Despite its Hollywood image, Mexico City is a surprisingly family friendly holiday destination.
If you believe Mexico City to be an unliveable, dangerous concrete metropolis where drug lords lurk on every corner ready to take out a tourist, it’s the last place you’ll want to take an overseas holiday with your children. But the joke would be on you, because Mexico’s massive capital is full of opportunities for little ones to play and learn while you spend some quality adventure time together.
Mexico City is no more dangerous than any other big city, and has a very kid-friendly public culture – of the city’s 22 million inhabitants, roughly half are children.
Here’s some of the best kid activities going, according to a motley group of chilangos (Mexico City natives), tourists, and expats with small people in their families.
Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City’s central inland forest of around 17,000 acres, has tons of family-friendly activities, including Parque la hormiga, an adventure playground for little ones, and a lake where you can hire paddle boats.
Av Constituyentes, San Miguel Chapultepec, CDMX
Museo del Juguete Antiguo México, in the centric neighbourhood of Doctores, is an open-air museum packed with displays of early 20th century toys that is guaranteed to please and intrigue adult and child toy-lovers alike.
Dr Olvera 15, Doctores, CDMX
Just a few streets over from the Museo is Roma, a trendy part of town that has many parks and playgrounds and lots of English speakers. Huerto Romita is dedicated to urban agriculture and includes many special workshops for kids. Participants learn how to grow their own food, including healing plants and edible flowers, even in one of the world’s densest cities.
Free entry, Callejón Durango, at the corner of Plaza Romita, colonia Roma Norte, CDMX
Biblioteca Vasconcelos is a beautifully designed library close to the city’s iconic Monument to the Revolution. It has regular free children’s activities in the Espacio Infantil which spans two levels and is divided into spaces for kids aged 0–3, 3–7 and 8–12. Ideal for primary schoolers learning Spanish!
Free, Mosqueta, Eje 1 Nte. S/N, Buenavista, CDMX
For a taste of Mexico’s northern neighbour, head to the Benjamin Franklin Library at the US consulate. They have regular free activities for kids including storytime and crafternoons.
Papalote Museo del Niño (Museum of the Child) is located in the Bosque Chapultepec and is much-loved by kids and parents. It is focussed on learning and communication through fun and innovative games, including 288 exhibitions and walls and ceilings that were designed by Mexico City children.
Av Constituyentes 268, Daniel Garza, CDMX
The Museo de Memoria y Tolerancia (Museum of Memory and Tolerance), located in the historic centre of the city, has permanent and temporary exhibitions concerned with remembering historic catastrophes and promoting human rights and civil society all over the world. The children’s area, Isla MYT Sésamo, is a collaboration between the Museum and Sesame Street where kids learn about tolerance, compassion, and values with beloved puppets from Plaza Sésamo, Latin America’s Sesame Street.
Plaza Juárez, Centro Histórico, CDMX
El Nido (The Nest) is the third largest aviary in the world. It’s in Ixtapaluca in the State of Mexico, just outside Mexico City, and has more than 320 species of birds including toucans, eagles, and quetzals, the colourful native bird worshipped by the Aztecs.
Av Acozac, Ixtapaluca, Estado de Mexico
In the fancy southern neighbourhood of Polanco north of the Bosque de Chapultepec, Plaza Carso is considered one of Latin America’s largest mixed-used developments and is home to museums, shopping malls and Inspark, a virtual reality park. Inspark is a digital immersion experience that includes VR cabins, videogames, a 4D flying experience, simulators, and a music and colour show.
Plaza Carso 1er. Nivel, Lago Zurich Esq. Cervantes Saavedra, Polanco, Miguel Hidalgo, CDMX
Museo de Memoria y Tolerancia, Mexico City (Photo: Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock)