Insider's Guide to Mexico City

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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4 star rating: Recommended 177 Reviews

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  • Address: Plaza de la Constitución
  • Admission: Free

Mexico City ATTRACTIONS See all

Centro Historico

Mexico City's Centro Historico was once called Tenochtitlán, founded in 1325 atop a an island in Lake Texcoco. The seers of the wandering Aztec tribe had received a vision, telling to found their great city in a spot where an eagle, perched on a cactus, was devouring a serpent. Their quest ended here.

The lake has long since been drained, though the eagle still flies over the old island - today enormous Plaza del la Constitución (more commonly called the Zócalo) - as part of an enormous Mexican flag. The seat of government since Aztec times, the Centro Historico is surrounded by fantastic architecture from every age: the Templo Mayor, an Aztec Temple that was once North America's most important; the Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest and oldest cathedral in the hemisphere; the House of Tiles (Casa de los Azulejos); and the Torre Latinoamericana, once the tallest building in Latin America and still one of the world's largest earthquake-resistant structures. The area is also home to the Monumento a los Heroes de la Independencia.

The Historic Center stretches on for some 700 blocks with Paseo de la Reforma, a wide avenue running across the area, and is packed with museums, parks, hotels, restaurants, and nightlife options; it is more populous than many countries and a world unto itself. An afternoon's exploration offers a taste of its offerings; a lifetime would not be long enough to see it all.

Practical Info

The Mexico City Centro Historico (or Historic Center) is wrapped around the Zócalo, more properly called Plaza de la Constitución. While there are dozens of car parks in the area, it is more easily explored on foot, and there are several metro stops serving the region. The most convenient is the Zócalo station on Metro Line 2. Buses radiate outward along the major avenues toward the farthest reaches of the city, and taxis swarm through the congested streets. During national celebrations, such as Independence Day (September 15), the area is filled with inebriated revelers.

Tours & Tickets

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Folkloric Ballet in Mexico City

4.5 star rating: Recommended 25 Reviews

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 3 hours

From USD $121.99

Mexico City Sightseeing Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 114 Reviews

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 5 hours

From USD $47.99
From USD $57.99

Mexico City Food Walking Tour: Tamales, Tacos and Quesadillas

4.5 star rating: Recommended 4 Reviews

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 5 hours

From USD $83.99

Mexico City Markets Tour: La Merced, Sonora and San Juan Markets

4 star rating: Recommended 9 Reviews

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 3 hours

From USD $20.99

Garibaldi Night Tour

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 9 Reviews

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 3 hours

From USD $49.99

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