The Chapultepec train whisks passengers up the mountain to Chapultepec Castle on top. Views are not to be missed!
Mexico City doesn’t need to be exhausting. Take your time, and you can still enjoy an incredible trip.
Here’s a less than exhausting three-day way to see and do a lot, while saving some time and energy for your days off.
Mix this one up how you like, just be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
9:30am Chapultepec Park
Let’s start this trip off nice and easy. It may be the biggest city park in Latin America, but you don’t have to tackle all of it. There are trails and a good dozen museums, but you can take it at your own pace and still find a lot to enjoy.
11 am Chapultepec Castle
A ways up top, still in the park, is the national history museum and a big castle from the late 18th century. Watch for the train at the bottom of the hill (pictured above) and you’ll see it’s a simple trip. Views from above are spectacular, but even without the history museum, the building and the grounds are well worth a visit.
1 pm National Anthropology Museum
Guess what? Just across the street is one of the most famous museums in the world. Visiting doesn’t have to be too intense, and especially on weekdays, it’s a fascinating place to learn about Mexican history and culture. The restaurant is almost excellent, and highly recommended for lunch, before or after strolling the galleries.
10 am – The Zócalo
The big city square you’ve seen on TV, in full vibrant color. Of course it’s surrounded by fantastic things to see and do. Show up early, get breakfast on the square, then head for the good stuff.
11 am – The National Palace
Grandiose as it is, it’s also free to come in. The murals by Diego Rivera are the biggest draw, but for architecture and history alone, it’s worth spending some time.
12 pm – The Metropolitan Cathedral
The oldest and biggest cathedral in Latin America, this one is worth a good hour or two before lunch. There are of course a good 14 spectacular side-chapels, each crammed with its own gnawing artworks, sculptures, paintings and carvings.
1 pm – Lunch at the Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico
The Gran Hotel Terrace has an excellent terrace buffet with views from about five stories up. Highly competitive, it’s in reality one of the best lunch buffets on the market. At about $450 pesos per person, you can eat for less, but for what you’re getting, it’s not at all an unreasonably priced buffet. Enjoy.
3 pm – The Templo Mayor Museum & Archaeological Site
Many guests to the city visit the Anthropology Museum (you saw it yesterday) when what they want is more perspective on Mexico City itself. The Templo Mayor is what they didn’t know they were after. While Anthropology can give you a pretty good perspective on the entire country, the Templo museum and site are focused just on what was here.
You get a dramatic and focused insight on where you’ve been these past two days, and perhaps it will be enough to make you want to come back!
10 am – The Diego Rivera Mural Museum
Housing one of Rivera’s original murals, Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central, (Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Central) which thankfully survived the 1985 earthquake, this museum gives you a quick but massive dose of art.
11 am Alameda Central
The Alameda was established in 1592, making it the oldest city park in the Americas. Spend some time here, have a drink (or a perfectly respectable lunch) on the roof of the Barrio Alameda. The Alameda is clean, safe and enormous, and on the further side you find…
1 pm Bellas Artes (The Fine Arts Palace)
One of the city’s most iconic landmarks, it’s home to some of the most famous murals, plus its own galleries and the Museum of Architecture. At night, regular performances of the Ballet Folklorico make it the destination you’ve got to come back to at least a few times in a lifetime.
4 pm Casa de los Azulejos
Most people who are in Mexico City any length of time learn what a Sanborns restaurant is. In this case, it’s a Sanbornes in a centuries-old tile covered mansion. You get a good first-hand looks at the architecture, but for the fact that it’s a working and relatively easy-going restaurant, you can also explore that much more. With intact 20th century murals in the stairwells, affordable prices, and an exterior that may seem positively other-worldly, this one is not one to pass up.