A c t i v i t i e s
México City, with it's magnitude of interesting activities, can keep visitors busy from early morning until late at night, seven days a week. There is so much to do in this city that it can seem overwhelming, especially if this is your first visit. Relax, try to set your priorities, based on your particular interests and the length of your stay.
There are bullfights at Plaza México most Sunday afternoons, November through March, charreadas or Mexican rodeos are held at Rancho del Charro in Chapultepec Park, most Sundays at noon. You can possibly catch a professional soccer match (varied schedules - mostly weekends) at Estadio Azteca or Estadio Olيmpico. There are two large amusement parks with roller coasters and other exciting rides. An abundance of modern multi-cinemas, show (almost) current movies, all over the city and in all of the malls. Free weekend concerts, poetry readings, magic shows and other impromptu events are often held in and around Alameda park, the Zَcalo or in Chapultepec Park.
Chapultepec Park also contains special attractions, which are sure to steal the hearts of the youngsters traveling with you. Just west of the Museum of Modern Art is the Centro de Convivencia Infantil which is a unique adventure style playground that also has an aviary, monkeys, some domestic animals, a giant King Kong and artistic face painting.
Adults will be refused entry - unless children accompany them. Papalote Museo del Niٌo is a hands-on children's museum with tunnels and slides, giant soap bubbles and all kinds of scientific and technical games and gadgets. The attendants are all young themselves and very child friendly. Also, an IMAX big screen theatre, shops and snack bars. Nearby is an amusement park with scaled down rides for kids and Atlantis, a marine park that features trained dolphins, sea lions, bird shows and a marine cave museum.
The floating gardens of Xochimilco are another of México City's many "Must Do" attractions. The ancient floating gardens have been around for about 700 years and still operate, basically the same, as they did in Aztec times. Here you can rent brightly painted boats, called trajineras, for about ten dollars and hour, including driver (he'll use a pole to push the boat along the canals). You cruise the ancient canals at a leisurely pace and once you are out of the dock area you will likely be approached by boats with mariachi or marimba bands, photographers, and vendors of food, drink and handicrafts. This is a favorite attraction of visitors and locals alike and one you surely will not want to miss. On weekends, especially Sundays, the gardens tend to get very crowded and a fiesta like atmosphere prevails. If you prefer a little peace and quiet visit Xochimilco during the week. Xochimilco is located in the southern section, about 15 miles south of downtown.
Golf courses in the city tend to be very private, but there are ways to get on a few of the courses. Tennis is another matter, as México City boasts some very nice tennis facilities. The city's weather is usually very agreeable for either sport.
S h o p p i n g
México City offers an incredible range of options for the serious shopper. México City is home to some of the largest and most modern shopping malls in Latin America. These malls feature upscale shops, chic restaurants, fast food courts, high-end department stores, multi-cinemas and some of the most imaginative displays you will see anywhere. The malls and some truly unique shopping neighborhoods are spread out all over the city.
Mercados (market places) are another popular shopping experience to be found all over México City. The many local mercados range in size from small, impromptu, flea markets set up in minutes to sprawling outdoor affairs selling furniture to elaborate buildings with 200 or 300 separate stalls selling everything under the sun.
Downtown, in the general area of the Zَcalo, there are numerous shops and market places, some located in converted colonial era mansions. Some of the areas markets sell only curios and trinkets; others sell serious antiques, custom jewelry, fine gold and pearls. On Sundays, La Lagunilla market hosts a flea market of interest to those who collect antiques or coins.
In the always-lively Zona Rosa district you will find a treasure trove of small shops and small walk in shopping arcades housing art galleries, jewelry stores, boutiques and silver stores. This area is home to numerous, one-of-a-kind, crafts and antique stores. Flea markets tend to pop up in some areas of Zona Rosa on the weekends. In Zona Rosa you will also find many sidewalk cafes and some of the city's more popular restaurants and clubs.
Condesa is a fashionable, but relaxed, neighborhood south of Zona Rosa that has become popular with the artistic crowd. The many art deco buildings and old European style townhouses are a pleasant and peaceful diversion from the busier pace of the adjoining neighborhoods. This is a great area to spend a leisurely afternoon strolling among the many boutiques, art galleries, bistros, and sidewalk cafes that have made this area popular with locals. Parque México, a well kept green area, offers a somewhat quiet area for relaxation.
Polanco is an upscale residential and commercial district that is filled with elegant shops, boutiques and malls, selling high-end silver items, designer fashions, crafts, Talavera pottery and china. The Presidente Masaryk area of Polanco is where you will find the shops of famous designers such as Gucci, Christian Dior and Hermés along with some incredible restaurants and sidewalk cafes thrown in for good measure. This area is often compared to, the ultra trendy Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles.
The Southern section of the city is the favorite area of many México City veterans. The Perisur and Coyoacan malls are located here. Due mainly to their elegant colonial atmosphere, the suburbs of San Angel and Coyoacلn are considered by many to be the only place to visit when vacationing in the capital. San Angel is famous for it's Bazar Sلbado (Saturday Market) held in Plaza San Jacinto, the indoor market is supposed to feature the higher quality goods, but the outside portion is known for better prices. The San Angel Inn, one of the city's fine restaurants, is located here. The inn is a great place to rest after a day of shopping and sip an early afternoon beverage on their colonial patio. Coyoacلn has it's own, less famous, version of Bazar Sلbado but the day is changed to Sunday.
R e s t a u r a n t
Dining in México City dining can be one of the most memorable experiences of your trip. With over two thousand restaurants to choose from, México City has something to please everyone. Branches of some of the world's most famous restaurants are represented here and there are some local restaurants that are known for their quality, the world over. Every cuisine imaginable is represented along with local favorites such as Tortilla (or Aztec) Soup, Chilies Rellenos and Cochinita Pibil, a tender pork loin, wrapped in banana leaves then seasoned and baked, Yucatan style. If you are happen to be a seafood aficionado, rest assured the better restaurants will get fresh supplies daily.
Mexicans tend to have their main meal between two and four in the afternoon. This meal is usually eaten at a leisurely pace and is very often combined with a business meeting or family get-together. The dinner hour usually starts much later, around 9 PM, and usually consists of a somewhat lighter fare or even just coffee and dessert. If you are planning on dining late, it is probably a good idea to call for reservations, at the same time check to see if a dress code is enforced.
N i g h t l i f e
Nightlife in México City is amazingly diverse, starts late and covers just about every form of entertainment imaginable. From small salsa clubs and crowded discos to live concerts featuring the world's most popular stars. Ballet, theatre, folkloric shows, opera and philharmonic orchestras are every bit as common as the all night disco and drinking scene. Boxing and wrestling events are held on most weekend nights. At Garibaldi Plaza the numerous Mariachi bands often play into the wee hours of the morning.
When the sun goes down México city comes to life and you have an incredible array of entertainment to choose from.