Mexico City is a vibrant and diverse metropolis offering visitors a wealth of cultural, historical, and culinary attractions. Whether exploring ancient civilizations, admiring dazzling modern art, or savoring fresh and tasty street food, adventure and excitement are never far away in this sprawling UNESCO World Heritage-listed city.
In our latest blog, the experts here at OlMar Travel are sharing our top ten must-do experiences in Mexico City. To be honest, we could have gone on – but let’s call this a starting point for first-time visitors!
Join us as we share Mexico City's delights and attractions, and if you feel inspired to experience our inviting capital yourself, we’re here to enrich your visit with our insightful guided tours.
If you’re looking for a place to buy authentic Mexican handicrafts and folk art, look no further than La Ciudadela market. This colorful and lively market is located in the historic heart of Mexico City, with over 350 vendors from right across Mexico.
You can find everything from pottery, textiles, jewelry, and woodcarvings to alebrijes - the whimsical creatures of Mexican folk art. La Ciudadela market is also a great place to enjoy the sounds and smells of Mexico, as tuneful mariachi music plays and the heady scents of fresh street food fill the air.
The Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) is an architectural masterpiece blending Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles to perfection. Originally planned as a legislative palace, it was converted into a cultural center that today hosts performing arts and literature events, and popular gallery exhibitions.
Visiting the palace, you’ll discover works by Mexican artists such as Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and Rufino Tamayo that put Mexican muralism on the global art map. You can admire the exterior of the palace from the Alameda Central park, or take a tour of the interior and visit the museums and theaters.
Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the Xochimilco district lies to the south of Mexico City, and preserves the ancient Aztec system of canals and islands that connected rural settlements throughout the valley.
Explore this unique landscape by renting a colorful boat called a trajinera to cruise gracefully along the canals. Vendors selling street and live mariachi music on the water make for a wonderfully festive atmosphere, and Xochimilco ranks among Mexico City’s most appealing tourist destinations.
For a valuable deep-dive into Mexican history and culture, a full-day guided tour of Mexico City is a must. Soak up the atmosphere in the bustling Zocalo, admire those famous murals by Diego Rivera, and explore top city attractions including the Presidential Palace, the Teotihuacán pyramids, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
With hotel pickup and drop-off included, plus private transportation and the services of a professional certificated guide, there’s no easier way to explore Mexico City’s top attractions in comfort.
The Templo Mayor, another site featured on our Mexico City tour, was the main temple of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan - which is now the site of Mexico City. Dedicated to the gods of war and rain, it was for centuries the epicenter of Aztec politics and religion. The temple was destroyed by the Spanish conquistadors in 1521, but its ruins were rediscovered in the 20th century.
Visitors can explore the archaeological site and see the remains of the temple, as well as some of the offerings and artifacts that were buried within its layers. You can also visit the museum that displays some of the most important finds, such as ceramics, jewelry, and the largest Mexican sculpture that has ever been found, of the goddess of the Earth - Tlaltecuhtli.
One of the largest and most colorful traditional Mexican markets in the city, the Mercado Jamaica specializes in the sale of flora and fauna. It's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with dazzling displays of roses, orchids, lilies, and more to sniff your way around. Aside from its function as Mexico City’s largest florist, the Mercado Jamaica makes a brilliant half-day adventure, and it’s a wonderful place to come and enjoy the beauty and fragrance of nature.
Food-lovers take note, Mexico City is one of the world’s best places for fresh street food, with a mouthwatering variety of dishes that reflect the diversity and delicacy of Mexican cuisine. Among the buzzing markets, gleeful vendors proudly serve up everything from tacos, tamales, tortas, and quesadillas to more exotic delicacies such as huitlacoche (corn fungus), chapulines (grasshoppers), and escamoles (ant eggs). Some of the most popular street food spots in the city are Mercado de San Juan, Mercado de Coyoacán, and Mercado de San Cosme.
The Monumento a la Revolución (Monument to the Revolution) is a monumental arch that commemorates the heroes and events of the Mexican Revolution. It's located in the Plaza de la República, and at 67 meters high it ranks among the tallest triumphal arches in the world.
The monument also functions as a mausoleum for some of the most prominent figures of the revolution, such as Francisco I. Madero, Pancho Villa, and Lázaro Cárdenas. You can visit the monument and its museum, and head up to the observation deck for panoramic views over the rooftops of Mexico City.
Home to the biggest collection of Mesoamerican artifacts in the world, the Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Museum of Anthropology) is one of Mexico’s most important museums. It's dedicated to the history and culture of the pre-Hispanic and indigenous peoples of Mexico, but also showcases the diversity and richness of Mexican society today.
23 exhibition halls display a vast collection of sculptures, paintings, textiles, and documents – with highlights including the ceremonial jade mask of Mayan ruler Kʼinich Janaabʼ Pakal. Any visitors to Mexico City keen to explore the country’s rich history, need to come here!
This historic square lies in the heart of Mexico City, and is famous across the city and beyond for its mariachi music performances. Skilled musicians dressed in charro suits and sombreros blend string instruments, trumpets, and vocals into traditional songs, while locals and visitors alike enjoy the music from Plaza Garibaldi’s inviting bars and restaurants. Come after 10pm or 11pm for the best atmosphere, pull up a chair, and perhaps pay for a song of your own!
OlMar Travel is your trusted guide to Mexico, offering shared and private guided sightseeing tours exploring history and culture.