Travel Mexico — By Ben on 13 September 2010
Mexico City Downtown – Pt 1


Palacio Nacional

Mexico’s Natioanl Palace

Let’s start our virtual trip to Mexico in the most important neighborhood of the city and country, downtown Mexico City. El Zócalo, or Plaza de la Constitución is the main square of the historic center of the city. This open space has been very important for the Mexican society since the time of the Aztecs. Here is where the Mexica celebrations took place. During the time of the Spanish colony viceroys were sworn in this space and it has been a place for royal proclamations, military parades, Independence ceremonies and all kinds of cultural, political and religious gatherings. This is Mexico’s most important public space and here’s where every September 15th the president of the republic performs El Grito de Dolores (the cry of Dolores) that was the battle cry that started the War of Independence 200 years ago in Dolores, Guanajuato.

Mexico City DowntownThe Metropolitan Cathedral

Mexico’s Cultural, Political and Religious Heart

The square is surrounded by some of the most important buildings in the country, the National Palace to the east, the Federal District (Mexico City) buildings to the south, the Old Portal de Mercaderes to the west, the ruins of the Aztec’s Templo Mayor to the northeast and the Metropolitan Cathedral to the north.

Mexico City Downtown

The Old Portal de Mercaderes

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Government Offices

Mexico City Downtown

Culturally speaking, the main square, and downtown in general, is the most important spot of the country. Here you can see Aztec dances performed by several groups, concerts and street performers of all kinds. You can buy pre-Columbian like artifacts and memorabilia, visit any of the 15 museums, 30 religious or any of the 19 sites of interest in and around downtown.

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

There’s a little bit of everything for everybody

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

The first University of America

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Tired of walking? You can take an ecologic taxi cab.

City of Palaces

After Alexander von Humboldt visited Mexico in the 18th century he dubbed it the City of Palaces because of it’s many palaces and beautiful colonial buildings. Walking on the streets of downtown Mexico transports you to a glorious Aztec and Spanish colonial pasts. The beautiful architecture by itself is a very good reason to visit the capital of the city and get lost in the rich history of it’s buildings and streets.

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

The Postal Palace, to me the most beautiful building in Mexico

Mexico City Downtown Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Palacio de Bellas Artes, Palace of Fine Arts, a massive construction that for many is the crown jewel of downtown Mexico City.

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

The old and the new

Mexico City Downtown

How about an used book street market behind the Postal Palace?

A pedestrian  paradise?

Mexico City is known for not being very friendly to pedestrians. However, this administration has been working on changing this perspective, at least in downtown. They have closed the street of Madero to cars to make it a pedestrian corridor. When I was there a couple of weeks ago, they were still working on it, but it promises to be a great space to walk, watch street performers, have a cup of coffee or eat in one of the many cafés and restaurants on that famous street.

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Mexico City Downtown

Are you a vegetarian? You can also enjoy downtown Mexico without going hungry.

Mexico City Downtown

El Sanborn’s de los azulejos, my favorite restaurant in downtown.

Culinary Capital

And where do you eat in downtown Mexico City? There are a lot of options for everybody. If you are not feeling adventurous at all you can try a McDonald’s, Burger King or any of the other American fast food chains. You can eat at any of the great restaurants there or if you are feeling very adventurous you can try the street food, that in my most humble opinion, is the best way to know the real Mexico.

Downtown Mexico City

Downtown Mexico City

Mexico City Downtown

If you are not feeling adventurous you can always go to a Starbucks…

On the next post of this series I will talk about my favorite restaurant in downtown (because of its architecture) and some other highlights of this amazing part of the country. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed visiting and writing about it.

¡Buen provecho!

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About Author

grew up around food. His family owned a restaurant in Mexico City and he spent a big deal of his childhood helping and learning after school the art of creating delicious dishes from simple ingredients. He created this blog to share his kitchen adventures with the world.

(14) Readers Comments

  1. I enjoyed this mini trip to La Ciudad. thanks for posting it.

  2. Oh Ben i loved this! I never realized how colorful Mexico is. What a visually appealing city. You're right, it really is a place where everyone can find SOMETHING!

  3. I have to definitely visist MC when I finally take that culinary vacation to Mexico Ben.

  4. Beautiful pictures. I wish I will be able at some point in my life to do the trip.

  5. Muy bueno…conocer un poco mas del Zócalo y la ciudad. Esta muy preciosa! Gracias por compartir estas fotos.

    Un saludo

  6. I will be featuring a Mexican Independence Day post on my blog (16 de Septiembre) and would LOVE to highlight some of your photographs and recipes. Of course I will give it TONS of amor ;) Let me know if you like the idea.

    Thanks!

    Yvette

  7. Pingback: Mexico Lindo y Quierido: Celebrating the Bicentennial of Mexican Independence « Muy Bueno Cookbook

  8. Hello Ben,

    Great, great post. I love visiting Mexico city my last visit was about 6 year ago and still can't get enough of it. So glad to know you are back there enjoying your family and also the food. You have to go to La Marquesa and write about it. Also the friday's Toluca Market has a lot of history and full of great things.

    Blessing to you and your family in this new chapter of your life.

  9. So lively & colorful!

  10. Great pics Ben…so colourful and lively! One day I will get there…

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