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Mexico City has a long illustrious past that stretches all the way back to the time when the city was known as Tenochtitlan and was the center of the Aztec Empire. In the 18th century, Mexico City was called the City of Palaces, by Humboldt, a name which still fits today because of all the Aztec ruins, the great temple, buildings from colonial times and modern towering skyscrapers. All of these different aspects combine to make Mexico City one of the most unique places to visit or live in the world.
The capital of Mexico is an old city, the biggest city in the world and it's also the center of finance, politics and culture for the whole country. With its exciting nightlife and fascinating things to do and see, Mexico City is an energetic metropolis and an incredible place to visit for both business and leisure travelers.
Mexico City vacations can hold many pleasant surprises for those who choose to vacation here. Travelers to Mexico often overlook this city because most of the country's tourism is directed toward Mexican beach resorts.
Mexico City should be on your ''must visit'' list if you are a fan of world-class museums, archeological treasures, international cuisine, incredible shopping experiences, stately mansions, colonial neighborhoods, dazzling nightlife, inviting plazas and beautiful city parks. The National Museum of Anthropology is one of the world's greatest museums and could easily fill a short Mexico City vacation by itself.
Depending on where you stay, many attractions will be just a short distance away and those that are not so close can be reached fairly easily. A great way to get a feeling for the city is to enjoy drinks or dinner on the 45th floor of the World Trade Center. Bellini's is a revolving restaurant that offers stunning views of the whole of Mexico City. If possible, get settled in before sunset.
Monuments, parks, fountains and stunning tree lined avenues are everywhere you are likely to visit within the city. Skyscrapers tower beside splendid examples of colonial architecture, archeological sites share space with modern-day structures, and freeways lead to charming neighborhoods full of colonial buildings and peaceful plazas.
Paseo de la Reforma, the city's main thoroughfare, will give you an immediate idea of why Mexico City has been referred to as the ''Manhattan'' of Latin America. This elegant boulevard is lined with dozens of magnificent monuments including the much-photographed Independence Monument, which has become the unofficial trademark of Mexico City. Sharing the precious space along Paseo de la Reforma are modern high-rise office buildings, embassies, luxury hotels, colonial mansions, more monuments and shaded pedestrian promenades.
Zona Rosa is home to numerous crafts and antique stores selling unique, one off items. Here you will also find many sidewalk cafes and some of the city's more popular restaurants and clubs.
Polanco is an upscale residential and commercial district that is filled with elegant shops, boutiques and malls. This area is often compared to the ultra trendy Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles.
Mexico City, now the center of business, culture and government for the country, was once the center of the entire Aztec empire. The current Zocalo, or town square, is built on the same spot where Montezuma's palace once stood. Many of the old mansions and public buildings in the area were built hundreds of years ago using the stones from the Aztec temples that were destroyed by the Spaniards. The Zocalo is the second largest public plaza in the world, only Red Square in Moscow is bigger. Within just a few blocks of the Zocalo, are some of the city's finest examples of its history, architecture and art. The Metropolitan Cathedral is located here, the oldest and most important cathedral on the American Continent. More than 1500 buildings in this relatively small area of the city have been declared historic or artistic monuments. It is here that the country celebrates its independence with ''El Grito'' (where the president shouts the declaration of independence) on September 15th, each year.
Alameda Park, near the Zocalo and Palace of Fine Arts, was built in1541, making it the city's oldest park. The park was once an Aztec market and was also the site of burnings, hangings and executions in times gone by.
Restaurants and Nightlife
Dining in Mexico City can be one of the most memorable experiences of your trip. With over two thousand restaurants to choose from, Mexico City has something to please everyone. Branches of some of the world's most famous restaurants are represented here and there are also some local independent restaurants known for their quality the world over.
Nightlife in Mexico City is amazingly diverse. It starts late and covers just about every form of entertainment imaginable, ranging from small salsa clubs to crowded discos and live concerts featuring the world's most popular stars. Ballet, theatre, folkloric shows, opera and philharmonic orchestras are every bit as common as the all night disco and party scene and for sports fans soccer, boxing and wrestling matches are held most weekends. Stop by Garibaldi Plaza to watch the numerous Mariachi bands that often play into the wee hours of the morning.