North America may not be known for its regal royalty or holding court, but Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City—the only palace on the continent—is definitely the real deal. Located more than 7,000 feet above sea level, Chapultepec has housed sovereigns, served as a military academy and was even an observatory. In 1996 the castle was transformed into Capulet Mansion for the movie Romeo and Juliet, too.
Until 1939, Chapultepec Castle served as the presidential residence. Then a new law moved it elsewhere and the castle became home to both the National Museum of History and the National Museum of Cultures instead. A stroll through these halls, followed by a tour of lush castle grounds is a perfect way to spend a Mexico City afternoon.
The castle is located on Calz del Rio in Chapultepec Park off Paseo de la Reforma Road and is accessible via the metro at Auditorio and Chapultepec stations. A visit costs less on Sundays, but cheaper entry means bigger crowds. Avoid the crush by visiting during the week, and pack a camera since views from the hilltop are some of the best in the city.