The main reason we love spending time in CDMX is just the high quality of life we experience there, primarily access to movies, meals, and parks. But there are also plenty of tourist attractions in Mexico City and we frequently enjoy checking those out as well. A six-day visit from Chad’s folks was a great excuse to check out some we hadn’t done before and revisit some old favorites.
Zocalo and Ballet Folklorico
Our first destination with Chad’s folks was the Zocalo on their first afternoon. This is the historic center of Mexico City with its huge plaza, beautiful Catedral Metropolitana, and the Templo Mayor ruins. It’s all pretty awe-inspiring and a great way to be introduced to Mexico City. I can’t remember if we’d been in the cathedral before, but it provided a nice break from the afternoon sun.
Chad and I still haven’t visited the full ruins of Templo Mayor, which was one of the main temples of the Mexica people. But we enjoyed showing our guests the public part of the ruins. It is interesting to think how CDMX was built over top of the Mexica capital Tenochtitlan.
After checking out the Zocalo sights, we took a taxi over closer to our next destination and stopped in to La Casa de Tono, one of our favorite Mexican chains, for an early dinner of hearty bowls of pozole before walking over to the Palacio Bellas Artes for a performance of the Ballet Folklorico. This worked out well, but La Casa de Tono is very popular with the locals on Sunday afternoons so we had a bit of a wait for a table. Luckily the service there is always very speedy and we finished in plenty of time to get to our seats for the 6 p.m. performance.
Chad and I hadn’t been inside the Palacio Bellas Artes before, which was incredibly impressive, and the performance was a lot of fun. I just bought the cheapest high-tier tickets (there’s an elevator that takes you up, though you still have to navigate a few stairs here and there along the way). From above we had a great view of the stage. I’m not sure I would have found the more expensive floor seats worth it (they were three times the price). I’d definitely recommend attending a Ballet Folklorico performance to anyone visiting Mexico City.
The next day, we took Chad’s folks down to the heart of Coyoacan to see the plazas, a traditional market, the famous coyote fountain, and have a nice lunch out. We didn’t do much more than enjoy the neighborhood but I’d call it a must-visit no matter what neighborhood you’re based in for a visit to Mexico City.
After lunch, we had the taxi take us to the cineteca rather than directly to our apartment, and then walked to the apartment from there. I think Chad was happy to be able to show his parents one of his favorite places in the city. And they were able to try churros there!
Museo Nacional de Antropología
The next day we took them to our favorite Mexico City museum, the anthropology museum. They were impressed by all of the archeological exhibits and the beautiful building itself. Afterwards we followed the same strategy as the last time we visited that museum with my sister in February 2020 – we grabbed lunch from the food carts outside the museum to eat in the park and caught a performance of the Papantla Flyers on the giant pole in front of the museum.
We stuck closer to home for Chad’s parents’ final couple of days in Mexico City, visiting a couple of malls, showing his mom the Viveros, and trying more foods. It was a great visit and really fun to share one of our favorite cities with them.
Other Museums and Historic Sights
After they returned to the U.S., Chad and I revisited the campus of UNAM, which has some of the best architecture in the city and some fantastic murals. We visited on a Saturday and enjoyed seeing all the families there relaxing. There were also plenty of carts selling raspados to refresh everyone. After our picnic lunch and strawberry raspado, we walked over to the Plaza Loreto location of the Soumaya Museum to check out their exhibits.
We also had the opportunity to visit the Leon Trotsky Museum, which was very close to our Airbnb, and the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares in Coyoacan. These are both quite easy to take in and we visited them on the same afternoon. Afterward, we went out to a pulque bar, a unique milky alcohol made from fermenting maguey sap. We first tried it years ago in Puebla and then more recently in Tlaquepaque. It isn’t my favorite but worth trying on a trip to central Mexico and we decided to try to go out for pulque once each month of this leg.
The touristy parts of Mexico City aren’t what bring us back over and over but they’re definitely high quality and a lot of fun. Because of that, I highly recommend CDMX as a vacation destination.