8 Reasons To Visit Mexico City & Why I Might Live There (Again)
There are so many reasons to visit Mexico City that I ended up living there for 2 years, scrapping the initial plan of going back to live in Colombia after falling in love with what is now known as CMDX.
Six years before that I flew to Malaysia on a one-way ticket. embarking upon a quest to completely change my life around, and most importantly, to find a place to call “home.”
Living in Mexico City gave me hope after hopping about all over the planet that there was a place where I genuinely considered putting down permanent roots.
I know that travel bloggers writing about how they’ve become functioning adults in society and are finally happy to live in one place for more than 6 months a year can become tedious very fast. So let’s take the focus off me (with the exception of a few options) and dive into all the reasons to visit Mexico City.
1. The Weather
Elephant in the room; Mexico City is sadly a constant prey to powerful earthquakes and this is worth knowing should you wish to live there. But nowhere is a utopia, so with this extremity aside, the weather in Mexico City is as good as it gets.
I always had a feeling that this would be a big (or even the main) factor when choosing a home. I used to really suffer from seasonal affective depression in the harsh northeast England winters and I notice that I’m overall considerably more positive when I get my natural form of vitamin D.
The capital of Mexico still experiences seasons, but even their winters are warm throughout the day. Summer fashion by day, winter trends by night. Jackpot.
This was a big positive compared to living in Bangkok. Both cities share the commonality of being a bouncing, busy city with a myriad of things to see and do, but dressing up all dapper in Thailand’s capital in the evening is a neverending game of sweat roulette.
If constant humidity isn’t your cup of tea, but you also loathe the cold; the sunny days mixed with a nice chill night is a good reason to visit Mexico City.
2. The People
Mexicans are bloody lovely. There are some annoyances, such as the lack of personal space from strangers, being unpunctual for meetups, and interrupting a conversation is not even considered rude. I accept that it’s a cultural difference and if I am going to live here again it’s simply something that I need to adapt to.
There is a general consensus that people from capital cities are coldhearted and impolite. I would say that this is a fair stereotype, but Mexico City seems to be the exception to this rule. I’ve found the locals nothing but welcoming and warm.
Also, I love the unspoken Latin social contract when you greet strangers with a good morning, and good afternoon and wish them an enjoyable meal. Ladies are graceful and men are gents in Mexico City and I’m a fan of good old-fashioned manners, it hurts no one.
3. Perfect Base To See The (Phenomenal) Country of Mexico
Mexico is the 14th largest country in the world. Considering I was working a lot, I only managed to see the tip of the iceberg and I love that iceberg so far.
I didn’t manage to see Chichen Itza, the final entry on the New Seven Wonders of The World list for me, and I am furious at myself for this. Still, it gives me an extra reason to visit Mexico City again.
It’s not just about quantity, but quality when it comes to this massive country.
Mexico packs quite a hefty punch of things a wanderer can see and do; pyramids, cenotes, beaches and fascinating manmade wonders from Mexico’s hotpot of history thanks to Aztec culture, Mayan culture, Toltec culture – Mexico has more than enough.
I could probably travel here for my full 6-month tourist visa and still miss out on a lot.
Mexico City plays bridesmaid to only Paris to the most museums within a city (if that’s your kind of thing) and don’t even get me started on their festivals! Mexicans know how to put on a party and the desire to experience them and also see more of Mexico is a solid reason to visit Mexico City.
4. Mexican Food (It’s Not What We Think it is)
I hate to be that travel wanker, but I’m going to go there…
The Mexican food that we eat and are familiar with in the western world is not the same as Mexican food in Mexico. That’s Tex-Mex, but traditional Mexican food is different and it’s absolutely banging!
I’ve enjoyed many a burrito and chilli con carne in my time (although nachos are overrated shit crisps) however real Mexican food is vastly different. For a start, things like tortillas are made out of corn (good news for celiacs), they use cumin a lot, they don’t put dollops of cheese on everything and there is a concoction of ingredients as long as your arm of herbs and spices, so much effort goes into their dishes.
My personal favourite is Mole Poblano, the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, a dish which originates from a town just outside of Mexico City called ‘Puebla.’
Mexico City is also veggie-friendly and there is a thriving vegan scene. So there you have it, meat-eaters, vegans and celiacs all have a reason to visit Mexico City; there’s something for everyone out there.
With all the above being said, I will still be found in local “Mexicans” over the world, tucking into some sloppy chimichangas without apologies. I’ll also be having authentic, delicious Mexican cuisine every time I return.
Variety is the spice of life, pun intended.
5. They Speak A Language That I Actually Want To Learn
I’ve been learning Spanish since the day I arrived in Colombia. It’s a constant work in progress, but I know enough to get around Latin America and I’ll look forward to learning more and speaking this beautiful language on a daily basis when I return.
Colombian and Venezuelan are the sexiest of Spanish in my opinion, Mexico City’s is a little fast but clear enough for me to understand.
It is, however, trendy to show off as a local and speak English in certain parts of town. A little annoying for me, as if it was the other way around (someone speaking English to me to practice) I would be more patient and help that person out.
As Mexicans are generally decent people, I don’t see this as flexing. They’re probably just doing it to make me feel more comfortable, or even practice their own second language.
This is just a minor inconvenience though and there’s more than enough Spanish for me if I look for it. I’m currently struggling with the “if you don’t use it, you lose it” theory, with me no longer living in a Spanish-speaking country, but I know I’ll make learning the lingo more of a priority, should I go back to live there for some time.
6. I Have A Good Group Of Friends Here
There are fewer things in life that are more important to me than friendship. I’ve seen good ones (and bad ones) come and go over the years and it never gets easier when I feel a strong bond has lost its grip. I have both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking friends living in CMDX and we would regularly meet up to go bowling, eat out, cinema and I need that in my life so much – it’s absolutely vital for my mental health gains.
7. Lucha Libre!
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance, fun night with friends and a couple of beers (Modelo Oscuro is my favourite) then watching Mexico’s amateur version of WWF is another reason to visit Mexico City if you’re game for a laugh.
Each wrestler has their own strong personality, the drinks and tickets are cheap and the crowd interaction is some of the best banter you will experience at a travelling sporting venue. It’s so popular that it inspired Bolivia’s capital La Paz to put its own spin on it with ‘Cholita Wrestling,’ transcending between cultures in a country that has held on firmly to its national identity.
Lucha libre is brilliant. Wear a mask (a Lucha mask), get the “VIP” seats, go early with loved ones and have fun.
8. Stadio Azteca
Another thing that transcends culture is undoubtedly the sport of football. Latin America is no different, with unapologetic, fervent local rivalries just as passionate (or even a tad more if you include the Superclasico of Argentina).
Mexicans are a passionate bunch and it’s even more apparent during the cult of footballism. The stadium in Mexico City stands out for two reasons:
- It’s where the national team plays. (With a population of 130 million, you better have a big stadium).
- It’s the 3rd biggest stadium in the world. (The Stadio Azteca has the capacity to hold 87,523 people. It is third to The Nou Camp of Barcelona (99,354) and to…North Korea’s Rungrado (114,000), but that would mean visiting North Korea).
Honourable Whiney Reasons NOT To Visit Mexico City
Nowhere is perfect, so with the good, there is always the bad. I think it’s obvious by my tone of the article (and the fact I am open to buying an apartment in Mexico City one day) that I believe that there is an overall net positive in visiting Mexico City.
It’s genuinely one of my favourite cities in the world. With that being said, here are the whiney bits about visiting Mexico City…
Busy traffic: It’s just the way it goes when living or travelling in a populous city. Getting across town can be a nightmare with the traffic (it’s also maybe the best city in the world for using Uber. Ok, I’m cheating here as I was supposed to be adding negatives in this section).
Terrible Restaurant/Cafe Service: I’ve waited hours in empty restaurants for even drinks, never mind food. You can’t be in a rush in Mexico City, and if you are then you should sort your belly out on busier days (unless it’s glorious street tacos).
Polluted Air: I did end up moving to a city that has awful air…but that’s only for a few months of the year (and I leave for those months). Mexico City’s air is relatively bad, especially if you are sensitive to it. I have sensitive, dry eyes so I have to be careful.
The Terrifying Threat of an Earthquake: Always a concern. I was very lucky during the last huge one, travelling through Quito in Ecuador when it kicked off. Everyone who I know and love is fine, but it’s a worry for sure.
AWFUL postal service: It’s not just a Mexico thing. Even well-organised Japan broke my heart, losing my nostalgic local hiking stick I sent to the UK after climbing Mount Fuji. But Mexico’s delivery service is particularly terrible and a successful supplement guy who I buy from had to blacklist Mexico City as the products kept getting “lost.”
It’s Not As “Safe” as I Would Like It To Be: I will Elaborate below.
Are My Reasons To Visit Mexico City Enough To Live There Again?
Shortly after writing this post, I had a traumatic mountain accident in Argentina. I was a complete wreck, needing to rest and recuperate and that desire to find a place called “home” became an even bigger priority for me.
I chose to fly to Thailand, a country that I know well. In a country with good medical care, if you go private, I was not in any state to be making decisions in a new place or to be in a place where I felt unsafe.
Mexico City is not as unsafe as some excitable people think it is, but it is not as safe as Chiang Mai. This is just a fact and although the idealist’s war cry of “there is good and bad everywhere” is a well-beaten drum, quite frankly; I choose to ignore it.
Mexicans are mostly good people, it’s just a minority of people who make it less safe, but it was a big enough minority for me to choose Thailand as a place to lick my wounds.
I have no problem travelling in dangerous countries, but I don’t wish to live in a place where I am constantly looking over my shoulder (like I did when I was a child and teenager back in England) and as much as I had fun living in Cambodia, I knew deep down that it wasn’t the place for me to go back to.
My eyesight was poor, I had frostbite and broken teeth and neurologically I was a mess, with my nervous system permanently jolted up on 5 gears.
I rested, got help and decided to ponder the real question; should I live long-term in Mexico City or Chiang Mai?
Being able to walk around with my laptop bag at the night, or feel secure at an ATM was a big factor for me. I put my money where my mouth is, deciding to live long-term in Chiang Mai for the foreseeable future, paid for in cash (thank you, life-changing blogging).
Does that mean the door is closed on Mexico City? I don’t think so. My main reason to visit Mexico city from the list above is what mentally pulls me back there so often; my friends that I have living there.
Like I said in the food section; variety is the spice of life and I have BIG goals, one of them is to own a second property to escape the burning season of Chiang Mai, so let’s see what the next chapter brings.
Viva Mexico (City!)