Simultaneously existing in the heart of Mexico's capital are two contrasting worlds. From the remains of the Aztec Empire to the modern new world of the Spanish, the Ciudad de Mexico or Mexico City couldn't be any more distinct. It is a triumphant ensemble of thousands of historical landmarks and a flourishing cosmopolitan metropolis of political, educational, financial and cultural importance. Mexico City is a haven for the common explorer and being left short of things to see and do will not be an option. The city's setting; ambiance and timeless features create the perfect destination for a different kind of honeymoon getaway, a cultural venture or educational trip.
Situated in the highlands of the Valley of Mexico, some 2200 metres above sea level and surrounded by staggering mountains and volcanoes, the Mexico City of today is relatively recent. The 20th century brought rapid growth in all areas like never before from its population to its industrialization. With this, the city has quickly become one of the richest cities in the entire world. Its shantytowns and the harsh living conditions of millions of its inhabitants contradict this statement but the true fact of the matter is that Mexico City is one of the most powerful cities of the western hemisphere with so much to please the curious traveller.
At the centre of Mexico City is one of the capital's busiest landmarks filled with compelling monuments that cannot and should not be ignored during your visit and it occupies the city's oldest quarter - the unique Historic Center. The Plaza de la Constitución also known as Zócalo, is a wide open square hosting gems like the National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral and a massive waving Mexican flag in its centre which is hoisted each morning in a full-on military parade. As you stroll through streets which radiate from Zócalo you'll come across other remarkable must-sees. Check out the Templo Mayor with some of the most spectacular archaeological findings ever made then gradually move on to the exquisite Palacio de Bellas Artes; the floating gardens of Xochimilco Ecological Park with its flower-painted boats or the beautiful Chapultepec Park which has even more recommended attractions crammed within it such as the National Museum of Anthropology, the Chapultepec Castle and the National History Museum. Spreading out from the Historic Center are boulevards which lead to high rising buildings like the shining Torre Latinoamericana, Mexico's first skyscraper. Stroll the Paseo de la Reforma avenue and visit the most symbolic monument of Mexico City – the golden Angel of Independence not far from the cutting edge building of the Mexican Stock Exchange.
Everything about Mexico City speaks volumes about Mexican culture. You can see it in the grandiose architecture of its many historical constructions as well as in its most recent ones like Museo Soumaya. The huge number of churches throughout the city like the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe represents Mexico's strong beliefs and the importance of religion in the country. The brilliant preservation of most of the city's oldest sites such as the Historic Center proves that Mexican people respect their roots and wish to keep them very much alive. Art also plays a huge role in telling the story of Mexico's eventful history. Diego Rivera's murals painted on the walls of some of the finest buildings to be found in the capital are an authentic representation of past revolutions, society and traditions and are not to be neglected during your tour of the city. Over 100 hundred museums in Mexico City dedicate themselves to Mexican culture but one of the best ways to experience raw culture is out on the streets or during a cultural event where you can mingle with Mexican people; listen to Mexican folklore; watch Mexican folk-style dancing; eat Mexican food and try speaking a little bit of the language.
Mexico City is stacked with options in terms of restaurants, cafés and hotels. Santa Fe and the Polanco districts feature some of the best places in terms of class and quality and are worth checking out.