Mexico City

Travel Guide North America Mexico Mexico City



Mexico City also called DF or just Mexico, is the capital of Mexico and is a huge metropolitan area with around 20 million people living within its boundaries, being one of the largest urban agglomerations in the world. Unfortunately, because of the fact that it is totally surrounded by mountains, it is one of the most polluted ones as well. It is located in the central mountainous parts of the country at a height of over 2,200 metres and this area is prone to some serious earthquakes, most recently in 2006. People have been living here since the early 14th century, when the Aztecs settled on an island in a lake that no longer exists. This has had the added benefit of making the city sink, similar to Venice.

That being said, Mexico City is an amazing place to visit and stay. It is truly the heart and centre of Mexico and a trip to Mexico is not complete without a few days here. The city is home to amazing museums, parks, music, art, bars, restaurants, old buildings and Lucha Libre (Mexican Wrestling). Today, many travellers start their trips here to the country. Although a bit overwhelming at first, Mexico City can seem very small even after a few days.




Mexico city is truly massive! This one of the largest cities in the world and after looking at a map it is easy to see why. Luckily most of the areas tourists are interested in are located in a few neighbourhoods that are easy to reach by the convenient metro system. Some neighbourhoods are littered with famous sites while some are just worth going to for a quick stop. Here is a list of the most popular neighbourhoods with tourists in Mexico City:

  • Historico Centro - Where it all began. Historic city center that is focused around the Zócalo or Plaza de la Constitución and extends in all directions for a number of blocks with its furthest extent being west to the Alameda Central. Many historic colonial landmarks, and the famous Aztec Templo Mayor, can be found here. The Zocalo is the largest square in Latin America and the third largest in the world after Moscow’s Red Square and Beijing's Tiananmen Square. There are a few other neighbourhoods comprised in the Centro area such as Colonia San Rafael and Santa Maria La Ribera.
  • Zona Rosa may sound a little dodgy, but it is in fact one of the trendiest nightlife district and the gathering place of Mexico City's in-crowd. This lively district offers plenty of entertainment with its many shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs and is totally different from the historic centre.
  • Condesa is a centre of hip restaurants, high fashion and the more trendy Mexico City night life.
  • Roma is the home to the current art scene in Mexico City and has several galleries. There is also a bohemian flare to the area.
  • Bosque de Chapultepec is home to the massive Chapultepec Park which is home to several of Mexico's most famous museums.
  • Polanco - A wealthy residential area in Mission (colonial) style containing some of the most expensive designer boutique stores in the city. Filled with embassies, upscale restaurants, night clubs and hotels.
  • Xochimilco - Also known as the Mexican Venice for its extended series of Aztec irrigation canals - all that remains of the ancient Xochimilco lake. Xochimilco has kept its ancient traditions, such as the yearly feasts of its many villages, even though its proximity to Mexico City has caused the area to urbanize.
  • San Angel - Trendy, gentrified area lined with cobblestone streets, upscale boutiques and many restaurants. It is a wealthy residential area as well, and known for its arts market.
  • Ciudad Universitaria is the location of the main university of Mexico. Although this neighborhood is a bit far away from most of the action (the far southern end of Line 3 on the Metro) there are several interesting sights here and even walking around the campus of the university is filled with some pleasant architectural surprises. Try to come here on a weekend to avoid the crowds of students. However, be aware that the national soccer team may be playing at the nearby stadium on certain weekends and that can be a busy time to visit this area as well.
  • Coyoacan - A colonial town swallowed by the urban sprawl, it is now a center for counter-culture, art, students, and intellectuals. Many good museums can be found here also.
  • Tlalpan.
  • Santa Fe - A modern, recently redeveloped business district at the cities western tip that consists mainly of high rise buildings, surrounding a large shopping mall.
  • La Villa de Guadalupe - Located in the borough of Gustavo A. Madero in the northern part of the city. Home to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, perhaps the holiest Catholic site in the Americas. Draws a large crowd of pilgrims from around the world every day.



Sights and Activities



© Lavafalls

Historico Centro

The Historico Centro is also known as the Zocalo Area and is the original colonial city built on top of the destroyed Aztec Capital. This area of the city is home to many of the best buildings and shops. At night time it can get a bit shady. It is also the best place in Mexico City to see the effects of its sinking nature with many of the older buildings sagging deep into the ground.

  • Zocalo is one of the world's largest public squares and one of the largest public squares (240 x 240 metres). Although the official name is Plaza de la Constitución (Constitution Square), the square is most well-known under the name Zócalo. This name comes from the base that was once built here, and which should support a monument, however the monument was never built, and the base was removed as well at one point, but the name remained. It is home to a massive Mexican flag right in the middle of the square. Every morning and evening there is a ceremony to raise or lower the flag. Bordering the square you will find several monuments, including the Cathedral to the north, the National Palace to the east, the Federal District buildings to the south, the Old Portal de Mercaderes to the west, the Nacional Monte de Piedad building at the north-west corner.
  • The Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City (Catedral Y Sagrario Metropolitano) is the main cathedral of Mexico City, thus making it one of the most important cathedrals in all of Mexico. Remember to look through the glass flooring outside of the Cathedral to see the ancient Aztec city, even with a human skull still remaining there.
  • National Palace (Palacio Nacional) is the center of the government and is also home to some of the most impressive Deigo Rivera Murals. Note: - There are very heavy security security measures in place for visitors. Foreigners will need to show their passports prior to going through a physical screening process. Bags will be searched as well.
  • Museo del Templo Mayor is thought to be on the exact spot where the ancient Aztecs received the vision they were waiting for - that of an eagle clutching a snake while on top of a cactus, thus making this symbolic spot the very center of their universe. Even today, the eagle with the snake atop the cactus remains THE symbol of Mexico. That sacred spot where the Aztecs witnessed this resides mere yards from the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Palace - one cannot get more central to the the old Aztec world and the modern Mexican world than this. As for the museum, it presents a fascinating collection of artifacts unearthed from several layers below the modern Zócalo of Mexico City. The existence of the museum - and the discovery of the temple - can be credited to utility workers who discovered the base of a large pyramid and a massive 8 ton carved stone disk in 1978. That discovery led to the razing of several colonial buildings in order to investigate matters below ground more thoroughly. Today, visitors to the museum can see that famous giant stone disk and many other examples of the sheer complexity and sophistication of the Aztec civilization. The exhibits within the museum extend to the exterior and a walkway meanders through the many layers of the temple that were built over time. It is hard to grasp what exactly the pyramid looked like or to get a sense of the significance of each added layer but one soon does come away from the experience knowing this was no scrappy little haphazard center in the middle of Mexico - this was indeed the center of an extremely advanced civilization.
  • Palacio de la Inquisición - This former headquarters for the Holy Inquisition is a grand old building now housing Mexico City's medical museum. On display are graphic photos, dioramas, videos and historical drawings of all the things that can go wrong with the human body due to disease and genetics. Many actual samples of maladies and mishaps remain preserved in glass jars. The entrance of the museum contains an entire plasticated body opened up for examination of the internal organs.
  • Alameda Square - The place has strong historic significance - it was once the market place of the Aztecs. In later times the Spaniards would carry out their executions here. Today, this giant square is a refuge for city folk and tourists alike. Mature poplar trees are planted along pathways that lead to hubs dotted with statues and fountains. From these hubs more paths radiate out, leading to other hubs. On Sundays, families stroll the footpaths as vendors and buskers make their rounds.
  • Plaza Garibaldi - This is the meeting place for mariachis, the famous sombrero-topped serenade-singing musicians. Definitely take a look - for a small fee they'll give you a personal serenade. Several bars and restaurants line Plaza Garibaldi and the mariachi action continues inside these establishments as well. There is also a concentration of less formal row of restaurants just off the square all housed in a common hall selling steaming bowls of birria soup and other assorted meals and antojitos. This collection of restaurants must be one of the most brightly colored places in all of Mexico City. Recently, a new museum opened on Plaza Garibaldi: The Museum of Tequila and Mezcal. Mariachi, Tequila, Mezcal and birria all hail from Guadalajara and all those things are celebrated here, in the middle of Mexico City.
  • Palacio de Bellas Artes - Located next to Alameda Square, this neoclassical and art nouveau building is an iconic symbol of Mexico City. Hundreds of people mill about on the plaza in front of this massive building to admire it and snap photos throughout the day. Inside, there are 4 levels to explore with each offering a sumptuous feast for the eyes. The interior of the lobby alone is enough for most people to take in, but individual masterpieces await. The 2nd floor has two works by Rufino Tamayo; one celebrating the Mexico of today and the other symbolizing the birth of the mestizo people. The 3rd floor is home to very famous works by Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. The 4th floor houses a museum, the Museo Nacional de Arquitectura. Famous artwork and museums aside, Palacio de Bellas Artes also contains several venues for classical concerts, plays and changing art exhibitions.
  • Palacio Postal - Located across the street from Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City's main post office cannot be missed. The interior is quite opulent, featuring imported Italian brass fixtures and individual bronze flourishes on every surface. The square, stained glass ceiling in the lobby behind the postal counter bathes the entire place in a very crisp light.
  • Torre Latinoamericana is Mexico City's tallest building and remains the best place around for the very best views. Take an elevator to the 41st floor where there is an interior viewing area complete with an informal restaurant selling snacks and sandwiches. Or you can go up several more levels to the outdoor viewing area. Either way, you may or may not be able to see for miles depending on the levels of pollution in the air on the day of your visit. Be sure to check out the museum below the viewing decks, featuring plenty of information on how this skyscraper was built to withstand major earthquakes.
  • Tianguis Cultural del Chopo - Every Saturday this street behind the modern Vasconcelos Library is turned over to Mexico City's heavy metal and punk community. Stalls set up selling all sorts of merchandise celebrating angst and doom-ridden music including t shirts, Doc boots, Cds, leather jackets, vintage vinyl, glass pipes, decals, comic books and jewelry. You will even find stalls set up where you can get piercings, dreadlocks and tattoos. The highlight of the entire scene is the makeshift stage where young bands from all over Mexico come to play it loud. The setting of the stage, right next to a massive electricity transformer, couldn't be more fitting to the whole experience. This is a good time for everyone and the entire atmosphere is jovial. Take the Metro to Buenavista Station.
  • Biblioteca Vasconcelos - This modern library has to simply be seen to be believed. The interior of the library may indeed make you dizzy as you stand in the central lobby and look up. What you will see are several floors of bookshelves that thrust out at all angles and seem to hover precariously over edges. Your sense of perception will be challenged as you get lost for a bit - in a spacial sense. Hanging in the very center of the vast lobby is a giant whale skeleton that oddly fits in well with the whole theme. Take the Metro to Buenavista Station.
  • Arena Coliseo Is one of two venues in Mexico City to watch masked luchadores tumble around the ring. Luche Libre wrestling involves much more pizzazz than in the U.S.A. and these wrestlers flip and fly through the air every Sunday (except the 3rd Sunday of the month) just several blocks north of the Zócalo on Republica de Peru. Matches start at either 5:00 PM or 7:30 PM; get here a bit earlier to purchase your tickets at the box office and enjoy the spectacle of vendors selling masks and posters, along with fans dressed as their favorite heroes or villains.
  • Museo del Estanquillo contains a vast assortment of pop art from local eccentric Carlos Monsivais. Also sprinkled throughout this recently dedicated museum is a collection of folk art bits, but the main focus here is old movie posters, comic strips, photographs, kitschy paintings and assorted bric-a-brac amassed from Carlos Mossivais' private collection. This museum is spread out over several floors in a wonderful old colonial building on the corner of Isabela Católica and Madero. Admission is free.
  • Museum of Tortue. All manner of torture devices from around the world and from over the years are on display here. Make sure you check out the aptly named skull splitter. You will recognize some of the torture devices but will indeed be shocked by the types you've never seen or heard of and you'll definitely wonder about the diabolical nature of humankind. Having said all that, this is a still a fun place to visit.
  • Templo de San Francisco. This is all that remains of a vast 16th century Franciscan monastery built over the top of Montezuma's private zoo. Templo de San Francisco stretched for 2 full blocks at it it's peak but was divided up due to post-independence reform laws. In 1949 the remaining structure was returned to the Franciscan order and refurbished.
  • Plaza Santo Domingo. To this very day scribes still gather here as they did for centuries preparing paperwork for merchants. Today, the customs house that those merchants used is gone but the service of preparing letters and forms is still in demand from people who cannot read or write. Underneath the arches of the buildings flanking the plaza are descendants of the original scribes who today use typewriters to carry out their trade.
  • The Franz Mayer Museum opened in 1986 to house, display and maintain Latin America’s largest collection of decorative arts. The collection was amassed by stockbroker and financial professional Franz Mayer, who collected fine artworks, books, furniture, ceramics, textiles and many other types of decorative items over fifty years of his life. A large portion comes from Europe and Asia but most comes from Mexico itself with items dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Many pieces in the collection are fine handcrafts, such as textiles and Talavera pottery, and they are important because they are items that often did not survive because most did not consider them worth preserving.
  • Interactive Museum of Economics (MIDE, Museo Interactivo de Economía) or simply MIDE, is the first museum in the world dedicated exclusively to economics. The museum was opened in 2006 and is located on Tacuba Street in the historic center of Mexico City. The museum is open to the public and features hands-on exhibits meant to make the basic concepts of economics fun and engaging. The museum is housed in the old Bethlehemite convent and hospital. Before the Bank of Mexico acquired the building in 1990, it was in ruins and filled with debris. It took fifteen years to restore the building to what it probably looked like in the 19th century.

Chapultepec Park

Los Ninos Heroes

Los Ninos Heroes

© Lavafalls

  • National Anthropological Museum - The National Anthropological Museum (Museo Nacional de Antropologia) is a world-class museum situated around an amazing central courtyard. The museum was opened in 1910, the museum moved two times, before settling at the present day building at the Avenida Paseo de la Reforma in 1964. It has amazing collection featuring the ancient and present day cultures of Mexico, which is divided in the Archeology section and the Ethnography section. The Museum’s center piece is the sculpture of Tláloc, the Aztec god of water, which is placed over a fountain located next to Avenida Paseo de la Reforma. Off the Pink line (Line 1) at its own stop this is one of the most amazing parks in the country. The park itself is a great place to wander around when the weather is good. It is also home to many historic places and several world class museums.
  • Castillo de Chapultepec - This castle atop Chapultepec hill remains a potent symbol of the power and wealth of the ruling class. Construction began in 1785 and was not completed until after the country gained independence. Mexico's presidents continued to live here up until 1939.
  • Monument to Los Ninos Heroes (Monumento A Los Ninos Heroes) - Every city in Mexico has a street named after these six renowned martyrs. This massive six pillar monument stands at the main entrance to the park and is the spot were the six boys died. As the American Military approached Mexico City at the end of the Mexican-American War, the General at the Military Academy, at that time located in Chapultepec Castle, told all the cadets to flee. Six boys decided to stay and stand up to the approaching onslaught. The boys took rifles and one wrapped himself in a Mexican Flag and they were killed by the Americans.
  • Zoológico de Chapultepec is free to visit. This is the the first place outside China were pandas were born in captivity and this world-class zoo does a good job providing large, clean habitats for the animals. There is even a display featuring the xoloitzcuintle, which is strange breed of hairless dog from the pre-Hispanic times.
  • Museum of Modern Art (Museo De Arte Moderno) is a nice small museum featuring Mexican and Latin American artists and has a wonderful sculpture garden. It also houses several world famous Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo paintings. Many of the galleries feature visiting exhibitions that are hit or miss. Closed on Mondays and Free on Sundays, Entrance 30 pesos.
  • Museum of Rufino Tamayo (Museo Rufino Tamayo) was orignally built to house and protect the works of the renowned artist Rufino Tamyo. Although today it has been expanded to include modern art from all over the world. Closed on Mondays, free on Sundays.
  • Museum of National History (Museo Nacional De Historia) is located in Chapultepec Castle, which used to be the Mexican military academy. This museum chronicles the history of Mexico from the rise of the colonial period right up to the revolution. Several relics from the revolution are on display including the sword of José María Morelos and the Virgin of Guadalupe banner of Miguel Hidalgo from his famous freedom march. There are also murals depicting Mexico's long struggle with the crown of Spain. One end of the museum is devoted to Emperor Maximilian's residence, with plenty of tapestries, stained glass, fancy furniture and a balcony with commanding views of Mexico City.
  • Museum of Technology (Museo Tecnologico De La Comision Federal De Electricdad).
  • Papalote Museo Del Nino is located in Mexico City Bosques de Chapultepec. The museum is focused in learning, communication and working together through interactive expositions of science, technology and art for children.
  • Museum of Natural History (Museo De Histroia Natural) The Museo Nacional de Historia (MNH or National Museum of History) is a national museum of Mexico, located inside Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. The Castle itself is found within the first section of the well known Chapultepec Park. The museum received 2,135,465 visitors in 2017.


  • Arena México is one of 2 venues in the city for watching live Luche Libre wrestlers! If you have never seen masked Mexican luchadores, then you are missing out on a pop culture mainstay. There are about a dozen matches held on Tuesday at 7:30 PM and Friday at 8:30 PM. This is great fun, even if you are not a fan of wrestling. The crowd is often filled with fans who wear their own masks and shout for their favorite heroes, or against their dreaded or despised villains. The matches here are filmed live and are televised. There are plenty of vendors selling replica masks of famous wrestlers past and present. Take the Metro to Doctores and follow the fans wearing masks to Arena México.
  • Bazar de la Roma - Saturday and Sunday is the day to get to this unique neighborhood marketplace. Vendors set up shop around the park known as Jardin Dr. Chavez, located on Avenida Cuauhtemóc. This is not any old gathering of vendors and buyers - this marketplace is set up specifically for vintage toys, advertisements and other assorted bits of kitsch ephemera. From lamps and furniture from the 60's to old magazines, vinyl, glassware, cameras and piles of worn action figures, there is enough merchandise here to fill any hipsters hovel.
  • Museo Objeto del Objeto (Object of the Object Museum or MODO), was inaugurated in 2010, following Mexico City's tradition of collectors founding or expanding museums with their personal collections. This museum is based on the collection of ordinary objects such as commercial packaging (especially beverage containers), advertisements, household appliances and more for a total of over 30,000 items collected by Bruno Newman over more than forty years. The museum is dedicated to communication and design, using the collection as a starting point for collaboration and research.
  • The Casa Lamm Cultural Center is the best known landmark in Colonia Roma. It was a house built in the early 20th century when Colonia Roma was a new neighborhood for the wealthy leaving the historic center of Mexico City. In the 1990s, the house was restored to open as a cultural center in 1994, with the aim of making the area a center for the visual arts. Today, it hosts numerous exhibits as well as offering classes, even degrees, in art and literature.
  • Salón de la Plástica Mexicana (Hall of Mexican Fine Art; SPM) is an institution dedicated to the promotion of Mexican contemporary art. It was established in 1949 to expand the Mexican art market. Its first location was in historic center of the city but today it mostly operates out of a building in Colonia Roma. The institution is run by a membership of almost four hundred recognized artists and holds multiple exhibitions each year. Although it operates autonomously, it is part of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura.


Located off the Green Line (Line 3) stop of Viveros, Coyoacán is home to many famous houses and the art scene of Mexico City.

  • Frida Kahlo Museum (Museo Frida Kahlo) is a wonderful museum located in Frida Kahlo's childhood home. There are many paintings to be seen here that belonged to her or her husband. 30 pesos entrance, closed on sundays. This ticket also includes entrance to another museum located a short taxi ride away.
  • Museum of Leon Trotsky Home (Museo Casa De Leon Trotsky) is the last house that Trotsky ever lived him. He and his wife moved here after they had fell out with Deigo Rivera. The museum features several of his personal belongings and Trotsky's ashes are located in a mausoleum. The room where he died is left exactly how it was when an ice pick was shoved through the back of his head. This happened after surviving another assassination attempt where over 200 rounds were shot into his bed. Closed Sundays. Entrance 30 pesos.
  • Viveros de Coyoacán is a large outdoor nursery for Mexico City's parks and recreation department open to the public. Workers prune and water all sorts of shrubs and trees before they get planted throughout the city. This giant nursery features a circuitous path through the property and is a very popular place for locals to jog and walk. There are also many statues and other pieces of art along the trails. This is an extremely lush and peaceful spot.
  • Casa de Cortés is located on the south side of Plaza Hidalgo in the heart of the Coyoacán neighborhood. Although Cortés never actually lived here, this acted as his administration headquarters during the Spanish siege of Tenochtitlán. It was also here where the Aztec emperor Cuauhtémoc was tortured in an attempt to get him to divulge the location of Aztec treasures. The torture did not work, The Spanish learned nothing and Cuauhtémoc survived.
  • Anahuacalli is a massive black volcanic stone building designed by Diego Rivera to house his collection of pre-Hispanic art. Rivera also had a studio here. The very well manicured grounds of Anahuacalli are also worthy of a look. You can certainly be forgiven for thinking this hulking structure resembles a blocky-looking Darth Vader mask from the front. Note: The price of admission here allows you to visit the Frida Kahlo Museum, or Casa Azul, for free only on the same day of ticket purchase to Anahucalli. A similar scheme is in place at the Frida Kahlo Museum - purchase of a ticket there gives you free admission to Anahuacalli on that day only.

Outside the City

Teotihuacan, Street of the Dead

Teotihuacan, Street of the Dead

© Lavafalls

  • Teotihuacan is an amazing abandoned city with massive pyramids located just about an hour away from Mexico City. It was occupied between AD 150 to AD 600. Plan about half a day for a visit. The site was probably the birthplace of what is now Mexico City and was once the largest city of the Aztecs. The complex is dominated by two colossal pyramids, of which the Piramide del Sol is the highest (surpassed only by the Cheops in Egypt), but the Piramide de la Luna is the most beautiful. You can climb the Pyramid of the Sun to get a beautiful view across the city and the Pyramid of the Moon. It's gruelling though; at this elevation the climb is all the more strenuous. At the top you can look out over the temple of Quetzalcóatl, the Avenue of the Dead and the Pyramid of the Moon, the green hills in the background and huge, colourful butterflies fluttering around you.
  • Xochimilco is the famous canal area of Mexico City located in the neighborhood after its own name. There are many colourfull boats that can take you for a ride along the canals. Every boat is painted in bright colours and decorated with (plastic) flowers and usually has a female name. It is very popular for Mexican families to go here on a Sunday for a picnic. There are many little boats with people who sell food and boats with Mariachis who are happy to sing a song for you.
  • Basílica de Guadalupe is the church built on top of where the Virgin of Guadelupe appeared. It is also the location of the home to the Aztec god of female sexuality. There are actually two churches on the property. On the right side there is the old church and on the left side the much bigger new church. Underneath the basilica there is a travelator to see the most famous religious artefact in the church. And to avoid people standing in front of it for a long time, they have added a travelator so you pass by the artefact automatically. Definitely worth checking out. Above the Basilica you can walk around the park and enjoy the view over Mexico City.



Events and Festivals

Day of the Dead

Although the Day of the Dead is also celebrated in many Latin American countries except Mexico (and also in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa), the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is most intensily celebrated in Mexcio where it is equal to a National Holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Although it is about the Dead, it is also a celebration where eating and partying both are common as well.

Other Events and Festivals

  • Grito de la Independencia - September 15th is Mexican Independence Day! A massive celebration involving plenty of singing, dancing and fireworks takes place in the Zócalo. Everyone here awaits an appearance from Mexico's president who rings a bell from a central balcony of the Palacio Nacional overlooking the Zócalo. The president then shouts out the Grito de Dolores, or the Cry of Dolores which was Father Hidalgo's famous call to arms against Spanish rule in 1810.
  • Foundation of Tenochtitlán is held August 13th to celebrate the founding of Mexico City. It is slightly ironic this celebration takes the name of the Aztec capital, only to celebrate the Spanish reclaiming it for themselves. Fairness aside, this celebration features plenty of Aztec dancers, burning of incense and food.
  • Festival de Mexico - Held in March, this event has really become quite well known for it's culinary focus over the last few years. Aside from that there is still plenty going on at this celebration, for it is indeed one of Mexico City's biggest cultural affairs with many genres of music being played at several venues throughout the Centro Histórico as well as theatrical performances and folk dancing.
  • Dia de la Candelaria. Candlemas is held February 2nd and commemorates Jesus being introduced into the temple 40 days after his birth. This nationwide celebration sees many different ways of celebrating and many towns hold processions, bullfights and dances. Of course, plenty of delicious, traditional foods are served during Dia de la Candelaria as well.
  • Carnaval is held in late February or early March throughout all of Mexico. This big party is meant to celebrate the 40 day penance of Lent. Carnaval always takes place during the week or so prior to Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter Sunday. Mexicans celebrate this holiday with fireworks, food, dancing, parades, dancing and drinking.
  • Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a huge celebration which starts on Palm Sunday. This is a very popular time for Mexicans to take a short break; as a result, it seems most of the country is on the move, with buses and hotels often booked out. As for the celebration of Semana Santa, expect colorful processions and many masses at churches everywhere.
  • Día de Nuestra Seňora de Guadalupe, or Day of our Lady of Guadalupe, is held December 12th. There is a week-long build up to this religious celebration in honour of the Virgin who appeared to the indigenous Juan Diego in the year 1531. Since then, the Lady of Guadalupe has been Mexico's religious patron and her veneration is very significant. It is traditional for young boys to be dressed as a Juan Diego and for young girls to be dressed in indigenous garb and brought to a special mass, held at many churches throughout the country.
  • Heaven and Hell Metal Fest (H&H, el Hell, or Festival Hell and Heaven), is an open air heavy metal music festival. It takes place annually during Fall or Spring, near Mexico City in Texcoco, located in the State of Mexico, in the central part of the country. With over 30,000 festival visitors, it attracts metal music fans of all subgenres including thrash metal, black metal, death metal, power metal, gothic metal, folk metal, and even metalcore, nu metal, hard rock from all over the world. The festival is mostly attended by a Mexican audience from all around the country, but attracts a large number of visitors from Central and South America, as well as fans from Europe and other parts of the world.
  • Vive Latino, (Festival Iberoamericano de Cultura Musical) is an annual music festival held in Mexico City. It is one of the most important music festivals in Mexico, featuring a great variety of groups of many genres. The event takes place in Foro Sol usually in between the months of March and April. The duration of the festival has been either one or two days, depending on the number of live acts, but since 2010 the festival's length is between 2 or 3 days.




Mexico City has fairly pleasant conditions all year round regarding temperatures, although June to September is rather wet. Temperatures average between 20 and 25 °C during the day, with the highest temperatures from March to June and the lowest from November to February. Nights are between 6 °C from December to February and 13 °C in June. March and April are good months for a visit, avoiding rain and cold nights.



Getting There

By Plane

1. Mexico City International Airport (IATA: MEX, ICAO: MMMX) offers an extensive network of flights to many destinations in North America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe and Asia for example with the national carrier AeroMéxico. Other carriers include Interjet and Volaris. But also European carriers like KLM, Iberia, Air France and Lufthansa fly here.

To/from the airport
The airport is served by the Terminal Aérea Metro station, located just outside the national terminal. There is also a bus terminal, which is served by various bus lines with routes to Cuernavaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Toluca, Pachuca, and Córdoba and many others. On the website you can find more about the bus services.

2. Lic. Adolfo López Mateos International Airport (TLC) is a smaller airport located in Toluca, just 30 minutes/40 kilometres from the financial district of Mexico City. It's gaining importance as it has the longest runway of all Mexican airports and has a growing number of flights with budget airlines, especially with Interjet, Volaris and TAR. There are international flights to/from Houston and Fort Lauderdale with Spirit.

To/from the airport
Caminante Aeropuerto offers taxis and shuttle vans between the airport and downtown in just over half an hour if traffic is not at its heaviest.

By Train

The main train station in Mexico City is Buenavista Station, from where a suburban commuter train (Ferrocarriles Suburbanos) takes you 27 kilometres north to Cuautitlán. While not particularly useful for most tourists, it can be used to see the sights in or close to the northern part of the metropolitan area, such as the old convent at Cuautitlán (walking distance) or the Museo Nacional del Virreinato and fine church in Tepotzotlán (bus ride from Cuautitlán).

Intercity passenger train services to various parts of the country have ceased operations since 1997. A new rail line from Observatorio to Toluca and Zinacantepec is currently under construction.

By Car

Driving yourself into and out of the city is total madness, but of course it can be done with steel nerves if you like.

By Bus

Being the national transportation hub there are various bus lines going into and out of Mexico City in all directions, from/to around the country at varying distances. Some of the bus companies come from the surrounding states of Mexico, Hidalgo, Puebla and Guerrero while others come from all over the nation to as far as the U.S border in the north and the Guatemalan border to the south. Most foreigners coming into the country would most likely fly in but it's also possible to travel to Mexico City by bus from various cities in the U.S. and from Panama, through the Central American isthmus.

The city has four major bus stations based on the compass points. They are:

  • Terminal Central Autobuses del Norte (North) (Cien Metros or Mexico Norte), Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas No. 4907, Colonia Magdalena de las Salinas (Metro station stop Autobuses del Norte (Line 5, yellow)), ☎ +52-55 5587 1552. Most buses departing to & from bordering towns with the U.S. such as Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Tijuana, Reynosa, even Ciudad Juarez. Other destinations that buses go to from this terminal: Acapulco, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Puerto Vallarta, Monterrey, Leon, Querétaro, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi, Hermosillo, Guanajuato, Puerto Vallarta. Overall, buses are bound to western and northern Mexico
  • Terminal Central Autobuses del Poniente (West) (Observatorio or Mexico Poniente), Sur 122 y Rio Tacubaya, Del. Álvaro Obregón, Col. Real del Monte (Metro station stop - Observatorio (west end of Line 1, pink).), ☎ +52-55 5271 4519. also known as Terminal de Autobuses Observatorio. Usually used for destinations due west such as Colima, Manzanillo, Morelia, Puerto Vallarta, Toluca in the states of Colima, Jalisco, Michocoan and the western part of Mexico state.
  • Terminal Central del Sur (South) (Taxqueña or Mexico Sur), Av. Tasqueña 1320, Colonia Campestre Churubusco (Metro Station - Taxqueña (South end of Line 2, blue)), ☎ +52 55. Buses from here go south of Mexico City such as, Acapulco, Cuernavaca, Taxco and various places in Colima, Guerrero, Morelos & southern part of Mexico state. Station is also north end (Taxqueña) of the light rail (Tren Ligero)) tram going to/from Xochimilco.
  • Terminal de Autobuses de Pasajeros de Oriente (East) (TAPO or Mexico Oriente), Calzada Ignacio Zaragoza 200, Colonia 10 de Mayo Venustiano Carranza (Metro Station - Lazaro Cardenas (Line 1, Pink; Line B, Gray); next to the national capitol Building (Camara de Diputados)), ☎ +52 55 5762-5977. Serving destinations in the eastern & southeastern states of Veracruz, Puebla, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Tlaxcala, Tamauliapas, Campeche, Tobasco and the Guatemalan border. Traffic in and around the TAPO area (and any other bus terminal for that matter) can get quite congested during peak/rush hours. Always give yourself an extra hour or so in travel time, including to/from, to be sure that you do not miss a bus or a connection.



Getting Around

Avenida Reforma,México D.F.

Avenida Reforma,México D.F.

© evelynez


The city government offers free color maps of Mexico City for all tourists. Go to one of the tourist kiosks located near a major sight and ask for a map. All they will want to know is what country you are from and how many people you are travelling with. The maps have all the major sites, hotels and youth hostels on them for all the neighborhoods that tourists visit. There is even a complete color subway map located on it. There is one kiosk located on the southeast corner of the Metropolitan Cathedral.

By Car

Driving around by car is the least advised way to visit the city due to the complicated road structure, generally reckless drivers, and the 5 million vehicles moving around the city. Traffic jams are almost omnipresent on weekdays, and driving from one end of the city to the other could take you between 2 and 4 hours at peak times. The condition of pavement in freeways such as Viaducto and Periférico is good, however in avenues, streets and roads varies from fair to poor since most streets have fissures, bumps and holes. Most are paved with asphalt and some used to be paved using concrete. Since the city grew without planned control, the street structure resembles a labyrinth in many areas. Also, traffic 'laws' are complex and rarely followed, so driving should be left to only the most adventurous and/or foolhardy. Driving can turn into a really challenging experience if you don't know precisely well where are you going. Guia Roji sells good paper maps, and Google Maps and Apple Maps have good maps of the city.

Street parking (Estacionamiento in Spanish) is scarce around the city and practically nonexistent in crowded areas. Where available expect to pay M$12-18 an hour while most of hotels charge M$25-50 an hour. Some areas of the city such as Zona Rosa, Chapultepec, Colonia Roma and Colonia Condesa have parking meters on the sidewalks which are about M$10 an hour and are free on certain days and hours (depending on the location). It is possible to park in other streets without meters but is likely there will be a "parking vendor" (Franelero in Spanish) which are not authorized by the city, but will "take care of your car". Expect to pay M$10-20 to these fellows, some of them will "charge" at your arrival, the best advice is to pay if you want to see your car in good shape when you come back.

There are more than 250,000 registered cabs in the city and they are one of the most efficient ways to get around. The prices are low, a fixed fee of about M$8.6 to get into the cab, and about M$1.14 per quarter kilometer or 45 seconds thereafter, for the normal taxis (taxi libre). The night rates, supposedly between 11PM at night and 6AM in the morning are about 20% higher. Some taxis "adjust" their meters to run more quickly, but in general, cab fare is cheap, and it's usually easy to find a taxi. At night, and in areas where there are few taxis, cab drivers will often not use the meter, but rather quote you a price before you get in. This price will often be high, however, you can haggle. They will tell you that their price is good because they are "safe". If you don't agree on the price, don't worry as another cab will come along.
Mexico City is so large, and many street names so common that cab drivers are highly unlikely to know where to go when you give only a name or address of your destination. Always include either the name of the colonia or the district (i.e. "Zona Rosa"), as well as any nearby landmarks or cross streets. You will probably be asked to give directions throughout or at least near the tail end of the journey; if either your Spanish or your sense of direction is poor, carry a map and be prepared to point.

The two most common recommendations for a safe cab riding experience are to make sure you take an official cab, and to notify a person you trust of the license plate number of the cab you are riding. There is a free app available for iPhone, android and Blackberry (soon) that allows you to verify if a cab is official by comparing the taxi license plate number with the government provided data and that lets you communicate through Facebook, twitter and/or email the license plate number of the cab you have taken or even communicte an emergency through these mediums. The free service is called Taxiaviso.

If you have a smartphone with internet access, you can also use the ridesharing apps Uber and Cabify, which allow you to set your destination beforehand and pay with a credit card. The app Yaxi allows you to order a safe regular taxi to your location.

By Public Transport

The Sistema de Transporte Colectivo, known as the Metro, is one of the largest and most patronized subway systems in the world, with 12 lines that measure more than 190 km and carry 4.4 million people every day. You'll quickly see how busy it is, particularly lines 1, 2 and 3 and during the morning (7AM-9AM) and afternoon (5PM-7PM) rush hours: trains are often filled to significantly over capacity, and sometimes it will be hot and uncomfortable. It can get loud in the trains due to the noise of the wheels and due to conversation, vendors or people blasting their music (see below). Despite the close quarters, it's relatively quick and efficient, especially as an alternative to taxis during rush hours when the streets are essentially parking lots, and affordable by Western standards (tickets for one trip with unlimited transfers within the system cost M$5 (Jan 2018)). Trains run every couple of minutes, so if you just miss it, you won't have long to wait until another arrives, and the Metro can be the quickest way to travel longer distances within the city - especially if your origin and departure points align with metro stops. Stations usually have food stalls inside and outside the entrances, and many have city-sponsored exhibits and artwork on display, so it's good even for a look around. If you missed the food stalls getting on the train, people selling all kinds of things are available in the trains as well. Just don't count on them selling things you need when you need them. Operating hours are from 5AM to midnight on weekdays (starts at 6AM on Saturday and 7AM on Sunday). A last train leaves every terminal station at midnight, so you might be able to catch it a few minutes afterwards, depending on your station.

Although the Metro lacks informational signs in English, the system was designed with illiteracy in mind, so finding your way around should not be a problem. Lines are defined by number but also by a color, and that color runs as a thematic band across the entire station and along the entire route, so you always know what line you are on. Stations are identified by name but also by a pictorial icon that represents that area in some way. Entire maps of the Metro system are posted around ticket booths and on platforms, but not always inside trains. Neighborhood maps around every station are also available near the ticket booths.

Some lines run through more tourist-related spots than others and will become very familiar to you after a while. Line 1 (pink) runs through many tourist spots, such as the Centro Histórico (Salto del Agua, Isabel la Católica and Pino Suárez), the Chapultepec Forest (Chapultepec), Condesa and Roma neighborhoods (Insurgentes and Sevilla) and the West (Observatorio) and East (San Lázaro) Bus Stations. Line 2 (blue) runs through the Centro Histórico (Allende, Zócalo and Bellas Artes) and reaches the South Bus Station (Tasqueña). Line 3 (green) runs near Coyoacán (Coyoacán and Miguel Ángel de Quevedo) and also near the University City (Copilco and Ciudad Universitaria). If traveling to and from the airport, you'll want to use Line 5 (yellow) to connect to the Mexico City International Airport (Terminal Aérea, and not Boulevard Puerto Aéreo of line 1, which is 1 km away but is still colloquially called Aeropuerto). The North Bus station is also served by Line 5 at Autobuses del Norte. Line 6 (red) runs east-west through the north of the city and passes by the Basílica de Guadalupe (La Villa - Basílica). Line 7 (orange) runs through many touristic spots such as the Chapultepec Forest (Auditorio) and the Polanco neighborhood (Polanco). Line 8 (green) crosses the Centro Histórico north-south (Salto del Agua, San Juan de Letrán, Bellas Artes and Garibaldi). Line 9 (brown) runs near the Condesa neighborhood (Chilpancingo).

There are two kinds of buses. The first are full-sized buses operated by the Mexico City Government known as RTP and Ecobús. Regular RTP routes cost M$2 anywhere you go, while Express RTP routes cost M$4 and the Ecobús costs M$5. Most buses have coin boxes, in which case you should have the exact fare (or be willing to deposit more than your fare) and put the money in the box. If there isn't a coin box, give the money to the driver. RTP buses are orange and green, while Ecobús buses are all green.

The second kind of buses are known as microbuses or peseros. These buses are private-run and come in small and bigger sizes. Newer peseros look like regular buses but are painted in white and purple, while older ones are ominous looking and painted in green and grey. Smaller peseros cost M$4 for shorter trips, M$4.50 for 6–12 km trips and M$5 for trips longer than 12 km. Full-sized private buses are M$5 for shorter trips, and M$6 for longer trips.

All buses are supposed to stop at bus stops, but microbuses are usually willing to stop anywhere as long as there are no police nearby. In the inner city, bus stops are usually small bus shelters with metal seats. In other areas, they might be unmarked and you can reasonably assume that a bus will stop just before a big intersection. Routes are also very complex and flexible, so be sure to ask someone, perhaps the driver, if the bus even goes to your destination ("va a ...?"), before getting on. Also, though the locals hang off the sides and out the doors, it is generally not recommended for novices. Riding RTP buses is safer and more comfortable than the private franchised and smaller microbuses, which are more prone to robbery and often have terrible driving habits. All buses display signs on their windshields which tell major stops they make, so if you want to take a bus to a metro station, you can just wait for a bus that has a sign with an M followed by the station name.

Buses can be packed during rush hours, and you have to pay attention to your stops (buses make very short stops if there's just one person getting off, so be ready), but they are very practical when your route aligns with a large avenue. There's usually a button above or close to the rear door to signal that you're getting off; if there isn't one, it's not working, or you can't get to it, shouting Bajan! (pronounced "BAH-han") in a loud and desperate voice usually works.

The Metrobús is a BRT system that operates six routes (líneas) in dedicated lanes along Insurgentes, Eje 4 Sur, Eje 1 Poniente (Cuauhtémoc/Vallejo), Eje 3 Oriente and Eje 5 Norte Avenues. Line 1 is convenient for the Condesa/Roma area, Line 3 for Del Valle and the Centro Histórico and Line 4 has a route to/from the airport (with stops at terminals 1 and 2) that passes through the Centro Histórico. The Metrobús is safe but can be crowded.

Most routes cost M$6 to ride, while buses to/from the airport cost M$30. In order to ride, you need a refillable smart card that must be bought in advance (M$16, including one fare). These cards can be used at the Metro and Tren Ligero as well. Lines 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 have enclosed stations with turnstiles where you pay. There are card vending machines at these stations. Line 4 has regular bus stops and you pay when boarding the bus. Cards are thus not sold there, but can be bought/recharged at convenience stores along the route. If you are just arriving and want to take the Metrobús from the airport, you can buy the card at the 7-Eleven shops in both terminals.

The Metrobús has stops approximately every 500m. Expect Line 1 to be crowded around the clock and other Lines to be crowded during rush hour, but it's a great way to move around very rapidly. There are branches in each route, buses that take multiple lines and buses that do not go all the way from terminal to terminal, so you must check the correct door to take the bus in your direction, as well as the bus' billboard before boarding to see which is the last stop they will visit. There are reserved boarding areas at the front of every bus (indicated on the platforms) for women, the handicapped and the elderly.

The Mexibús is a similar system covering areas of the State of Mexico (in the metropolitan area). There are 3 lines, all of which cost M$6 but use different smart cards. The Mexibús is reasonably safe, but pickpocketing and robbery do sometimes occur.

Trolley buses are operated by the Electric Transport Services. There are 15 trolley bus lines that spread around for more than 400 km. They usually do not get as crowded as regular buses, and they are quite comfortable and reliable. They have lower frequencies and can be a little slower than regular buses, since they are unable to change lanes as quickly. There is a flat fare of M$2 on most lines and M$4 on the Eje Central, Eje 2 Sur and Eje 7 Sur lines. You pay in a coin box and bus drivers do not give out change. For tourists, the Eje Central line (Line A) is useful to go between the North and South bus stations or between these stations and the Centro Histórico.

The Tren Ligero (Light rail) is operated by Electric Transport Services and consists of one single line that runs to Xochimilco, south of the city, from the Tasqueña Metro Station (Line 2, blue; alternatively you may see it spelled as Taxqueña). For tourists, it is useful if you plan to visit Xochimilco, the Dolores Olmedo Museum, the Anahuacalli Museum or the Azteca Stadium. The rate for a single ride is M$3. The ticketing system works very similarly to the Metro, but the tickets are not the same. Tickets are sold at most stations along the line. Where they aren't, there is always a police officer guarding the entrance, next to whom there is a coin box where you can deposit the fare in coins (exact change or pay extra). You can also use the same smart card as in the Metro and Metrobús.

The Turibus is a sightseeing hop-in hop-off bus that is a good alternative to see the city if you don't have too much time. The one-day ticket costs M$140 Monday-Friday and M$165 Saturday-Sunday. Children are half-price. Your ticket is valid for all routes. Runs 365 days a year. Its main route includes the Zona Rosa, Chapultepec Park, Polanco, Condesa, Roma and the Historic Center. There are three secondary routes running South, West and North. The South route runs from Fuente de la Cibeles in Condesa to Coyoacan and Xochimilco. The West route (Circuito Polanco) runs between Polanco and Chapultepec. The North route (Circuito Basílica) goes to Tlatelolco and the Basilica de Guadalupe.

The new Capitalbus has a similar service. It has a central route that includes the Centro Histórico, Reforma and Polanco, as well as a route west to the Santa Fe business district, and a North route to the Basílica de Guadalupe and various churches. Tickets cost M$130 for 6 hours, $140 for 24 hours Monday-Friday, $180 for 24 hours (Saturday-Sunday) and $250 for 48 hours. Buses have Wi-fi.

On Foot

Mexico City is massive and sprawls on for what seems infinity. With that being said, many of the areas that tourists are interested in are pretty easy to get around by walking. With a combination of public transport and walking, most tourists can see everything they want within the city.

By Bike

Traffic in Mexico City is insane and biking in that traffic might be considered a death wish. There are a few bike trails in Chapultepec Park. It is easy to rent a bike there and bike around.

Mexico City also has a bike sharing program known as EcoBici. There are outposts with available bikes and parking slots throughout the city. Before, this option only used to be available to residents with a long waiting list and application process. Now the program offers 1 day to 1 week passes to tourists as well. All you need is a passport and a major credit card to get a hold of a pass.

The main road, Paseo de la Reforma, runs through Mexico City and is also closed to cars on a Sunday. This is a great opportunity to get a hold of a bicycle and ride through the city without any fear of being run down by the commonplace manic driving.




Although it is easy to assume that Mexico City is the world capital of tacos, you can find almost any kind of food in this city. There are regional specialties from all over Mexico as well as international cuisine, including Japanese, Chinese, French, Polish, Italian, Argentinean, Belgian, Irish, you name it. The main restaurant areas are located in Polanco, Condesa, Centro, Zona Rosa, along Avenida Insurgentes from Viaducto to Copilco and more recently Santa Fe.

For superb Mexican cuisine you can try El Cardenal (Sheraton Centro Histórico), Los Girasoles (Tacuba 8), Aguila y Sol (Emilio Castelar 229), Izote (Masaryk 513) and, for something more affordable, Café Tacuba (Tacuba 28). Another great (but expensive) experience is to dine in an old converted hacienda: try Hacienda de los Morales (Vázquez de Mella 525), San Angel Inn (Diego Rivera 50) or Antigua Hacienda de Tlalpan (Calzada de Tlalpan 4619).

There are several Mexican chain family restaurants that can be assumed to be safe and similar no matter where you are, including Vips, Lyni's, Toks, and the more traditional Sanborns, all reminiscent of Denny's in the United States. They are uniformly good but never excellent. You can expect to pay M$100-150 per person. If you're on a budget, you can also try one of the myriad comida corrida (set menu) restaurants, frequented by many office workers. Some of these offer very good food, are usually safe, and should range between M$50-100.

Perhaps the most ubiquitous type of food almost anywhere in Mexico city are fast food outlets, located on the ground floor of a street-facing building, or puestos, street stands located on a sidewalk or almost anywhere there is room. Most of these serve the usual tacos or tortas (filled bread rolls similar to a sub or sandwich), and they can be very cheap (M$10-50). Hygiene varies from good to abysmal, so eat at a place that has plenty of people. The Taquería Aguayo in Coyoacán is a superb example.

If you want to stuff your face with lots of real Mexican food at cheap prices then head over to a market, such as La Merced (the former central market, located on the pink line of the subway at the stop "Merced"). There are several restaurants as well as stands serving up some delicious food. Huaraches, which are something like giant tortillas with different toppings/fillings, are popular here, as are alambres. Another superb market is located a stone's throw from the Salto del Agua metro stop; Mercado San Juan Arcos de Belem. It is full of food stalls offering all the Mexican favourites, but find the one opposite the small bakers, which is located by one of the rear entrances on Calle Delicias, which serves the Torta Cubana. The people running it are amazingly welcoming and the food, especially the Cubana, is excellent.

If you want something safe and boring, most American fast food chains have franchises here. You'll see McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Papa John's Pizza, Domino's Pizza, TGI Friday's, Chili's, Dairy Queen, Subway, and yes, even Starbucks. These are all fairly affordable.

El Globo, a French-style bakery, has locations throughout the city selling both French and traditional Mexican pastries, like orejas (little ears), éclairs, empanadas, and rosca during New Year's. It can't be beat for a quick snack or bagful of pastries to eat later.

Do not miss the chance to go to Panaderia Madrid (calle 5 de Febrero, one block south off the main plaza in downtown Mexico). This is a very old and typical bakery, they will usually have fresh bread twice a day, but if there are a lot of customers they will bake as many as four times a day.

Asian food restaurants are abundant, and the quality is good, and caters from cheap Chinese cafeterias to expensive and very good Japanese food. Korean, Japanese and Chinese are most common cuisines in Mexico City, while Indian, Thai and Indonesian can be harder to find. Most sushi places, however, put far too much rice on their sushi rolls and not enough fish.

Vegetarian (vegetariano in Spanish) alternatives are commonly available at larger restaurants, but don't expect much from street vendors. The magic phrases, for vegetarians or vegans, are "sin pollo" (no chicken), "sin carne" (no meat), "sin huevo" (no eggs) and "sin queso" (no cheese). If you can communicate this and then gesticulate to the menu, the waiter normally will give you suggestions. In regular restaurants, they will even try to edit an existing dish for you. Just make sure you are clear. Chiles Rellenos are usually filled with meat, but different fillings are a definite standard in any vegetarian restaurant.




In Mexico City you have an almost endless choice of options to party. Traveling by yourself at night in certain areas of Mexico City is not a good idea, especially in Plaza Garibaldi, where pickpocketers are ever ready to relieve you of your unguarded cash. One of the ways you can check out the night life safely is by doing a Night Club Tour. These tours will typically take you to a few clubs and include transportation. Mexicans are for the most part very friendly and enjoy socializing.

The typical Mexican place to go to drink is the cantina, a bar where food is usually free, and you pay for drinks (exact policies and minimums vary). Cantinas serve a wide range of Mexican and foreign drinks, with prices usually reasonable compared to prices in the US, and you'll be continually served various Mexican foods, such as tacos (you should ask for 'Botana'). If your tolerance for Mexican music (mariachi or otherwise) and lots of noise is low however, this may not be your kind of place. Cantinas are open moderately late, usually past midnight at the very least. However some cantinas, like La Victoria, near the Plaza Garibaldi, are also open at midday for lunch.

A lower-end traditional option is going to a pulquería, where you can drink pulque (a gooey whitish drink). After being on a steep decline for decades, many are finding a new surge in popularity with young people. They can be found in the Centro Histórico and around Xochimilco. If you don't like pulque, they usually serve beer as well.

Many bars play a combination of Spanish and English-language rock, electronic music, and some Latin/Caribbean music. These bars tend to close around 3-4AM.

Club music mainly falls into three main categories, pop, rock and electronic music. The pop places generally play what's on the music charts, Latin pop, and sometimes traditional Mexican music, and are frequented by a younger (sometimes very young) audience, and are often more upper class. The rock places play rock in the wide sense, in English and Spanish. Most people are at least over 18 in these places. The electronica clubs, which attract everyone from Mexico City's large subculture of ravers and electronica fans, of all ages. Most clubs close late, 3-4AM at the earliest, and some are open until 7AM or 8AM.

The best bet used to be the Zona Rosa, which has a large number of street bars with rock bands playing and a large selection of clubs, especially strip clubs and gay bars. South of Zona Rosa you can find the Condesa and Roma areas, with many options of bars and restaurants. Another good area is Polanco, particularly a street called Mazaryk, where you'll find plenty of good clubs but it is best to make a reservation. Republica, La Santa or Guilt (gay club) are posh and exclusive clubs on that street. Be forewarned - entrance is judged on appearance and to get a table a minimum 2-bottle service is required, unless its a slow night [min. US$80 per bottle]. Posh and upper scale night clubs can be found in the Lomas area, particularly the Hyde, Sense and Disco Lomas Clubs, but be warned some of these could be extremely expensive, where the cover charge could range from 250 pesos upwards and bottles start at US$130. In addition, getting in could very difficult, as these are the most exclusive in town. There are also exclusive gay clubs in that area with the same characteristics: Envy night club on Palmas 500 and Made nightclub on Chapultepec next to the lake and the restaurant El Lago Chapultepec.

The other common Mexican-style thing to do when going out is to go dancing, usually to salsa, meringue, rumba, mambo, son, or other Caribbean/Latin music. This is considerably more fun if you're a somewhat competent dancer, but even complete beginners who don't mind making fools of themselves will likely enjoy it. Most dance places close late, 3-4AM is common.

The legal drinking age is 18. It is illegal to consume alcohol in public ("open container"). This is strictly enforced and the penalty is at least 24 hours in jail.

Take an identification card such as a copy of your passport.




You could find a hotel in downtown Mexico City although there are many nice neighbourhoods to stay in such as Zona Rosa, Roma or Condesa. For people spending more then a few days in Mexico City it is best to spend a few days in the Zocolo area then branch out into some of the other neighbourhoods.

If staying for a month or more, there are many opportunities to rent or share an apartment for very reasonable prices in great areas such as Condesa, Roma, Coyoacan and Polanco. A good place to search is where you can find flat shares from one month upwards. It is quite common to find international or English speaking roommates too.

  • Hostel Amigo is an intense party hostel located in the Historic Center in a converted nunnery. This is a great place to meet people but be prepared for long nights of heavy drinking at the bar on the first floor. This place also offers free breakfast and dinner, and tequila every nights. The tours are a bit overpriced, although the helpful staff will help you figure out how to get to places by public transport even if you choose not to use their tour. Amigo Hostel is located at Isabel La Catolica 61, Phone: 01-800-74-67-835. Dorms from 150 to 180 pesos, private rooms 200 pesos all with shared bathrooms that have 24 hour hot water.
  • Hotel Rioja, 45 Cinco de Mayo, Centro, Mexico City, Mexico, ☎ +52 55 21 8333. Check-in: 7:00. Unpretentious & inexpensive. Very clean & very close to the Zocalo. Wifi in Lobby & your room if you are lucky. Spanish helpful but not required. M$270 and up, cash only .
  • Hostel Mexico City, República de Brasil #8 (northwest corner of Catedral Metropolitana, metro Allende or Zócalo, line #2 blue), ☎ +52 55 5512-3666, +52 55 5512-7731, e-mail: [email protected]. Centrally located close to the Zócalo in the Historic Center. Breakfast included, Internet, laundry, lockers, tours and tourist information. Dorm from M$140 pesos, private from M$250.
  • Hostal Virreyes, Calle José María Izazaga #8 (corner with Eje Central Lázaro Cardenas, metro Salto del Agua, line #1 pink and line #8 green), ☎ +52 55 55 21 41 80. Offers excellent private rooms and adequate dorms. Is also a stone's throw from a good market, Mercado San Juan Arcos de Belem. It has decent, well-priced internet access, free Wi-Fi, breakfast and a cinema club. The staff are really helpful and a security guard is present 24 hours. Monthly rates from M$3000 and up. Dorm M$150, double M$370.
  • Hotel Habana, Rep De Cuba No. 77, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, CP. 06010, ☎ +52 55 55 18 15 91. The Hotel Habana in the Calle República de Cuba has well-appointed rooms for a good price.
  • Hotel Rio de Janeiro, Rep De Brasil, near Zocalo, Mexico City, Distrito Federal, CP. 06010, ☎ +52 5555181591. Decent rooms with TVs with local channels. You can get a room for M$70 if you are by yourself and don't mind sharing a bathroom. The price for two people is only M$90 with a shared bathroom. The rooms with attached bedrooms are also cheap. Basic, but clean and with personal TVs.
  • El patio 77 B&B, García Icazbalceta #77, Col San Rafael Mexico DF (3 blocks from SAN COSME metro station (Blue Line)), ☎ +(52)(55)55928452, e-mail: [email protected]. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. El patio 77 is the first eco-friendly B&B in Mexico City. This only 8-room boutique guest house is a huge French style mansion from the 19th century located in the heart of the city. Starting at US$70+tax.
  • Holiday Inn Zocalo, Av Cinco De Mayo 61 Col Centro Colonia Centro Mexico City 06000. Modern three star hotel that has an amazing rooftop balcony restaurant overlooking Zocalo Square. The rooms are small but comfortable, well furnished although the internet access in the lobby can be inconsistent. US$102.
  • Hotel Majestic, Av Madero 73, Centro Histórico, Mexico City 06000. While boasting an impressive tezontle stone façade, this two star hotel is let down by small rooms and staff that seem ambivalent. However, it is an unbeatable location and the terrace restaurant gives stunning panoramic views of the Zócalo. Starting at US$86.
  • NH Centro Histórico, Palma 42, Centro Histórico, Mexico City 06000, ☎ +52-55-51301850. The NH Centro Histórico is in the heart of the city of Mexico, only a few steps away from the historic 'Plaza de la Constitución' better known as “Zócalo”, and the magnificent historical 'Metropolitan Cathedral', the 'National Library' and 'Mexico City Museum'. The NH Centro Histórico offers the ideal starting point to visit the most important symbolic buildings and monuments. There are 2 other NH Hotels in Mexico City. Starting at US$83.
  • Meliã México Reforma, Paseo de la Reforma, 1, ☎ +52 555 1285000, e-mail: [email protected]. Meliã México Reforma is on the renovated Paseo de la Reforma Avenue, near the financial, cultural and historic districts of Mexico City. Starting at US$152.
  • Camino Real Aeropuerto, Puerto México 80, Col. Peñón de los Baños (Connected to Int'l Airport (MEX) Terminal 1), ☎ +52 (55) 30 03-0033. Though a fairly standard hotel as far as rooms and facilities go, its ideal feature is a walkway directly connecting it to Terminal 1 of Mexico City-Benito Juárez International Airport. Check-out is usually quick, and you can be in the terminal in less than one minute. For travellers flying in/out of Terminal 2, the "Tren Aéreo" (Air Train) that connects T1 to T2 is steps away. Restaurant and bar, plus 24-hour room service. Rooms are clean and comfortable, though somewhat small. Wi-fi in lobby and wired Internet access in the rooms (for a fee). Starting at US$107.
  • Four Seasons Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma 500 Colonia Juárez Mexico City 06600. Historic setting, built in a square around a large open-air courtyard containing restful tropical gardens with a fountain, sculptures, a cafe, and a restaurant. All rooms are fitted and finished to a high standard and great service from the staff, especially the concierge. Starting at US$293.
  • JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City, Andres Bello 29 Mexico City 11560 Mexico. Situated in the trendy Polanco district, with great shopping and restaurants within walking distance, the JW Marriott delivers all expectations. The rooms are luxurious and comfortable, with exceptional detailing, and the staff goes out of their way to ensure that every request is catered to. Starting at US$229.
  • Hyatt Regency Mexico City, Campos Eliseos 204 Col. Polanco Mexico City 11560. Formerly the Nikko Hotel, it hosts some of the best Japanese restaurants in town and some art galleries worth visiting. Perfect location for restaurants and major museums. Starting at US$195.
  • Presidente Intercontinental Mexico City, Campos Eliseos 218 Mexico City, Distrito Federal 11560 Mexico. It's hard to miss this hotel which towers 42 stories high in a sleek, ultra modern design. All rooms featuring a view of the city or Chapultepec Park and feature a daily maid service, air conditioning, kitchenettes and cable television. The hotel itself has a car rental desk, health club and business center. Starting at US$249.
  • W Hotel Mexico City, Campos Eliseos 252 Mexico City 11560. The W Hotel displays its signature sexiness in Mexico city, with sleek designs, cherry red walls in the rooms and the traditional all white beds. Great for young professionals, families and mature customers may not appreciate the thumping techno music that accompanies them throughout the hotel. Starting at US$309.
  • The St. Regis Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma 439 Mexico City 06500. The St. Regis Mexico City is ensconced in the sleek, 31-story Torre Libertad. It overlooks the Paseo de la Reforma in the heart of one of the city's most exciting zones. Starting at US$394.
  • Hotel Camino Real Polanco México, Mariano Escobedo 700 Mexico City 11590. Strategically located in the exclusive financial and commercial zone of Polanco close to sites of interest such as: El Bosque de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Park), the Museum of Anthropology and History and the Rufino Tamayo Museum. Starting at US$230.
  • Hotel Habita, Presidente Masaryk 201 Mexico City 11560. Habita is Mexico City's most contemporary luxury hotel. Uniquely located in the upscale area of Polanco, the hotel appears as a floating glass box. Inside, serene and elegant spaces combine modern design with personalized service. Starting at US$245. edit
  • CONDESA df, Veracruz 102 Mexico City 06700. This design hotel is the star in the Condesa neighborhood. Artsy, cool, stylish and fun, CONDESA df truly exemplifies its neighbourhood — fashionable and trendy, yet respectful and traditional. Starting at US$200.
  • Hotel Atlanta, Belisario Domínguez 31, Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México, Centro, 06010 Cuauhtémoc. ☎ +52 55 5518 1200. The Hotel Atlanta is handy to 2 metro stations; Bellas Artes and Allende. This 5-storey building features an assortment of rooms and is a great central budget option. Rooms on the north side of the building get the most light, with great views of San Lorenzo Church just across the street. Several restaurants, bars and shops are just outside the door. Plaza Garibaldi is only 2 blocks away. A double room starts at MXN$280.
  • Hotel Antillas, Belisario Domínguez 34, Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México, Centro, 06010. ☎ +52 55 5526 5674. Housed in an old colonial building, this is another budget option that is popular with vacationing Mexicans. Rooms are clean and light and the lobby is better than you'd expect for a hotel priced as economically as this. Several dozen newer rooms are located within an annex at the rear of the original building. Rooms start at MXN$400.
  • Hotel Republica, Calle Republica de Cuba, Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México, Centro, 06010. ☎ +52 55 5512 9517. Rooms here are for the truly budget-minded, but the entire hotel is a wonderful old gem of a place. Antique fixtures and hardware still grace the simple elegance of the Hotel Republica. Popular with young, hip Mexicans and backpackers. Rooms start at MXN$140.
  • Hotel Sonora, República de Perú 39, Centro Histórico de la CIudad. de México, Centro, 06010. ☎ +52 55 5526 9220. The rooms here have recently been updated, making this a great value hotel close to Garibaldi Square and Arena Coliseo. Rooms start at MXN$300.

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Mexico has very strict immigration laws. In order to work you should obtain a permit known as FM2 or FM3 which is very hard to get unless you're marrying a Mexican citizen or you are an expat working for a multinational company. Most foreigners working without a permit perform jobs such as language teachers, waiters or salesmen. Others own a restaurant or shop. If you're working without a permit and an immigration officer finds out, it could mean a fine, deportation or spending some time in a detention facility of the National Immigration Institute.




  • University of Mexico City - Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) is the principal university of Mexico City and is renowned for its excellence throughout Latin America. It is located in the Ciudad Universitaria, which is an allocated part of Mexico City which feels much like a student town. It is also a decent tourist attraction as the campus has a Museum of Modern Art, the Estadio Olímpico Universitario which hosted the 1968 Summer Olympics, and various murals dotting around the campus from the great muralists. The campus is often acclaimed on merit of its architecture.
  • The Tecnología de Monterrey is another university of note with a campus in Mexico City. This university is private and offers one of the top graduate business schools in Mexico. It is a popular choice for students looking to study in Mexico on an exchange program.



Keep Connected


Internet cafes are widely available and you generally can find one in the direct vicinity. Sometimes photocopy stores or photo processing stores will double as an internet cafe with a couple of computers. Look for signs reading "Acceso a Internet" or "Cibernautica" or "Cibercafe". Charges range from approx. US$1 an hour to US$3 an hour, depending on the location.


See also International Telephone Calls

Phone cards can be purchased anywhere and are needed for the majority of public phones. To call any number outside your region you have to dial 01 then followed by the area code. If calling a cellphone from a normal phone start with with 044. If calling cellphone to cellphone just dial the 10-digit number. To make an international call dial 00 followed by the country code then the local number. To call to Mexico, also dial 00 (most of the times) followed by the national code 52.


The Mexican postal service is operated by Correos de México. The post service in Mexico is pretty good although not very cheap. It is reliable regarding the sending of postcards, but it takes at least a week to send it to other countries (US/Canada), more so if you send it to Europe or Australia. For packages it is better to use international services like FedEx or UPS. If you are sending a package internationally with the Mexican postal service, take the package OPEN to the post office, they may want to inspect it. Seal it up at the post office. Post offices typically open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 1:00pm Saturday. You will find post offices (Oficina de Correos) is almost any town or city in Mexico. To buy stamps it is best to go to the post office, although you can also get them at stamp machines, located outside the post offices, at bus stations, airports and some commercial establishments.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 19.42705
  • Longitude: -99.127571

Accommodation in Mexico City

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Mexico City searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


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Mexico City Travel Helpers

This is version 111. Last edited at 17:23 on Apr 29, 19 by road to roam. 108 articles link to this page.

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