Mexico City Historic Center: Where History and Culture Collide

Welcome to the cultural heart of Mexico City!

Do you want to visit the Mexico City Historic Center?
What is the history behind it?
How can you get there?
Which are the best places to visit here?
Where to eat?
Where to stay?

If you want to learn more about of the interesting and marvelous Mexico City Historic Center, keep reading this guide!


Mexico City Historic Center History 🔍

Step into the heart of Mexico City Historic Center, where the old stories of the past are still alive. A long time ago, this busy area saw the Aztecs and Spanish explorers shaping their destiny. Imagine walking on old cobblestone streets, each one telling stories of strength and the mix of native and colonial vibes that made this city what it is.

Centuries before the bustling energy of Mexico City’s Historic Center, the ancient city of Tenochtitlan stood proudly on the same grounds. Founded in 1325 by the Mexica people, who later became known as the Aztecs, Tenochtitlan was a marvel of pre-Columbian civilization. It was strategically built on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco, surrounded by mountains, creating a stunning and defensible location.

The Aztecs developed an advanced society with intricate canal systems, floating gardens, and grand temples, including the magnificent Templo Mayor, a centerpiece of their spiritual life. However, in 1521, Spanish conquistadors, led by Hernán Cortés, arrived and, after a fierce battle, captured Tenochtitlan. This marked the end of the Aztec Empire and the beginning of Spanish colonial rule.

Fast forward to today, and you’ll find the stunning Mexico City Historic Center overlaying the ancient Tenochtitlan ruins. The Zocalo, once the ceremonial center of the Aztec capital, continues to be a focal point in the modern city.

The Templo Mayor has been partially excavated, offering a glimpse into the layers of history. Mexico City’s Historic Center, a lively hub of culture and commerce, pays homage to its roots, with the echoes of both Aztec and Spanish influence resonating through its streets. The juxtaposition of ancient ruins and contemporary life creates a unique and captivating experience for all who visit.

Mexico City Historic Center (Buildings)
Virtually tour the UNESCO-listed Historic Center of Mexico City

How to get there? 🗺️

Getting to the Mexico City Historic Center is relatively and mostly easy if you are in any part of Mexico City. This is thanks to the city’s well-connected transportation system. Here are a few common ways to reach this incredible area:

By Metro (Subway):

The Mexico City Metro is a convenient and affordable option. Look for Line 2 (the Blue Line) and get off at the Zocalo station, which is right in the heart of the Historic Center.

By Bus:

Numerous bus routes connect to the Historic Center. Identify the routes that pass through or near the area and hop on a bus that suits your location.

By Taxi or Ride-Sharing:

Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber, Didi and InDrive are readily available in Mexico City. Simply input your destination as the Historic Center, and you’ll be dropped off at one of its central points.


If you’re already in the city and not too far away, walking to the Historic Center is a great option. This way, you can take in the local atmosphere and discover interesting spots along the way.

By Bike:

Biking is becoming increasingly popular in Mexico City. Consider renting a bike and pedaling your way to the Historic Center. Many streets have bike lanes, and you can explore the area at your own pace.

By car:

If you prefer driving, be aware that traffic in Mexico City can be heavy. Plan your route, and use a GPS app to navigate to the Historic Center. Parking may be available in designated areas.

Whichever mode of transportation you choose, you’ll find yourself immersed in the lively atmosphere of the Mexico City Historic Center, ready to explore its rich history and colorful culture.

mexico city is dangerous
The Metro (subway) is a famous way of transportation in all of Mexico City

Places to visit at the Mexico City Historic Center ⛪

The Mexico City Historic Center is brimming with cultural and historical treasures. Here’s a list of some of the best places to visit in this area:

Zocalo (Plaza de la Constitución):

The main square of Mexico City is surrounded by historic buildings and the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana):

A stunning example of Spanish colonial architecture, this cathedral dominates the Zocalo and is one of the largest in the Americas.

National Palace (Palacio Nacional):

Home to murals by Diego Rivera, the National Palace is an iconic building with historical significance.

Templo Mayor:

The archaeological site of the Aztec main temple offers a fascinating glimpse into the ancient city of Tenochtitlan.

Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts):

A beautiful palace showcasing fine art and performances, blending Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles.

Featuring a rich collection of Mexican crafts and international exhibitions.

Alameda Central:

A picturesque park with fountains, sculptures, and greenery, adjacent to the Palace of Fine Arts.

Torre Latinoamericana:

An iconic skyscraper offering panoramic views of the city from its observation deck.

House of Tiles (Casa de los Azulejos):

A historic palace covered in beautiful blue and white tiles, now housing a restaurant.

San Ildefonso College (Colegio de San Ildefonso):

An educational institution turned museum, showcasing temporary art exhibitions and murals by famous artists.

Museum of Memory and Tolerance (Museo Memoria y Tolerancia):

Focused on human rights and tolerance, featuring powerful exhibits.

Mexico City Templo de Santo Domingo:

A Baroque-style church with a richly decorated interior.

Postal Palace (Palacio Postal):

A grandiose building showcasing impressive architecture and functioning as a post office.

Calle Madero (Madero Street):

A pedestrian street lined with shops, cafes, and historic architecture, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

This list provides a mix of historical sites, museums, and architectural gems, allowing you to explore the diverse facets of Mexico City’s Historic Center.

bellas artes cdmx
Palace of Fine Arts

Where to eat? 🌮

Mexico City’s Historic Center offers a variety of dining options, from street food stalls to renowned restaurants. Here’s a list of places to eat while exploring the area:


  • Azul Histórico: Located in a beautifully restored colonial building, this restaurant offers traditional Mexican cuisine with a modern twist.
  • El Cardenal: Known for its authentic Mexican breakfast and traditional dishes, El Cardenal is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
  • Danubio Restaurant: An elegant Basque restaurant with a lot of history and tradition. Since 1936, it has specialized in seafood and is decorated with autographed napkins.
  • Café de Tacuba: Established in 1912, this historic cafe serves classic Mexican dishes in a charming, traditional setting.
  • Restaurant Bar La Ópera: Housed in a historic building, this restaurant offers a refined atmosphere and a menu featuring Mexican and international cuisine.

Street Food:

Hotels with Dining Options:

  • Gran Hotel Ciudad de México: The hotel’s Terraza Restaurant provides a panoramic view of the Zocalo while enjoying Mexican and international cuisine.
  • Downtown Mexico: The hotel houses Azul Histórico, offering a blend of traditional and contemporary Mexican dishes.
  • Hilton Mexico City Reforma: With multiple dining options, including a rooftop terrace, this hotel provides a range of culinary experiences.
  • Historico Central Hotel: The hotel’s restaurant, Central Balcony, offers a menu inspired by Mexican street food.

These recommendations include a mix of culinary experiences, allowing you to taste the diverse flavors of Mexican cuisine, whether you’re in the mood for a sit-down meal, street food delights, or a dining experience within a historic hotel.

Mexico City Historic Center (street tacos)
Try some of the best tacos in the Mexican capital

Where to stay? 🏨 

Whether you’re looking for luxury accommodations or budget-friendly hostels, the Mexico City Historic Center has a range of options to suit different preferences. Here’s a list that includes 5-star hotels and well-rated hostels:

5-Star Hotels:

Gran Hotel Ciudad de México:

Location: Av. 16 de Septiembre No. 82, Col. Centro
Features: Historic hotel with elegant rooms, a rooftop terrace, and a central location overlooking the Zocalo.

Downtown Mexico:

Location: Isabel La Católica 30, Col. Centro
Features: A boutique hotel set in a restored 17th-century palace, offering stylish rooms and an acclaimed restaurant.

Hilton Mexico City Reforma:

Location: Av. Juárez 70, Col. Centro
Features: A modern hotel with spacious rooms, a rooftop terrace, and various dining options, including a sushi bar.

Mid-Range Hotels:

Histórico Central Hotel:

Location: Calle 5 de Febrero No. 24, Col. Centro
Features: A contemporary hotel with comfortable rooms, a rooftop terrace, and a central location.

Hotel Zocalo Central:

Location: Cinco de Mayo No. 61, Col. Centro
Features: Overlooking the Zocalo, this hotel offers well-appointed rooms, a restaurant, and panoramic views.


Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral:

Location: República de Guatemala 4, Col. Centro
Features: A popular hostel with dormitory-style and private rooms, located near the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Mexico City Hostel:

Location: República de Brasil 8, Col. Centro
Features: Centrally located hostel with a variety of room options and a communal kitchen.

Barrio Downtown Mexico City Hostel:

Location: República de Uruguay 33, Col. Centro
Features: A budget-friendly hostel with a sociable atmosphere, offering both dormitory and private rooms.

These accommodations provide a range of choices, from luxurious 5-star hotels to well-rated mid-range options and hostels. Depending on your preferences and budget, you can find a comfortable place to stay while exploring the Mexico City Historic Center.

Mexico City Historic Center Virtual Tour
Get ready to experience Mexico’s culture

Conclusion 👋

In the heart of Mexico City, the Historic Center is like a living storybook that takes you on a journey through time. From ancient Aztec roots to Spanish conquests, the cobblestone streets and grand buildings tell tales of resilience and cultural fusion.

It doesn’t matter if you’re exploring the impressive Templo Mayor, trying street tacos, or relaxing in a charming hostel, the Historic Center welcomes you with open arms. It’s a place where history meets the present, creating an incredible atmosphere that captures the spirit of Mexico City.

So, come, and be part of the lively dance of history and culture in this enchanting destination – the Mexico City Historic Center.

Informative Video

Mexico City Historic Center

Check out the section Mexico City Tours

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *