Chapultec Castle, Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul, the National Palace and the Zocalo Plaza are just some of the must-see places in Mexico City. However, there are other spots less visited by tourists that are just as beautiful and historically significant as the popular sites. Here are my top 5 picks to check-out.
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Watching Palacio de Bellas Artes during Sunset at Sears
Palacio de Bellas Artes is the icon of Mexico City. It was built in 1934 by Mexican architect Federico Mariscal. It is known as the “Cathedral of Art in Mexico” because it houses some of Mexico’s most important pieces including Diego Rivera’s mural “Man at the Crossroads”. One of the best places to enjoy this architectural beauty is sitting on the patio of the Sears building across the street. Yes, Sears still exists in Mexico…The patio is located on the eighth floor. You’ll have to buy something from their café to access the patio. But it’s well worth it.
Seeing where the Red Army Commander Lived
Leon Trotsky was a Russian Revolutionary and a former Red Army Commander. He was expelled from the Communist Party in the late 1920’s and exiled out of Russia, as he continued to oppose Stalin. He arrived in Mexico City in the late 1930’s where he worked with Andre Breton and Diego Rivera to write the Manifesto for an Independent Revolutionary Art . Trotsky was assassinated in 1940 by a Spanish-born agent hired by Stalin. The house is not as popular as the Casa Azul- Frida’s house, which is a few blocks away, but I highly recommend visiting to step back into time to see how this historical figure lived.
Climbing through the pillars of the Monumento a la Revolución
The Monumento a la Revolución is a monument commemorating the Mexican Revolution. It is 220 ft tall making it the tallest triumphal arch in the world. Mexican architect, Carlos Obregón Santacilia combined art deco with Mexican socialist realism styles. But don’t just look at this building from afar. My recommendation is to go in it! There’s a museum at the basement level and great lookouts at the very top. Your way down is to take the steel staircase within one of pillars giving you unparalleled views of the structure. At certain points of descent are beautifully crafted chandeliers with light bulbs either in shapes of bullets or rifles. It was extraordinary!
Walking through the library stacks at Biblioteca Vasconcelos
This library is like no other. It’s located in the north end of Mexico City in a neighbourhood called Buena Vista. It was designed by Mexican architects Alberto Kalach and Juan Palomar in 2006 and it is 409,000 sq. ft. The library stacks look to be suspended in the air, surrounded by light. It has an industrial futuristic aesthetic, which I loved. In the centre of the library floats an art sculpture called the Ballena (whale) designed by Gabriel Orozco.
Taking in the Murals of Buena Vista
Just outside of the Biblioteca Vasconcelos lies “Buena Vista’s Corridor of Art.” This neighbourhood was an ignored barrio but has now transformed into a living art gallery. The apartments in this neighbourhood all feature outstanding murals from local artists. This art project was initiated over 7 years ago by a group called Liberalia Colectivo Itinerante whose mission was to transform this community by “inspiring its residents to take pride in their culture” through art.