What to do in Mexico
Mexico, its official name is “United Mexican States”, and it’s located in North America. The origin of the name is a reflection of its culture: according to tradition, the word “México” comes from 3 words of the náhuatl language: “metztli” (meaning moon), “xictli” (navel or centre), and “co” (place). Put them all together and what you’re saying translates as “In the Moon’s Navel” or “In the centre of the Moon’s lake”. The country is divided into 32 federal entities, México City (abbreviated normally as CDMX) among them.
This city was built on what’s referred as the “Mexican Basin”, the current extension is 1495km2 (577 sq mi), with a total of 8,9 million inhabitants. If you just got here and don’t know what to do, here we have some advice for you.
Whenever we see a Mexican soap or movie, the monument that you’ll see at some point is this one, popularly known as the “Golden Angel”. Built between 1900-1910, to commemorate the independence of the country, this Angel is one of the most iconic monuments in the city. It’s the spot where Mexicans meet when they’re celebrating a victory or protesting against politicians they don’t agree with. This statue is a representation of the victory, holding a laurel crown and a broken chain, symbols of triumph and freedom.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico
Even if you’re not a catholic, this is a building that you don’t want to miss. The building process took 250 years! Both the church itself and the tabernacle are particularly impressive. Inside you’ll see traces of gothic architecture, American baroque, churrigueresque (in Spanish, Churrigueresco), and neoclassic. There are guided tours available to the bell tower, a great spot for pictures! If you want to know a bit more, the official visits are detailed here (website only available in Spanish)
Templo Mayor Ruins and Museum
This archaeological area is located right in the middle of the city centre. It used to be 42m (138 feet) tall and it was the most important sacred place in Mexico- Tenochtitlan. In these buildings took place all the social, political, religious and economical activities. It was the area designated to rituals, festivities and funerals of the governor. If you’re interested, you can visit the museum.
This skyscraper is located in the historical city centre, easy to notice thanks to its 182m height (almost 600 feet!). The building was finished in 1956, and it was the first one built with an aluminium frame and curtain wall. It has one of the best panoramic views of the city. The observation deck costs 130 MXN for adults and 90 MXN for children (prices shown during summer 2020). It’s open every day of the week from 9am to 10pm.
If you’re interested in nature, then this place is definitely for you! It has three artificial lakes, endless space dedicated to sports, beautiful water fountains. Being an archaeological area (occupied hundreds of years ago), it’s the perfect location for the National Museum of Anthropology. This area is so big that is actually divided into three zones. Just in front of the Anthropology Museum you’ll find the Ceremonia de los Voladores (Flyers Ceremony), one of the fertility rituals that some of the native groups used to participate in. Spoiler alert! It consists of 4 men tied with ropes that descend from a pole flying like birds. There’s a fifth member of the group that stays on top of the pole or trunk, playing the flute and the drum. More details on this ceremony here. If you’re interested in a romantic stroll, you also have the boats of the Chapultepec Lake.
This monument was built to commemorate the Mexican Revolution. A project done by architect Carlos Obregón, that turned out to be a great building in Art Deco finished in 1938. The building itself is also a mausoleum where the remains of Venustiano Carranza are located. He was a politician, military and businessman who participated in the Revolution. You can also find the remains of Francisco Madero, Plutarco Elías Calles, Lázaro Cárdenas, Francisco Villa and Hidalgo del Parral. If you want to know more, you can participate in their guided tour. With the entrance, it costs 90 MXN (prices for 2020). If you only want to access the observation deck, the price is 60 MXN. Opening hours are Monday-Thursday from 12-8pm. On Fridays and Saturdays 12-10pm, and Sundays 10am-8pm. More info here
Parque Mexico (Mexican Park)
Right in the centre of the Colonia Condesa neighbourhood. It’s a beautiful green area, filled with plenty of bars to have a delicious chela (beer).
-A night walk in Reforma Avenue to see the history through the monuments.
–Taqueria la Chinampa (close to Reforma, a “taqueria” is a restaurant specialised in tacos)
Map of Atractions