On the Buses: Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing in Mexico City, Mexico

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Mexico City has a lot of sights to see within its central area. During our short visit, the best way for us to taking the most sights in a short period of time was through the convenient Hop On Hop Off bus that toured its way around the center of Mexico City. We spent the day taking in Mexico City’s sights; learning about old world monuments amid a new world environment.


This post is one chapter on our trip to Mexico City, Mexico and Easter Island, Chile. This trip was enhanced through Alaska Mileage Plan and through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Activity: On the Buses, Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing, Mexico City, Mexico.


Wtih our first visit to Mexico City, our time was spent taking in some sights.

Keeping things easy and safe for us, departing The W Mexico City, we took the “Hop on Hop Off” bus which stopped almost immediately behind the hotel at the Auditorio Nacionale. It was a 5 minute walk from the hotel across a major street. It’s a major concert stadium. Interestingly enough, it had stars of all the concerts performed on the ground out front in gold plaques along with the year that they performed.

Once on the bus, we had a lengthy tour through the streets of Mexico City. I forgot to question the logic of a bus driving tour in one of the cities known for the worst traffic in the world. It took us about 1 hour and 1 minutes to get over to the Centro Historico on the other side of town which was only about 7 km away.

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Spotting Earthquake Damage:

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before we came across some earthquake damage that was caused by the major earthquake on Sept 19, 2017. The surrounding area was marked by search team and sniffer dogs; even some 3 weeks later.

We passed through the hipster district on our way over to the Centro Historico.

We eventually passed through the major shopping and commercial throughfare.

We passed by the Palacio Bello Artes. It looked as good from the bus as it did on the ground.

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Getting off at Centro Historico:

We got off at the Centro Historico, which is one of the main tourist centers of old Mexico. It was quite a “touristed” area with lots of gringos like myself taking in the area. There were shoe shine areas, street entertainers and various tour stands throughout the square.

Walking the Zolaco Ruins:

We took in some of the sights and went over to the Zolaco ruins. This was where the center of the Aztec Universe was supposed to be. There was a walkway that went over top the ruins and not being an archaeologist, we didn’t spend the peso’s for the admission fee. Most of the aerial view could be seen from the outside anyway.

We took a closer look at the church, which was the center focal point of the square. We were able to get a peek inside. It had more worshippers than tourists so we didn’t stick around too long. Like many other Latin American churches, the décor inside was quite plain and simple.

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Admiring the Palacio Nacionale:

We then took a walk around the Palacio Nacionale. There was a large tent benefit in the middle of the square so we were not able to go into the middle.

We then walked through downtown over to the Palacio Des Belles Artes. The walkways towards the Palacio Des Belles Artes was a nice but forgettable pedestrian area with a few streets here and there. There were the usual international brands for shopping, along with a few restaurants throughout.

There was some finds however… You just had to look closely for them.

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Viewing the Wonderful Palacio Des Belles Artes:

We arrived to the Palacio Des Belles Artes. It was a totally beautiful and impressive building. We were able to see some of the closer detail amongst the roof and the surrounding sides as the sun came out for a rare light. The building itself has designs on all sides of the structure, making it truly beautiful no matter which angle you happen to be standing.

Heading Back Towards Polanco:

After a few photos, we wandered back for a little snack at a wine restaurant and a slice of pizza, eventually making it back to the Hop On Hop Off bus stop and took the drive back towards Polcano.

It took about an hour to get back as it was rush hour. We passed by several monuments in the central part of town.

We arrived back to the Auditorio, where there must have been an event on. The place was packed and looked totally different than the morning.

My Thoughts on our Hop On Hop Off Experience in Mexico City:

In summary, it was a pretty nice day. Thanks to the traffic, we didn’t “hop on / hop off” all that much but it was an otherwise enjoyable day spent not worrying about appointments or places to be. For those attempting a day visit, make sure you set out early enough to get in all the stops.


If you’ve visited Mexico City, how did you arrange your sightseeing around the region ?

One Comment on “On the Buses: Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing in Mexico City, Mexico

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