The Zócalo is Mexico City’s main square, also referred to as La Plaza de la Constitución. This square is of a monstrous size, boasting an area of 57,600 square meters and has its place among the largest squares on earth. Not only is this square so spectacular for its immensity, but it is also a place of much historic importance, for this was Tenochtitlan’s main ceremonial center. Nowadays, however, it is one of the main tourist attractions in Mexico City and sees spontaneous shows of Aztec dancing and music.
Standing proudly in the Zócalo is the Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the whole of the Americas. Construction on this magnificent cathedral began in 1573, continuing over the centuries until 1813 when it was finally completed. Impressive façades, sixteen chapels (fourteen of which are open to the public), two bell towers containing a total of 25 bells each and stunning interiors are some of the wonders which you can see at the Metropolitan Cathedral.
The Templo Mayor is an archaeological site, and during the era of the Aztecs was the central temple, marking the ‘center of the universe’. Being one of the most important temples of its time, it was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the god of war, and Tlaloc, the god of agriculture. Today, tourists can explore the past by visiting the Templo Mayor and the on-site museum, which supplements the ruins of the temple, its altars and other houses and buildings of the time.
Café de Tacuba
Since 1912, Café de Tacuba has offered the best of Mexican cuisine and culinary traditions. This special café is located in a 17th century convent, beautifully decorated with stained-glass windows, large oil-paintings, wall hangings which boasts a fantastic menu of old Mexican favorites, prepared following authentic recipes. It does cater to those who are not so keen on spice, however. Café de Tacuba, which exudes culture and tradition, has become its own an attraction in the Centro Histórico for its hospitality and history.
Cafe de Tacuba, Calle de Tacuba 28 Col. Centro, Mexico City, Mexico, +52 55 5521 2048
Full of life and activity, the Plaza Garibaldi is one of the most visited squares in the city. Here tourists can visit traditional restaurants or enjoy a drink at the bars which border the square. However, the Plaza Garibaldi is most famous for being the home of Mariachi bands, who mill around playing Mexican folk songs at all times of the day, whether it is morning or night. Be prepared to interact with musicians, who leave no room for shyness.
Palacio de Bellas Artes
The Palacio de Bellas Artes is home to the most important cultural center in the whole of Mexico. The building itself is stunning, so even just a glimpse at the Art Nouveau and Neoclassical architecture is breathtaking; however, the marble Art Deco interior possibly outshines the exterior. Not only is the architecture notable, but the numerous cultural events which are held here can only be praised – events such as exhibitions and theatrical performances. Don’t miss out on seeing the fantastic murals by Mexicans artists Diego Rivera and Siquieros which are housed in this cultural palace.
Franz Mayer Museum
Home to the largest collection of decorative arts in Latin America, the Franz Mayer Museum was opened in 1986 to display the great collection of artwork collected by Franz Mayer for over 50 years. The pieces on display, some of which date back to the 15th century, come from all over the globe although the majority of them are by Mexican artists. The museum building was a former monastery and hospital and dates back to the 18th century. Don’t miss out on any temporary exhibition and the café which is located in the central courtyard.