Once one of the world’s oldest ancient empires, Mexico’s capital city stands proudly as the 4th largest metropolis in the world today. Founded in 1325, Mexico City was the homeland of the Aztec Indian tribe. Hundreds of years later, the city’s 21 million inhabitants continue to preserve and worship their ancestors’ culture.
Today’s Mexico City has come a long way from its history of crime, violence, and drugs. The capital city, over the last decade, has become the new hotspot for tourists. In 2016, New York Times regarded Mexico City as the number one place to visit among a list of 52 top destinations all over the world. Read on to discover the wonders of Mexico City!
Must- See Places
When in Mexico City, hitting this cultural sanctuary is a must. The Teotihuacan pyramids are the birthplace of the Aztec civilization. It represents the Aztec people’s devotion to the many gods they worshipped during the time– of the most important, the Sun God, Huitzilopochtli. Book a romantic hot air balloon ride over the pyramids with FlyVolare and float over a magical sunrise with your lover or bestfriend. No matter who you decide to book the adventurous activity with, you’ll have a guaranteed experience of a lifetime.
Museum of Anthropology
Rated the #1 museum to visit when in Mexico City on TripAdvisor, this cultural institution will not disappoint. After paying a small ticket fee of 70 MXN or 3.5USD, choose from any of the exhibition doorways to begin your educational journey. From learning about the traditional pueblas to how the Mexican ancestors use the fiber from the agave plant to sew blankets and weave beautiful baskets, the Museum of Anthropology has everything you need to learn about the history of this city.
San Juan Market
Make your way to El Mercado del San Juan and find yourself joyously getting lost in its bustling halls. You’ll see that you are surrounded by tourists and locals alike, all fishing to buy the freshest meats and fruits. If you’re brave enough to try something different that will win you the respect of the locals, try the chapulines, or grasshoppers, that are roasted to a crunchy perfection. For a little over 1USD, you can buy a cup of chapulines and snack on them as your stroll through the 150- year old market.
Where to Eat
Located in the hip neighborhood of Condesa, this restaurant is home to Mexico City’s best seafood. When dining at this high-end eatery, it is essential to order the tuna tostadas, the pescado a la talla, and for dessert, the fig tart. Your palette will dance with amusement as you bite into the fresh crustaceans, and the spices in the fish will leave you in awe. Make a reservation before you go as the restaurant is always busy.
With multiple locations in Mexico City, this chain taco shop is one for the books. The taco shop’s famous item is the Huequito Especial, which is a mountain of tender and juicy pulled meat, caramelized onions, and runny cheese. Dip in guacamole and top with some diced tomatoes and you are in Taco Heaven. Make sure to order the homemade horchata! The sweetness of the ricewater drink will pair perfectly with the taco’s tangy taste.
Restaurante Internacional Tlaxco
Come have all-you-can-eat at this restaurant that is run by a local family. The price to eat this buffet meal could not be more impressive as it is less than 10USD. While you feast on traditional Mexican cuisines, you’ll get a band of mariachi men serenading you as they vivaciously play their violins and tambourines. It is really an experience to eat at this place because you can view the pyramids right from the windows as you have your tasty meal. Don’t forget to have dessert! The flan here is to die for.
Cool Day Trip
Devote a day to visit Xochimilco where you’ll find the most colorful and beautifully embellished gondolas on floating gardens. Rent a boat driver for 200 pesos per person, or 10USD, and have him paddle your boat to your pleasure. Gondolas will pass by your boat in which tacos and drinks are sold for affordable amounts. You can also rent the mariachi to come onto your boat and sing to you as you enjoy the vibrant view and your delicious homemade Mexican meal.
5 Hotels to Stay At
This hotel is one that is frequented by many young people, often couples or groups of friends. It is visually stunning, and extremely “insta-worthy”. While the pay per night is definitely on the pricier end, the hotel’s prime location by hip bars and coffee shops is unbeatable.
Right by Chapultepec Park lies this luxurious hotel that has every single amenity you can think of. Check in at 3pm and explore the close neighborhoods of Condesa and Polanco.
This 5-star hotel towers over the historic Plaza de la Reforma, offering an amazing view. With free breakfast included and a 24- hour butler and room service, you’ll be more than satisfied.
Located in downtown Mexico City, the Hyatt regency is 40 stories high and includes 775 polished and spacious rooms.
This 5-star luxury hotel is located in central Polanco, which is close to the hip neighborhoods of Condesa and Roma. With two acclaimed restaurants and a world class spa, Las Albocas offers a brilliant stay.
Iconic Cultural Attractions
The Angel of Independence One of Mexico City’s most important monuments, the golden, tall statue represents the victory of the Mexican heroes and the freedom of the Mexican people from Spain in 1821.
Experience what it feels like to be a local as you stroll through this magnificent park that is twice the size of Central Park in New York City.
Hidden Cultural Gems
When in Mexico City, the top two alcoholic beverages that tourists tend to drink are tequila and mezcal. There is a third drink, however, that locals secretly enjoy and that is harder to find in the hustle bustle of the city. In order to taste pulque, you have to venture out of the city and into more suburban areas, such as the nearby villages of Teotihuacan, where farmers freshly squeeze the juice for you on the spot.
Pulque is a fiber rich drink that is produced from the agave plant. It is low in alcoholic percentage and is known to be a sexual enhancer for many Mexican men. Some refer to pulque as the Mexican Viagra. With a slightly bitter and heavy taste, pulque is not a very tasty drink. However, chilangos swear that you will feel and look healthier when you consume the drink on the daily.
Q&A with Daníel
How much pulque is formed from one agave plant?
Each day, the agave plant can make up to 4 liters of pulque. In the sun, the long leaves rely on themselves for shade and produce the liquid in the center of the plant.
Do you drink pulque everyday?
I drink pulque three times a week in the morning. I have one friend who drinks it every day and he has eight children!
Why is pulque sacred to the Mexican culture?
My ancestors discovered pulque and regarded the agave plant as a gift from the gods. We drink it for nutrition and strength and it reminds us of our ancestors who, without, Mexico City would be nothing.