Mexico City is a bustling metropolis with a lot to see and do. In Spanish, there are a few names for the Mexican capital. You can call it Ciudad de México (or CDMX for short). You can also call it Distrito Federal (or DF for short). Whatever you call it, you’ll want to give at least one week to the biggest city in North America. Here’s a look at what you can do with una semana en CDMX.
With a week in DF, you’ll want to start in the city’s Centro Historico (Historic Center). You can easily spend an entire day or two taking in the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of this area. Walk around in the Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square), the city’s main square. It’s more commonly referred to as the Zócalo. Around here, you can visit the Palacio Nacional (National Palace), Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral), the Templo Mayor (Main Temple) and so much more.
Explore the Zócalo in this short video.
You can try to pack a lot into one day around here, but it will be more comfortable if you space it out over two. In addition to all the sights, you’ll found countless restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, and markets to pass the time in between. You can also sit down and relax in Alameda Central, a nice park right in the middle of the city. Right next door, you’ll find the beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts). A few blocks away is the Museo Nacional De Arte (National Museum of Art), ensuring you get your fill of art in DF. Around sunset, head to the top of the Torre Latinoamericana (Latin American Tower) to take in the views with a cocktail or michelada. If you’ve still got energy, check out Plaza Garibaldi to visit the Museum of Tequila and Mezcal and listen to the mariachi bands in the square.
Check out more of the Centro Historico in Part Two.
Chapultapec Park and Castle
Make sure you set aside a day to explore the massive Bosque de Chapultepec (Chapultapec Forest). This giant park is considered the lungs of Mexico City, and it’s a beautiful place to spend a day. Here you can visit Castillo de Chapultepec (Chapultapec Castle), the only real castle in North America. Inside you’ll see incredible murals and the Museo Nacional de Historia (National Museum of History). Outside, you can enjoy amazing views of the city and a colorful garden.
Tour Chapultapec Castle in this video.
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
After a few days exploring the city center, you may want to head out on a day trip. There are several easy options that are accessible by cheap and easy public transportation. One place you won’t want to miss is the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. This is the 2nd most visited site in all of Catholicism, behind only the Vatican. Millions of people visit every year, with the biggest crowds showing up on December 12 for the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas.
Take a short video tour of the Basilica.
While you’re in Mexico City, you have to make sure you pay a visit to Teotihuacán, which was once the largest pre-Columbian city in all of the Americas. The name means the Place of Gods – a name given by the Aztecs when they discovered it. They believed it was the place where the sun and moon were created. Climb atop both the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon to take in the views. Be sure to come down before the sun is its strongest, and go for lunch in a nearby restaurant in a cave.
Explore the amazing Teotihuacan.
With a full week in the city, there’s no excuse for not catching an evening of high-flying lucha libre action. There are shows every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday at Arena Mexico. Cheer on the masked luchadores amongst the rowdy crowd. You can even pick up a mask as a souvenir. Once the matches are over, there are plenty of bars in the area where you can keep the party going.
Check out some highlights from an evening of lucha libre.
Since you’ve got a full week, you might as well treat yourself to a Domingo Divertido (Sunday Funday). Start out with the Muévete en Bici (Move by Bike) event, which shuts down a major road to motorized vehicles. Rent some wheels and join the crowd, or just walk around and enjoy it. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the amazing Mercado Roma where you’ve got tons of options for lunch. Stroll through a few local parks, check out some great street art, and wind it all down with a bit of mezcal.
It’s Sunday Funday in DF!
There’s lots more to see and do if you have any days left. Other notable museums include the Anthropology Museum and the Frida Kahlo House. You could also head to Xochimilco to cruise along the river in a colorful boat. In the city, you’re spoiled for choices to wine, dine, and party. Mexico City truly is a world-class destination, and in the wake of the recent earthquake, it could use your support. If you want to help out, take a trip to this fascinating city and stay for a whole week. They’re open for business, it’s safe, and they’re ready for you.
About the Author:sasha
Sasha is a teacher, student, writer, photographer, web designer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they’re currently planning a trip through Central/South America.
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