Facts About Mexico City
The capital of Mexico is the oldest such capital city in the entire Americas and one out of two that were founded by indigenous people, the others being Quito, Ecuador. The city was built originally on an island on the Lake Texcoco in 1325 by the Aztecs as Tenochtitlan and it was almost fully destroyed in the Siege of Tenochtitlan in 1521 and then redesigned as per Spanish urban regulations. The municipality of Mexico City was founded in 1524, called Mexico Tenochtitlan and it was officially called Ciudad de Mexico as of 1585. The federal district was built in 1824 post achieving independence from Spain.
Here are some interesting facts about Mexico City:
- The Chapultepec Forest is Latin America’s biggest urban park and is twice the size of Central Park in New York.
- Mexico City is one of the richest cities in the world, witnessing the economy almost double at the beginning of last year and accounting for more than 20% of the GDP of Mexico itself.
- It is the 7th richest city in the world with 186 officially recognized museums and huge tourist footfalls which stood at 25 million air passenger arrivals for 2019.
- Mexico City has more than 25% of its residents or 7 million individuals using the subway each day, the biggest system in Latin America and the most affordable in the world. It has 12 lines and 140 miles, linking 195 stations.
- Mexico City has the sole royal castle in the Americas, namely the Chapultepec Castle, former home to Maximilian I from Mexico.
- Mexico City lies 2.2 kilometers above sea level with the highest number of palaces within the American continents.
- The central square in Mexico City is the second biggest in the world.
- Mexico City is the first city to host the Football World Cup two times, namely in the year 1970 followed by 1986.
Greater Mexico City has GDP of $411 billion in the year 2011, making it one of the most productive global urban zones. The city accounted for 15.8% of the GDP of Mexico as per studies.
Mexico City has the Mexico City International Airport, the busiest in Latin America and has daily flights to the U.S, Canada, Caribbean, South America, Asia, Europe and more regions. The Lic. Adolfo Lopez Mateos International Airport lies in Toluca nearby.
Cost of Living in Mexico City
A meal for two costs between 70.00 MXN to 750.00 MXN at restaurants while one-way transportation tickets are priced around 5-10 MXN. 208.70 MXN is the average monthly cost for utilities while rentals hover between 8,000 and 40,000 MXN on average.
Tips for Visiting Mexico City
Here are some tips that will help you greatly while you visit Mexico City:
- People here are called Chilangos.
- The hora pico or rush hour is between 6-9 AM and 6-9 PM every day. The crowds are huge and you should avoid this time for traveling by the metro.
- Do sample fiery Mexican cuisine with chili, corn and tortillas being vital elements. However, be careful about the spices and chili.
- Do not consume tap water or beverages with ice cubes.
- Tip around 10% as a thumb rule in bars and restaurants.
- Do not hail taxis from the street. Stick to taxi/cab stands or Uber.
- Make an allowance for the weather which may get rainy and cold between June and September.
- Do not flush your toilet paper; just throw used tissues into bins instead.
- Do not opt for tequila shots; sipping is compulsory instead of tipping it in!
Things to Do in Mexico City
Mexico City has numerous attractions and things to do. Here’s taking a look at some of them.
1. What are the most popular things to do in Mexico City?
Mexico City offers several popular activities and attractions for tourists including the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe, Teotihuacan, Zocalo, Catedral Metropolitana and Bosque de Chapultepec.
2. What are some free things to do in Mexico City?
Some free activities and attractions in Mexico City include the Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe, Bosque de Chapultepec, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) and El Angel de la Independencia.
3. Does Mexico City have many romantic attractions?
Romantic attractions in Mexico City include picnicking at the Bosque de Chapultepec, strolling around the Coyoacan, exploring San Angel, enjoying watching dancers at the Plaza de la Ciudadela and taking Aztec-themed spa treatments.
4. What are the most family-friendly things to do in Mexico City?
Family-friendly activities in Mexico City include checking out the Bosque de Chapultepec, KidZania, Museo Interactivo de Economia and Six Flags Mexico Amusement Park.
5. What are the more unusual things to do in Mexico City?
Unusual things to do in Mexico City include visiting the Diego Rivera Murals at the Palacio Nacional and also the Museo de la Medicina Mexicana. Other attractions include the Mummies of San Angel and Cine Opera at San Rafael.
Places to Visit in Mexico City
There are several attractive destinations worth exploring in Mexico City. These include the following:
- Zocalo - The centerpiece of the city is Zocalo- the Plaza de la Constitucion or Constitution Square, where the first constitution of the country was proclaimed in the year 1813. It measures 240 meters in every direction, it is one of the biggest squares in the world and was laid out instantly post conquering the previous Aztec City named Tenochtitlan. Major landmarks here include the National Palace, Templo Mayor and Metropolitan Cathedral.
- National Museum of Anthropology - The National Museum of Anthropology is located at Chapultepec Park with a massive monolithic figure at the entrance. It was built in the year 1964 and has a Central Patio with a huge stone shelter and 11 meter tall column with waterfalls.
- Templo Mayor & Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan - In spite of the Aztecs being defeated, several major historic sites have been discovered and showcased recently. The vital one is Templo Mayor, housing the remains of the famous Great Temple of Tenochtitlan and the first relic that was discovered back in 1978.
- The Palace of Fine Arts - The Palace of Fine Arts or Palacio de Bellas Artes is an architectural marvel in Mexico City, being designed by noted Italian architect Adamo Boari. It was finished in 1934 and has sunk more than 4 meters owing to its massive weight. It is a concert hall and opera house today.
- Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral - This Cathedral is one of the biggest and oldest such cathedrals in the entire Western Hemisphere. It was built over the ancient temple precinct of the Aztecs and construction reportedly began in 1525 while continuing over a whopping 250 years.
Places to Eat in Mexico City
There are several fascinating restaurants and eateries in Mexico City including the best-rated and iconic establishment Pujol and Restaurante Nicos that offers the best coffee and guacamole. Club Tengo Hambre is another tourist hotspot along with El Cardenal which is known for its fabulous breakfasts. You can hop in for the best mezcals at Bosforo as well.
Street Food in Mexico City
Street food is a thriving affair in Mexico City, comprising of several delights like Tacos al pastor that Lebanese immigrants brought here and also Chicharrones along with Frutas en tacha. Tlacoyos is a delightful item, being an oval masa cake with bean and cheese stuffing. Tlayudas means a thin baked tortilla with bean toppings. Do not miss the Barbacoa and Esquites as well.
Shopping in Mexico City
Shopping arenas are numerous in Mexico City and include the La Lagunilla Building, Bazaar Sabado, Mercado de la Mercel, La Ciudadela and Mercado Artesanal de Coyoacan.
Transportation in Mexico City
Mexico City has the biggest metro network in Latin America with the first lines opening in 1969 and increasing to 12 lines with 195 stations in total. It carries 4.4 million individuals each day, being the world’s 8th busiest metro station. The Tren Suburbano suburban railway network serves the city along with half-length passenger buses or Peseros. The city also has mid-size and full-sized buses in tandem with rapid transit systems courtesy of Metrobus and Mexibus. Electric transport is available through trolleybus routes and also the Xochimilco Light Railway line which are run by Servicio de Transportes Electricos.
The Mexico City International Airport is the busiest in Latin America and flies daily to several regions worldwide. There is another airport at nearby Toluca, namely the Lic. Adolfo Lopez Mateos International Airport.
Weather in Mexico City
Mexico City has an overcast and warm wet season and a comfortable dry season. The best time to visit is between late March and late May.