On this 3-hour Mexico City Day tour we'll join a local expert to trace the history of Mexico City from its days as the center of the Aztec Empire to the modern metropolis that is CDMX today. We'll visit a number of key sites, including Templo Mayor, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Zocalo, and Bellas Artes. We'll also take in some famous Mexican murals created by Diego Rivera and his contemporaries—depictions of the events that have shaped the city that are integral to understanding the contemporary Mexican identity. This is a great tour for first-time visitors who want to get their bearings in the city and dive head-first into the pre-Hispanic era to the modern day.
Aztec Foundations and Templo Mayor
Our Mexico City Day Tour starts at Templo Mayor, the pre-Hispanic center of the city and one of Mexico’s most famous sites. Here, our docent will set the scene as we discuss the city’s Aztec foundations at this notable UNESCO World Heritage Site, which laid buried and undiscovered until 1978. We’ll go back as far as the the 14th century to discuss some of the treasures and rooms that have been uncovered in this former Aztec strategic center. Keeping the Templo in our sights, our group will head up to the Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the Americas. We’ll note its interesting architecture (Renaissance, Baroque, and Neo-Classical all coexist with one another) and pop into the choir room to view the impressive organ.
Mexico City Day Tour
Our visit may take an artistic turn as we head to San Ildefonso College, a former Baroque Jesuit college that’s also the birthplace of the muralist movement in Mexico. Here, we’ll find some of Mexico’s greatest artwork, including notable murals by Orozco and, of course, Diego Rivera’s first mural. Our path will continue through the Zocalo—the city’s historical center—as we head to the National Palace to see more Rivera murals, each exemplifying the nation's rich and tumultuous history. Our docent will be able to unpack the many layers of Mexican history represented in the art we have seen, from the arrival of the Aztec god Quetzalcóatl to the Mexican Revolution and the current post-revolutionary era.
Bella Artes and Beyond
We’ll leave San Ildefonso, continuing our Mexico City Day Tour as we stroll down Calle Madero, a pedestrian thoroughfare, stopping briefly to admire the intricate tile design of 16th century palace “Casa de los Azulejos” (“House of Tiles”), now Sanborns Restaurant. We’ll continue to Bellas Artes, a stunning structure commissioned by President Porfirio Díaz in the early 20th century. We may discuss the white marble masterpiece from the exterior, as well as the Art Deco secret housed within. Depending on the interests of the group, our docent will take us inside to see further examples of Mexican history as told through muralists Tamayo, Rivera, Siqueiros, and Orozco. (For further investigation into Rivera’s life, see our Frida Kahlo Tour
By the end of the walk, we'll leave one another with an excellent grasp of Mexico City’s history from the pre-hispanic period to modern day. We will also have navigated our way around downtown Mexico City from an orientational perspective.
Are entrance fees included?
Yes, entrance fees to the major venues are included.
Is this a relatively long walk?
The route can vary according to the interests of the clients, but this walk does cover a substantial amount of ground. Please wear comfortable footwear and bring a hat.