Mexico City, Mexico - You will need more than one vacation to fully enjoy the many activities available in the worlds largest city. México City is the cultural center of México and is home to a seemingly endless array of cultural activities. An entire vacation could be devoted strictly to the more than one hundred museums, and you would probably still not have time to visit them all. The floating gardens of Xochimilco are an attraction that has been in operation since Aztec times. Mexico City is a "Federal District," called Distrito Federal, or D.F. for short (similar to Washington, D.C.). D.F. is the dominant center of Mexican life.
The Zócalo (main square) and historic center are not to be missed and are a good starting place for deciding your itinerary, as there are plenty of things to do and see in a relatively small area. Chapultepec Park, (the world's largest park within a city) is home to many attractions and should be on your must do list, especially if you have any youngsters with you. There is always some sort of free entertainment going on, such as concerts, magic shows and mime troupes. If you can imagine it; it is probably happening somewhere in México City.
Mexico City nightlife is second to none and provides an enormous variety of entertainment. Ballet, opera, folkloric shows and theatre compete with rock concerts, bars and nightclubs featuring all kinds of live music. Live Cuban music and the tropical salsa clubs always seem to be a big draw, for locals as well as visitors.
| Teotihuacan - Teotihuacan is located about 31 miles North East of Mexico City. So if you plan on going to Mexico City, this is a must see sight. The rise and fall of Teotihuacan coincide roughly with the rise and fall of the Roman Empire beginning around 600 BC, and going into decline around 650 AD before the city was sacked, burnt, and abandoned. The empire grew by leaps and bounds between the 1st and 4th centuries AD and its influence stretched from Guatamala to Texas. The population within the city itself grew to over 200,000 people, and Its power and glory were not to be matched by any civilization (including Rome) existing on the earth at that time. |
Teotihuacan is unique in the fact that the murals uncovered here do not depict the thematic violence or ritualistic sacrifices found in other ceremonial cites, they portray a society which seemed to be interested more in astronomy, and the benevolent Quetzalcoatl, represented by the plumed serpent.
Mexico City can be overwhelming. The largest metropolis in the Western Hemisphere, a mile and a half high, barrages the body and brain. But seen through the right eyes, it is one of the world's great cities: a sublime, occasionally surreal, always sensual place.
All of Mexico's culture -- art, music, food, politics -- pours into it. A lifetime would be needed to soak it up. Given a week, or even a long weekend, a traveler can experience the pleasures of a city that, like New York, Paris or London, is a world unto itself.
Americans who do not know the city often fear it. A healthy curiosity is far better. The usual warnings are still in effect. Don't hail a cab in the street; any good hotel or restaurant can call you one. Don't wander aimlessly at night; arm yourself with a map and a sense of where you are. Don't ignore the altitude; easy on the alcohol until well acclimated. And if traveling at rush hour, add at least half an hour to your schedule.
Mexico has more festivals than days in the calendar, and the weeks between Nov. 1 (the Day of the Dead, a uniquely Mexican celebration) and Christmas will be especially vibrant this year. Three of the city's most elegant neighborhoods -- Polanco, Roma and Condesa, each 15 minutes or less from the central business district, the Zona Rosa -- are exploding with new restaurants, clubs and art galleries. Condesa, a small citadel of Art Deco architecture, is celebrating its centennial. It's an exceptionally pleasant place to sit, sip, sup and watch the passing scene.
Daily and nightly diversions are listed in the Spanish-language entertainment magazine Tiempo Libre, which comes out Thursday and is available at most newsstands and on the Web at www.tiempolibre.com.mx . A good English-language source is the Mexico File, at www.mexicofile.com . Prices are calculated at 10 pesos to the dollar, and exclude a 15 percent value-added tax applied to hotel and restaurant charges.
"Learn Spanish in San Miguel de Allende, gem of Colonial Mexico" www.MexicoSpanish.com
Mexico City Events - The Metropolitan Cathedral is the centerpiece of the Zócalo, or city square. It dates from 1532 and includes classic, neo-Classical and Baroque elements. Despite the ravages of time and earthquakes, it remains one of the great churches of Christendom. Free concerts, part of the 10th International Baroque Organ festival, are scheduled for Oct. 31, Nov. 14 and 21 and Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. For information:
Mexico City Sightseeing - Frida fever - A movie about Frida Kahlo and herprodigal husband, Diego Rivera. Admirers will want to visit four shrines to their work, all set in pretty, peaceful neighborhoods, and all closed on Monday.
Their former home and studio is at Diego Rivera and Altavista Streets in the San Ángel district. The Diego Rivera Museum at Calle del Museo in the Coyoacán district. The Frida Kahlo Museum.
Three oases at the edge of the urban jungle stand out. The first is Xochimilco, a network of ancient canals and gardens at the city's southern edge, easily reached by subway or taxi. It offers a measure of tranquillity, especially in early afternoon or at dusk. Every night from Nov. 1 to 15 at 6, gondolas leave the Cuemanco dock for Tilac Lake Island for performances of ''La Llorona'' (''The Weeping Woman''), an old and heartbreaking musical fable of a mother searching for her children. Tickets are $30 for a three-hour trip. Information and reservations: (52-55) 5676-7628. Tours of Xochimilco's gardens can be arranged through the park's professional guides, (52-55) 5673-8061, fax (52-55) 5673-7890 or (52-55) 5673-7653.
San Andrés Mixquic, a village about an hour's drive by taxi south from the center of the capital, is an exceptionally beautiful place to experience the Day of the Dead, Nov. 1, a celebration of the spirit of life and never-forgotten ancestors, when flowers, food and candles are taken to graveyards to honor forebears.
Desierto de los Leones, a 17th-century Carmelite monastery in a national park 10,000 feet high, lies a half-hour west of the city, five miles up a country road from a clearly marked exit on the highway to Toluca, best reached by car or taxi. It offers fresh air, hiking, mountain biking, an excellent Sunday brunch and irregularly scheduled Sunday chamber-music concerts.
Mexico City Shopping - The city has two of the world's best sites for flea-market bargain-hunting -- or antiquing, if you insist. On Saturdays from about 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Plaza del Ángel market at Londres 161 in the Zona Rosa, also known as the Londres market, has an assortment of goods, from hand-tinted postcards ($1 apiece) to rococo reliquaries ($10 and up -- far up). Mexico Hotels