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The Cathedral

The old city center or Centro Histórico of Mexico City, around the Plaza de la Constitución, is an area clearly different from the rest of the city. Its colonial and European architecture and narrow cobblestone streets set it apart from the rest of Mexico City. It has an enormous number of stores, street vendors, and especially crowds. Without a doubt, this area is one of the most popular areas in Mexico City.


Organ grinder in Mexico City's Centro Historico

The Centro Histórico, the original foundation of Mexico City, was built on the ruins of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec empire capital established in 1325 and destroyed by the Spanish in 1521. It contains a lot of old buildings that date back to the 16th century. Due to its importance, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The designated historic area comprises more than 9,000 buildings, almost a quarter of which are historically significant structures. While many of the buildings are from the colonial era, many others were significant during the Mexican War of Independence, the Post-Independence era, or even opulent art deco buildings from the time of the Mexican Revolution.

Organ grinders[edit]

The streets of the Centro Historico often resound with the nostalgic sound of organ grinder, cranking away on their historic instruments that have typically been handed down through generations of grinders. The tradition began more than 130 years ago, during the Porfiriato era. According to local lore, Porfirio Diaz wanted Mexico to emulate European traditions, one of which was the sound of street music in Berlin coming from a seemingly endless number of organ grinders. The organ grinders adopted to the khaki uniform style of Diaz's soldiers and the people of Mexico enjoyed the sounds of the small organs as they strolled downtown streets.

Aztec dancers at the Zocalo in Centro Historico

Organ grinders are considered part of the city's intangible culture. Although they can be found in cities across Mexico, it's in the capital where most still ply their trade, particularly in Centro Historico. The tradition is slowly dying though. Fewer organ grinders walk the streets than they once did. Youngsters rarely want to follow in their fathers' footsteps and new organs are almost unheard of since most of the instruments were manufactured in Germany, which hasn't exported the organs since World War II. If you hear the quaint sound of a street organ, understand that you are hearing a tradition with more than 130 years behind it. If you appreciate it, throw a few pesos in the hat of the organ grinder. He's working for tips!

Aztec dancers[edit]

Traditional Aztec dancers are a fixture in the Centro Historico, especially in the Zocalo between the Catedral Metropolitano and the Templo Mayor. The dancers are called concheros, and while their dances are not necessarily based on oral tradition passed down through the local indigenous community, they take their dancing seriously and try their best to learn as much as they can about instruments, music, costumes, dances, and astronomical and religious events that mattered to the Aztecs, so that what you see and hear is as close to an authentic Aztec cultural experience as most tourists are likely to experience. Watch, appreciate, and tip the performers!

Get in[edit]

Bike Day

Every Sunday Avenida Reforma is closed to motor vehicles due to "bike" day (confined streets for bicycle use only). It is strongly advised to avoid driving that brings you close to Avenida Reforma. If you are staying at any of the hotels in this area and have a flight scheduled on Sunday, it is advised to allow enough time to get out of the area if you're using a taxi. An alternative to get in and out of the area is the Metro (Subway).

By Metro[edit]

This is probably the best way to reach the Centro Histórico, however, all the stations in the area are consistently crowded, so be prepared and alert for pickpockets.

There are various Metro lines that connect the Centro Histórico with the rest of the city.

  • Line 1 (pink): 1 Pino Suarez, 2 Isabel La Católica and 3 Salto del Agua stations.
  • Line 2 (blue): Pino Suarez, 4 Zocalo (your best choice for direct access), 5 Allende, 6 Bellas Artes, 7 Hidalgo and 8 Revolucion stations.
  • Line 3 (light green): Hidalgo, 9 Juárez and 10 Balderas stations.
  • Line 8 (dark green): 11 Garibaldi, Bellas Artes, 12 San Juan de Letrán and Salto del Agua stations.

By Turibus[edit]

The hop-in hop-off double-decker bus makes a stop just north of the Zócalo in Monte de Piedad street in the west side of the cathedral. The one-day pass costs M$140 (M$160 for English version of the excursion – do not forget to ask for your headphone!)

By Metrobús[edit]

Line 4 (orange) of the Metrobús system has two branches that ride through the Centro Histórico. Both branches run from the 13 Estación Buenavista (Buenavista train station) to the 14 Estación San Lázaro (San Lazáro station) adjacent to the East Bus Terminal (TAPO). In both branches there are a few specially-marked buses that continue beyond San Lazáro to Mexico City's airport, serving both terminals. Buses going to or coming from the airport charge M$30 instead of the regular Metrobús fare (M$6), and you must have a travel card which can be purchased in 7-Elevens and in machines if you can find them (the one at the airport are near the exits).

By train[edit]

Commuter trains from communities in Estado de Mexico provide fast transport to the heart of the city. The Tren Suburbano routes end at Estacion Buenavista, which is also the terminus of Metro Line B and a major Metrobus stop with buses traveling along Av. Insurgentes.

By trolley bus[edit]

The Trolley Bus rides along Eje Central Avenue. Ask the driver to drop you off at Madero street.

By car[edit]

This is the least recommended way to get around Centro Histórico since the streets are always jammed with hundreds of cars especially during weekdays. Many downtown streets are closed to vehicles on Sunday when bicycling is encouraged (free loaner bikes on Paseo de la Reforma). Most streets are one-way only and many are permanently closed to car traffic. If you dare to enter the area by car, you can do so from the west through Reforma and turning right at Avenida Juárez, or if you're coming from the south, you can reach the Centro Historico through Calzada de Tlalpan which later becomes Avenida 20 de Noviembre.

There are several parking lots in the area (valet service) that charge M$14 an hour. A non-valet but expensive 1 parking lot is available at Bellas Artes.

Get around[edit]

The middle of the centro

On foot[edit]

The best way to get around the Centro Histórico is definitely by foot. All tourist attractions are within walking distance. Because of traffic and the distance between metro stops, walking is generally the fastest way to explore the area.

By tourist trolley[edit]

This trolley (in Spanish Tranvia Turístico) departs from Avenida Juarez 66, between the Alameda and the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The ride lasts 45 minutes around many interesting spots in the area. Operating hours daily 10:00-17:00.

By pedicab[edit]

There are a few pedicabs that can carry you within the Centro Histórico.


Historic sites[edit]

Plaza de la Constitución (Zócalo)
Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan
Diego Rivera murals at the Palacio Nacional
Palacio de Iturbide
  • 1 Plaza de la Constitución (El Zócalo). Measuring 240m long on either side, the Zócalo is one of the largest squares in the world. It is flanked by the Metropolitan Cathedral and Sagrario to the north, and the National Palace to the east, as well as a number of other historic buildings. A huge Mexican flag occupies the center, which is ceremoniously lowered and re-raised each day at 18:00. A wide variety of events may be hosted here, including concerts, demonstrations or other more typical social gatherings. On New Year's Day, practitioners of Mexico's indigenous religions gather to bless believers for the coming year; Mexican independence is celebrated in the plaza on 15 and 16 September. During the month of December, through the miracle of modern refrigeration, the entire Zocalo is transformed into an ice skating rink. Zócalo (Q1348507) on Wikidata Zócalo on Wikipedia
  • 2 Templo Mayor, C/ Seminario 8 (north-east corner of the Zócalo), +52 55 4040 5600 ext 412930, . Tu-Su 09:00-17:00. The site of the main Aztec temple of Tenochtitlan, it was destroyed by Spanish conquistadors in 1521, who then promptly erected the Cathedral roughly over it – but not quite. Centuries later, nearly completely forgotten, its actual location was discovered by accident in 1978 when electrical workers found a piece of a large stone disc depicting the goddess Coyolxauhqui. This sets off a few furious years of archaeological digging, resulting in a rather surprising (and extremely significant) discovery that nested underneath the original Aztec temple was six distinct smaller, older temples. You can see each layer walking through the dig site. M$59, free for children under 12 and students with valid ID. Templo Mayor (Q774021) on Wikidata Templo Mayor on Wikipedia
    • 3 Museo del Templo Mayor. This excellent four-story museum was designed by Mexican architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, and built in 1987 to showcase the many artifacts found on the site. Highlights include the Coyolxauhqui disc as well as the many thousands of offerings found during the still-ongoing excavation. Templo Mayor Museum (Q3330387) on Wikidata
  • 4 Palacio Nacional (National Palace), Plaza de la Constitución s/n (east side of the Zócalo). Daily 09:00-17:00. The palace in its current form began construction in 1693 and served as the Palace of the Viceroy of New Spain until the Mexican War of Independence, when it became the executive seat of the President (though today it is no longer his official residence). The walls inside the palace display murals by Diego Rivera depicting the history of Mexico from the pre-Columbian age to the Mexican Revolution. You can also visit the Recinto Legislativo, a replica of the first Mexican Congress, and tour the home of Benito Juárez. Tours in English are free; ask for one at the information desk. Free admission with photo ID (national driver's license is acceptable). National Palace (Q1517884) on Wikidata National Palace (Mexico) on Wikipedia
  • 5 Palacio de Iturbide (Palacio de Cultura Banamex / Palace of Iturbide), Francisco I Madero 17, +52 55 1226 0004. Daily 10:00-19:00. One of the oldest buildings in town, built in the late 16th century, it was first home to the local nobility and later the residence of Mexican Emperor Agustin de Iturbide. The building is owned today by the Cultural Trust of Banco Nacional de Mexico, the Mexican branch of Citibank. Free. Palace of Iturbide (Q130898) on Wikidata Palace of Iturbide on Wikipedia
  • 6 Plaza de la Fundación (Plaza de Tenochtitlán) (Pino Suarez and Venustiano Carranza). This place is allegedly where the Aztecs found the eagle eating a snake on top of a cactus (nopal), the divine sign of the gods to settle down and establish the city of Tenochtitlán. It features a sculpture by Juan Olaguibel made in 1970.
  • 7 Nacional Monte de Piedad, Monte de Piedad and Cinco de Mayo. M-F 08:30-18:00, Sa 08:30-15:30. This building, which was completed in 1758, was built on the grounds of the house of Aztec emperor Moctezuma and later the residence of the Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés. The building was acquired in 1838 by the Nacional Monte de Piedad, a pawn shop established in 1775 that still operates today. Nacional Monte de Piedad (Q3402106) on Wikidata Nacional Monte de Piedad on Wikipedia
  • 8 Casa de la Primera Imprenta de América (House of the First Print Shop in the Americas), Lic Francisco Primo de Verdad 10, +52 55 5522 1535, fax: +52 55 5522 1675, . M-F 10:00-17:00, Sa 10:00-15:00. This building, which dates from 1524, housed the first printing press in the New World, which operated from 1539 until 1560. After this time the building was used for a number of purposes until it was restored by the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM) in 1989; it now houses a museum displaying some of the first books printed in Mexico. Free. House of the First Print Shop in the Americas (Q5915612) on Wikidata House of the First Print Shop in the Americas on Wikipedia

Religious buildings[edit]

  • 9 Catedral Metropolitana de México (Metropolitan Cathedral) (north side of the Zócalo). Daily 07:00-19:00. The largest cathedral in the American continent. Designed by Claudio de Arcinieaga, construction started in 1573 and lasted for more than 300 years. Be sure to check out the side chapels where parishioners leave offerings for the various saints. For a bird's-eye view of the plaza, you can take a 40-minute tour (Spanish language only) of the upper levels and bell towers of the cathedral (M$12). Free. Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral (Q610961) on Wikidata Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral on Wikipedia
    • 10 Sagrario Metropolitano. Daily 07:00-19:00. A side chapel next to the Cathedral completed in 1769. The façade is an excellent example of Mexican Churrigueresque architecture.
  • 11 Templo de San Francisco, Francisco I Madero 7. This church was started in the 16th century and completed in the 19th century; it was built in the grounds of the zoo of Aztec Emperor Moctezuma.
  • 12 Templo Expiatorio Nacional de San Felipe de Jesús, Francisco I Madero 9. Built in 1897 on the site of the former Vasque Church of Aranzazu. Templo Expiatorio Nacional de San Felipe (Q17374444) on Wikidata Templo Expiatorio Nacional de San Felipe de Jesús on Wikipedia
  • 13 Santa Teresa La Antigua (Iglesia de Santa Teresa), Licenciado Verdad 6. Built in 1678 and refurbished in 1845. Santa Teresa la Antigua (Q7419961) on Wikidata Santa Teresa la Antigua on Wikipedia
  • 14 Templo de la Enseñanza (La Enseñanza Church), Donceles 104. M-Sa 08:00-20:00, Su 10:00-17:00. Tucked away on a side street, this very narrow gem of a church was built in the 1770s and is notable for being an outstanding example of Mexican Churrigueresque architecture. Even more remarkable than the façade, however, are the nine gilt retablos inside. Free. La Enseñanza Church (Q6462320) on Wikidata La Enseñanza Church on Wikipedia
  • 15 Templo y Convento de Regina Coeli (Parroquia de la Natividad de María Santísima), Regina 3 (Metro to Isabel la Catolica). Huge historic church known for its opulent baroque interior. Part of a large Conceptionist convent founded in 1573. The statues and artwork is spectacular as is the gilded altar.


Plaza de Santo Domingo
Plaza Manuel Tolsá
Zona Arquelógica Tlatelolco
  • 16 Plaza de Santo Domingo (Between the streets of República de Cuba, Brasil and Belisario Dominguez). The second largest square in Centro Histórico after the Zócalo. It is surrounded by various important buildings such as the Palacio de la Inquisición, Santo Domingo convent and the old Customs House. Plaza de Santo Domingo (Q9060963) on Wikidata
    • 17 Museo de la Medicina Mexicana (Antiguo Palacio de la Inquisición / Palace of the Inquisition), República de Brasil 33, +52 55 5623 3123, . Daily 09:00-13:00. This museum managed by the Medicine Faculty of the National University now shows the history of health care in Mexico since the 19th century. Features a great replica of an old pharmacy. It is housed in the Inquisition Palace, built between 1732 and 1737, which was the head office of the Holy Inquisition, the religious authority famous for torturing heretic people. Free (photo ID required). Palace of the Inquisition (Q7126272) on Wikidata Palace of the Inquisition on Wikipedia
  • 18 Plaza Manuel Gamio (Seminario between Moneda and Guatemala streets). Features an open-air diorama of the old Tenochtitlán. Plaza Manuel Gamio (Q21680735) on Wikidata Plaza Manuel Gamio on Wikipedia
  • 19 Plaza Manuel Tolsá, Tacuba 8. In this beautiful square you can find the Palacio de Minería, the National Art Museum and the statue of Spanish king Charles IV also known as El Caballito (the little horse). Plaza Manuel Tolsá (Q516715) on Wikidata
    • 20 Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL / National Art Museum), Tacuba 8, +52 55 8647 5430. Tu-Su 10:00-17:30. Housed in the former Palace of Telecommunications, this beautiful Porfirian-style building was built in 1904 by architect Silvio Contri. The museum presents a permanent collection of paintings and sculptures from the 16th century through the early 20th century, including a large number of very early Mexican paintings. The museum is famous for its enormous and ostentatiously decorated Reception Hall and for its Patio de los Leones, which houses much of its sculpture collection. The museum is very large with over 3,000 objects on display. It often hosts temporary exhibits on special subjects. Allow at least a half day to fully explore its many galleries. M$38 (adults), free (concessions); free admission on Sundays. Museo Nacional de Arte (Q1138147) on Wikidata Museo Nacional de Arte on Wikipedia
    • 21 Palacio de Minería (Palace of Mining), Tacuba 5, +52 55 5623 2929. Guided tours on Sa Su 11:00 and13:00. Formerly the Mining College, this building dated from 1792 features an old library and a chapel. It serves as venue for the yearly Mexico City Book Fair. M$30. Palacio de Minería (Q3431087) on Wikidata Palacio de Minería on Wikipedia
  • 22 Plaza de las Tres Culturas, Lázaro Cárdenas Eje (between cross streets Av Ricardo Flores Magón and Manuel González Eje; from the Metro, exit from Garibaldi station (line 8) and walk north on Lázaro Cárdenas, or from Tlatelolco station (line 3) and walk east on Manuel González). So called because in one city square you can see three different time periods of Mexico City's development mixed together: the pre-hispanic Aztec temple grounds of Tlatelolco, the 16th-century Spanish Church of Santiago, and a modern 20th-century skyscraper, now home of the University Cultural Center Tlatelolco (CCUT) for UNAM. Plaza de las Tres Culturas (Q1851912) on Wikidata Plaza de las Tres Culturas on Wikipedia
    • 23 Zona Arquelógica Tlatelolco (Tlatelolco Archaeological Site) (entrance is on Lázaro Cárdenas). Daily English language tours at 13:00. The temple, like Tenochtitlan's Templo Mayor, was built in several layers and is now the site of continuing archaeological exploration; it occupies the largest amount of area, on the north and west side of the plaza. If you're not around for the tour, you can guide yourself along the path (complete with English plaques) that takes you through the ruins, which deposits you in front of the Church of Santiago, on the east side of the plaza. Free. Tlatelolco (Q14623034) on Wikidata Tlatelolco (archaeological site) on Wikipedia
    • 24 Templo de Santiago (Church of Santiago). The colonial church, built by Spaniards immediately after destroying the temple in their conquest of Aztec lands, was constructed using stones "borrowed" from the temple itself. Despite its weathered appearance, the interior is well-maintained and should still hold regular Mass, although doors may not always be open to the public.
    • 25 Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco, Ricardo Flores Magón 1, +52 55 5117 2818 x49646, . To the south, you'll see the modern-day tower and its adjacent buildings, which were built for the Secretary of External Relations (SRE), now headquartered across the street (though they still have offices in the church's adjoining cloister). UNAM runs the building as a conference hall and cultural center, and has a few exhibits open to the public: Memorial 68 (see Museums, below) and the Blaisten Collection, showcasing modern art. Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco (Q6408610) on Wikidata


Noche de Museos

On the last Wednesday of the month, museums stay open extra late (sometimes until midnight), offer free admission, and present special events like live music, wine tastings, guest lectures, or film screenings (hopefully no Ben Stiller comedies).

Apothecary display at Museo Franz Mayer
Museo de la Ciudad de México

Mexico City prides itself in having the largest number of museums in the world, and most of these museums are in Centro Historico. Highly recommended are the Museo Nacional de Arte, Museo del Templo Mayor and Museo Franz Mayer. Remember most museums are closed on Mondays.

Art museums[edit]

  • 26 Museo Franz Mayer (Franz Mayer Museum), Hidalgo 45, +52 55 5518 2266, . Tu-Su 10:00-19:00. Housed in a 18th century building, houses the largest and finest collection of decorative arts in Mexico. The collection, including objects from Mexico, Europe and Asia ranging from the 16th to the 19th century was a donation of German-Mexican philantropist Franz Mayer. M$45 (adults), M$25 (students/teachers), free (seniors/children under 12/museum members). Franz Mayer Museum (Q1148324) on Wikidata Franz Mayer Museum on Wikipedia
  • 27 Museo José Luis Cuevas (Museo JLC / José Luis Cuevas Museum), Academía 13, +52 55 5522 0156. M-F 10:00-19:00 (closed Sa Su). Housed in the former convent of Santa Ines built in 1600. The museum's collection features works by Mexican artist Jose Luis Cuevas as well as other modern artists, it also presents works (especially sculptures) from European artists such as Picasso and Rembrandt. The museum's courtyard features an enormous statue called, appropriately enough, La Gigantesca. M$40 (adults), M$20 (students/teachers). José Luis Cuevas Museum (Q6292752) on Wikidata José Luis Cuevas Museum on Wikipedia
  • 28 Academía de San Carlos (Museo Nacional de San Carlos / Academy of San Carlos), Academía 22, +52 55 5522 0630. Housed in a building dated 1785 that was conceived as the Royal Academy of Beaux Arts. It is administered by the National University and features permanent and temporary painting collections. This is the oldest arts academy in the Americas and has trained large number of Mexico's most famous artists. Today, the academy is part of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) and only graduate courses are taught in the historic centro. Academy of San Carlos (Q337267) on Wikidata Academy of San Carlos on Wikipedia
  • 29 Museo Mural Diego Rivera, Puente de Alvarado 50, +52 55 5512 0754, . Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. This museum was built to house Diego Rivera's famous mural Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central ('Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Central'), which the painter created for the Hotel del Prado in 1947-1948. The hotel was destroyed in the earthquake of 1985, but the mural survived and was moved to this location. The museum also hosts permanent and temporary exhibits. M$35 (adults), free (students/teachers), photo permit M$5. Museo Mural Diego Rivera (Q6033558) on Wikidata Museo Mural Diego Rivera on Wikipedia
  • 30 Museo Nacional de la Estampa (MUNAE / Museum of Graphic Arts), Avda Hidalgo 39 (Plaza de la Santa Veracruz), +52 55 5510 4905. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. Features a collection of old engravings and other graphic arts. M$45 (adults), free (students/teachers/INAPAM members); free admission on Sundays. Museo Nacional de la Estampa (Q2893965) on Wikidata Museo de la Estampa on Wikipedia
  • 31 Museo Kaluz, Hidalgo 85 (corner of Hidalgo and Reforma, at the edge of the Alameda; use Metro to Hidalgo or Bellas Artes), +52 55 2345 3168. W-M 10:00 - 18:00, closed Tu. Eclectic art museum that straddles the line between traditional artistic styles and the worlds of modern and contemporary art. The museum focuses on works that reflect the history and changing cultural values of Mexico City, a unique collection in a city crowded with outstanding arts venues. The museum itself is housed in a historic building, originally the Hospedería de Santo Tomás de Villanueva, but known to generations of Mexicans as the Hotel Cortes, the building was extensively restored and updated prior to the opening of Museo Kaluz in 2021. Roof top terrace with peaceful gardens and a popular cafe. M$90 (foreigners), M$60 (Mexican citizens).
  • 32 Museo de la Arte de SHCP (Antiguo Palacio del Arzobispado), Moneda 4 (20 meters off the Zocalo, near Palacio Nacional), +52 55 3688 1248. Tu-Su 10:00 - 17:00, closed M. Eclectic art collection owned by the government's Finance ministry. Mexico has an innovative tax program that allows collectors and artists to pay tax debts by donating significant artworks. The collection includes works by famous artists like Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Rufino Tamayo as well as many cutting-edge contemporary works. Free.

History museums[edit]

  • 33 Museo de la Ciudad de México (Museum of the City of Mexico), José María Pino Suárez 30, +52 55 5522 9936, . Tu-Sa 10:00-18:00. This museum presents the history of the city in an 18th century mansion; the building itself is possibly more interesting than the contents. It is believed that a conquistador's house was previously on the site, as evidenced by the southwest cornerstone of an Aztec serpent head likely taken from the Templo Mayor. M$29 (adults), M$14.50 (students/teachers/INAPAM members); free on W. Museum of Mexico City (Q1402600) on Wikidata Museum of the City of Mexico on Wikipedia
  • 34 Memorial del 68, Avda Ricardo Flores Magón 1 (cross street Lázaro Cárdenas Eje; from the metro, exit from Garibaldi station (line 8) and walk north on Lázaro Cárdenas, or from Tlatelolco station (line 3) and walk east on Manuel González). Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. In UNAM's University Cultural Center Tlatelolco (CCUT) at the Plaza de las Tres Culturas (see Landmarks, above), Memorial 68 is a well-put together museum chronicling the events surrounding the police massacre of student protesters at Tlatelolco in 1968, around the time of the Summer Olympics, which were hosted in Mexico City that year. It's definitely worth a look, but all explanatory text and video interviews are in Spanish only, so brush up your vocabulary or bring a translator. M$30 (adults), M$15 (students), free (children under 6); free admission on Su. Memorial del 68 (Q5406027) on Wikidata
  • 35 Museo Memoria y Tolerancia (Museum of Memory and Tolerance), Plaza Juárez, +52 55 5130 5555, . Tu-F 09:00-18:00, Sa Su 10:00-19:00; last tickets sold ½ hr before closing. Opened in 2010, this museum is dedicated to the remembrance of genocides and crimes against humanity committed around the globe, with the goal of promoting peace and tolerance. Separate sections of the museum are devoted to the Holocaust, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, the Khmer Rouge, Darfur, Armenia, and Guatemala. Genocide is only one of the issues the museum confronts. Exhibits also explore hate crimes committed in the name of religion, racial purity, and especially sexual orientation, with a number of exhibits and lectures exploring LGBT issues (in Mexico, they tend to add a lot of extra letters so that you might see it as LGBTTTQIA). M$75 (adults), M$60 (students/teachers/seniors); temporary exhibits: M$30 (adults), M$15 (concessions). Museum of Memory and Tolerance (Q6033509) on Wikidata Memory and Tolerance Museum on Wikipedia

Garment museums[edit]

  • 36 Museo de la Indumentaria Mexicana, Izazaga and 5 de Febrero (In Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana). Collection of traditional Mexican clothing. (Q5556764) on Wikidata
  • 37 Museo del Calzado El Borceguí (El Borceguí Shoe Museum), C/ Bolivar 27, 1st Floor. M-F 10:00-14:00 15:00-18:00, Sa 10:00-18:00. Private collection of old shoes from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The museum belongs to the shoe store El Borcegui, established in 1865 and still selling shoes today. Free. (Q17374405) on Wikidata

Other museums[edit]

  • 38 Museo Nacional de las Culturas (National Museum of Cultures), C/ Moneda 13, +52 55 5542 0187, . Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00. Housed in the former Mint building built in 1734. The museum is dedicated to anthropology of the world. Free. Museo Nacional de las Culturas del Mundo (Q6940503) on Wikidata Museo Nacional de las Culturas on Wikipedia
  • 39 Museo Archivo de la Fotografia, Republica de Guatemala 34, +52 55 2616 7057. Tu-Su 10:00 - 17:00, closed M. Housed in the historic 16th century Casa de las Ajaracas, it is a rare survivor on a street that has seen other historic structures knocked down to explore the Templo Mayor site. The museum is home to a huge collection of historical photographs from the 19th and 20th century (and beyond), documenting the constantly changing cityscape of Mexico City.
  • 40 Centro Cultural de España en México (CCEMx / Cultural Center of Spain in Mexico), República de Guatemala 18, +52 5521 1925, . Tu-F 11:00-21:00, Sa 10:00-21:00, Su 10:00-16:00. This is the official cultural center from the Spanish Embassy and features temporary exhibits. Free. Centro Cultural de España (Q5062814) on Wikidata Centro Cultural de España on Wikipedia
  • 41 Museo de San Ildefonso (Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso / San Ildefonso College), Justo Sierra 16, +52 55 5702 2991, . Tu 10:00-20:00, W-Su 10:00-18:00. Managed by the National University, this museum features some stunning murals and hosts great permanent and temporary art exhibits. M$50 (adults), M$25 (students/teachers), free (children under 12); free admission on Tu. San Ildefonso College (Q2297137) on Wikidata San Ildefonso College on Wikipedia
  • 42 Museo del Estanquillo (Museum of the Little Shop), Isabel La Católica 26, +52 55 5521 3052. W-M 10:00-18:00. One of the newest museums in the city, this contains the personal collection of paintings, photography, and books of the Mexican journalist and writer Carlos Monsivais. Museo del Estanquillo (Q6034430) on Wikidata Museo del Estanquillo on Wikipedia
  • 43 Museo de la Caricatura (Caricature Museum), C/ Donceles 99, +52 55 5702 9256. Daily 10:00-18:00. Depicting the history of Mexican cartoons (political and amusing cartoons). M$20 (adults), M$10 (students/teachers). Caricature Museum, Mexico City (Q5039534) on Wikidata Caricature Museum, Mexico City on Wikipedia
  • 44 Museo de la Luz (Museum of Light), El Carmen 31 (corner with San Ildefonso), +52 55 5702 4129, . M-F 09:00-17:00, Sa Su and holidays 10:00-17:00. Managed by the National University, this museum is mostly for students on everything to do with light (photography, electricity, vision, etc). M$35 (adults), M$25 (concessions), free (children under 2). Museum of Light, Mexico City (Q15260374) on Wikidata Museum of Light, Mexico City on Wikipedia
  • 45 Museo de la Charrería (Ex Templo de Nuestra Señora de Montserrat), José María Izazaga 89 (near Isabel La Católica), +52 55 5709 4793. This museum features everything about the Mexican Cowboy, known as Charro. Museo de Charrería (Q9047058) on Wikidata Museo de Charrería on Wikipedia
  • 46 Museo Legislativo (Mexico Congress), Honorable Congreso de la Unión #66, Col. Delegacion (Metro line 1 or B to San Lazaro or line 1 or 4 to Candelaria). M-F 10:00 - 18:00, closed Sa-Su. Museum dedicated to Mexico's Congress, with exhibits about the legislative process and the two houses: the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The building houses the legislative chamber of the larger house (Chamber of Deputies). The Senate conducts sessions in a different building on Av. Reforma. Congressional tours are conducted through the museum and include the opportunity to enter the Chamber of Deputies. This building is equivalent to Parliament in London or the Capitol in Washington D.C. Free.

Other attractions[edit]

Palacio de Bellas Artes
Palacio Postal
124 Diego Rivera murals line the walls on 3 floors of the SEP building
  • 47 Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), Avenida Juárez and Eje Central, +52 55 5512 2593, . Tu-Su 10:00-18:00; last admission ½ hr before closing. Designed by Italian architect Adamo Boari. Construction started in 1905, however due to the Revolution War, it was not completed until 1934. The building is so heavy that it has sunk 4½m into the former lakebed. It is considered to be one of the best examples of Mexican Art Deco architecture; architectural and interior features include its copper cupolas and a Tiffany stained-glass stage curtain designed by Mexican painter Gerardo Murillo (commonly known as Dr. Atl). Free (lobby), M$60 for mezzanine with murals and galleries; $M30 photography permit; free admission on Sundays. Palace of Fine arts (Q1139081) on Wikidata Palacio de Bellas Artes on Wikipedia
    • The main attraction for visitors is the building's collection of large murals on the 2nd and 3rd floors, by David Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, and Juan O'Gorman. Of these, highlights include Siqueiros' masterpiece Nueva democracia and Rivera's El hombre contralor del Universo, a reproduction of the original commissioned and destroyed by Nelson Rockefeller in New York.
    • Ballet Folklorico de Amalia Hernandez is a renowned dance theatre show that performs regularly in the Palacio de Bellas Artes when the show is not touring internationally. The theatre is a stunning art deco venue with a stained glass curtain created by Dr. Atl. Show times and tickets are available on TicketMaster.
  • 48 Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP, Ministry of Public Education), Republica de Argentina 28, +52 55 3601 1000. M-F 09:00-17:00. This former convent, built in 1729 and now housing the Education Secretariat, should not be missed by Diego Rivera fans. The building has 124 mural panels extending over two city blocks and filling three levels, with the most elaborate panels of traditional Mexican life on the ground floor, state seals on the second floor, and themes of revolution and class inequality on the third level. The works on level one and three pack the most punch. There is also a David Alfaro Siqueiros mural in the main stairwell. Photography permitted, no flash. Free. Secretariat of Public Education (Q750196) on Wikidata Secretariat of Public Education (Mexico) on Wikipedia
  • 49 Palacio Postal (Palacio de Correos / Correos Mayor), Tacuba 1 (corner of Eje Central and Tacuba.). M-F 08:00-21:00, Sa 08:00-18:00. One of the most beautiful buildings in the country and considered a National Heritage Building. Built in 1906, this European style building houses the main post office. Most of the materials used to build it were brought from Italy. Free. Palacio de Correos de Mexico (Q978161) on Wikidata Palacio de Correos de Mexico on Wikipedia
    • 50 Museo Postal, Tacuba 1 (Palacio Postal), +52 55 5510 2999. Daily 10:00-18:00. Housed in the Postal Palace, features old postal stationery and mail boxes.
  • 51 Torre Latinoamericana (Latinoamericana Tower), Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 2 (corner of Francisco I Madero St). Daily 09:00-22:00. Construction started in 1948 and was completed in 1956. This was Mexico's first skyscraper, boasting 44 floors and 182 meters. There is an observatory in the 42nd floor. M$120 (observatory). Torre Latinoamericana (Q947870) on Wikidata Torre Latinoamericana on Wikipedia
  • 52 Banco de México (Bank of Mexico), Cinco de Mayo and Avda Eje Central. Office of the Mexican Central Bank, built in 1925. Bank of Mexico (Q806208) on Wikidata Bank of Mexico on Wikipedia
  • 53 Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation) (Pino Suarez and Corregidora). This building was completed in 1945 and was designed by architect Antonio Muñoz Garcia. Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (Q130925) on Wikidata Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation on Wikipedia
  • 54 Centro de la Imagen, Plaza de la Ciudadela 2 (entrance on Calle Balderas), +52 55 4155 0850, . M-F 10:00-18:00. This is one of Mexico City's premier exhibition spaces for photography, with rotating exhibits of work by Mexican and international photographers. The center also has a small bookstore. Free. Centro de la Imagen (Q5762082) on Wikidata
  • 55 Biblioteca Miguel Lerdo de Tejada (Library of Miguel Lerdo de Tejada), República de El Salvador 49, +52 55 3688 9837. M-F 09:00-17:30. This Baroque building was built as a church, but in the 1960s was repurposed to house a library. For visitors the primary interest is a series of enormous murals painted by the Russian emigré painter Vladimir Kibalchich Russakov (known in Mexico simply as Vlady). The murals in the main room are titled La Revolución y los Elementos (or 'Revolution and the Elements'). They required eight years to complete and are considered to be among the artist's most well-known works. Free. Biblioteca Miguel Lerdo de Tejada (Q16489693) on Wikidata
  • 56 Biblioteca de México José Vasconcelos, Plaza de la Ciudadela No 4, +52 55 4155 0830. Daily 08:30-19:30. Located in a former tobacco factory, it is one of the largest libraries in the city. It contains several beautiful courtyards and smaller libraries decorated according to the character of different Mexican authors who donated their book collections to the library. Free. Biblioteca de México "José Vasconcelos" (Q5727809) on Wikidata
Inside the Biblioteca Vasconcelos
  • 57 Biblioteca Vasconcelos (Megabiblioteca), Eje 1 norte Mosqueta s/n (corner of Aldama), +52 55 9157 2800, . Daily 08:30-19:30. Next to Buenavista train station, it is the largest library in Mexico and functions as a central library for other libraries in the country. It is housed in an impressive modern building designed by architects Alberto Kalach and Juan Palomar. It is a must for visitors with an interest in architecture, not only for its stunning exterior design, but for its famous "floating stacks" that create the illusion of book shelves hanging from the ceiling. The library also houses a large contemporary art collection. The ground floor houses free temporary exhibits and the grounds include a botanical garden with native plants. Free. José Vasconcelos Library (Q6294156) on Wikidata Biblioteca Vasconcelos on Wikipedia

Other interesting adjacent neighborhoods[edit]

  • 58 Colonia San Rafael. Colonia San Rafael is just 1 km west of the historic city center. It was established in the late 19th century as one of the first formal neighborhoods outside of the city center and initially catered to the wealthy of the Porfirio Díaz era. These early residents built large mansions, many with French influence, and many still remain. This neighbourhood has now a large number of movie theatres and Museums (El eco, El Chopo, El Museo Nacional San Carlos) and galleries Yautepec, La 77, @ El patio 77 B&B, Hilario Galguera. Colonia San Rafael (Q5148254) on Wikidata Colonia San Rafael on Wikipedia
  • 59 Colonia Santa María la Ribera. A colonia in the Cuauhtémoc borough of Mexico City, 2 km west of the historic center. This area was designated as a "Barrio Mágico" by the city in 2011 and it was created in the late 19th century. The colonia reached its height between 1910 and 1930. In the 1930s, the middle class moved in and a new era of construction began. Today, the colonia is a mix of old mansions and homes (with over 1,000 categorized has having architectural or historic value), small shops and businesses, tenements and abandoned buildings. The colonia has one major park Alameda and museums (Museo de Antropologia, Museo de Geologia de la UNAM as well as reopened Chopo museum housed in a cathedral like building, it is undergoing a dramatic modernist makeover by Enrique Norten, the star architect who lives in Mexico City and New York. Colonia Santa María la Ribera (Q5148257) on Wikidata Colonia Santa María la Ribera on Wikipedia



Free bikes on Paseo de la Reforma

Bicycle your way through the city center on Sunday morning. Paseo de la Reforma is closed to vehicle traffic and so are a lot of other downtown streets. The Mexico City government makes it easy to join in the fun. Go to Glorieta de las Palmas on Paseo Reforma and look for the big tents. There you'll find bikes you can borrow for up to 2 hours --- no charge --- just show your ID and fill out a form. Bikes are available starting at 8am and must be returned by 2pm.

Performing arts[edit]

Inside Teatro de la Ciudad
  • 1 Teatro de la Ciudad (Esperanza Iris), Doncelos 36 (take Metro to Allende), +52 55 1719 3000. Historic theatre that was built to resemble La Scala in Milan. It is a huge theatre with stacks of balcony levels looking onto the stage below. The best seats are on the 1st balcony level (better than main level seats). The theatre hosts a range of performances, many plays, but also dance, music, and other forms. Teatro de la Ciudad (Q7691977) on Wikidata Teatro de la Ciudad on Wikipedia


Until the 1950s the Centro Histórico was the main shopping district of the city. Many of the prestigious department stores of the country such as Liverpool and El Palacio de Hierro opened their first stores here. Today, the area is still one of the busiest shopping areas of the city. The area has several streets dedicated to a particular kind of shopping, something inherited from the Spanish. Shopping in the Centro is a real back-in-time experience as many of the spaces where the stores are located are truly historic.


La Merced
Santa Muerte items for sale at Mercado de Sonora
  • 1 Mercado de la Merced (La Merced Market), bounded by Santa Escuela, General Anaya, Rosario, and Cerrado del Rosario (metro La Merced). Daily 06:00-18:00. One of the largest and most famous markets in Mexico, La Merced was built in 1890 and covers several blocks. Mainly sells food and household items; if you're looking to cook for yourself or just want to wander aisles of stalls selling cheap limes or huitlacoche, this is the place to go. Foreigners will stick out a bit, but not excessively. Vendors are honest, at least for Spanish speakers, and may accommodate some bargaining although prices are fair. La Merced Market, Mexico City (Q3377015) on Wikidata La Merced Market on Wikipedia
  • 2 Mercado de Sonora (Witches' Market), Av Fray Servando Teresa de Mier (corner of Calz de la Viga). Daily 08:00-17:00. One of the more interesting markets, this specializes in traditional medicines, as well as paraphernalia for Santa Muerte and voodoo. Endangered animals are also sold here, and the market is regularly raided by the police. The area is not as safe as the higher-class neighborhoods to the west; exercise caution. Mercado de Sonora (Q5548562) on Wikidata Mercado de Sonora on Wikipedia
  • 3 Mercado de San Juan. Daily. Specializing in gourmet foods, this market is frequented by many of Mexico City's top chefs. On offer are many foods imported from Europe and elsewhere, including such specialties as European cheeses, Spanish and Italian sausage, and pre-Hispanic foods. San Juan Market, Mexico City (Q28517857) on Wikidata San Juan Market, Mexico City on Wikipedia
  • 4 Mercado de Artesanías de San Juan (San Juan Arts and Crafts Market), Ayuntamiento s/n, +52 55 5521 7846. Daily 10:00-16:00. Vendors here sell a full range of Mexican handicrafts from across the country, including pottery, textiles, carving, leatherwork, and jewelry.
  • 5 Mercado de la Ciudadela (Ciudadela Market), C Balderas 97, +52 55 5510 1828. M-Sa 09:00-19:00, Su 09:00-18:00. Tourist-oriented handicrafts market, cleaner, emptier, and more expensive than the other markets in the city, with crafts from all over Mexico. Ciudadela Market (Q18347778) on Wikidata Ciudadela Market on Wikipedia
  • 6 Mercado Lagunilla (La Lagunilla), Prolongación Paseo de la Reforma and Francisco Bocanegra (just past Eje 1 Norte). Su 10:00-16:00. This huge street market features antiques and other new goods such as clothing, crafts, food, jewelry and toys. It is considered safe to stroll in this street market, but try to remain in the streets near Francisco Bocanegra and Comonfor, because beyond that the market eventually blends into Tepito, another market which is a lot less safe.

Specialized streets[edit]

  • Avenida de República de Salvador. The first half of the street (from Avenida Eje Central Avenue to Avenida Isabel la Católica) specializes in all sorts of electronics. From spare and parts (speakers, wiring, transistors) to complete home theater systems, audio mixers and lighting for dance clubs. The other half of the street (from Isabel la Católica) specializes in stationery and paper.
  • Avenida Eje Central. You will notice that this street is full of street vendors. Be careful, the area is extremely crowded making it a paradise for pickpockets. Between the streets of República del Salvador and República de Uruguay, there is a shopping center known as 7 Plaza de la Tecnología as well as the 8 Plaza de Computación. Both are enormous indoor markets of little stalls hawking computer parts and electronics.
  • Calle del Artículo 123. Specializes in appliances, from spare parts to industrial vacuums and blenders.
  • Calle Victoria. Specializes in lighting, from wiring and electric outlets to chandeliers and lamps.
  • 9 Calle de Donceles. Specializes in photography. (Q5740823) on Wikidata
  • 10 Calle de República de Cuba. Specializes in printing (books, posters, thesis). In this street there are a few libraries selling very old books (18th and 19th centuries). República de Cuba (Q17623546) on Wikidata
  • 11 Barrio Chino, Calle Dolores. This street has become a pedestrian-only street full of Chinese restaurants and stores. Barrio Chino (Q5100149) on Wikidata Barrio Chino (Mexico City) on Wikipedia
  • Calle Tacuba, C. Tacuba 46 (Metro to the Allende station). Eyeglasses, contact lenses, and dozens of opticians.

Department stores[edit]

The original Sanborns store, in the historic Casa de los Azulejos
  • 12 El Palacio de Hierro, Avda 20 de Noviembre 3 (on the corner of Venustiano Carranza), +52 55 5229 3154, toll-free: +52 800 9075 300. This department store was established in 1891. The name of this store, (The Iron Palace) was named like that after it was the first iron and steel building in the city. El Palacio de Hierro (Q5351735) on Wikidata El Palacio de Hierro on Wikipedia
  • 13 Liverpool (originally El Puerto de Liverpool), Venustiano Carranza 92, +52 55 5133 2800. M-Sa 11:00-21:00, Su 11:00-20:30. This department store is housed in an Art-Deco building that was built in the late 1920s.
  • 14 Sanborns (Casa de los Azulejos), Francisco I Madero 4, +52 55 5512 1331. Daily. This department store and restaurant is housed in the former residency of the Counts of the Valley of Orizaba, and is a must-see for any visitor to Mexico City. Revolutionist Emiliano Zapata had breakfast here during his entrance to Mexico City in September 1916. This was the first store of the Mexican Sanborns chain, founded by the Sanborn brothers, American immigrants in Mexico City and later sold to Walgreens in 1946 and then to Grupo Carso in 1985. There are more than 100 Sanborns stores in the country today. Casa de los Azulejos, Mexico City (Q1267814) on Wikidata Casa de los Azulejos on Wikipedia
  • 15 Sanborns (Casa Boker), Isabel la Católica 35 (corner of 16 de Septiembre), +52 55 5518 1038. Daily. This department store is housed in a building completed in 1900 named 'Casa Boker' after a warehouse store with that name that still occupies part of the building. Casa Boker (Q21484077) on Wikidata
  • 16 El Nuevo Mundo, Venustiano Carranza 72 (corner of 5 de Febrero), +52 55 5130 0353. Still contains old fashioned practices such as old-style shopping processes. When decide to buying something, the salesman will prepare a small receipt, then you take it to the cashier to pay.
  • 17 C&A, Venustiano Carranza 79 (corner of 5 de Febrero), +52 55 5130 0360. Daily 11:00-21:00. Netherlands-based department store fashion retailer.
  • Palassi, +52 5552343279, .


Cakes on display at Pasteleria Ideal
  • 18 Pastelería Ideal (La Ideal), República de Uruguay 74, +52 55 5512 2522. Daily 06:30-21:30. Established in 1927. This is a good place for traditional bread, pastries and desserts. Ask for Danes de Chocolate, the place's delicacy.
  • 19 Pastelería Ideal (La Ideal), Av 16 de Septiembre 18, +52 55 5130 2970. Daily 06:30-21:30. Another branch of the famous bakery. On the 1st floor is an interesting exhibit of the types of cakes they can create on commission, many of them outrageously decadent.
  • 20 Pasteleria Madrid, Calle 5 de Febrero 25 (one block south off the main plaza in downtown Mexico), +52 55 5518 2950. M-Sa 07:30-21:00, Su 08:00 - 20:00. This is a very old and typical bakery, they will usually have fresh bread twice a day, but if there are a lot of customers they will bake as many as four times a day. Also serves breakfast platters, pastries and pan dulce.

Shopping malls[edit]

There are a few shopping malls in and around the Centro Histórico.

  • 21 Forum Buenavista, Avda Insurgentes (corner of Eje 1; metro Buenavista), +52 5541 4533. The largest shopping mall close to the centro. Includes a large supermarket.
  • 22 Patio Juárez, Avda Juárez (just across from the Alameda Central Park). A small shopping mall.


Café de Tacuba
Chiles en nogada, one of the signature dishes of Hostería de Santo Domingo

Street food[edit]

There are many places of street food in the center.

  • 1 Street Food alley. There is a big variety of street food. They are open daily between 8am and 8pm.
  • 2 Food stall market. At different times there are other food stalls open.
  • 3 Cocuyo's, Bolivar 59 (Metro to San Juan de Letran). Daily 08:00 - 05:00 (yes, they only close for 3 hours). One of Mexico City's many famous taco stands, Cocuyo's has been featured on international food shows including Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and the Netflix series, Taco Chronicles. The place has changed since Bourdain visited. They now have a dining room so you no longer have to stand on the street while you eat your taco, but the tacos are big and tasty as ever and they're still open in the wee hours of the night when those 3am munchies strike. Feel free to be adventurous and try something you've never heard of, but do be aware that some of those "unusual sounding" tacos contain gizzards, tongue, ears or other parts of the animal unfamiliar to foreign visitors. They might be delicious, but are you bold enough to find out? M$100.


  • 4 Don Toribio, Simon Bolivar 31 (Metro to Allende (line 2)), +52 55 5510 9198. Daily 09:00 - 18:00. Delicious traditional Mexican cuisine at some of the best prices in Centro. M$100.
  • 5 Roldan 37, Calle Roldan 37 (Metro to Pino Suarez or Merced), +52 55 5542 1951. Daily 12:00 - 19:00. Cozy upstairs restaurant specializing in chiles rellenos, including the national dish of chile en nogada. Very authentic cooking with several regional dishes based on indigenous traditions, and sometimes unusual ingredients that will offend the tastes of unsuspecting foreigners who might not appreciate the chance to eat grasshoppers. Though rest assured, there are plenty of "normal" dishes to choose from.
  • 6 Cafe el Popular, Av. 5 de Mayo 50 y 52, +52 55 5518 6081. Open 24 hours. Long-time fixture in the heart of downtown, about a block from the Zocalo and the Catedral. Traditional homemade Mexican food including fresh baked breads, though the restaurant is historically Chinese and once served hybrid Mexicanized Chinese dishes. The place is known for its coffee and of course is a dependable source of good, hearty food when the midnight munchies strike.


  • 7 El Huequito Bolivar, República de El Salvador 42 D (corner of Republica del Salvador), +52 55 5510 4199, . Daily 08:00-23:00. This taco joint is good if you want to try tacos al pastor, as featured in Anthony Bourdain's Mexico show.
  • 8 Cafeteria El Cuadrilatero, Luis Moya 73, +52 55 5510 2856, . M-Sa 07:00-20:00. This torteria is owned by former luchador Super Astro, and serves not only tortas but also standard Mexican fare. Their enormous torta Super Gladiator is free if you can eat the whole thing in 15 minutes. M$50+.
  • 9 La Opera Bar, Cinco de Mayo 10, +52 55 5512 8959. M-Sa 13:00-24:00, Su 13:00-18:00. This restaurant has been serving Mexican food since the early 1900s and retains the same furniture since then. When you get there, look up to the ceiling, as you will see the famous gun shot accidentally fired by Pancho Villa.
  • 10 Café el Popular, Cinco de Mayo 52, +52 55 5518 6081. Daily 24 hrs. A quintessential breakfast joint offering a range of tasty egg dishes for well under US$4 and surrealistically low chrome ceilings.
  • 11 El Ehden, Venustiano Carranza 148, 2nd floor, +52 55 5542 2320. Daily 13:00-18:00. This restaurant is favored by the local Mexican-Lebanese community, many of whom still own the small businesses and textile shops in the immediate area. It serves a range of standard Lebanese dishes, including an excellent mezze.
  • 12 El Mayor, Calle República de Argentina #15 (entrance via a lift by the gift shop on the ground floor), +52 55 5704 7580, +52 55 5704 7584, . M-Sa 09:00-18:30, Su 10:00-18:30. A newer rooftop establishment with great seating overlooking the Templo Mayor, this restaurant specializes in creative twists to traditional Mexican dishes. It's very popular for lunch, so it's best to arrive early. M$150+ mains.
  • 13 Hostería de Santo Domingo, Belisario Domínguez 70-72, +52 55 5510 1434. M-F 09:00-22:30, Su 09:00-21:00. Housed in a former inn, this restaurant opened in 1860 and is the oldest restaurant in Mexico City. It serves classic traditional Mexican dishes in a lively atmosphere, and is very popular with residents. M$120+ mains.
  • 14 El Cardenal, Calle de la Palma 23, Centro Histórico, +52 55 5521 3080. Daily 08:00 - 18:30. Upscale dining room serving outstanding regional and traditional Mexican cuisine. The restaurant has been a favorite of businessmen and politicos for generations. The food is always excellent, as is the service. They bake their own breads, offer several moles, offer unusual entrees, and are famous for their hot chocolate. Can be crowded weekdays for lunch and Sunday mornings. This listing is near the Zocalo, other locations are 1) about 100 meters from Palacio de Bellas Artes at Marconi 2, and 2) at the Sheraton hotel.
  • 15 Dulcería de Celaya, Cinco de Mayo 39, +52 55 5521 1787. Daily 10:30-19:30. This confectionery shop sells old fashioned sweets. It was established in 1874 and still has its original cabinets from that age.
  • 16 Limosneros, Ignacio Allende 3 (Metro station Allende), +52 55 5521 5576. M-Sa 13:30 - 22:00, Su 13:00 - 17:00. Elegantly rustic dining room with innovative regional cuisine and a full bar with a variety of mezcals, tequilas, and an excellent wine list featuring many great Baja vintages. Adventurous palates shouild try the carnitas de conejo. M$250.
  • 17 Paxia, Venustiano Carranza 69 (rooftop of the Umbral Hotel), +52 55 2289 6295. Tu-Sa 13:00 - 23:00, Su 13:00 - 19:00, closed M. Elegant rooftop restaurant with innovative nuevo Mexican cuisine and spectacular views of the historic downtown area. M$300.


  • 18 Café de Tacuba, Calle de Tacuba 28, +52 55 5521 2048, . Daily 08:00-23:30. Housed in a former convent, this institution serves up tasty Mexican dishes all day for reasonable prices. It is very popular so arrive early. Menu is in English and Spanish. M$115-180 (mains). Café de Tacuba (Q5739201) on Wikidata
  • 19 La Terraza, Francisco I Madero 73, +52 55 5521 8600. Daily 07:00-23:00. Restaurant on the roof of the Hotel Majestic overlooking the Zócalo, with stunning panoramic views of the city.
  • 20 Los Girasoles, Xicoténcatl 1 (on the plaza next to Museo Nacional de Arte), +52 55 5510 0630. Traditional Mexican cuisine from various regions. Expect dishes like mole oaxqueno and if you're adventurous, chapulines. Pleasant outdoor patio on a plaza made for people watching. Mariachis on weekends.
  • Miralto, Torre Latinoamericana, 41st floor, +52 55 5518 1710. Su-M 09:00 - 22:00, Tu-Th 09:00 - 23:00, F-Sa 09:00 - 00:00. Many places in the Centro Historico boast of the views from their rooftop dining rooms, but Miralto in the 41st floor of the Torre Latinoamericana looks down on all of them. Best views of any dining room in the city. Traditional Mexican cuisine is good, but unexceptional compared to the city's top restaurants.


The Centro Histórico is the best place to partake in traditional cantina fare, including drinks where light meals and appetizers, called botanas, are served alongside for free. There are cantinas everywhere in the neighborhood, all with interesting historical significance, live music, and interesting business types from the area. They are typically a male hangout, but women are accepted and safe, just be prepared to get some special attention if you show up. For nonalcoholic refreshments, juguerias selling twenty kinds of smoothies from M$25 are found on nearly every block during the day. For a genuine Mexican experience, visit a pulqueria and try a traditional regional drink made from fermented agave --- only in Mexico!

  • 1 Salón Tenampa, Plaza Garibaldi 12 (in the corner of Plaza Garibaldi), +52 55 5526 6176. Su-Th 13:00-01:00, F Sa 13:00-02:00. The original and most famous Mexican cantina, traditional home to the bohemians and mariachis of the 40s and 50s. Huge selection of tequila and mezcal, light Mexican food, and mariachi bands.
  • 2 La Opera, Av. 5 de Mayo 10, Historico Centro (1 block south of Museo de Arte or Palacio Postal, 2 blocks east of the Alameda), +52 55 5512 8959. 13:00-23:00. Traditional bar dating back to the Porfiriato era (est. 1870), it's ornate and impressive to see, but a fun place to have a beer or a cocktail. Serves food.
  • 3 Salón España, Republica Argentina 25. Old school traditional cantina where the tequila is strong and the men drink lots of it. They have mezcal and other liquors as well, but tequila is king here with more than 150 brands at your call! Free botanas (including tacos and quesadillas) while you continue drinking.
  • 4 Bar La Giaconda, C. de Filomeno Mata 18-E, Centro Histórico, +52 55 5518 7823. 15:00 - 23:00. Casual place with good baguette sandwiches and dark draft beer.
  • 5 Sunday Sunday, Tabaqueros 16. 15:00 - 02:00 Sunday only, Closed M-Sa. While the lightweights are nursing their hangovers on Sunday, the hardcore head to Mexico City's biggest Sunday night party where the house keeps rocking until 2am. The biggest crowds hit after midnight.
  • 6 Salon Corona, Bolivar 24 (around the corner from Palacio de Iturbide, nearest Metro station is Allende), +52 55 5512 5725. Su-Th 10:00 - 23:00, F-Sa 10:00 - 02:00. Friendly traditional cantina since 1928. Popular place to watch a soccer game or hang out and drink beer. Serves traditional Mexican food.
  • 7 La Faena, Venustiano Carranza 49 (Metro to San Juan de Letran, (inside Mancera Bar)), +52 55 5510 4417. M-F 13:00 - 20:00, F-Sa 13:00 - 10:30 (yep, they close for 2-1/2 hours to clean up). Old school cantina that celebrates the hispanic tradition of bullfighting. Campy wall decorations, a great jukebox full of classic Mexican rancheras, rock en espanol, and pop hits of the 90s. Cheap tacos, great variety of mezcal and tequila drinks, and a very lively crowd.
  • 8 Bosforo, Luis Moya 31. Th-Sa 19:00 - 02:30, Tu 19:00 - 01:30, W 19:00 - 23:00, closed Su-M. Dim, smoky bar with a hipster crowd. No sign, so you need to know where it is then look for the curtain across the doorway. Go in and join the crowd in sampling one of the city's widest selection of mezcals.


  • 9 Pulquería Las Duelistas, Aranda 28, +52 55 1394 0958. M-Sa 10:00 - 21:00, closed Su. Friendly and colorful traditional pulqueria (one of the most popular in the city) with murals on the ceiling and walls. Serves cured and white (blanco) pulques. Try a natural pulque to taste pure agave flavor, or try one of the fruit or spiced flavors. The celery (apio) is recommended.


  • 10 Marrakech Salon (El Marra), República de Cuba 18 (from Palacio de Bellas Artes, walk 2 blocks on Lazaro Cardenas to Rep.Cuba where you'll make a right and walk about 100m), +52 55 5518 3711. 18:00 - 02:30, Thursday-Saturday only. Wonderfully tacky flaming gay bar with drag queens and strippers for entertainment, no cover charge for anyone, and some delicious house mezcal drinks. Try the El Mayate --- minty and refreshing!
  • 11 La Purisima, Republica de Cuba 17 (across the street from Marrakech Salon). 18:00 - 03:00, Thursday-Saturday only. Delightfully tacky strip shows and disco balls. Very friendly crowd. no cover.



There are several low-priced decent hotels with hot water and private bathroom for around M$320 (April 2022).

in the middle of the centro:[edit]

  • 1 Hotel San Francisco, Luis Moya 11, Centro, +52 55 5521 8960. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Sparsely furnished, inexpensive rooms across the street from the Alameda and around the corner from the Museo Memoria y Tolerancia. M$700.
  • 2 Hotel Tuxpan, Republica de Colombia. A very good deal that is only a few blocks to the Zocalo. Clean with cable TV, nice restrooms, and mirrors on the ceiling.
  • 3 Mexico City Hostel, República de Brasil #8 (northwest corner of Catedral Metropolitana, metro Allende or Zócalo, line #2 blue), +52 55 5512-3666, +52 55 5512-7731, . Close to the Zócalo in the Historic Center. Breakfast included, Internet, laundry, lockers, tours and tourist information. M$500.
  • 4 Hotel Altanta.
  • 5 Hotel Dos Naciones.

in the east of centro:[edit]

  • 6 Hotel Tampico.
  • 7 Hotel Nevada.
  • 8 Hotel Universo.

in the west of the centro:[edit]

  • 9 Hotel San Fernando.
  • 10 Hotel Savoy, Zaragoza 10, Buenavista, +52 55 5566 4611. M$850.
  • 11 Hotel "Viva Maria".
  • 12 Hotel Oxford.
  • 13 Hotel La Fuente, C. Orozco y Berra 10, Guerrero (west of the Alameda), +52 55 5566 9122.
  • 14 Casa de los Amigos, Ignacio Mariscal 132, Col Tabacalera (one block south of Metro station Revolución, line #2 blue), +52 55 5705 0521, +52 55 5705 0646, fax: +52 55 5705 0771, . Established in the 1950s by the Quaker community in Mexico City, the Casa continues to be actively involved in local activities with a stated mission of promoting peace and international understanding. They run an affordable guest house (with either private rooms or dorm beds) with a two-night minimum, and is popular with international students or volunteers on extended stays, though there are still many who are "just tourists."


  • 15 Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral, República de Guatemala 4 (north side of Catedral main square, metro Zócalo, line #2 blue), +52 55 5518 1726, toll-free: 01 800 823 2410, . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. A clean and safe upscale hostel in a perfect location. Some rooms have partial views of the rear of the cathedral, but these are noisy due to the church bells. Discount with a Hosteling International card.
  • 16 Hotel Juarez, 1A Cjon De Cinco de Mayo 17, +52 55 5512 0568. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Just east of the intersection of 5 de Mayo and Isabel la Catolica, a well taken care of hotel. Large rooms, TV, phone (free local calls) and private bathroom, very central location, 2-minute walk to Zocalo and Catedral Metropolitano. Rooms may not all have windows. M$500.
  • 17 Hotel Principal, Calle de Bolívar 29, +52 55 5521 1333, . Clean, friendly, and well run hotel with a range of rooms. Most overlook a quiet inner courtyard.
  • 18 Cadillac Hotel Boutique, Izazaga 35, Centro, +52 55 1106 8621. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Stylish artsy place, very modern with excellent free breakfast. No A/C so better choice for winter than summer. Easy walking distance to historical sites and museums. M$1000.
  • 19 Hotel Metropol, Luis Moya 39, Centro (1 block south of the Alameda), +52 55 1085 0830. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Dated hotel that could use some redecorating tips, but rooms are spacious, they serve a buffet breakfast and the location is convenient: 5-minute walk to Juarez Metro station, 5-minute walk to the Alameda or Palacio de Bellas Artes. M$1200.


Tiffany glass ceiling in the Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico
  • 20 Gran Hotel Ciudad de México, 82 Av. 16 de Septiembre, +52 55 1083 7700, toll-free: +1 844-324-5006. Also known as "Centro Mercantil", this building built in 1899 was once a luxurious shopping center. It was converted into a hotel in 1966. The lobby of this place was featured in the film "Frida".
  • 21 El patio 77, García Icazbalceta, 77, Col San Rafael (3 blocks from metro station San Cosme, line #2 blue), +52 55 55928452, +52 15554550332, . El patio 77 is the first eco-friendly B&B in Mexico City. This only 8 rooms' eco-friendly B&B is a huge French style mansion from the 19th century. M$1400+.
  • 22 Best Western Hotel Majestic, Av Madero 73, +52 55 5521 8600, . The location is great, the rooms are clean and comfortable but the service is vaudevillian. The restaurant on the top floor has a superb view of the Cathedral and Presidential Palace but the food isn't worthy of the atmosphere. M$1400.

Stay safe[edit]

Overall, walking in the Centro Historico is safe, but its an area where you need to keep your eyes open, and be aware of your surroundings. The shopping streets and old department stores are fun, but be aware that shops close down noticeably earlier than in other places, and the streets begin to become quiet by 21:00 most nights. The Centro becomes ritzier going west toward the Zona Rosa, and grittier going east toward the Merced and Sonora markets. A conservative suggestion would be to avoid the areas east of the Zócalo after dark and avoid the Tepito neighborhood at all times (locals go there for cheap bootleg goods, but foreigners are more likely to have their pockets picked than to get a bargain). Plaza Garibaldi has been a sketchy place, but since 2020 the city has stepped up police presence there and has been cleaning up the plaza after several years of declining tourist traffic. There's still plenty of mariachis there and plenty of tequila and tacos, but its another area where you might want to visit during daylight hours, stick to places with lots of people, and avoid excessive drinking.


Cell phone services in Mexico City are excellent. 5G coverage is the norm as of 2023, particularly with Telcel, and dark spots with no coverage are virtually unheard of in Centro Historico. Free Wifi is available at most hotels, restaurants and other tourist spots. The city government provides free Wifi service to everyone in public parks and plazas, including the Alameda in Centro Historico.

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