Do you want to know what the best things to do in Mexico are? Mexico is a large country, and there are many things to occupy your time. If you decide to visit, it may be hard to figure out exactly what to do. On today’s list, we’ll give you our 25 picks of the best things to do in Mexico. So if you are planning a Mexico trip, this list is a must see. Check out the 25 Best Things To Do In Mexico.
Declared a world heritage site since 1987, Xochimilco is one of the last remnants of a vast man-made canal system that provides a glimpse into the ingenuity of the Aztec Empire. Xochimilco is touted as a must-see attraction for tourists and is also a popular local destination. Famous for its floating gardens (chinampas), visitors can board one of the many colorful boats while sampling a wide array of Mexican cuisine. They can also catch a glimpse of the famously haunted Islands of the Dolls. Nearby hotels include the City Express Plus Periferico Sur Tlalpan which is located roughly 3.8 miles away.
Museo Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo was known for her captivating self-portraits and has been recognized as one of the most famous Mexican artists in the country’s history. It should therefore not be surprising that her museum would be one of the best-known museums in Mexico. Museo Frida Kahlo (also known as “La Casa Azul” or Blue House) is located in the Coyoacan suburb and was Kahlo’s former residence. If you are a fan of her work, the museum is a must-visit. Nearby hotels include Holiday Inn Mexico City – Plaza Universidad.
El Angel de la Independencia
El Angel de la Independencia, also known simply as “El Angle,” is one of the most iconic symbols in Mexico City; it represents the struggle for independence from Spain. It was conceived by President Diaz in 1902 and was directed by architect Antonio Rivas Mercado (who was also responsible for the Juarez Theatre in the City of Guanajuato). The ornate column is topped by a bronze depiction of the Greek goddess Victory and has become a mausoleum for war heroes. Nearby hotels include the Real Inn Perinorte located roughly 1.9 miles from El Angel.
El Palacio Nacional (National Palace) is the building that houses the federal executive branch of the Mexican government. This highly ornate and stunning building contains murals by Diego Rivera (Frida Kahlo’s husband) which depict stages of Mexican history and were painted between 1929 and 1951. Entrance to the Palacio is free, but you will need identification such as an ID or Passport. Nearby hotels include Hotel Del Rey and Best Western Majestic.
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
The Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (The National Autonomous University of Mexico) is the largest university in Latin America. It was also ranked as the best university in Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. This university was founded in 1551 which makes it the oldest university in North America. The expansive campus is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for its incredible murals created by famous artist and architect Juan O’Gorman. The stone mosaic murals cover 4,000 square meters with naturally occurring colored stones (none of the stones were painted). Hotels nearby include Radisson Paraiso Hotel Mexico City and Royal Pedregal Hotel
Museo Casa Luis Barragan
Luis Barragan was a renowned Mexican architect who was known for his modernist style. Museo Casa Luis Barragan is the architect’s former house and is considered one of the best examples of the architect’s work in the post-Second World War period. Built in 1948, the house is considered a masterpiece within the modernist movement development and was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. To visit the museum, it will cost you around 400 pesos ($23). Access to the house is only offered through a guided tour (which you can and should reserve online). Nearby hotels include The Green Park Hotel and JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City.
The Catedral Metropolitana is Mexico’s national cathedral and one of Mexico City’s most iconic structures. Started in 1573 and completed in 1813, the cathedral incorporates many architectural styles and features 14 chapels, 5 naves, and underground catacombs. There are many things to see inside and outside this massive building. There’s the gilded Altar de los Reyes (Altar of the Kings), the 14 richly decorated chapels, richly carved 17th century wooden choir stalls, huge painted panels by Juan Correa and Cristobal de Villalpando, a famous painting by Bartolome Esteban Murillo, the clock tower, and so much more. Entrance to the cathedral is free, but they ask that visitors refrain from wandering while mass is in session. There are several hotels near the cathedral which include Hotel Boutique Catedral and Best Western Majestic.
Bosque de Chapultepec
The Bosque de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Forrest) has been described as one of the world’s great urban parks, even rivaling Central Park in New York and Bois de Boulogne in Paris. Claiming 1,655 acres, Chapultepec is Mexico City’s largest and most popular park and is full of history. The Aztecs resided here for a time and the place was one of the last stands against Cortez and his conquistadors. Also, in 1847, the park was the site of a decisive battle in the Mexican-American War and it’s the origin of the phrase “the halls of Montezuma” in the United States Marine Hymn. Nearby hotels include The Green Park Hotel and the Hyatt Regency Mexico City.
Zocalo (Plaza de la Constitucion)
El Zocalo, also known as Plaza de la Constitucion (Constitution Plaza), is Mexico City’s main public square, and it’s considered “the heart of Mexico City.” At its center, it houses a giant Mexican flag and is bordered by several historic buildings including the national cathedral (#19), the National Palace (#22), and federal buildings. Hotels nearby include Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico, Best Western Majestic, and Hotel Del Rey.
The pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan (translated as “the place where the gods were created”) was built between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D. and contains some of the largest pre-Columbian pyramids in all of Mexico. Structures such as the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon are amazing in scale but nobody really knows who built them. Located about 30 miles northeast of modern Mexico City, Teotihuacan was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 and is currently open to the public. To access the site you have to take public transportation from Autobus del Norte bus station, book a driver, or rent a car.
One of Mexico City’s most popular tourist attractions, Templo Mayor (Great Temple) is an active archeological site with an adjoining museum which houses more than 7,000 artifacts. This UNESCO World Heritage site once served as the religious center for the Aztec people and the center of the Aztec world. The temple was approximately 90ft high and covered in stucco but was destroyed after the Spanish Conquest in 1521. Today, many artifacts are being unearthed from the site which includes fine pottery, figurines, sculptures and more. Visitors can see the ruins and even visit the adjoining museum by paying an admission fee of 70 pesos (about $4) for adults; children and senior citizens are free. Also, on Sundays admission is free. Nearby hotels include Best Western Majestic and Hotel Boutique Catedral.
Palacio de Bellas Artes
Boasting as “one of the most beautiful sights you’ll see in Mexico City,” the Palacio de Bellas Artes is an exquisite building showcasing art nouveau and art deco architecture. This beautiful building is considered the cultural center of Mexico City and hosts cultural events which include music, dance, opera, and other performances. It’s also the home of the National Museum of Architecture, which showcases the works of famous Mexican architects. Admission is 60 pesos (about $3.30) but on Sundays it’s free. Nearby hotels include the Hotel Oslo Coimbra, Hotel Diligencias, and Hotel Marlowe.
Museo Nacional de Antropologia
The Museo Nacional de Antropologia (National Museum of Anthropology) is located within the Chapultepec Forest (#18) and holds items from Mexico’s pre-Columbian era. These items include the famous Piedra del Sol, the statue of Xochipilli, and the jade Pakal Mask. The museum is considered one of the largest and most visited museums in Mexico and covers a space of almost 20 acres. If you are planning to visit the museum, you might want to give yourself a couple of days. Nearby hotels include InterContinental Presidente Mexico City, Hyatt Regency Mexico City, and Hotel Habita.
Playa del Amor
Playa del Amor (also known as the Hidden Beach) is located west of Puerto Vallarta and is one of the features of the Marietas Islands. It’s believed that this natural wonder was the result of military bombings from the early 1900’s. To reach the beach, visitors can charter a tour boat with special permits from either Puerto Vallarta or Punta de Mita. Once at the Marietas Islands, visitors will have to swim through a short tunnel.
La Isla de Las Muñecas
Translated as the Island of the Dolls, La Isla de Las Muñecas has been described as a “horrifying, doll infested wonderland.” Still, its story is quite fascinating, and the place is popular with tourists and locals alike. The Island of the Dolls can be in found in the Xochimilco canals (#25) and is the result of a man by the name of Don Julian Santana, who left his wife and child and moved onto the island. It’s believed that a young girl once drowned in the lake and that Don Julian honored the deceased girl by hanging and collecting dolls. Eventually, the island was transformed into the creepy location known today. In a bizarre and mysterious twist of fate, Don Julian was found drowned in the same area in which the girl supposedly drowned. Reaching the island is not an easy trip. Visitors can take a ferry from Embarcadero Cuemanco or from Embarcadero Fernando Celada.
Xkeken in Maya is translated as “pig.” The reason for the name is due to a local legend regarding a little pig that would get lost and always returned muddy. The owners one day decided to follow the pig which led them to the cenote. And so, they named the cenote “Pig.” Located a few kilometers from Valladolid in the Yucatan Peninsula, this cenote is filled with crystal clear blue-green water which has attracted many tourists. The Mayans believed that these cenotes led to the afterlife, and some believe that the cenotes might have even been used for human sacrifice (though this is highly debated). Hotels at Valldolid include Hotel El Meson del Marques and Ecotel Quinta Regia.
Located in Xilitla, which is a small town in the Huasteca region of southern San Luis Potosi state, Las Pozas is a sculptured garden unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Las Pozas (which translates into “the pools”) was created by an eccentric English poet named Edward James and used to be a coffee plantation. Construction of the gardens started in 1962 and lasted until the death of the English poet in 1984. There are more than 30 installments in the garden which include winding staircases to nowhere, cathedral inspired screens, gothic arches, and dramatic gates.
Pyramid Of Kukulcan at Chich’en Itza
One of the new seven wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site, the pyramid of Kukulcan at Chich’en Itza is an impressive structure that stands at 24 meters (78.74 feet) high with a 6 meter (19.69 feet) temple on top. Also known as El Castillo (a name given by the Spanish Conquistadors), the pyramid was built over a pre-existing temple some time between 800 and 900 AD and is the biggest pyramid in Chich’en Itza. Each of its four sides has 91 steps for a total of 364 steps.
Dated between 600 to 850 AD, El Caracol or “snail” is one of the world’s oldest observatories and is named after its winding interior staircase. Rising above the Yucatan jungle, El Caracol allowed ancient astronomers to view the stars in 360 degrees which gave them the ability to track the movements of Venus. The tower is 48 feet (14.6 meters) high and sits on a four-cornered platform.
Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve
Located about 100 kilometers northwest from Mexico City, the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve offers visitors a spectacular encounter with these beautiful creatures. The 56,259 hectares UNESCO World Heritage site lies within rugged forested mountains, and every autumn, it houses millions (some say billions) of Monarch butterflies that arrive from Eastern Canada after an 8-month migration. November through March is the best time to visit.
Guanajuato – Casa de Colores
A city full of color, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Guanajuato is known not only for its baroque churches (some of which are considered among the most beautiful examples of Baroque architecture in Central and South America) but also for its colorful houses. Found in the city’s historic center, many colorful box-shaped houses can be seen perched on surrounding hills. Founded by the Spanish in the early 16th century, Guanajuato was the world’s leading silver-extraction center in the 18th century. The resulting prosperity influenced buildings throughout central Mexico. Hotels in Guanajuato include the Edelmira Hotel Boutique, Hotel Castillo Santa Cecilia, and Villa Maria Cristina Relais & Chateaux.
Yet another UNESCO World Heritage site found in Mexico, Calakmul is set deep in the tropical forest of the Tierras Bajas. The well-preserved structures show a detailed picture of the life in an ancient Maya capital with hieroglyphic inscriptions and epigraphic records providing information not found anywhere else in Maya Area. Calakmul was discovered in 1931 by American botanist Cyrus Lundell and boasts the largest and tallest pyramid in Yucatan.
One of Mexico’s most active volcanoes, Popcatepetl (Also known as “Popo”) awoke in 1994 after almost 50 years of being dormant. Popcatepetl is the Aztec word for smoking mountain which is quite an accurate description of this moody giant. Reaching a height of 5,426 Meters (17,801.84 feet), Popo is North America’s 2nd-highest volcano and can be seen from the town Santiago Xalitzintla (which is the nearest town to the summit). Nearby hotels include Hotel ibis Santiago Estacion Central, Santiago Marriott Hotel, and Crowne Plaza Santiago.
Tequila Tours – Jalisco
The birthplace of Tequila, Jalisco is the second largest urban area in Mexico. Visit Pueblo Tequila, situated at the foot of Volcan de Tequila to visit the many tequila distilleries and to observe the process of making tequila. Visitors can also take horseback tours through agave fields, remote trails, and mountain forests. Aside from tequila, Jalisco is also the birthplace of Mariachi music, the Mexican hat dance, and the wide-brimmed sombrero. Hotels in Pueblo Tequila include Hotel La Rienda Mision tequillan, Hotel Casa Dulce Maria, and Hotel Plaza Jardin SA de CV.
Barrancas Del Cobre (Copper Canyon)
Longer and deeper than the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Copper Canyon in Sierra Tarahumara is a breathtaking sight. The name Copper Canyon was coined by the Spanish when they confused the canyon’s color for copper. You can visit the canyon via the ‘Chepe’ railway (Ferrocarril Chihuahua Pacifico) which meanders over 656 km (407 miles) between Los Mochis and Chihuhua. However, the canyons offer a wide array of natural sights and adventures with nearby towns offering tours and even attractions, such as the Pargue de Aventura Barrancas del Cobre’s zip-lines.
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