Mexico City's cathedral (officially, the Catedral Metropolitana) is a huge space that is open to the public daily from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Other than the sheer size (it's the largest cathedral in North or South America!) there is nothing particularly spectacular about it, but it's worth noting the significant slant to the floor, which is caused by the wet ground below the cathedral. As you enter the site armed guards may or may not rifle through your bag looking for contraband, but once inside you're free to roam around (using discretion during church services). Remember not to take flash photos and to remove your hat before going inside.
Undoubtedly Mexico City’s most well known landmark and top of the list on the “must see” list.
Considered by Mexicans to be the heart of Mexico City, this enormous plaza surrounded by gorgeous colonial governmental buildings serves a stage for hundreds of civic, artistic, and political events every year. Everyday is a different story here: indigenous dancers, traditional spiritual healers, free concerts ranging from ska and pop superstars to opera and world music; political rallies, protests (some including naked participants), and even an ice skating rink are just a few of the myriad events that take place in the Zocalo. Also each afternoon at 6pm Zocalo is taken over by the military as they perform a ceremony to take down the enormous flag that serves as a center piece to this magnificent Mexican trademark
The Nacional Monte de Piedad is a not-for-profit- institution and pawnshop whose main office is located on the northwest corner of the Zocalo on the corner of Monte de Piedad and 5 de Mayo streets.
It was established between 1774 and 1777 by Pedro Romero de Terreros as part of a movement to provide interest-free or low-interest loans to the poor. It was recognized as a national charity in 1927 by the Mexican government.
We have been told that the Zocalo is the largest plaza in Latin America. It was very pleasant to know that it is the second largest in the world after Moscow's Red Square. It can hold up to nearly 100,000 people.
The plaza used to be known simply as the "Main Square" or "Arms Square," and today its formal name is Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square).
It has been a gathering place for Mexicans since Aztec times, having been the site of Mexica ceremonies, the swearing in of viceroys, royal proclamations and military parades.
The historic center of Mexico City is also known as the "Centro Histórico." This is where the Spaniards began to build what is now modern Mexico City in the 16th century on the ruins of the conquered Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire. As the center of the ancient Aztec Empire and the seat of power for the Spanish colony of New Spain, the Centro Historico contains most of the city's historic sites from both eras as well as a large number of museums. This has made it a World Heritage Site.
This neighborhood is focused on the Zócalo or main plaza in Mexico City and extends in all directions for a number of blocks with its farthest extent being west to the Alameda Central.
You can watch my 4 min 25 sec HD Video Mexico City around by bus part 3 out of my Youtube channel.
There are a couple of places in the surroundings of the Zocalo where you can eat and have a wonderful view of the entire Zocalo-Cathedral-Palacio Nacional area at the same time. The one I visited is called the Gran Hotel Ciudad de México (lobby & stained glass ceiling/dome on pictures no. 2 & 3), which is a big nice hotel -luxurious, I would say- that has a restaurant called "El Mirador" which has a few balconies overlooking the Zocalo and its surrounding buildings from the 4th floor. The view is MAGNIFICENT, although there are very few & small tables with a view -- most of them are inside and you can see nothing from there. But if you go and have breakfast or lunch during week days there will be no people (or almost) and you will be able to eat and have a gorgeous view of the very heart of our city. They have buffet-style breakfasts & lunches, the first being $89 (Mexican pesos - around 8 USD) and the latter $99, plus beverages, which are not included (*prices from 2005 +/-). The food quality is good and the variety is ok as well.
They also have a bar if you go up a few more stairs from the restaurant and this one IS located on a terrace, so you have better possibilities of having a nice view. They have a rather limited offer of entrees and main courses, as it's mainly a place to drink and not to have a full meal. The chilorio tacos are pretty good, and the Mexican entree has tiny quesadillas and sopes -- EXTREMELY small for our taste, so I don't recommend this particular dish. The prices are not as high as one would expect at a 5 star hotel restaurant/bar and the quality is quite decent.
The other hotel-restaurant overlooking this same area is called the Majestic and it's almost next door. I don't know how good this one is, though, but I know people who have been there and claim it is nice as well.
Now, why the hell am I posting restaurant recommendations on the "Must See Activities" section?? Because I think it's worth the visit not because of the quality of the restaurant itself, but because of the view you will have from there and which you won't get from anywhere else. Dining while having this panorama before your eyes is quite an experience itself, and I think you must try to have it! :) Bon Appetit!!
Part of the experience of spending time walking around the Zocolo district is trying out the different food vendors. The food I found to be very good. If you are ordering any meat dish, be sure it is cooked well. Otherwise, let the food adventure begin.
At the center of Mexico city this plaza's is beautiful to say the least. Surrounded with the National Cathedral, the Presidential palace and a newly discover base of a pyramid..The plaza has everything a major Latin America city is fond of !!! Take time and walk around the shop offering cheap silver and antiques. Go into the base of the pyramid, take the tour of the Presidential palace, and of course visit the National Cathedral..the oldest Cathedral in the Western Hemisphere. Come and spend the day and bring your walking shoes !!!!
The Zocalo is the center of Mexico City and a square with a great atmosphere.
The square is huge and there are often concerts, exhebitions, political demonstrations and other thing going on.
It´s the perfect place to start your trip in Mexico city if you want to feel the vibe of this facinating city.
You also have the biggest cathedral in the Americas on the Zocalo.
This area is known as the Zocalo. It houses the Cathedral, National Palace and the Constitutional Plaza. The entire area is about 10 acres. There are always alot of people here. You can find street vendors selling food, handicrafts, and toys. You will also see street performers and people doing "limpiezas" or cleanings of your soul and body.
You can go into the Cathedral and the National Palace. Unlike other churches I have gone to, they do not charge entrace fees and let you take all the pictures you want.
This was supposed to be the capital of "New Spain" and this area is one of three biggest public squares in the world. It is surrounded by 17th century buildings on every side.
During our visit here they were setting the stage for performers for their Independance Day celebrations.
You have to come here during the day and then do another visit at night to see the difference. It is a beautiful place to visit.
For travelers on a budget, nothing beats a free tourist attraction! Located right on the Zocalo, Mexico City's Palacio Nacional is home to a series of murals by Diego Rivera that were painted between 1929 and 1951. In the main staircase there is a triptych called Mexico a Traves de los Siglos (Mexico Through the Ages) that crams pretty much the entire history of Mexico into one huge mural spanning three walls. There are also a series of murals showcasing all of the products that Mexico exports around the world, such as chocolate, beans, tomatoes and tobacco. The murals are beautiful, but it can almost be too much to take in at once. Good thing you can visit again and again, for free! Hours are 9 am to 5 pm daily, but we found the palacio closed when there was a large civic demonstration happening outside. Take all the photos you want, but don't use a flash.
The government palace was built by Hernán Cortes, the conqueror of México, on the site of Moctezuma's residence. The Palacio Nacional dates back to 1693. This building houses today the president offices, National archives and Federal treasury.
The palace houses a small museum dedicated to Benito Juárez and the Mexican Congress. It also has some of the famous murals of Diego Rivera.
The balcony in the second photo is where the president of México go out every year and ring a bell and scream "Viva México" to conmmemorate and celebrate the aniversary of Mexican independence on sept. 15.
Is open 9:00- 5:00 M- Sat. Entrance is free.
Zócalo is the city center of Mexico City, full of dancers, people and vendors. It is also known as the Plaza de la Constitución;
Walk along its streets and ride the Trolley bus that departs next to Bellas Artes.
Recently it has been used by many artists to host their concerts, such as Cafe Tacuba, Maná, Alejandro Sanz, Shakira and so on.
While there, visit the Templo Mayor, Palacio Nacional or the Cathedral which offers a tour to its belfry and have a great view of downtown.
this is the city centre, where wandering tourists and sweet locals mix, what a combination. i did a good search before i went down to mexico city, and zocalo was a great choice.
i enjoyed much walking around the national palace, the old alleys, the cathedral, the stalls, and street salesmen. during the day, zocalo it's a very vibrant area with lots of hustle and bustle and the vibe is so good and refreshing for the spirit. i loved it.
however, this area tends to get quiet in the evening as shops close early and there are not so many bars or clubs nearby. but also on my first night in the town, there was a big band performing in the zocalo square, and it was fun. i guess public events take place here
in short, it's a very good choice to stay at, safe, lively, within easy access to shopping, restaurants and other neibhouring popular areas
When we reached the Zocalo, the main square which is also known as the Plaza de la Constitucion, I stopped in my tracks to take it all in. The Zocalo, marked by a giant flag flying proudly from its center and framed by massive colonial structures in varying architectural styles in all sides, made me feel so small. In an online news magazine, I saw a picture of the Zocalo filled with protestors taken just weeks before. This is not unusual, as the Zocalo is the venue for many protests, traditional rituals and ceremonies, national festivities and concerts bringing together people from all walks of life but who march to the same drumbeat.
On this day, however, it was the picture of peace. The sun-drenched square was covered in tents under which a grand booksale was being held. Tourists mingling with locals as they browsed through the selections, all penned in the local language. The baroque and neoclassical façade of the Catedral Metropolitana looms overhead, a stark reminder of its honor as the first and largest Catholic church in the Americas.