Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park is the equivalent of the city’s Central Park (as it is indeed located quite centrally). There are many attractions in the park and surrounding neighborhood that are worth a visit. It gets quite lively on weekends, and also note that most attractions are free for locals on Sundays, so that is obviously the day that it gets the most crowded.
See & Do
- Chapultepec Castle(Castillo de Chapultepec):High over the city and hard to miss when looking at the park is the Chapultepec Castle. This site has served many different purposes all the way back from Aztec times when it was considered holy. After that, it has served a few stints as an imperial palace, the presidential mansion, an observatory, and finally, now, as a museum. Admission is 70 pesos ($3.50) and worth it to get a great panoramic view of the city. There are a few historical artifacts and rooms to view when you’re in the complex as well, if you’re into that. Lots of huge Mexican flags around. It might be possible to just sneak in on a Sunday as they didn’t seem to be too strict about checking for nationality or residence, but at a price of only 70 pesos, we decided it’s better to just be honest and pay up. At that price, it’s not a bad deal at all.
- Museo Nacional de Antropología The crown jewel of anthropology museums, right in the heart of Mexico City. This museum is inside Chapultepec Park, and contains many artifacts not only from the development of Mexico, but also the anthropological development of the world. Specific to Mexico are many relics from the Aztec and Mayan eras (as well as a few key replicas). You can easily spend an entire day (or several days) here, so we tried to hit a few key exhibits on our trip here, with the plan to spend more time exploring the rest next time we’re around! When you first enter the museum, you’ll see a circular fountain with water raining down – considered by many to be the icon of the museum. As you continue through the museum you will see the Aztec sacrificial stone which was used as an altar to sacrifice people to the gods. You’ll also see a re-creation of an ancient headdress used by an Aztec chieftan (the original is in Austria of all places). Most of the important exhibits have English translations so it’s fairly easy to follow along.
- Parque México: An urban park that’s right in the middle of the Condesa neighborhood. Plenty of people walking around, enjoying the weather — and there is a duck pond right in the middle. Nice place to get a respite from the urban jungle out there. The neighborhood surrounding the park is also seems really nice and modern, with plenty of cafes and bars and things to do.
Eat & Drink
- Mercado Roma: Every city has one of these modern hipster markets with all sorts of local artisan food and craft beer, and Mexico City is no exception. Plenty of options for food, but the real highlight was the top floor which has a beer hall/garden with multiple local draft beer options. Definitely much more expensive than other parts of Mexico City, but still fairly reasonable in price compared to the US or Europe.
- Market Medellin: Located right in the middle of the Roma neighborhood, a much more traditional type of market. This is the type of place that locals come to buy their groceries or other goods for a decent price. We grabbed a cup of coffee from one of the stands and wandered around for a while. The merchants are very friendly – all of them insisting on trying out some samples of the great tasting produce. We ended up buying a sweet fruit (chico) to enjoy later that night.
- Taquería El Califa: The most modern of all taquerias that we went to, just down the street from our hotel in the Zona Rosa. It’s a little pricier, you get a good atmopshere and plenty of room to sit down and stretch out while enjoying your tacos. A little more variety in terms of appetizers (as you can see in the picture, we got grilled Nopal to start).
- Hotel Marquis Reforma: Top tier hotel for very reasonable prices. Room was really nice (not too huge, but nice). People seemed very attentive and friendly, and also fluent in English. There was a bit of a mixup with the bill as they seem to choose the currency that gets them the most amount of money (either dollars or pesos, and they use their own made up exchange rate–make sure you do the math yourself), but besides that, for this price it’s in a great location and the service and quality of the room is truly excellent for the price.