When I found out I would be in a wedding in Playa del Carmen this year, I knew I wanted to take advantage of my trip down to Mexico to explore a bit more of the country. My husband and two other friends decided Mexico City would be the perfect mix of history, beauty, and fun. Although there’s much to love about Mexico City, here are a few of my favorite things:
The first thing that surprised us was the temperature. We had done our research. We knew that Mexico City was located on a plateau with an altitude of about 7,200 feet (about a mile and a half) above sea level, which means mild temperatures, even in July. After sweltering in Playa del Carmen, I found it hard to believe the temperature would be much cooler just across the Gulf. The temperature in Mexico City was perfect – it stayed in the mid-60’s during the day.
Another pleasant surprise from Mexico City was the beauty of its city streets and surrounding areas. It is hard to go anywhere without seeing a park, a walking trail, or a green space. This is especially true of the Condesa neighborhood, where we stayed. I would definitely recommend this area as it is walking distance from lush parks, greenways lined with trees and statues, restaurants with open air seating, and shops of all kinds. We found an adorable apartment on Airbnb that cost less than $25 USD per person, per night.
Floating Gardens of Xochimilco
Exploring the floating gardens of Xochimilco was by far my favorite activity. Colorful gondola-like boats will take you out on a cruise through the canals. You’ll sail by other boats filled with people dancing alongside mariachi bands and vendors selling everything from dolls, to food, to local drinks. Don’t be concerned this is a just a tourist trap… Local families and groups of friends also frequently head out on the boats for their weekend fun. (In fact, this is one of the few times I’d recommend going on the weekend when it’s busiest so you’ll get the full effect). This said, be cautious when negotiating your rate for the boat. We likely would have paid a higher price had our local driver not offered to negotiate the price down (in fluent Spanish) for us. We ended up paying about $15 USD per person for the two hour ride, plus the bucket of Coronas. We had an absolute blast on the boats and even invited our driver to come with us for the ride!
Another must-do activity is Lucha Libre, or Mexican wrestling, said to be the second most popular sport in Mexico after soccer. The match was quite the experience – the crowd went wild and was donning masks and capes representative of their favorite wrestlers. You can get tickets on the day of for very cheap and at a variety of prices based on which seating option you choose. We couldn’t help but purchase masks of our own for the event!
The Cultural and Historical Sites
There are also plenty of historical and cultural sites to visit based on your interests. Start at the Zócala and take in the architecture of this main city square. Here, the National Palace houses murals painted by Diego Rivera. His murals line the staircase and walls of the Palace and depict the history of Mexico. For a great view of the city, take a short walk to the observation deck at the Mirador Torre Latino where you’ll be able to see the gorgeous Palacio des Bella Artes from above.
The second major area to tour is in and around the Bosque de Chapultepec, or Chapultepec Forest, where you’ll find another another great view of the city from Chapultepec Castle at the top of Chapultepec Hill. It’s a pretty steep walk, but if you’re willing to wait, there’s a trolley to take you up and down the hill. The castle has had many purposes throughout history, but now houses the National Museum of History. Spend some time exploring the beautiful grounds of the castle, take in the view, and also stroll around the Bosque, if you have time.
Have you visited Mexico City? What did you love most? Anything else you would recommend to your fellow travelers?
This post was written by Flirting with the Globe contributor, Becky Jackson. You can read more about Becky here.
cc header image from flickr: 2016 – Mexico City – Monumento by Ted McGrath
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