Create lasting memories with like-minded travelers on our small group tours

Introduction to Mexico City: Historic Center with Bellas Artes

Experience the most essential sites of the city, from the Aztecs to today
From US$106 for 1 person
Book a Tour
Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • Templo Mayor
  • Palacio Nacional
  • Metropolitan Cathedral
  • Zócalo
  • Bellas Artes Museum
Photos & Highlights
  • Trace the city's history – from ancient Aztec capital to largest city in North America
  • Led by a local expert in history or architecture
Tour Description
Discover the Historic Center of Mexico City with a local expert on our 3-hour introductory tour. Perfect for first-time visitors, you’ll see some of the city’s most iconic sites as you learn all about its ancient history—it was once the center of the Aztec Empire—and how it became the modern metropolis that it is today; the largest city in North America!

Sites Visited 

  • Templo Mayor (exterior only)
  • Metropolitan Cathedral (interior)
  • Zócalo
  • Optional: Colegio de San Ildefonso
  • Palacio de Bellas Artes (interior)


  • Tickets to Palacio de Bellas Artes

Itinerary Detail

You’ll begin your tour at what is the chronological beginning of Mexico City’s evolution: the incredible ruins of Templo Mayor, the former main temple of the Mexica people (aka the Aztecs) from the 14th to 16th centuries. Located in the heart of what is today Mexico City, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was only discovered and unburied in 1978. Your guide will discuss the importance of the site, the treasures that were uncovered during its excavation, and some of the ancient rituals that once took place here…including human sacrifice.

Steps away is the Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the Americas. You’ll hear about its interesting architecture (Renaissance, Baroque, and Neo-Classical, where all coexist with one another) and enter to view its impressive organ and altar. From there, you will cross the Zócalo, stopping to view the exterior of the National Palace. If you’re especially keen on seeing Mexican art and there's time, ask your expert guide to also bring you to nearby San Ildefonso College, known as the birthplace of the country’s muralist movement. It houses several pieces by José Clemente Orozco, as well as Rivera’s first mural.

You’ll continue your stroll down El Centro’s pedestrian throughways, admiring the historic architecture and remarkable design of the surrounding buildings, before arriving at Palacio de Bellas Artes. A cultural center that hosts theatrical events, art exhibitions, and much more, Bellas Artes is a visual masterpiece inside and out. You’ll discuss its commission and design before heading inside to end the tour with a viewing of its breathtaking murals.

Explore additional neighborhoods and dive deeper into Mexico City’s impressive architecture scene on our Mexico City Architecture Tour.

Eager to learn more before you travel? Check out Context's upcoming seminars and courses about Mexican heritage and culture here. 


For more information about Context tours, please visit our FAQs.

Book with confidence — see Context's flexible cancellation policy here.

Where do we meet? Where does it end?
We meet a short walk from Templo Mayor and end at Bellas Artes. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with a map.

Is this a relatively long walk?
While the route can vary according to the interests of the clients, this walk does cover a substantial amount of ground. Please wear comfortable footwear and bring a hat, the Mexican sun can be bright!

How much access will we have at Templo Mayor?
On this tour, guests will get to see and learn about the Templo Mayor ruins while standing just steps away! You are not allowed to enter or climb on the ruins. There is a wonderful museum on-site that guests are encouraged to visit after the tour for continued learning.

Can we see the interior of the National Palace?
No, unfortunately you'll only be able to visit the exterior on this tour because the National Palace has a strict entrance system that requires appointments far in advance. 
Is this tour wheelchair accessible?
Yes, it is, though we may adapt our itinerary slightly to ensure you have a more comfortable experience.

Where You'll Start
160 Reviews (4.88)

Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.

Julio was fantastic! Highly recommend! We would absolutely take a tour with him again!
David our was a fabulous teacher and guide. His knowledge of Mexican history is amazing. Highly
What a fantastic tour with Roberto! We had a fabulous morning learning all about the history of Mexico!

Discover Mexico City with Context

Get to know one of the architects leading this tour

Meet Diego