explore Mexico city, Mexico

What to do in Mexico city, Mexico

As the world’s sixth largest city, Mexico City offers something for everyone and for every budget. Attractions in Mexico City focus less on lazing on the beach (there are no beaches in Mexico City!) and more on exploring the culture and urban culture of Mexico. The typical “must-see” sites for the foreign visitor are the sites of interest in and around Centro Historico and Chapultepec Park, a visit to the ruins of Teotihuacan in the outskirts of the City and probably a visit to Xochimilco, though there are many other things to see if you have time to really explore.

Seasonal Celebrations

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 Year’s Eve with a big revelry. 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 cemeteries.

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.–Correction: the bundt cake has a tiny doll inside and whosoever receives a piece of cake with the doll inside must give a party for all the people present on February 2 (Día de la Candelaria).

Amusement parks

Six Flags Mexico, Carretera Picacho al Ajusco #1500 Col. Héroes de Padierna. Southwest of Mexico City. It 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.

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.

Car races

Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Cd. Deportiva de la Magdalena Mixiuhca. Río Piedad avenue and Río Churubusco. The race track is next to the “Palacio de los Deportes” (Sports Palace. Built in 1962, it was Mexico City’s F1 racing track until 1992 when the Mexican Grand Prix was cancelled. Ayrton Senna 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. The Mexican Grand Prix was reintroduced in 2015 and has been popular since, usually running in late October.

Sport events

If you’re into sports, then Mexico City has plenty to offer.

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. 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. 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.

Lucha libre

Arena Mexico, 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.

Arena Coliseo, República de Perú 77, Centro, 06040 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico is the smaller but more intimate brother of Arena Mexico. Matches are usually held on Saturdays and tickets can be bought on the day of the match at the ticket office on the front of the building. Be aware that tickets for rows higher than row 8 are on the balconies. Don’t buy tickets from the vendors outside, they will overcharge you and tell you there are no more tickets available at the booth. Note that if you let the host show you your way to your seat, you have to tip him. No cameras are allowed inside, phone cameras are fine though.

Horse racing

Hipodromo de las Americas Industria Militar Avenue Colonia Lomas de Sotelo. It’s 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.