8 Historic Locations to Visit in Mexico City

If you are a history buff, then Mexico City isn’t a place you will ever find yourself bored. With traces of history from the Spanish, Mayans, and Aztecs filling the area on top of Mexico’s own, more recent history, there is a lot to explore and experience just inside the city.

Keep reading to learn about our top 8 destinations in the area.

1. Uxmal

Uxmal shows prime examples of Mayan sites. These particular buildings were constructed between 700AD and 1000AD, but people were believed to have lived there as early as 800 BC. It is one of the best-preserved of all historic Mayan sites.

While you can just go and visit yourself, there are organized tours and guided audio tours in various languages as well, so you can get a bit more of the history.

If you want to delve deep into the cultural context of the area and see some of the more unique items found in Uxmal, there is also a small museum in the area. 

There is a lot known about the area, so you can feel like you’ve learned something after leaving, instead of feeling shrouded in mystery. For example, the town of Uxmal was built based on astrology!

2. El Zocalo

If you want to get into the heart of the historical district (Centro Historico) then you have to start at El Zocalo. It is the main square of Mexico City and is surrounded by various historical buildings, landmarks, and just a powerful history in general.

 Due to the large space, it has been used as a central area for government protests, and even for concerts. When the Aztec Calander stone was discovered as well, its finding was announced in this very square.

If you want to feel, learn, and be a part of the history of Mexico City, you don’t want to pass up El Zocalo.

3. The National Palace

The National Palace is a wonderful place to learn all about Mexico’s history. It has been a vital part of Mexico’s government since the Aztecs lived there. It was central to Mexico’s War of Independence and became the central command point during the US-Mexican War.

There is even a garden to explore and beautiful architecture to enjoy if you want to take in the beauty of the building today as well. You may even stumble across one of the cats that live in the area.

It is free to enter, you just need a valid ID to do so. However there are some random days it is closed, so it is best to call ahead before planning your trip there.

4. Tulum

Tulum dates back to somewhere between the 13th and 16th centuries. There are ruins there that still hold strong despite their years next to the sea.

This city was a major trading center in its day and had prominent religious influences as well. Some of the major items they traded included:

  • Copper
  • Axes
  • Cocoa
  • Cotton
  • Food

 Though it thrived thanks to its importance, it was never a large city. With walls to keep it safe, it could not expand.

Even when the Spanish took over and the Mayans began to fade away, this place remained long-standing thanks to the sea and a dense forest to keep it safe and secluded.

5. Querétaro

If you know anything about Mexico’s history, then you know that Queretaro can’t be ignored. Despite it being a pretty average city today, it started as the third city in this new Spain area and even housed the initial plot to end Spain’s reign over Mexico.

While not in Mexico City, it is a 3 hour’s drive away. So if you have a day to spare in your itinerary, it is well worth the detour to get to some of this rich history and explore the area.

The historic center is well preserved and is even a UNESCO World Heritage Site as of 1996. If you have someone with you that isn’t such as huge of a fan of history, there are also numerous hot springs and cheese and wine pairings throughout the area.

6. Castillo de Chapultepec

Chapultepec Castle was built in the 18th century. Currently, it is housed in Chapultepec Park, which also holds Mexico’s National History Museum. It is now considered one of only two palaces in all of North America.

It housed the Mexican President until 1939. Now, it serves as a way to keep the history of Mexico alive and share it with those that wish to learn more. It covers the history of Mexico from the pre-Hispanic era to modern times.

However, it also is an excellent way to see breathtaking views of the city. It doesn’t cost anything, and you can walk up to it from a local park.

7.Catedral Metropolitana


The Cathedral Matropolitana wasn’t built in a day, or even a year. It took around 250 years to build this massive cathedral. For that reason, there is a mishmash of various architectural styles.

Unfortunately, due to the way the historical center is affected by natural elements, it, like many other buildings in the area, is starting to sink into the ground. That’s why this is a must-see destination while you can still visit it.

Though there technically isn’t a fee, there are donations required, so always make sure you have some money on hand before trying to visit this site. On top of rich architectural history, there are also many different alters and figures for those interested. 

8. Templo Mayor


Buried until 1978 when a group of electric workers decided to dig up the area, the Main Temple of the Aztecs was a stunning discovery. Though unfortunately not much of it is left, this temple would have towered over 90 feet in the air and was where some of the most important rituals of the Aztects would have taken place.

This area grew over time, experiencing major building phases throughout Aztec history. Two of their most important gods were housed and honored here.