Mexico City, the oldest metropolis on the American continent, is perched atop a highland valley at about 2,240 meters (7,392 feet) above sea level. Towering high above the city's southeast side are two volcanoes: Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl. The nation's capital has some of the best weather in the world with an average temperature of 22º C (72º F).
Once known as the City of Palaces, Mexico City has two areas that were declared World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO. The first, the Centro Historico (Historic Center), has beautiful historic and religious buildings, such as the Catedral Metropolitano (Metropolitan Cathedral), one of the most important architectural structures in the Western Hemisphere. The Palacio Nacional (National Palace) has spectacular Diego Rivera murals that chronicle Mexico's history. And Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), which hosts the city's most important cultural events, is a beautiful construction that blends art nouveau and art deco styles. The other World Heritage Site, Xochimilco Ecological Park, is often called the Venice of Mexico due to its beautiful canals. Flower-painted boats offer tours of the canals and floating gardens.
If you're interested in cultural events, Mexico City offers a wide variety of museums, such as the Museo Nacional de Antropologia (a world-class anthropology museum), the Museo Nacional de Arte (The National Art Museum) and the Museo Nacional de Historia (a history museum in Chapultepec Castle where you can see an amazing exhibit that chronicles the nation's history and art, from the pre-Hispanic era to present day).
In north Mexico City, you can visit the Basilica de Guadalupe, one of the most visited basilicas in the world; in fact, it is second only to Saint Peter's Basilica, in Vatican City, in the number of visitors it receives each year. This is a must-see for those who want to learn more about the city's customs and traditions.
Even more, Mexico City is a cosmopolitan metropolis, where new and old traditions coexist side by side. Here you can go shopping at bazaars and crafts markets in the Coyoacan and San Angel neighborhoods. Or you can go to exclusive boutiques and shopping centers in the posh communities of Santa Fe and Polanco, where you'll be surrounded by the comfort of top-notch hotels and restaurants.
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