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Top Rated Attractions in Mexico City

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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.

Chapultepec Castle

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.

Palacio de Bellas Artes

A rich Art Nouveau facade offset by an opulent Art Deco interior characterizes the grandeur of one of Mexico City's most notable cultural landmarks, the Palace of Fine Arts. Radiant in its Carrara marble facade that glints under the sun, the building's resplendent dome is its zenith, a crystal-hewn structure that dazzles in ombre shades of yellow and orange. The building, built partly by architects Adamo Boari and Federico Mariscal, was envisioned as a celebratory landmark to commemorate the centenary of the Mexican War of Independence. Though plans for the building were laid as early as 1904, its construction ceased abruptly in 1913, owing to political and structural impediments. The building's construction was suspended for 20 years, only to begin again in 1932. This time, Federico Mariscal undertook the task and completed the building's construction in 1934. Since then, this revered landmark has been Mexico City's cultural nerve, having hosted everything from opera and dance to music, literature and art events in its seasoned span. Its mural-clad walls are home to the National Theater, the National Museum of Architecture and the National Institute of Fine Arts.

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.

Cerro de la Estrella

At the end of each period of Xiuhmolpilli, every 52 years, the Aztecs celebrated the ritual of Fuego Nuevo or "New Fire", a sun renewal ceremony on the peak of Cerro de la Estrella. On the flanks of these rocky slopes, overlooking Lake Texococo, the city of Iztapalapa was founded. However, long before the Aztec colonization of the Valley of Mexico, the hill attracted other groups. The first agricultural communities date back to 1000 BCE, and around 900 BCE the first constructions of Teotihuacana influence appeared. The Chichmecan founded the capital of the Culhacán kingdom, which was finally swallowed by the Aztec empire. Since 1998, this fascinating archaeological area has been graced by an equally interesting museum and the Cerro de la Estrella is now classified as a National Park.

Bosque de Chapultepec

The Bosque de Chapultepec, or the Chapultepec Forest, is one of Mexico City's favorite attractions. Counted among Western Hemisphere's largest urban parks, it covers close to 686 hectares (1,695 acres). It is a verdant oasis of the city that delineates tales of the Aztec era through its Montezuma cypress trees and several Mesoamerican artifacts that are preserved in the on-site museum. The park is also home to the magnificent Chapultepec Castle which is a memory of the region's Spanish rulers. Apart from the castle, the Monument to the Ninos Heroes, the Carcamo, the Tlaloc's fountain and the baths of Moctezuma are some of the park's notable attractions.

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