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Teotihuacan

Just 50km Northeast of Mexico City in the Basin of Mexico is the enormous archaeological sight of Teotihuacan, with 2 huge pyramids (Pirámide del Sol and Pirámide de la Luna, or Pyramids of the Sun & the Moon). They are mostly impressive for their size and well preserved condition, and the fact that you can climb them! Part of the city layout is still recognizable, including the main street “Avenue of the Dead”, and there are many well preserved Murals also on site.

Definitely worth a visit, especially if you are only stopping in Mexico City and won’t have a chance to visit any other similar sights in Mexico.

Buses go regularly from Terminal Norte between 7am and 6pm (around MX$40, taking one hour). At Terminal Norte, head to the far left and look for the desk to ‘Los Pirámides, not the town of Teotihuacan.

Chapultepec Castle

Located on a hill in Chapultepec Park, Chapultepec Castle (Castillo de Chapultepec), is the only Royal Castle in the Americas, previously housing royals Maximilian I and Empress Carlota and several Mexican presidents. It also served as a military academy and an observatory, and now the National Museum of History (Museo Nacional de Historia).

There is quite a nice garden on top, a view over the park and out to the city (you can spot the giant Mexican flag in the Zocalo), beautiful stain-glass windows, red-carpet staircase, etc.

Entrance MX$51
Walk from Metro Chapultepec.
Daily 09:00 ~ 17:00

Zocalo

The Zocalo is the main plaza in the Historic Center of Mexico City. The plaza itself, one of the largest city squares in the world, is mostly empty apart from the enormous Mexican Flag that is ceremoniously hoisted and lowered daily, before being returned to the National Palace. I was not able to catch the ceremony, but if you can you really should. Raising is around 8am & lowering at 6pm, check with your accommodation for up-to-date times. The flag really is awesome and a great photo spot! You can actually see the flag from numerous places around the city.

The square has historical significance as the base of events and ceremonies over the years, as well as protests, the most recent being over the fraudulent 2012 elections.

At Zocalo Metro Station.

National Palace

The National Palace (Palacio Nacional) was the Presidential Home in Mexico until Manuel González in 1884 (the current home of the President is Los Pinos). Today the Palace houses offices of the Treasury and National Archives, huge murals by Diego Rivera depicting the history of Mexico, and the President rings in the celebration of independence here each year on September 15.

This building is best visited as part of a tour to really understand the history and significance.
Free entry, but you will need to put most of your belongings in a locker before passing security.

Right near Zocalo Station, entrance on Moneda.

09:00 ~ 16:30

Xochimilco

In the south of the city is Xochimilco, where remaining canals from an old system connecting settlements offer a “Venice like” experience. Here you can rent ‘trajineras’ (canal boats like gondolas) for a couple of hours and they will take you up and down the canals, New Pier Market, and pass by houses & stalls on ‘Chinampas’ (man made islands). The most famous is Santana Barrera’s Chinampa, where old dolls were hung in the trees by the island’s occupant, Julián Santana Barrera, to ward off evil spirits.

The boats are all painted in bright colours with the boats name in large letters, and often flags from various countries. Best with a group of 8-10 people, stock up on alcoholic drinks and snacks before hand, bring your own music, and hire a boat for several hours! If you can’t get a group its still a nice way to spend the afternoon with 2 or 3 people, but solo would be pretty boring.

Cost depends on how many people you have and how long you want to go for, but its roughly around MX$100 per person for 2hrs. So if you have four people for 2hrs, about MX$400 total. The main place to get a boat from is Caltongo Pier, but there will be people trying to get your business even from right outside the station. Either way, just sure you know what you are getting (how long, number of people, where it goes etc) and that their boat is not docked too far away.

You can actually walk to the New Pier Markets and over bridges to some of the Chinampas, but its more fun to get a boat. There’s also Xochimilco market closer to the station where you can get snacks and the usual market stuff.

Its quite far from the city centre, but easy enough by public transport. Take Metro line 2 all the way south to Tasqueña, then transfer to the ‘Ligero’ (Light Rail) and get off at the last stop, Xochimilco. Allow a bit over an hour from Hidalgo to Xochimilco Station. From here you can walk down to the canals and grab a boat.

 

Post Office Palace

The Post Office Palace (Palacio de Correos de Mexico) is a beautiful building (and still active post office) in the Centro Historico area. This golden building was designed by Italian Adamo Boari, built with yellow quarry stone, and inaugurated in 1907. There is a postal museum on the 1st floor if you’re really interested, but just walking around the ground floor is the main reason to visit.

Tues – Fri 10:00 ~ 17:30
Sat – Sun 10:00 ~ 16:00

National Museum of Anthropology

The National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropología) is within Chapultepec Park in Mexico City. The museum houses archaeological & anthropological artifacts from the pre-Columbian heritage of Mexico and is definitely worth checking out. There are some great artefacts including the Aztec Stone of the Sun, Olmec colossal heads, Mayan Ruins etc.

Much of the information is also translated in English if you want to read up on what your looking at, and you can spend an entire day here if you really wanted to do. However if you just want to walk around and look at the cool stuff it takes 1-2hours. Don’t miss the outdoor sections with larger artefacts too.

Tickets are MX$50
Walk from Auditorio or Chapultepec Stations, in the general Chapultepec Park area but on the main road.

Tues – Sun – 09:00 ~ 19:00

Artesans Market

The Artesans Market (Mercado de Artesanias de la Ciudadela) is the best place in the city to find art and craft pieces from around the country. It is not the cheapest place in Mexico, but it is reasonable, and has items from the different regions, so if Mexico City is your last or only stop in Mexico, buy up! However, if you’re just starting your Mexican Adventure, you can buy it cheaper, and later (limiting carrying time) south in Oaxaca ore central in San Cristobal.

Either way, even if you don’t plan to buy anything, you should at least walk around this market, the colour and design of the items are amazing. By the time you leave this market you will have either bought something, or wish you had!

Between Balderas & Juarez Metro stations, also walkable from Zocolo / Centro Historico Area. From Balderas, walk along Balderas Ave, through the street stalls, and enter the main market area.

Mon – Sat – 09:00 ~ 19:00
Sun – 09:00 ~ 18:00