Where to Find Authentic Culture in Mexico City
Collected by Julie Schwietert Collazo, AFAR Local Expert
Mexico City fully embraces the 21st century while maintaining long-held traditions, some dating back centuries. Here, a few spots where you can experience authentic chilango culture.
Calle del Mercado 133, Xaltocan, 16090 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
The system of canals and chinampas (cultivated artificial islands fashioned from the area’s swampy soils) that has survived in the far-south neighborhood known as Xochilmilco once stretched all the way to the Centro. To this day, the...
Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 43, Centro, 06000 Cuauhtémoc, CDMX, Mexico
They've been popularized and commercialized in movies and may even seem to be a cultural stereotype of sorts, but visit Mexico City's Plaza Garibaldi on any given evening and you'll soon see that the tradition of mariachis is alive and well and...
Calle Dr. Lavista 189, Doctores, 06720 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
The concierge at the hotel was skeptical. The cab driver was amused and skeptical. Lucha libre, or Mexican wrestling, is clearly an unsophisticated embarrassment, tantamount to telling a visitor to the U.S. to...
Historic center of Mexico City, Centro, 06000 Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico
Its massive size, centrality to daily life in the capital, and easy accessibility (a Metro station opens up right onto the plaza) makes the Zócalo an ideal place for large-scale temporary exhibits. The government hosts occasional exhibits...
José María Pino Suárez, Centro, 06080 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
"Ride the Metro?" your chilango acquaintances will exclaim in disbelief? In Mexico City, where a car is the ultimate status symbol, many people try to avoid the Metro, which is a shame. One of the largest and most affordable subway systems in the...
Calle de Balderas S/N, Centro, 06040 Cuauhtémoc, CDMX, Mexico
On any given Sunday, a multitude of Mexico City parks find themselves playing host to groups of dance aficionados, who gather together to practice their steps in a jovial, non-judgmental atmosphere. But perhaps no park has a better Sunday scene...
Calle Augusto Rodín 241, Benito Juárez, Noche Buena, 03710 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
D.H. Lawrence detested it. Langston Hughes loved it. It's probably safe to say that no one who has seen bullfighting comes away ambivalent about it. If you can stomach the blood and the inevitable death of the bull (and, perhaps, the injury of the...
Plaza de las Américas 1, Villa de Guadalupe, Villa Gustavo A. Madero, 07050 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Each December 12, thousands of pilgrims from all corners of the country converge upon the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City to honor the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Some arrive by car, others by bus, and a good many have...
Aldama, Cuauhtémoc, Buenavista, 06350 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
The Saturday tianguis is a Mexico City tradition, and many neighborhoods have one of these open-air flea markets, where vendors peddle everything from rare books, maps, and postcards to locally made T-shirts, vintage jewelry, and art. One popular...
Paseo de la Reforma 439, Cuauhtémoc, 06500 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Each Sunday, Mexico City's main avenue, Reforma, shuts down to vehicular traffic and cedes to cyclists, rollerbladers, and walkers, who enjoy a slower, more scenic pace than is typical on one of the busiest streets. The program, called Muevete en...