What are the best things to do in Iztapalapa of Mexico City?
While Iztapalapa is not typically thought of as a place full of tourism activities, there definitely are some things you can enjoy in this part of Mexico City.
After spending some few odd months here, this is what I've come to enjoy the most.
Cerro de la Estrella
This is easily one of the best things to see in Iztapalapa.
It's a mountain in the middle of Iztapalapa that you can climb up to get a great view of Mexico City.
Though, depending on the time of day and your luck, there might be a bit of air pollution limiting the quality of your view from the top.
The hike itself is free to do and you can do it on any day of the week.
Though, if you wish to get to the very top, you can only do it from Tuesday to Sunday and the time allowed is from 9 AM to 5 PM.
On the top, you'll see some little pyramid space and even more views of the city.
Overall, the hike itself is not very exciting if you are into hiking mountains because most of it is a concrete road.
Not very nature like.
Though there is a dirt trail you can use to climb up most of it.
Personally, I have been able to get to the top in around 20 to 30 minutes while using the dirt road path.
Finally, there is a museum at the bottom of the hike known as Fuego Nuevo.
It is also open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 5 PM.
It has a bunch of pre-Hispanic artifacts you can see and it was free for me to enter.
It's also, in my opinion, the best museum of Iztapalapa.
Not that it is super exciting but it's cool enough and beats any other museum in the area.
Ex-Convento de Culhuacan
This is an old Augustinian convent founded in 1607.
Found in Pueblo Culhuacan.
Has great importance as a religious center because the gods of water and fertility were worshiped there.
It is opened from Tuesday to Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM.
And worth checking out.
I really liked it.
If I lived in Pueblo Culhuacan, I'd enjoy being near this place because it also has a nice pond that you can sit down by to enjoy.
Speaking of Pueblo Culhuacan, this is a neighborhood of Iztapalapa that has a lot of history and also is one of Mexico City's "barrios magicos" as you can read here.
The neighborhood itself is OK.
A large part of it has a rougher feel to it but nothing unusual for Iztapalapa.
I imagine the Mexico City government wants to turn it into a tourism center after it was called a "barrio magico."
I doubt they'll be successful at that for at least 20 years because I don't see the average gringo wanting to walk the streets of the area beyond Av. Tlahuac.
Still, I liked the area.
The people seemed nice.
And it has plenty of cool history and is one of the more interesting areas of Iztapalapa in terms of history.
The ex-convento discussed already is the main historical site.
Though you do have a few churches of importance.
The main one that I came across was the Parroquia del Señor de Calvario.
You also have a mercado in the area that isn't overly interesting but I guess you can check that out also.
Otherwise, the main things of interest to you are going to be seeing any random church here and there and also the murals on the street.
You'll see a lot more on either Calle Morelos especially.
Av. Canal Nacional & Puente del Toro
Next, we have a spot that crosses by Pueblo Culhuacan but it extends from Xochimilco and goes a bit far up north.
It's basically a walking path that you can go down.
If you look at Google Maps, you'll see this thin blue line that is supposed to be a river that goes along this "Av. Canal Nacional."
If you go to the Puente del Toro, you can start from there if you like to enjoy this nice walk through the area.
This walk is what separates Iztapalapa from Coyoacan.
It can last you maybe two hours at most if you do the whole walk.
It does get repetitive though after a while so you don't need to walk the whole hour and a half to 2 hours doing it.
But it does make for a nice walk.
The only complaint I have is that the river itself is basically dried up or ugly looking in some parts.
Basamento Construcciones Antiguas
Here, you have some pre-Hispanic volcanic rocks located on Cuitlahuac street.
They don't have an exact number to them on the street address and you'll just need to use Google maps to help your taxi driver to take you to them.
You won't see a single soul enjoying this site either.
There is no time limit to when you can see them either.
Any day at any hour.
No entrance fee.
In fact, there is no entrance.
Once you get there, you'll see a fence where part of it is open to the side that you can walk through to see this spot.
Most locals won't know about it and will think you are trying to visit the archeological spot in Cerro de la Estrella.
But it does exist!
The only other thing to add is that you also have some other archeological site of pre-Hispanic rocks with the address being Mision 2.
They are both in neighborhood El Santuario of Iztapalapa.
I was not able to find that spot unfortunately and can't confirm if it exists.
Either way, if you are into pre-Hispanic stuff, then check it out.
Just remember that your taxi driver is not going to know where either spot is located, that either spot even exists, that you must be confused wanting to visit Cerro de la Estrella and you'll have to guide him properly.
Museo de las Culturas Pasion Por Iztapalapa
Here we have one of Iztapalapa's other most important museums.
It is open from 10 AM to 6 PM on Tuesday to Sunday.
This museum is free to enter.
It's not very exciting though.
It has some information on the history of Iztapalapa and consists mostly of photos of the area going back decades.
You'll go all the way to the top of the museum where you can enjoy a sight of Iztapalapa from the top (which is my favorite part about the museum).
That's all really.
Plaza Hombres Ilustres Iztapalapa
This is another museum that your taxi driver is not likely to know where it is.
It's located near Metro Constitucion 1917.
It's basically an open air museum that has a few Pre-Hispanic artifacts laid out with some open space to sit down behind it.
Located between two very busy roads where you'll have to be careful not to get hit by a car if you attempt running across the road to get to this spot.
Not at all that exciting or interesting but you can visit it.
Monumento Cabeza de Juarez
This is a giant head statue dedicated to the Mexican President Juarez.
Supposedly it is a museum too.
Kinda cool to check out, I guess.
The space is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM.
This is arguably one of the nicer parks of Iztapalapa.
It's not that nice but it's OK.
Clean. Makes for a decent walk.
It also has a little zoo that you can check out for free.
Museo Comunitario de San Miguel Teotongo
Next, we have a museum with pre-Hispanic artifacts and a few cool murals.
I'd argue this is one of the more interesting museums in Iztapalapa due to the artifacts and the skeleton dude that they have of some guy who died long ago in the area.
The people who run the museum were very nice too.
Even gave me a fist bump.
No other museum gave me a fist bump.
Anyway, I couldn't find out online when they open and close but they do have a Facebook and I think they close at 5 PM.
Monumento al General Ignacio Zaragoza & Capilla La Ermita Cívica de Benito Messeguer
These are two spots located right next to each other.
You have to exit Metro Santa Marta or Metro Acatitla.
One is a monument to some historical person in Mexican history and the other is supposedly a museum but really is just some space with some cool painting work done inside.
Not really that interesting.
But if you got the time and want to see so much in Iztapalapa, then I guess you can add it to your list of things to do.
Central de Abasto
As you can read here, this is the most important market for Mexico City and the biggest of its kind in the world.
The market itself is just kinda cool to walk around and see.
It doesn't have anything specific to check out other than to check out one of Latin America's biggest markets and a place of great commercial importance for Mexico City.
This is one of the best things about Iztapalapa.
You have murals everywhere.
The reason why they have so many murals is because Iztapalapa has a dangerous reputation and so, as is the case in other Latin American cities, they chose to make the area look nicer with some murals.
Otherwise, it'd just be third world building after third world looking building.
While the buildings can still look a bit rough to the eyes, they at least come now with nice murals.
You can see plenty just walking down the street.
Or you can go in the air.
There is a cablebus in Iztapalapa that runs from Metro Constitucion 1917 to Santa Marta.
It takes you to some far away areas that are harder to visit in Iztapalapa.
If you use the cablebus, you can also visit more easily that museum in San Miguel Teotongo by getting off on the cablebus station that goes by the same name.
And, for that monument and capilla, you can get off the station in Santa Marta obviously as it is the last one.
Outside of using the cablebus to get to those areas, the other benefits of the cablebus are the following:
First, it gives you the best views of Iztapalapa outside of what you might get in Cerro de la Estrella.
Though I would argue they are better than that even.
Second, if you like murals, then this is like mural heaven.
There are so many more murals painted on the rooftops of buildings in Iztapalapa.
It was honestly the best thing I enjoyed the most in Iztapalapa.
The cost of a ride from one station to the end is 7 pesos but you'll need to bring one of those metro cards as they don't sell individual tickets.
If you forget to bring your metro card, you can also ask random people if they'd take 7 pesos from you to help you access the cablebus.
Feria de Enchiladas
If you want to enjoy the festival that has the world record for having the biggest enchilada ever made, then check out the Feria de Enchilada.
Held around September but the dates might vary each year.
But I believe it's usually held sometime in September.
Usually located by the Macroplaza of Iztapalapa.
Entrance is free.
Once you get there, you'll see a bunch of restaurants offering different styles of enchiladas.
With some random band playing live in front of the whole group.
Enchiladas in 2022 usually costed around 80 to 110 pesos more or less from what I saw.
And it's something you see in broader Mexico City: these events held every year to celebrate certain food items typical of Mexican cuisine.
In Iztapalapa, they have the feria de enchiladas.
Next up, we have the macroplaza.
It's the center of Iztapalapa.
There is a small little park next to it.
The main importance of the Macroplaza is that it is used for holding important events for the area.
Something to keep in mind.
Similar to the Feria de Enchiladas, there are other annual events held that you can enjoy.
Just depends on if you are here or not for when they happen.
One to keep an eye out for is the Grito de Independencia.
In Mexico City, they have concerts held around the city on the night of September 15th and Iztapalapa has their own.
Also, sometimes specific neighborhoods of Mexico City might have their own little celebrations for Grito de Independencia.
Including those in Iztapalapa.
Beyond the Grito anyway, you have other annual events that you can keep an eye out for in Iztapalapa.
Like in other parts of Mexico City, you have these street markets held every so often.
I've been to them but I don't remember which specific streets you will find them on in Iztapalapa.
There was one I saw in Pueblo Culhuacan where, if you go down Calle Morelos, there was some side street I saw that had one.
They are not available every day of the week so you'll just have to keep an eye out.
This volcano is located right on the border between Iztapalapa and Tlahuac.
But technically is in Iztapalapa.
Can be seen very close behind a Walmart.
I'm not sure if you can actually climb the volcano.
But it does make for a decent view and is worth looking at.
Final Thoughts: Best Things to See in Iztapalapa
Got anything to add?
Those were the main things I saw while in Iztapalapa.
There's probably a few other spots to see here and there.
Including some little parks here and there.
Perhaps some important churches somewhere in the area.
You can always go church hunting like I did in other parts of Mexico City like I wrote about here.
Otherwise, that's all I got.
If you got anything to add, drop a comment below.
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Thanks for reading.