The city is officially divided into 16 delegaciones (boroughs) which are in turn subdivided into colonias (neighborhoods), of which there are over 1700; however, it is better to think of the city in terms of districts to facilitate the visitor getting around. Many older towns like Coyoacán, San Angel and Tlalpan got merged into the urban sprawl, and each of these still manages to preserve some of their original and unique characteristics.
Mexico City (Spanish: México, Ciudad de México, or D.F. (pronounced deh eh-feh)) is the capital city of Mexico, and the largest city in North America by population.
Mexico City's night life is like all other aspects of the city; it is huge. There is an enormous selection of venues: clubs, bars, restaurants, cafes, and variations and combinations thereof to choose from. There is incredible variation, from ultramodern lounges in Santa Fe and Reforma, to centuries-old dance halls in Centro and Roma. There are also pubs in Tlalpan and Coyoacán and clubs of every stripe in Insurgentes, Polanco, Condesa and the Zona Rosa.
The origins of Mexico City date back to 1325, when the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan was founded and later destroyed in 1521 by Spanish conqueror Hernan Cortes. The city served as the capital of the Vice-royalty of New Spain until the outbreak of the Independence War in 1810. The city became the capital of the Mexican Empire in 1821 and of the Mexican Republic in 1823 after the abdication of Agustin de Iturbide. During the Mexico-US war in 1847, the city was invaded by the American army. In 1864 the French invaded Mexico and the emperor Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg ruled the country from the Castillo de Chapultepec and ordered to build Avenue of the Empress (today's Paseo de la Reforma promenade).
Porfirio Díaz assumed power in 1876 and left an outstanding mark in the city with many European styled buildings such as the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Palacio Postal. Diaz was overthrown in 1910 with the Mexican Revolution and this marked a radical change in the city's architecture. The 20th century saw the uncontrolled growth of the City beyond the Centro Historico with the influx of thousands of immigrants from the rest of the country. In 1968, the city was host to the Olympic Games, which saw the construction of the Azteca Stadium, the Palacio de los Deportes, the Olympic Stadium and other sports facilities. In 1985 the city suffered an 8.1 Magnitude earthquake. Between 10,000 and 40,000 people were killed. 412 buildings collapsed and another 3,124 buildings were seriously damaged in the city.
Mexico City ranks 8th in terms of GDP size among 30 world cities. More than a third of the total Mexican economy is concentrated here. The size of its economy is USD315 billion, that's compared to USD1.1 trillion for New York City and USD575 billion for Chicago. Mexico City is the wealthiest city in all of Latin America, with a GDP per capita of USD25,258. Mexico City's poverty rate is also the lowest in all of Mexico, which in turns ranks about a third of the way from the top in per-capita GDP among the countries of the world. Mexico City's Human Development Index (2009-MHDI) is the highest in Mexico at 0.9327. It is home to the Mexican Stock Exchange. Most of the large local and multinational corporations are headquartered here, mainly in the Polanco and Santa Fe districts.
Mexico City weather is divided in two seasons, dry season from November to April, and the rainy season from May to October. Spring months are warm, while the summer months can vary from light to heavy rains especially in the late afternoon. Dawn in the Fall and winter get really cold, but with an amazingly clear sky. Temperatures range from 0°C in late October, November, December and January mornings, to 32°C in March, April and May during mid-day highs.
The city sits in a valley surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, which results in poor air circulation and a tendency for air pollutants to stagnate over the city. Due to the extremely rapid pace of urbanization in the twentieth century little consideration was given to environmental planning. By 1987, air quality had deteriorated so much that one day thousands of birds appeared dead on the sidewalks of the city. Environmentalists attributed this to air pollution. This shocking event encouraged authorities to implement measures to improve air quality. Most heavy industries (glass, car and steel factories) and oil refineries were relocated outside of the city and unleaded vehicle fuels were introduced.
Today, the air quality is in much better shape. Ozone and carbon dioxide levels are falling. Although the smog layer is visible nearly every day, its effects in terms of breathing and eye irritation are barely noticeable and it should not be cause for concern for visitors. Pollution is in maximum effect in the hot, dry season of spring, from late February to early May and there is a greenhouse effect that appears during winter from late November to early February. You can check the current air quality on the [url=http://www.sma.df.gob.mx/simat]Atmospheric Monitoring System website[/url]. This government body established an index denominated IMECA (Metropolitan Index for Air Quality) in order to make the population aware of the current air pollution situation.
When the index exceeds 170 points, an "Environmental pre-contingency" is issued and people are asked to refrain from performing open-air activities such as sports. In the case of an "Environmental Contingency," only vehicles with a zero or double zero emissions sticker can circulate.
The catastrophic earthquake of 8.1 magnitude on the Richter scale that took place on the morning of 19 September 1985, killing 9,000 to 30,000 people, remains fresh in the memory of the majority of Mexico City's inhabitants. Since the city was established on the dry bed of lake Texcoco and several geological faults that originate in the Pacific coast reach the city, earthquakes are a common phenomenon. Right after the 1985 earthquake, many constructions were reinforced and new buildings are designed to meet structural criteria by law and no major building collapse has happened since, even after several strong earthquakes. You can check the latest earthquake activity at the [url=http://www.ssn.unam.mx/]National Earthquake Centre[/url] an institute of the National University (UNAM).
Should you happen to be in the middle of an earthquake, remain calm and follow some simple rules: if you are indoors, stay under the doorways, move away from objects that can fall, and/or follow exit paths ("Rutas de Evacuación") out to the streets; if you are outdoors, move away from slopes or electrical wires towards open areas or marked "safe zones."
With a population of more than 20 million in the greater metropolitan area, you can expect to find all kinds of people in Mexico City, in terms of racial, sexual, political, cultural and wealth diversity. Citizens are mostly Mestizo (people of mixed European and Amerindian racial background) and white. Amerindian people constitute less than one percent of the city's population, but there are some who are still moving to the city in search of opportunities. As elsewhere in Latin America, socioeconomic status tends to be highly correlated with ethnicity in Mexico City: by and large, the upper and middle classes have more European ancestry than the poor and the lower classes.
The city, as the rest of the country, has a very unequal distribution of wealth that can be characterized geographically, generally speaking, as follows: the middle and upper classes tend to live in the west of the city (concentrated in the delegaciones of Benito Juarez, Miguel Hidalgo, Coyoacan, Tlalpan, Cuajimalpa and Alvaro Obregon). The east of the city, most notably Iztapalapa (the most populous delegacion) is much poorer. The same applies to municipalities of greater Mexico City (Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl, Chalco, Chimalhuacán). Although there are pockets of poverty everywhere (and often side by side with the shiny-glitzy condos of the nouveau riche, like in Santa Fe in Cuajimalpa), it is easily noticeable that as one travels east the buildings begin to look more shabby and the people look increasingly browner--a testimony to Mexico's heritage of racial and socioeconomic inequality.
Since it is a big city, it is the home of large foreign communities, like Cubans, Spaniards, Americans, Japanese, Chilean, Lebanese, and more recently Argentines and Koreans. Mexico City has a number of ethnic districts with restaurants and shops that cater to groups such as Chinese and Lebanese Mexicans.
It is the temporary home to many expats too, working here for the many multinational companies operating in Mexico. Foreigners of virtually any ethnic background may not get a second look if they dress conservatively and attempt to speak Spanish.
Mexico City is one of the most liberal cities in Latin America, and was the first jurisdiction in the region to legalize same-sex marriage (in December 2009). As such, this is generally a gay friendly city, particularly in the Zona Rosa District. Abortion on demand is also legal, as well as euthanasia and prostitution (the latter allowed only in designated districts).
Although Mexico City is considered an expensive city, your trip budget will depend on your lifestyle and way of travelling, as you can find cheap and expensive prices for almost everything. Public transportation is very cheap and there are many affordable places to eat. On the other hand you can find world-class hotels and fancy restaurants with higher prices. A daily backpacker budget for transportation and meals should range between 100 to 200 pesos a day (USD10-20), using public transport and eating at street stands, while a more comfortable budget should range between 200 to 500 pesos a day (USD20-50) using private taxis (taxi de sitio) and eating at decent sit-down restaurants. For those with more expendable cash, you can find plenty of outlets for your dollars, euros, pounds, yen...etc.
The addressing system is fairly simple has the street name, house number, colonia (neighborhood), city, state and postal code. Many are confused by the fact that the house number comes after the street name, unlike in the US and some other countries where the number precedes the street.
In Mexico City the street and neighborhoods have been named after an important person or a specific place like Porfirio Díaz Street and Santa Martha de Axtlahuacan Colonia. A typical address could be something like this: Colima 15, Colonia Roma Norte, Mexico, Distrito Federal, 06760. The european house numbering applies generally, having ordered odd and even numbers on each side of the street respectively.
Although some compact flash cards can be found at several different locations, don't expect to find exactly what you are looking for. Look for stores such as Radio Shack, Office Depot, Office Max, Best Buy or Wal-Mart. Prices tend to be on the high end, but they are still affordable. You could also try some of the places that are dedicated to selling photographic equipment, they are easily identified because you will see the street signs for well known brand names. It is not unusual, however, for high-end camera retailers to offer few if any accessories.
You can print your photos at most of the major chains of pharmacies around town, look for Farmacias Benavides, Farmacias Guadalajara or Farmacias del Ahorro (with a white 'A' inside a red circle). Prices differ from store to store. Also, while near the Zocalo on the street Republica de Brasil, many people standing on the side of the sidewalk will verbally advertise "imprentas." They are offering stationery printing services, not photographic printing.
For people who love to do street photography, a good place to start is in front of the Bellas Artes square, during afternoons. There is a smorgasbord of faces cutting across the square and perching on one of the benches for an hour will easily give you access to photography fodder. Many street dwellers have learned to ask for money before allowing you to shoot them. Sympathize and accept it as it is worth it.
Keep in mind that some museums, like the Museum of National History in the Chapultepec, charge an extra fee for those with video cameras. Also in most museums, flash photography is not permitted.
This airport is in the City of Toluca 50 km southwest of Mexico City and recently transformed itself from a general aviation airport into the hub of several domestic low-cost carriers such as Interjet and Volaris which serve destinations as Monterrey, Cancún, Guadalajara, Tijuana, and many other Mexican cities. As of September 2009, Toluca is served internationally by Spirit Airlines from Fort Lauderdale and Houston as well as by Interjet from San Antonio. Reaching the Toluca airport is not easy, You will need to drive your own car or hire a taxi, which can be expensive.
* Caminante offers the best transportation from and to Toluca's airport. It has the biggest fleet of taxis at the best price and it also includes deluxe Mercedes Benz vans.
* Volaris offers free airport shuttle from its [wiki=94afbd02474dab5a14d2ee62f3685534]Santa Fe[/wiki] office in Vasco de Quiroga Avenue
* Interjet offers shuttles that are property of Caminante, from several hotels around the city, including the [wiki=94afbd02474dab5a14d2ee62f3685534]Santa Fe[/wiki] Sheraton Hotel.
Depending on your overall trip, it might also be worth considering flying to nearby cities as Cuernavaca (CVJ) and Puebla (PBC), but reaching Mexico City from these places could be quite tiresome and expensive.
Although most of foreign travelers will reach Mexico City by air, it is also possible to arrive by bus. Greyhound offers several connecting routes from the United States to the border cities and it is possible to buy one single ticket from many major cities in the U.S. to Mexico. Grupo Estrella Blanca, a partner with Greyhound offering service from the U.S. down to Mexico City and anywhere in between. From Guatemala one can travel by Transportes Galgos, Tica Bus, King Quality or Linea Dorada to Tapachula where the traveler transfers to an OCC/ADO or FYPSA bus to continue to Mexico City. Likewise one can also take take the Linea Dorada bus or a chicken bus to La Mesilla/Ciudad Cuauhtemoc and continue to Mexico City via Comitan and Tuxtla Guttierrez on OCC/ADO or a shuttle van from Guatemala (booked in Antigua or Panajachel) to San Cristobal de las Casas and transfer to an ownard bus . Traveling by bus in Mexico is comfortable compared to other countries, since many Mexicans used to travel by bus until the recent break up of the CINTRA monopoly (that controlled both Mexicana and Aeromexico) and introduction of several low-cost airlines.
There are four major bus station in Mexico City based on the compass directions:
* Most buses departing to & from bordering towns with the U.S.such as Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Tijuana, Reynosa, even Ciudad Juarez. Other destinations that depart from this terminal: Acapulco, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Puerto Vallarta, Monterrey, Leon, Querétaro, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi, Hermosillo, Tijuana. Overall, buses are bound to northern Mexico
* also known as Terminal de Autobuses Observatorio. Usually used for destinations in the western part of Mexico such as Colima, Manzanillo, Morelia, Puerto Vallarta, Toluca in the states of Colima, Jalisco, Michocoan and the western part of Mexico state.
* Buses from here go south of Mexico City such as, Acapulco, Cuernavaca, Taxco and various places in Guerrero, Morelos & southern part of Mexico state.
* Serving destinations in the eastern & southeastern states of Veracruz, Puebla, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Tlaxcala, Campeche, Tobasco and the Guatemalan border.
Note: 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.
The below are the major bus lines going between Mexico City and various destinations in the country. The same bus company can serve more than one of the above stations:
* operates as ADO, ADO GL, AU, OCC (Omnibus Cristobal Colon), Platino, Estrella de Oro, and the [url=http://www.ticketbus.com.mx]Boletotal/Ticketbus[/url] booking site. They operate mainly in Guerrero, Puebla, Veracruz, Chiapas, Tamaulipas, Tabasco, and the Yucatan Peninsula (Yucatan, Quintana Roo and Campeche). Travel to/from Guatemala via [wiki=991b13590fefb43008d2e7384a74173b#By_bus]Tapachula[/wiki] or Tuxtla Guttierrez and to Belize through [wiki=9c395beea3c21ee027d792d4d0f773f8#By_bus]Chetumal[/wiki].
* operates mainly between Mexico City and various places in Guerrero, Veracruz and Hidalgo states.
* goes from Mexico DF to the surrounding Mexico state and beyond to Colima, Guerreo, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacan and Queretaro states.
* travels mainly between Mexico City and Toluca
* Serves Mexico state, Morelos and Guerrero. They also operate the Turistar, Elite and AMS bus lines.
* They also operate the Elite, TNS (Transportes Norte de Sonora), Chihuahuanese, Pacifico, Oriente, TF (Tranporte Frontera) and Autobus Americanos bus lines. They also sell tickets for onward travel into the United States from the border on [url=http://www.greyhound.com]Greyhound Lines[/url]. They operate mainly in Aguascaliente, Baja California Norte, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michocoan, Nayrit, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora & Zacatecas states and up to the U.S. border.
* operates mainly between Mexico City and Puebla
* Aguascaliente, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Nayrit, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa & Zacatecas states.
* a subsidiary brand of Grupo Flecha Amarilla
* operates mainly between Mexico City and various places in Mexico, Hidalgo and Queretaro states on the Flecha Roja brand and to additional places in Mexico, Guerro and Morelos states as 'Aguila'.
* operates mainly between DF, Mexico, Oaxaca and Chiapas states
* goes up to the north central parts of the country and into the U.S. state of Texas
* Independent second bus to the 'piramides' or the Teotihuacan ruins/pyramids, S Juan Teotihuacan, Texcoco, Pachuca, Tulacingo, and other places in the NE part of Mexico state and east to Tlaxcala and Puebla states.
* goes from Mexico DF to the surrounding Mexico, Guerreo and Michoacan states
The only train from Mexico City's Buenavista train station (formerly served by long distance trains when they were operating) is the Ferrocarriles de Suburbano [url=http://www.fsuburbanos.com/]]going up to Cuautitlan as a commuter train. Plans are underway to expand the commuter rail system.
Long distance passenger train services ceased operating in Mexico over ten years ago with only the Chihuahua Pacífico route still operating between [[Chihuahua[/url]] and [wiki=0b693c8023f956ad2f5bd8cbf5e3f83a]Los Mochis[/wiki], crossing through the Sierra & the Copper Canyon [http://www.chepe.com.mx].
Officially named Sistema de Transporte Colectivo, but known simply as Metro [http://www.metro.df.gob.mx/red/index.html][http://transmetro.mobi/mxc], it is one of the largest and most used subway systems in the world, comprised by 12 different lines that measure more than 225.9 km and carry 7.6 million people every day. You'll quickly see how busy it is, particularly during the day: trains are often filled to significantly over capacity, and sometimes it will be hot and uncomfortable. 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 (tickets for one trip with unlimited transfers within the system cost 5 pesos). 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. 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. Operating hours are from 5AM to midnight on weekdays (starts at 6AM on Saturday and 7AM on Sunday), so if your plans will keep you out beyond midnight, be sure to have alternate means of transport.
Although the Metro lacks informational signs in English, the system was originally 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. However, even with this user-friendly approach, entire maps of the Metro system are not posted everywhere that you'd like. They're usually only near ticket booths; there are no maps on the trains and only or two are posted per platform, so work out your route before going through the turnstiles, and have a Metro map on you. Trains and platforms do have a line diagram with icons and transfer points for easy reference.
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 Centro Historico (Salto del Agua and Isabel la Catolica stations), the Chapultepec Forest (Chapultepec Station), Condesa and Roma neighborhoods (Insurgentes and Sevilla stations) and the Northwest Bus Station (Observatorio station). Line 2 (blue) runs through the Centro Historico (Allende, Zocalo and Bellas Artes stations) and reaches the South Bus Station (Tasqueña). Line 7 (orange) runs through many touristic spots such as the Chapultepec Forest (Auditorio Station) and the Polanco neighborhood (Polanco Station). Line 9 (brown) runs near the Condesa neighborhood (Chilpancingo and Patriotismo). Line 3 (green) runs near Coyoacan (Coyoacan and Miguel Angel de Quevedo stations) and also near the University City (Copilco and Universidad stations). If traveling to and from the airport, you'll use Line 5 (yellow) to connect to terminal 1 (Terminal Aérea station) or 1, 5, 9, A to Terminal 2 (Pantitlán station). Line 6 (red) runs east-west to the north of the city and runs next to the Basílica de Guadalupe. Line 12 has Insurgentes Sur station, farther south on Insurgentes Avenue than Chilpancingo and Insurgentes stations.
Here are a few of the commonly-used Metro signs translated into English:
* Taquilla - Ticket booth
* Entrada - Entrance
* Salida - Exit
* No Pase - Do not enter
* Andenes - Train platforms
* Correspondencia - Line transfer
* Dirección - Direction you are heading inside a line: one of the two terminal stations. Each platform has a large sign indicating which direction that train heads. For example, if you are travelling on Line 1 from Insurgentes to Pino Suárez stations, you are heading in the direction of the Pantitlán terminus ("Dirección Pantitlán"). On your return trip, you would be heading in the direction of the Observatorio terminus ("Dirección Observatorio").
As you enter a Metro station, look for the ticket booth. There might be a short queue for tickets, and to avoid having to always stand in line, many people buy a small handful of tickets at a time. A sign is posted by the ticket window that shows how much it would cost for any number of tickets. Once you approach the agent, simply drop some money into the tray and announce (in Spanish) how many tickets you would like ("uno" for MXN5, "cinco" for MXN25, "diez" for MXN50, and so on). You do not need to say anything about where you are going, since fares are the same for everywhere in the system. There are plastic Metro cards also that cost MXN10 and work on other public transit systems in the city, where you can put a desired amount of money and spend it at turnstiles.
Once you have your ticket (boleto) it is time to go through the turnstiles (but make sure to confirm your route on a map first!). The stiles are clearly marked for exit or entry but if you are confused, simply follow the crowd. Insert the ticket into the slot (it does not matter which direction is up or forward) and a small display will flash, indicating you may proceed. You won't get the ticket back. Frequent Metro users usually use Metro cards instead of tickets, so if you see any turnstiles marked with "solo tarjeta" ("card only") that means the ticket reader is broken; just move to another turnstile. Line 12 accepts only Metro cards if you enter at a station belonging to this line (you can still enter another line with a ticket and freely transfer to Line 12 at a corresponding station).
Past the turnstiles, signs that tell you where to go depending on your direction within the Line are usually clearly marked, as are signs that tell you where to transfer to a different line. There is no standard station layout, but they are all designed to facilitate vast amounts of human traffic, so following the crowd works well, as long you double check the signs to make sure the crowd is taking you in the same direction.
On the platform, try to stand near the edge. During rush hours when it can get pretty crowded, there is sometimes a mad rush on and off the train. Although for the most part people are respectful and usually let departing passengers off first, train doors are always threatening to close and that means you need to be moderately aggressive if you don't want to get left behind. If you're traveling in a group, this could mean having to travel separately. At the ends of the platform, the train is usually less crowded, so you could wait there, but during rush hours some busier stations reserve those sections of platform exclusively for women and children for their safety.
While on the train, sometimes you will see a steady stream of people walking through the carriages announcing their wares for sale. Act as if you are used to them (that is, ignore them, unless they need to pass you). Most often you'll see the city's blind population make their living by selling pirate music CD's, blaring their songs through amplifiers carried in a backpack. There are people who "perform" (such as singing, or repeatedly somersaulting shirtless onto a pile of broken glass) and expect a donation. There are also people who hand out candy or snacks between stops, and if you eat it or keep it you are expected to pay for it; if you don't want it, they'll take it back before the next stop. It can be quite amusing, or sad at times, but don't laugh or be disrespectful... this is how they make a living. The best thing to do is observing how others around you behave, but you can usually just avoid eye contact with these merchants and they will leave you alone. (Since December 2013, such activities have been made (technically) illegal in the metro and the number of vendors decreased, although has not disappeared.)
If the merchants weren't enough, the trains are usually just crowded places to be. You may not get seats if you are traveling through the city center during the day, and even if you do, it's considered good manners to offer your seat to the aged, pregnant or disabled, as all cars have clearly marked handicap seats. In keeping with the mad rush on and off the train, people will move toward the exits before the train stops, so let them through and feel free to do the same when you need to (a "con permiso" helps, but body language speaks the loudest here).
A few words of warning: there have been incidences of pickpocketing. Keep your belongings close to you; if you have bags, close them and keep them in sight. As long as you are alert and careful you won't have any problems. Women have complained of being groped on extremely crowded trains; this is not a problem on designated women's wagons, or any other time than rush hour. If theft or any other sort of harassment do occur, you can stop the train and attract the attention of the authorities by pulling on alarms near the doors, which are labeled "señal de alarma."
When exiting, follow the crowd through signs marked Salida. Many stations have multiple exits to different streets (or different sides of streets, marked with a cardinal direction) and should have posted road maps that show the immediate area with icons for banks, restaurants, parks and so forth. Use these to orient yourself and figure out where you need to go. A good tip is to remember what side of the tracks you are on, these are marked in such maps with a straight line the color of the metro line you are traveling.
There are two kinds of buses. The first, are full-sized buses operated by the City Government known as RTP [url=http://www.rtp.gob.mx/]]and cost MXN2 anywhere you go. Make sure to pay with exact change as they don't give change back. The second kind of buses are known as "Microbuses" or "Peseros". These buses are private-run and come in small and bigger sizes, all rather ominous looking. Peseros cost 3.00 pesos for shorter trips, 3.50 for 6-12 km trips and 4 pesos for 12+ km trips. Full-sized private buses are 3.50 pesos for shorter trips, and 4.50 for longer trips.
Both type of buses usually stop at the same places, which are totally random and unmarked stops just before intersections. Routes are also very complex and flexible, so be sure to ask someone, perhaps the driver, if the bus even goes to your destination, 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 probably a safer and more comfortable way than the private franchised and smaller microbuses who are known to 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.
Established in June 2005, the Metrobús operates in dedicated lanes along Insurgentes, Vallejo and Eje 4 Avenues. Line 4 runs through the city center and to the airport. Plans exist for additional routes. It costs 6 pesos to ride, but a Metro card must be bought in advance (15 pesos) at vending machines. There are stops approximately every 500m. Expect it to be crowded around the clock, but its a great way to get up and down these two major thoroughfares very rapidly. While the Metrobús operates only in these lines avenues, you must check the bus’ billboard before boarding to see which is the last stop they will visit, for some don't go from end to end of the line. There are reserved areas (indicated on the platforms) for women.
"Trolebuses" [http://www.ste.df.gob.mx/servicios/lineas.html] 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 can be a little slower than regular buses, since they are unable to change lanes as quickly. There is a flat fare of 4 pesos, and bus drivers do not give out change.
The Tren Ligero [http://www.ste.df.gob.mx/servicios/trenligero.html] is operated by Electric Transport Services and consists of one single line that runs south of the city, connecting with Metro station Tasqueña (Line 2, blue; alternatively you may see it spelled as Taxqueña). For tourists, it is useful if you plan to visit Xochimilco or the Azteca stadium. The rate for a single ride is 3 pesos, and while the ticketing system works very similarly to the Metro, the tickets are not the same. You must purchase light rail tickets separately; they are sold at most stations along the line. The Metro card works for the light rail.
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 6 pesos to get into the cab, and about 0.7 pesos 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.
Although safety has in recent years substantially improved, catching cabs in the street may be dangerous. Taxi robberies, so-called "express kidnappings", where the victim is robbed and then taken on a trip to various ATMs to max out their credit cards, do sometimes occur, but there are some general precautions that will minimize the risk:
* Taxis have special license plates. The registration number starts with "A" for free-roaming taxis, and with "B" for base taxis (registered taxis based on a certain spot, called "sitios"). Base taxis are safer. These plates are white and have a small green and red squares at the bottom corners.
* The taxi license should be displayed inside the taxi; usually it is mounted somewhere above the windshield. Check that the photo of the driver on the license is of the actual driver. Make a point of looking at it.
* Look for the meter. Without it, they will be more likely to rip you off. All taxis in Mexico city have meters.
* If you are nervous, take sitio taxis only. These may be a bit more expensive, but they are well worth the expense.
* If you are safety-conscious or require additional comfort, consider radio taxis, which can be called by phone, and are extremely reliable and safe, although a bit pricier than other taxis. Most restaurants, hotels, etc. have the number for radio taxis. Radio taxis will usually give you the price for the trip on the phone when you order them. Radio taxis charge more than regular taxis, but are available all night. Hotel taxis will be significantly more expensive than site or radio taxis.
* As with absolutely everything else, risks are greater at night. At night, radio taxis are recommended.
Having a good data connection and tracking your route on google maps while in a taxi is a great way to know if you are being taken for a ride. Different Taxi meters incredibly start at different starting points obviously because of taxi drivers fiddling around with the meter. Catching a cab in the Centro area usually gives you a fair ride but many other places you could get ripped. Most taxi drivers don't speak english so knowing some spanish would go a long way!
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, andriod 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 [http://www.taxiaviso.com ]. For those travelers that have the Uber app on their smartphones, they can also request a ride in Mexico City.
The Turibus [http://www.turibus.com.mx] is a sightseeing double-decker 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 MXN140 (MXN165 on Saturday/Sunday, October 2014) and its main route includes the Zona Rosa, Chapultepec Park, Polanco, Condesa, Roma and the Historic Center. There are 4 routes, one runs from Fuente de la Cibeles in Condesa to Coyoacan and Xochimilco. Your ticket is valid for all routes. Be prepared to spent a lot of time in traffic jams, hence start your tours early. Each tour takes quite a long time, between 1.5h and 3h.
If you get absolutely lost and you are far away from your hotel, hop into a pesero (mini bus) or bus that takes you to a Metro station [http://www.metro.df.gob.mx/red/index.html]; most of them do. Look for the sign with the stylized metro "M" in the front window. From there and using the wall maps you can get back to a more familiar place.
Driving around by car is the least advised way to visit the city due to the complicated road structure, generally reckless drivers, and the 3.5 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 to 4 hours at peak times. The condition of pavement in freeways such as Viaducto and Periferico 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 only until recently some have been 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. There is only one company that has been able to map the entire city, Guia Roji [url=http://www.guiaroji.com.mx].]Shortcuts are complicated and often involve about six to eight turns.
Street parking (Estacionamiento in Spanish) is scarce around the City and practically nonexistent in crowded areas. Where available expect to pay between $12 to $18 pesos an hour while most of hotels charge between $25 to $50 pesos 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 $10 pesos an hour and are free on weekends. 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 between $10 to $20 pesos 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.
Hoy No Circula (Today You Do Not Circulate) is an extremely important anti-traffic and anti-pollution program that all visitors including foreigners must take into consideration when wishing to drive through Mexico City and nearby Mexico State with their foreign-plated vehicles, as they are not immune to these restrictions. It limits vehicle circulation to certain restricted hours during the day depending on the last digit of your plate number (plates with all letters are automatically assigned a digit). Currently, Mexico City, but not the State of Mexico, offers a special pass good for 2 weeks, that allows someone with a foreign-plated vehicle to be exempt from these restrictions. [url=http://www.sma.df.gob.mx/pasetur/[/url]]Excellent details of how the program works for locals and foreigners is found at the following link: [http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoy_No_Circula[/url].
The visitor should take into consideration the following tips when driving: avenues have preference over streets and streets over closed streets. Continuous right turn even when traffic light red is allowed. Seat belts are mandatory for both front seats. Police generally drive with their lights on, but if you're stopped by a police car, it is likely they will try to get money out from you. It is up to you if you accept to do so, the latest government sponsored trend is to refuse giving them anything.
Biking is probably the best way to get around, for trips of a reasonable distance of course. You can't get stuck in traffic. So it might be the only form of transportation besides walking that will reliably get you to your destination on time. And you don't have to squeeze yourself into crowded trains or buses.
There is a public bike system called [url=https://www.ecobici.df.gob.mx/]ecobici[/url]. For the longer, better priced membership you need to have a Mexican bank account, or someone with a Mexican bank account to sponsor you and put down the deposit. It may be worth it to open an account with a bank that charges little or no fees to do so. Once you've done that, the fastest way to get started is to visit one of ecobici's offices.
On Sundays Paseo de la Reforma, one of the main streets of the city, is closed to cars and many people bike and walk there. The city sets up places where you can rent a bike for free. A map is [url=http://ciudadmexico.com.mx/mapas/cicloestaciones.htm]here[/url]. You can rent it for up to 3 hours and you need to leave your passport. More information is [url=http://ciudadmexico.com.mx/bicicleta.htm]here[/url]
Plaza de la Constitución, commonly known as Zócalo in the [wiki=891d2a05f452182755d987be0d950ed7]Centro Historico (Historic Downtown)[/wiki] is one of the largest squares in the world, surrounded by historic buildings, including the City Hall and the Cathedral.
*La Catedral the biggest in the Americas. Containing many altars, its principle altar is made from solid gold.
* Angel de la Independencia or simply known as "El Angel" is a monument in Reforma Avenue and Florencia Street, near [wiki=d31521ca8bf2b5f167e93e61a6fe7595]Zona Rosa[/wiki]. This monument celebrates Mexico's independence in 1810.
* Basílica de Guadalupe [url=http://www.virgendeguadalupe.org.mx],]Catholicism's holiest place in the Americas, and the destination of pilgrims from all over the world, especially during the yearly celebration on the 12th of December. Located at [[Mexico City/La_Villa_de_Guadalupe|La Villa de Guadalupe[/url]], it is the shrine that guards the poncho of Juan Diego that contains the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and is in the northernmost part of the city.
* Ciudad Universitaria- The main campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, [url=http://www.unam.mx]]the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Located on Insurgentes Sur Avenue, it is one of the world's largest universities, with more than 270,000 students every semester. In 2007 it was declared a UNESCO world heritage place.
* Coyoacán- historic Colonial Arts district which was home to Frida Kahlo, Leon Trotsky, and Diego Rivera, amongst others.
* Plaza Garibaldi-Mariachi- The square is surrounded by cafés and restaurants much favored by tourists, and in these and in the square itself groups of musicians play folk music. Most of these groups are "mariachis" from Jalisco, dressed in Charro costume and playing trumpets, violins, guitars and the guitarrón or bass guitar. Payment is expected for each song, but it is also possible to arrange for a longer performances. People set up lemonade stand style bars in the evening to sell you cheap cocktails while you listen. A visit to Mexico is not complete until you experience the fantastic Mariachi Bands, but the neighborhood is a bit sketchy.
* Ciudadela crafts market- The Ciudadela is a Mexican crafts market where cultural groups from around Mexico distribute their crafts to other parts of the country and the world.
* Alameda and Paseo de la Reforma- Paseo de la Reforma ("Reform Avenue") is a 12 km long grand avenue and park in Mexico City. The name commemorates the liberal reforms of Mexican President Benito Juarez.
* Cineteca Nacional (National Film Archive)- It was the first to screen art films, and is known for its forums, retrospectives and homages. It has four screening rooms, a video and a film library, as well as a cafeteria.
* Torre Latinoamericana for stunning views of the city. Its central location, height (183 m or 597 ft; 45 stories), and history make it one of Mexico City's most important landmarks. 80 pesos to go up (March 2015)
* Torre Mayor- It's the new and highest tower in town, and highest skyscraper in Latin America, and good for more impressive views of the city.
* Mexico City US National Cemetery[http://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries/cemeteries/mx.php[/url] - 31 Virginia Fabregas, Colonia San Rafael. Open on weekdays except for December 25 and January 1; 9AM to 5PM. The cemetery is the final resting place for 750 unknown American soldiers lost during the Mexican-American War between 1846 and 1848. Another 813 Americans are also interred here. Free.
Mexico City is full of various plazas and parks scattered through every neighborhood, but the following are some of the biggest, prettiest, most interesting, or best-known.
* Chapultepec Park and Zoo Paseo de la Reforma. Is a large park of 6 km² in the middle of the city which hosts many attractions, including the city zoo and several museums such as the Modern Art Museum, the Museum of Anthropology, the Children's Museum (Museo del Papalote), the Technology Museum, the Natural History Museum and the National Museum also known as Castillo de Chapultepec, the former residence of the Austrian Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg. Nearby Metro station: "Auditorio" (Line 7, Orange).
* [wiki=cf8a80c2b5e557a2f980589318f5ccdb]Xochimilco[/wiki], a vast system of waterways and flower gardens dating back to Aztec times in the south of the city where tourists can enjoy a trip in the "trajineras" (vividly-colored boats). Trajineras pass each other carrying Mariachi or marimba bands, and floating bars and taquerias. Xochimilco is the last remnant of how Mexico City looked when the Spanish arrived to Mexico City in 1521 and it was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1987.
* Plaza Garibaldi-Mariachi, in Mexico City is surrounded by bars and restaurants that cater to Mariachi Band enthusiasts. It is where bands come to do public auditions outside, on weekend evenings, simply play for pleasure, or for whoever may pay them. A visit to Mexico is not complete until you experience the fantastic Mariachi Bands. You can also find a great "pulqueria" here (a bar that sells pulque, an interesting fermented maguey cactus drink).
* Parque Mexico and Parque España are two adjacent parks in the Colonia Condesa, which used to be part of a race track. Now they are popular for an evening stroll, and sometimes house outdoor exhibitions or concerts, and are surrounded by cool cafes and bars.
* Viveros de Coyoacán are a large expanse of greenery and trails that used to be divided into privately owned gardens and farm plots, but is now a public park popular with people joggers and amblers alike.
Mexico is the city with the largest number of museums in the world, to name some of the most popular:
* National Museum of Anthropology [wiki=e2aaafdbba03d0fe72bc651711a72715]Chapultepec[/wiki]. One of the best museums worldwide over, it was built in late 1960’s and designed by Pedro Ramírez Vázquez. Notice the huge, impressive fountain in the courtyard. It gathers the best collection of sculptures, jewels and handcrafts from ancient Mexican cultures, and could take many hours to see everything. They also have interesting international special exhibits.
* Plaza de las Tres Culturas in [wiki=82a9a51067b38f6ab22fa8925a898d8c]Tlatelolco[/wiki] has examples of modern, colonial, and pre-Columbian architecture, all around one square.
* Museum of Modern Art [wiki=e2aaafdbba03d0fe72bc651711a72715]Chapultepec[/wiki]. Here you will find paintings from Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo, as well as a sculpture garden.
* Dolores Olmedo Museum [wiki=cf8a80c2b5e557a2f980589318f5ccdb]Xochimilco[/wiki]. An art philanthropist left her former home, the grand Hacienda La Noria, as a museum featuring the works of her friend Diego Rivera. At least 137 of his works are displayed here, as well as 25 paintings of Frida Kahlo. The premises also feature beautiful gardens full of peacocks and a weird species of Aztec dog.
* Fine Arts Palace Museum (Palacio de Bellas Artes) [wiki=891d2a05f452182755d987be0d950ed7]Centro[/wiki]. A concert hall and an arts center, it houses some of Mexico's finest murals and the Art Deco interior is worth seeing alone.
* Rufino Tamayo Museum [wiki=e2aaafdbba03d0fe72bc651711a72715]Chapultepec[/wiki]. Contains the works of Mexican painter, Rufino Tamayo.
* José Luis Cuevas Museum [wiki=891d2a05f452182755d987be0d950ed7]Centro[/wiki]. Opened in 1992 and is filled with about 1,000 paintings, drawings, and sculptures from notorious artist, Jose Cuevas.
* National History Museum in Chapultepec's Castle [wiki=e2aaafdbba03d0fe72bc651711a72715]Chapultepec[/wiki]. The Museum's nineteen rooms contain, in addition to a collection of pre-Columbian material and reproductions of old manuscripts, a vast range of exhibits illustrating the history of Mexico since the Spanish conquest.
* Museo Soumaya [wiki=6d47a0efb5ae70290b2aaaaf1c41906d]Polanco[/wiki]. A museum containing the art collection of Carlos Slim, the most renowned Mexican businessman and the richest man in the world. It has a sizeable collection of paintings by Renoir, Monet, Dali and many others. The museum has an impressive architecture worth visiting.
* Papalote, children's Museum [wiki=e2aaafdbba03d0fe72bc651711a72715]Chapultepec[/wiki]. If you've got kids, they'll love it! Bright, colorful, and filled with educational experiences for children of all ages.
* Universum (National University's Museum) [wiki=ee536ce8a2e5da25765a23fcefa207a1]Coyoacán[/wiki]. A science museum maintained by UNAM, the largest university in Latin America. Take some time to wander around the Campus.
* Casa Mural Diego Rivera [wiki=891d2a05f452182755d987be0d950ed7]Centro[/wiki]. Contains murals of acclaimed artist, Diego Rivera.
* National Palace (Zocalo) [wiki=891d2a05f452182755d987be0d950ed7]Centro[/wiki]. You can see some impressive Diego Rivera frescoes. You'll need to carry some sort of ID in order to enter the building.
* San Idelfonso Museum [wiki=891d2a05f452182755d987be0d950ed7]Centro[/wiki]. There are some of Orozco's best frescoes. The temporary exhibitions are usually very good.
* Franz Meyer Museum [wiki=891d2a05f452182755d987be0d950ed7]Centro[/wiki]. Display the collections of Franz Mayer, it holds Mexico's largest decorative art collection and also hosts temporary exhibits in the fields of design and photography.
* Mexico City's Museum [wiki=891d2a05f452182755d987be0d950ed7]Centro[/wiki]. Great place to learn about Mexico City's eclectic history.
* Templo Mayor Museum (Zocalo) [wiki=891d2a05f452182755d987be0d950ed7]Centro[/wiki]. Contains the ruins and last remnants of the Aztec empire. attached to the huge archeological site where the foundations of the temple were accidentally found in the 1970s.
* San Carlos Museum [wiki=891d2a05f452182755d987be0d950ed7]Centro[/wiki]. The San Carlos Musuem holds some of Mexico's best paintings and exhibit 15th and 16th century paintings.
* National Art Museum [wiki=891d2a05f452182755d987be0d950ed7]Centro[/wiki]. The National Art Museum, houses a rich collection of Mexican art ranging from the 16th to the first half of the 20th centuries.
* National History Museum [wiki=e2aaafdbba03d0fe72bc651711a72715]Chapultepec[/wiki]. Displays a vast range of exhibits illustrating the history of Mexico since the Spanish conquest.
* Frida Kahlo Museum, [wiki=ee536ce8a2e5da25765a23fcefa207a1]Coyoacán[/wiki] Also called Casa Azul, it is the former house of the painter since she was born to her death, and full of some of her works, and many of her personal artifacts.
* Anahuacalli Museum, [wiki=ee536ce8a2e5da25765a23fcefa207a1]Coyoacán[/wiki] An impressive modern representation of Mayan architecture, it houses Diego Rivera’s collection of Aztec and other precolumbian cultures' sculptures.
* Leon Trotsky Museum [wiki=ee536ce8a2e5da25765a23fcefa207a1]Coyoacán[/wiki] This was the house where Trotsky lived in exile during the last 1.5 years of his life, and was murdered by one of Stalin's agents. Guided tours are provided by members of the Workers/ Revolutionary Party.
Independence Day "Yell"- In the evening of September 15th at 11PM, the President of the Country (or the City Mayor) salutes the crowds from the presidential balcony in the National Palace located in the Constitution Square (Zocalo)and shouts the famous "Viva Mexico". The crowd shouts back 'Viva!' after each line. The Zocalo, (as well as the rest of the city) is decorated with ornaments and lights. This is an incredible expression of Mexican patriotism combined with a party mood. Expect big crowds akin to Times Square on New Years Eve with a big revelery. Confetti eggs, spray foam, and socks filled with flour abound, so the revelry can get messy! Lonely Planet has noted that crowds can turn hostile to obvious 'gringo' visitors suspected of being from the US or Canada, but other travelers have had no trouble. Either way, pickpocketing is rampant so take only the cash you need.
* Independence Parade- In the morning of September 16th starting at 11 AM, there is a military parade that runs across Paseo de la Reforma, turns right at Juarez Avenue which later becomes Madero Street and ends at the Zocalo. Some 15,000 to 30,000 soldiers of the Mexican Army, Navy and Air Force march through the streets displaying its equipment and weapons. There is also an airshow, some of which can be seen from the parade route. This does typically impact flight schedules on Sept 16th so be aware.
* Day of the Dead November 1-2. Mexico is one of the few countries in the world that celebrates this day (Dia de los Muertos), in which people go to the cemeteries to offer tribute to their departed ones, and decorate their graves with marigolds and bright colors. But this is not a sad celebration, on the contrary, people give family and friends candy treats in the shape of skulls and bones made of sugar and chocolate, as well as delicious bread called "Pan de Muerto". Don't miss a visit to a public market to find these delicacies, and watch out for the parades to and from the local cemetaries.
*Wise Men's day January 6. Most Mexican kids receive toys from the Three Wise Men (Reyes Magos). This is a celebration that pays homage to the aforementioned Bible story. To celebrate it the family gather to eat the "Rosca de Reyes", a sort of bundt cake filled with prizes.
Six Flags Mexico[http://www.sixflags.com.mx/] Carretera Picacho al Ajusco #1500 Col. Héroes de Padierna. Southwest of Mexico City, reachable by bus 125 from Copilco on Metro Line 3 or bus 13A from Barranca de Muerto on Metro line 7. Tt is the largest amusement park in Latin America and the only Six Flags park outside the U.S., The Netherlands and Canada. The park is fitted with several million-dollar attractions, including Batman the Ride and not for the faint-hearted Medusa Roller Coaster. Entrance Fees: Adults $489 pesos, Children $369 pesos (As of October 2014).
* La Feria de Chapultepec, Circuito Bosque de Chapultepec Segunda Seccion. Features the first roller-coaster in the country, a must-ride for roller coaster fans, and many other attractions nearby, including a train, paddle boats, and a zoo. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10AM-6PM. Entrance $79.90 pesos (access to all attractions).
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez [http://www.autodromohermanosrodriguez.com.mx/] Cd. Deportiva de la Magdalena Mixiuhca. Río Piedad avenue and Río Churubusco, tel 55983316. The race track is next to the "Palacio de los Deportes" (Sports Palace). Metro Station "Ciudad Deportiva" (Line 9 Brown). Built in 1962, it was Mexico City's F1 racing track until 1992 when the Mexico Grand Prix was cancelled. Ayrton Sena and Alain Prost won the prix in this track in the late 80's and early 90's. This 4.4km long race track still holds the NASCAR race every year and in 2007 it was one of the stops for the A1 - Grand Prix racing
If you're into sports, then Mexico City has plenty to offer. Soccer is a favorite sport and Mexicans go crazy about it. The city was host to two FIFA world cups, one in 1970 and the other in 1986. Another important sport in Mexico City is baseball, with many Mexicans playing professionally in the US. The city has been the only Latin American host to an Olympiade in 1968, when the majority of the city's sport facilities were built.
* Estadio Azteca [http://www.esmas.com/estadioazteca/englishv/] Calzada de Tlalpan 3465, Colonia Ursula Coapa. The biggest soccer stadium in the world, built in 1966 for the 1968 Olympic Games with a full capacity of 129,300 seats. It's the home of one of the most famous soccer clubs in Mexico: Club America. It also serves as venue for concerts and for the first NFL regular-season game outside the United States. To reach the Estadio Azteca, you can use the light rail train line that runs to Xochimilco and hop off at the "Estadio Azteca" station. Prices for soccer usually start from 200 pesos up to 600 for field level seats. Beware of resellers, as they will often sell fake tickets.
* Estadio Olimpico de Ciudad Universitaria Insurgentes Sur Avenue, Ciudad Universitaria. Simply known as "Estadio de C.U." Located south of the city, this was where the opening ceremony of the 1968 Olympic Games took place with a full capacity of 72,000 seats. It is home for the "Pumas" soccer team of the National University (UNAM). Today it is host to several sport games, mainly soccer and American football. To reach the stadium by public transport you can use the Metro and hop off at the Universidad station (Line 3, green), and hop in one of the free shuttle buses that run around the University circuit (only in weekdays).
* Foro Sol- Intended to serve as baseball stadium, it is also a venue for many concerts.
* Palacio de los Deportes Viaducto Piedad and Rio Churubusco. Metro station: Ciudad Deportiva (Line 9). Built for the 1968 Olympic Games, with a full capacity of 22,000, it hosts several indoor sports. Venue for several concerts, circus, expos.
* Arena Ciudad de Mexico Av. de las Granjas #800, Azcapotzalco. Metro station: Ferreria (Line 6). Tren Suburbano station: Fortuna. Opened in February 2012, with a full capacity of 22,300, it hosts several indoor sports and concerts, it is the new home for NBA games in Mexico once a year. It also hosts several concerts, shows, festivals and expos.
* Estadio Azul- Host to the Cruz Azul soccer team. It is a smaller stadium with cheaper tickets thank Azteca and C.U.
Arena Mexico [http://www.cmll.com/], is home to Mexican free wrestling, which is a favorite pastime of Mexicans due to its affordable and entertaining nature. It is mostly a show rather than a sport, but it has been very popular among foreigners lately. Doctor Lavista 189, Colonia de los Doctores. You can enter through Avenida Chapultepec. It's very close to Zona Rosa and Avenida Insurgentes.
Hipodromo de las Americas [http://www.hipodromo.com.mx] Industria Militar Avenue Colonia Lomas de Sotelo. Its a thoroughbred and quarter-horse race track. There are races nearly every day, the complex has different zones for different budgets including the original club-house and grandstand, with seating for 20,000 persons and several restaurants. Betting starts as low as $10 pesos.
Journeys Beyond the Surface [http://www.travelmexicocity.com.mx/] is an alternative-travel agency offering customized day trips to help you get to know any aspect of Mexico City that interests you. They accompany you so you have a safe yet challenging day. Their specialty is to take you to places that tourists generally do not get to see, to enable you to get a glimpse of what it is like to live in this city.
Polanco- Upscale shopping and dining district centered around Presidente Masaryk and Campos Eliseos streets. It also has several shopping malls.
* Altavista- San Angel upscale shopping street.
* Condesa- Trendy district full with alternative stores and boutiques.
* Centro Historico- The city's oldest shopping district, you can find almost anything here. The old department stores are clustered around 20 de Noviembre street.
* Pino Suarez- There is a lot of youth-minded fashion going on here. Most of it is a knock-off of something else but at such low prices who can complain? There is a very large indoor market near the metro stop (Pino Saurez, on the pink line) that has a ton of clothing, shoes, and food vendors.
American-style shopping malls appeared in Mexico City by the late 1960’s and are now are spread all over the metropolitan area surpassing even the largest malls of the United States. Here you will find most of the fashion malls sorted by area.
* Reforma 222, Paseo de la Reforma 222, Juárez
* Plaza Insurgentes, San Luis Potosí 214, Roma
* Plaza Galerías
* Parque Delta, Cuauhtemoc 462, Narvarte
* Metrópoli Patriotismo, Patriotismo 229, San pedro de los Pinos
* Parque Lindavista, Riobamba 289, Lindavista, Delegacion Gustavo A. Madero
* Plaza Lindavista, Montevideo 363, Lindavista, Delegacion Gustavo A. Madero
* Plaza Satélite, Circuito Centro Comercial 2251, Ciudad satélite
* Forum Buenavista, Eje 1 Norte 259, Buenavista, Delegacion Cuauhtemoc
* Mundo E, periférico Norte 1007, Santa Mónica
* La Cúspide Sky Mall, Av. Lomas Verdes 1200 (nearby Ciudad Satelite)
* Antara Polanco; Ejército Nacional 843, Polanco
* Moliere dos22; Moliere 222, Polanco
* Pabellón Polanco; ejército Nacional 980, Polanco
* Magnocentro 26 Fun & Fashion, Magnocentro 26, Interlomas
* Parque Duraznos, Bosque de Duraznos 39, Bosques de las Lomas
* Paseo Arcos Bosques, paseo de los Tamarindos 100, Bosques de las Lomas
* Centro Santa Fe, Vasco de Quiroga 3800, Santa Fe
* Centro Coyoacan, Avenida Coyoacan 2000, Del Valle
* Plaza Universidad, Avenida Universidad 1000, Del Valle
* Galerías Insurgentes, Insurgentes Sur 1329, Del Valle
* Perisur, insurgentes Sur 4690, Jardines del Pedregal
* Galerías Coapa, Calzada del Hueso 519, Coapa
* Plaza Cuicuilco
* Plaza Loreto, Altamirano 46, San Angel
* Pabellón Altavista, Camino al Desierto de los Leones 52, San Angel
* Gran Sur, Periférico Sur 5550, Pedregal de Carrasco
Premium Outlets at Punta Norte, Northwest of Mexico City (State of Mexico) in the intersection of Periferico (Mexico Hwy #57) and the Chamapa La Venta highway, near [wiki=1051fb4f82a773ce07cc3b3963264718]Ciudad Satelite[/wiki]. You will need a taxi or a car to get there.
* Las Plazas Outlet Lerma Mexico - Toluca highway Km. 50 in the intersection with Calzada Cholula in the City of Lerma, near Toluca. You will need a car to get there.
Mercado de Curiosidades In Centro Historico.
* Mercado Insurgentes In Mexico City/Zona Rosa. The National Fund for the Development of Arts and Crafts (Fonart), Avenida Patriotismo 691, in Mixcoac, Avenida Paseo de la Reforma No. 116 in Colonia Juárez and Avenida Juarez 89 in Centro.
* Mercado Artesanal de la Ciudadela Centro, Calle Baldera 6 and Enrico Martinez across from Alameda Park. Semi-covered market offers wide variety of artesanal crafts at low prices. A good place to buy souvenirs/gifts in bulk. Haggling will bear results.
* Bazar del Sábado in [wiki=d6d2352374695a9eb3475201f551c538]San Angel[/wiki]. Every Saturday, artists show and sell their paintings in a beautiful, cobblestoned zone of the city. There are also stores where they sell handcrafts.
Although street vendors can be found almost anywhere in Mexico City, the following are more "formal" flea markets selling handcrafts, furniture and antiques.
* Mercado de Artesanias in [wiki=de756c956681ee4784514a93d070ca3d]Coyoacan[/wiki] on Saturdays, featuring handicrafts from all over the country, and classes for kids.
* Plaza del Angel in [wiki=d31521ca8bf2b5f167e93e61a6fe7595]Zona Rosa[/wiki]
* Mercado de Alvaro Obregon in [wiki=47680d3f00f8eaab5fd9d7468cad0de1]Colonia Roma[/wiki]
* Sunday art market in the Monumento a la Madre
* Mercado de Antiguedades de Cuauhtemoc, near [wiki=891d2a05f452182755d987be0d950ed7]Centro Historico[/wiki]
* La Lagunilla and Tepito near [wiki=891d2a05f452182755d987be0d950ed7]Centro Historico[/wiki] La Lagunilla has some of the best antiques, and is a maze of interesting thing, although it is a high crime area with 317 reported robberies in 2006. Tepito is more for pirated CDs, stolen things, and knock-offs. This area is huge and it's very easy to get lost. Shopkeepers are mostly friendly and will point you toward the nearest Metro station. For safety, visitors to this market should dress down, go with someone else, and arrive early in the day when it's less crowded. If you don't speak Spanish it's probably better to stay away.
If you're staying longer you may want to buy groceries and food at any of the hundreds of Supermarkets. These are some of the most common:
* Comercial Mexicana
* Gigante. Recently bought, now "Soriana"
* Superama High end supermarket
* City Market High end supermarket
* Wal-Mart. Several throughout the city, including one near the airport. Stock just about everything, much like the supercenters found in the US. The most easily accessible one is right next to the Nativitas Metro station (Line 2) on the west side of the Calzada de Tlalpan. Exit the Metro on the west side (toward Calle Lago Pte.) and make a left as you exit the station. The first thing on your left, just next to the station building, is the ramp going up to the Wal-Mart entrance. Visible from the train, impossible to miss.
For generally hard-to-find ingredients, such as vegetables and spices that are unusual in Mexico, try the Mercado de San Juan [http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2005/06/23/a12n1gas.php] (Ernesto Pugibet street, Salto del Agua metro station). You can even find exotic meats here, such as iguana, alligator, ostrich, and foie gras. Go to the cheese stand at the center of the market, and ask for a sample- the friendly owner will give you bread, wine, and samples of dozens of different kinds of cheese.
Tips- Tipping (propina in Spanish) is expected, with 10% the standard for all restaurants. You can tip less or not tip at all for poor service.
In Mexico, there is no difference in prices if you sit inside or outside, it is the same if you eat at the bar or sit at a table.
"El Jarocho" (Centro Coyoacan) is an amazing place to go for coffee. They also sell pastries and other food. This place is incomparable to Starbucks. There are several locations in Coyoacan due to its evergrowing popularity.
Tacos al pastor
* Tacos de cabeza de res al vapor (Cesos, ojo, trompa, cachete, maciza, lengua o surtida)
* Tacos de tripa
* Enchiladas Suizas
* Enchiladas de mole
* Sopa de tortilla
* Huevos Rancheros
* Tacos de suadero
* Tacos de canasta
* Tacos de barbacoa
For a quick snack you can always try a tamal (steamed corn dough with chicken or pork) bought on the street or specialized shops, accompanied by a cup of atole (hot chocolate corn starch drink), which is the breakfast of the humble on their way to work.
If someone is calling you the country code is +52 then the area code is 55 then the eight digit phone number. If you want to make a long distance call out of Mexico , you should dial the prefix 01 for national calls followed by the area code. If you are making an international long distance call, you must dial 00 followed by the country code, for example, if you're calling the U.S. you should dial 00+1 and the area code, if you're calling the U.K, dial 00+44 and the area code, and so on.
If you want to use your cellular phone you can get your phone unlocked before you go. When you arrive in Mexico City, you can purchase a Telcel or Movistar Sim (GSM) card, called a "chip". Then you will get a Mexican Cell phone number. Remember this is a prepaid cellular option. You get free incoming calls from inside the city, but the roaming charges can easily build up if you travel to other cities. People calling you from long distance will need to dial in this format: +52 (55) plus 8 or 7 digit phone number. Mexico city, Guadalajara and Monterrey have 8 digit numbers, and 2 digit area codes. The rest of the country has 7 digit numbers and 3 digit area codes.
Calling from a Mexican phone (either land or mobile) to a Mexican cell phone is called ¨El Que Llama Paga¨ meaning only the person making the call pays for the air time, and thus requires the 044 prefix before the 10 digit number composed of the area code and the mobile number to be dialed: land or mobile to Mexico City registered mobile would be 044 55 12345678. If you are calling to a mobile with a different area code, i.e. Acapulco area code 744 then you use the prefix 045, then the three digit area code, the seven digit mobile i.e. 045 744 1234567. This might seem confusing at first but you get easily accustomed to it.
Another option is to buy a prepaid Mexican phone kit, they frequently include more air time worth than the kit actually costs, air time is called ¨Tiempo Aire¨. For Telcel these kits are called ¨Amigo Kit¨ for Movistar they are called ¨Movistar Prepago¨ and for Iusacell ¨Viva Kit¨ the you can just keep the phone as a spare for whenever you are in Mexico; there are no costs in between uses. These kits start at around 30 USD and can be purchased at the thowsands of mobile phone dealerships, or at OXXO convinence stores, and even supermarkets.
There are four main cell phone operators in Mexico.
* Telcel The largest coverage in Mexico, now using 3.5G, 3G and GSM (HSPA+, HSDPA & EDGE) Will Have 4G (LTE) by 2012
* Movistar A GSM & 3G (HSDPA) network with decent coverage in most of the country
* Iusacell (includes former Unefon network) A CDMA (EVDO) and GSM-based 3G (HSDPA) and 3.5G (HSPA+) network with an average coverage in most cities and large towns.
* Nextel (iDEN push to talk, similar to Nextel offered in the U.S. by Sprint Nextel and Boost Mobile but has different owner)
Mexico City has amazing access to the internet considering the availability in the rest of Latin America. There are several internet cafes throughout the city, many of them in Zona Rosa. Price varies from 10 to 20 pesos an hour.
Look for the word 'Cyber' or 'CiberCafe' in order to find a place with internet access.
Hot spots for wi fi connection to the internet are available in several places around the city, particularly in malls, coffee stores and restaurants. Most (if not all) of them are operated by the Mexican phone company Telmex through their Internet division Prodigy Movil. In order to be able to connect in those places, the user must be subscribed to the service, or buy a prepaid card known as "Tarjeta Multifon"; visitors coming from the US can access the service using their AT&T or T-Mobile Internet accounts. Cards can be bought at the Sanborns restaurant chain, Telmex stores and many stores that offer telephony related products.
Unfortunately there are no full-time English spoken radio stations in Mexico, however these are a few options to listen:
* Imagen 90.5 FM Features a twice-a-day English news program at 5:30 A.M. and 11:00 P.M. with a summary of the most important news around the globe.
* Ibero 90.9 FM University radio station that plays mainly indie-rock but also has cultural programs.
* Alfa 91.3 FM Broadcasts English language hit pop music.
* Beat 100.9 FM Electronic music station.
* Mix 106.5 FM Hits in English from the 80s, 90s, and nowadays pop/rock music.
* Universal 92.1 FM Old hits in English (70s, 80s).
With the exception of "The News", you won't find newspapers in English or other foreign languages in regular newsstands, however, you can find many at any Sanborns store. Many U.S. newspapers have subscriptions available in Mexico, including the Wall Street Journal , Today, the New York Times and the Miami Herald.
Some of the most read local newspapers include:
* The News [url=http://www.thenews.com.mx]]English-language daily published in Mexico City.
* El Universal[url=http://www.eluniversal.com.mx[/url]]The online version includes a good English section.
* La Jornada [url=http://www.jornada.unam.mx[/url]]Renowned as politically left oriented.
* Milenio [http://www.mileniodiario.com.mx[/url]
Police officers in Mexico get paid a third of what [wiki=d97e023dce2bb237a0d44f46d8ee9438]New York City[/wiki] police officers make, and some rely on bribes and corruption to make more money (however, never offer a bribe first since usually an officer will at least go through the formality of assessing a fine). The historic center and other major sites often have specially trained tourist police that are more helpful than ordinary transit cops. Keep in mind that most locals will advise you to keep away from the police as much as possible.
The Mexico City Government recently opened a specialized prosecution office (Ministerio Público in Spanish) for foreigners that find themselves affected by robberies or other crime situations. It is in Victoria Street 76, Centro Historico. Multilingual staff are available.
Don't forget that in case of any emergency or problem, your embassy is also there to help you, so don't hesitate to get in touch with them during your stay.
Dial 066, the number for all emergencies, (fire, police and medical).
Many locals (not all of them, of course) have very aggressive driving habits as a result of the frequent traffic jams in the city. Some traffic signals are more an ornament than what they were made for, such as Stop signs, although most people respect traffic lights and pedestrian ways. When traffic is not present, particularly at night, locals tend to speed up so be careful when changing lanes. Street names and road signs may not be present everywhere so it is strongly advisable to ask for directions before driving your car.
Sometimes potholes, fissures, and large-yet-unanticipated speed-bumps ("topes") are common on the roads, so exercise some caution. Even at a small crawl, these can damage a car, especially in city suburbs as well as the backroads between towns. It should be avised that when driving, a fast succesion of white lines cutting the road perpendicular means a 'tope' is approaching and you should slow down immediately and maneuver over the tope as slowly and carefully as possible.
When off the main roads, especially in the colonias, maneuvering in the narrow streets and alleys can be tricky. Often a paved road turns to cobblestone (in high-end neighborhoods) or dirt (if this happens, you've gone way off the tourist areas). Also, some colonia streets are blocked off behind gates and security guards may not let you pass if you are not a resident.
If you are driving through a housing development, you should beware of children, as they often run on the pavement as if they were in their backyard.
You should also be mindful of people on bicycles and motorcycles alike, because they tend to drive in the narrow spaces between cars. The best thing to do is to yield to them.
Trolleys have the right of way on their assigned lane, since they cannot switch lanes as easily.
Those who are used to having a berm or paved area to the side of the road will quickly notice that the berm is missing on many roads and freeways such as Viaducto and Periferico. If you go off the side of the road, there will be a four to six inch drop off of the pavement. Driving in Mexico City should be avoided if at all possible.
Note that in high density areas such as Centro Historico, Mexico City, there is no street parking available during business hours.
Even the best of plans can go wrong when you arrive at your proposed exit at 65 mph, and there is a detour onto some other road with no markings or road signs, with everyone going as fast as they can go. At that point you may want to exit immediately and regroup before you end up miles from where you planned to exit. Maps and road signs likely will be lacking any usable information in a situation like this and your best bet may be to navigate by the seat of your pants a parallel route to the one you found closed.
Mexico City's alcohol laws are harsh; although in many nightclubs, bars and restaurants it is common for minors to drink without proving their age as long as they appear to be over 18. It is also permitted for minors to drink alcohol if they are in the company of an adult who is willing to take responsibility. Drinking alcoholic beverages in the street is prohibited--doing so can get you in trouble with the police. Drunk driving is also strictly prohibited and strongly punished, though it seems highly common in any case. The police have incorporated random alcohol tests on streets near bars and clubs, and if you test positive, you could be arrested and spend 36 hours in jail. The system is very efficient, and you will sometimes see a stopped car or truck with a policeman interrogating the occupants.
Smoking inside public and private buildings is strictly prohibited by law. Restaurants used to have smoking and non-smoking sections, but recent laws have banned smoking in any public enclosed space. Fines can be steep, so if you want to smoke in a restaurant it is best to ask the waiter before lighting up. Of course, going outside is always an option. Smoking light drugs, such as marijuana, is prohibited and offenders could be imprisoned if found in possesion of more than one personal dose.
Being the national capital, Mexico City hosts a large number of embassies. A number of them are located in Delegaciones (Boroughs) Miguel Hidalgo & Álvaro Obregón surrounding Bosque Chapultepec, towards the west, and Cuauhtémoc which is "zona rosa" in a more central area. They can be elsewhere in the area too. Some embassies are in a house located in a residential neighborhood and can be easy to miss while others are in bigger multi-story building along a busy road and easier to find (USA, France, Canada, Russia, Cuba, etc).
... or see http://www.sre.gob.mx/acreditadas/ for an extended list of countries with embassies in Mexico City. Some countries such as Yemen have their embassy to North America only in Washington, DC which manages their relationship to Mexico, Central America &/or Canada as well as to the U.S. from the same place or simply don't have diplomatic relationship with Mexico.