Teotihua-can't Believe These Pyramids
One of the main things to do in Mexico City to learn more about the ancient cultures that lived there is to take a day trip out to the archaeological site at Teotihuacan. The Pyramid of the Sun, the largest monument at the complex, was built over 2,000 years ago as a sacred site, possibly honoring a specific deity. One of the most fascinating things I learned is that it is still a mystery who built the city, although over time it hosted cultures from the Mayans to the Aztecs. The pyramid is the third largest in the world, after the Quetzalcóatl Pyramid at Cholula de Rivadavia (southeast of Mexico City) and the Pyramid of Khufu in Giza, Egypt. There is evidence that the civilization peaked around A.D. 450 and the collapse was spurred by internal uprisings that overthrew the ruling classes. This decline was likely due to lengthy droughts and climate changes occurring around 535-536. A variety of artifacts have been found at the site, some of which are on display at the museum there and in museums around the world.
It was about an hour drive outside of the center of the city and then we took a few hours to walk around the area and hike up and down the pyramid. You should definitely slather on sunscreen before you go because there is nowhere to escape the sweltering sun and wear comfortable shoes to do a lot of walking and climbing. If you bring a hat like I and so many others did, consider bringing a string to attach to it around your neck or choose a hat that fits snugly on your head--the wind was so strong that people's hats were flying off left and right. So while it's smart to have a hat just be aware of the wind and factor that into your headwear decisions. I'd recommend wearing sunglasses not only for the sun but also to shield your eyes from the dust. You will definitely need lots of water. I brought a huge bottle and drank it all quickly, so by the time I hiked back down the pyramid I was parched. The stairs to the top of the pyramid are also very steep so if you have health problems that prevent you from climbing like that, you may want to take that into consideration, although you can certainly visit the site and not climb. You could also just take your time and stop at each platform along the way for a break and a view.
Teotihuacan is a really incredible site to see and easily one of the highlights of my trip. If you have time while you're in Mexico City it's well worth the visit.