is a pretty fantastic place to visit, never mind live, so it will come as no surprise that there are numerous magical sights, sounds and destinations that make all Mexico City locals proud. Here are our picks for the best spots that every chilango
would revel in bragging about, from ancient buildings to national parks and even freaky-looking dogs.
Not only is the Catedral Metropolitana one of Mexico City’s most spectacular, iconic and historic buildings, it’s also the oldest cathedral in the Americas, and one of the capital’s must-visit Catholic destinations. Situated on what was once the site of sacred pre-Hispanic monuments, the cathedral is actually built using stone stolen from the adjoining Templo Mayor and was formerly the location of the impressive Aztec Sun Stone, which can now be found in the Anthropology Museum.
Catedral Metropolitana, Plaza de la Constitución, Centro, Ciudad de México, México, +52 55 5510 0440
When we say Xochimilco, which is in itself one of Mexico City’s 141 wonderful pueblos originarios, we actually mean the trajineras and chinampas of the neighborhood. Often referred to as the Venice of Mexico City, Xochimilco is best known for these brightly painted canal boats that have been ferrying tourists, chinampa workers and residents up and down the city’s canals for decades.
Xochimilco, Ciudad de México, México
Palacio de Bellas Artes
From one symbol of the city to another, the gleaming white façade of Mexico City’s Palacio de Bellas Artes, in combination with the sparkling orange-tiled roof, has made it one of the most recognizable edifices in the country, and a true source of pride for locals. It’s best known for its magnificent combination of Art Nouveau and Art Deco architecture, as well as for housing some of the most impressive murals in the city, and a Tiffany glass curtain.
Palacio de Bellas Artes, Av. Juárez, Centro Histórico, Ciudad de México, México, +52 55 5512 2593
All of Ciudad Universitaria could have been included on this list, from the instantly recognizable Central Library to the beautiful modern M.U.A.C., yet we think that the Espacio Escultórico beats them any day. This open-air sculpture park is one of the most budget-friendly options in the capital, filled with quirky, picture-perfect exhibits and tons of Instagram potential.
Espacio Escultórico, Centro Cultural Universitario, Mario de La Cueva, Coyoacán, Universitaria, Ciudad de México, México
Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo
Sure, Kahlo’s Casa Azul steals the spotlight when it comes to Kahlo-fuelled tourism in Mexico City, but many forget that she and husband Diego Rivera also shared a house-cum-studio in the San Ángel district of the capital, too – the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo. Architecturally beautiful, it’s quieter and cheaper than other Kahlo attractions, and hemmed in by picture-perfect cactuses.
Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, Calle Diego Rivera, Álvaro Obregón, San Ángel Inn, Ciudad de México, México, +52 55 8647 5470
Parque Nacional Desierto de Los Leones
Desierto de Los Leones is not, as the name could perhaps suggest, filled with lions. Rather, it is one of Mexico City’s greatest national parks and widely considered to be the oldest protected biosphere in Mexico, perfect for running, bike riding and camping. It also plays host to one of the most tranquil picnic spots in the capital, the gorgeous old Carmelite convent.
Parque Nacional Desierto de Los Leones, Carretera Al Desierto De Los Leones, Cuajimalpa de Morelos, La Venta, Ciudad de México, México, +52 55 5814 1171
One of the oldest buildings in not just Mexico City but the whole country, the Colegio de San Ildefonso is an unmissable sight for both locals and visitors in the Mexican capital. Founded in 1588 by Jesuits, it is widely considered to be the country’s first university, a huge center of learning, and also the undisputed birthplace of Mexican muralism. If that isn’t enough reason to call it a source of local pride, we don’t know what is.
Colegio de San Ildefonso, Justo Sierra 16, Centro Histórico, Centro, Ciudad de México, México +52 55 3602 0000
Easily one of the most beautiful libraries in the city, the Biblioteca Vasconcelos in Santa María la Ribera (not to be confused with the Old Biblioteca Vasconcelos by Metro Balderas) is an Alberto Kalach-designed architectural and literary masterpiece. Known for its space-age, vertigo-inducing suspended shelves and the Gabriel Orozco whale skeleton sculpture, there is also an underrated botanical garden there, too. No, it has no English-language section, but who cares when its beauty is universally understood?
Biblioteca Vasconcelos, Eje 1 Norte Mosqueta, Buenavista, Cuauhtémoc, Ciudad de México, México +52 55 9157 2800
Museo Nacional de Antropología
As the most visited tourist attraction in the entire country, and one of the world’s most renowned anthropology museums, how could any local fail to be proud of the magnificent Museo Nacional de Antropología? Boasting not only an expansive and excellently-curated collection of permanent and temporary exhibitions which showcase the pre-Hispanic, Mesoamerican history of the country, as well as some extraordinary architecture, Mexico City’s National Anthropology Museum is a must-see.
Museo Nacional de Antropología, Avenida Paseo de la Reforma y Calzada Gandhi, Miguel Hidalgo, Ciudad de México, México, +52 55 4040 5300