Nestled amid the high plateaus of Central Mexico, Mexico City stands as a sprawling metropolis that seamlessly blends a rich historical tapestry with a vibrant modern culture. From the grandeur of ancient Aztec ruins to the pulsating energy of contemporary art scenes, the city offers a unique kaleidoscope of experiences for every traveller.
Things to do
Begin your journey with a visit to Chapultepec Castle, perched majestically atop Chapultepec Hill. This historic fortress-turned-museum provides panoramic views of the city, offering a glimpse into Mexico’s tumultuous past. Wander through the opulent rooms adorned with period furniture, art and artefacts, and feel the echoes of history resonating through its walls. The surrounding Chapultepec Park invites you to unwind with a leisurely stroll through lush greenery, providing a serene escape from the urban hustle.
The beating heart of Mexico City, Zócalo, boasts a rich history dating back to the Aztec era. The main square is surrounded by architectural gems such as the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as street performers entertain the crowds and locals and tourists alike gather to soak in the cultural ambiance. Don’t miss the Templo Mayor archaeological site adjacent to Zócalo, where you can check out the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.
Shift gears and explore Mexico City’s modern side at the Museo Soumaya. This architectural marvel houses an extensive collection of European and Mexican art, with works ranging from the Renaissance to contemporary pieces. Designed by architect Fernando Romero, the museum’s striking, reflective exterior is a masterpiece in itself. As you wander through its galleries, you’ll encounter iconic pieces by artists such as Rodin, Dali, and Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.
Venture south to the bohemian neighbourhood of Coyoacán, where cobblestone streets and vibrant facades transport you to a bygone era. Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum, also known as the Blue House, to learn more about the life and art of the iconic Mexican painter. The surrounding streets are adorned with quirky cafes, art studios and markets, creating an eclectic atmosphere that resonates with creativity.
Escape the urban bustle and embark on a tranquil journey to Xochimilco, known for its iconic floating gardens and colourful trajineras. Cruise along the ancient canals, surrounded by floating flower beds and mariachi bands serenading visitors. This UNESCO World Heritage site provides a serene retreat, allowing you to relax while immersing yourself in the traditions of the ancient Aztecs who once cultivated these waterways. On special request, you can visit La Isla de las Muñecas, a tiny island filled with creepy dolls, or just pull up to the tiny pop up bars along the river selling micheladas in giant cups.
Eat and drink
For a true taste of Mexican daily life, venture into the bustling Mercado de la Merced. This labyrinthine market, one of the largest in the world, is a sensory feast where colours, aromas and sounds collide. Navigate through narrow aisles brimming with stalls selling everything from exotic spices to traditional crafts and engage with the locals. The best part of this experience though, is the excellent array of food on offer on every corner.
No exploration of Mexico City is complete without indulging in its iconic beverages. Head to the Museo de Tequila y Mezcal for an immersive experience into the world of these beloved spirits. Learn about the intricate process of tequila and mezcal production, from agave cultivation to distillation. The museum offers tastings, allowing you to sample an array of tequilas and mezcals, each with its unique characteristics. The knowledgeable staff will guide you through the nuances of these spirits, providing insights into their cultural significance.
To continue your agave-spirit education, hunt down La Clandestina, a funky small bar hidden in the streets of Condesa. There you’ll find small batch tequila and mezcal, yes, but also their lesser known cousins: raicilla, bacanora and sotol. Be guided by the expert bartenders and don’t forget to try the bar snacks.
Mexico City’s culinary scene is a gastronomic adventure waiting to unfold. Indulge in street food delights like tacos al pastor, sopes and churros from local markets. Or, for an upscale experience, dine at Pujol, where Chef Enrique Olvera fuses traditional Mexican ingredients with avant-garde techniques, creating a culinary masterpiece that tantalises the taste buds.
Mexico City beckons travellers to uncover its myriad treasures; the city unfolds as a captivating canvas, inviting exploration. So, pack your bags and immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Mexico City – where every corner reveals a new chapter in this captivating journey.