Thoroughly enjoyable things to do in Mexico City

In one of my earlier posts, I had listed down some of my initial thoughts and observations about the exciting, colourful and bustling Mexico City. In this picture story, I will take you through some of the best things to do in Mexico city. Follow along:

The City

Mexico City

This is the first image I captured of Mexico City while seated in a cab driving me from the airport to the hotel I was booked in. It was dusk; there was a slight drizzle, and this scene reminded me of the movie ‘Godfather’ for some reason. I found this old VW Beetle very interesting and hence clicked this image. Later I found that VW Beetle is a ubiquitous vehicle in Mexico City and is known by the nickname ‘Vocho’ around here.

Mexico City

View of the city from my office. It indeed is a very crowded city.

Right next to where I was put up (in City Express Insurgentes Sur hotel) is Teatro de Los Insurgentes – a theatre with a facade that has a mural painted by the famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera.

Graffiti and paintings adorn almost all walls, shutters and buildings. There’s art just about anywhere in Mexico City.

See – what did I say in the caption above. Art is everywhere!

Mexico City

A super-sized bull I saw in a place called Tepotzotlan. Price of a picture with you sitting on the bull: 10 pesos. I, however, saved the 10 pesos and my life by staying as far away from the giant as possible.

Mexico has a very fascinating and violent history. It is exciting to read about the pre-hispanic times and the Spanish conquest led by Hernan Cortes (Read about him here: https://www.livescience.com/39238-hernan-cortes-conqueror-of-the-aztecs.html). While in Mexico City, my friend Ivan shared a book set in those times – a book by Gary Jennings, titled Aztec. It details the Aztecs’ life – the culture, the Gods, the human sacrifices and the conquest. You could buy the book from Amazon by clicking on the link below (it has my affiliate id):

Turibus Ride

A Turibus ride is the best way to get introduced to this city. These are hop-on, hop-off buses that ply all year round through different routes covering the city’s various attractions. You could choose to site in the lower deck or the open upper deck (keep lots of sunscreens and a hat handy). For more details on the routes, check out their website https://www.turibus.com.mx

Turibus

Turibus ride – the best way to discover Mexico City’s history, architecture, culture and fabulous cuisine

Turibus

Sitting on the upper deck has its own perils – as you see in this image: you have to be ready to dodge branches.

vocho

A view of the city from the bus

Another view I captured while on the Turibus. ‘Where is Mariela’, the graffiti says. I hope she is found.

Coyoacan

This is a very colourful neighbourhood where I used to spend many a weekend, clicking photographs. The place is vivacious and legendary for being the birthplace of Mexico’s most notable artist Frida Kahlo.

Walking around Coyoacan is indeed a refreshing experience. Music, aromas of various kinds of food and colours are all around.

A painter in Coyoacan

The fountain in the centre of Coyoacan featuring 2 coyotes

Every other weekend, I saw this person with a different contraption attached to his cycle.

The Frida Kahlo museum. If you plan to visit this place, do book in advance.

The other lovely neighbourhoods that I enjoyed walking around are Roma and Condesa.

Centro Historico (a.k.a Zocalo)

Zocalo is the throbbing historic centre of Mexico City. Walking around Zocalo is the best way to absorb this place’s history, sights, sounds, and smells.

The most recognizable structure in Mexico City – the Palacio de Bellas Artes, is a prominent cultural centre.

Aztec shaman doing “limpia” (spiritual cleansing) in Zocalo square

Even the snacks in Mexico City are colourful!

Organ grinders (street musicians) are a common sight all over Mexico City. They live on the tips they receive.

You can get the aroma of meats getting roasted all along the streets.

The China town near Zocalo

Me, posing between two Aztecs in Zocalo.

There was a photoshoot of these models going on in Zocalo when I visited the place. I joined in and clicked this pic.

The beautiful Jacaranda trees in full bloom in Mexico’s oldest municipal park – the Almeda central. Apparently, the Jacaranda tree was a gift from one of the first Japanese immigrants to arrive in Mexico.

A full view of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, which I shot from a coffee shop right across the street.

Parque Hundido

This awesome park was located very close to my hotel, and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting this park on Sundays. This is a place where dogs have a separate enclosure where they are let free.

The park has an awesome jogging track!

I thoroughly enjoyed watching these playful dogs.

The park is set below the street level and is a great place for a peaceful stroll.

San Angel

San Ángel is a colourful and picturesque neighbourhood that houses art galleries and artisan markets. The place comes alive on Saturdays for the ‘Bazaar del Sábado’ – where the best handicrafts of the highest quality from all over Mexico can be found.

Notice the cobbled streets

The Plaza San Jacinto

I met this amazing artist named Julie inside Plaza San Jacinto. She creates wonderful ceramic and stone art – awesome work indeed!

Pictured here is a paper-based creation by an artist named Yuri Angel Zarate. He told me that he had given some name to these creatures, but I forget what it is (gimboos or something). ***Update July 2020 – Please see the comments section. The artist has updated the name of his creation and a link to his website.

A street musician in San Angel

Tamales for sale in San Angel. A Tamale is a dish made of dough stuffed with fillings and steamed in a corn husk.

Teotihuacan

Located about 40kms off Mexico City, Teotihuacan is the site of many of the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramids built in Mexico. Teotihuacan’s origins, history, and culture largely remain a mystery, but this city was founded as early as 400 B.C. When the Aztecs found this city in the 1400s and named it Teotihuacan (“the place where the gods were created”), the city had been abandoned for centuries. The city contains The Pyramid of the Moon, the Pyramid of the Sun, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (the Feathered Serpent) and many smaller pyramids. Human and animal sacrifices were practised here. I took a Turibus tour to this site.

Decorated streets that lead to the site of the Pyramids. Those paper flags are known as Papel Picado.

This shot was a stroke of luck. When I was standing around the pyramids wondering how to compose the image, these ladies in Sombreros showed up, and I got them into the frame.

The temples are constructed in shape similar to the mountains in the background. You can see the Sun temple and the mountain behind it to get an idea.

Xochimilco

Xochimilco – A world heritage site and one of the most lively places in Mexico. Riding the waterways in these brightly painted and decorated trajineras (traditional flat-bottomed boats) is quite an experience indeed.

Hire a boat for about 500 pesos an hour

The colourful boats of Xochimilco

While you navigate through the waterways, you could hire Mariachis to sing for you, listen to Marimba music, or buy food and drinks from vendors.

So these are the places I most enjoyed visiting in Mexico City. There’s a lot more to write about the place – the history, the food, the art and the music. But that’s for another day. I hope you enjoyed this brief photo journey.

If you have any comments, feedback or suggestions on this article, please leave your comments below.

If you would like to order high-quality prints of some of the photos I took in Mexico City – including ‘Day of the Dead skulls’ – please visit: https://sampathmk.darkroom.tech

Some of my images are also available on Shutterstock.

2 Comments

  1. Nancy Oviedo July 10, 2020
  2. Sampath Menon July 16, 2020

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