If you only have a short amount of time to spend in Mexico City, plan ahead of time in order to make the most out of your stay. To experience the best Mexico City has to offer, short-term visitors need to be able to travel quickly from place to place while eating the best food, seeing the best art, scoping out the best shops and seeing all of the city’s beauty! Here is how this can be accomplished in as short as 48 hours.
Home Base and Getting Around Quickly
Like many major cities, traffic, crowds and sheer size make Mexico City tricky to get around quickly. So instead of traveling to tons of different neighborhoods and spending time on crowded subways or in potentially unsafe taxis, it is best to pick a hotel, or “home base,” that is within walking distance from most of the activities you’d like to accomplish during your mini vacation in Mexico City.
A great place to start, of course, is the city center. This is the true heart of the city and is a great mix of culture, history, food and convenience without wasting too much time on travel. The city center houses the National Palace, where the government of Mexico has been run for hundreds of years, and is also home to a thriving business center with some of the tallest skyscrapers in the city. There are plenty of hotels nearby, but one highly recommended, and affordable hotel in Mexico City center is Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico.
Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico
Av. 16 de Septiembre No. 82
Cuauhtémoc, Centro, 06000
Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
+52 55 1083 7700
There is no point in visiting Mexico City, even for just two days, without experiencing the amazing traditional Mexican food the city has to offer. The city center is chock-full of restaurants from high-end, special occasion places to super-casual grab-and-go street food.
Since you are in the city center, take advantage of your location by walking a few blocks away to Mercado de la Merced, Mexico City’s largest produce market. This market serves as both a place to pick up a delicious local snack and a historical activity since the roots of the market can be traced back to the 1860s. While most of the food stands at Mercado de la Merced are fruits and vegetables, this is also a great place to find traditional street food vendors.
Related: Best Markets To Shop In Mexico City
History and Culture
One of the most important historical landmarks in Mexico City is the nation’s capital – which also marks the center of the city, close to where you’ll be staying. The National Palace has been the ruling seat of Mexico since the Aztec Empire. The building is a gorgeous feat of architecture blending Aztec and Spanish elements to create the ultimate symbol of Mexican history and culture. In front of the National Palace is the city’s main plaza, or Zocalo. It is a huge, culturally-important gathering place for Mexicans from across the country. Zocalo is a site not to be missed.
Another important cultural site in Mexico City center are the murals by Diego Rivera. These beautiful, but disturbing political pieces of art signified the political unrest in Mexico – and around the world – in the 1920s. They symbolized the rising communist movement in Mexico at the time and are now world-famous examples of modern art.
To truly see Mexico City, you have to get as high as you can. Luckily, one skyscraper in Mexico City Center has a great viewing room near the top – just like the Empire State Building or the Sears Tower. The Torre Latino is definitely a must-visit while on a short visit to Mexico. The tower is well-known for its engineering – especially after it survived some major earthquakes without any damage. From the top of the building you will be treated to a simply indescribable view.
Cameron Bruns is the founder of BostonGreenBlog.com and co-author of Just Us Gals Boston. She lives in Boston’s North End, where her goal is to promote ethical, stylish, and sustainable lifestyle choices to all Boston residents. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.