Best Things to See & Do in Mexico City

A cosmopolitan city like Mexico City has so much to offer that you could spend a lifetime exploring its sights and experiencing the culture. The city has more museums and art galleries than a small country and the streets are filled with history at every turn.

We worked hard to put together a comprehensive collection of our favorite spots and while this isn’t meant to be reflective of everything to do and see in Mexico City, nor in any particular order, it’s a fantastic starting point to base your stay around.

If you truly want to experience this city from the ground roots, we strongly recommend booking a private walking tour in Mexico City with us. We will be happy to work with you to create the most amazing experience for your time in Mexico City and have included our itineraries to give you a better understanding of some of the things we cover.

Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)

Churches/Cathedrals | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

This is the largest cathedral in America. Situated atop the former Aztec sacred precinct near the Templo Mayor in Centro Historico. The cathedral was built in sections from 1573 to 1813 around the original church that was constructed soon after the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlan, eventually replacing it entirely.

Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral on our Best of Mexico City tour

Postal Palace (Palacio Postal)

Post Office/Landmark | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

Still operating as a post office, this is one of the most recognizable buildings in Mexico City and one of the most beautiful. It’s also called Quinta Casa de Correos, meaning this place is the fifth seat of the Postal Offices in Mexico.

Visit the Postal Palace on our Best of Mexico City tour

Latin American Tower (Torre Latinoamericana)

Landmark/Lookout | Price: $110 MN to access the lookout plus fees for photo permission | Pre-book: No

Its central location, height, and history make it one of the city’s most important landmarks. From the lookout, you can get a glimpse of most of Mexico City. It also has a panoramic restaurant, Miralto.

See Torre Latinoamericana on our Best of Mexico City tour

National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropología e Historia)

Museum | Price: $70 MN to access the museum grounds plus extra fees for specific exhibitions | Pre-book: No

This is considered one of the most important museums in Mexico. It hosts an impressive collection of prehispanic pieces. The Aztec Room is a must visit, since it contains some of the most recognizable pieces from the Aztec empire, including the Aztec calendar stone.

Bellas Artes Palace (Palacio de Bellas Artes)

Art Gallery | Price: $60 MN and up | Pre-book: No, but huge lines

The Palacio de Bellas Artes is a prominent cultural center in Mexico City. It has hosted some of the most notable events in music, dance, theatre, opera and literature and has held important exhibitions of painting, sculpture, and photography.

Discover the best view of the Bellas Artes Palace on our Best of Mexico City tour

Chapultepec Castle (Castillo de Chapultepec)

Landmark, Castle | Price: $70 MN | Pre-book: No

This castle is located at the top of the Chapultepec Hill and offers an impressive view of the forest and the neighborhoods surrounding it. This is the only royal castle of the Americas. It was constructed in 1785.

Frida Kahlo Museum (Museo Frida Kahlo/Casa Azul)

Museum, Art Gallery | Price: $150 MN | Pre-book: Yes, book online and avoid queuing

Casa Azul is the former house and studio of Frida Kahlo. This picturesque house in Coyoacan offers a glimpse into the private life of both Frida and Diego Rivera. The entrance to the museum includes a free pass to visit Anahuacalli, Diego Rivera’s Museum of Mexican culture and art.

Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum before or after our Tastes of Coyoacan tour

Teotihuacán

Pyramids, Historic Site | Price: $70 MN | Pre-book: No

Teotihuacán is a vast Mexican archaeological complex northeast of Mexico City. Running down the middle of the site, which was once a flourishing pre-Columbian city, is the Avenue of the Dead. It links the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun, the latter two with panoramic views from their summits.

The National Palace (Palacio Nacional)

Historic Site | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

This site has been a palace for the ruling class of Mexico since the Aztec empire (first as the palaces of the Aztec tlatoani, then of the Spanish viceroys, then of Mexican heads of state. Only until very recently, those who held power over Mexico lived here as well as asserted their authority). The murals in Palacio Nacional are some of Diego Rivera’s finest works.

Visit the National Palace on our Best of Mexico City tour

Modern Art Museum (Museo de Arte Moderno)

Museum, Art Gallery | Price: $65 MN | Pre-book: No

The museum is focused on Mexican modern art, displaying pieces from some of the most recognized contemporary artists. International contemporary art exhibits are also common in the museum.

Arena México

Event Venue | Price: Varies | Pre-book: Yes

The biggest arena where traditional Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling) is performed. These matches are exciting and fun for people of all ages.

Soumaya Museum (Museo Soumaya)

Museum | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

The Museo Soumaya, designed by the Mexican architect Fernando Romero, is a private museum in Mexico City. It is a non-profit cultural institution with two museum buildings in Mexico City – Plaza Carso and Plaza Loreto. Closed on Tuesdays.

Templo Mayor Museum & Archeologic Site (Museo del Templo Mayor y zona arqueológica)

Museum, Historic Site | Price: $70 MN | Pre-book: No

The ruins of the largest temple in the Aztec empire are located just beside the Metropolitan Cathedral. You can access the site and then visit the museum just next door. Closed on Mondays. Free on Sundays.

See the ruins on our Best of Mexico City tour

House of Tiles
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House of Tiles (Casa de los azulejos)

Restaurant, Landmark | Price: Cost of meal | Pre-book: No

This 18th-century palace with a blue & white tile facade is now home to a popular restaurant. Great architecture but very disappointing food in iconic Mexico City building.

See the House of Tiles on our Best of Mexico City tour

Square of the Three Cultures (Plaza de las Tres Culturas)

Historic Site | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

This public square featuring remains of an Aztec city was the site of the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre. The three cultures (tres culturas) refer to the three stages of Mexico that can be seen in this place: Prehispanic, colonial, and modern.

Plaza Garibaldi
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Garibaldi Plaza

Public Square | Price: Free, or cost of a song | Pre-book: No

Mariachis in traditional attire perform in this iconic plaza, home to a museum, bars & shops.

Visit Garibaldi Plaza on our Best of Mexico City tour

The National Museum of Art (Museo Nacional de Arte/MUNAL)

Museum | Price: $60 MN | Pre-book: No

The National Museum of Art preserves, exhibits, studies and transmits Mexican works of art produced between the second half of the XVI century and 1954, thus offering a global and synthesized vision of Mexican Art from this period. The building and the surrounding plaza are both impressive in its architecture. Closed on Mondays.

See the National Museum of Art on our Best of Mexico City tour

Palace of Mines (Palacio de Minería)

Museum, Landmark | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

Building with impressive neoclassical architecture that dates back to the beginning of the 19th Century. Nowadays, the place is used as a museum and an exhibition center.

See the Palace of Mines on our Best of Mexico City tour

Memory and Tolerance Museum (Museo Memoria y Tolerancia)

Museum | Price: $80 MN | Pre-book: No

This museum pays tribute to the memory of the innocent victims of the Holocaust and other global genocides. The building and its surroundings were designed by Legorreta and Legorreta, whose architectural style has been associated with modern Mexico and is recognized worldwide.

Tequila and Mezcal Museum (Museo del Tequila y el Mezcal)

Museum, Bar | Price: $90 MN | Pre-book: No

This is a versatile space for mezcal and tequila enthusiasts. The museum includes a shop with a wide variety of brands that cannot be easily found elsewhere. There’s also a traditional cantina where several events take place throughout the year. It’s located in the middle of Plaza Garibaldi.

Have a shot of mezcal here on our Best of Mexico City tour

Island of the Dolls (La Isla de las Muñecas)

Bizarre/Weird | Price: Varies for boat trip | Pre-book: No

If creepy is your thing, check out this island filled with hundreds of hanging, decomposing, decapitated dolls in the Xochimilco canals. It is not particularly easy to reach the island. The best bet is to take a ferry from Embarcadero Cuemanco or from Embarcadero Fernando Celada.

Vasconcelos Library (Biblioteca Vasconcelos)

Library | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

The world is teeming with stunning libraries, but precious few manage to seamlessly cater to design, the people, and history in such an admirable manner as Mexico City’s Biblioteca Vasconcelos.

Zócalo
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Zócalo

Public Square | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

The main plaza of Mexico City. From here, you can have good views of the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Palace, and some of the oldest buildings and structures in Mexico City, including the ruins of Templo Mayor.

Visit the Zócalo on our Best of Mexico City tour

Monument to the Revolution (Monumento a la Revolución)

Monument | Price: $80 MN for the lookout | Pre-book: No

This monument is located in Plaza de la República and was originally intended to act as a legislative palace. It was eventually repurposed as a monument to commemorate the Mexican Revolution. At 67 meters tall, it’s considered the highest triumphal arc in the world.

Angel of Independence
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The Angel of Independence (Monumento a la Independencia)

Monument | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

Probably the most iconic monument in Mexico City, the Winged Victory, as it’s officially called, was constructed to celebrate 100 years of Mexico’s independence back in 1910. The column overlooks one of the most beautiful sections of Paseo de la Reforma.

Diego Rivera Mural Museum (Museo Mural Diego Rivera)

Art Gallery, Museum | Price: $35 MN plus extra to take photos | Pre-book: No

The museum houses one of Diego Rivera’s most recognized murals, “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Central”. Closed on Mondays.

Gran Hotel Ciudad de México
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Gran Hotel Ciudad de México

Historic Hotel | Price: Free to visit the entrance | Pre-book: No

This is one of the best places to stay in Centro Histórico. The building is an example of Art Noveau in Mexico during the beginning of the twentieth century. It has a beautiful restaurant overlooking the Zócalo and the surrounding areas.

Visit the Gran Hotel Ciudad de México on our Best of Mexico City tour

Sonora Market
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Sonora Market

Markets, Witchcraft | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

This lovely row of Victorian houses on Steiner Street near Alamo Square was made famous by the popular 90’s TV show ‘Full House’. With spectacular views, they are now worth millions of dollars.

Rufino Tamayo Museum

Museum | Price: $60 MN | Pre-book: No

This is one of the most important places to see contemporary art in Mexico City. Internationally renowned exhibitions normally occur here. Closed on Mondays.

Luis Barragán Museum

Museum | Price: $400 MN | Pre-book: Yes

This house, designed by Mexican architect Luis Barragán, is considered a staple of contemporary architecture around the world. The house alone has been declared as a World Heritage Site. It’s also the most expensive museum in Mexico.

Morisco Kiosk
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Morisco Kiosk (Quiosco Morisco)

Landmarks | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

A beautiful iron structure that marks the central spot in the Santa María la Ribera neighborhood.

Six Flags Mexico

Amusement Park | Price: $499 MN | Pre-book: Yes

Plenty of rides and entertainment if that’s what you’re looking for an adrenaline rush. Something for the whole family.

Old Toy Museum of Mexico (Museo del Juguete Antiguo)

Museum | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

Opened in 2006 and now showcasing over 20,000 Mexican toys from the early 20th century. This place is as bizarre as it sounds but that’s also what makes it so interesting.

Xochimilco Canals
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Xochimilco Canals

Canal | Price: from $40 MN for a collective boat | Pre-book: No

Xochimilco is internationally known as the Mexican Venice. You can rent a traditional trajinera boat to roam the canals while you enjoy some drinks and listen to live music. There are several piers from which trajineras depart, but Nuevo Nativitas is the best option among them.

Coyoacan Market (Mercado de Coyoacan)

Market | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

One of the icons of this magical neighborhood. If you want to know the daily life of a site, you must dive deeper into their markets, and this particular one is famous for its color and tradition. Mercado Coyoacan offers rich snacks, corrida food, juices and smoothies, countless crafts, costumes for all occasions, traditional clothing, Mexican toys, plants, gifts, and more.

Visit the Coyoacan Food Market on our Tastes of Coyoacan food tour

Chapultepec Forest
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Chapultepec Forest (Bosque de Chapultepec)

Park/Gardens | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

Chapultepec is the main urban forest in Mexico City. It hosts plenty of restaurants and attractions including the city zoo, a couple artificial lakes where you even can hire boats, multiple museums, and monuments. You could easily spend a day simply explore the grounds.

Hacienda de Cortés

Landmark, Restaurant | Price: Cost of meal | Pre-book: No

Historic house linked to the Spanish conquistador. It houses a traditional Mexican restaurant surrounded by open spaces decorated in a colorful Mexican fashion.

Visit Hacienda de Cortés on our Tastes of Coyoacan food tour

Chapultepec Zoo (Parque Zoologico de Chapultepec)

Zoo | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

Mexico City’s zoo is located within Chapultepec Forest and is home to over 2,000 animals. Their giant pandas are the main attraction. Admission is free and the zoo is open from Tuesday to Sunday – 9 am to 4:30 pm.

University City (Ciudad Universitaria)

University | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

The main campus of the university is a World Heritage Site. Most of the buildings are a good example of contemporary Mexican architecture and they are decorated with some of Mexico’s best examples of muralism. The whole complex shows intelligent urbanism, with gardens and passageways connecting all the main areas of the campus. Ciudad Universitaria is also home to museums, theatres, concert halls, and it even contains the biggest natural reservoir in Mexico City – Pedregal de San Ángel.

La Conchita (Plaza e Iglesia de La Conchita)

Churches/Cathedrals | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

Oldest church in Mexico City. This is the first catholic structure to be built over an old altar (toltec).

Learn more about La Conchita on our Tastes of Coyoacan food tour

Plaza de Santo Domingo
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Santo Domingo Square (Plaza de Santo Domingo)

Park, Slides | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

The church is all that is left from the first monastery. The Palace of the Inquisition stands on the corner of Republica de Brasil and Republica de Venezuela. It eventually became the School of Medicine for the reconstructed National University, eventually converting the structure in what is today the Museum of Mexican Medicine.

San Fernando Pantheon (Panteón de San Fernando)

Museum | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

One of the most emblematic venues of the Historic Center is the Pantheon Museum of San Fernando, which holds the tombs of politicians, military leaders, and personalities of Mexican society of the nineteenth century such as Benito Juarez.

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Basílica de Guadalupe)

Churches/Cathedrals | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

This shrine was constructed near the Hill of Tepeyac, where Our Lady of Guadalupe is believed to have appeared to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. This site is also known as La Villa de Guadalupe. This is the most important religious pilgrimage site in Mexico and is a spectacle to behold around December 12, when the national festivities of Our Lady of Guadalupe take place.

Former College of San Ildefonso (Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso)

Museum | Price: $25 MN | Pre-book: No

This museum is one of the most recognized examples of colonial architecture in Centro Histórico with some parts of the building date back to the 15th century. This place also hosts a wide array of murals from the most famous artists of early 20th century Mexico. Closed on Mondays.

Church of La Enseñanza (Templo de la Enseñanza/Nuestra Señora del Pilar)

Churches/Cathedrals | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

The church is a great example of the Mexican baroque of the early 18th century. This temple is often overlooked by tourists even though it’s one of the most beautiful in Centro Histórico and located only a block away from Zócalo.

Alameda Park (Alameda Central)

Park/Gardens | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

The oldest public garden in Mexico and the Americas. Alameda Central is surrounded by some of the most important museums in Mexico City. It also boasts some important monuments, with the Juarez Hemicycle being the most important.

Stroll through Alameda Park on our Best of Mexico City tour

Plaza Luis Cabrera
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Plaza Luis Cabrera

Park/Gardens | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

This public square in the heart of la Roma is surrounded by some of the most picturesque streets in Mexico City. There are regular public art exhibitions on display surrounding the fountains.

Visit Plaza Luis Cabrera on our Street Art of Roma Condesa tour

La Ciudadela

Handicraft Market | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

This is the biggest handicraft market in Mexico City and also one of the cheapest places to get some traditional souvenirs. On Saturdays, there are dance exhibitions on the square just outside the market.

Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros

Landmark, Art | Price: $30-60 MN | Pre-book: No

This cultural complex has the biggest mural in the world, La Marcha de la Humanidad (The March of Humankind) by David Alfaro Siqueiros. On weekends there is a light show with a narration (by Siqueiros himself) explaining the whole mural. Polyforum is located at the bottom of the World Trade Center building.

Cuicuilco Pyramid

Historic Site | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

Cuicuilco is the oldest most important settlement in Central Mexico. The site contains the largest pyramid inside Mexico City and a museum.

Anahuacalli Museum (Museo Diego Rivera Anahuacalli)

Museum | Price: $90 MN | Pre-book: No

This is where Diego Rivera’s personal collection of prehispanic art is gathered. The whole building was planned to emulate Mayan and Aztec architecture. You have a free entry if you already visited La Casa Azul.

Dolores Olmedo Patiño Museum (Museo Dolores Olmedo Patino)

Museum | Price: $100 MN | Pre-book: No

This museum in Xochimilco has a good collection of pieces by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. The building and gardens are also impressive. You can see both xoloitzcuintles (a hairless Mexican dog) and peacocks roaming around the property. The museum puts together one of the most impressive altars for Day of the Dead.

Centenario Garden and Plaza Hidalgo (Jardín Centenario y Plaza Hidalgo)

Park/Gardens | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

The two main gardens of Coyoacán, Centenario and Hidalgo are surrounded by restaurants and shops. During the weekends you can find street performers and people selling their crafts. People normally refer to this spot as Centro de Coyoacán (Coyoacan Center).

Visit these gardens on our Tastes of Coyoacan food tour

Reforma Avenue
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Reforma Avenue (Paseo de la Reforma)

Street | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

This is considered the most beautiful street in Mexico City. Most of the city’s important monuments are here or within walking distance. Hotels, restaurants, and bars abound. The avenue is surrounded by picturesque and high-end neighborhoods. Distances along the avenue can be deceiving so wear comfy shoes.

Mercado Merced
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Merced Market (Mercado de la Merced)

Market | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

Merced is a whole neighborhood containing several huge markets with every imaginable item for sale. It’s better to explore this place with a local since it’s easy to get lost and some parts can be a little dangerous.

San Jacinto Plaza
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San Jacinto Square and Saturday Market (Plaza de San Jacinto y Bazaar del Sábado)

Landmark, Market | Price: Free | Pre-book: No

This square is the center of San Angel, a picturesque neighborhood where artists gather on Saturday to sell their paintings and other handicrafts. San Jacinto is surrounded by plenty of restaurants, bars, and cafes. This is a great place to shop for souvenirs.

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