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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

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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

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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.

 

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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

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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

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Ideal Patisserie

The Queen of Patisseries in Mexico, Pasteleria Ideal is almost a tourist sight as much as a bakery. The store is huge, the ground floor offers a range of cookies, breads, pastries and cakes, while the second floor is a display of monstrous cakes, up to and over 100kgs & multiple tiers (mostly icing!). Unfortunately there aren’t many vegan options here, but vegetarians will love it, and I’m sure you can find something if you ask.

For the pastries, take a tray, make your selection, and get in line to pay. For the biscuits, you must get a ticket for the bag size and pay for it before making your selection.

Walk from Zocalo Station

Open Daily 06:30 ~ 21:30

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Yug Vegetariano

YUG is one of the best Vegetarian restaurants in Mexico City, and first opened in 1963! I ate here many times within my short stay. Offering veggie versions of Mexican dishes as well as international foods like veggie burgers and pasta, fresh juices and organic non-alcoholic beers. The staff are friendly & most of them speak at least a little English.

The ‘Carnitas Vegetarianas’ was my favorite: TVP, frijoles, guacamole, tortilla!! One of the reasons I really liked it here was because of the use of TVP (soy), to add protein to the dish in stead of just ‘removing the meat’. That, with sides like frijoles, guacamole and vegetables, make it not just tasty but very nutritious, something missing from many vegetarian meals in the region. I’m actually getting hungry now just writing this.

Good portions, good price, tasty, nutritious, and friendly! Definitely check this place out!
Note, even here you have to be very specific if you do not want cheese, (“Sin Queso por favor”).

Buffet Lunch everyday & Breakfast Buffet on Sundays.
Well located in Zona Rosa, a short walk from Fridas y Diego hostal, Insurgentes or Sivilla Metro Stations.

Mon – Fri 7:00 ~ to 21:00
Sat – Sunday 8:30 ~ 20:00

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Dos Fridas y Diego Hostal

Dos Fridas y Diego is a great hostal in the Zona Rosa are of Mexico City. It has nice private rooms, dorm rooms with a lot of space and lockers, a ground floor terrace and top floor baclony area with chairs and a football table. Some of the staff don’t speak much English, but they will still try and help you and offer information. They have a free breakfast but its usually eggs and bread, so may be fine for the lactos but not great for vegans.

Located in Zona Rosa, its a convenvenient and generally safe area. Its a short walk to Yug (Vegetarian Restaurant), two train stations, and two entertainment areas.

This is not a party hostel, its nice, relaxed and quiet. If you want a party hostel, or are travelling solo and want to meet people, you should look at one of the Amigo hostels near Zocalo.

Note that they do not offer laundry service, there are no self-service options and I couldn’t find anyone in the area who could do it in less than 3 days!

6 Bed Dorm: MX$170 p/p
Private Single: MX$350 p/room
Private Double: MX$400-450 p/room
Private Triple: MX$550 p/room

Close to Insergentes and Cuauhtemoc Station, but you may want to get a taxi the first time.

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