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Best things to do in Mexico City

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Where in the world: Mexico  /  Central Mexico and Gulf Coast  /  Mexico City
There are plenty of things to do in Mexico City, from exploring cultural sites to discovering the area's exciting nightlife scene. Head to Templo Mayor Museum for a trip back to the time of the ancient Aztecs--you'll find an archeological site that was one of the most significant temples in the postclassical period of Mesoamerica. The largest cathedral in the Americas is located right downtown, built from the stones of an Aztec temple dedicated to the god of war. Food tours are readily available for visitors wanting to taste Mexico's distinctive dishes.

Mexico City is best known for its World heritage site, Specialty Museums, and Natural History Museums.

Top 15 things to do in Mexico City

1. Museo Nacional de Antropologia

Enrich your tour of the city with a history lesson at Museo Nacional de Antropologia, one of Mexico's premier cultural institutions. Established in 1964, this comprehensive museum contains important artifacts from the country's pre-Columbian past. Major highlights include an Aztec stone calendar and a 16th-century statue of Xochipilli, Aztec god of art, games, flowers, and song. After you piece together Mexico's pre-Hispanic past, visit the upper display halls to learn how the country's indigenous cultures live today. Rent an audio guide at the entrance if you wish to explore on your own, or join one of the museum's free guided tours.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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2. Palacio de Bellas Artes

Admire works from Mexican and international artists at Palacio de Bellas Artes. Construction on the domed palace begun in 1905, using art nouveau and neoclassical architectural styles, but was it delayed by sinking foundations and a political uprising. When the building was finally completed in the 1930s, a touch of art nouveau influence added to the melange of styles. Immerse yourself in Mexican fine culture at the impressive palace, which today houses several museums and galleries, as well as a theater.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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3. Museo Frida Kahlo

Acquaint yourself with the personal life of one of Mexico's most renowned artists at Museo Frida Kahlo. Kahlo was born, lived, and died in the bright blue house, which has now been converted into a museum in her honor. Get a feel for the lifestyle of Kahlo and her wealthy Bohemian counterparts as you move through the museum, which displays artworks and personal effects from the artist's life. Take an audio-guide to get a deeper understanding of the significance the displayed items had for Kahlo.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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4. Zocalo

Built atop an ancient meeting place Zocalo serves as a center of activity in the capital, hosting protests, celebrations, and the bustle of daily life. Originally a nexus of commerce in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, the square encompasses an entire city block and has drawn visitors for more than seven centuries. Wander the expansive plaza and marvel at the surrounds, which range from pre-colonial relics to grander buildings, such as the presidential palace and national cathedral. Grab a bite to eat or a drink from one of the many surrounding restaurants, or pick up a memento of your trip at a souvenir stand. Keep your eyes peeled for the musical performances and Aztec dances that frequently take place in the square.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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5. Museo del Templo Mayor

Located in the heart of Mexico City's historic neighborhood, Museo del Templo Mayor is an ancient archaeological site, once one of the Aztec people's most important temples. Belonging to the postclassical period of Mesoamerica, the temple was dedicated to two Aztec gods: Huitzilopochtli, the god of war, and Tlaloc, the god of rain and architecture. In 1987, the museum was built to help preserve the World Heritage Site, helping to continue excavation and provide a rich and detailed history of the temple for visitors. A vast collection of artifacts unearthed throughout the years, as well as a model of the Aztec capital city Tenochtitlán (now Mexico City), are displayed across eight main exhibition halls surrounding the sacred site.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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6. Zona Arqueológica de Teotihuacan Estacionamiento Puerta 5, San Juan Teotihuacan

Step back in time at Zona Arqueológica de Teotihuacan Estacionamiento Puerta 5, one of the best preserved examples of Mesoamerican civilization in modern-day Mexico. The enormous complex was, in its heyday, a city of more than 125,000 people, making it one of the largest hubs on the planet during its era. Pay attention to the deliberate, measured way in which the city was planned, with importance placed on the location of specific temples and pyramids. Take a guide with you to fully appreciate the city's history. Also beware of aggressive souvenir vendors at the entrance to the complex.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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7. Chapultepec Castle

Explore the only castle in North America to be inhabited by a reigning monarch at Chapultepec Castle. Perched atop a sacred Aztec hill at 2,325 m (7,628 ft) above sea level, the castle was first constructed in 1775 as the stately residence of a Spanish colonial figure, but it has served many functions under a handful of different rulers during its storied history. Today you can take a historical tour through the building, which also houses an anthropology museum. Afterward, take a few moments to appreciate the views over the capital city from atop the hill.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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8. Catedral Metropolitana de la Ciudad de Mexico

The largest cathedral in the Americas, Catedral Metropolitana de la Ciudad de Mexico has a rich, diverse history, beginning with its chosen location on a former Aztec sacred precinct. As you walk the cathedral’s four vast interior domes. filled with five naves and 14 chapels, you will be walking through three centuries of construction, starting in 1567 and finally ending in 1813. A patchwork of styles, originally built from the stones of a temple dedicated to the Aztec god of war, the basilica is now an extraordinary blend of baroque, neo-classical, gothic and Mexican Churrigueresque architecture.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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9. Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe

Explore the massive, elaborate structure of Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe, the central place of worship for the country's patron saint. Located on the spot where the Virgin of Guadalupe allegedly appeared in the 16th century, this structure remains one of Catholicism's major pilgrimage sites, known for housing the cloak of Saint Juan Diego. Erected in the 1970s, the circular church can hold up to 10,000 worshippers and boasts 15,000 niches in its main crypt. The shrine also houses a famous image of the Virgin, considered one of the most important religious depictions in Mexico. Right next to this landmark you can also visit an older church from the 18th century, known for its impressive facade and marble statues.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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10. National Palace

Absorb the impressive architecture of National Palace, a government building erected on the site of the previous Aztec residence of Montezuma II, and built using materials salvaged from the ancient ruins. At the home of the federal treasury and national archives, you can admire beautiful architecture and courtyards (one of which is used to for state banquets) and enjoy amazing murals by Diego Rivera. Note that large bags must be kept in lockers on entry. Consider touring the building with a guide to enhance your understanding of its history.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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11. Bosque de Chapultepec

Escape the hustle and bustle of Mexico City at Bosque de Chapultepec, the largest urban park in the Western Hemisphere. The green lung of Mexico City, the park spreads over an area of 686 hectares (1,695 acres) and features a colonial castle. The park also offers exercise equipment, playgrounds, gardens, lakes, and lagoons with plenty of space to enjoy outdoor activities like picnicking and row boating. Explore the history of Mexico City by visiting numerous ruins within the park, some of which date back to the pre-Columbian period. Amenities include restrooms and stalls selling souvenirs and handicrafts.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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12. Food Tours

Suggested duration: 4 hours
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13. Coyoacan

Best described as a small town within a giant city, Coyoacan represents the historical center of one of Mexico City's 16 boroughs. The sprawling city swallowed up this area in the early 20th century, incorporating the surrounding farms and forests into a pleasant urban neighborhood. The district consists of about 30 city blocks, intersected by narrow cobblestoned streets and dotted with small plazas laid out during the colonial period. Home to mostly residential buildings, the neighborhood manages to retain much of its bohemian character and relaxed atmosphere despite its growing popularity with foreign tourists. Don't miss the area's main church, built in the 16th century.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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14. Paseo de la Reforma

One of Mexico City's major thoroughfares, Paseo de la Reforma runs through the city's main financial and business districts, taking visitors from the downtown to the famed Chapultepec Park. Laid out in the 1860s and modeled after some of Europe's grandest boulevards, the avenue runs diagonally across the city and hosts some of Mexico's tallest buildings. Arguably the street's best-known feature is the so-called Angel of Independence, a tall column topped by a golden statue of the Winged Goddess of Victory. A convenient starting point for many tours, this monument depicts various heroes from Mexican history and houses tombs of several notable historical figures.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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