Zocalo – What to Know Before Visiting

If you’re searching for the best spots to visit within Mexico City, the Zocalo is one of them. The Zocalo is a city square among the world’s largest. As a vast square, it’s one of the most prominent places in the city where significant historical events are held. Here, you can enjoy nearby attractions and views you want to take advantage of when you’re in the city.

For this reason, we made this article to guide you as you explore Zocalo. You can find all the essential information, such as location, activities, and attractions. We’ll also add some nearby establishments if you want to eat or stay nearby.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Zocalo - What to Know Before Visiting

About the Zocalo

The Zocalo, also known as El Plaza de la Constitucion, is a central plaza and a city square sitting amidst the historical center of Mexico City. This square was once called El Plaza Mayor and Plaza de Armas.

This square is quite old and has a rich history. Before the arrival of the Spanish, this was the heart of Tenochtitlan’s Aztec capital. To the northeast of the square, there was a sacred precinct, which contained the Templo Mayor. To the south, several roads intersected.

Invading Spanish forces kept this open space very much the same after taking over Mexico City. It was Alonso Garcia Bravo who placed the new central Plaza here. Over the ruins of the Aztec palace, a new church (later replaced by a cathedral) was built to the north of the Zócalo and a new palace to the east.

Many events have occurred in this square, including royal proclamations, military parades, Mexican Independence Day ceremonies, etc. Additionally, it has served as a site of protests, celebrations, and other events.

Despite being bare today, the square once held many statues and monuments. The Plaza was paved in 1789, and the Aztec Calendar was discovered while repaved. The Anthropology Museum now houses this calendar.

Operating Hours

Since Zocalo is an open square, it’s accessible 24 hours daily. However, nearby establishments like shops and restaurants typically close before midnight, and most open mid-morning.

Entrance Fee

Since it’s an open square, you don’t need to pay anything to explore and walk through it. However, if you’re visiting other nearby attractions, some of them may have an entrance fee.


The Zocalo is a city square sitting amidst the Historic Center of Mexico City. It’s impossible to miss since it’s a vast open space surrounded by other popular spots. 

How to Get to Zocalo

The Zocalo is quite difficult to overlook because it is the city’s center. Even if you deliberately avoided it, if you were wandering around the historic center, you would eventually run into it.

You may go there on the subway to begin your investigations there. However, it would be difficult to provide precise instructions in the city due to the sheer number of locations to stay. 

You only need to go to the Blue Line Metro Station at the Zócalo, and you can find it on Line 2.


If you’re bringing a car to Zocalo, you need help finding a parking space within the square. However, you’ll find multiple parking spots within a block or two of the area. Also, most parking lots are either paid or limited since you’re in the city center. As such, you have to prepare for that if you have a car.

Activities To Do at Zocalo

Regarding activities, you only have a little to do in the square other than sightseeing. Here are some of the things you might see at Zocalo are the following:

  • Watch some street performers
  • See some dancers within the square
  • Avail some native cleansing rituals
  • Witness parades or protests (from time to time)
  • Enjoy the Day of the Dead Parade (only in November)

The most interesting daily activity in the Zocalo is lowering the huge Mexican Flag. It involves a troop of presidential guards marching out of the palace, lowering the Flag, and performing a complex routine. 

After all the pomp and circumstance, one of the guards neatly folds the Flag. You can watch this ceremony at 6:00 in the evening. Or, you can watch the Flag rising by 6:00 in the morning.

Now, if you’re seeking nearby activities, you can always find numerous activities since other famous spots surround the Zocalo. So, we’ll tackle these attractions below.

Attractions at Zocalo

As mentioned earlier, this vast city square is surrounded by nearby attractions. As such, once you explore the entire square, you can head to the famous tourist spots across the streets. They are the following:

Museo del Templo Mayor

The Museo del Templo Mayor functioned as the administrative hub of the whole Aztec empire for centuries. However, this place was buried during the Spanish invasion, and the current Zocalo was constructed on top. The earliest excavations of the temple took place during the 19th century and lasted up to the eighties.

Nowadays, you may explore the temple’s ruins and view some of its oldest archeological artifacts.

More than seven thousand items and relics were found during the searches, many of which are currently on show in the local exhibition.

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Entrance Fee: 80 MXN (Around 5 USD)

If you’re curious about this spot, read our Museo del Templo Mayor guide article.

Palacio Nacional

The Palacio Nacional, 660 feet long, takes up the entire eastern side of the Zocalo plaza. The National Archives and Federal Treasury of Mexico are located in this majestic structure.

If you visit this spot, you will want to see the paintings on the interior walls, which depict four distinct periods of the country’s history. It starts from the Aztecs to the Mexican Revolution. Diego Rivera, one of the most well-known artists in the country, produced these intricate paintings.

Operating Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays; 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Entrance Fee: Free (you’ll have to leave an ID at the guards by the entrance)

Metropolitan Cathedral

The square’s northern side reveals the massive Metropolitan Cathedral.

Spanish conquerors commissioned this cathedral to be built from the rocks that had housed Aztec buildings.

The construction of this enormous church in the city lasted an incredible 240 years.

This cathedral is considered the most lavish of all the city’s cathedrals.

Here, you can find the largest pipe organs on the continent.

Further, this cathedral is among the ten biggest churches on the continent.

Operating Hours: Open Everyday; 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Entrance Fee: Free

If you’re curious about this spot, read our Metropolitan Cathedral guide article.

Nearby Restaurants

You can find several restaurants nearby if you want to grab a bite or have a meal while exploring Zocalo square.

Primer Cuadro

Address: Plaza de la Constitución 7, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Phone Number: +52 555 202 0639
Website: Primer Cuadro

Cocina Central 1812

Address: P.za de la Constitución 13-Piso 3, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Phone Number: +52 555 035 1829
Website: Cocina Central 1812

The Terrace

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: The Terrace

You can find street food vendors within the square if you want to grab snacks. But now, if you want to enjoy the best food experience in the city, joining a food tour will make your time worthwhile. To know more, read: Food Tour in Mexico City: A Journey Through Flavors.

Nearby Hotels

If you’re planning to stay near the Zocalo to watch the flag-raising ceremony early or to have nearby accommodation at night, you can find several hotels nearby.

Best Western Hotel Majestic

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: Best Western Hotel Majestic

Gran Hotel Ciudad de México

Address: 16 de Septiembre 82, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Phone Number: +52 551 083 7700
Website: Gran Hotel Ciudad de México


Address: Av Francisco I. Madero 74, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, 06000 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Phone Number: +52 555 510 8609
Website: MUMEDI


The Zocalo is a vast city square that sits amidst the center of Mexico City and the historical center. While it may seem like a simple vast bare space, it once held the city’s famous events, protests, and culture. As such, it’s a must-visit when you’re around. With this guide, we hope you enjoy the Zocalo and learn more about its history as you explore it.

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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