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A Day in Mexico City

By: Cityseeker
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Museo de la Ciudad de México

The 27 halls comprising this 18th Century colonial palace offer an insight into the urban development of the city of Mexico through maps, paintings and photographs on exhibit. The room on the upper level displays murals painted by the Mexican painter Joaquín Claussel. Among the many highlights found here is a large wooden door of intricate carved detail, including the coat of arms belonging to the Counts of Santiago de Calimaya. A presumably pre-Hispanic serpent's head, fashioned in a large stone, juts out from the building towards the corner of República del Salvador.

Mexico City, Mexico
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National Palace

A rambling, majestic structure built from earth-hued tezontle rock, dominates the expanse of El Zócalo in the heart of Mexico City. Hernán Cortés, the conqueror of Mexico, built this government palace in 1693 on the very same site where the legendary Moctezuma II's residence once stood. The Palacio Nacional that we see today is almost an identical twin of its old self except for the building's ornately-decorated topmost floor that was added in the late 1920s. The structure's interiors are even more impressive; housing a spectacular selection of vivid and figurative murals by Diego Rivera. While his collection of murals is enormous, the "Epic of the Mexican People" mural is by far the Palacio's centerpiece which manages to artistically condense nearly two thousand years worth of history onto the space of an enormous wall. The palace also houses a small museum dedicated to Benito Juárez and the Mexican Congress and is also where the National Archives and Federal Treasury offices are located.

Mexico City, Mexico
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Zócalo

The Plaza de la Constitución is one of the world's largest city squares and is the main plaza of Mexico's Federal District. Paved by Cortés is the 1520s, the expansive plaza lies at the site of the ceremonial center of the Aztec Tenochtitlán. For a time, the plaza was taken over by a labyrinth of stalls, until General Santa Anna cleared the square and laid the foundations of a monument to independence at its core. His plans were never realized, however, and the base of the proposed monument was eventually buried. What remains, is the name Zócalo, meaning "plinth," a moniker popularly used to refer to the Plaza de la Constitución as well as the main squares of several other Mexican cities. Here, Aztec dancers perform daily to the beat of drums, beneath the massive Mexican flag fluttering in the breeze, hoisted each morning by soldiers at 8a and lowered again at 6p. The grand historic facades of the Palacio Nacional and Catedral Metropolitana fringe the square; a place where the pulse of the city beats the strongest. The Plaza de la Constitución also hosts concerts, festivals and protests amid its sprawling embrace.

Mexico City, Mexico
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Teatro de la ciudad

Teatro de la ciudad, is a well known theater that hosts cultural events and plays. The venue also hosts entertaining plays for kids and has numerous activities for them. Also, graduation parties for different universities are held at the venue. Regional and well known artists are invited to perform at the theater. The venue also hosts various festive events like winter festival with lot of fun activities for the patrons. It hosts inter-school dance and singing competition for children and encourages families to join them for child friendly celebration.

Monclova, Mexico
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Iglesia de San Francisco

One of the greatest losses of Mexico City's cultural inheritance is related to the convent of San Francisco. The expansion of the city center, along with the Latin-American Tower construction project, had the dire effect of leaving only a small part of the cloister and church intact. The House of Beasts, or rather, Emperor Montezuma's zoological collection, originally occupied this land. After the Spanish conquest, Hernán Cortes gave it to the Franciscans (the first order to establish itself in what was then called New Spain), who built a 32,490 square meter convent, the biggest in America. Part of the installation included the school of Artes y Oficios (Skills and Trades) of San Jose de los Naturales, which aimed to educate indigenous children.

Mexico City, Mexico
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Alameda Central

A pleasant respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, this charming green park has sparkling fountains, shady trees and interesting sculptures such as 'Malgre Tout' and 'Despoire', by Jesús Contreras. The park also has a monument dedicated to Beethoven in commemoration of the centenary of the Ninth Symphony, which was donated by the German community. This recreation space for the local populace was created in 1592 and few city parks guard such hidden history in its landscape, such as being the former site of the Inquisition's burning of heretics. A typical Mexican Sunday can be enjoyed at the Alameda Central, which often has live music, along with markets and food stalls.

Mexico City, Mexico
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La Condesa

Known for being home to various film stars in the Golden Age of cinema in the 1940s, this charming neighborhood features art deco and modern architecture, lush parks and hip cafes, restaurants and boutiques. This urbanized and trendy area of the city is popular amongst musicians, young professionals and families. A weekend must visit.

Mexico City, Mexico
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Monumento a los Niños Héroes

Situated at the main entrance to the Bosque de Chapultepec, this monument was designed as a semicircle of six columns, each representing the brave young cadets who died during the invasion of U.S. troops in 1847. The youthful cadets were stationed at the Castillo de Chapultepec, which served at that time as the national military academy and died in one of the most tragic and emotional moments in Mexican history.

Mexico City, Mexico
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Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art is distributed throughout two buildings, providing two entrances. One entrance is accessed off Reforma and the other is found near the Monumento a los Niños Héroes. A sense of calm imbues the well-lit spacious interior. The main hall exhibits a retrospective of the Mexican school of painting, where highlights include works by Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Francisco Toledo and Rufino Tamayo. There is a pleasant cafe, along with a bookshop and library. On weekdays, children under ten, students, teachers and senior citizens are admitted free. Sunday is free of charge.

Mexico City, Mexico
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Castillo de Chapultepec

Castillo de Chapultepec was built between 1780 and 1790, constructed on top of an Aztec fortress with panoramic views of the city. The gardens surrounding the palace were designed by Empress Carlota during the French occupation and offer a beautiful stroll. It once served as the Colegio Militar (Military Academy) and was also the official presidential residence until 1939, when President Cárdenas converted the palace into the Museo Nacional de Historia. Restoration efforts have significantly enhanced the construction as well as the design of the interiors.

Mexico City, Mexico
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National Museum of Anthropology

A treasure chest of pre-Columbian history and Mexico’s cultural heritage, the National Museum of Anthropology is a defining historical landmark of the country. Located on the bustling thoroughfare of Paseo de la Reforma, the museum complex is one of the most architecturally evolved in the city. Dotted with gardens and ponds, the monumental umbrella-like structure forms the centerpiece of the complex. Home to some of the most precious relics from Mexican history, the 23 rooms along with outdoor gardens display insightful artifacts from even other parts of the world. The monolith Aztec Sun Stone and carved stone statues of Aztec deities are the most visited exhibits in the museum. Accurate replicas of tombs and temples from Mayan civilizations are indisputably some of the most breathtaking displays. The largest and one of the most elaborate museums in the country, the National Museum of Anthropology is considered a national symbol.

Mexico City, Mexico
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