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Things to Do in Mexico - page 5

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Macroplaza (La Gran Plaza)
4 Tours and Activities

Build in the early 1980s, this popular town square is a hub for commerce and the fourth-largest plaza of its kind in the world. Impressive monuments line the pedestrian zone, including Faro del Comercio, which shoots green laser lights into the city sky each night.

Visitors to the plaza can wander the halls of the Palacio de Gobierno, where local government offices are located, or explore the Biblioteca Fray Servando Teresa de Mier—the city’s iconic public library. Visitors can escape the noise of the city in nearby Jardin Hundido—located at the center of Macroplaza—where quiet fountains and well-kept gardens provide a true urban oasis.

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Plaza Garibaldi
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17 Tours and Activities

The streets of Mexico City come alive with music, performance and mariachi at Plaza Garibaldi. This historic square is the destination for live local music in the capital city. Visitors can cozy up to the bar at one of the numerous tequila joints that line the streets of Plaza Garibaldi, or settle in to an outdoor table and enjoy the hustle of urban life while mariachi bands weave between patrons while playing traditional tunes. The nearby Museum of Tequila and Mezcal, just behind the Agave Garden, is a perfect stop to learn more about Mexico’s most famous spirit and solo musicians frequently perform in the upstairs bar and tasting room. While some argue the plaza’s high prices and petty crime make it a true tourist trap, good drink deals are easy to find and increased security has improved the look, feel and safety of this popular destination.

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Discover Mexico Park Cozumel
7 Tours and Activities

This new theme park grants visitors the opportunity to experience the many parts of Mexico while visiting Cozumel. It showcases the history, culture and art of the country through several indoor and outdoor exhibitions.

Visitors can weave through an outdoors timeline with miniature scale models of famous sites and check out the art museum featuring handmade Mexican artisanal crafts. There are showings of a film about Mexico’s history and sights in their video experience room, as well as traditional Mexican food and beverages at the snack bar. For a relaxing yet colorful experience, take a stroll through the tropical gardens.

Mexican music can be heard throughout the park and both new and old Mexican architecture can be seen all over, making for an experience that covers both traditional and contemporary Mexico.

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Fort of San Diego (Fuerte de San Diego)
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11 Tours and Activities

Though you chose Acapulco for its beautiful beaches and exciting nightlife, the Fort of San Diego (or El Fuerte de San Diego) provides a fine, air-conditioned dose of cultural enrichment perfect for the entire family. The fortress itself, though small, is an excellent example of classic Spanish defensive architecture, built in 1616 to repel increasingly brazen attacks by British pirates on the deep-water port. Its five photogenic stone arms topped with turrets, once protected galleons that connected the Americas to Asian ports. Today, they are filled with objects from that era, a part of the Museo Histórico de Acapulco. The permanent collection is solid, and the museum also exhibits shows traveling from elsewhere in Mexico.

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More Things to Do in Mexico

Mayan Museum of Cancun (Museo Maya de Cancún)

Mayan Museum of Cancun (Museo Maya de Cancún)

13 Tours and Activities

Take a break from the beaches of Cancun to explore artifacts from Mexico’s ancient past at the Maya Museum, one of the largest created by the National Institute of Anthropology and History. Inside the museum, visitors can see incredible items recovered from sites like Chichen Itza and Tulum, including the Woman of the Palms, ancient skeletal remains found submerged in a water-filled cave near Tulum. Next to the museum is an ancient archaeological site called San Miguelito, where visitors can stroll among the ruins and gardens.

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Plazuela Machado

Plazuela Machado

3 Tours and Activities
The heart of the historic district is this leafy rectangular plaza, with leafy trees and palm trees both in place, many buildings painted bright colors. It is lined by restaurants, shops, and museums, plus the Angela Perlata theater is nearby, making this a good place to linger from lunch time onward. Built in 1837 by the wealthy businessman it was named after, in the center is a wrought iron gazebo from 1870.
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Olas Atlas Beach (Playa Olas Altas)

Olas Atlas Beach (Playa Olas Altas)

3 Tours and Activities
Near historic Old Mazatlan, Olas Atlas Beach (Playa Olas Altas) fronts the original tourist zone. Here a long and wide malecon sidewalk is popular with joggers and in-line skaters moving past the city’s first waterfront hotels, like the Freeman—the first building in town to have an elevator. It’s a pleasant place for a stroll, with a shady cocktail or beer being just across the street.
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Zocalo

Zocalo

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9 Tours and Activities

The heart of any Spanish Colonial city is the central plaza, or Zócalo, and the ancient port town of Acapulco - despite its several modern facelifts - is no exception. The swirl of activity, the live music on weekends, the vendors selling every sort of cheap (and some very nice) souvenirs are all here, mixing and mingling with tourists and locals relaxing in the shade.

Like all central plazas, Acapulco's Zócalo is presided over by a Catholic church, in this case Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. Its unusually domed and stellar interior, bookended by two of the least traditional bell towers you'll find in Mexico, were originally part of a movie set, later redeveloped into a parish church and declared a cathedral (temporarily) in 1959. It is the perfect centerpiece to Acapulco's resort-chic collection of Mediterranean, modernist, and other original buildings.

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Templo Expiatorio del Santisimo Sacramento

Templo Expiatorio del Santisimo Sacramento

6 Tours and Activities

Spiked with spindly spires and decorated with fine stonework, the Templo Expiatorio is one of Guadalajara’s iconic churches and a striking example of neogothic style. The first stone was laid in 1897 and construction was completed in the 1930s. Inside, the ambiance is dreamy. Graceful multilayered arches frame an altar backlit by massive stained glass windows and crowned with a giant yet simple gold chandelier. Beams of colored light cast by the stained glass cut through smoke and dust motes, and the air smells of incense, candles, and flowers.

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Old Mazatlan (Centro Historico)

Old Mazatlan (Centro Historico)

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3 Tours and Activities

While this area of Mazatlan has gone through several periods of ascent and decline, a government focus on restoration incentives and sensible zoning laws has resulted in spruced-up buildings that are also functional. The exteriors remain historic, but inside the owners have flexibility in making the (often deteriorated) space work for current needs. So there’s a good range of nightclubs, boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and residences. Many buildings in the Old Mazatlan area date from the late 1800s and early 1900s, when the bustling port city was wealthy from shrimp, fish, minerals, and an iron foundry.

The historic sights of Old Mazatlan are concentrated in a rather limited area near the Plazuela Machado, a small, tree-filled square with a wrought-iron kiosk in the center. Nearby is the ornate, neoclassical Teatro Angela Peralta, which opened in the 1860s and was later renamed for the singer: she died of yellow fever a few days before she was to perform here.

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Golden Zone (Zona Dorada)

Golden Zone (Zona Dorada)

2 Tours and Activities
A deserted stretch of sand just a few decades ago, the Golden Zone of Mazatlan is now the area where package tourists spend most of their time. Lined with hotels, restaurants, and bars, it pulses with activity from the morning until the wee hours. All the usual watersports are on offer and sailing trips depart to nearby islands.
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Dolores Olmedo Museum (Museo Dolores Olmedo)

Dolores Olmedo Museum (Museo Dolores Olmedo)

10 Tours and Activities

Founded in 1994, this museum named in honor of Dolores Olmedo Patino—a philanthropist, collector and mistress to Diego Rivera--houses more than 130 original works by her former flame. Paintings by her rival, Frida Kahlo and Rivera’s first wife, Angelina Beloff, also line the halls of this unique museum, making it a must-see stop for contemporary Mexican art.

Private rooms, which include decorations from the Olemdo Patino’s home and artwork by Jose Juarez and Francisco Guevara, were recently opened to the public. After touring the galleries, visitors can settle in for a snack at one of the two restaurants on museum grounds and take in the beauty of manicured gardens that surround the five buildings that make up the estate.

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El Mirador Lookout

El Mirador Lookout

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12 Tours and Activities

While the tranquil waters, white beaches, and endless stucco strips of bars and shops that line Cozumel's touristy West Coast provide most vacationers with everything they need, the wild east may be calling to you. The rugged East Coast, facing the waves of the wide-open Caribbean, is much less accessible and developed, which is precisely its appeal. There are many of gorgeous deserted beaches lining the coastal road, but none like El Mirador. This is - emphatically - not a swimming beach. El Mirador lookout rocky point sculpted into an amazing seascape of natural bridges, blowholes, tide pools, and spires, with an astounding sapphire backdrop you'll never forget. Climb the tower for magnificent views.

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Angela Peralta Theater (Teatro Angela Peralta)

Angela Peralta Theater (Teatro Angela Peralta)

1 Tour and Activity

This pride and joy of the historic district of Mazatlan has been through a tumultuous history. Built in the late 1800s, it was named after a famous singer who contracted yellow fever upon traveling here to perform and died. After a period of glory the building served as a movie theater, boxing arena, and eventually an abandoned ruin. Renovated and restored to its former glory, it reopened in 1992. You can tour the neoclassical structure for a nominal fee with a guide or catch a performance at night. Except for big-name concerts, the ticket charges are nearly always a bargain and this is a center for student performances of dance, music, or theater.

An art gallery near the entrance shows off temporary exhibitions by local and international artists. Tours also visit a museum upstairs shows the building in ruins and at different stages of restoration.

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Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

11 Tours and Activities

The culture of the plaza, or town square, is central to Mexican life: the plaza is a community gathering place where school kids flirt, couples promenade, and everyone catches up on the latest gossip. Guadalajara contains many plazas, but the heart of Guadalajara’s historic downtown is the Plaza de Armas. The Plaza de Armas has all the trappings of a classic Mexican jardin: wrought iron benches, prim topiary, strolling vendors, and the requisite Sunday social scene.

Classical statues that represent the seasons of the year preside over the four corners of the square, which is ringed with historic buildings, including the Palacio de Gobierno, a baroque monster that houses two famous murals by the social realist artist Jose Clemente Orozco.

The centerpiece of the scene is a belle époque bandstand. A gift to the city from the dictator Porfirio Diaz, the gazebo was built in Paris in 1909, and features a hardwood ceiling that enhances sound quality.

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Comitán

Comitán

8 Tours and Activities
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Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres

Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres

8 Tours and Activities

On the north side of the Guadalajara Cathedral, you’ll find a little park that contains the Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres, or the Rotunda of the Illustrious Jaliscans. Ringed by bronze statues and flowering trees, the neoclassical rotunda houses the remains of the state’s luminaries. Inside the rotunda, the coffin of Enrique Díaz de León, the first rector of the University of Guadalajara, sits in state. You’ll also see urns containing the ashes of Jalisco’s honored dead; additional empty urns await their occupants. A crypt below the floor contains the mummified remains of General Ramón Corona, who defended Mexico during the French invasion, served as a popular reform governor, and was murdered in 1889.

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