Top Sites to Discover Mexico City's Charm and Essence

As one of the oldest cities in the Americas, Mexico City is woven with a vast history: from the Aztec period to the Spanish conquest through the Mexican Revolution, and this is evident in the enormous cultural offerings it has. 

One of the great attractions of CDMX is its variety of sites. The city is full of museums, galleries, palaces, monuments, churches and parks, among many other things. While it is impossible to cover everything there's to see and do in a single trip, there are certain places that are a "must-see" and that you should consider in your itinerary. We recommend focusing on one neighborhood or area per day to get the most out of your visit. 

However you explore Mexico's capital, one thing is for sure: you'll soon be planning your next trip to this fascinating and never-ending city!

Centro Histórico (Historic Center): "The City of Palaces"

The Aztecs built their empire on Lake Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico, a large island connected by canals and protected by fortresses. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Tenochtitlán (today CDMX) in the 16th century, they destroyed the island, dried up the lake, and built a "city of palaces" over the ruins. 

The Centro Histórico is where it all began for this fabulous city full of history. Here you will find incredible museums, palaces, historic buildings, pre-Hispanic ruins, and a great gastronomic offer ranging from street tacos to haute Mexican cuisine restaurants. 

Be sure to visit the National Palace with its wonderful murals painted by Diego Rivera; the Metropolitan Cathedral, which is one of the largest religious temples in Latin America and took more than 200 years to build; the Templo Mayor, the main ceremonial center of the Aztecs; the National Museum of Art, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city with a collection of over 3,000 pieces of Mexican art; and the Palace of Fine Arts, which is the most important art venue in Mexico and an emblematic building of the country. 

The Centro Histórico is always a must-see in Mexico City, whether it's your first or fifth time in the city. Besides, you will always find new activities, exhibitions and exciting things to see.

Chapultepec Forest: A Green Oasis in The City

At over 600 hectares, the Chapultepec Forest is the largest urban park in Latin America and is home to several historical sites of great importance. 


The most famous site of interest here is Chapultepec Castle, which is the only monarchical castle in the Americas. It houses the National Museum of History and is located at the top of Chapulín Hill, so you will have incredible panoramic views from its terraces and gardens. 

Other sites you can visit in the Chapultepec Forest are the Museum of Modern Art, the Tamayo Museum and the National Museum of Anthropology, considered one of the most important museums in the continent due to its impressive collection of pre-Hispanic pieces. Don't miss the ancient ritual of the Voladores de Papantla (Flying Men of Papantla) that takes place every day, every half hour (approximately), outside the National Museum of Anthropology.


Coyoacán: A Charming Magical Neighborhood

Coyoacán is one of the most beloved "magical neighborhoods" in Mexico City. Its picturesque cobblestone streets, colonial churches and bustling markets will immediately transport you back in time. 

The Jardín Centenario is the main square, surrounded by restaurants and bars to have a good time while relaxing. Next to it is the Jardín Hidalgo with the beautiful Parroquia de San Juan Bautista, which was built in the early 16th century. A few steps away is the Mercado Artesanal Mexicano, a good place to buy handicrafts, and the Mercado de Antojitos, an unmissable place to eat quesadillas, sopes, tostadas, flautas and pozole, among other delicacies of homemade Mexican cuisine.  

Of course, we must mention the Frida Kahlo Museum, also known as the "Blue House", which is the place where Mexican painter Frida Kahlo was born, lived part of her life, and finally died.


Xochimilco: Canals and Floating Gardens 

South of Mexico City, a network of canals flows between a series of artificial islands known as “chinampas” or floating gardens. This is Xochimilco, one of the pre-Hispanic towns that now make up Mexico City, and which is characterized by the strong preservation of its customs and traditions. 

Navigating through the canals of Xochimilco aboard a colorful trajinera is a fun, cultural and quite folkloric activity you can do any day of the week. Once on the trajinera, you will see other small boats approaching to sell food, drinks and even play mariachi music. 

Xochimilco's network of canals and floating gardens, along with the Historic Center of Mexico City, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.  


In Xochimilco, you will also find the Dolores Olmedo Museum, which is a lovely place with gardens and animals such as peacocks, guajolotes and xoloitzcuintles dogs. Here you can see works by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, as well as interesting pre-Hispanic pieces and handicrafts.


Teotihuacán: The City of Gods 

Mexico has more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country in the Americas. One of the most impressive that we have near Mexico City, and a must-see, is the Archaeological Site of Teotihuacán. 


Along the Calzada de los Muertos (Avenue of the Dead), the Temple of Quetzalcóatl, with the imposing Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon stretch across the territory in geometric patterns, a model of urbanization and city planning that guided later pre-Hispanic cultures.


What you can see today represents only 10% of the total area of this ancient city, recognized as one of the most powerful pre-Hispanic centers of Mesoamérica. 

Exploring Mexico City is a never-ending task, but with every step you take, you will be amazed by the places you discover, the curiosities you see and the flavors you taste. The places we have mentioned are a good start to begin to know and understand our beautiful city. 


At Central Hoteles, we are waiting to pamper you and give you the authentic Mexican hospitality experience in the heart of the city’s Historic Center. Our hotels Zócalo Central and Histórico Central have a privileged location, so you can explore downtown Mexico City and come back to relax in our cozy and stylish facilities.  


We hope to see you soon!


Travel, culture and traditions in Mexico City.