from 108 to 122 miles wide. “Meaning at any given moment this eclipse covers more ground,” NASA explains.

How to read maps showing the 2024 solar eclipse

As noted, this year’s path of totality is about 110 miles wide. Cities closer to the center of the path will sustain total darkness longer than those on the edges. In addition to longer totality than in 2017, this year’s path of totality covers more densely populated areas than the previous one. This means more people should be able to experience the total solar eclipse.

Map of the united states showing the path of the total solar eclipse

The 2024 solar eclipse map from NASA shows where totality will occur on April 8.

Any part of the country that is not within the path may see a partial eclipse, and the closer a location is to the strip, the smaller the crescent of visible sun will be. In these locations, it won’t be safe to look directly at the eclipse without protective glasses or a viewing device. NASA has put together an interactive map , which allows viewers to see the eclipse timing in their city.

Where to see the solar eclipse

According to NASA , cities in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and small parts of Tennessee and Michigan will experience the total solar eclipse. Parts of Mexico and Canada will also fall within the eclipse’s path. Read on for the best places to see the 2024 total solar eclipse.

Beach in Mazatlan Mexico

Mazatlán, Mexico

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Mexico’s pacific coast will be the first place in continental North America to experience the eclipse. Mazatlán, a popular resort city, is an ideal location to see the occurrence, as it is directly in the eclipse’s path. Totality will begin around 11:07 a.m. local time and last for 4 minutes and 17 seconds. Because it’s such an optimal place to see the 2024 solar eclipse, NASA is hosting a viewing event at Vidanta Mazatlán . Here, visitors will be able to watch screens showing telescope views of the eclipse in addition to other hands-on activities, such as projects for kids and touchable moon rocks.

Torreon Mexico

Torreón, Mexico

Located more centrally in the country, the solar eclipse will also be visible from Torreón. Totality will start just before 12:19 p.m. local time and last for 4 minutes and 12 seconds. A partial eclipse will also be visible before and after totality, starting at 11:44 a.m. and ending at 1:54 p.m.

Hills and plants in Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country

Part of Texas Hill Country, Kerrville is a prime location to watch the 2024 eclipse. Near the Mexican border, it will be among the first US cities to experience totality, which will begin at 1:32 p.m. and last for almost four and a half minutes. Austin and Dallas are also in the path of totality, but will only experience the darkness for about two minutes and a little under four minutes, respectively. NASA is also hosting an event here, which will take place in Louise Hays Park and include live music, speakers, and programming for kids.

Dallas Texas

Dallas, Texas

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is among the most densely populated places from which the eclipse will be visible. Totality will last for 3 minutes and 51 seconds and begin at 1:40 p.m. The city has put together a list of ideal places within the city to watch the event, including the Dallas Zoo, Dallas Museum of Art, and White Rock Lake Park.

Park in Arkansas

Russellville, Arkansas

Russellville, about 85 miles east of Little Rock, will experience 4 minutes and 12 seconds of totality, starting at 1:50 p.m. The city has planned a number of exciting programming for the historic event, including a solar eclipse festival and a concert with Grammy-winner Rhonda Vincent.

Street in Cape Girardeau Missouri

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Located along the Mississippi River, Cape Girardeau is one of the best places in Missouri to watch the 2024 solar eclipse. According to NASA’s map, totality will last for a little over four minutes, beginning at 1:58 p.m. Head to Old Town Cape, where the city is hosting a block party on the day.

Carbondale Illinois

Carbondale, Illinois

Informally known as Little Egypt—possibly because the area delivered grains to northern parts of the state during the 1800s famine or because the southern tip of Illinois is similar to the Nile delta region in Egypt—Carbondale will experience 4 minutes and 10 seconds of totality, beginning at 1:59 p.m. The city also experienced totality during the 2017 eclipse, though it will see a longer dark period this time around. Home of Southern Illinois University, the school is hosting public viewing at its football stadium.

Indiana University

Bloomington, Indiana

Much of central and southern Indiana will experience totality during the 2024 solar eclipse, but Bloomington, largely a college town and home to Indiana University, will be among the best places in the Hoosier state to watch the event, since totality will last for about four minutes. The town is home to Indiana University, which is among our list of the most beautiful college campuses in America. Spend the afternoon strolling through the campus’s Gothic- and Romanesque-inspired buildings, and then catch the eclipse at 3 p.m.

Downtown Indianapolis

Indianapolis, Indiana

They don’t call Indianapolis the crossroads of America for no reason: The state capital is at the intersection of four major US highways, Interstate 65, Interstate 69, Interstate 70, and Interstate 74. This means it’s a relatively accessible location for those in surrounding areas and among the best places to travel to for the solar eclipse. Here, totality will last for about 3 minutes and 47 seconds and start at 3:06 p.m. NASA is hosting an event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and will have experts on-hand to answer all questions about the eclipse. The city has also suggested White River State Park as an ideal solar eclipse viewing location, where a number of food trucks, local vendors, and other activations will be set up.

Cleveland Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland won’t be in a solar eclipse’s path of totality again until 2444 , making it a once in a lifetime experience for any locals hoping to watch the eclipse from their hometown. The city will experience maximum darkness at 3:15 p.m., which will last for just under 4 minutes. To commemorate the moment, the Great Lake Science Center is hosting a Total Eclipse Fest on April 6 through April 8. The free outdoor event will include speakers, concerts, performances, and hands-on science activities.

Erie Pennsylvania

Erie, Pennsylvania

Only a small portion of northern Pennsylvania will be within the path of totality. Erie, located along the shores of the lake of the same name, will be one of the best places in the state to see the eclipse. Totality will last for 3 minutes and 42 seconds, starting at 3:16 p.m. The local government has put together a map of public parks and other viewing locations to watch the spectacle.

downtown Buffalo New York

Buffalo, New York

Buffalo, New York, will see 3 minutes and 46 seconds of total darkness, beginning at 3:18 p.m. There are a number of public “ watch parties ” happening in the city, which the government has compiled for visitors and locals. Midcentury-modern architecture fans may want to use the day to visit Graycliff, a Frank Lloyd Wright–designed estate, which is hosting a special open house on April 8, allowing guests to watch the eclipse from the property.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Region, Ontario

Small parts of Canada will also witness total darkness during the 2024 eclipse. The Niagara region is the best place to see totality, which will start at 3:19 p.m. and last for 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Montreal will also experience totality, but only for a little over one minute.

Downtown street in Burlington Vermont

Burlington, Vermont

Much of New England will miss out on totality during the 2024 eclipse, as the path will only cover parts of northern Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Burlington is among the best places for those in the region to travel to, as it will experience 3 minutes and 19 seconds of darkness, starting at 3:26 p.m.

Houlton Maine

Houlton, Maine

Maine is the northern most place in the United States to see the total eclipse in 2024, also making it the last place in the country to experience totality. Houlton will be among the best places in the state to watch the sight, and darkness will begin at 3:32 p.m. and last for 3 minutes and 20 seconds.

How will weather impact visibility?

Geographically, the cities listed above represent the best places to see the 2024 solar. However, weather will play a major role in just how well those on the ground will be able to see the phenomenon. It goes without saying that cloudy conditions or rain will impact visibility and make it harder to see the eclipse. Currently, meteorologist are forecasting worse conditions in the south-central United States, which could affect those in Texas and Arkansas. Those in the Midwest and northeast have better odds, where conditions are presently forecasted to be sunny and with clear skies.

What will I see during the solar eclipse if my city isn’t along the path of totality?

Though not every city will see a total solar eclipse, most of the United States will see at least a partial eclipse. For example, as NASA’s map shows, Seattle, which is one of the furthest metropolises from the eclipse’s path will still see about 20% of the sun covered by the moon. Here, peak coverage will happen around 11:29 a.m. On the south side of the country, Miami, which is also quite far from the eclipse’s path, will see 46.2% of the sun covered around 3:01 p.m.

On the other hand, cities which are not along the path of totality but are very close will see a greater percentage of the sun covered. St. Louis, for example, which is just outside the path of totality, will see the moon covering 99.1% of the sun during peak totality, which will happen at 2 p.m. For detailed information about your city, see NASA’s interactive eclipse map .

Can I watch the 2024 solar eclipse virtually?

If you won’t be within the path of totality, a number of organizations are live streaming the monumental event (This may also come in handy if a city experiences cloudy weather or rain on eclipse day). To start, NASA is offering live broadcasts in both English and Spanish and live streams from telescopes that will capture the eclipse as it moves across the country. Scientific American will capture the event with jets that have been converted into flying telescopes to chase the eclipse, offering a view that one simply can’t find on the ground.

ABC News and National Geographic are also teaming up to produce “Eclipse Across America,” a live special hosted by David Muir and Linsey Davis. Coverage starts at 2:00 p.m. ET on ABC, ABC News Live, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Disney+, Hulu and Network Social Media Platforms and will broadcast from 10 cities along the path of totality, including Mazatlán, Mexico; Russelville, Arkansas; and Houlton, Maine.

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When and where the solar eclipse will be crossing the U.S.

The path of totality for the solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

A total solar eclipse will grace the skies over North America on Monday, one of the most hotly anticipated sky-watching events in recent years.

Weather permitting , millions of people in Mexico, 15 U.S. states and eastern Canada will have the chance to see the moon slip between Earth and sun, temporarily blocking the sun’s light .

The total solar eclipse will be visible along a “path of totality” that measures more than 100 miles wide and extends across the continent. Along that path, the moon will fully obscure the sun, causing afternoon skies to darken for a few minutes.

Follow live updates on the solar eclipse

In all other parts of the continental U.S., a partial solar eclipse will be visible, with the moon appearing to take a bite out of the sun. Exactly how big a bite depends on the location.

The first spot in North America that will experience totality on Monday is on Mexico’s Pacific coast at around 11:07 a.m. PT, according to NASA .

After moving northeast across Mexico, the eclipse’s path travels through Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Slivers of Michigan and Tennessee will also be able to witness totality if conditions are clear.

In Canada, the eclipse will be visible in parts of southern Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton, at the eastern end of Nova Scotia.

The timing of the eclipse and the duration of totality varies by location. Most places will experience around 2 minutes of darkness, but the longest periods of totality are typically in the center of the eclipse’s path.

This year, the longest stretch of totality will last 4 minutes and 28 seconds in an area northwest of Torreón, Mexico.

The moon covers the sun during a total solar eclipse in Cerulean, Ky.

Below is a list of timings for some U.S. cities along the path of totality, according to NASA .

  • Dallas: Partial eclipse begins at 12:23 p.m. CT and totality at 1:40 p.m. CT.
  • Idabel, Oklahoma: Partial eclipse begins at 12:28 p.m. CT and totality at 1:45 p.m. CT.
  • Little Rock, Arkansas: Partial eclipse begins at 12:33 p.m. CT and totality at 1:51 p.m. CT.
  • Poplar Bluff, Missouri: Partial eclipse begins at 12:39 p.m. CT and totality at 1:56 p.m. CT.
  • Paducah, Kentucky: Partial eclipse begins at 12:42 p.m. CT and totality at 2:00 p.m. CT.
  • Carbondale, Illinois: Partial eclipse begins at 12:42 p.m. CT and totality at 1:59 p.m. CT.
  • Evansville, Indiana: Partial eclipse begins at 12:45 p.m. CT and totality at 2:02 p.m. CT.
  • Cleveland: Partial eclipse begins at 1:59 p.m. ET and totality at 3:13 p.m.
  • Erie, Pennsylvania: Partial eclipse begins at 2:02 p.m. ET and totality at 3:16 p.m. ET.
  • Buffalo, New York: Partial eclipse begins at 2:04 p.m. ET and totality at 3:18 p.m.
  • Burlington, Vermont: Partial eclipse begins at 2:14 p.m. ET and totality at 3:26 p.m. ET.
  • Lancaster, New Hampshire: Partial eclipse begins at 2:16 p.m. ET and totality at 3:27 p.m.
  • Caribou, Maine: Partial eclipse begins at 2:22 p.m. ET and totality at 3:32 p.m. ET.

Other resources can also help you figure out when the various phases of the eclipse will be visible where you live, including and .

If you plan to watch the celestial event, remember that it’s never safe to look directly at the sun, including through binoculars, telescopes or camera lenses. Special eclipse glasses are required to safely view solar eclipses and prevent permanent eye damage.

sites to visit in mexico city

Denise Chow is a reporter for NBC News Science focused on general science and climate change.


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