If art, heritage, architecture, and culture amaze you, maybe it is time for you to visit Mexico.
One of Mexico’s pride is its “centro historico“, or historic center. The historic center of Mexico City is listed as one of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) world heritage site due to its Aztec’s civilization origin.
According to UNESCO, it was built around the 16th century by the Spanish from the ruins of Tenochtitlan. The Spanish used the city center as headquarters and then by independent Mexico after.
Before the Spanish sequestered the capital city, historical accounts indicate that there is an existence of the great lake. The lake contains several canoes and the island city, full of oratories like towers and fortresses and all gleaming white. Then, the Spanish conquerors tore down the island city of Tenochtitlan and drained the lake surrounded by it.
From the old times, ancient Mexico was once ruled by the ancient Aztecs. It was a former Aztec capital used to be an empire back then. But presently speaking, it becomes one of the world’s largest and most populated cities.
But before we fully explore the capital city, here are some quick reminders to enjoy the city:
Plan when to visit. If you are planning to visit, know more about their seasons and climate. If you hate conveniences, try to research about their climate. The best time to come there is from November to April. If you wanted to visit Mexico, think first about their Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the dead festival). It takes places during November 1 and 2. Chances are, venues, hotels, and lodges will get booked up. It might be also more expensive and crowded at this time.
Know what to wear. You may see Mexico as a hot place but it keeps colder in the evening. Always bring a jacket and a sweater everywhere you go.
Budget your travel. Since you are traveling, prepare yourself in case of a financial emergency. Plan your daily budget. You may also use ATM to get Mexican peso rather than money changer stalls. You should also know that not all museums in Mexico City are free, always have extra.
Sim card as a survival kit. If your local sim card does not get any reception, got get one. This is the first thing to do when you land at the airport. This is your tool to access online maps to wander around the city. You can also use internet access to book uber and go places around the city. (Taxis may cost more than Uber).
Watch out for pickpockets. Always be mindful of your belongings. If you are new to a place, don’t lower your guard especially in crowded places.
Food trips. Aside from going to expensive, romantic restaurants, you might also want to consider local street foods. Don’t worry, Mexico City is a clean city.
Wake up early. As the saying goes by, “the early bird catches the worm.” You will enjoy the city tours more and be the first ones to go to museums, monuments, parks, and other places. Don’t forget markets for souvenirs!
Bring your water. Since you might be recognized as a tourist, you will be offered expensive bottled water. If you happen to forget one, you may request a regular one from the jug.
Ready your cameras. Since you are traveling, always ready your cameras for breath-taking views. Don’t forget to visit Bella Artes and Torre Latino – the best views in the city.
Consider the nightlife. Mexico has a huge nightlife scenery. You may enjoy night bands and performers on the street. One way to optimize your visit.
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After packing these tips, let’s start our itinerary.
Mexico’s must-visit places you don’t want to miss
Also known as Zócalo meaning base. During the 19th century, a plan to build a monument to signify independence but failed to finish it. Only its pedestal was placed. It is also the exact location where the Aztecs founded their city. It was said, according to legends, there is a mark of a statue of an eagle and a serpent on the south side of the square. The place measures 240 meters by 220 meters which is one of the largest plaza squares in the world. You may also watch live performances by street artists from 8 am to 6 pm. Ceremonial hoisting of the flag takes place every day.
It is a government building at the constitution square and placed at the heart of the city. The materials used to construct the building were from the Palace of Emperor Moctezuma II. Also, one of the significant events it has witnessed is Mexico’s declaration of independence in September 1810. It is also when it started the war for Independence sparked.
Frida Kahlo’s Blue House Museum
You might be curious about the life of Frida Kahlo, who was featured in the Disney Animation film, Coco. The film was inspired by the Mexican festival, Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) that showed Frida Kahlo. In real life, she was a surrealist painter that was born in 1907. Her house turned into a museum in 1957, four years after she died, for her life’s work and personal items.
Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral
The cathedral is on the north side of the Zocalo. The construction started in 1562 and took 300 years to finished. The cathedral is a mix of Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical Styles.
Built upon the hill of the same name, Chapultepec Hill. From the Aztec’s language, Nahuatl, Chapultepec means “at the grasshopper hill”. It is placed on Aztec’s sacred hilltop meaning the glorious palace. It offers a great view for the tourists.
León Trotsky House Museum
This is where he Leon Trotsky assassinated and buried. Trotsky was a Soviet Revolutionary that was a threat to Joseph Stalin during World War II. Ramon Mercader killed Trotsky under Stalin’s order. The museum contains personal belongings of Trotsky. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday. It includes free guide tours.
Pyramid of the Sun
A part of UNESCO world heritage sites, the Pyramid of the Sun is considered as one of the largest structures of Teotihuacan civilization. It is located on 40km northwest of Mexico City and contains murals and carvings and several museums to explore more of Aztec’s history. It’s open for tourists daily from 9 pm to 5 pm.
Monument of Revolution
Influenced by Socialist Realism Styles, the monument was designed by an architect, Carlos Obregón Santacilia. The construction of the monument began in 1932 and ended in 1938. It located at the Republic Square. The museum is placed at the base of the monument. You may also find Paseo Cimentacion, an art gallery in the basement.
National Art Museum of Mexico
The art museum was founded in 1982. It exhibits 3,000 art pieces on display. The museum showcases the timeline in Mexico, from the colonial days to the mid-20th century. Tourists are welcome from Tuesday to Sunday.
Torre Latino or Torre Latinoamericana was introduced in 1956 and located at the historic center of Mexico City. You can avail tickets to enter the observation deck of the building and appreciate the overlooking view of the city. It contains 44 floors and measures 182 meters and considered the tallest building constructed outside the United States. The viewing is from 9 am until 10 pm.
Sometimes we wondered how the culture of Aztecs was and its heritage as well. Maybe it’s time to make your imagination turn into reality by visiting Mexico.
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