Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, is an amazing destination for teens who want to explore a mix of ancient history and modern life. From the 13th-century Aztec temple complex known as Templo Mayor to Diego Rivera’s groundbreaking murals in Palacio Nacional, there’s a lot to explore in this vibrant metropolis.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the attractions that make Mexico City such an exciting place for younger visitors.
Mexico City, Oldest City in North America, Est. in 1521
Mexico City is the oldest city in North America and has been an important part of history since it was established in 1521. Located in the Valley of Mexico, the city was founded by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés as Tenochtitlan, a major center of power and culture for the Aztecs. With more than 8 million inhabitants, Mexico City is now one of the largest cities in the world.
Throughout its long history, Mexico City has experienced various cycles of development, destruction, and reconstruction. It has seen wars between Spaniards and Native Americans as well as numerous earthquakes that have damaged many parts of it.
The early history of Mexico City, the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan
Mexico City is the oldest city in the Americas, having been inhabited since 1325. Founded as Tenochtitlan by the Aztecs, it was one of the most important cities in their empire. This ancient city was situated on an island in Lake Texcoco and served as a major political center for the Aztec culture and its people.
The construction of Tenochtitlan began in 1325 with a ritual ceremony and was completed around 1427 after almost two centuries of continuous building. The city’s classical architecture included stone pyramids, palaces made from adobe bricks, canals that connected neighborhoods to one another, and temples dedicated to their gods.
Its population grew quickly due to its strategic location at the crossroads of two empires: The Mexica (Aztecs) and The Tepaneca (the rulers of Texcoco).
People & Culture
Mexico City is the most populous city in Mexico and one of the largest cities in the world. This vibrant metropolis is home to a long history, diverse culture, and unique traditions.
The city has a population of over over 22 million people, with representatives from all over Mexico. In addition to its native residents, the area also includes immigrants from various backgrounds.
This melting pot of cultures creates an incredible atmosphere full of interesting food and activities that are unique to this part of the world. From street markets selling traditional Mexican cuisine to museums displaying ancient artifacts, there is something for everyone in Mexico City.
The city’s rich heritage combines indigenous beliefs and modern culture which results in fascinating celebrations throughout the year.
Shopping & Dining Scene
The shopping and dining scene in this bustling metropolis has plenty of choices. Whether you’re looking for high-end designer stores or local artisanal markets, you’ll find it all here.
The city is renowned for its quality craftsmanship, with artisans selling everything from jewelry to handcrafted furniture. You can also find a variety of international boutiques if you want to splurge on luxury items.
For more affordable options, head to the sprawling outdoor markets where vendors offer everything from produce to traditional clothing at unbeatable prices.
When it comes time to dine, Mexico City offers an incredible range of eateries and restaurants.
Experience the hustle and bustle of the Mercado de la Merced in downtown Mexico City where locals shop for their fresh produce, dairy products, and spices. Here you’ll find a variety of street vendors offering up some of the best tacos and tamales around.
Afterward, head over to one of the trendy bars in Condesa or Roma Norte where you can sip on mezcal cocktails while snacking on flautas and huaraches from nearby stands.
Local Transportation, Excellent Subway System
Mexico City is a bustling metropolis with world-renowned attractions, vibrant culture, and an efficient transportation system.
The Metro has grown exponentially since it was inaugurated in 1969, now boasting over 12 lines that traverse the metropolitan area. It covers almost 200 miles in total, providing access to many major neighborhoods and tourist attractions such as Chapultepec Park and Teotihuacan Pyramids.
The Metro also offers several transfer points that allow passengers to switch from one line to another without having to leave the station. This form of public transport is renowned for its punctuality and cost-efficiency; a single ride can cost as low as MXN$3 (USD$0.15).
The most common method of transport in Mexico City is by local bus. This system allows locals and tourists alike to get around in Mexico City with ease. The local buses are surprisingly affordable, making them a great option for experiencing the city on a budget.
The local buses are known as “peseros” and offer routes throughout the city center and beyond. The routes are well-marked, so even if you don’t speak Spanish it won’t be difficult to find your way around.
Passengers can buy tickets from ticket booths located at each stop or use their Mexico City transport card for a more convenient experience. To ensure safety, passengers must enter through the rear door of the bus and exit through the front doors when they reach their destination.
Nightlife & Entertainment
Mexico City nightlife & entertainment offers a wide array of choices. From the lively bars and clubs located throughout the city to the outdoor markets selling local street food, there is no shortage of things to do after dark.
Street food is a big part of Mexican culture, especially in Mexico City. Vendors line the streets with their carts and kiosks cooking up some of the most delicious dishes in all of Latin America. Enjoy tacos, quesadillas, tamales, and other snacks late into the night while taking in some live music or browsing through handmade crafts at one of Mexico City’s many street markets.
Many vendors also offer vegetarian options that make it an ideal destination for meat-free diners looking to experience traditional Mexican cuisine.
Mexico City has many amazing attractions and historical monuments all over the city that come from the time when this was the capital of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The historic center is full of buildings and monuments erected during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Templo Mayor – Built by the Aztecs in the 13th century, this temple complex is one of the most important historical sites in all of Latin America. It was destroyed by Spanish conquistadors in 1521 but has since been restored and is now open to the public.
The Templo is located in the heart of the city. It is one of the most important archeological sites in Mesoamerica having been built by the Mexica people. It was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli (the god of war) and Tlaloc (the god of rain), highlighting the duality and importance of nature to this ancient culture.
The multi-tiered pyramids are evidence of a sophisticated society that existed before the Spanish conquest. The walls were decorated with colorful murals, sculptures, and artifacts reflecting religious beliefs and ceremonies unique to this civilization.
Archeologists have discovered numerous offerings left behind by priests and other worshippers including objects made from precious metals such as gold and silver which indicate an advanced level of metallurgy skill among its occupants.
Diego Rivera’s Murals
Diego Rivera was a renowned Mexican painter and muralist who made a significant impact on the art world. His murals are some of the most iconic works of 20th-century Latin American art. Most famously, he painted numerous large-scale murals in Mexico City that portrayed Mexican culture and history. These murals were highly influential and often used his signature bright colors, bold lines, and socialist themes to create powerful statements that remain relevant today.
Rivera’s first major commission came from the Ministry of Education in 1923 when he was asked to paint a series of frescoes at the National Preparatory School in Mexico City. Here, he depicted pre-Hispanic civilization as well as revolutionary scenes influenced by his Marxist beliefs.
Diego Rivera’s Murals are located inside Palacio Nacional, where these revolutionary murals depict Mexican history from pre-Hispanic times right up until 1930.
Plaza de la Constitución
Plaza de la Constitución, or Zócalo as it is commonly known, is a historic public square located in the heart of Mexico City. It has been an iconic part of the city’s culture since its establishment in 1824 and serves as both a political and cultural center for Mexicans today.
As one of the largest plazas in Latin America, Plaza de la Constitución covers approximately 75,000 square meters with monuments such as the renowned Palacio Nacional, where important national events take place.
After dark, visitors to the plaza can expect to be surrounded by street vendors selling food and drink while live music fills the air. The plaza itself is often used for concerts or other large-scale events due to its size and popularity among locals.
Mexico City is a great destination for teens who are interested in exploring both ancient history and modern life!
From Templo Mayor to Plaza de la Constitución (Zócalo) to Diego Rivera’s murals inside Palacio Nacional, there are plenty of amazing attractions for teenagers to discover here.
Sources: THX News, National Geographic & Wikipedia.