City Series: Mexico City

 

Mexico City is a modern, important cultural city and even designated as a Heritage City by UNESCO. The city charmingly fuses Parisian and U.S. architectural styles while the popular street foods (flat corn-based breads) are based off of traditional foods eaten by the ancient Aztecs.

It is also a very vibrant and dynamic place to do business. Mexico City’s overall economy is set to double by 2020. According to the government’s own tourism office, Mexico in general is currently experiencing an event tourism boom set to increase by 10 percent this year with an economic impact of around $20 billion. There will be around 200 international events, along with 25,000 meetings and conventions in 2017 alone.

 

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Population

8.9 million

 

Airport

Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez - (www.aicm.com.mx) is Mexico City’s only passenger airport, and Latin America’s largest, with an annual capacity of about 32 million passengers.

 

Currency & Tipping

Mexico officially operates on the peso.

 

Tipping:

Restaurants – A charge labeled “propina” on your bill is a gratuity that restaurants include automatically on the bill.

Taxis – Optional, but it is not custom to normally tip drivers.

Bars – If you’re running a standard tab, leave 15-20% of the total as a tip.

 

Time of Year to Visit

Spring is actually the least crowded season before the summer tourists. Rainy season runs June through September, followed by mild winters that make for pleasant holiday escapes. 

 

Hotels & Convention Center

European and American companies attest to the event benefits of Mexico City, but a warning to planners to take time to understand cultural differences. For example, the 9am to 5pm exhibition model typically doesn’t work here. Expect exhibitions to instead run from 12-8pm.

There are many large event venues in Mexico City. Expo Reforma is a conference center with 23,000 square feet that highlights the city’s culture.

World Trade Center Mexico is a multi-functional center with modular rooms, allowing up to 27,000 square feet. The facility receives 2.5 million visitors with more than 80 exhibitions annually. Centro Banamex, built in 2002 by the architect Michael Edmonds, features an actual hippodrome, game halls and even a children’s theme park. (http://www.centrobanamex.com/en/)

 

Local Culture

Lucha Libre - Lucha libre is a unique pop-culture phenomenon whose origins date back to 1863 when a Mexican wrestler, Enrique Ugartechea, first developed the art of ‘free-style’ wrestling in colorful face masks. Experience lucha libre in Mexico City at Arena Mexico or the older and smaller, Arena Coliseo. Fights are usually held Tuesday and Friday nights and Sunday. Tickets are available at the door or via Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com.mx)

 

Historical Sights

Museo del Templo Mayor is a 13th-century Aztec temple. The Teocalli of Tenochtitlán covered the site where the central cathedral now stands. The on-site Museo del Templo Mayor houses a model of Tenochtitlán and artifacts from the site, and gives an overview of Aztec, aka Mexica. Open from 9am-5pm on Tuesday-Sunday. (http://www.templomayor.inah.gob.mx)

 

Activities for Groups

The city is pedestrian-friendly in many neighborhoods, especially historic Centro Histórico, upscale Condesa, colonial Roma, and the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Mexico City, Polanco.

Diego Rivera remains one of the greatest muralists of all time and the best place in the world to see his greatest works (large-scale frescoes) is in Mexico City. Grab your group for a walking tour to see the Rivera murals at the National Palace, the Museo Mural Diego Rivera, Secretaría de Educación Pública, and the Palacio de Bellas Artes. (https://www.npm.gov.tw/en/)

 

Festivals

Day of the Dead – Across Mexico City in early November, kids and adults will assemble in graveyards and the Zócalo public square to honor the dead with frighteningly gorgeous costumes and memorials. The celebration comes from the Aztec belief that the dead come back to earth for one day every year. The ceremony is classically 'mestizo,' combining pre-colonial traditions with Roman Catholic customs.

 

Festival de Mexico – Every March, one of the most vibrant international arts festivals, the Festival de Mexico, features unique and innovative events including opera, concerts, theater, art exhibits and dance productions. Proceeds from the festival go toward the restoration of the art and architecture of Mexico City's historic downtown area.

 

Photo Credit: Bertrand Borie via https://unsplash.com/