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By Matthew Wears
If I’m honest, there are hundreds more reasons to visit Mexico City than just these ten. CDMX, as it’s called here, is after all an absolutely enormous destination which over twenty million people call home, so there’s pretty much something for everyone within its sixteen vastly different districts. Whether it’s art, food, culture, nightlife or you’re using the city as a base before exploring further afield, you’re bound to find something to enjoy and the Mexican capital is just bursting with all kinds of weird and wonderful things to do, see and eat. As more and more people are beginning to wise up to the ever-growing list of must see Mexico City attractions, there’s really never been a better time to visit this dense and diverse metropolis! CDMX is fast becoming one of the most visited destinations in the entire world, which in my opinion is long overdue! So, without any further hesitation, this is my list that’s going to tell you exactly why you should visit Mexico City as soon as possible.
If I could only have one reason why everyone should visit Mexico City, this is it. The Mexico City food scene is the stuff of legend, there’s hardly a single city on earth that matches its hugely diverse range of delicious things to try. Mexico in general has such iconic cuisine and it all comes together in Mexico City, so prepare yourself to be bombarded with quesadillas, tortillas, enchiladas and tamales, as well as the hundreds of dishes you’ve never seen or heard of before. Food in Mexico City will blow your mind, and you should forget about whatever you think you know about Mexican cuisine, which for many is based on Americanised versions of traditional dishes - it couldn’t be further from reality. You’ll never be far away from a street food vendor selling a local favourite, so make sure to be adventurous and try as much as you can! The area surrounding the Chilpancingo Metro Station is where you’ll find plenty of street food stalls that will serve all of the most common dishes, although if you want to experience the Mexican flavours in more of a market environment, nowhere beats the sprawling Mercdo San Juan.
So many of the best Mexico City attractions aren’t even in the city itself, they’re in the stunning countryside that surrounds it all sides. You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to day trips out of the city centre, it can be such a welcome break to experience the tranquillity of rural Mexican towns or ruins, away from the often-overwhelming city streets. For anyone visiting Mexico City for the first time, taking the short journey to the UNESCO site Teotihuacan is an absolute must. This place was once the most important city in South America, with a history that dates back well over two thousand years, so it’s going to contain enough for even the most passionate of history buffs! Even closer is the Aztec pyramid of Tenayuca, one of Mexico’s most impressive ancient buildings.
You might not think it, but Mexico City has over one hundred and fifty museums, which makes it the city with the second highest number in the world, just behind London. In the historic centre of Mexico City lies the fascinating yet harrowing Memory and Tolerance Museum, a provoking selection of exhibitions that focus on the very worst of human behaviour. Alternatively, for something with more of a creative touch, head to the Soumaya Museum, an architecturally impressive building that contains over three centuries of Mexican and European artworks and sculptures! It’s not all European art galleries and historic museums though, you might just stumble on something really unique as well, such as the Frida Kahlo Museum, or the National Museum of Anthropology which are both two of the most popular museums in the entire city.
Undoubtedly one of the most unique reasons to visit Mexico City is its dazzling selection of beautiful architecture, you can honestly stand pretty much anywhere in the historic centre of Mexico City and you’ll most likely being staring at an architectural wonder! The Metropolitan Cathedral towers over the city and is a masterclass in gothic architecture, whilst the Palacio de Bellas Artes remains one of the most iconic city sights due to the stark contrast between its angelic, white walls and the deep orange and yellow tones of its roof. It’s not just classical architecture though, the city has some truly stunning modern buildings that show just how progressive Mexican engineering can be, such as the now iconic Soumaya Museum or the colourful and creative Luis Barragan Museum.
When talking about the best Mexico City things to do, you really have to give a mention to the totally unique Xochimilco. This is essentially an area in the southern part of the city, where an ancient and extensive canal system and a super high amount of greenery have made it one of the most tranquil spots within one of the most chaotic cities in the world. The canal systems were originally built by the Aztecs as a way of transportation, but today they offer a more laid-back vibe where floating stalls and boats collide (not literally, thankfully) in a sea of vibrant colours. If you need any more persuading on why you should visit Mexico City, just look up some pictures of this place and you’ll be booking your flight sooner than expected! As well as all of this, it’s also the home of the infamous Island of Dolls, a pretty terrifying collection of toys that hang from the trees and line the river banks - but you can’t have the wonderful without a little bit of the weird.
What is Mexico City known for other than food? The answer just has to be music! The place is absolutely alive with all kinds of sonic tastes, from jazz all the way across to more electronic sounds, and of course there’s the legendary Mariachi bands that are about as iconic to Mexico as the taco. Although this style certainly didn’t originate in Mexico City, you will still see your fair share of them whilst touring the city streets, they’re usually found in restaurants and bars in the evening times, although for the ultimate Mariachi experience there’s nowhere like the musical madness of Garibaldi Square! The historic centre of Mexico City is where you’ll find this unique spot, where every night, dozens of mariachi bands take to the streets to perform shows for passers-by, totally free of charge of course.
One of the finest Mexico City attractions has to be its vibrant arts scene, it’s one of, if not the best in the central America region. The whole city seems to be a hub for all things creative; whether it’s world-leading art museums you’re after or stunning street art, Mexico City will certainly have you covered. Discover international modern works from legendary artists at the famous Soumaya Museum or choose to delve into the countries rich creative culture at the Museo Nacional de Arte, you really will be spoiled for choice! The city is also very famous for its graffiti scene and you’ll see pieces by famous Mexican artists all over the place, although there’s nowhere better to see this than the city’s colourful hipster neighbourhood; La Roma. Spend an afternoon exploring this area, it’s a must for those visiting Mexico City for the first time and it’s certainly one of the best free things to do!
The Mexican weather is definitely a big draw for many tourists, and of course it should be because it’s got a very comfortable climate indeed, pretty much all year round too. Lucky locals. Depending on the season, the weather in Mexico City can change quite a lot though, with dry and cool winter periods from November to February and then hot and humid summers from June to September. It’s hard to know when to visit Mexico City for the best weather, although I’d say the period from end of winter to the start of spring has a strong claim because it’s not only going to be dry, but the temperatures haven’t yet reached their searing peaks. Whenever you choose to go, you’re rarely going to be uncomfortably hot or cold, with temperatures usually fluctuating between a very pleasant twenty and thirty degrees.
It’s hard to beat the fresh fruit you can find on pretty much every street in Mexico City. In every corner of the city you’ll find vendors selling the sweetest mangoes, melons and watermelons you’ve ever tasted, and you can either choose to have them with chilli or au naturale. And with all of the amazing fruits come even more amazing fruit juices - sometimes they’re so sweet you might wonder if your juice has been spiked with sugar. But trust me, that’s really just how fruit is supposed to taste! If you didn’t think it could get any better, it’s about to - the ice cream and sorbet game is out of this world too, it’s really an art form. Try the fruity flavours at "La Michoacana", a traditional ice-cream parlour - they only use completely natural ingredients, sometimes nothing but the fruit itself in sorbets, and if your ice-cream is churro flavoured, it really will have churros in. This isn’t a chain, as each one is an individual family run business, but you will find them all over Mexico. Another place that everyone loves is Tepoznieves, an ice-cream shop that you’ll find everywhere in the city selling all the amazing, traditional and quirky flavours you could imagine.
Mexico in general is known for many things, although unfortunately one of these is a reputation for crime. Although it would be impossible to deny that there is a lot of mostly gang related criminal activity, this is very much kept out of the most visited parts of the city and rarely, if ever, involves tourists. Tourism is one of the city’s biggest draws, so the government makes sure that the popular areas remain totally safe and free from crime. For this reason, there’s actually never been a safer time to visit the city! Areas such as the historic centre of Mexico City, Colonia Roma and Xochimilco are completely fine to walk around during the day, and there’s sure to be plenty of tourists around you at all times. For any Mexico City travel safety advice, either click here or just search the internet and you’ll be able to find loads of information on the topic. Don’t believe everything you hear; you’ll feel safe and welcomed by the locals guaranteed.
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