This cultural metropolis offers dramatic murals, ancient ruins and classical architecture.
Mexico City was founded by the Aztecs as Tenochtitlan in 1325. It was later conquered and rebuilt by the Spanish. Today, the city of 20 million people is a busy metropolis set against a mountainous backdrop. It enjoys a mixture of European and indigenous culture, boasting Aztec ruins, classical European architecture, a strong arts scene and spicy street food.
Stroll down Mexico City’s version of the Champs-Elysées, Paseo de la Reforma, which includes the golden statue of The Angel of Independence. This avenue connects the the National Palace with the Chapultepec Castle (Castillo de Chapultepec), a hilltop estate that overlooks the city. See the opulent rooms of the former tenants, Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico and his consort Carlota, and get your camera ready to take a photo of the spectacular view of the city from their bedroom. The castle also houses the National Museum of History. This facility includes collections of weapons, costumes and other items that document Mexico’s history from the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century to the Mexican Revolution in 1910, and beyond.
The Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) is Mexico City’s premier arts institution. Explore the four-level palace, with its grand marble facade, high ceilings and art deco interior. The upper levels include large works by many famous Mexican muralists. The best-known work is Diego Rivera’s controversial Man at the Crossroads, which was rejected by its original commissioners at New York City’s Rockefeller Center because of its communist message. At night, watch a performance in the palace’s theater, where international companies stage opera, ballet and classical music.
Discover the city’s ancient history at the Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropología). See reconstructed temples, tombs and sculptures from Maya, Aztec and other civilizations. Not far from the city center is the Teotihuacan Ruins, the remains of a city built in 100 B.C. This site includes temples, murals and the world’s third-largest pyramid.
Mexico City is located in the Valley of Mexico, in the center of the country. The underground metro system is efficient and extends across the city. The city’s Historic Center is easily explored on foot, or by cycling using the city’s public bike rental program.