Top 10 Things to Do in Mexico City

There’s no shortage of things to do in Mexico City, a busy modern metropolis where history is right around the corner–every corner. To fully immerse yourself in its history, culture, and cuisine, from museums to cantinas, add these ten great experiences to your travel wishlist.

front of palacio de bellas artes in mexico city
Palacio de Bellas Artes. Photo © Flocutus/Dreamstime.

1. Museo del Templo Mayor

Mexico City’s tumultuous history is visible at the ruins of the Templo Mayor, a great temple-pyramid that was destroyed during the 16th-century Spanish siege of Tenochtitlan. The museum showcases artifacts recovered from the archaeological site.

2. Palacio de Bellas Artes

With its grand marble facade and opulent art deco interior, the incomparable Palacio de Bellas Artes is one of Mexico’s most striking buildings, as well as a keynote arts institution.

3. Museo Nacional de Antropología

Take a grand tour of the many pre-Columbian cultures in Mexico through artifacts and art at the Museo Nacional de Antropología. The most impressive rooms are dedicated to the people who lived in Tenochtitlan, today Mexico City.

4. Museo Frida Kahlo

A superbly talented painter and a beloved icon the world around, Frida Kahlo is celebrated at the lovely, intimate Museo Frida Kahlo, which is housed in her childhood home.

wall inscription in the Frida Kahlo museum
Museo de Frida Kahlo. Photo © Dreamstime.

5. Cantina Culture

These relaxed neighborhood bars are quintessential to Mexico City. Spend a few hours enjoying the convivial atmosphere with a shot of good tequila in hand. Try the historic Bar La Ópera or the contemporary Salón Ríos.

6. Teotihuacán

Admire the views from the top of two spectacular temple-pyramids at the country’s most-visited archaeological site, the Teotihuacán archaeological zone, a day trip just outside the city limits.

7. Tacos

Mexico City’s tremendous food scene is reason alone to visit, and nothing is more emblematic of the capital than tacos, from inexpensive carnitas served at street stands to gourmet iterations.

8. Traditional Markets

The city’s colorful and atmospheric markets are where locals shop for everything from home goods to used LPs. If you only have time to visit one, make it Mercado de la Merced.

man wearing a hat while perusing items for sale in the mercado de la merced
Mercado de la Merced. Photo © Julie Meade.

9. Pulque

This fizzy fermented beverage is made from the sap of the maguey cactus. Drinking pulque is a tradition in the capital and today the drink is experiencing a deserved revival. Try it at Pulquería Las Duelistas, one of the oldest traditional pulquerías in Mexico City.

10. Contemporary Art

With the opening of new world-class museums and the continued excellence of many long-running galleries, the city’s contemporary art scene continues to flourish. The Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in the heart of the UNAM campus is the city’s most thought-provoking and engaging contemporary art museum.

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