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Overview

Mexico City arose from the debris of ancient Aztec Tenochitlán, a thriving metropolis when Hernán Cortés conquered it in 1521. The massive proportions of the modern urban sprawl could never have been envisaged. The ancient capital is remembered daily in the Zócalo where exotic dancers bedecked in feathered headdresses perform to the sound of beating drums. Nearby, the Templo Mayor, one of the few remains of Tenochitlán, has a museum dedicated to the Aztecs. The historic center brims with superb colonial buildings and fantastic museums. The Zócalo's Palacio Nacional holds striking Diego Rivera murals. ...

Mexico City arose from the debris of ancient Aztec Tenochitlán, a thriving metropolis when Hernán Cortés conquered it in 1521. The massive proportions of the modern urban sprawl could never have been envisaged. The ancient capital is remembered daily in the Zócalo where exotic dancers bedecked in feathered headdresses perform to the sound of beating drums. Nearby, the Templo Mayor, one of the few remains of Tenochitlán, has a museum dedicated to the Aztecs. The historic center brims with superb colonial buildings and fantastic museums. The Zócalo's Palacio Nacional holds striking Diego Rivera murals. The cathedral was built on the ruins of the Aztec temple complex. The Alameda Central is the center's largest green space and its precinct holds further impressive colonial architecture and the fabulous Palacio de Bellas Artes and Museo Mural Diego Rivera. The center and the city's legendary districts — the Zona Rosa, Condesa, Polanco and San Ángel — groan with cafes, restaurants, markets, shops, galleries, bars and entertainments. The Bosque de Chapultepec's outstanding Museo Nacional de Anthropología highlights Mexico's great civilizations.

John Noble
About the Expert

John Noble is a coauthor of Lonely Planet's Spain, Andalucia, and Mexico as well as many other LP titles from Indonesia to Belize to Brazil.

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Now Happening in Mexico City

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Mexico City is the capital of Mexico and the country's largest city as well as its most important political, cultural, educational and financial center. It is located in the Valley of Mexico, a large valley in the high plateaus at the center of Mexico.
  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Mexican Peso
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Anytime, but winter pollution can be bad. February, March, October, Semana Santa (Easter week) and Christmas are good.