Zocalo, Mexico City

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    Zocalo
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    Nacional Monte de Piedad and our bus
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  • gypsysoul73's Profile Photo

    The Zocalo

    by gypsysoul73 Written Jan 16, 2007

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    Vendors outside the Cathedral by the Zocalo
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    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.

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  • Aptypo's Profile Photo

    El Zócalo, heart of Mexico City.

    by Aptypo Updated Oct 3, 2006

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    El Z��calo.

    El Zócalo.
    Plaza de la Constitución.
    (Constitution Square).

    This enormous paved square, occupies the site of the ceremonial center of México-Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire.
    Since the time of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma, the area was surrounded by palaces, temples and other structures.

    El Zócalo is the main square - its formal name is Plaza de la Constitución - and forms the heart of the city since the Aztec rule.
    Today is the largest public square in the Western Hemisphere, and the third one in the world (after the Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing and the Red Square in Moscow).

    The word "zócalo" means base or plinth (in Spanish). The name of the square stuck after the attempt to erect a Monument to Independence, wich never was concluded.

    Crowded streets filled of shops, restaurants, cantinas, street vendors and more contribute to become this zone into a unique place.

    El Zócalo is used for government/political rallies, protest marches, sit-ins, concerts and other festive events too all round year.

    Be here any day at either 6:00 AM or 6:00 PM for the ceremony of the raising and lowering of the Mexican flag in the centre of the square.
    The best view is from the roof of Catedral Metropolitana.

    When you visit Mexico City take a look at El Zócalo.

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    Plaza de la Constitución

    by MM212 Updated Jun 27, 2006

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    Z��calo
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    Plaza de la Constitución, also known as Zócalo, is the heart of Mexico City and arguably of all of Mexico. It is delineated by some of Mexico City's most important Catholic and republican monuments. These include la Catedral Metropolitana, Sagrario Metropolitano, and El Palacio Nacional with Diego Rivera's famous murals, as well as the ruins of Templo Mayor, a 13th century pyramid from the days of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan predating Mexico City. A huge Mexican flag flies in the centre of the Plaza. During the day, the Plaza is filled with life and movement, and has a market selling Mexican artefacts.

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    Sagrario Metropolitano

    by MM212 Updated Mar 17, 2006

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    The Eastern Fa��ade
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    Smaller than the adjacent Catedral Metropolitana but equally impressive, this 18th century church is a breathtaking example of Mexican architecture. The beauty and intricacy of the two façades are also reflective of the beauty of the interior. Sadly, the eastern side of the church is visibly sinking into the ground. If you look head on (see picture), you may be able to see that the walls are not straight. Many of Mexico's old buildings are suffering the same fate as the entire city centre was built on soft soil, where the shallow lake once was.

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    Colonial Downtown

    by jumanuel Updated Mar 15, 2006

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    Zocalo is one fo the most important places of the city.
    You will be able to see the cathedral (wich its amazing), National Palace - where you can enjoy, inside of a fantastic murals, Templo Mayor (some ruins in the city) and some other old buildings.
    Also you can enjoy a nice lunch or dinner or a drink at the top of any of the hotels around the Zocalo, all of them have a the top floor a restaurant where you can enojoy a nice view and just relax a bit.

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    Hub of the city

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Mar 14, 2006

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    El Zocalo and the Palacio Nacional
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    Many cities in Mexico have their own "El Zocalo" - the main plaza -but none of them come close to the one in Mexico City in scale or grandeur and historical importance. The square is rightly known as the Plaza de la Constitucion but nobody calls it that - instead it is known by the Aztec word 'zocalo' -which is only fitting as this was the very heart of the Aztec city the Spanish found here when they arrived in 1519. Within just a few short years the great buildings, temples and palaces they found here were in ruins, their stones used to pave the square and build the churches and government offices of the conquerors.

    Today the grand edifices of that conquest serve an independent nation - the Catedral Metropolitana and the Palacio Nacional both facing the square where a huge flag of the Republic is raised and lowered with pomp (and difficulty on a windy day) each day. Years of excavation after an accidental discovery have revealed the Aztec's Templo Mayor and the forecourt of the temple complex sounds again with Aztec drums as dancers in the feathered head-dresses of their ancestors dance for the tourists.

    The Palacio Nacional, dates from the late 17th century, but it is the 20th century murals depicting 400 years of Mexican history, the masterwork of Mexico's most famous artist, Diego Rivera, that people come to see here. The palace is huge and whilst much of it is reserved for official use it does house a small museum dedicated to Benito Juarez and the Mexican Congress.

    The Catedral Metropolitana was dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin when building commenced in 1573; this is the oldest cathedral in all the Americas. Built on the soft clay of the drained lake that once filled much of the valley here, continued draining the city's water needs has caused major problems with subsidence - an ongoing and expensive concern for this historic building. The interior has some particularly beautiful decoration, side chapels and altarpieces.

    leyle

    leyle

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    Palacio Nacional

    by MM212 Updated Feb 25, 2006

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    El Palacio Nacional
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    Dominating the eastern side of Plaza de la Constitución, el Palacio Nacional is the seat of the Mexican government. The edifice was built in the mid-nineteenth century, but it wasn't until the 1930s that Diego Rivera painted his most magnificent and treasured murals. Visits to the Palacio are permitted and a must see for all visitors to Mexico's capital. Don't forget to find Frida Kahlo on Diego's murals!

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  • Gomita's Profile Photo

    The heart of the city

    by Gomita Written Feb 22, 2006

    To visit the "zocalo" it is an experiece that you must not miss. This squareis full of mysticism because occupies the original core of the city which the Aztecs set out 500 years ago (Tenochtitlan). You will find in the center of the square a big mexican flag and a lot of merchants trying to sell you anything.
    In the Zocalo you will see the Cathedral, the National Palace (Office of the president of Mexico), Supreme Court Of Justuce and the "Templo Mayor" the remains of the ancient city of the aztecs.

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    Catedral Metropolitana

    by MM212 Updated Feb 3, 2006

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    One of the oldest and largest cathedrals in the Americas, Catedral Metropolitana is a marvellous 16th century architectural gem. It is located in Zócalo, the heart of Mexico City, overlooking Plaza de la Constitución, one of the largest city squares in the world. Like most of the old structures in downtown Mexico City, the Cathedral is sinking in the soft soil underneath, albeit less than the adjacent Sagrario Metropolitano. Major restoration work has been done recently to combat the sinking.

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  • Intrepidduck's Profile Photo

    Mexico City: The Zocalo

    by Intrepidduck Updated Feb 2, 2006
    View from a cafe terrace.

    The Zocalo gets it's name from the Cathedral which overlooks this vast open square. This is the historic centre of Mexico City and is a wonderful place to be in the evening. Its flood lit, seemed pretty safe on the two evenings I hung about there. There seems to be always something happening, performers and demonstrations etc. There are a number of cafes and restaurants open with their tables on the pavements.

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    Danza Azteca ( dancing) on the Zocalo

    by aventurera Written Dec 30, 2005

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    Cathedral metropolitano Zocalo
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    The zocalo is "the centre " of |Mexico City .
    now the center of business, culture and government for the country, was once the center of the entire Aztec empire. The current Zocalo, or town square, is built on the same spot where once stood Montezuma's palace. . The Zocalo is the second largest public plaza in the world, only Red Square in Moscow is bigger. Within just a few blocks of the Zocalo, in all directions, are some of the city's finest examples of city history, architecture and art. Here is located the Metropolitan Cathedral, the oldest and most important on the American Continent. Enjoy the variety of people , and also famous the danza azteca.

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    Zocalo

    by acemj Updated Dec 27, 2005

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    The Zocalo is one of the world's largest public squares. I stayed just a couple blocks from here, so I was in the area a lot. The central space is just a big cemented square and it's a bit hard to get to because of the traffic zipping by (use the subway for the safest access). However, the buildings around the square, the history of it and the energy that emanates from it, make it a great place to visit. During the day, the Zocalo is teeming with tourists and the presence of the Palacio Nacional marks it as the heart of Mexico City's political life. You'll also find the city's main cathedral and the ruins of the Templo Mayor here. You might think of this as the center of town as I did, but it's not necessarily the truth. At night, this area is actually fairly quiet, so I don't necessarily recommend booking your accommodations here, although it was perfectly fine for me.

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    Plaza de la Constitución o Zócalo

    by AnnaLupilla Written Nov 9, 2005

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    One place I used to visit regularly during my stay in Mexico was the Zócalo. I used to stroll around there through daytimes or sit besides the cathedral to watch people, to breath freshly polluted air, and to feel free on such a huge square in such a big city. By the way, it's the Americas' oldest and biggest central square with an area of 220 x 240 m.
    The most impressing thing there is the gigantic Mexican flag you can see in its middle. Its official name is Plaza de la Constitución.
    The place is surrounded by the most important buildings: the Cathedral, Palacio Nacional, Monte de Piedad, the two buildings of the Federal District Government and Portal de Mercaderes.
    Its name and appearance have changed several times: from Plaza Mayor to Plaza de Armas, following the Spanish custom. Its current name is taken from Cadiz' constitution of 1812.
    The square is widely known as Zócalo because, in the 1840s, President Antonio López de Santa Anna proposed building a column here to commemorate the Independence; such project did not go beyond the construction of the monument's plinth (zócalo), which, however, remained there long enough to become a popular point of reference.

    It is used as stage for huge parades to commemorate main civic holidays or public demonstrations, political acts and a great place to start excursions through the historic center. A walk in any direction from the Zócalo can take visitors back in time.

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  • Zocalo markets

    by elgarbo Written Sep 18, 2005

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    Shopping for trinkets.

    Check out the markets right next to the cathedral in the zocalo. They radiate out through a number of streets around the area, and you can find all sorts of interesting bits and pieces in here.

    There are lots of great pieces of local handicrafts, clothes, jewelry, music, food, you name it, they're probably selling it down here. We picked up some nice beanies for our dreadlocks, a whole pile of leather bracelets, and some other nice souvenirs for people back home.

    Feel free to haggle, but for us, the prices were so cheap we didn't really feel the need to fight for a few extra cents, so we just handed over the price that they asked.

    I imagine the markets are probably a haven for pickpockets, but if you're careful they shouldn't trouble you. We certainly had no troubles while we wandered through the area.

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    Plaza de la Constitucion (The Zocalo)

    by Blatherwick Written Aug 26, 2005
    Plaza de la Constitucion

    El Zocalo, otherwise known as Plaza de la Constitucion, is the heart of Mexico City. It is the largest public square in the Western Hemisphere, and the third one in the world (after the Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing and the Red Square in Moscow). The zocalo is marked with a giant Mexican flag in the middle of it. To the north is the Metropolitan Cathedral and to the east is the National Palace.

    The plaza was once the centre of Aztec captial Tenochtitlan. When Cortes came along, he leveled the city and its pyramids and used the stones to build the capital of New Spain.

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Comments (2)

  • Zvezdanov's Profile Photo
    Aug 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Una ciudad se mide por la calidad de vida que le ofrece a su población y no todos vivimos en el centro histórico, es mas, con unas condiciones generales tan miserables es un insulto que se pretenda premiar a la corrupción, la falta de servicios públicos, la delincuencia, la falta de planeación urbana, etc... Es fácil ver el lado bueno de la moneda y olvidar la otra cara, la hipocrecía no cuesta nada.

  • TramitanetMexico's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    A mi punto de vista, que por cierto es muy critico, existen mejores fotografías de lo que es el centro histórico de la Ciudad de México, No por nada fue y es llamada aun la ciudad de los palacios, ademas de tantas cosas de mucho contenido tanto cultural, tradicional, y de gran simbolismo patrio. Creo que las fotografías que se pusieron no demuestran lo grandioso que es esta zona de la Capital de la Republica mexicana, Ojala pudieran mejorarse. y por su puesto que voto por el centro histórico de México DF.

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