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What to Do When Visiting Mexico City

Zocalo

Once the main center of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, this is the beating heart of Mexico’s capital. This is where you come to gain a snapshot of the city: cars speed around the outskirts while all over the place you see business executives, workers, and fashionistas, as well as vendors, buskers and Aztec dancers. The Zocalo  takes up a whole city block and is among the largest squares in the world where people gather for civic and cultural events and celebrations throughout the year; at Christmas it’s fitted out in neon.

La Casa Azul, Museo Frida Kahlo

Coyoacan was among the first of the Mexico City’s neighborhoods to receive the Secretary of Tourism’s Barrios Magicos (Magic Neighborhoods) designation. In this neighbourhood you will find Frida Kahlo’s home where she was born, lived most of her life and died.  The Frida Kahlo Museum is a wonderful tribute to the the artist. Papier-mache sculptures, small artworks and many original pieces of furniture can be admired in the Blue House. Kahlo’s most famous painting, Los Dos Fridas, isn’t housed here though but in the Museo del Arte Moderno.

Bosque de Chapultepec

If people talk about Chapultepec Park, they actually mean the forest.  Bosque de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Park) is Mexico City’s largest oasis and one of the loveliest places to visit. With 686 hectares, this green haven is much the same as New York’s Central Park: without it, the city would be all but uninhabitable. The park is divided into three sections, is home to forests, lakes and several important sights and attractions, It’s easy to pass hours just strolling the paths but Chapultepec actually holds a wealth of museums like the Modern Art Museum, Tamayo Museum and National Museum of Anthropology.

Visit a market

When you want to get to know a city visit its markets. Go to  the Sonora market for ceramics, and Ciudadela on Balderas Avenue for Mexican arts and crafts. If you want to buy Lucha Libre masks, capes, t-shirts, and tiny action heroes to brightly coloured and bizarre-shaped papier-mache piñatas and other party toys, costumes and decorations go to La Lagunilla and Mercado Coyoacán. La Merced offers a huge range of fruits and vegetables, chilis of all kinds  a huge variety of nopales (cactus paddles), aromatic herbs and spices, and the famous Oaxacan cheeses. And if you want for some reason purchase spiritual paraphernalia, amulets, magic potions, religious trinkets, and life-size statues of the skeletal Santa Muerte  you’ll find all this at Mercado Sonora, the witchcraft market.

Street food

If you like to try a country’s typical food the best way to do so is buying from the street vendors. Fresh-squeezed fruit juice, tacos al pastor, tamales and atole, tlacoyos, quesadillas and much more can be found at stands all over Mexico City. Just make sure to eat where most of the locals eat to avoid “Montezuma’s revenge”.

Listen To Mexico

At Fonoteca Nacional (National Archive of Recorded Sound) the memory of the Mexican culture is stored through music, political speeches, interviews and much more. Visit the sound garden, where environmental works and experimental concerts are presented. The National Archive does not only offer folk and popular music, it also covers a large range of music genres such as Mexican country music, boleros, tangos, waltz and even rock.

If you want to experience live music to best place to go is Plaza Garibaldi which located on Eje Central Avenue, corner with Republica de Honduras, in the Historic Center Plaza Garibaldi is always filled with visitors singing at the top of their lungs, to the rhythm of the music being played by the mariachi bands.

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