Best places to visit in Mexico City: top attractions you don't want to miss

Planning a trip to Mexico City? Want some tips on the best places to see? Here are 18 attractions in the Mexican capital that you really shouldn't miss.

As the oldest inhabited city in the Americas, Mexico's capital is packed with awesome attractions. Boasting multiple UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it really is a haven for fans of architecture and archeology. But it's not just good for history buffs – the best places to visit in Mexico City include art museums, kid-friendly attractions, and a wealth of hidden gems.

From its historic center to the fascinating sights across the city, this centuries-old hub of food, culture, and fun something for everyone.

Best places to visit in Mexico City for history

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1. Anthropology Museum

The Anthropology Museum is a must-see attraction for those who love history. Learn about the Aztecs, Mayans, and Toltecs (and more) who established the original settlements. On a Chapultepec Castle and Anthropology Museum tour, you also visit the nearby castle, the residence of Mexican Emperor Maximilian I.

Highlights:

Chapultepec Castle sits on top of Chapultepec Hill, a sacred Aztec site. It's surrounded by an enormous park, which is worth a visit in its own right.

Address and opening hours:

Av. P.º de la Reforma s/n, Polanco, Bosque de Chapultepec I Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11560 Ciudad de México. Open Tuesday-Sunday, from 9:00 AM-6:00 PM. Closed Mondays.

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2. National Palace

If you want a feel for historic grandeur and a real vibe of city glamor, take a tour of downtown to see the inside of a former presidential residence and the historic streets that surround it. The building has statues of every president who lived there from 1935 until 1818, when it opened to the public as a cultural center.

Highlights:

The downtown district is a UNESCO site, and a tour includes the National Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral, and the popular celebratory route of Reforma Boulevard.

Address and opening hours:

Calz. del Rey S/N, Bosque de Chapultepec I Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11580 Ciudad de México. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 11:00 AM-6:00 PM. Closed Mondays.

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3. Metropolitan Cathedral

The Metropolitan Cathedral, the oldest church in Latin America, took so long to build (over 250 years) that it combines Gothic, Baroque, Churrigueresque, and Neoclassical architectural styles, depending on what was popular at the time of construction. Scene of coronations, funerals, and a victim of the Cristero War of the early 1918s, a Metropolitan Cathedral tour will walk you through exactly how important this impressive structure has been to the evolution of the city.

Highlights:

Restoration work after a fire uncovered multiple documents and works of art previously thought lost. Many of these are still on display.

Address and opening hours:

P.za de la Constitución S/N, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México. Open daily, 9:00 AM-5:30 PM.

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4. Teotihuacan

Around 40 kilometers outside the city limits, Teotihuacan is arguably the most important archaeological site in the world. If you don't mind rising early, an Teotihuacán dawn tour offers an unforgettable experience: the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, both built between 1 AD and 250 AD, viewed before the crowds appear.

Highlights:

Walk through the Avenue of the Dead, marvel at the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, then finish your tour with a tasting session of cactus liquor, mezcal, tequila, and pulque.

Address and opening hours:

55800 San Juan Teotihuacán, State of Mexico. Open Monday-Sunday, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM.

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5. Tlatelolco

Inhabited since at least the 1300s, Tlatelolco is where you'll learn about the macabre side of ancient Mexican societies, including mass graves and human sacrifices. A tour of Teotihuacan, Guadalupe Shrine and Tlatelolco will combine all the temples dedicated to Mexican deities in a convenient, one-day trip.

Highlights:

Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Catholic pilgrimage site, attracting millions of visitors every year. Plan your trip for December 12th, the feast day celebrating the anniversary of the vision.

Address and opening hours:

Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas, Tlatelolco, Cuauhtémoc, 06900 Ciudad de México. Open Monday-Sunday, from 8:18 AM.

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6. Tula

Linked to the serpent god Quetzalcoatl, Tula is a Mesoamerican archeological site that was once the capital of the Toltec Empire. A Tula entry ticket keeps you ahead of the crowds, giving you time to explore this ancient settlement at your own pace.

Highlights:

The carved warriors on Pyramid B once supported the temple roof, and all carry an atlatl, the spear-throwing lever that made combatants aim so strong and deadly.

Address and opening hours:

Boulevard tula y iturbe km 2.5, El Salitre, 42800 Tula de Allende, Hgo., Mexico. Open daily, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM.

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7. Coyoacan

Coyoacan has been a residential area since pre-Hispanic times, and the buildings tell the tale of each stage of the city's growth. This is also where you'll find the main market, and a tour will walk you past 16th century San Juan Bautista Church and 17th century Santo Domingo monastery as you head for your next tasty morsel.

Highlights:

Coyoacan's twin plazas really come alive on the weekends and public holidays, with street performers providing entertainment everywhere you look.

Address and opening hours:

Meet at 137, 502-B, C. Xicoténcatl, Del Carmen, Ciudad de México. Tours start at 2:00 PM.

Best places to visit in Mexico City for art

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8. Frida Kahlo's Blue House

One of Mexico City's most famous artistic attractions, The Blue House was the original home of iconic Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Visit this beautiful space for a fascinating insight into how she lived and worked.

Highlights:

Kahlo was injured in an accident when she was 18, causing her pain throughout her life. See the mirror she used for self-portraits when she was bed-ridden, her crutches, and her wheelchair.

Address and opening hours:

Londres 247, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México. Open Tuesday-Sunday, from 8:00 AM.

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9. Correo Mayor and other palatial buildings

Mexico City's nickname as the City of Palaces is fitting as it holds some seriously spectacular buildings. Included in a palaces and historical buildings walking tour are the palatial Correo Mayor, which still serves as a post office, and the Palace of Fine Arts. A tour ticket also gives access to the National Museum of Art and the National Bank of Mexico.

Highlights:

Keep an eye out for the different architectural styles in the Correo Mayor building. Each floor has different window designs, and the whole thing ties together through its arches.

Address and opening hours:

Meet at Av. Juárez 1, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06050 Ciudad de México. Tours start at 9:50 AM.

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10. Memory and Tolerance Museum

The Memory and Tolerance Museum is internationally recognized as a monument to crimes against humanity. A warning of the dangers of discrimination and violence, the 43 rooms exhibit more than 1180 objects. Learn about the Holocaust, as well as the genocides in Guatemala, Cambodia, Darfur, and more.

Highlights:

The museum has audio-visual and interactive exhibits designed to make you think. An adult should accompany children under 15.

Address and opening hours:

Av. Juárez 8, Colonia Centro, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06010 Ciudad de México. Open 9:00 AM-6:00 PM Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 AM-7:00 PM Saturday-Sunday. Closed Mondays.

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11. Franz Mayer Museum

A pre-eminent financier and art lover, Franz Meyer willed his entire collection to Mexico in 1975. Visit the museum to explore this extensive array of books, paintings, and decorative arts. The 16th-century building itself is worth the trip, as it was formerly a flour warehouse and hospital, specially renovated to house the collection.

Highlights:

The museum's courtyard has a working fountain and landscaped grounds. View it from one of the first-floor balconies, or take a moment of reflection on one of its benches.

Address and opening hours:

Av. Hidalgo, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Guerrero, Cuauhtémoc, 06300 Ciudad de México. Open Tuesday-Friday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM, Saturday-Sunday 11:00 AM-6:00 PM. Closed Mondays.

Best places to visit in Mexico City for families

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12. Las Estacas Natural Park

Need a break from the city crowds? Then take a day trip to Las Estacas Natural Park. Swim in a natural spring, relax in a heated pool, or let the kids burn off some energy with a range of watery activities. Make sure to visit the dedicated diving area – this natural pool is over 10,000 years old.

Highlights:

The park has a spa on-site, so if you need a little extra pampering while the kids are snorkeling, go for a massage.

Address and opening hours:

Isabel La Católica 61, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México. Open Thursday and Saturday, from 6:00 AM.

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13. Reino Animal Conservation Center

If you're a family of animal lovers, the Reino Animal Conservation Center is a must-see. Home to more than 100 species, this sustainable park offers safaris that explore the natural habitats of the animals and the chance to hang out with giraffes, zebras, wolves, and more. Combine your trip by taking a Teotihuacan and Reino tour for a full day of Mexico City's best sights.

Highlights:

The Animal Center's interactive experiences include feeding and petting some of the residents. From reptiles to rabbits, dogs to donkeys, you'll be able to get up close and personal.

Address and opening hours:

Camino a Belen Santa María S/N, 55908 Oxtotipac, Méx., Mexico. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:45 AM-6:00 PM. Closed Mondays.

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14. Mucho Museum of Chocolate

Immerse yourself in everything cacao with a trip to MUCHO Museum of Chocolate. A major export – and cultural influence – the history of chocolate, from the domestication of the native cacao bean to how the bars are made, is covered in this delightful location.

Highlights:

Local artisans and chocolatiers sell their wares at the MUCHO store. Great for souvenirs to take home or a sweet treat at the end of your visit.

Address and opening hours:

C. Milan 43, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, 06600 Ciudad de México. Open daily, 11:00 AM-5:00 PM.

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15. Six Flags Theme Park

The perfect destination for adrenaline junkies, head to Six Flags Theme Park for access to heart-thumping rides and thrills. Ride the fastest rollercoaster in Latin America or experience a tsunami simulation in the Polynesian Village. Visiting with cartoon fans? Take them to meet their favorite characters at DC Super Friends.

Highlights:

There are 9 roller coasters at this park, including the Medusa, which has been ranked in the top 50 steel roller coasters in the world.

Address and opening hours:

Carr. Picacho-Ajusco Km 1.5, Jardines del Ajusco, Tlalpan, 14180 Ciudad de México. Open Thursday-Sunday. Times vary.

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16. Nevado de Toluca

Do you like outdoor activities? Then add a volcano crater and lake hike experience to your itinerary. Enjoy scenic views of the volcano and lakes, explore the crater, and follow the trails for an adventure in the heart of nature.

Highlights:

Keep your camera close to hand as Nevado de Toluca is the best place for panoramic views and Insta-worthy selfies.

Address and opening hours:

Meet at Av. Tamaulipas, Hipódromo Condesa, Cuauhtémoc, 06170 Ciudad de México. Tours start at 6:45 AM.

Best places to visit in Mexico City for culture

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17. Mexican Folklore Ballet

Music is part of Mexico's heritage, and the best way to experience it is at a Folklore Ballet performance. From the ancient traditions of indigenous Mesoamericans to the folk dances of the more modern era, this pioneering ensemble offers a history of the country's various regions through music, dance, and costume.

Highlights:

There are three viewing areas for each performance. If you want to be as close as possible to the action, choose a first-floor ticket.

Address and opening hours:

Meet at Av. de la República 140, Tabacalera, Cuauhtémoc, 06030 Ciudad de México. Performances start at 8:30 PM.

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18. Street food stands and cantinas

You can't visit Mexico City without trying the street food, and the best way to experience authentic flavors is on a food tasting walking tour. Dine like a local at a cantina, or try fast-food Mexican-style from a street vendor. Guided by an enthusiastic guide, you'll get a real taste of the culinary culture – and a history of its dishes – as you explore the hidden gems of downtown.

Highlights:

Once you're done with the tacos, try a tamale. A stuffed dough snack wrapped in leaves, it's a filling and delicious treat.

Address and opening hours:

Meet at Luis Moya 63, Colonia Centro, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México. Tours start at 12:00 PM.

FAQs

How many days should I spend in Mexico City?

To see all the main tourist attractions, stay in Mexico City for at least a week. If you can't spare that much time, 3 days will give you a taste of its highlights.

What is the best time of year to visit Mexico City?

The best time of year to visit Mexico City for the weather is March, April, and May. Of course, that means the city gets crowded, so the summer months, while very hot, are quieter.

How do I get around Mexico City?

The most convenient way to get around Mexico City is by train. Easy to navigate, it connects all the neighborhoods and tourist attractions.

What are the best neighborhoods to visit in Mexico City?

The best neighborhoods to visit in Mexico City are Centro Histórico for sightseeing, Roma and Condesa for the eateries, and Coyoacán for a little bit of everything.

What are the best places to go shopping in Mexico City?

If you've got cash to spare, the best place to go shopping in Mexico City is the luxury district of Polanco. For local produce, La Merced Market is the most famous, and you can buy souvenirs on nearly every street.