If New York goes by the title of, “The City That Never Sleeps”, Mexico City can easily and aptly be called “The City That Always Entertains”. Any tourist visiting this mega city is easily challenged by the overwhelming number of things to see and do. Once one realizes that the area encompassed by the sprawl of this cosmopolitan city is even larger than the island country of Grenada, it becomes apparent that even extended periods of time spent here will not suffice.
However, in spite of its broad reach, the capital city’s 16 boroughs are easily navigable by public transportation and aid the visitor in accessing most of its attractions. Here is a mere fraction of the multitude of places to see in this historic, yet modern metropolis.
Museo Nacional de Antropología
Probably tops on the list of “must-see” places, this museum rivals the world’s greats for its collections and layout. Located on the northern reaches of the famed Chapultepec Park, it provides visitors with extensive exhibit space featuring all the epic milestones in Mexico’s history from its pre-conquest days to the Colonial times that are still evident through this city’s historic architecture.
One of the largest in the world, this public square plays host to numerous events, including the annual Independence Day “El Grito”, where the sitting president addresses the masses from the balcony of the Palacio Nacional. Here, he moves them to recall the country’s storied and proud history. There is no better place to connect with the inner soul of this city and witness the activity that pulses through its concrete corridors.
A mere metro stop north of the Alameda Park, this small plaza secures itself as a magnet for the “working” mariachi. At all times of the day, and especially into the night, mariachis are seen milling around negotiating gigs or impressing paying visitors with their baritone voices and personal renditions of traditional Mexican favorites. With a few eateries and a couple of storied mariachi bars, this is surely a place to grab a drink and capture some true cultural vibes.
Found in the city’s historic center, the ancient city-state of Tenochtitlán remains the spot to pay witness to Mexico City’s Aztec origins. It’s here where some of the unearthed ruins from that era are on display for public viewing. There is also a museum on site which houses an extensive collection of pre-Hispanic artwork and other “finds” reclaimed from the earth during excavations for the routing and layout of public transportation lines.
Frida Khalo Museum
The famous blue house or “Casa Azul” in the borough of Coyoacán should be on the itinerary of any lover of Mexican Surrealism. The house features some of the artist’s most prominent work and displays period furnishings popular during the time she occupied the residence.
Mercado de la Merced
Occupying several city blocks southeast of the zócalo, this market provides a variety of food products and domestic essentials. Whether it’s finely cleaned and cut cactus paddles, spices, meats, candies, shoes or piñatas, an overwhelming array of products is sure to entice market aficionados at this place. There’s also an extensive selection of informal and super budget-friendly eateries scattered throughout.
I am a contributing writer for the Mexico Today Project, which, along with Marca País – Imagen de México “ is a joint public and private sector initiative designed to help promote Mexico as a global business partner and an unrivaled tourist destination.”
Disclaimer: **Please note that I am being compensated for participation in this project and for attending its launch in Oaxaca. Also note that all posts and written contributions by me will be expressed in an unbiased form with all opinions reflecting my own.