This was my first trip to Mexico City, and I was surprised by just how much I loved it! The purpose of our press trip was to familiarize us with the family-friendly aspects of Mexico City and that goal was certainly accomplished. I will be sharing my experiences here on Happy Travels, as well as on BeingAlison.com, as I attended this trip as a writer for her site.
5 Reasons to Take Your Kids to Mexico City
Experience Cultural Immersion in a Playful Way
Every children’s activity I had the pleasure to visit incorporated an educational message in the program.
For instance, the Interactive Museum of Economics, where children learn about economics, environmental sustainability and their impact on the earth, do so through a series of fun games, science experiments and attention-grabbing displays.
This isn’t something we do in the states and I was intrigued by this approach.
Bringing your children to an interactive children’s museum in Mexico City allows for them to have fun while also interacting with the local children in a fun, natural way – and they will take home with them the lessons they learned!
Or a visit to La Granja del Tio Pepe, an fun farm where you children can pet and feed animals – it’s an invaluable educational experience because your children will also learn about sustainability and respect for our environment at the same time!
Mexico City is Not Americanized
Hotel and restaurant employees tend to speak English, as well as many of the private taxi drivers, so there is not a real issue concerning finding your way round – but your children will hear the beautiful, flowery Spanish spoken on the streets, in museums and the marketplace. It can be a little trying in places like museums, where you’ll need either an English-speaking guide to assist you, but it just enriches the overall experience.
As you make your way around the city, you’ll find things you wouldn’t see at many tourist destinations: like Aztec medicine men in Zocalo plaza, performing the rituals that their people have performed for centuries.
Eat REAL Mexican Food
You’ll never look at On the Border quite the same way again after eating at one of the many incredible restaurants in Mexico City. Your children will go home and ask why there is lettuce and tomatoes on their tacos – and you’ll find yourself stocking up on limes – or at Mexicans refer to them, lemons – to drizzle over every dish.
If you want to skip the restaurants and hit the streets for delicious eats, there is no shortage of street food vendors.
At each plaza, there are plenty of street food carts, ranging from exotic drinks to every kind of food imaginable.
Watch History Come to Life in Your Children’s Eyes
I’ve always been fascinated with the history of the indigenous people of Mexico (and the rest of North and South America), especially with regard to their cultural devastation by the hands of the Spaniards. As time passes, schools in the states teach less and less about the early people in the Americas, so what better way to show your children than to SHOW them?
Wander around Zocalo and tour Templo Mayor, the oldest Aztec pyramid in Mexico City.
After the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, the conquistadors decided to build their church on the site of the Templo Mayor of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan to consolidate Spanish power over the newly conquered domain.
Hernán Cortés used the stones from the temple of the Aztec god of war Huitzilopochtli, which was the principal deity of the Aztecs, to build the cathedral. From 1978 to 1982, a special project directed by archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma was directed by presidential decree to excavate the Temple, which resulted in finding some 7,000 artifacts! These are on display at the museum and include things like: clay pots in the image of Tlaloc, skeletons of turtles, frogs, crocodiles, and fish, snail shells, coral, Aztec gold, Mixtec figurines, ceramic urns from Veracruz, and masks from what is now Guerrero state.
You can take tours of the El Mayor temple, museum and archaeological site, just make sure to call ahead of your visit to ensure that they will be open. You can find more information here.
It’s right smack dab in the middle of downtown behind the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary of Mexico City, the first cathedral built by the Spaniards. Not only is it the oldest cathedral in Mexico City, it is the oldest cathedral in all of the Americas.
How’s that for a history lesson?
Mexico City is an Affordable Vacation Destination
Unlike many places I’ve visited, Mexico City was inexpensive. Most of the museums had an entrance fee of about $10-$15 US, and food in restaurants was priced similarly to restaurants in the US.
Street food was less expensive, of course, and the only thing I could compare it to is our food truck craze in the US. While food trucks are a trend and most of them are just as expensive as eating in restaurants, the street food in Mexico City is a pittance, and the food is quite good!
And of course, if you want to do a little shopping, there are street vendors selling their crafts in many of the plazas!
I bought a few purses, candies and trinkets, with prices as low as $4 each!
There are so many things to do and see in Mexico City, and I can’t wait to go back and take Angeline with me. A tour of El Templo Mayor alone is worth the plane ticket!