Things to do

From events and festivals to attractions and tours, find out what's on in Mexico City

The 25 best things to do in Mexico City
Things to do

The 25 best things to do in Mexico City

Choosing the best things to do in Mexico City is daunting task when you consider that it’s the 2nd largest city in the world. So we are giving ourselves the task of exploring the city, picking out the best events, places, free activities and unmissable hotspots for tourists and locals alike. You will come across everything from pre-hispanic ruins to eclectic architectural gems, places to exercise or go out at night and relive the US prohibition era in a speakeasy. We will also feature night visits to the best museums in the city, tours to admire the sunrise from high above and open air cinema in the middle of a lage. Dare yourself to discover these unmissable experiences in the city.

The best archaeological sites in Mexico City
Things to do

The best archaeological sites in Mexico City

Mexico's pre-Hispanic era (which chronologically began in the year 2000 BC) is culturally rich and particularly captivating. The experience of seeing with our own eyes the grandeur that was the pre-Hispanic villages through their architecture, daily tools and other objects of either religious or decorative significance, is the best way of taking us back in time to understand the Aztec way of life. The best archaeological sites in Mexico City, and the surrounding areas, are both excellent options for a trip in order grasp the pre-Hispanic history of Mexico. These sites give us a clearer idea of the social and religious relations that existed within these spaces and they allow us to marvel at the passage of time and the contrasts with current society.  Be prepared for your expedition! We highly recommend comfortable footwear, drinking water, a hat and sunscreen.

The floating gardens of Xochimilco
Things to do

The floating gardens of Xochimilco

One of the most classic places to visit in Mexico City is Xochimilco. Since 1930, they’ve been offering tourist trips in trajineras through more than 184 kilometers of waters that integrate the zone’s canals and chinampas.   The chinampas represent a cultivation method that has been used since pre-Hispanic times in the Valley of Mexico. The area was, after all, a lake, and the best way to farm was to use artificial islands in the lake itself. Today, they are an example of sustainability and productivity: they provide five annual harvests of high-quality vegetables. Yolcan, a project that focuses on fair trade and rehabilitation of the chinampas, offers a food club that delivers fresh produce from farms in Xochimilco to homes and businesses across the city.  Enter the canals of Xochimilco and enjoy its trajinera tours, along with the theater programs during the Day of the Dead season and discover the richness of its ecological reserve. And don’t forget to take advantage of a snack or two during your tour.

The 10 best attractions in Mexico City
Attractions

The 10 best attractions in Mexico City

Mexico City was founded on what was once the ancient Tenochtitlán, after the Aztecs are said to have witnessed an eagle perched atop a nopal while devouring a snake. You’re unlikely to see anything quite like this in Mexico’s capital nowadays, but you will see a huge range of stunning attractions that hark back to the city’s origins and rich history. If it’s your first time in Mexico City, we recommend starting with the following sights, which range from spacious parks to world-class museums and the monuments that give this metropolis its distinctive character.

The 10 best boutique hotels in Mexico City
Hotels

The 10 best boutique hotels in Mexico City

Visiting Mexico City is a serious experience. As much for foreigners as for local tourists, there is something for everyone to enjoy thanks to such a huge range of activities: from dining at fantastic restaurants to discovering the best museums and buildings which we’ve included on our list of the 20 best things to do in Mexico City, at least once! The most important factor when it comes to immersing yourself in city life is to stay in a hotel that meets all your needs. If you’re coming on business, for a honeymoon or simply to chill and explore, we can recommend 10 boutique hotels that are well worth the visit. Some stand out for their luxury, others for their beautiful terraces and of course, not forgetting those that are renowned for their excellent service and cutting edge design. What do you say? Excited to visit Mexico City?

Mexico City's cultural highlights

Museo Nacional de Antropología (MNA)
Museums

Museo Nacional de Antropología (MNA)

They say that school actually ruins a lot of things for us, for example those of us who studied Mexican history year after year in elementary school may have a consequential repulsion to the name Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez. The same happens with this museum, a favorite place of teachers, who managed to make a trip to see the marvelous collection seem like a punishment. Many of us haven’t been back since we were 10 years old, but it’s worth another chance. If you do, you’ll see the Toltec culture with new eyes now and better understand the Mexica and probably will have a new-found passion for the Maya. And if none of that is the case, at least the architecture will impress you. It’s impossible to see the entire museum in one day, but coming back and seeing the Coatlicue with adult eyes will change your perception of one of Mexico’s most important museums. After 54 years, it was necessary to restore its two great murals: “The World of the Maya” (Leonora Carrington) and the “Map of Meso-America” (Ernesto Vázquez y Luis Covarrubias). The restoration was completed under the direction of restorer Gilda Salgado and the museum’s conservation lab, who over a period of two months carried out the detailed salvage, with a surface cleaning using a vacuum and brushes; as well as the elimination of residues from previous restoration attempts. The magic world of the Maya is a work that evokes the myths and legends of the tzotziles and tzeltales cosmology, with whom Carrington had direct ex

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Biblioteca Vasconcelos
Things to do

Biblioteca Vasconcelos

This work that Alberto Kalach created in 2007 seems like one of the best public buildings to have been created during this century, and the interior space is truly surprising. It seems like you’re entering a new 21st century cathedral, and the fifth or sixth levels are impressive with their great space that extends all along an internal walkway where you can see all the bookshelves suspended on a structure. The space possesses and incredible impression of grandiose and generosity, making it a fundamental stop in Mexico City. The open space between the train station and the library has a series of remarkable gardens, which is a joy to observe from within the glass building, and even more so while outside within them.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Museo Frida Kahlo. Casa Azul
Museums

Museo Frida Kahlo. Casa Azul

The selling point of this museum – the most visited in all of Mexico City - is that it was the house where Frida Kahlo was born, lived her life and died. When one enters the Blue House, they’re transported immediately to Frida’s universe, and within it, you’ll find not only her most famous works like “Viva la Vida” and “Frida and her Cesarean,” but also diaries, dresses, mirrors and even her bed. In fact, her ashes can be found in what was her bedroom. This house is history in itself, being that it became a meeting point for the city’s Bohemian set in the 1930s-40s. Diego Rivera lived here as well, and continued to live there after their divorce, in a separate room that now presents part of the muralist’s pre-Hispanic collection. Diego Rivera had asked Dolores Olmedo to turn the house into a museum after they had both died, leaving it completely open to the public, with the exception of one bathroom, which could be opened 15 years after his death. Those 15 years turned into 50, and upon opening the space, thousands of documents, photos, dresses, books and toys were discovered. There was so much new material that they ended up converting the neighboring house into an additional showcase. The museum offers dramatized guided visits during the day, and at night with jazz music accompaniment. Tickets for these visits go fast, so it’s recommended to buy in advance. Fridabús Take advantage of the transport service between this space and Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul Museum for $100 p

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Palacio de Bellas Artes
Museums

Palacio de Bellas Artes

When we talk about the Palacio de Bellas Artes we should first talk about the Teatro Nacional, that during the 19th century was remodeled with the goal of cultural growth of the city, linked to the centennial festivals of Mexican Independence. It was then that the Palacio was constructed and now it’s a complete icon of the city. The construction of Bellas Artes was completed by Italian Architect Adamo Boari, a curious thing as during the time of General Porfirio Díaz, most of the city was modeled after popular French styles, though the Italian architect’s style was equally French. As part of the technique in style at the time, art nouveau, steel and concrete were used in the building’s skeleton, so it could be later dressed in marble. The construction was supposed to have been completed within four years, but due to the natural sinking of the earth, the project was delayed. Then came the Mexican Revolution, which put an indefinite halt to the project. The work was finally reinstated in 1928 under architect Fernando Mariscal who substituted the art nouveau style for art deco, with the use of materials like onyx and marble. In 1932, the former secretary of finance Alberto J. Pani initiated the completion of the project and therefore transformed the space into a venue dedicated to visual and plastic arts. It was then named the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The sculptures located in front of the building were designed by Catalonian sculptor Agustín Querol; and were originally loc

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
See more Mexico City's cultural highlights

Best attractions and sights in Mexico City

Ángel de la Independencia
Things to do

Ángel de la Independencia

Its official name is Monumento a la Independencia. It’s a meeting point and a starting point. While those who step foot here may not know it, they are standing on the remains of those who made this country. Before becoming the headquarters for important social protests and rallies, the monument was a mausoleum formed by a slanted zócalo, a quarry-stone column standing 35 meters high, and the statue of the Winged Victory of Samothrace at the top – designed by architect Antonio Rivas Mercado. It’s still possible to visit the urns and the sculptures of the 14 national heroes that are interred in the space: Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, José Mariano Jiménez, José María Morelos y Pavón, Mariano Matamoros, Francisco Javier Mina, Guadalupe Victoria, Vicente Guerrero, Nicolás Bravo, Leona Vicario, Andrés Quintana Roo, Víctor Rosales and Pedro Romero. Also referred to simply as “El Ángel,” the monument has a small 360-degree lookout. To access the top, you must ask permission at the Delegación Cuauhtémoc (Aldama s/n, esq. Mina, Buenavista), in the Patrimonio Cultural area, from 10am to 2pm. The person in charge of the group that will go to the lookout must show their official identification (INE) in the Patrimonio Cultural, where they will provide you with a date and time for your visit. The procedure is free of cost.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Ciudad Universitaria UNAM
Things to do

Ciudad Universitaria UNAM

During the 40s, modernity and development in the country was uncontrollable, as was industrialization which claimed to materialize an architectural centre where the first activities of the most important cultural and academic project of the country began: the National Autonomous University of Mexico. In 1952, Ciudad Universitaria was inaugurated by the President Miguel Alemán, and in 2007 it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We invite you to enjoy this architectural landmark of the 20th Century in Mexico; visit its museums, enjoy the views and the green space and admire the different artistic portrayals which are found all over this cultural hotspot.

Zócalo
Things to do

Zócalo

The flat, treeless Zócalo is one of Mexico City’s most iconic places. A multifaceted destination, it’s never short on activities such as concerts, plays, book and science festivals, job fairs and a lot more. La Plaza de la Constitución, colloquially known as “el Zócalo” for its wide-open space, was also called the Plaza de Ánimas is days of New Spain. Its current name was given in honor of the area’s prominence during the signing of the constitution of Cádiz (1812). It was planned by General Antonio López de Santa Anna as the pedestal for the Mexican independence monument, which never ended up being built. The Zócalo functions as a sort of headquarters for different cultural activities throughout the year, hosting traditional Day of the Dead alters, ice skating rinks, Catholic ceremonies, and even more unusual happenings such as the time in 2007 that 20,000 nude people joined together to be photographed by Spencer Tunick. The city prides itself on the Zócalo’s multicultural offerings, which have included live concerts of all genres, from Justin Bieber and Shakira to Sir Paul McCartney. The majority of these outdoor events are free, which makes the Zócalo even more prominent, in that socioeconomic status doesn’t prevent people from enjoying these spectacular events in their own city. Basically, the Zócalo has a bit of everything for everyone. Don’t be surprised if tonight Lady Gaga takes the stage, with a Rolling Stones appearance announced tomorrow.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Bosque de Chapultepec
Things to do

Bosque de Chapultepec

Stepping foot in Chapultepec is obligatory for any Mexico City resident, and equally for its visitors, being that it’s one of the spaces that best maintains its tradition and history. Children, adolescents and adults enjoy various activities, such as feeding the enormous fish that inhabit the lakes, visiting the animals in the zoo or running and exercising in the forest. In the first section, there’s the sense of art and history, that house museums and cultural buildings like the Casa del Lago Juan José Arreola, the Museo de Arte Moderno, the Museo Tamayo and that of Antropología e Historia, in addition to the legendary Castillo de Chapultepec, scene of the Batalla del Molino del Rey y of the assault of the Colegio Militar, during the North American Intervention of 1847.

See more of the best attractions and sights in Mexico City