Introduction to Mexico City: Historic Center with Bellas Artes

Experience the most essential sites of the city, from the Aztecs to today
From US$107 for 1 person
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • Templo Mayor
  • Palacio Nacional
  • Metropolitan Cathedral
  • Zócalo
  • Bellas Artes Museum
Photos & Highlights
  • Explore the rich history of Mexico City with a local expert, delving into the fascinating architectural & cultural heritage of North America's largest city.
  • Choose between a private tour for your group or a small, intimate group experience, limited to 10 participants, ensuring a personal exploration.
Tour Description
Step into Mexico City's vibrant history with our captivating 3-hour walking tour, perfect for first-time visitors. As you are led through the Historic Center by a local expert, you'll uncover the city's transformation from the Aztec Empire's epicenter to the bustling metropolis it is today.

Your journey begins at the Templo Mayor ruins, a testament to Mexico City's ancient roots, where you'll learn about the site's significance and the astonishing discoveries made there. Just steps away, marvel at the Metropolitan Cathedral, a blend of Renaissance, Baroque, and Neo-Classical architecture, and explore its stunning interior.

As you stroll across the Zócalo, gaze upon the National Palace's exterior and consider an optional detour to San Ildefonso College, the cradle of Mexico's muralist movement, featuring works by José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera.

Your exploration continues along the pedestrian pathways of El Centro, admiring the historic architecture and the unique designs of the buildings. The tour culminates at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, a cultural hub and architectural gem. Here, you'll be awestruck by its intricate murals, rounding off an experience that not only educates but deeply connects you with the soul of Mexico City.
  • You're fascinated by the blend of ancient and modern worlds, eager to discover how Mexico City evolved from the heart of the Aztec Empire to a contemporary cultural powerhouse.
  • You’re seeking a private, intimate journey through Mexico City, offering a deeper connection with its legendary past and dynamic present.
  • Templo Mayor (exterior only): Once the main temple of the Mexica people in their capital city of Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City.
  • Metropolitan Cathedral (interior): Here we’ll spotlight the Altar of the Kings, a remarkable example of Churrigueresque style, completed in 1739.
  • The Zócalo: Formally known as Plaza de la Constitución, is one of the largest city squares in the world and has been a gathering place since the Aztec times.
  • Optional – Colegio de San Ildefonso: Renowned as the birthplace of the Mexican muralism movement, featuring murals by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.
  • Palacio de Bellas Artes (interior): Here we’ll examine murals by famous Mexican artists, including Diego Rivera's "Man at the Crossroads," originally commissioned for the Rockefeller Center in New York City. 

General Information
  • To ensure an enjoyable and accessible tour for everyone, we kindly request that you share any specific mobility requirements or concerns at the time of booking, allowing our team to tailor the experience to your needs.
  • There will be scheduled breaks for restroom use and moments to rest throughout the tour. 
  • The weather in Mexico City can be unpredictable. This tour operates rain or shine, so please check the forecast and dress accordingly with comfortable walking shoes. 

  • Your tour cost includes admission tickets to the renowned Bellas Artes Museum

  • For detailed information on planning your visit to Mexico City, please check out our Context Stories
  • If you're keen to expand your knowledge about Mexico’s history and culture before your tour, explore our online lectures and audio guides

  • For our guests who prefer a less strenuous experience, we can offer a modified version of the tour focused primarily around the Zócalo area. This adaptation is available for those booking the tour on a private basis. It reduces the walking distance significantly, eliminating approximately 8 blocks, and provides an equally enriching experience of Mexico City's rich history.
  • At the Bellas Artes Museum, there is the opportunity to use an elevator instead of stairs. 
For more information about Context Tours, please visit our FAQs.

Is this a relatively long walking tour?
While the route can vary according to the interests of your group, this walk does cover a substantial amount of ground. Please wear comfortable footwear and bring a hat during the warmer months – the Mexican sun can be bright.

Can I book this tour on a Sunday or Monday?
Technically yes, but it would be an outdoor tour only, without entrance to any of the museums. Museums in Mexico City are closed on Mondays, and locals receive free admission on Sundays, so it gets too crowded for us to enter. We encourage you to book Tuesday–Saturday to get a more robust experience of the city. 

Does this tour include access to Diego Rivera’s house and studio?
While we will see and discuss several of Rivera’s murals, no, it does not. For an even deeper dive into the artist’s life and work, book our Caza Azul Tour. 

How much access will we have at Templo Mayor?
During our tour, you'll have the opportunity to closely observe and learn about the Templo Mayor ruins from just a few steps away. While direct access or climbing on the ruins is not permitted, there's a fantastic museum adjacent to the site. We highly recommend visiting this museum post-tour for an extended and deeper understanding of this historical treasure.

Can we see the interior of the National Palace?
Our tour includes an external viewing of the National Palace. Due to the palace's rigorous entry protocol, which necessitates scheduling visits well in advance, interior access is not feasible on this tour. However, the exterior visit offers a significant glimpse into the architectural and historical importance of this iconic building.
Book with confidence — see Context's flexible cancellation policy here.

Where You'll Start
183 Reviews (4.89)

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

Mariana was cheerful, excited about the tour, well-versed in Mexican history and the city. We enjoyed our tour with her immensely.
Raquel was great! We learned so much and really enjoyed the time.
Very informative & accommodating. A great tour. Thx.

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