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MEXICO CITY

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Mexico City, Logo - Photo by SECTUR  
 

Sections of Mexico City
ACCOMMODATIONS
AMUSEMENT AND RECREATION
ARCHEOLOGY
ARTS AND CRAFTS
ATTRACTIONS
CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE
ECOTOURISM AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
ENTERTAINMENT AND SPORTS EVENTS
FESTIVALS AND TRADITIONS
GASTRONOMY
HISTORIC ARCHITECTURE
MUSEUMS
NIGHTLIFE
SHOPPING

Mexico City, the oldest metropolis on the American continent, is perched atop a highland valley at about 2,240 meters (7,392 feet) above sea level. Towering high above the city’s southeast side are two volcanoes: Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl. The nation’s capital has some of the best weather in the world with an average temperature of 22 C (72 F.)

Once known as the “City of Palaces,” Mexico City has two areas that were declared World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO. The first, the Centro Histrico (Historic Center,) has beautiful historic and religious buildings, such as the Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral,) one of the most important architectural structures in the Western Hemisphere. The Palacio Nacional (National Palace) with its spectacular Diego Rivera murals that chronicle Mexico’s history. And the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts,) which hosts the city’s most important cultural events; being a beautiful construction that blends the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. The other World Heritage Site, Xochimilco Ecological Park, is often called the “Venice of Mexico” due to its beautiful canals. Flower-painted boats offer tours of the canals and floating gardens.

If you are interested in cultural events, Mexico City offers a wide variety of museums, such as the Museo Nacional de Antropologia (a world-class anthropology museum,) the Museo Nacional de Arte (The National Art Museum) and the Museo Nacional de Historia (a history museum in the Chapultepec Castle where you can see an amazing exhibit that chronicles the nation’s history and art, from the pre-Hispanic era to present day.)

In the northern part of Mexico City, you can visit the Basilica de Guadalupe, one of the most visited basilicas in the world; in fact, it is second only to Saint Peter’s Basilica, in Vatican City, in the number of visitors it receives each year. This is a must-see for those who want to learn more about the country’s customs and traditions.

What is more, Mexico City is a cosmopolitan metropolis, where new and old traditions coexist side by side. Here you can go shopping at bazaars and crafts markets in the Coyoacan and San Angel neighborhoods. Or you can go to exclusive boutiques and shopping centers in the posh communities of Santa Fe and Polanco, where you will be surrounded by the comfort of top-notch hotels and restaurants.

ACCOMMODATIONS:

ECOTOURISM AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES:
Camping:
In Mexico City you will find plenty of green areas where you can go camping. These places offer all the necessary outdoor services, plus lookout points, restaurants, restrooms and security to make your camping experience as pleasant as possible.

Ecotourism:
Mexico City has several ecological reserves that allow you to observe diverse forms of plant and animal life. The beautiful scenery in these areas invites you to take a long walk on a nature trail or along the shore of a stream.

Extreme Sports:
Near the city there are many wooded areas that provide the opportunity to go mountain biking. The trails will prove challenging for beginners and experts alike. Following the lead of a tour guide, you’ll put your skills to the test as you overcome various obstacles along the paths.

Golf:
Mexico City has excellent golf courses offering the finest services and spacious facilities. The city’s pleasant climate makes a day on the links all the more enjoyable.

  • Club Campestre de la Ciudad de Mexico: Located at 1978 Calzada de Tlalpan, Colonia Country Club. This 18-hole, par-72 course is the oldest in the nation.

  • Club Campestre Chapultepec: Located at 425 Avenida Conscripto, Colonia Lomas Hipodromo, Nacaulpan, in the State of Mexico. This course has 18 holes and a par 72.

Outdoor Activities:
In the natural areas surrounding Mexico City, you can do exciting recreational activities, such as rock climbing and rappelling on natural volcanic rock formations. These places offer experienced guides that will teach you the safest way to enjoy these sports.

Spas:
The city’s spas have full treatment systems, highly professional staff and state-of-the-art therapeutic equipment that give better and faster results. These facilities offer a wide range of services, including massages, facials, dermo-cosmetic clinics and makeup and beauty treatments. In short, you will find everything you need with the comfort of knowing that you’ll receive specialized attention. Visit some of these places to revitalize your energy while you get a relaxing massage with body oils.

ATTRACTIONS:
Atoltecayotl: Located in southeast Mexico City, at 15 Avenida Nuevo Leon, Colonia Barrio de Santa Maria, Milpa Alta District. Here visitors can explore large forest areas and the incredible volcanic landscape of Teuhtli, an inactive volcano. Camping enthusiasts will enjoy walking around the foothills of the volcanic zone. This place provides restrooms and security services.

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Basilica is a Roman Catholic Church, minor basilica and National Shrine of Mexico located in the north part of Mexico City. The shrine was built nearby the place where it is said Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. This site is also known as La Villa de Guadalupe or, in a more popular sense, simply La Villa. The new Basilica houses the original “tilma” (or apron) of Juan Diego that shows the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The image of the Virgin of Guadalupe is supposedly a source of various miracles.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most visited catholic sanctuaries in the world, la Villa de Guadalupe, receives approximately 20 million people a year. People who come to Mexico City from all parts of the world. This massive phenomenon becomes all the more noticeable as the date to celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe, every 12th of December, comes closer. During that time the number of visitors can climb to three million, counting all the devotes and the dancers who offer their spectacular dances of prehispanic origin to the "Patrona de Tepeyac" –and of course all the vendors with anything to sell from religious items to edibles.

The Villa is an architectural complex whose main construction is the new Basilica of Guadalupe, consecrated in 1976 and with a capacity to shelter 10,000 people inside the premises. Furthermore, temporary seats are often placed in the atrium allowing up to 40,000 people to take part of the Mass and other ritual celebrations. There are also nine chapels in the ground level, each able to seat about 200 people.

The Villa of Guadalupe includes:

  • The Old Basilica, built in 1709 and which nowadays works as a Museum of Viceregal Art.

  • The Pocito Chapel, which means “Chapel of the Little Well,” a Baroque hermitage built around a ferrous waters well with healing properties, located to the east of the hill of the Tepeyac. The chapel was built by Francisco Antonio de Guerrero y Torres, being the first sanctuary ever built in this place.

  • The Temple of the Capuchins, a neoclassic building built in 1787.

  • The Indians' Chapel, or San Jos de los Naturales Chapel, a 16th century building in which Our Lady of Guadalupe was first venerated.

  • The Saint Michael Chapel, a chapel built in 1526 in a Baroque style on top of the Tepeyac hill, devoted to the Archangel Michael.

  • The Pantheon of Tepeyac, built in a Baroque period, it gives today shelter to a museum behind its beautiful faade.

  • The Baptistry, a chapel whose floor plan is snail-shaped, designed by Jos Luis Benlliure.

Cultural and Recreational Park Desierto de los Leones (the Desert of the Lions): Located in west Mexico City at Antiguo Camino al Desierto de los Leones, Colonia Parque Nacional Valle de las Monjas, off the Mexico - Toluca Highway 15. This is one of the city’s most important nature reserves. At this park, you will find Encino oaks, pines and oyamel firs on hills and in ravines. Taking a walk in the peaceful environment of the surrounding areas of the Desierto de los Leones allows you to learn more about coniferous forests, the natural habitat of opossums, rabbits and squirrels. Near the road that leads to an ancient Carmelite Convent, you will find an easily accessible trail. The park also has springs and streams. This park has 25 kilometers (15 mi) of sloped paths, which you can cover on bicycle from the ancient Carmelite Convent to the town of San Miguel, which you will reach after passing the Cerro del Triangulo (Triangle Hill.)

Ecological Park of San Nicolas Totolapan: Located in southwest Mexico City at Km 11.5 off the Picacho - Ajusco Highway, Magdalena Contreras District. This two hectare (5-acre) park has a wide variety of endemic flora in pastures and mixed forests, including Encino oaks and oyamel firs. The wide-open green areas and the abundance of plant and animal species in the nearby Ajusco Mountains are reason enough to camp at this beautiful place. This ecological park has a designated camping area with showers, restrooms, barbecue grills, campfire pits, security services, guided tours and tent rentals. The important efforts that have been made to conserve the natural habitat of the white-tailed deer and the volcano rabbit have allowed this park to develop an ecotourism infrastructure that encourages visitors to help conserve the endemic plant and animal species of the Ajusco Mountains. As part of your exploration activities, you can check out a deer reserve and participate in reforestation efforts as guides lead you along interpretive trails. Both experiences will make your visit even more enriching.

Ecological Park of Xochimilco: Located in south Mexico City at 1 Avenida Periferico Oriente, Colonia Cienega Grande, Xochimilco District. UNESCO Has declared Xochimilcoa World Heritage Site because of its cultural value and unique natural characteristics, this park offers the ideal setting for an ecological and cultural tour. On the outing, you can learn about the park’s projects to conserve the indigenous plant and animal species that inhabit one of the city’s most important aquatic areas. It also has a recreational area, a bird reserve and numerous green areas, such as the Xochitla and the Botanical gardens. During your visit, do not forget to tour the canal aboard a colorful trajinera (wooden boats often compared to gondolas.)

Escaladromo Carlos Carsolio: Located in north Mexico City at 18 Tecnicos Mexicanos Street, Colonia Santa Maria Ticoman, Gustavo A. Madero District. This new club concept is an excellent option for those who enjoy rock climbing, yet want to practice the sport within the city. It has vertical and inclined walls that are 12 meters (40 feet) high, as well as a cave and a tower. The service and the facilities are top-notch.

National Park Cumbres del Ajusco: Located southwest of Mexico City on Avenida Periferico Sur, at Km 22 off the Ajusco Highway, Tlalpan District. One of the city’s most visited natural areas; this park has various mountain biking routes. Among the most popular trails is a 28 km (17 mi) path that begins in the town of Capulin and passes through the foothills of the Xitle volcano. At that point, it divides into two separate trails that run alongside an impressive canyon until reaching a dried out lagoon called Quila. Here you can also do downhill runs in the town of Huitzilac, which borders the State of Morelos.

Park and Touristic Corridor Los Dinamos: Located in southwest Mexico City on Avenida Mexico, Colonia Magdalena Atlitic, Magdalena Contreras District. This natural area consists of a wooded ecosystem surrounded by part of the Ajusco Mountains. The Magdalena River runs through a gorge that spans five km (3 mi.) This is an ideal spot for rock climbing, as you will find rock formations up to 30 meters (100 feet) high, as well as smaller cliffs of varying difficulty levels. In addition, there are three areas with three totally distinct volcanic rock formations, requiring you to climb each one using a different technique.

Presa (Dam) Madin: Located north of Mexico City, in Atizapan de Zaragoza, in the State of Mexico. On this large body of water, you can go kayaking and sailing. You will find rental companies for all the equipment you will need at the location. Nearby, you can also go mountain biking and trekking.

Valley of Monte Alegre: Located southwest of Mexico City, in the Ecological Park of San Nicolas Totolapan, at Km 11.5 off the Picacho - Ajusco Highway, Magdalena Contreras District. This area is considered a mountain biker’s paradise, as it offers downhill runs for those seeking a high-fueled adrenaline rush. The 150 km (93 mi) circuit offers trails for beginners, intermediates and experts. Cyclists can test their skills in areas such as the Criadero de Trucha (trout hatchery,) el Camino de la Virgen (the Virgin’s path) or la Barranca de la Leona (the canyon of the lion,) all of which were designed for varying skill levels.

ARCHEOLOGY:
In Mexico City you can find archaeological ruins of the Mexica culture (more commonly known as the Aztec culture.) At these places, and in their museums, you can learn more about the mysteries of the Aztecs’ Cosmo-vision and their customs, some of which persist in the capital today.

Templo Mayor: Located in downtown Mexico City at eight Seminario Street. This is a small archaeological zone where you can see the remains of the Aztecs’ Grand Temple, the most important building of Tenochtitlan (the old Aztec capital now known as Mexico City.) The site has a museum that houses objects found during excavation and restoration. The Aztecs built the temple in honor of their gods Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Tlatelolco: Located in the center of the city, on Eje Central Lazaro Cardenas, Colonia Nonoalco - Tlatelolco. Considered the sister city of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire. The base of a main temple still stands at this site, similar to that of the Templo Mayor. There is also a round temple that was built to the honor the god of wind. The pre-Hispanic constructions form part of a group of architectural structures known as the Plaza de las Tres Culturas (Three Cultures Square,) which is where you will also find the colonial building of the Church of Santiago Tlatelolco and a housing complex.

Cuicuilco: Located in south Mexico City at 156 Avenida Insurgentes Sur and Anillo Periferico, Tlalpan District. This is one of the oldest pre-Hispanic urban zones in Mexico. Here you will find the preserved ruins of several religious and residential buildings, as well as the remains of a water works system. One of the most interesting ruins is a round terraced pyramid with five levels, considered the first attempt by Mexico’s pre-Hispanic civilization to create a relationship between religion and the cosmos.

HISTORIC ARCHITECTURE:
Mexico City’s Historic Center is the oldest part of the capital and it has many architectural treasures that are appreciated in Mexico and throughout the world. As you walk around the downtown area, you will find excellent examples of classical and colonial architecture. Many of the buildings are shrouded in magic and legend and the area has such an impressive architectural offering that the UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. Among the most important structures are:

The National Palace: Built on top of the houses of Aztec Emperor Moctezuma, this building lies in front of the Zocalo (Mexico City’s main square.) Inside, you can marvel at the spectacular murals of renowned artist Diego Rivera, which chronicle the history of Mexico.

The Metropolitan Cathedral: Located next to the National Palace in the Zocalo, this important work is Latin America’s largest religious structure. It brings together the artistic grandeur of a Viceregal construction with the religious fervor of Catholicism.

The Palace of the Mines: Located on Tacuba street in the Historic Center. This neoclassical- and Baroque-style building hosts the International Book Fair, an annual event that takes place in February and March.

Edificio de Correos (Post Office): Located on the corners of Eje Central Lazaro Cardenas and Tacuba, this is one of Mexico City’s most beautiful and elegant buildings. Its style reminds one of the grand palaces of Venice.

Palacio de Bellas Artes (The Palace of Fine Arts): Located next to the Alameda Central Park on the corners of Avenida Juarez and Eje Central Lazaro Cardenas. This structure is an eclectic blend of art nouveau and art deco styles, and it is ornamented with impressive sculptures. The building has one of the most beautiful concert halls in the world.

Temple of the Profesa: Located on Francisco I. Madero Street in the Historic Center. This building is one of the best examples of the New Spain Baroque style. On display inside is a wonderful collection of religious paintings from the Colonial era.

The Casa de los Azulejos (The House of the Tiles): Located on Francisco I. Madero in the Historic Center. This building’s famous faade is covered with thousands of multicolored tiles made in the state of Puebla. Inside is a popular restaurant.

The Plaza of Santo Domingo: Located north of the Zocalo on the street Republica de Brazil. This is a group of buildings that includes the Santo Domingo church, which is where the plaza gets its name. The other structures are the old Customs Building and The Palace of the Inquisition, which once housed a school of medicine.

CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE:
Mexico City is full of history and it has been the center point of a nation in constant growth, as evidenced in the modern architecture seen in the present-day capital. To fully appreciate this, you can visit the areas that are considered the most representative in contemporary architecture.

Colonias (neighborhoods) Roma and Condesa: These two centrally located neighborhoods are known for their elegant houses and buildings, which are Art Nouveau and Art Deco constructions. During the beginning of the 20th century, around the time of the Porfirio Diaz era, Mexico’s elite lived in these buildings. In the 1920s, many of the structures were renovated to preserve their old splendor. Near the Parque Mexico, one of the city’s best parks, you will find bookstores, art galleries and cultural centers, among other places that have given this part of town such a strong artistic tradition.

Ciudad Universitaria (University City): Located in southwest Mexico City off Avenida Insurgentes, between Eje 10 Sur and Anillo Periferico. This is the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM. The architecture at this university is considered one of the best examples of functionalism in Latin America and it responds to the need to create a national style with its own identity. Many of the buildings have murals by such renowned Mexican artists as Diego Rivera (on the university stadium,) David Alfaro Siqueiros (on the dean’s building) and Juan O’Gorman (on the main library.)

Corredor Reforma: Also known as Avenida Paseo de la Reforma, the main avenue that runs through the city’s central areas. Along this avenue, you can see many of Mexico City’s most famous monuments and modern buildings, such as the Torre Mayor, Latin America’s tallest skyscraper with 55 floors and one of the city’s most important modern construction projects. From there, as you head toward downtown, you will come across the Fountain dedicated to Diana the Hunter, where you will see a bronze statue of the Roman goddess that was designed by Vicente Mendiola and sculpted by Juan Francisco Olaguibel. The next sight along Reforma is the Independence Monument, better known as “The Angel.” The Angel, perched atop a Corinthian-style column, represents the Winged Victory. At the base of the column, depicted in feminine forms, is a sculpture featuring symbols of war, peace, law and justice, and beside the columns are statues of independence heroes. Further ahead, you can admire the Cuauhtemoc Monument, a three-tiered structure with a statue depicting the Aztec emperor hurling a spear. At the following roundabout, you will see the Christopher Columbus Monument, made by French sculptor Carlos Gardier; the Columbus statue stands atop a pink Renaissance-style pedestal. Finally, at Reforma and Avenida Juarez, you will find the sculpture El Caballito (The Little Horse,) the work of a sculptor from the state of Chihuahua named Sebastian. The Caballito is a reference to an equestrian statue of Carlos IV, which is in front of the National Art Museum in the Historic Center.

Santa Fe: Located on the city’s southwest side in neighboring districts Miguel Hidalgo and Alvaro Obregon. This is Mexico’s most ambitious and advanced development project. In this area, you will find excellent academic institutions, such as the Iberoamerican University, as well as modern corporate buildings, such as the Calakmul and Bosque Arcos. The high-end development project also has residential areas, such as the Tomas Moro Apartments, a structure built with strong emphasis on space, forms and lighting.

ARTS AND CRAFTS:
In Mexico City you will find crafts from any state in the nation: gold and silver jewelry, textiles, leather products, such as belts and purses, and wooden toys (spin tops, yo-yos and Mexican baleros.) You will also see a wide selection of furniture made from various materials that require different techniques. These are just some of the arts and crafts that you can buy in markets such as the Ciudadela and the Centro Artisanal Buenavista.

FESTIVALS AND TRADITIONS:
Mexico City has always been considered the center of celebrations and religious festivities, yet it maintains the important traditions that prevail in other states across the nation. The festive atmosphere at these celebrations is cause for rejoice, particularly on holidays when the nation’s cultural and historical values reinforce the Mexican people’s sense of identity, such as Independence Day in the Zocalo. On September 15, the night of the so-called Independence Day Cry, the main square becomes a huge fiesta full of colorful lights, music and all kinds of traditional Mexican food. Day of the Dead, an ancient tradition carried out each year on November 2 to remember the deceased, is also an important national holiday. Some of the most beautiful Day of the Dead ceremonies and rituals take place in Mixquic. Another important religious celebration, Candelaria, falls on February 2. This day marks the presentation of the infant Christ to the church. On that day in Mexico, families get together to eat tamales, drink atole and enjoy each other’s company. As part of Mexico’s Easter festivities, in Iztapalapa Catholic adherents reenact the passion and death of Jesus Christ on the Cerro de la Estrellas. The reenactment has many years of tradition in Mexico City.

GASTRONOMY:
Mexico City offers a wide variety of restaurants where you can enjoy delicious national cuisine, such as sopas, guisados, tacos and antojitos (which are a fusion of indigenous and Spanish culinary traditions.) The city is also well known for its gourmet and international fare. In restaurants with many years of tradition, such as the Hacienda de Los Morales, the San Angel Inn, and El Arroyo, you can try a wide array of soups, entrees and desserts. During your stay in the capital, be sure to try a tasty alambre dish or insect tacos stuffed with grasshoppers, maguey worms or ant roe and accompanied with beans, guacamole sauce and your favorite drink.

MUSEUMS:
Mexico City has more museums than just about any other tourist destination in the world. Many are worth visiting for their architecture as well as their cultural offerings, which include art exhibits and history displays.

Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso (Ancient College of San Ildefonso): Located in the Historic Center at 16 Justo Sierra, Colonia Centro, Cuauhtemoc District. This historic building houses permanent and temporary art exhibits and hosts various cultural events. It has three patio areas known as: El Patio de los Pasantes, el Colegio Chico and el Colegio Grande. In the latter, you will find murals from renowned Mexican artists, such as Diego Rivera. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Museo Nacional de Arte (National Art Museum): Located in the Historic Center at 8 Tacuba Street, Colonia Centro, Cuauhtemoc District. This is one of the most important art museums in Latin America due to its collection, facilities and services. It exhibits Mexican art from the 16th to 20th centuries, including paintings, sculptures, engravings, photography, manuscripts and antique furniture. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Museo de la Ciudad (Museum of the City): Located downtown at 30 Pino Suarez in the Palacio de los Condes de Santiago de Calimaya, Colonia Centro. This building is considered an architectural and cultural treasure of New Spain. Its 27 showrooms have various exhibits, including paintings, maps and models, which chronicle the history of Mexico City, from the pre-Hispanic era to present day. The museum also has temporary art exhibits, concerts, theatrical performances, conferences and workshops. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Museo Franz Meyer: Located at 45 Avenida Hidalgo, in front of the Alameda Central Park, Colonia Centro, Cuauhtemoc District. In a building that was once the San Juan de Dios church, this museum has an unparalleled collection of pre-Hispanic and colonial objects that were donated by German businessman Franz Meyer. The museum has colonial-style showrooms, a lovely indoor patio and a library with a collection of books on decorative arts. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m.to 7:00 p.m.

Museo Nacional de Antropologia (National Museum of Anthropology): Located on Avenida Paseo de la Reforma, Colonia Chapultepec Polanco, Miguel Hidalgo District. This is considered one of the best anthropology museums worldwide. It has showrooms specializing in archaeology, where you’ll see important exhibits of pre-Hispanic culture and objects, as well as ethnology rooms, where you get to take a closer look at ancient indigenous artwork. The museum also has temporary exhibits, a library, audiovisual services, a restaurant and guided tours in English and French. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Museo de Arte Moderno (Modern Art Museum): Located off Avenida Paseo de la Reforma, at Gandhi Street in Chapultepec Park, Miguel Hidalgo District. This museum has an important collection of national and international 20th century art, consisting of paintings, sculptures, drawings and photography. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Museo Nacional de Historia (National History Museum): Located in the first section of the Chapultepec Park in the Chapultepec Castle. It has 12 showrooms that house objects from various stages in history, including the conquest, the Viceregal era, Mexican independence, the reform movement and the revolution. On the top floor, in addition to a library, you will find two sections with recreated rooms of the castle during the time when Emperor Maximilian of Hapsburg resided there with his wife Carlota Amalia of Belgium. In addition, the museum has a garden area and an old observatory. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares (National Museum of Popular Culture): This museum is located at 289 Avenida Hidalgo, Colonia del Carmen, Coyoacan District. It has six different areas with Mexican culture from various regions on display. It is also a cultural center with an auditorium and two patio areas where you can listen to music or see a theatrical performance. Guided tours are offered in German, French, Italian and Portuguese. Open Tuesday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Museo Casa Frida Kahlo “Casa Azul:” Located in south Mexico City at 247 Londres, Colonia del Carmen, Coyoacan District. This was the home of artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. In several rooms, you will see their personal objects, altarpieces, popular art and a large collection of pre-Hispanic art from Mexico’s western, southern and Gulf Coast regions. You will also see works of such artists as Jose Clemente Orozco, Jose Maria Velasco and Paul Klee, among others. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Museo Soumaya: Located in southwest Mexico City in Plaza Loreto, at Avenida Magdalena and Avenida Revolucion, Colonia Tizapan, Alvaro Obregon District. In these showrooms you can enjoy a permanent collection of New Spain portraits, religious art and Latin America’s most extensive sculpture collection of Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel. You will also see a varied collection of national and international artists such as Rufino Tamayo, Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh. The museum also has a play area for children where they can enjoy fun activities related to the exhibit. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

ENTERTAINMENT AND SPORTS EVENTS:
This city has many options for family outings, including amusement parks, city parks and zoos. The following places are among the best:

Bosque de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Park): Located in Colonia San Miguel Chapultepec. This is one of the city’s most important natural reserves and a recreational area where families can do various activities in the park’s three sections. Here you can enjoy a picnic, take a walk, go on a bicycle ride or take out a row boat on a manmade lake. You can also visit the park’s museums or rise 120 meters (400 feet) high in a hot air balloon. You can enter the park at various points along Reforma, Chapultepec and Constituyentes avenues. Open daily from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Zoologico de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Zoo): Located in the first section of Chapultepec Park. This zoo covers 17 hectares (42 acres) and has more than 200 animal species, some of which are endangered. Here you can see giant pandas, gorillas, bears, hippopotami, giraffes, wolves and much more. The natural habitats of many species at the zoo have been recreated successfully, allowing some of the animals to reproduce while in captivity. The zoo also has a reptile and bird exhibit. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

La Feria (The Fair): Located in the second section of Chapultepec Park near the Papalote Children’s Museum. This is one of Mexico City’s most popular amusement parks for kids. It has more than 50 rides, including a wood roller coaster. Open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Papalote Museo del Nio (Papalote Children’s Museum): Located in the second section of Chapultepec Park. This is a fun and educational museum designed especially for children, where they can touch the exhibits in any of the five showrooms. It also has an IMAX screen and a Digital Dome, where you can see audiovisual shows and films. Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Six Flags: Located in south Mexico City off the Picacho - Ajusco Highway at Km 1.5, in the Tlalpan District. Six Flags has the best rides in the city, including such attractions as hyper roller coasters for those who like it fast, kid’s rides, a dolphin pool, an open-air theater, souvenir shops, restaurants, food stands and much more. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

La Ciudad de los Nios (The Children’ City): Located in southwest Mexico City in the Centro Comercial Santa Fe. This is an innovative concept that gives children the opportunity to experience the adult world as they work and live in a make-believe children’s city. Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

AMUSEMENT AND RECREATION:
Mexico City is the nation’s entertainment, sports and cultural capital. For that reason, it has a wide offering of venues where you can go to concerts, theatrical performances, expos, book fairs, soccer matches, bullfights, and other exciting sports events. Among the most important are:

Festival of Mexico in the Historic Center: Considered one of the most awaited events of the year, this festival offers a wide variety of cultural activities, such as music, dance and film. It takes place in April.

International Book Fair: Takes place in February and March in the Palacio de Mineria on Tacuba Street in the Historic Center. At this fair you can find exhibitors from Mexico and abroad offering their latest titles.

International Film Festival: Takes place at the Cineteca Nacional and at different theaters throughout the city. The first edition runs in March and April and the second part in November and December. This is a highly anticipated event, particularly among cinephiles.

The Theater of the City: Located at 36 Donceles, Colonia Centro, Cuauhtemoc District. This is one of the capital’s oldest theaters. Known for its eclectic acts, it draws legendary international artists, such as Enrico Caruso, Ana Pavlova and Maria Conesa (known as the white kitten.) The theater holds up to 1,300 spectators.

The Palace of Fine Arts: Located next to the Alameda Park at 1 Avenida Hidalgo, Colonia Centro, Cuauhtemoc District. In this impressive eclectic construction you will find some of the nation’s most important museums and cultural events, such as its art and architecture museums. In addition to a crystal curtain, which depicts a panoramic view of the Valley of Mexico, the building’s concert hall also has a notable stained-glass image of Apollo and the Nine Muses. Also inside the palace are an audition room, a showroom for temporary exhibits and a library. Another strong draw is the art in the hallways, featuring murals of Rufino Tamayo, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Jose Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera, among others. Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The Metropolitan Theater: Located at 90 Independencia, Colonia Centro, Cuauhtemoc District. This gorgeous building has two floors with an elegant staircase. Here, all kinds of cultural events take place: concerts, movie premieres, awards shows and much more.

National Auditorium: Located at 50 Avenida Paseo de la Reforma in front of Chapultepec Park. With 10,000 seats, this modern auditorium ranks second worldwide in admissions among venues of its kind. It is one of the most popular places for concerts, as it books big-name national and international acts. It also hosts various cultural and recreational activities, such as workshops and courses.

Center for the National Arts: Located in south Mexico City, at Avenida Rio Churubusco and Calzada de Tlalpan, Tlalpan District. This group of buildings has five art schools and four national research centers. It also hosts various cultural events, such as International Dance Day, theatrical performances, concerts, national and international film festivals and art exhibits.

World Trade Center: Located at 38 Montecito, Colononia Napoles, Benito Juarez District. This is one of the city’s tallest buildings. It has spacious and modern facilities for expositions, as well as offices, banquet rooms, conference and convention halls, department stores and the city’s most famous revolving restaurant on the top floor.

Centro Cultural Universitario: Located in southwest Mexico City on the southern end of the University City campus, at Avenida Insurgentes Sur and Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Coyoacan District. This is one of the capital’s most important cultural centers and it lies in the middle of the Pedregal Ecological Reserve. Its facilities include a library, a media center, a science museum, concert and dance halls, movie theaters and performing arts venues.

Forum Sol: Located in east Mexico City, at Avenida Rio Churubusco and Viaducto Rio Piedad, Colonia Granjas Mexico, Iztacalco District. This highly versatile venue stages all kinds of events: Concerts, professional baseball games, expositions, fairs and private events, among others. The two-tiered stadium holds 30,000 spectators, while the floor area accommodates an additional 25,000 visitors.

The Palace of the Sports: Located in east Mexico City, at Avenida Rio Churubusco and Anil, Colonia Granjas Mexico, Iztacalco District. This is a sports complex with a metallic bronze dome ornamented with pyramid-like structures. The venue hosts concerts, expos and fairs.

Aerodrome Hermanos Rodriguez: Located in east Mexico City, between Avenida Viaducto Rio Piedad and Avenida Rio Churubusco, in the Ciudad Deportiva Magdalena Mixhiuca, Iztacalco District. This track holds important auto races, such as the Cart Series, among others.

The Monumental Plaza de Toros Mexico (Bullfight Arena): Located at 241 Augusto Rodin, Benito Juarez District. This bullfight arena, with a capacity of 50,000, is next to the Estadio Azul soccer stadium; together they comprise what is known as la Ciudad de los Deportes. Bullfight fans will definitely want to visit this bullring, which has drawn famous international acts such as Silverio Perez, Manuel "Manolete" Rodriguez, Eloy Cavazos, Eulalio "Zotoluco" Lopez, Enrique Ponce and Julian "El Juli" Lopez.

Hippodrome de las Americas (Horse Racing): Located in west Mexico City, at Avenida Industria Militar, Miguel Hidalgo District. This racetrack complex, which covers 52 hectares (128 acres,) has traditional horse races. It also has restaurants, halls for special events and an expo center. Doors open at 2:30 pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Stadium Azteca: Located in south Mexico City, at 3465 Calzada de Tlalpan, Tlalpan District. This is Mexico’s largest soccer stadium and can hold 110,000 spectators. It has hosted two World Cup soccer events, professional American football games, boxing matches, motocross races and large-scale concerts.

Historic Center Trolley: This trolley bus tours the most interesting parts of the Historic Center on eight different routes, allowing you to appreciate the magnificent buildings while you listen to interesting anecdotes and legends surrounding the old structures. You will visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Colegio de San Ildefonso, the Plaza de Santo Domingo and many other sights. Each route has its own schedule, so you will have to get information on days and times from the city’s Historic Center Cultural Tours offices. The departure point is next to the Palace of Fine Arts and the trolleys run daily. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to do this fascinating cultural tour.

NIGHTLIFE:
Mexico City offers a wide variety of options for a night out on the town, including restaurants, bars, cafes, modern discos, dance halls and nightclubs, where you can party into the wee hours of the morning. In Polanco and Santa Fe, neighborhoods with night spots that draw young crowds, you can go out to restaurants, bars and nightclubs where you can hear the latest in pop, lounge, rock and electronic music. In the Roma and Condesa, as well as in such traditional neighborhoods as Coyoacan and San Angel, you will find numerous establishments with a bohemian atmosphere that are often frequented by artists and intellectuals. Meanwhile, in the Zona Rosa and along Avenida Insurgentes Sur, you can enjoy any number of restaurants, bars, gay clubs and nightclubs that offer entertaining shows featuring well-known local artists and comedians. If this is your first visit to Mexico City, you’ll definitely want to visit the Plaza de Garibaldi, a mariachi plaza in the downtown area where you can listen to mariachi music while drinking tequila, Mexico’s most traditional drink. Explore the plaza at your leisure, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing with the mariachis until the break of dawn.

SHOPPING:
Mexico City offers many options if you want to go shopping. From department stores that sell clothes and electronic goods, to first-rate shopping malls, such as Centro Coyoacan, Perisur and Centro Santa Fe, where you’ll find boutiques and jewelry stores selling the most prestigious brands. All along Avenida Presidente Masaryk, in Polanco, you will spot many exclusive boutiques and stores selling top-notch designer goods. In the Zona Rosa, the Roma and the Condesa, you’ll come across the best art galleries selling works of renowned artists. To buy crafts, you can hit La Ciudadela market and the Centro Artisanal Buenavista, where you can purchase items made in different regions throughout the nation. Finally, at the Lagunilla market or at bazaars in Coyoacan, San Angel, the Roma and the Condesa, you will find antiques, books, jewelry, coins, old records and photos, among many other objects.

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Mexico City, Zocalo, Cathedral - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, Zocalo, Cathedral
Mexico City, Hotel Casa Vieja, Suite Frida Kahlo, Portrait detail - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria
  Mexico City, Hotel Casa Vieja, Suite Frida Kahlo, Portrait detail
Mexico City, Hotel Casa Vieja, Parking at night - Photo by Casa Vieja
  Mexico City, Hotel Casa Vieja
Mexico City, Hotel De Cortes, Patio at night - Photo by Hotel de Cortes 0809
  Mexico City, Hotel De Cortes
Mexico City, Hotel Condesa DF, Room Top Suite, Terrace - Photo by Condesa DF
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Mexico City, Hotel W, Room, Bathroom - Photo by W
  Mexico City, Hotel W
Mexico City, Basilic of Guadalupe, Panoramic - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, Basilica of Guadalupe, Panoramic
Mexico City, Basilic of Guadalupe, Image of the Virgen of Guadalape - Photo by Basilic of Guadalupe
  Mexico City, Basilica of Guadalupe, Image of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Mexico City, Basilica de Guadalupe, New Church, Cupula  - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 0709
  Mexico City, Basilica de Guadalupe, New Church
Mexico City, Xochimilco, Seller of Flowers - Photo by visitmexico.com
  Mexico City, Xochimilco, Seller of Flowers
Mexico City, Xochimilco, Rafts - Photo by visitmexicopress
  Mexico City, Xochimilco, Rafts
Mexico City, Xochimilco, Canals - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, Xochimilco, Canals
Mexico City, Panoramic view at night - Photo by visitmexico.com
  Mexico City, Panoramic view at night
Mexico City, Three Cultures Square - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, Square of the Three Cultures
Mexico City, Templo Mayor - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, Templo Mayor
Mexico City, Zocalo, National Palace - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, National Palace
Mexico City, Cathedral, Aerial view - Photo by visitmexico.com
  Mexico City, Zocalo Cathedral
Mexico City, Postal Office at night - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, Postal Office
Mexico City, Palace of Bellas Arts - Photo by visitmexico.com
  Mexico City, Palace of Bellas Arts
Mexico City, House of the Tiles - Photo by visitmexico.com
  Mexico City, House of the Tiles
Mexico City, Torre Mayor, Panoramic - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, Torre Mayor
Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma, Fountain to Diana the Hunter - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma, Fountain to Diana the Hunter
Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma, The Angel - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma, The Angel
Mexico City, Gastronomy, Chiles en Nogada - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, Gastronomy, Chiles en Nogada
Mexico City, Zocalo, Ceremonial Dancer with tocado - Photo by visitmexico.com
  Mexico City, Zocalo, Ceremonial Dancer
Mexico City, Museum of Modern Art, detail - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 0709
  Mexico City, Museum of Modern Art
Mexico City, Museum Polyforum Siqueiros - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, Museum Polyforum Siqueiros
Mexico City, Museum Casa Azul, Frida Khalo - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, Museum Casa Azul, Frida Khalo
Mexico City, UNAM, National University, Library - Photo by visitmexico.com
  Mexico City, UNAM, National University
Mexico City, Basilic of Guadalupe, Indigenous Dancers  - Photo by visitmexicopress
  Mexico City, Basilica of Guadalupe, Indigenous Dancers
Mexico City, Xochimilco, Trajineras, Souvenirs vendor - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 0709
  Mexico City, Xochimilco, Trajineras
Mexico City, Chapultepec Castle - Photo by visitmexico.com
  Mexico City, Chapultepec Castle
Mexico City, Zocalo, Ceremonial Dancers - Photo by visitmexico.com
  Mexico City, Zocalo, Ceremonial Dancers
Mexico City, Palace of Bellas Arts - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, Palace of Bellas Arts
Mexico City, World Trade Center - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, World Trade Center
Mexico City, UNAM, Campus - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 0709
  Mexico City, UNAM
Mexico City, Plaza de Toros and Stadium Azteca - Photo by SECTUR
  Mexico City, Plaza de Toros and Stadium Azteca
Mexico City, Plaza Garibaldi, Mariachi - Photo by visitmexico.com
  Mexico City, Plaza Garibaldi, Mariachi
Mexico City, Basilica de Guadalupe, Original Church and grotto - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 0709
  Mexico City, Basilica de Guadalupe, Original Church and grotto
Mexico City, Zocalo, Ceremonial Dancer - Photo by visitmexico.com
  Mexico City, Zocalo, Ceremonial Dancer
Mexico City, Zocalo - Photo by visitmexico.com
  Mexico City, Zocalo