Image by illustrator Robert Sae-Heng

The Insider Guide to Mexico City

Mexico City can rival any capital on the planet for history, culture, food – well, just about anything you throw at it. You might hear it called DF or plain old Mexico, but by any name the world-leading museums, inner-city ruins and expansive culinary scene will always delight.

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¡Vamos! The Main Attractions

Head straight to the Centro Histórico (Historic Center) to explore the – admittedly often busy – main plaza known as the Zócalo. It’s lined by some of the most important buildings in the capital including the Palacio Nacional, home of the president; the Catedral Metropolitana, the oldest and largest cathedral in Latin America; and, in the corner, Templo Mayor, once the primary temple for the Aztec city of Tenochtitlán, predecessor to the modern capital. A short walk will also take you to Palacio de Bellas Artes, a performance hall home to Diego Rivera murals. Further cultural delights can be found near Bosque de Chapultepec, the city’s grand green space: the National History Museum in Chapultepec Castle and the history-focussed Museo Nacional de Antropología should suffice, or you could hitch a quick cab ride to the art-rich Soumaya Museum. Many also take the trip to charming Coyoacan to visit Casa Azul (also known as the Frida Kahlo Museum) the artist’s former home, now a museum dedicated to her life and works. To the south, find the enchanting canals of Xochimilco, the last remnants of the waterways that once ran through Mexico City before it was drained by the Spanish. Many hop on colorful trajineras, a large gondola-style vessel, for a party accompanied by mariachi. A calmer afternoon can be spent further north at the archaeological zone of Teotihuacan, home to grand pyramids. At night, return to the city, throw on your bests and head to the stylish neighborhoods of Condesa and Roma to flit between trendy bars sampling artisanal tequilas and mezcal. Eat at one of the many excellent street food stalls or go upmarket at any one of the gourmet Mexican restaurants nearby – the likes of Pujol and Contramar have long been recognized among the best in the country, if not the world.

Explore Neighbourhoods

Neighborhoods in Mexico City