Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe

#2 in Best Things To Do in Mexico City
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Key Info

Plaza de las Américas 1, Villa de Guadalupe, Villa Gustavo A. Madero

Price & Hours

Free
Hours vary

Details

Free, Churches/Religious Sites Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe (Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe) is an important religious site in Mexico City. The first shrine built to honor the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe was erected in 1531 on Tepeyac hill, but the first basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary was not built until 1695. However, nearly 300 years' worth of construction and environmental damage threatened the integrity of the basilica, so a new basilica was built on the same plaza in the 1970s.

Today, the complex has many features including the basilica, the ancient church, a gift shop filled with religious items, a museum and a library. Visitors extolled the basilica, saying that it is a must-see whether you are Catholic or not. Though Mass is held frequently, reviewers noted that the layout of the buildings helps visitors avoid interrupting worship. In addition, past travelers said a variety of tours were available from Mexico City (some of which included Teotihuacan) and said it was a great way to have a fully-informed experience. The basilica is also often featured as a stop on hop-on, hop-off bus tours. 

The basilica is open every day, though the hours at each individual site within the complex vary. Admission to the museum is 10 pesos (about 50 cents), while the rest of the complex is free (though you may wish to make a cash donation). You can access the basilica from the La Villa-Basílica subway station on the red line (metro line 6) or via the Deportivo 18 de Marzo station on the olive green line (metro line 3). For more information, visit the basilica's website (in Spanish).

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#1 Museo Nacional de Antropología

Located within the famous Chapultepec Forest, the Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Museum of Anthropology) holds artifacts from Mexico's pre-Columbian era, dating from about 100 B.C. to A.D. 1521. The facility houses artifacts, including the famous Aztec Calendar Stone, known as Piedra del Sol, as well as the famed 16th-century statue of Xochipilli, the Aztec god of art, games, beauty, dance and maize (among others). The museum offers a look at how tradition, culture and life were formed in all regions of Mexico. 

The museum is so extensive that many travelers claim you can spend a whole day exploring the many collections and exhibits and recommend giving yourself plenty of time to explore. As one of the largest and most visited museums in Mexico, the grounds are also home to a gift shop, a cafeteria, a locker room and the National Library of Anthropology and History. 

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