Introducing Mexico City
On a crisp October evening, families crowd the Zócalo to look at tombstones. Rows of these mock monuments stand on a carpet of colored sawdust strewn with marigolds and painted skulls.
French poet André Breton famously called Mexico the surrealist country par excellence, and the capital seems to revel in its strangeness. The world’s third largest urban area (by some estimates) fills a highland basin 2240m above sea level, so you might already feel a bit light-headed upon arrival. Often described as a malevolent maelstrom of unbreathable air and rampant crime, the city nevertheless impresses visitors as a wonderfully weird and welcoming world, and captivates them with its year-round springlike climate, bubbling street life and abundant cultural offerings.
Like any great metropolis, Mexico City presents a mosaic of scenes. One moment you’re knocking back tequila at a grand old cantina, the next you’re grooving to world-class DJs on a rooftop terrace. Breakfast on tamales and atole (a drink made from corn) from a street corner vendor, dine on fusion cuisine by one of Polanco’s acclaimed chefs. After an afternoon spent sharing the anguish of artist Frida Kahlo, watch masked wrestlers inflict pain on one another at the lucha libre (wrestling) arena downtown. To be sure pollution and crime remain real concerns for Chilangos, but since the turn of the millennium, there’s been a palpable sense that the capital has turned a page. Rather than heading for the apocalypse, it now seems destined for a renaissance.
Ready to go?
These tours & activities make it easy:
Best places to stay in Mexico City
Top 10 walking tours for globetrotting foodies
The best – and tastiest – way to fast-track your understanding of a city's cuisine is to embark on a guided walking tour that includes sampling the local food. Tuck into the best offerings from street food stalls, meet chefs at cafes and restaurants, and local producers at markets.
Best places to eat in Mexico City
Mexico City destination guides
Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe): celebrate the patron saint of Mexico
Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe by Daquella manera.
Discover the heart of Mexico's Aztec, Zapotec, Mayan and Spanish cultures on this two-week journey spanning ruins, pueblos and beaches. Arrive in Mexico and travel through the mad metropolis of Mexico City to the relaxed beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula, and unravel the magnificent mystery of the ancient Mexican civilisations along the way.
Taxco and Cuernavaca from Mexico City
Soak up the perfect climate of 'The City of Eternal Spring', Cuernavaca and enjoy a scenic drive to Taxco, the colonial silver mining city on a full day guided coach tour from Mexico City.
Awe-inspiring ancient sites
Taken from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Experiences, may we present a bevy of BC (or thereabouts) beauties that have stood the test of time without losing any of their ability to drop your jaw.