Mexico City’s Historic Center

Mexico City’s Historic Center

Centro Historico

You won’t see all of Mexico City in one short visit. It’s just too big. But for sure you will visit Centro Historico, the historic downtown of the city.

Before I had ever visited Mexico City, my Mexican friends warned me that it is big and ugly. Of course, like any big city, much of it is. But when I came out of the subway to the Zocalo (center square), The colonial beauty of the place blew me away.The Zocalo has a huge Mexican flag in the center and is surrounded by the cathedral and government buildings. Just to the side of the cathedral is the excavation of Plaza Mayor – the main pyramids of the Aztec city that Mexico City was built over. The policy of the Spanish was to build right over the pyramids, so under the cathedral are ruins, inaccessible because of the church.

When you visit the Zocalo look for the Holiday Inn – they have a reasonably priced rooftop restaurant that overlooks everything. It's a great place for a drink in the afternoon.

A pedestrian street connects the Zocalo with the Alameda, the central square. All along this street you will see more churches and historic buildings, including the blue tile La Casa de los Azulejos, which now houses a Sanborns, a Denny’s-like restaurant chain.

Across the street is the big skyscraper Torre Latinoamericana. You can take an elevator up to the top for sweeping views of the city. Then as you approach Alameda, the first thing you see is Bellas Artes, a beautiful stained glass theatre and museum.

The Alameda is a good place to get deals on souvenirs, like T-shirts, purses or bootleg movies. The pathways are lined with stands. Don’t forget to bargain. You can get cheap food here too.

Don’t believe the hype about Mexico City being too dangerous to visit. Come down and see for yourself.