At a Glance
When to Go
Mexico City's Benito Juárez International Airport (MEX) is the primary point of arrival and departure for international flights. You can hire a taxi from the airport to your hotel for approximately 275 pesos, depending upon your destination. For a more affordable alternative, take the Metrobus, which departs from both airport terminals and stops at various points throughout the city center. You'll need to purchase a transit card for 10 pesos, then add 30 pesos for a single ride; you can make the purchase at an automated machine in the airport terminal.
Mexico City is massive, which can be overwhelming even to experienced visitors. Fortunately, there are many convenient ways to get around, including the Metro, Metrobus, taxis, and the city's bike-share program, Ecobici. The Metro and the Metrobus are extensive and inexpensive. Taxis are also affordable, but be aware that the safer sitio taxis—which are recommended for tourists—tend to cost two to three times more than a metered, street-hailed taxi. If you're concerned about whether your taxi is legitimate, the free smartphone app TaxiAviso can cross-check the vehicle and driver before you board.
Food and Drink
One of the most endearing (and, at times, maddening) attributes of Mexico City is its ability to embrace cultural opposites, allowing them to coexist without significant conflict. The old, the new, and the scarcely imagined sit side by side here, and no one blinks an eye. The lowbrow and the highbrow are given equal space and respect. The more you can be curious about that balance—and the more you can achieve it yourself—the better you'll understand and enjoy Mexico City.
Mexico City residents—Chilangos—love to party, and there are many opportunities to do so throughout the year. The biggest celebration is Mexican Independence Day, which takes place in September. The Feast Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe in December is a more somber celebration, but just as epic in scope. Mexico City's LGBT Pride Parade, held in late June or early July each year, is a raucous, welcoming, and well-attended party that draws LGBT visitors from all over Mexico and abroad.
What the Locals Know
Julie Schwietert Collazo has been a bilingual freelance writer, editor, and translator for the past 10 years and loves (almost) every minute of it. She does, however, tell people that if she could have any other job, it would be a gig as a Mexico City evangelist. The Mexican capital is her former home and the first place she always wants to go when she gets on a plane. Read more at collazoprojects.com and Cuaderno Inedito.