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Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City

Revealing the stories behind Mexico's enthralling capital


A vast metropolis by any standard, Mexico City forms one of the world’s largest urban areas with a population of over 21 million people. But most visitors to the city have little need to venture into the extensive urban sprawl of the city’s almost 2,000 colonias (neighborhoods). The major museums, historic buildings and tourist sites are tightly concentrated in a handful of the city’s oldest districts.

The Centro Histórico (Historic Center) offers a fascinating history. Once the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, it was destroyed by the conquistadors who built the colonial capital above the ruins, and it remains the center of Mexico’s government to this day.

The pleasant streets of Roma, Condesa & Polanco offer grand monuments, a world-class restaurant scene, expansive urban parks and some of the country’s most prestigious museums. Home to most of the city’s boutique and luxury hotels, these upmarket residential areas to the west of the city center are an ideal place to stay.

To the south, the cobblestone streets and colonial-style buildings of Coyoacán and San Angel provide a beautiful setting that was once a bohemian enclave where artists Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo achieved worldwide acclaim.


Touring the sights of Mexico City offers an unparalleled insight into the country’s fascinating and complex history.

The story of Mexico's pre-Columbian past is told at the world-renowned National Museum of Anthropology, and the ruins of two remarkable civilizations can be found within or close to the modern-day city. The history of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, can be seen at the Templo Mayor in the Centro Historico, and the ancient city of Teotihuacan is just an hour’s drive away.

Later, Mexico City was of critical economic and political importance to the Spanish Empire as the capital of New Spain. Roman Catholicism was brought to the region with the construction of the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of Santa María de Guadalupe. Colonial-era streets and architecture have been preserved to this day in the Centro Histórico and in towns including Coyoacán.

The 19th century, Mexico’s first as an independent nation, saw grand monuments, buildings and avenues in the style of Europe’s capitals constructed across the city by Mexico’s leaders: the Emperor Maximilian and President Porfirio Díaz. Such grandeur can be seen in Palacio de Bellas Artes, Chapultepec Castle and the Angel of Independence.

A darker chapter of Mexico’s 20th century history is told through the Monument to the Revolution, commemorating the 10-year long civil war. But as the capital of the post-revolutionary nation, Mexico City had a defining impact of the global arts scene, covered in Frida Kahlo’s home and museum, and on architecture, seen in the houses of Luis Barrágan. Today, the city’s skyscrapers and cafe-lined boulevards are testament to what is now a thriving and cosmopolitan global city.