Expats, tourists and the New York Times all seem to agree that Mexico City is the place to be. Recently, the Times chose this sprawling megalopolis of over 20 million people as its #1 travel destination, saying “there’s nowhere in the world quite like it.”
From restaurants to museums to shopping, Mexico City is for expats who love urban living and exciting nightlife.
First and foremost is the city’s food scene. It is so good that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named Mexican gastronomy as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity a few years ago.
The city is well known for its great street food, which nearly everyone in Mexico City eats on a daily basis from early morning to late at night. Favorites from the grill are huitlacoche quesadillas and tacos al pastor. But if you are looking for world-class dining, Biko, Pujol, Jaso, Bakea and Quintol are just a few of the best restaurants in the city, if you want to splurge.
Mexico City’s heart is its Zócalo, one of the largest squares in the world. It is bordered by the 16th century Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico, the National Palace, the Federal District buildings and the Templo Mayor, which houses many Aztec archeological artifacts. The Zócalo was the main ceremonial center of the Aztecs.
History and culture is everywhere in Mexico City. The National Museum of Anthropology is one of the great museums of the world with its vast collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts. Palacio des Bellas Artes houses many art works, including Diego Rivera’s “Man at the Crossroads,” which was commissioned for New York’s Rockefeller Center in the 1930s. The National Museum of History, which is located in Chapultepec Castle, the Frida Kahlo Museum and the Diego Rivera Studio are also important centers of history and art in Mexico City. North of the city, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon are a link to the historical roots of Mexico City.
As the cultural heart of Mexico, Mexico City is home to music, ballet and theater and also is the center of Mexico’s film industry. The Mexico City Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Minerìa Symphony Orchestra offer seasonal programs. A number of large theaters, such as Teatro Metropolitan, offer a wide variety of performances year-round.
If you want to get outdoors for an afternoon, Chapultepec Park is the largest city park in the Western Hemisphere, nearly twice the size of New York’s Central Park. A retreat for Aztec rulers, the park also has a zoo, the National Museum of Anthropology and the Rufino Tamayo Museum. Lakes, trees and hiking trails bring the outdoors to the city. You will not be alone, though. An estimated 15 million people visit the park each year.
Xochimilco is another great place to experience the outdoors. Known as Mexico’s Little Venice, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has a number of canals that can be toured by boat.
Like cities in Spain, many in Mexico City still enjoy spending an afternoon at The Plaza de Toros México, which is the world’s biggest bullring. The stadium seats about 41,000 people. For futbol (soccer) fans, the city has several famous professional teams: America, Cruz Azul and Pumas. Estadio Azteca is one of North America’s largest stadiums, seating 87,000 fans. The stadium is also used for a variety of pop music shows.
This is just a small slice of what the Mexico City lifestyle has to offer. One thing is certain, though. You will never be bored.