A few miles west of the Historical Center, one finds a huge green area in the middle of this vast urban sprawl: Chapultepec Park. It is the cultural center of Mexico City, featuring a number of museums, the zoo, gardens, and a nice lake for peddle-boating. Oh, and it also has a castle!
Chapultepec Castle sits at the top of the hill, in the spot where the Aztec rulers built their palaces. It has, at times, been the seat of government in Mexico, a Presidential residence, and the palace of Emperor Maximilian during his brief reign (which ended in execution). Today, it is a museum, part palace and part Mexican history.
As far as palaces go, Chapultepec Castle is nothing special. It is even disappointing, though the gardens on the roof are lovely.
If you cross the street, you’ll find one of the top destinations in the entire city, the National Museum of Anthropolgy. This museum is huge, and it is spectacular! You will need to allow at least 3-4 hours, and that would entail moving at a rapid pace.
The artifacts stored here are incredible, and though unfortunately most descriptions are only in Spanish, one will still wander in awe staring. Each room is dedicated to a different culture, and each has a video as well.
The centerpiece of the Aztec collection – also the centerpiece of the museum – is the Stone of the Sun, discovered in 1790. Originally thought to be a calendar, this stone features the god of death, and the photo doesn’t capture that it is about 20 feet in diameter.