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13 Unforgettable Attractions in Centro Histórico, Mexico City


Exploring the Timeless Charms of Centro Histórico: Mexico City’s Living Testament to Rich History and Culture.

As you plan your visit to Mexico City, allow yourself to begin by being captivated by the allure of the historic district. Centro Histórico is the pulsating heart of the city, where the echoes of ancient civilizations harmonize with the rhythm of modern urban life. Each step on the cobblestone street promises a trip filled with art, history, and culinary delights. From architectural wonders and vibrant markets to awe-inspiring museums and attractions, Centro Historico is an adventure waiting to happen. Join us on a journey through the 13 Unforgettable Attractions in Centro Histórico, Mexico City.

1. Plaza de la Constitución / Zócalo:

Start your exploration at the historic Zócalo, one of the largest city squares in the world. Once the ceremonial center of Aztec Tenochtitlán, the Teocalli, the Zócalo today is a stage for art installations, concerts, Dia de Muertos alters, protests, and so much more. We highly recommend following the sounds of indigenous drums and chanting to catch a glimpse of the contemporary concheros, often referred to as ‘Aztec Dancers’. They are hard to miss with their bellowing sounds, elaborate dress and ritualistic practices. At 8am and 6pm, you are also able to experience the ceremonious raising and lowering of the colossal Mexican flag. You could easily spend a few hours here sampling local food, browsing the street vendors, and experiences the local culture.

2. Museo del Templo Mayor:

Just steps away from the Zócalo are the ancient Aztec ruins at Templo Mayor archaeological site. This impressive piece of archaeology provides a fascinating glimpse into pre-Hispanic Mexico. In 1987, the museum began exhibiting the archaeological findings of the zone that used to be the Main Temple. However, what you see today were some of the very first fights that Spanish travelers (including Hernán Cortés) saw when they arrived at Tenochtitlan almost 500 years ago. The museum also holds a large collection of Aztec artifacts that were all dug up from the ruins you get the chance to explore. (A real Indiana Jones moment)

ROCKSTAR TIPS: Visiting hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 5:00pm, but on Sundays, admission is free for Mexican citizens and foreign residents with proof of residency (which means it gets extra busy). There is a $95 MXP fee that includes the admission to the museum and the archaeological site.]

3. Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City / Catedral Metropolitana:

From the rocks that once formed Aztec temples, witness the stunning architectural masterpiece with a rich history dating back to the 16th century. Being one of the largest churches in all of the Americas, it contains numerous chapels, altars, and it one of the largest pipe organs on the continent. Because of its construction on top of pre-Hispanic structures the Metropolitan Cathedral IS sinking and has been for hundreds of years.

ROCKSTAR TIPS: The Cathedral is located on the north side of the Zócalo. There is no charge to enter the cathedral from 8am to 8pm daily. If you wish to enter the choir or the golden Sacristía Mayor, you are requested to leave a donation. Additional paid tours of the bell tower are available. And don’t forget

4. Torre Latinoamericana:

Ascend one of the iconic buildings in the city skyline to visit the famous viewing platform and see panoramic views of Mexico City.

ROCKSTAR TIP: To visit the mirador (viewing platform) there is a cost of about $125 pesos ($6USD), however there is also a restaurant and cafe to see the views with a drink in hand.

5. The Palace of Iturbide (Iturbide Palace):

Step into the 18th-century masterpiece that now houses exhibits on art, culture, and history. The Palace of Iturbide, built between 1779 and 1785, has served many purposes from an elaborate wedding gift, to becoming the home to the College of Mining and Mexican Baroque hotel. Today it is the home of the Banamex Cultural Foundation, who provides temporary art exhibits to locals and visitors alike.

ROCKSTAR TIP: The museum is free to enter and is open every day 10am to 7pm


6. Casa de los Azulejos (House of Tiles):


Take a step off of the popular pedestrian only street of Avenida Madero, to marvel at the 18th-century Baroque palace adorned with blue and white talavera tiles. It now houses a Sanborn’s department store and the renowned Santorini’s de los Azulejos restaurant.

ROCKSTAR TIP: The exterior remains an iconic and Instagram-worthy destination in the heart of Mexico City, however do not miss the opportunity to go inside. There is a quaint little bar upstairs with live music, wonderful drinks, and tiny viewing platforms that would be the perfect setting for your next travel photo or video.

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7. Palacio Postal / Museo Biblioteca Palacio Postal:

Built in 1907, this golden palace of a post office is an unassuming spectacle in the city center. The articulate blend of various architectural styles lures you in to the history of communication. Visitors can explore the lobby of the working post office, admire the interior, and even visit the Mexican Postal Service Museum if they wish.

ROCKSTAR TIP: Take a moment to send a post card to your loved ones, or even to your home address as a beautifully authentic souvenir from your trip.

8. Church of San Francisco / Iglesia de San Francisco :

Visit The San Francisco Temple and Monastery to experience the influence of the Franciscan order. Originally situated in the former zoological gardens of Moctezuma II, this monumental hosted the arrival of the first 12 Franciscan friars in New Spain and the inaugural school for the indigenous population. Today, only the church remains, representing the third iteration built between 1710 and 1716. But the dramatic interior, beautiful artwork, and intricate altar piece will move you to tears.

9. Barrio Chino (Mexico City Chinatown):

Take a quick stroll through the iconic red arch entryway to immerse yourself in the vibrant Barrio Chino. This area celebrates the Chinese-Mexican culture with vibrant street food, traditional Chinese restaurants, and lots of souvenir shops.

ROCKSTAR TIP: Head to Barrio Chino early to take photos and videos before the block gets filled with tourists tasting dumplings and sweet treats.

10. Palacio de Bellas Artes / The Palace of Fine Arts:

This 20th-century palace is considered the cultural center of Mexico City. Art nouveau and art deco fans will swoon over the architecture, but all art lovers will admire the works inside. The museum houses multiple floors of famous murals and art exhibitions that are well worth the visit. If you get a chance, you can also watch a performance in their theater.

ROCKSTAR TIP: Admission to the museum is 75 Mexican Pesos (Roughyl $4.50usd) Tuesday through Sundays, but you can visit for free on Sundays.

11. Parque Alameda Central / Alameda Central Park:


Located right next to Palacio Bellas Artes, the Alameda Park is the perfect place to take a romantic stroll at any time of day. While enjoying the sculptures and fountains, you won’t want to miss the Parisian Metro Sign (near the metro station entrance) or the Benito Juarez Hemicycle Monument.

ROCKSTAR TIP: Once the sun goes down, you can often find locals dancing to large speakers in the park, or smooching on the many benches.

12. Markets of Centro Historico:

There are so many markets to choose from on the weekends in Mexico City. It’s the perfect opportunity to discover local products, food, and artistry reflecting Mexico’s culture.

  • Mercado de la Merced: One of the largest traditional food markets in the city
  • La Mercado de Artesanías, otherwise known as La Ciudadela, is home to regional specialties and traditional Mexican handicrafts.
  • Mercado San Juan, otherwise known as the San Juan Market, is something unique to experience even if you’re not planning to eat. From traditional local meals to wild meat markets that serve iguana and scorpions (yes… the predatory arachnids), there is something for everyone and then some.

13. Monumento a la Revolución / Monument to the Revolution:

Proudly standing in the Plaza de la República, the Monumento a la Revolución) is a beautifully designed tribute to the tumultuous history of the Mexican Revolution. Rising 220 feet, it claims the title of the tallest triumphal arch globally. It also serves as a mausoleum for revolutionaries and the National Museum of the Revolution. Visitors can also purchase tickets to take a glass elevator to an observation deck and cafe.

ROCKSTAR TIP: Plan your visit to the monument close to sunset. There is nothing quite like enjoying breathtaking views of Mexico City, coffee in hand, with the one you love.

Are you traveling with your partner for the first time? Read our Couples Guide To Confident Travel for our tips to traveling better together!

Exploring the Centro Histórico of Mexico City is an enriching journey through time, art, and culture. From the iconic Zócalo, pulsating with historical significance and vibrant life, to the captivating Iglesia de San Francisco, steeped in centuries of architectural evolution, each attraction in this district unveils a unique facet of Mexico City’s rich heritage. The bustling markets, museums, and architectural wonders like the Monumento a la Revolución collectively contribute to an immersive experience that you will never forget. Be sure to tag us in your photos and videos when you visit our recommendations for the 13 Unforgettable Attractions in Centro Histórico, Mexico City.

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