Bosque de Chapultepec
The Bosque de Chapultepec is a beautiful park in the Colonia Roma Norte on Mexico City’s near west side. Mature trees, numerous lakes, and museums make it a popular spot among locals and tourists alike. Entry to this small forest in the middle of town is free, and the park itself offers some attractions that you can visit for either little money or none at all. The Museo del Arte Moderno, or Museum of Modern Art, features various exhibitions including sculptures, photography, and work by contemporary painters as well as some classical paintings by Mexican and Hispanic artists. The highlight of the museum is Frida Kahlo’s The Two Fridas, which can be found on the upper floor of the museum.
Other free attractions in the Bosque de Chapultepec include the small Botanical Garden and the Zoo.
One last must see in the Chapultepec Forest, although not always free of charge, is the Castillo de Chapultepec, a museum that not only exhibits beautiful pieces of art and antique furniture but also offers a breathtaking view of Mexico City thanks to its elevated location. Admission costs 51 pesos but is free on Sundays.
With its arresting modern architecture, this museum is an eye catcher at first glance. Inside there are art works from all over the world in all kinds of forms. You can find anything from replicated bronze statues by Dalí or Rodin, to ivory and porcelain pieces from China, paintings, ancient jewelry, and so on. Admission to the museum is free. Visitors are welcome every day of the week except Tuesday from 10.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. (Saturdays from 10.30 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
In general, Mexico City is full of interesting museums. Thanks to the peso’s current exchange rate with the Euro, tickets are very cheap compared to the price of admission to comparable museums in Europe (most museum tickets cost between €1 and €5). Keep in mind that most of the museums in the capital are closed on Mondays.
Also known as the Plaza de la Constitución, the Zócalo is one of the biggest squares in the world, measuring about 4 hectares. It lies in the historical center of Mexico City and thus makes a good starting point for a tour. The first thing you should visit, for free, upon arriving at the Zócalo is the Cathedral of Mexico (Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María de la Ciudad de México) to admire its golden altars.
Not far away from the cathedral you will find the Templo Mayor, the remains of an Aztec pyramid, today an open air archaeological museum (admission: 57 pesos). Aztec legend holds that it was here that the early, nomadic Aztecs witnessed a fight between an eagle and a snake on top of a cactus. So, in accordance with ancient prophecy, the Aztecs started building the city of Mexico on the very spot where the fight took place.
Murals of Diego Rivera
The Secretariat of Public Education (Secretaría de Educación Pública) can be visited while visiting the Zócalo, as the building lies only a few streets behind the Cathedral of Mexico. On the walls of the Secretariat of Education, visitors can admire murals painted by Diego Rivera free of charge.
Plaza de las Tres Culturas
The “Plaza of the Three Cultures”, an archaeological site in the district of Tlatelolco, presents an overview of the three most important epochs of Mexican history. These include remains of Aztec temples, the Spanish church Santiago Tlaltelolco from the 17th century, and modern Mexican apartment buildings that are of architectural interest.