Are you thinking of exploring the historic center of Mexico City?
The Historic Center of Mexico City is considered to be the city’s best neighborhood. Not to mention it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As such, it could easily be the focus of your trip. That’s why today I will show you some of the best things to do in el Centro!
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Historic Center of Mexico City
So, where do you start, and if arriving in Mexico City for the first time what are some of the important things to know before you arrive?
Where Is the Historic Center of Mexico City?
The Historic Center of Mexico City is focused around the Zócalo plaza, which is the largest one in Latin America.
This is the main plaza, so it extends in all directions, making it easy for tourists to explore. You can also take the Metro to and from here too.
Taking a tour of this area will allow you soak up over 700 years of history through the architecture and landmarks.
So, it’s no wonder many tourists flock to the Historic Center of Mexico City when they first visit the country. It is an unmissable landmark!
In a nutshell, this is one of the best ways to learn more about Mexico. If you want your trip to be authentic, you can’t skip this neighborhood!
Is The Historic Center of Mexico City Safe?
Yes, the Historic Center of Mexico City is safe to visit. Overall, tourists can happily explore this area of the city.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice basic safety.
Avoid dangerous parts of the neighborhood, beware of pickpocketing, don’t walk down secluded alleys, and be aware of your surroundings.
If you’re traveling to the capital soon, these Mexico City safety tips will give you a general overview of how to stay safe in the immediate area.
Things to do in Downtown Mexico City
To give you a primer, below I will list a mixture of some popular places to visit and things to do while visiting this special neighborhood:
The Zócalo, also known as Plaza de la Constitución, is not only where the Historic Center of Mexico City is focused, it’s also one of the top Mexico City historical sites.
This public square is the largest one in Latin America and it hosts plenty of demonstrations, celebrations, and events throughout the year.
This is one of the top places to visit and there’s so much to do here! It dates back to Aztec times, so you can imagine how full of history it is.
If you want to get the feel of Mexico City, this is the right place to go and people-watch. Plus, you can explore the amazing architecture.
You can visit Templo Mayor, which dates back to 1325.
Though it was destroyed during the Spanish conquest, the ruins of the temple are the heart of the Historic Center of Mexico City. The museum built around it will help you understand its former glory a lot better!
Av. 5 de Mayo
The Avenida 5 de Mayo is located in the western area of the Historic Center of Mexico City.
This is the best place to go if you want to admire old Mexican buildings and architecture.
This important avenue is over 150 years old and it offers one of the most authentic images of Mexico City.
Av. 5 de Mayo connects Zócalo with the Palacio Bellas Artes and the Alameda Central. It’s a one-way street, going from west to east.
Along the way, you’ll find architecture mostly from the 19th and 20th centuries. There are a few colonial buildings, but not many.
If you want to enjoy the best views in Mexico City, you can stop at the Torre Latinoamericana. This skyscraper is one of the most important landmarks in the city and it stands 188 meters (616 feet) tall.
It houses offices as well as the Museo del Bicentenario, permanent and temporary exhibitions, the Miralto Restaurant, and a café.
Stay at Casa Pepe
If you want to focus your trip on exploring the Historic Center of Mexico City, then you should definitely stay at Casa Pepe.
It’s a boutique hostel and it’s a cultural hub where art meets history, philosophy, gastronomy, music, literature, and different cultures.
Casa Pepe is not just a great place to stay thanks to its spacious bedrooms, private bathrooms, premium bunk beds, and more. It also offers a cultural experience that’s very difficult to match.
This hostel is located right in el Centro, very close to Zócalo and its subway station, The Cathedral, Palacio Bellas Artes, and the Mexico City Museum. Why not book your stay at Casa Pepe before you arrive?
They offer different kinds of walking tours that are exclusive to guests so you can explore el Centro with fellow travelers.
They also offer food tours and plenty of activities to have fun in the hostel, such as karaoke, drinking games, and more.
Palacio Bellas Artes
The Palacio Bellas Artes is one of the must-sees in the Historic Center of Mexico City.
The architecture itself is stunning and it’s very easy to spot thanks to its orange and yellow dome. It’s one of the most beautiful buildings in el Centro, so it’s a joy to explore.
Palacio Bellas Artes is one of the most important spaces in the city because there’s so much to discover.
It has hosted some of the most important exhibitions of painting, sculpture, and photography.
Also, it houses the permanent collection of murals made by Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Ozorco, and Roberto Montenegro.
Known as the “Cathedral of Art”, the Palacio Bellas Artes hosts events in music, dance, opera, theatre, and literature as well, so keep an eye out for that.
Last but not least, there’s China town. Compared to other Chinatowns, this one is smaller, but it’s still worth a visit.
It was built by migrants during the second half of the 20th century.
This is a vibrant place and it’s full of color, so it’s a joy to explore it. It’s the most well-known Chinatown in Mexico and there are many festivals and cultural events that take place there.
Additionally, there are shops, cafés, Asian food supermarkets, and restaurants, so you can spend a nice day in this place. Chinatown is located on Calle Dolores and it won’t be difficult to find.
Why not take a food tour which passes through this barrio?
Downtown Mexico City Historic Center
The Historic Center of Mexico City is a cool and vibrant place to visit.
Today, I’ve only mentioned a few of the best things to do in el Centro, but there’s more where that came from.
If you want to learn more about the city and explore other areas, check my article on things to do in Mexico City before you arrive here.
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