7 Cultural Experiences – Things to Do in Mexico City

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Experience Mexico City with These Top 7 Experiences

All-inclusive resorts are great, but if you’re looking for things to do in Mexico City and want to explore the heart of Mexican culture then you can’t go wrong here in the nation’s capital.

Mexico City is the largest and most populated metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere.

There are over 20 million people in this metropolis (as of 2022) and growing every year! It is also the economic and cultural heart of Mexico with no shortage of sights to see for the voracious traveler.

Visit Mexico City on our Caravan Mexico Ancient Civilizations Tour!

In this Caravan Tours blog post we are going to take you on a cultural tour with our top 7 list of things to do in Mexico City during your next visit. Experience the history of this vibrant city with these 7 cultural experiences that blend its Colonial and ancient past.

Make sure you visit these 7 cultural sites to experience both:

  1. Zocalo
  2. Templo Mayer Museum
  3. Palacio de Bellas Artes
  4. Canals of Xochimilco
  5. National Museum of Anthropology
  6. Freda Kahlo Museum
  7. Pyramids of Teotihuacan

A Brief History of Mexico City

Before the arrival of the Spanish, what is now known as Mexico City was another place entirely.

In 1325 C.E. the indigenous Mexicas, which would be later known as the Aztecs, founded the city of Tenochtitlán.

Tenochtitlán was the ancient capital of the Aztec empire.

By 1519, Tenochtitlán had an estimated population of 400,000 people, the largest residential concentration in Mesoamerican history. This peak was short-lived, however, as the city was conquered by Cortés in 1520.

The Spanish then built the city over the ruins of Tenochtitlán, which today corresponds with the historical center of the city.

Top 7 Cultural Spots to Experience in Mexico City

Due to its tumultuous past, this city is a great example of both Colonial and ancient history. Here are some of the best sights to experience in this great city.

The Zócalo

Zócalo square in Mexico CityWhile this city square is officially named La Plaza de la Constitución, it’s far better known as the Zócalo which means ‘base’. Before being conquered by the Spanish, the Zócalo was the cultural and ceremonial center of the Aztec people.

Today the Zócalo in Mexico City is one of the largest public squares in the Americas at 620,000 square feet and still hosts many of the city’s cultural celebrations.

The Day of the Dead tradition is one of the most famous celebrations in Mexico, occurring every year in the fall with festivities lasting up to a week. The Zócalo hosts this iconic celebration each year with a different theme to honor to dead with offerings, traditional foods, corpse figures, and colorful décor.

Although this is one of our highly recommended things to do in Mexico City, if you can’t visit during this annual celebration, there is still so much to see. Take in the impressive sight of the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Palace, and the rotating displays of Aztec dancing and music.

The Templo Mayor Museum

A little east of the Zócalo you will find the Templo Mayor Museum which displays the remains of the main ceremonial center of Tenochtitlán.

According to the indigenous Mexica, this point marked the exact center of the universe. Therefore, it’s here that they chose to build a monument to the god of war, Huitzilopochtli, and the god of rain and agriculture, Tlaloc.

View what’s left of what was once Tenochtitlan’s most important temple and examine the Mexica artifacts displayed at Templo Mayor Museum to get a taste of Mexico City’s ancient history.

Palacio de Bellas Artes

The Palace of Fine Arts, or the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Spanish, is another one of those best things to do in Mexico City.

It was built between 1904 and 1934 in the historical center of the city not far from the Zócalo. Visit the Palace for the impressive architecture and awe-inspiring works of art that put Mexican muralism on the global art map.

The Palace is made up of a few different venues and includes:

  • A large theatre
  • A concert hall
  • The National Museum of Architecture
  • And the Museum of the Palace of Fine Arts

In the palace you will find beautiful murals displayed throughout from Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, along with other major Mexican artists.

The Canals of Xochimilco

A trip to Mexico City isn’t complete without visiting the canals of Xochimilco. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the canals are the last remnants of an intricate water transport system built by the ancient Aztecs.

Take a gondola cruise along the canal and see the many food vendors, artisans, and mariachi bands that float by. Visit the famously haunted Island of Dolls for an eerie experience you won’t soon forget!

Inside the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.National Museum of Anthropology

Make sure you stop at the country’s most visited museum! Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology is another one of those best things to do in Mexico City. It is located withing the Bosque de Chapultepec, one of the country’s largest parks, and houses a vast collection of artworks plus ancient remains and artifacts from the pre-Hispanic period.

Explore the impressive collection of artifacts recovered from the Mayans, Olmecs, and Aztecs and learn all about the ancient peoples of Mesoamerica.

Freda Kahlo’s Museum

When it comes to exploring things to do in Mexico City, this is a must, especially for art lovers. Don’t leave without first visiting the house of the famous painter Frida Kahlo. Kahlo’s house, now converted to a museum, is the very residence where the famous painter was born, lived, and died.

Located in the neighbourhood of Coyoacán, the Freda Kahlo Museum displays a number of her artistic works plus diaries, clothing, and furniture. In the room that was once her bedroom, you will even find an urn with the painter’s ashes.

Pyramids of Teotihuacan near Mexico City, MexicoPyramids of Teotihuacan

While the Teotihuacan archaeological site may be just outside Mexico City, you really can’t pass up on the opportunity to visit! Teotihuacan houses the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, two of the largest ancient structures in the Americas.

You will marvel at this ancient archeological site and indulge your thirst for knowledge at the adjacent museum. You’ll find artifacts that document the daily lives and spiritual practices of this great ancient city.

Explore Mexico Ancient Cultures with Caravan Tours!

There is no shortage of amazing cultural experiences and things to do in Mexico City. This is also where we begin our Caravan Mexico Ancient Civilizations tour.

Travel with Caravan to explore the ancient Mayan, Toltec, Olmec, and Aztec cultures with destinations like the Mayan ruins of

Caravan Tours has been offering fully guided tours since 1952, celebrating our 70th anniversary in 2022. Come travel with Caravan and enjoy other fully guided vacations in the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Panama, and Guatemala.

Caravan Tours has made every effort to ensure our fully guided tours offer the best value and are directed by highly knowledgeable local tour operators.

Caravan also offers an all-inclusive Copper Canyon train tour with stops in Chihuahua and El Fuerte Sinaloa! Copper Canyon and Mexico Ancient tours tend to sell out early, so book your tour early to ensure you secure your preferred dates.

To learn more about either of these all-inclusive tours please:

Mexico City FAQs

What Time Is It in Mexico City?

Mexico is in Central Standard Time, which is the same time zone as Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Illinois.”

Where Is Mexico City?

Mexico City sits on a central plateau at an altitude of 7,350 feet above sea level in the Valley of Mexico about 200 miles (322km) inland from the Gulf of Mexico.

What Is Mexico City Known For?

Mexico's Capital is famous for its colonial architecture and because it was built on top of the ancient Aztec ruins of Tenochtitlan.

Is Tenochtitlan Mexico City?

Tenochtitlan dates to 1325 and was once the Aztec capital and is in the heart of the city.

How Far Is Mexico City from Cancun?

Mexico City is 1,004 miles (1616km) from Cancun.

How Old Is Mexico City?

The city is nearly 700 years old.

Is Mexico City the Largest City in The World?

As of this writing, Mexico City is the 5th largest city in the world with 22+ million people.

Does It Snow in Mexico City?

It rarely snows in Mexico City, but snow can be seen in the surrounding hills.

How High Is Mexico City?

Mexico City is at an altitude of 7,350 feet (2,240 meters) above sea level.