Bohemian, ancient, modern and magnificent, Mexico’s capital is a gigantic maze of history and urbanism. Perhaps the easiest way to start off a visit here is by exploring its incredible museums, many of which offer a peek at what’s to come: the National Museum of Anthropology, the Museum of Modern Art, the Frida Kahlo Museum, her husband’s Diego Rivera Studio Museum, the Rufino Tamayo Museum. Artistic and cultural happenings are a daily occurrence here, with the Mexico City Ballet Folklorico among the most renowned performances.
Then there are the city’s archaeological sites, including the Aztec ruins of the Templo Mayor in the city’s Historic Center; Mexico City was built upon the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. This is the place for much sightseeing, as it’s also the home of the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Palace and numerous beautiful structures.
Visitors also need to visit Chapultepec Park, one of the world’s largest and home to the former residence of Emperor Maximilian I and to the county’s largest zoo; the park also has lakes with paddleboats, botanical gardens and a children’s museum. For some down time, there’s Xochimilco, where the city’s remaining canals and floating gardens are explored aboard colorful trajineras. To the northeast of the city there is a definite side trip: Teotihuacan, home to the famous pyramids, the Sun and the Moon.
Mexico City is also very much a shopper’s mecca, with fine boutiques and international brands on President Masaryk Avenue, for instance, competing for attention with the likes of Mercado Artesanal La Ciudadela, filled with unique crafts, art and accessories. Endless options for a charming stay include two of the city’s newest hotels, Le Meridien on Paseo la Reforma and Grupo Habita’s Downtown in the Historic Center.