Just about everyone knows Cabo and Cancún, but what about the unique places to visit in Mexico? There’s so much more to America’s southern neighbor than all the big resort towns and its urban capital.
To start off, we’re talking about all the unique things to do in Mexico City, the capital — which, many don’t realize, is actually the world’s fifth largest city. Of course, a quick guide like this can’t touch everything CDMX and Mexico have to offer — but we can give you a quick taste.
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First off, there are a ton of unique things to do in Mexico City
If you're interested in food in Mexico City, we've got a guide on a sensorial feast in Mexico City.
1. Isla de las Muñecas
The island is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of old, broken dolls hung from the island's many trees. Allegedly, the dolls were originally placed by Julian Santana Barrera, the caretaker of the island for over 50 years, to honor a young girl who drowned in the nearby canals. However, parts of the story have been hard to verify, so take them with a grain of salt.
Regardless, la Isla de las Muñecas is certainly a part of Mexico City’s art history and worth a visit. But don’t put it on your list of things to do in Mexico City at night, because the locals are adamant that the island is “charmed” (which sounds suspiciously like haunted to us!).
If you're interested in more local immersion, we've got a guide on local vegetarian food, art history and culture in Mexico City.
2. Museo del Juguete Antiguo
Don’t worry, the Museo del Juguete Antiguo, or “Ancient Toy Museum,” is much tamer than the Island of the Dolls. The museum collects toys from all over the world dating from the 1800s all the way up to the 1980s.
3. Santuario Nacional del Angel de la Santa Muerte
Visiting the National Sanctuary of the Angel of the Holy Death is an interesting way to immerse yourself in Mexico City’s subculture. The sanctuary is small and verges on ominous, but its dedication to the personification of death is vibrantly displayed.
Just remember to be respectful if you visit, as the sanctuary is an actual place of worship. Additionally, the area is considered to be slightly more dangerous, so exercise caution.
If you're interested in cultural immersion in Mexico City, we've got a guide on culture in CDMX.
4. The Diego Rivera Murals at Palacio Nacional
The National Palace is Mexico’s equivalent of the USA’s White House, but the real draw is its presentation of famous murals painted by artists like Diego Rivera. The Palace is also adjacent to the main square, where many of the best luxury hotels in Mexico City are located.
In fact, if you’re spending a long weekend in Mexico City, staying near the National Palace is ideal because of its close proximity to many of the city’s top museums, shopping districts and night scene.
Check out our guide on a long weekend in Mexico City.
5. Fuente de Tlaloc in Chapultepec Park
First, let’s say that Chapultepec Park is home to so many things to do in Mexico City for young adults and families. It’s also close to most of Mexico City’s best neighborhoods (like Polanco and Zona Rosa).
The Fuente de Tlaloc serves as a reminder that the Spanish were not the first to call the Mexico Valley home. The massive figure was created by Diego Rivera in honor of the city’s Mesoamerican heritage and attracts thousands of visitors per week.
6. Bahía de Loreto National Park
Among Mexico’s most unique places to visit is Bay of Loreto National Park, just off the eastern coast of Baja California Sur. Here you can see sea lions and a huge variety of oceanic species in their natural habitats through one of the park’s many tours.
There are also designated campgrounds, some with beach access, and loads of hiking trails — all within the park’s pristinely kept ecosystem.
If you're looking for a taste of relatively untouched nature, this is the place to visit (and don't forget, an expert Fora Advisor can help you personalize your trip, with plenty of unique ideas).
7. The walled city at Tulum
Though mostly in ruins, the ancient Mayan walled city of Tulum still feels imposing today. The fortification once served as a defensive outpost for the Mayan port city of Coba before the Empire’s rapid decline.
If you don’t go for the architecture, the view of the area’s surrounding (and to some degree, untouched) Caribbean beaches is breathtaking.
8. Las Pozas garden in Xilitla
Las Pozas, or “The Pools”, is an art exhibit near the small village of Xilitla. The Pools were created by British artist Edward James in the 1940s and are comprised of a series of surrealist sculptures hidden within the area’s jungle vistas.
Sidenote: if you’re looking for day trips from Mexico City, Xilitla is probably just out of reach at seven hours away (by car).
9. Santiago de Tequila: Los Guachimontones (aka the “Round Pyramids”) and the birthplace of Tequila
Santiago de Tequila is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico; it’s also famous for two reasons. First, it’s the site of Los Guachimontones (aka “the Round Pyramids”), which were built by the Teuchitlán over a thousand years ago. Second, the city is the birthplace of tequila (with tons of tequila-related tours).
The city is also labeled as one of Mexico’s magical towns, or Pueblos Mágicos, which highlight the country’s rich culture and history.
A quick chat with a Fora Advisor can help you find the most unique places in Mexico to explore.
If you're trying to avoid the more "touristy" destinations, a Fora Advisor can help you find the all the spots — all while locking exclusive perks and upgrades at the area's best hotels.