The Paseo de la Reforma
This avenue, which is the most elegant of the arterial
streets in the capital city, goes through the city center connecting
Chapultepec Park to the residential neighborhood of Lomas.
Park of Chapultepec
The Reforma, the only avenue in Mexico
City keeping its name the whole way, crosses the Bosque de Chapultepec,
once the reserve of drinking water at the time of the Aztecs. The
park of Chapultepec is the biggest park in the city. A pleasant
open relaxation place, it not only comprised a botanical garden,
a zoological park, lakes and fountains but also sport fields, theaters
and about half a dozen museums. Chapultepec means "Grasshopper
Hill". At the top is the Casttle, currently the National History
Museum. The Galería de Historia, better know as the Museo
del caracol is located halfway up the hill and to one side lies
a small lake as a reminder of the springs that used to exist there.
Next to the lake stands the Casa del Lago Juan José Arreola,
an important forum that forms part of the cultural dissemination
program of the National University of Mexico. This section also
contains Mexico City Zoo, and the Museums of Modern Art, Rufino
Tamayo and Anthropology. The official residence of the president
of Mexico, know as Los Pinos, is located nearby. The second
section is an extension of the first. Built in 1960s, it has two
lakes as well as well as amusement rides, restaurants, walkays,
jogging and cycling paths, spectacular fountains, children's games
and three museums : the Museo Tecnológico de la Comisión
Federal de Electricidad (scientific subjects), the Museo de Historia
Natural, the only museum in the city designed to dissemate issues
related to ecology and environmental conservation, and the modern
"Papalote Museo del Niño, an area for learning where
children can touch everything and amuse themselves blowing giant
bubbles and lying down on a bed of nails. The third section, built
later, is a sort of ecological reserve, meaning that it has various
green areas to bring man into contact with nature. In short, Chapultepec
is a major cultural, tourist and recreational center for locals
and visitors alike. It has also become one of the main sources of
oxygen in the vicinity of Mexico City's Historic Center.
Laid on a 647.5 hectares surface, it attracts thousands of visitors
every day. Alleys have been set up for bikers and joggers.
It was the royal hunting ground field of Moctezuma.
The viceroy had the "Castillo" built as a summer home
but Mexico declared independence
before the construction was done. The castle then became the military
Academy. Six young cadets from this academy defended until the death
the castle, attacked on September 13, 1847 by American troops. The
memory of the "Los Niños Héroes" is perpetuated
with the monument erected in the memory of their sacrifice at the
entrance of the Park. Their remains lie in the six columns.
Castillo de Chapultepec : open 9AM-5PM, guided visits from
Tuesday to Sunday; $200 for 3 h – Meeting place at the reja
de los leones at the main entrance of Chaputelpec coming from
the avenue Reforma (2nd turibus stop). It stands on an esplanade
from where there is a very beautiful view of the city. The building
is haunted by the archduke Maximilian
of Austria and his wife Charlotte, who stayed there in the middle
of the nineteenth century and had a tragic end of life. Maximilian
became emperor of Mexico under the auspices of France and he kept
his power with the support of a French expeditionary military corps,
which left the country two years after his accession. The troops
of Benito Juárez didn’t wait long to beat the prince,
captured him and executed him. His wife Charlotte became mad and
died a long time later. The building was renovated by President Porfirio Diaz.
building, after being home for the presidents of Mexico
until 1939, has been transformed in a museum of history. Besides
the imperial habitations that you can visit, you can find in this
Museo Nacional de Historia (open 9AM-4:15PM,
Tue-Sun, $51) diverse rooms consecrated to different times of the
history of the country, from the pre-Hispanic time to the modern
time through the Conquest, the decline of New Spain, the birth of
the independent movements, the declaration of autonomy ... each
period is documented by paintings, pictures, written works, maps,
models, weapons and diverse objects. Some rooms are reserved to
minor arts, clothes and fineries. You could also, from the nice
glass gallery, appreciate the perspective of the Paseo de la Reforma
to downtown. There is also a garden and the national astronomic
the museum, walk or take the train to the free zoo, the Zoológico
de Chapultepec (open 9AM-5PM Tue-Sun / metro : Auditorio).
This zoo has about 300 species of animals, among them some has epizootic,
like the lynx and grey wolf of Mexico, both endangered.
You can see also animals like lions, giraffes, buffalos and rhinoceros.
It is possible to approach some animals and to ride ponies.
of the Park, you can find distractions for children : la feria
de Chapultepec (open daily 10AM-9PM / metro Constituyentes).
In this amusement park founded in 1964, some 57 attractions are
grouped on 6000 m2 and some 2 millions of visitors take advantage
of it. Several packages give you the possibility of trying one or
another attraction. The cheapest is the package « magico »
for 35 pesos; the most expensive is the package « ecolin »
for 80 pesos. For the youngest, we suggest the following rides :
The glass palace, the dragon, the giant toboggan or the balls pool;
for the oldest, the « Nao China », the Tower Power ,
the Top Spin and don't forget the Russian mountain, « la serpiente
de fuego » oldest ride since the opening of the Park ! You
better not being cardiac ! A big crowd on Sunday, thousands of capitalinos,
mainly originally from popular classes, rush there because the prices
The amateurs of museum will be spoiled for choice
in Mexico City. Here is the most prestigious
Museum of Anthropology
National Museum of Anthropology (open 9AM-7PM Tue-Sun);
fee : $57, free on Sunday for residents. Guides tours between 9:30AM and 5:30PM
from Tuesday to Saturday. Consult the website of Wikipedia.
Created in 1964 and renovated recently, it has
been realized by the architect Pedro Ramirez Vásquez under
the order of President Lopez Mateos.
most beautiful museum in the world", said André Malraux.
It is for sure the most gripping.
The first time, you will be amazed. It comprises the “Sun
Stone”, famous Aztec calendar, the giant Olmec stone heads
from the jungles of Tabasco and Mayan treasures.
The amateur of Mexican history should start his visit in this museum,
chef-d'oeuvre of the world museography. You need at least one full
day in this paradise to be immerged in the Mesoamerican civilizations.
It is built like a Mixtec edifice with four buildings surrounding
a central patio. It is half covered by a huge aluminum canopy supported
by a unique pillar covered with hewn stone. Water shoots out from
the top and splashes down to the ground mixing coolness and beauty.
See special chapter about the National Museum of Anthropology
In front of the museum, the voladores of Papantla give
their spectacle every day several times a day.
most important art museum in Chapultepec Park is the Museo
de Arte Moderno (open 10AM-6PM Tue-Sun, free on Sunday),
which introduces on two floors the main Mexican or foreign artists
of the twentieth century. The museum is consecrated to sculpture,
paining and photography. A very light and well organized inside
allows an excellent presentation of collections of international
and national art. Two permanent exhibits deserve a special attention:
one is consecrated to the photograph Manuel Alvarez Bravo, the other
one offers landscapes of José Maria Velasco. Even if he is
less famous than the muralists, Velasco is an excellent painter
whose work gives a nostalgic look on Mexico of the old times. There
are also permanent collections of Mexican artists like Kahlo, Rivera,
Orozco, Siqueiros and Tamayo.
of the museum of anthropology, a luxurious and modern building,
draw by the architects Zabludosky and Gonzalez de León, hosts
the Museo Rufino Tamayo (open 10AM-6PM Tue-Sun,
$19). Among the contemporary paintings, the most remarkable are
the ones of Tamayo himself, painter and sculptor of Oaxaca.
Have a special look at a big portrait of his wife Olga. The museum
was built in 1984 to display the collections of Tamayo. Look also
at the fresco La Raza, at the entrance on the right. Paintings of
other Mexican and foreign artists are also on display. Site of the
museum : www.museotamayo.org.
could also have a peaceful walk (not on weekends) on the shores
of the lakes Mayor and Menor located in the park. Close to the lake
Mayor, you could visit, with children, the Museo del
niño–Papalote (open daily, Mon-Fri 09AM-6PM
except Thursday 09AM-11PM and Sat-Sun 10AM-7PM, $99 adult, $95 under
12 year old), very interesting for children; package available with
IMAX theater and planetarium). Papalote means butterfly in Náhuatl.
The museum, open since 1993, comprises 350 attractions and educational
workshops spread on 24 000 m2. It has an only one OBJECTIVE : Allowing
everyone better understanding the human body and surrounding world,
while having fun.
With five themes, five runs are proposed to the children : "I
communicate", "I am", "I understand", I
say" and "I belong", 5 methods to stimulate the kids
under the supervision of an activity leader. Spend time to the diverse
workshops like the one of modeling clay, painting, etc... And finish
the visit at the planetarium and 3D theater. Click here
to log on to their site.
The official residence of Los Pinos is a place charged with history.
The visit will bring us into the past and present of Mexican governments.
Due to its beauty, its geographic location and natural resources,
kings, emperors and leaders for all time and all facets of Mexican
history chose this place enclosed in the Bosque of Chapultepec to
live and establish the head of government. After the Conquest, this
domain was a very important economic center. And it was called the
King’s mill, a name still used for a part of the Pinos.
In 1935, the General Lázaro
Cárdenas is the first President to live in. He is the
one who picked the name : Los Pinos.
There are in the park, water vendors and small restaurants useful
because of the distances and the heat during the day.
The northern part of the park edges Polanco, elegant
neighbor where there are numerous embassies and consulates, renowned
hotels and many restaurants, cafés, boutiques and department
stores. It is the business neighborhood with a big Jewish and Arab
community. Take advantage of your time in Polanco and visit the
Museo David Alfaro Siqueiros (Tres Picos # 299) and the small Museo
de Artes Gráficas Juan Pablos (Galileo # 101). In the center
of this neighborhood, to one side of calle Emilio Castelar stands
Parque Lincoln, housing the Teatro Angela Peralta, where you can
enjoy a peaceful stroll through its ponds, under the gaze of the
A little more towards West, in the high neighbors of Lomas de Chapultepec,
Bosques de las Lomas and Santa Fe, lives the high bourgeoisie of
City map :
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