Magical Mexico City

What a city! Situated in a shallow mountain bowl, 2400m above sea level Mexico City, aka CDMX (Ciudad de Mexico)  is  one of the most dynamic, exciting and enticing cities we have ever visited- and there have been a quit a few!

We spent six days here at the start of a 7 week trip around this wonderful country. Already we want to return to see more but here are some of the places we did manage to squeeze in:

The Zocalo

Officially the Plaza de la Constitution but renamed by the people as the Zocalo (which means “plinth”), after an abortive attempt to build a monument to independence in the 19th Century left only the plinth.  This  is the epicentre of the entire country and nowadays, every city has its own Zocalo, similar I suppose to the Plazas de Armas all over South America. To the north side is the Catedral Metropolitana and to the east the massive Palacio Nacional.

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Palacion Nacional

Everyone in Mexico seems to want to hold a demonstration in the Zocalo. We managed to get caught up in one in the streets leading there. Fortunately, despite the presence of the heavily armed police, it all seemed very good natured and quite fun!

Mexico City

Catedral Metropolitana

This magnificent edifice dominates northern side of the square.  Certainly the largest Catedral we have seen in the Americas, although we have seen more beautiful churches.


Most days, Aztec dancers in their weird and wonderful costumes can be seen strutting their stuff around the plaza.

Mexico City

Mexico CityMexico City

Witchdoctors also ply their trade, offering to cleanse one of all sins (just didn’t have the time!). The ritual involves buying a bunch of twigs from an assistant, who then lights them, passes the smoking twig to the shamen who then waves the burning twigs all around chanting whilst the customer stands there, arms and legs akimbo, coughing away amidst the smoke – don’t stand downwind to watch!

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Alameda Central

A short walk from the Zocalo, is a wonderful,  green open space right in the centre of the city. A nice place to sit awhile and watch some of the many street performers or, at certain times of the year, admire the many statues of “La Caterina.


Catrina and Carolyn!

These elegantly dressed skeletons are found all over Mexico City. the word “Catrina” means well dressed and the image derives from early 20th century cartoons poking fun at the elegantly dressed upper classes and pointing out that regardless of social standing, we all meet the same fate in the end. (my thanks to William, one of our readers who kindly provided the background information)

Palacio Des Bellas Artes

This magnificent golden-domed building is as impressive inside as it is outside. Art Deco in style, it houses some spectacular murals including some by the ubiquitous Diego Rivera.

Mexico City

Mexico CityMexico City

The Palacio is also home to a series of exhibitions and permanent displays of Mexican art as well as temporary exhibitions of anything from local art-school graduates’ work to that of major international artists. We may have to return for a longer look.

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Museo Nacional de Antropologica 

One of the world’s great museums, not just for its vast and diverse collection of exhibits, but also for its originality of design and practicality. The exhibition halls surround a patio with a small pond and a huge concrete umbrella supported by a single pillar around which flows an cascade.



Each of the exhibition halls have access to gardens which also contain larger, outdoor exhibits.

A few of the many superb exhibits:

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Mexico CityMexico CityMexico City

and a few more!


At the  main entrance from Reforma is a colossal statue of the rain god Tlaloc. Legend has it that when it was moved from its original home in the east of the city, the move provoked torrential downpours in the midst of a drought. 

Mexico City

A great first stop in the city and easily manageable in a morning or afternoon visit.

Roma Norte

We got lucky with our choice of hotel location. Metrobus and  Metro stations were close by making it easy to get around. There were some great food places around,  from our “regular” breakfast taco stall, to more upmarket places.

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An unexpected bonus of our hotel location were the folkloric dance performances in Jardin Puskin, right outside Which we happened upon by chance.

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Mexico City

There is just so much going on in this city – as dynamic, vibrant and fun city as ever there was.

5 thoughts on “Magical Mexico City

  1. Considering all the places you have been that is quite the praise. I love Mex City. It’s always been one of my favorite cities to visit. We used to go a fair amount before it became so crime ridden. Was so happy to return a couple years ago to a safer city.

    1. Hi Dona, we had heard lots about crime and safety in Mexico, including some dire warnings! I have to say, 3 weeks into our trip and we have felt entirely at ease everywhere we have been. Touch wood I am not tempting fate…

    2. Hi Dona, We are loving Mexico more and more as we travel around. We had heard lots about how unsafe Mexico can be but we have been here a month so far and have yet to feel unsafe anywhere. The Mexican people have been unfailingly friendly and helpful.

  2. As a retired Spanish teacher, and frequent traveler to Mexico City (I am there right now), I am happy to hear that you enjoyed CDMX. One tiny correction… the images of the elegantly dressed skeletons are “Catrinas” (no “a” after the “t”). The word means “well-dressed”. The images derive from a cartoon in the early 20th century poking fun of the elegantly dressed upper classes, and pointing out that regardless of social standing, we all meet the same fate in the end.

    1. Thanks for spotting my typo William. I will amend accordingly! Thanks also for the background – I didn’t know that and may well add it to our blog!

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