For your travel plans this 2020, there’s a new picturesque destination you could add to your bucket list — Mexico City. The largest city of Mexico and the most populous city in North America, Mexico City is a culturally rich destination and a truly epicurean melting pot. Located in the Valley of Mexico at an altitude of 2,240 metres, the city is famous for its historic centre known as Zocalo, a designated Unesco World Heritage Site.
The city has a wide cultural offering with a mix of music, cinema, dance, theatre, popular culture, modern and contemporary art. It has 217 museums, nine archaeological sites, dozens of theatres, galleries and parks.
With the launch of an Emirates flight between Dubai and Mexico City last month, there’s more reasons to visit the Latin American city. Emirates’ daily service between Dubai and Mexico City flies via Barcelona.
Here are top spots and reasons why you should visit Mexico City.
Ideal for art enthusiasts
With hundreds of museums and galleries, there are endless ways to take in the arts in Mexico City. The hometown of art icons Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, the city is abundant of public art and contemporary gallery spaces. It’s a mecca for art lovers with infinite options to fit your artistic aesthetic.
In general, museums are inexpensive with free admission on Sundays. However, many require guests to purchase permits for non-flash photography.
One of the must-visit museums in the city is the Frida Kahlo Museum. It is more popularly known as the Blue House. Located in Colonia del Carmen neighbourhood of Coyoacan — the house was Kahlo’s birthplace. The historic house museum and art museum showcases the life and work of Kahlo. It is advised to get there early to avoid the long queues. It is a famous destination for both local and international tourists.
Another great museum to see is the Dolores Olmedo Museum. Located in Xochimilco, in the south of Mexico City, the museum is a window to the art and culture of Mexico, featuring an unparalleled artistic and architectonic ensemble.
El Olmedo’s artistic heritage includes the largest collections of works produced by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. The 16th century colonial hacienda is surrounded by beautiful gardens, where a great variety of native flora and animals such as peacocks and the xoloitzcuintle (Mexican hairless) dogs can thrive.
Apart from the museums, you can also try the iconic landmarks in the city — perfect for great photos to share on social media while at the same time will learn about Mexico City’s history.
Your visit in the city will not be complete without dropping by Plaza del Zocalo. It is the main square in central Mexico City. The plaza used to be known as the ‘Main Square’ or ‘Arms Square’ and its official name now is Plaza de la Constitucion.
The National Palace
While you are in Zocalo, you can also stop by Palacio Nacional. The National Palace is the seat of the federal executive in Mexico and is located on Mexico City’s main square. It has been a palace for the ruling class of Mexico since the Aztec Empire.
The Palace of Fine Arts
Also located in the area of Zocalo is The Palace of Fine Arts, or Palacio de Bellas Artes. A prominent cultural centre in the city, it has been called the ‘Cathedral of Art in Mexico’. The building is located on the western side of the historic centre of Mexico City.
The Central Park of Mexico
If New York has the famous Central Park, Mexico City has it’s own version, but much bigger.
Bosque de Chapultepec is one of the largest city parks in the world — it is much bigger than Central Park in New York. It is over 686 hectares. One of the park’s main functions is an ecological space in Mexico City. It is considered the first and most important of Mexico City’s ‘lungs’, with trees that replenish oxygen to the Valley of Mexico.
Inside the Chapultepec is the Castillo de Chapultepec. It is situated on top of Chapultepec Hill in the Chapultepec park. It is located in the middle of Chapultepec Park in Mexico City at a height of 2,325 meters above sea level. The name Chapultepec came from the Nahuatl Uto-Aztecan language chapoltepēc, which means ‘at the grasshopper’s hill’.
Go on a boat ride
Xochimilco is one of the 16 mayoralties or boroughs within Mexico City. The place is best known for its canals, which are left from what was an extensive lake and canal system that connected most of the settlements of the Valley of Mexico. These canals, along with artificial islands called chinampas, attract tourists and other local residents who ride on colourful gondola-like boats called ‘trajineras’ around the 170km of canals.
The Pyramids of Mexico
Love pyramids? Then head to Teotihuacan. But get ready with those hiking shoes and be prepared to climb different steep pyramids. Teotihuacan is an ancient Mesoamerican city located in a sub-valley of the Valley of Mexico, which is located in the State of Mexico, 40 kilometres northeast of modern-day Mexico City. It is known as the site of many of the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramids built in the pre-Columbian Americas.
If you are planning for a unique but worthwhile vacation this 2020, try to explore the mesmerising charm and beauty of this Latin American city. Emirates offers daily service between Mexico City and Dubai via Barcelona (Spain) with rates starting at Dh4,015. Citizens of Mexico, Spain and the UAE only need their passports to enjoy visa-free travel to any of the three countries. Watch a video of Gulf News tabloid!'s trip to Mexico below: