Two days was not even close to enough time but if that’s all you’ve got here’s how to spend it.
Mexico City is the second most populous city in the world, just after Tokyo, with more than 20 million inhabitants so there’s a lot to do and see just strolling around the city centre.
We recommend taking a morning walk through Alameda Central, the first urban park in the Americas then stop at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, one of Mexico City’s most popular and frequented destinations, visited by around 10,000 people weekly and loved as much by tourists as it is by the locals.
This building is instantly recognizable due to its elegant, ornate, white Carrara marble façade and shimmering, dragon scale roof tiles.
Then grab something to eat at Sanborn’s (La Casa de Los Azulejos) – you can find Sanborn’s all over the city but this one is special, built in the 30’s this historical building is covered in beautiful blue tiles. The food is good but not great and reasonably priced but the real draw is the grandness and beauty of the building.
Finish off day one by continuing the city’s central square, commonly known as the Zócalo because, in 1843, Mexican president Antonio López de Santa Anna organized a contest to make a memorial to the Mexican Independence. The winner planned the construction of a column at the square’s center. However, the project was left unfinished and they were only able to place the column’s socket (the “zócalo”), which remained there for several years.
The square is the second-largest in the world, and the first among the Spanish-speaking countries. It is 46,800 square meters long.
Close to the Zócalo, next to the Cathedral Metropolitan is one of the most impressive things about Mexico City, Aztec ruins right in the city centre – Templo Mayor.
Finish off the day with dinner at one of the world’s most Instagrammable restaurants, Azul Historico, set in an open courtyard lines with trees and lit with tea lights candles. We highly recommend the cochinita pibil and Tamarindo margaritas.
There are at least eight important archaeological sites in Mexico City including Templo Mayor: Cuicuilco, Santa Cruz Acalpixca, Tlatelolco, Santa Cecilia, Tenayuca, Teotihuacan and Acozaco.
Teotihuacán is one of the most popular and there are numerous tours to take you out there (approximately an hour or so) from the capital.
Unlike most other famous archeological sites in Mexico, this one was not built by the Aztecs or the Mayans, in fact the race of it’s creators, and initial inhabitants is still unknown. There is still widespread debate between experts as to the original ethnic group, or language they spoke, and so they begun to call them Teotihuacanos.
The key points of the 83km square site are the Pyrimad of the Sun thought to be a symbol of fertility the Pyramid of the Moon and the Avenue of the Dead that runs through the middle.
You could easily spend a few hours walking around the site and taking in its mystique but if you’re doing a tour you’ll likely get a lunch, stop off at craft workshop and visit the impressive Guadalupe Basilica – the second most visited Catholic sanctuary in the world, right after the Vatican, with 14 million visitors per year.
We did this tour and enjoyed learning about Pulque after the Pyramid. Pulque is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant. It is traditionally located in central Mexico, where it has been produced for a millennia. There has been a resurgence in popularity as a healthy beer alternative. Personally I’m not a fan of the taste but I’m fascinated by all the uses that have been found for agave and we are told it can fulfil 36% of all human needs.
For dinner on the last night grab some street tacos near your accommodation and take it easy because you’ll likely be tired from two full-on days.
Got more time?
Here’s what we’ll being aiming to check off our list next time we are in CDMX:
- A Lucha Libre show
- Coyoacan and Frida Kahlo’s Blue House
- The Castillo and Bosque de Chapultepec
- Xochimilco and the Trajineras