RUINS - driving off Mexico City by Insurgentes Norte, you may visit Teotihuacan. Its majestic pyramids of the Sun and the Moon are as impressive as the Calzada de los Muertos (avenue of the dead). Recent excavations discovered mural paintings and some hidden chambers. The energy and magic around this place can be sensed year-long, not only in the festivals of equinox and solstice. However, if you don't want to leave the city, downtown you can visit the 'Templo Mayor', the ancient city on which mexico city was built upon the arrival of spaniards. Now uncovered, you can step into the museum and the diggings, take a guide and learn all about the ancient Tenochtitlan. Founded on a lake, you'll learn how canals had to be made as transport and communication ways, proceeding to fill the lake up only to build on it the rest of the city.
ZOCALO - Paying close attention to the buildings in the Zocalo and the sidewalk, you will notice the evident sinking each building undergoes because of its weight, especially the Cathedral. Spaniards built their own churches on top of aztec temples, to override their religion and impose christianity, so you can see the excavations of Templo Mayor (Aztec ruins) right next to the Cathedral and other Spanish buildings (colonial architecture), right next to modern day sites... three cultures, mixed together in one place... that's what mexico's all about: the natives, the spaniards, and the resulting mestizos of today.
ARCHITECTURE - Also downtown, walking around will open your eyes on why this was once called the City of Palaces. Heaps of buildings are incredibly lavish in style and decor (see the Edificio de Correos, Palacio de Mineria, Palacio Nacional...), ranging from the colonial times to the Porfiriato (the turn of the century, when the french influence was at its strongest). Bellas Artes is a perfect example of this. Its interiors are art deco, but what's impressive is its exteriors... this palace offers all kinds of cultural events. CULTURE - Its museum has hosted exhibitions from Rodin's sculptures to Van Gogh's paintings... the Opera season offers fans a wide selection of masterpieces, also the classical music concerts are of top quality. With a cafe and a small store, this is a good place to take a break if touring el Centro (downtown). Or not...
RESTAURANTS - there's a myriad of restaurants of all kinds, prices, and cuisines just walking distance... the infamous 'La Opera' Cantina offers traditional mexican cuisine, and still prouds itself on having a bullet-hole on the ceiling, fired by Pancho Villa, one of our Revolution icons. But restaurants are not all that exists in abundance downtown.
MUSEUMS - You'll find that most of the gorgeous buildings house museums. Franz Meyer Museum is right across from Bellas Artes, and is well worth a visit if you like art, so is the Museo de San Carlos, and the Palacio de Mineria. This all was just downtown. Coming to Mexico allows you to choose among a plethora of activities to do and places to visit... I recommend you check one of the major papers (Universal or Reforma will publish a weekend annex to help you decide on an event or restaurant, activity, museum, or cultural event), or buy a 'Tiempo Libre' magazine. It will detail the events going on in the specific time you're spending here, the temporary exhibits of the museums, the festivals that may be happening from music to movies to art to cuisine.... or visit one of the many webpages that help you choose what to do, for example, www.chilangolandia.com.