Ciudad de México, Distrito Federal
Mexico City, one of the largest population centers in the world with its 20 million inhabitants, Mexico City is challenging, intense and dynamic-definitely not a refuge in which to relax. There are number of small boutique, luxury hotels to choose from in and around Mexico City. Once the flourishing city, Tenochtitlan, of the Aztecs, and nowadays the political, financial and cultural heart of the country, Mexico City offers an adventure of discovery, history, grandeur, majesty, refinement and fun.
Where is Mexico City
To Cholula – 126 km – 78 mi – 2:00 hrs
To Puebla – 125 km – 77.67 mi – 2:00 hrs
To Queretaro – 215 km – 133.59 mi – 2:30 hrs
To Morelia – 311 km – 193.24 mi – 3:46 hrs
To Oaxaca – 470 km – 292.04 mi – 8:00 hrs
To Patzcuaro – 325 km – 201 mi – 5:30 hrs
To Acapulco – 405 km – 251.65 mi – 4:10 hrs
To Guadalajara – 546 km – 339.26 mi – 6:06 hrs
To Zihuatanejo – 434 km – 269.67 mi – 7:00 hrs
To Zacatecas – 617 km – 383.38 mi – 7:20 hrs
How to get around in Mexico City
To stroll through its streets and avenues is to travel through history. Downtown, the excavations of the Templo Mayor (Principal Temple) bring to light vestiges of the city founded in 1325 AD. Around it, rising between palaces and colonial churches, are the cathedral and the zocalo-the second largest plaza in the world.
Like the layers of an onion, architectural examples of post-independence Mexico appear as you move from the center of the city outwards. First come the French style residences of the years of the Porfirio dictatorship, then the homes in art deco of the Colonia Condesa, the buildings decorated with the murals of Rivera, Orozco and Siqueiros, the modernist constructions of the 1950s and finally, surprising examples of contemporary architecture, especially in the suburbs.
In the south are residential zones with a traditional flavor such as Coyoacán with its Frieda Khalo Museum and San Angel where every Saturday a bazaar appears full of marvels. There also is the huge campus of the Autonomous University of Mexico.
What should you taste?
Whether it be in a typical market in one of the downtown neighborhoods or in a luxury restaurant, in Mexico City you can eat well and with great variety. You will find everything from the traditional foods of every region of the country to the best cuisine from all parts of the world.
** STRONG RECOMMENDATION: contact EatMexico.com for a food tour. They're amazing!
What´s the weather like in Mexico City
At more than 7,000 ft above sea level, the climate is dry and temperate. The rainy season is from June to October.
Art and culture and recreation are all available in this multi-faceted city. From east to west, along the tree-shaded Avenue Reforma-relic of a short-lived empire-you see on the left Chapultepec Park with its castle and its zoo and on the right, the Museum of Anthropology and Colonia Polanco, where, among gourmet restaurants and sidewalk cafes, are found representatives of the most famous names of the world of fashion and design.
Mexico City has 161 museums, foremost of which is the Museum of Anthropology in front of Chapultepec Park.
There are 106 art galleries and 107 movie theaters, numerous bookstores, theaters and concert halls presenting music from symphonic orchestras to rock bands from all over the world.
The young at heart will love the two major theme parks: La Feria (The Fair) the Section 3 of Chapultepec Park and Six Flags Mexico in the south west of the city.
Teotihuacán: a pre-Hispanic site on a monumental scale, the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere.
Tepozotlán: convent and church in Churrigueresque style and museum of viceroyal art
Xochimilco: a park of gardens and lagoons where small boats adorned with flowers float through the canals to the strains of Mariachi music
Markets: the many markets of the city are an excursion in themselves.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in or around Mexico City
HISTORIC CENTER OF MEXICO CITY AND XOCHIMILCO – Departing from the Historic Center, Xochimilco is 40 minutes away.
Built in the 16th Century by the Spanish on the ruins of Tenochtitlan, the old Aztec capital, Mexico city is now one of the world´s largest and most densely populated cities. It has five Aztec temples - the ruins of which have been identified -a cathedral (the largest on the continent) and some fine 19th and 20th century public buildings such as the Palacio de las Bellas Artes. Xochimilco lies 28 km south of Mexico City. With its network of canals and artificial islands, it is testimony to the efforts of the Aztec people to build a habitat in the midst of an unfavorable environment. Its characteristic urban and rural structures, built since the 16th century and during the colonial period, have been preserved in an exceptional manner.
The best way to visit the Historic Center and Xochimilco is via a guided tour, to avoid the hassle of driving in Mexico City, plus the guide will orient you on the best places to shop and have a snack or a meal.
PRE-HISPANIC CITY OF TEOTIHUACAN - Located just one hour and fifteen minutes from the Historic Center of Mexico.
The holy city of Teotihuacan ("the place where the gods were created") is situated some 50 km northeast of Mexico City. Built between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D., it is characterized by the vast size of its monuments - in particular, the Temple of Quetzalcoath and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, laid out on geometric and symbolic principles. As one of the most powerful cultural centers in Mesoamerica, Teotihuacan has extended its cultural and artistic influence throughout the region and beyond.
There are two options for you to visit Teotihuacan:
- Hire a certified-bilingual tour guide who can comfortably give you a very detailed tour and pick you up from Cuernavaca and bring you back.
- Take a taxi or drive to Teotihuacan. At the entrance you can hire a guide who will give you the tour.
HISTORIC CENTER OF PUEBLA - Located 80 minutes away from the Historic Center of Mexico City.
The city of Puebla, founded in 1531, has preserved its great religious structures such as the 16th - 17th century cathedral and fine buildings like the old archbishop´s palace, as well as a host of houses with walls covered in tiles. The new aesthetic concepts resulting from the fusion of European and American styles were adopted locally and are peculiar to the Baroque district of Puebla.
If you´d like to see the most of Puebla´s historic downtown we suggest the following options:
- Request a private guide at your hotel. Bilingual guides may be hired to tailor your visit and make sure you discover the very best Puebla has to offer.
- Experience the Tranvía or Turibus (with translations available in several languages), both available daily starting at 9am and running throughout the day. Tours leave from the Zocalo.
EARLIEST 16TH-CENTURY MONASTARIES ON THE SLOPES OF POPOCATEPETL – 90 minutes from Historic Center of Mexico City.
These 14 monasteries stand on the slopes of Popocatepetl, to the southeast of Mexico City. They are in an excellent state of conservation and are good examples of the architectural style adopted by the first missionaries - Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians - who converted the indigenous populations to Christianity in the early 16th century.
The ideal option for you to visit all these Monasteries, located in different villages around the same district, is to hire a certified-bilingual tour guide, who can comfortably give you a very detailed tour of the entire region.
ARCHEOLOGICAL MONUMENTS ZONE OF XOCHICALCO –90 minutes from the Historic Center of Puebla
Xochicalco is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a fortified political, religious and commercial center from the troubled period of 650 - 900 A.D. that followed the break-up of the great Mesoamerican states such as Teotihuacan, Monte Albán, Palenque and Tikal.
The best way to visit this zone is through a certified tour guide, which you can request at your hotel.