- Imani J.
10 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN MEXICO CITY
This summer 2021, after not being able to travel for more than a year, I booked my first solo trip in a while to Mexico City for 28 days. I figured since I was working from home there is no reason for me to stay home the whole time to work, so I hit the skies. Mexico has always been a dream of mine to go, I have an itinerary I wrote down back in 2016 for a hypothetical trip to Tulum, so it has always been in the works. This year, I was finally able to achieve the dream.
I decided to stay in Mexico City instead of Tulum because I really wanted to practice using my Spanish. Knowing a little bit of Spanish is 100% necessary in Mexico City, besides the few days I spent inside my apartment working, there wasn't a day where I didn't have to use Spanish. So, while you are out and about practicing Spanish in the city here are somethings you absolutely must do while there!
1. Sightsee through Bosque de Chapultepec
The Bosque de Chapultepec is a beautiful park in Mexico City and has many sights to see! First you will come across a beautiful monument in memory of the Child Heroes who fought in the Battle of Chapultepec. Behind the monument is a path leading to Chapultepec Castle a free museum that overlooks the city. On Sundays they close down one side of the road next to the park and you will see people biking, rollerskating, skateboarding, running, walking, you name it! So if you go on a Sunday rent a city bike and join the crowd!
2. Explore the Ancient Ruins of Teotihuacan
I booked my first tour in Mexico to go to the Teotihuacan Pyramids tour through Airbnb Experiences! It was my first time booking a tour through them and I was not disappointed. I had a wonderful host who went in great detail about the history of the sprawling ruins. It was an 8 hour day tour with lunch included and more!
3. Learn Mexico's History at the National Museum of Anthropology
Mexico has a deep and rich history and culture. From the Mexicas to the Mayans to the Toltecs and all of the crumbling ruins they left behind this museum goes through it all. The museum is only $80 MXN pesos and it's an absolutely beautifully designed space. You are first greeted by the famous fountain pillar in the middle of the museum before you are lead to the exhibition spaces. In those spaces you'll get up close and personal with many artifacts these great civilizations left.
4. Enjoy the art at the Palacio de Bellas Artes
If you are a big art history fan or a fan of architecture this is a must see museum. There is a major juxtaposition between the more traditional outside of the building and the 1920's Art Deco on the inside with traditional Mexican figures done in this art deco style. You will see pieces from Diego Rivera and other artists all of which are extremely political pieces. Here you will find Diego Rivera's piece "Man Controller of the Universe." On Sundays there is free entry!
5. Traverse one of the Pueblos Magicos, Cholula
This day tour to see Cholula and Puebla City Cholula I also booked through Airbnb Experiences! There is a lot of history in the state of Puebla. One of the things I learned is that Cholula is actually home to the largest pyramid in the world! Sadly due to the conquest and time it had been covered up and only a small portion had been actually excavated, but when my tour guide pointed out where the edge of the pyramid was you can definitely get a sense of it's enormity. Normally you would be able to go inside the pyramid or climb to the top to see the church the Spaniards built on top of it. Unfortunately due to Covid restrictions I was unable to get the full experience while there. Despite that I was still able to have a good time.
6. Walk Around the Cute Neighborhoods of Roma and Condesa
When I come back to Mexico City I will definitely be staying in Roma or Condesa! They are picturesque neighborhoods with tree lined streets home to good restaurants, night life and boutiques. I spent a lot of time after work taking an Uber there from my place in the Historical Center and walking around. It's a popular area to stay so you will run in to a lot more foreigners there. When you are a solo traveler who doesn't speak spanish that well, making friends is super easy in those areas.
7. Go to the Frida Kahlo Museum
If you are a lover of Frida Kahlo or again, took an art history class in college, this is a must see. Seeing art in person is one thing but seeing art in person at the place that person used to reside is something completely different. A truly unique experience. The house was beautiful on the outside just as it was on the inside. It had a beautiful courtyard with statues, benches and plenty of fauna. Your ticket also includes seeing the traditional clothes Frida Kahlo wore in addition to the Diego Rivera museum. Due to Covid restrictions you must order tickets in advance through the website. Also, if you want to take pictures inside the house you must pay a fee but you can take as many pictures as you like of the outdoor spaces.
8. Observe the Beauty of Cathedral Zocalo
Cathedral Zocalo is located in the Historic Center. It is a free museum created during the time of the conquest made from the stones of an Aztec pyramid it was built on top of. Don't get me wrong the church is beautiful from the inside out but learning it's history is eye opening. In the vicinity of the Cathedral is a partially excavated Aztec pyramid, this is when the realization hits that these structures that this civilization left behind are still right underneath your feet! Quite a surreal moment.
9. Visit the Angel of Independence
The Angel of Independence monument is located on the busy street of Paseo de la Reforma. Down this street there are multiple monuments all very beautiful but a little too far to walk in between. I took a night bike tour, you guessed it through Airbnb Experiences (at this point I might as well be sponsored), where we biked all around Mexico City. We spent quite some time at the monument learning about it's history and importance. Unfortunately due to the major earthquake in 2017 it incurred some damage and had scaffolding up for repairs when I went. According to my tour guide the scaffolding should come down in time for Mexican Independence Day in September, as crowds often surround the monument in celebration.
10. Shop Locally!
Last but not least shop locally! Mexico City is home to many artisans and creatives. You can easily find locally made clothes, jewelry, make up, and more! Some of my favorite places to shop were: