Metropolitan Cathedral – The Best Guide To Read Before Visiting

The Metropolitan Cathedral is the most significant among Mexico City’s historical buildings. Aside from its religious significance, this monument summarizes Mexican art and architecture over the last five centuries. 

As such, it’s a must-visit if you’re visiting Mexico City. Now, if you’re planning to check out the Metropolitan Cathedral, you’ll want to know some essential things about it.

For this reason, we made this article to guide you as you visit Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral. This information includes location, operating hours, activities, and attractions. We’ll also include other information like nearby hotels and restaurants if you want to eat or stay within the area.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Metropolitan Cathedral

About the Metropolitan Cathedral

The Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City is also known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven.

This cathedral is next to El Templo Mayor in Mexico City’s colonial past on top of the original Aztec complex. One fun fact you’ll find interesting is that the spot where the cathedral stands is where the former El Templo Mayor stands. 

When the Spaniards conquered the ancient Aztec city, they used the temple’s ruins to build the church. If you want to know more about this fact, you can head to the right side and see the archaeological site and the museum. 

To know more, read our guide article about the El Templo Mayor.

A cathedral surrounded Tenochtitlan’s old church from 1573 to 1813, which replaced the one built soon after the Spanish conquest. 

Almost all of the viceroyalty’s designers, artists, sculptors, gilding experts, and other plastic artisans contributed to the enclosure’s creation over its almost 250-year building period. 

With such a long building period, various architectural elements, including Neoclassical, Baroque, Gothic, and Churrigueresque, influenced the design. 

Further, this style lets the cathedral add many decorations, artwork, sculptures, and furnishings. 

Since it encompassed various socioeconomic groups, ages, church institutions, and churches, the initiative provided a focal point for unity within society.

Operating Hours

The Metropolitan Cathedral opens its doors for sightseers from 9:00 AM until 5:30 PM. These operating hours include a tour of the bell tower and the sacristy. In addition, however, you can enter the church for mass celebrations starting at 8:00 in the morning until the last mass at 7:00 in the evening. 

Entrance Fee

There is no entrance fee, and the building is worth a visit. The cathedral is the oldest and most prominent on the American continent. The church was built in 1573 under the Spanish architect Claudio de Arciniega.

Admission: There is no charge to enter the cathedral. A donation is requested to enter the choir or sacristy.


The Metropolitan Cathedral sits amidst the historical center of the city. As such, it’s easily accessible from the other famous spots within the area. It’s also easy to reach if you’re taking the city’s metro transportation system.

How to Get to Metropolitan Cathedral 

The Metropolitan Cathedral is located on the north side of the Mexico City Zócalo, at the exit of the Zócalo metro station on the blue line.


If you’re bringing a car to visit the temple, you’ll need help finding a parking spot. Parking spots are plentiful within a block or two of the area. 

Because you’re in the city center, most parking lots are either paid or limited. So with that in mind, you must be prepared if you have a car.

Activities To Do at Metropolitan Cathedral 

Since this tourist attraction is a church, the only activities here are exploring and sightseeing. But, of course, for religious people, it’s a place to pray and attend mass. So if you’re visiting on a Sunday, you can attend mass.

Mass Schedule

The Metropolitan Cathedral holds nine masses on Sundays, with the mass at noon as the principal celebrated by the Cardinal. The schedule is as follows:

  • 8:00 AM
  • 9:30 AM
  • 10:30 AM
  • 12:00 PM
  • 1:30 PM
  • 4:00 PM
  • 5:00 PM
  • 6:00 PM
  • 7:00 PM

You can also attend daily masses with the same schedule. However, for sightseers, you’ll essentially explore and marvel at the structure and design of the cathedral.

Since this place is a church, you need to know a few restrictions. For instance, you’re allowed to take photographs, but the use of flash isn’t allowed. Also, maintaining silence is a must while you’re inside, whether a mass or rites are going on.

Another activity you can do is explore the bell towers. However, you’ll have to purchase a ticket to climb up. You’ll find a stall inside the cathedral that offers these tickets. In this tower, you can enjoy a stunning view of the church from the inside and outside.

Attractions at Metropolitan Cathedral

As a church, you’ll usually find religious images and impressive architectural design as the main attractions inside and outside. Here are some of the attractions you don’t want to miss when visiting the cathedral: 

  • The Stunning Facade of the Cathedral
  • The Main Entrance
  • The Bell Tower on the Western Side
  • The Southern Facade facing the Zocalo City Square
  • The Main Altar
  • The Altar of Kings
  • The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of the Agonies of Granada
  • The Image of Our Lady of Solitude
  • The Bases and other treasures from the excavation are displayed in front
  • The Petrified Aztec skull from Tzompantli ruins added by the Spaniards
  • The Atrial Crosses with Aztec Skulls as Base
  • The Massive Spanish Pipe Organ
  • The Crypts
  • The Niches of the Departed Archbishops

These attractions might seem like a lot, but they are all packed tightly within the cathedral. As a result, exploring the place will only take an hour (or even less).

Nearby Restaurants

You’ll find some restaurants nearby if you want to grab a bite before or after exploring the Metropolitan Cathedral. Some of the nearest food spots are the following:

Balcón del Zócalo

Address: Av. 5 de Mayo 61, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Phone Number: +52 555 130 5134
Website: Balcón del Zócalo

La Terraza

Address: Av Francisco I. Madero 73, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Phone Number: +52 555 521 8600
Website: La Terraza

Tacos de Canasta Los Especiales

Address: Av Francisco I. Madero 71, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico

Now, if you want to enjoy the best food spots in the city and try the best authentic Mexican dishes, you’ll find it best to book a food tour. This way, the tour will take you to the best spots and try authentic food for around 2 to 5 hours. 

If you want to know your options, read Food Tour in Mexico City: A Journey Through Flavors.

Nearby Hotels

Most tourists find it convenient to stay near the Metropolitan Cathedral since it is located in the city center along with other tourist attractions. You might also be interested in these nearby hotels if you plan to do the same:

Zócalo Central Hotel

Address: Av. 5 de Mayo 61, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Phone Number: +52 555 130 5130
Website: Zócalo Central Hotel

Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral

Address: República de Guatemala 4, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06020 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Phone Number: +52 555 518 1726
Website: Hostel Mundo Joven Catedral

Círculo Mexicano

Address: Hotel Círculo Mexicano, República de Guatemala #20, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Phone Number: +52 559 689 0543
Website: Círculo Mexicano


Overall, the Metropolitan Cathedral is a must-visit in Mexico City because of what it offers. This church was built on the ruins of an Aztec temple located in the center of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, by the colonizing Spaniards. The building is a beautiful example of art and architecture, imposing its size and fascinating history.

With this article, we hope you know what to expect. It might sound like a typical church, but the grandeur of its structure and the rich story of its beginnings will always be the main attractions of this cathedral. 

If you want to know more places to visit in the city, read about the Things to See and Do in Mexico City.

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