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Mexico City Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Mexico City

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Mexico City (Spanish: Ciudad de México) is Mexico’s capital city and the biggest metropolis in North America.

Mexico City, as a “alpha” global city, is one of the Americas’ most significant financial hubs. It is situated in the Valley of Mexico (Valle de México), a wide valley in central Mexico’s high plateaus, at an elevation of 2,240 metres (7,350 ft). The city is divided into sixteen municipal districts (previously called boroughs).

The city proper has an estimated population of roughly 8.84 million people in 2009, with a land area of 1,485 square kilometers (573 sq mi). Greater Mexico Metropolis has a population of 21.2 million people, according to the most current definition agreed upon by the federal and state governments, making it the western hemisphere’s biggest metropolitan area, the ninth-largest agglomeration, and the world’s largest Spanish-speaking city.

Mexico City is the biggest city in the nation and also serves as the country’s political, cultural, educational, and financial hub.

Mexico City is both the continent’s oldest capital and one of two cities established by Amerindians (Native Americans), the other being Quito. Tenochtitlan was founded in 1325 by the Aztecs on an island in Lake Texcoco. It was almost totally destroyed in the 1521 siege of Tenochtitlan and was later remodeled and rebuilt in line with Spanish urban norms. Mexico City was founded in 1524 as México Tenochtitlán, and became formally recognized as Ciudad de México in 1585. (Mexico City). Mexico City was the political, administrative, and financial hub of a sizable portion of Spain’s colonial empire. In 1824, after Spain’s independence, the Federal District was established.

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Mexico City | Introduction

Mexico City – Info Card

POPULATION :  City: 8,918,653       /     Metro: 20.4 million
FOUNDED :   March 13, 1325: Mexico-Tenochtitlan
August 13, 1521: Ciudad de México
November 18, 1824: Distrito Federal
January 29, 2016: Ciudad de México
TIME ZONE :  CST (UTC−6)     /     Summer: CDT (UTC−5)
LANGUAGE :  Spanish only 92.7%, Spanish and indigenous languages 5.7%, indigenous only 0.8%
RELIGION :  Roman Catholic 82%, Others 18%
AREA :  1,485 km2 (573 sq mi)
ELEVATION :  2,250 m (7,380 ft)
COORDINATES :  19°26′N 99°8′W
SEX RATIO :  Male: 48.45%
 Female: 51.55%
ETHNIC :  mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%
POSTAL CODE :  00–16
DIALING CODE :  +52 55

Tourism in Mexico City

The greater Mexico City metropolitan area is one of the biggest in the world and the largest in North America, with a population of 20.1 million as of the 2010 census. It is located in the Valley of Mexico and is roughly oval in form, measuring about 60 kilometers by 40 kilometers. It is constructed on the dry bed of Lake Texcoco and is flanked on three sides by huge mountains and volcanoes such as the Ajusco, Popocatepetl, and Iztaccihuatl. Mexico City proper (population estimated at between 8 and 9 million) has been a Mexican state since 2016, serving as the country’s capital since 2016. Contrary to popular belief, the remainder of the metropolitan area extends beyond Mexico City into the State of Mexico, which borders Mexico City on the west, north, and east, and Hidalgo on the north. Legally and practically, Mexico City refers to the central business district, which is where visitors will spend the majority of their time.

Mexico City is split into 16 boroughs, comparable to those in New York, which are further subdivided into around 2150 “colonias” (neighborhoods). Knowing which colonia you’re visiting is critical for navigation, and practically all residents are familiar with the major colonias (but note that there are some colonias with duplicate or very similar names). As is the case with many very big cities, the structure is decentralized, with numerous sections of the city having their own little “downtown areas.” The true downtown sections, on the other hand, are Centro, the historic heart of the city, and Zona Rosa, the contemporary commercial and entertainment zone.

The city center is 2230 meters above mean sea level, although several places reach elevations of up to 3000 meters. Certain individuals have trouble breathing in high locations and have reported difficulty breathing. The elevation is more than 7,200 feet. This figure is far greater than that of any other metropolitan region in the United States. If you live near the sea, you may have difficulties breathing owing to the altitude and pollution. However, air quality has improved in recent years.

Mexico City’s nightlife, like the rest of the city, is massive. There is a vast variety of locations to choose from, including clubs, bars, restaurants, and cafés, as well as variants and combinations thereof. The diversity is astounding, ranging from ultramodern bars in Santa Fe and Reforma to centuries-old dance halls in Centro and Roma. Additionally, Tlalpan and Coyoacán have bars, while Insurgentes, Polanco, Condesa, and the Zona Rosa have clubs of all stripes.

Additionally, while heading out, check the date, since this is a good predictor of how crowded venues will be and how long you may have to wait to enter. Salaries are typically paid twice a month on the 30th/31st/1st and 14th-15th. The majority of Mexicans will go out on or shortly after these days, particularly if paycheck falls on a weekend. During the summer and long weekends in more costly areas, residents may go to Acapulco or farther away for vacations. Mexican weekends, in the sense that they are when it is customary to go out drinking, run from Thursday night until Sunday morning, and sometimes all day Sunday.


UNESCO has designated Mexico City’s historic core (Centro Histórico) and the “floating gardens” of Xochimilco in the southern borough as World Heritage Sites. The Historic Center is home to numerous famous landmarks, including the Plaza de la Constitución (Zócalo), the central square with its epoch-contrasting Spanish-era Metropolitan Cathedral and National Palace, ancient Aztec temple ruins Templo Mayor (“Major Temple”), and modern structures, all within a few steps of one another. (The Templo Mayor was found in 1978 as workmen were excavating for subterranean electric line placement.)

The most recognizable icon of Mexico City is the golden Angel of Independence, which stands on the broad, elegant avenue Paseo de la Reforma, which was modeled after Paris’s Champs-Élysées by order of Mexico’s Emperor Maximilian. This boulevard was built over the Americas’ first known main thoroughfare in the nineteenth century to link the National Palace (the seat of government) with the Castle of Chapultepec, the imperial home. Today, this avenue serves as a vital financial sector, home to the Mexican Stock Exchange and a number of business offices. Another significant avenue is the Avenida de los Insurgentes, which runs for 28.8 kilometers (17.9 miles) and is one of the world’s longest single avenues.


Mexico City’s nightlife, like the rest of the city, is massive. There is a vast variety of locations to choose from, including clubs, bars, restaurants, and cafés, as well as variants and combinations thereof. The diversity is astounding, ranging from ultramodern bars in Santa Fe and Reforma to centuries-old dance halls in Centro and Roma. Additionally, Tlalpan and Coyoacán have bars, while Insurgentes, Polanco, Condesa, and the Zona Rosa have clubs of all stripes.

Additionally, while heading out, check the date, since this is a good predictor of how crowded venues will be and how long you may have to wait to enter. Salaries are typically paid twice a month on the 30th/31st/1st and 14th-15th. The majority of Mexicans will go out on or shortly after these days, particularly if paycheck falls on a weekend. During the summer and long weekends in more costly areas, residents may go to Acapulco or farther away for vacations. Mexican weekends, in the sense that they are when it is customary to go out drinking, run from Thursday night until Sunday morning, and sometimes all day Sunday.


Mexico City’s consumer retail industry is vast and diverse, ranging from everyday necessities to ultra-high-end luxury products. Consumers can purchase goods at fixed indoor markets, mobile markets (tianguis), street vendors, downtown shops along a street dedicated to a particular type of good, convenience stores and traditional neighborhood stores, modern supermarkets, warehouse and membership stores, and the shopping centers they anchor, department stores, big-box stores, and modern shopping malls.


Mexico City has a long history of artistic expression, having been the capital of a vast pre-Hispanic empire, the capital of the wealthiest viceroyalty within the Spanish Empire (ruling over a vast territory in the Americas and Spanish West Indies), and finally, the capital of the United Mexican States. Since the Mesoamerican pre-Classical period, the inhabitants of the settlements surrounding Lake Texcoco have created numerous works of art and intricate craftsmanship, which are now on display at the world-renowned National Museum of Anthropology and the Templo Mayor museum. While numerous pieces of pottery and stone engravings have survived, the vast majority of Amerindian iconography was destroyed during the Mexican Conquest.


Mexico City is home to numerous art museums devoted to Mexican colonial, modern and contemporary art, as well as international art. The Museo Tamayo was founded in the mid-1980s to house a collection of international contemporary art donated by renowned Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo (born in the state of Oaxaca). Picasso, Klee, Kandinsky, and Warhol are among the artists represented in the collection, though the majority of the collection is stored while visiting exhibits are on display. The Museo de Arte Moderno (Museum of Modern Art) is a repository for twentieth-century Mexican artists, including Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros, Kahlo, Gerzso, Carrington, and Tamayo. It also holds temporary exhibitions of worldwide modern art on a regular basis. In southern Mexico City, the Museo Carrillo Gil (Carrillo Gil Museum) and the University Museum/Contemporary Art (Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo – or MUAC), both of which were inaugurated in late 2008 and designed by renowned Mexican architect Teodoro González de León.


Chapultepec Park, the city’s most recognizable public space, dates all the way back to the time of the Aztec rulers, who utilized the region as a refuge. It is located south of Polanco and is home to the city’s zoo, many ponds, seven museums, including the National Museum of Anthropology, and the city’s oldest and most traditional amusement park, La Feria de Chapultepec Mágico, complete with a classic Montaa Rusa rollercoaster.

Other notable city parks include the Alameda Central in Mexico City’s historic center, which has been a city park since colonial times and was renovated in 2013; Parque México and Parque Espaa in the trendy Condesa neighborhood; Parque Hundido and Parque de los Venados in Colonia del Valle; and Parque Lincoln in Polanco. Numerous smaller parks are located across the city. The majority are modest “squares” comprised of two or three square blocks located inside residential or commercial areas.

Three zoos are located in Mexico City. The Chapultepec Zoo, the San Juan de Aragon Zoo, and the Los Coyotes Zoo are all located in Mexico City. Chapultepec Zoo is situated in the Miguel Hidalgo sector of Chapultepec Park. It was inaugurated in 1924. There are over 243 specimens of various species on display, including kangaroos, giant pandas, gorillas, caracals, hyenas, hippos, jaguars, giraffes, lemurs, and lions.


Mexico City is home to a variety of orchestras that provide season programming throughout the year. These include the Mexico City Philharmonic, which performs at the Sala Ollin Yoliztli; the National Symphony Orchestra, which is based at the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of the Fine Arts), an art nouveau and art deco masterpiece; and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (OFUNAM) and the Minera Symphony Orchestra, which both perform at the Sala Nezahualcóyotl, the world’s first wrap Numerous smaller groups, including as the Carlos Chávez Youth Symphony, the New World Orchestra (Orquesta del Nuevo Mundo), the National Polytechnical Symphony, and the Bellas Artes Chamber Orchestra (Orquesta de Cámara de Bellas Artes), also contribute to the city’s musical culture.

Additionally, the city is a major hub for popular culture and music. Numerous venues feature Spanish and foreign-language artists. These include the 10,000-seat National Auditorium, which hosts regular performances by Spanish and English-language pop and rock artists, as well as a number of the world’s leading performing arts ensembles. Additionally, the auditorium broadcasts Grand Opera performances from New York’s Metropolitan Opera on massive, high definition screens. National Auditorium was named the world’s greatest venue in 2007 by numerous genre media outlets.


Mexico City has a diverse range of cuisines. In the city, restaurants with various cuisines from Mexico’s 31 states are accessible. Additionally, a variety of international cuisines are available, including Canadian, French, Italian, Croatian, and Spanish (along with numerous regional variations), Jewish, Lebanese, Chinese (along with numerous regional variations), Indian, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese; and, of course, fellow Latin American cuisines such as Argentine, Brazilian, and Peruvian. There are also haute, fusion, kosher, vegetarian, and vegan cuisines available, as well as restaurants dedicated exclusively to the principles of local food and slow food.

Mexico City is renowned for having some of the country’s freshest fish and seafood. La Nueva Viga Market is the world’s second biggest seafood market, behind Japan’s Tsukiji fish market.

Additionally, the city is home to numerous locations of internationally recognized restaurants and chefs. These include Au Pied de Cochon in Paris and Brasserie Lipp, Philippe (by Philippe Chow); Nobu, Morimoto; and Pámpano, owned by opera icon Plácido Domingo, who was born in Mexico. There are locations of the luxury Japanese restaurant Suntory, Rome’s renowned Alfredo, as well as Morton’s and The Palm in New York, as well as Monte Carlo’s BeefBar. Three of Lima’s most renowned Haute Peruvian restaurants have outlets in Mexico City: La Mar, Segundo Muelle, and Astrid y Gastón.


Association football is the most popular and widely aired franchised sport in the nation. Its key venues in Mexico City include the Azteca Stadium, which is home to Mexico’s national football team and giants América. The stadium seats 105,000 people, making it the largest in Latin America. The Olympic Stadium in Ciudad Universitaria is home to Universidad Nacional, a football team with a capacity of nearly 63,000. The Estadio Azul, which seats 35,000 supporters, is located in the Nochebuena area of Mexico City, near the World Trade Center. It is home to the giants Cruz Azul. The three clubs are situated in Mexico City and compete in the First Division; they are also members of Mexico’s traditional “Big Four,” along with Guadalajara giants Club Deportivo Guadalajara (though recent years have tended to erode the teams’ leading position, at least in the standings). In 1970 and 1986, Mexico hosted the FIFA World Cup, and Azteca Venue became the only stadium in World Cup history to hold the final twice.

Mexico City is Latin America’s lone Olympic host city, having hosted the Summer Olympics in 1968, defeating bids from Buenos Aires, Lyon, and Detroit. (This, too, will alter as a result of Rio’s hosting of the 2016 Summer Olympics). The city hosted the Pan American Games in 1955 and 1975, the latter when Santiago and So Paulo withdrew. In 1974 and 1994, the ICF Flatwater Racing World Championships were held here. Lucha libre is a Mexican type of wrestling that is one of the country’s most popular sports. Arena México and Arena Coliseo are the city’s primary venues.

Geography of Mexico City

Mexico City is situated in the Valley of Mexico, which is often referred to as the Mexico Basin. This valley is situated in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt in south-central Mexico’s high plateaus. It is located at a minimum height of 2,200 meters (7,200 feet) above sea level and is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes with altitudes exceeding 5,000 meters. This valley lacks a natural drainage outlet for the rivers that pour from the surrounding mountains, leaving the city prone to floods. Drainage began in the 17th century with the construction of canals and tunnels.

Mexico City is mostly built on the site of what was formerly Lake Texcoco. Seismic activity is common in this area. Beginning in the 17th century, Lake Texcoco was drained. Although no lake water remains, the city is built on the intensely saturated clay of the lake bed. This spongy foundation is collapsing as a result of excessive groundwater extraction, a phenomenon known as groundwater-related subsidence. The city has fallen up to nine meters in certain sections since the turn of the twentieth century. This sinking creates issues with runoff and wastewater treatment, resulting in floods, particularly during the rainy season. The lake bed has been completely built over, and the city’s remaining woodland portions are concentrated in the southern boroughs of Milpa Alta, Tlalpan, and Xochimilco.

Economy of Mexico City

Mexico City is one of Latin America’s most prominent economic centers. The city proper (Federal District) accounts for 15.8 percent of the country’s GDP.

According to a PwC research, Mexico City has a GDP of $390 billion, placing it eighth among the world’s wealthiest cities, after Tokyo, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Paris, London, and Osaka/Kobe (and the richest in the whole of Latin America).

President Carlos Salinas de Gortari’s economic reforms had a significant impact on the city, since a number of enterprises, including banks and airlines, were privatized. Additionally, he ratified the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This resulted in decentralization and a change in the economic foundation of Mexico City from manufacturing to services, as the majority of companies relocated to the State of Mexico or, more typically, the northern border. By contrast, corporate office buildings are often located in urban areas.

Internet, Communication in Mexico City


Mexico City offers excellent internet connectivity. There are a few internet cafés scattered across the city, the most of them are located in Zona Rosa, but their numbers are gradually declining as more people get access to the internet through their cellphones. The hourly rate fluctuates between ten and twenty pesos. Look for the term ‘Cyber’ or ‘CiberCafe’ to locate a location that offers internet connection.

Free wi-fi hotspots are accessible throughout the city, most notably in public squares, along Reforma, and within retail malls, cafés, and restaurants. Other hotspots across the city (such as those at the airport and Sanborns restaurants) are not free and are often provided by Telmex’s Internet business, Prodigy Móvil. To join in such locations, users must subscribe to the service or purchase a prepaid card called “Tarjeta Multifon”; tourists from the United States may connect using their AT&T or T-Mobile Internet accounts. Cards are available in Sanborns restaurants, Telmex locations, and several other locations that provide telephony-related items.


If someone calls you, the country code is +52, followed by the area code (55), and finally the eight-digit phone number. You may need to add a 1 between +52 and 55 if you’re using a mobile phone. To make a long distance call in Mexico from a landline, dial the national call prefix 01 followed by the area code. Begin with the area code on a mobile phone. To make an international long distance call, dial 00 followed by the country code; for example, to call the United States, dial 00+1 followed by the area code; to call the United Kingdom, dial 00+44 followed by the area code, and so on.

If you want to use your cellular phone, you may get it unlocked prior to your departure. Once in Mexico City, you may acquire a Telcel or Movistar SIM card, often referred to as a “chip.” This will get a Mexican mobile phone number for you. Bear in mind that this is a prepaid mobile phone choice. You get free incoming calls. Long-distance callers must dial +52 1 followed by the area code 8 or 7 digit phone number. Mexico City (55), Guadalajara (33) and Monterrey (81) all have eight-digit telephone dialing codes and two-digit area codes. The remainder of the nation uses seven-digit telephone numbers and three-digit area codes. Within the nation, long distance costs have been eliminated.

Making a call from a Mexican phone (landline or mobile) to a Mexican cell phone is referred to as El Que Llama Paga, which translates as “only the caller pays for the air time.” From a landline, dial the 044 prefix followed by the ten-digit number consisting of the area code and the desired mobile number, for example, 044 55 12345678. Simply begin with the area code from a mobile phone.

Another option is to purchase a prepaid Mexican phone kit; these frequently include more air time than the kit costs; air time in Mexico is referred to as Tiempo Aire. For Telcel, these kits are called Amigo Kits; for Movistar, they are called Movistar Prepago Kits; and for Iusacell, they are called Viva Kits. With these kits, you can just retain the phone as a spare for anytime you are in Mexico; there are no further charges between usage. These kits, which start at around $30 USD, are available at thousands of mobile phone dealerships, as well as OXXO convenience stores and even supermarkets.



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