Many visitors to Mexico City tend to stay around the historic center, where the National Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral, Palace of Fine Arts ,and historic Plaza Santo Domingo are. However, there is so much more to explore when you venture into other Mexico City Neighborhoods. From beautiful Art-Deco homes and lush parkland with museums and sculptures, to canals with flower-covered floating boats, Mexico City is a feast for all the senses.
The Historic Center of Mexico City was once the site of the old Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. The center is packed with fascinating museums, art galleries, ancient temple ruins, beautiful Metropolitan Cathedral, and National Palace. If you’re short on time in the city, take a walk to the Zócalo – easily recognizable by the huge Mexican flag in the center. This vast plaza is the heart of the city, filled with cultural landmarks and important buildings. The National Palace in the square is a great place to admire Diego Rivera’s murals. The detailed artwork painted between 1929 and 1935 depicts the life and times of citizens of Mexico. For the best views of the city, climb to the top of Torre Latinoamericano or stop at the bar, one floor below for a chilled beer overlooking the rooftops. Late afternoon head for Plaza Garibaldi to feast on tasty tacos and tamales in a local cantina and immerse yourself in the uplifting sounds of live Mariachi music.
Polanco is an affluent neighborhood famous for its upscale dining and designer stores on Avenida Presidente Masaryk it’s a diverse community with a number of interesting museums and exhibition centers. Spend the morning browsing Tianguis (the Aztec name for street markets), or strolling through leafy Plaza Uruguay, before dining in one of Latin America’s best restaurants – Pujol.
Home to the largest park in Mexico City, Chapultepec is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the historic center. The park is divided into three sections with a castle, zoo, a picturesque boating lake, fairground, restaurants, and the National Anthropology Museum. During the weekends, locals flock to the park by the dozen to relax with family and friends and visit the attractions. Don’t leave without taking a walk along Calzada de los Poetas – a forest path dedicated to celebrated writers and poets of Mexico.
The historic neighborhood of Coyoacan used to be the home of artist Frida Kahlo, and today you can visit her home, La Casa Azul, to learn more about her life and work. The area contains two lively central plazas – Hidalgo and Jardin Centenario, surrounded by cozy pavement side cafes, old book shops, and authentic Mexican cantinas where you can enjoy delicious regional dishes.
Originally a residential area for wealthy families, this neighborhood, 40 minutes’ walk from the historic center had its heyday in the 1950’s and 60’s. Lately, however, the neighborhood is enjoying a resurgence, courtesy of the LGBTQIA+ community. Now, the ‘Pink Zone’ is one of the friendliest, liveliest spots in the city and has some of the best nightlife. Don’t forget to see the Angel of Independence statue on Paseo de la Reforma and browse for bargains at the local artisan markets and antique stores.
Peppered with pretty 1920’s and 1930’s Art Deco houses and leafy avenues, La Condesa is a fashionable neighborhood on the outer fringes of Chapultepec Park. It attracts creatives, intellectuals, and entrepreneurs with its edgy boutiques, lively cafe culture and restaurants serving cuisines from Mexico, Argentina, France, and Italy. It is also one of the best neighborhoods for nightlife in the capital with laid-back lounges, rooftop bars, and buzzing clubs.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Xochimilco 45 minutes outside Mexico City is a scenic location with meandering canals and forested riverbanks. This was once the site of an ancient Aztec agricultural tradition. A place where locals would build ‘chinampas’ – artificial floating fields in the shallow waters on which to grow their crops. Most visitors venture to Xochimilco to ride the trajineras. These brightly painted canopied boats are an ideal way to spend a sunny afternoon. Glide along the canals admiring landscapes, feast on Mexican food, and listen to lively mariachi music. If you want to visit unusual attractions during your visit, head for La Isla de las Muñecas – otherwise known as “The Island of the Dolls”. This strange (and a little creepy) exhibit consists of dolls dangling from trees, in various states of deterioration. If nothing else, it’s a bizarre place to tell friends about back home!