Mexico, Mexico City

Downtown Mexico City: Discover the Historic Center of Mexico City

Blog Mexico City
Historic center Mexico City
Street scene in the historic center of Mexico City

Mexico City Downtown, also known as the Historic Center of Mexico City,  (or locally as Centro Historic Mexico City), is a gorgeous historic district, brimming with classic architecture, delicious traditional Mexican cuisine, and even UNESCO world heritage sites.

Many consider this to be one of the best neighborhoods in Mexico City, not only due to its rich heritage but also due to the amount of amazing things to see and do here.

If you’re planning a trip to Mexico City, and are looking for the perfect spot to soak up some history and culture, then look no further than Downtown Mexico City.

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Visit the Zócalo

Plaza de la Constitucion in Mexico City
Historical landmark National Palace building at Plaza de la Constitucion in Mexico City. Photo by: R.M. Nunes

The Zócalo in Mexico City is one of the country’s most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Zócalo is one of the major reasons why the area is hailed as Mexico City’s historic center.

This plaza has stood as the main square of downtown Mexico City since Aztec times. Today is still one of the most popular areas for locals and tourists. Previously known as the Plaza de la Constitución, it features a huge flagpole flying the Mexican flag, and many great attractions. Zócalo includes artists selling handmade goods and souvenirs, street food vendors, and folk dancers.

With Mexico City insights in mind, let’s craft a tailor-made itinerary for your unique experience.

Visit Templo Mayor

Templo Mayor in the historic center of Mexico City
Templo Mayor in the historic center of Mexico City

Templo Mayor (Main Aztec Temple) is a famous temple which, as the name suggests, used to serve as the main location for the entire Aztec empire.

After the Spanish conquest, the temple was buried and the Zocalo was built on top. Efforts to excavate the temple took place between the 19th century and the 1980s. Today guests can walk through the remnants of the temple to view its spectacular history.

There is also an onsite museum that houses some of the 7,000 items and artifacts recovered from the temple. Guests can visit Tuesday to Sunday between 9:00 and 17:00, for a small entry fee of 80 pesos ($4 USD).

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Take a Trip to one of Mexico City’s Best Museums

Museo Nacional in Downtown Mexico City
Museo Nacional in Downtown Mexico City

Mexico City is home to around 150 museums, with some of the best being located in Centro Historico. No matter what your interests are, you’ll find a museum here that’s more than worth the visit!

Some of these include:

  • MUNAL National Art Museum: for those who are interested in traditional artworks.
  • Museum of Popular Art: for those interested in contemporary artworks.
  • Museum of Tolerance and Memory: an incredibly potent museum about discrimination, genocide, and human rights.
  • Diego Rivera Mural Museum: a museum home to just one painting. The mural ‘Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central’ is created by Diego Rivera (Frida Kahlo’s husband). Frida Kahlo is known for many as Mexico’s most important historical figure across 400 years.

If you have time, all of these museums are well worth the visit, especially if you’re interested in Mexico’s history or art scenes. The range in price goes between 35 pesos ($3 USD) and 95 pesos ($5 USD), making it easy and cheap to access great culture and heritage during a trip to the Historic Centre of Mexico City.

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See Mariachi Bands at Plaza Garibaldi

Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City
Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City

If you’re looking to enjoy some authentic mariachi music in Mexico City, Plaza Garibaldi is a place where you can enjoy it day and night! 

So if you want to stop to admire the showmanship of the mariachi bands, or if you want to get involved in an impromptu dance party, Plaza Garibaldi is the place to be. Just to be on the safe side though, you’ll want to take an Uber back to the hotel if you’re visiting here after dark.

Now that you’re familiar with Mexico City, let’s design a custom itinerary for your exploration.

What to Eat in Downtown Mexico City

Mexico City Street Food

If you’re spending a day in Downtown Mexico City and are looking to indulge in some delicious and authentic food, then there are plenty of options for you to try! One of the best foods you’ll find in the historic downtown area is Tacos. Tacos Al Pastor, Tacos Suaderos, Tacos de Canasta, and Fish Tacos are all on the menu! There are options to sit down to eat them in restaurants, or to grab them to go and eat them standing street-side, just like the locals!

There’s also a branch of Churrería el Moro, home to the best Churros in Mexico City. Be sure to save room for a sweet and delicious snack!

Mexico City has one of the best dining scenes in the world. If you want to explore more restaurant options in Mexico City check out our guide.

Other Places to Visit in Downtown Mexico City

Whilst we have included in this guide some of the top things to see and do if you’re visiting the area for a day trip, there’s plenty more to experience here if you plan on staying in Mexico City’s Historic Center for a while longer including:

  • Torre Latinoamericana Tower (Latin American Tower): Head up to the mirador (viewing platform) on any clear day to enjoy sweeping views of the city below and all of its stunning historic buildings in a range of architectural styles.
  • Palacio Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts): Another great spot for art lovers, the famous golden-domed, beautiful building boasts stunning architecture, an art-deco interior, and the Museo Palacio de Bellas Artes, where guests can view rotating art exhibits from some of the world’s most famous classical artists.
  • Barrio Chino (Mexico City Chinatown): Mexico City’s Chinatown isn’t very big, but it’s a great spot to stroll through and take some travel snaps of the iconic entryways.
  • Parque Alameda Central Park: A great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding area, Parque Alameda Central Park is a great spot for enjoying some delicious tacos or churros and watching the gentle fountains.
  • Palacio Nacional & Diego Rivera Murals: If you’re a fan of artwork, you can check out more of Diego Rivera’s work on the walls of Palacio Nacional, home to Mexico’s Federal Treasury and National Archives.
  • The Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City: A great spot to visit for architecture and culture alike, it is amongst the ten largest churches in all of the Americas.

Whether you’re a history fanatic or a lover of the arts, there’s plenty to see and do in the heart of Mexico City’s Historic Centre. Get ready to indulge in great tacos, dance to traditional mariachi music, and see some of the world’s most beautiful artworks all in one place – Downtown Mexico City!

Having an idea of what Mexico City offers, let’s work on a customized itinerary to maximize your experience. Contact our support team today for a personalized adventure in Mexico City!

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