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Mexico City

Going in April for vacation to Mexico City. I'm a history/literature/art person, so touring museums and historical sites is more fun than laying on a beach. I've been doing some reading of travel books about the city and have looked at some websites about the gay scene -- apparently centered around Zona Rosa -- but I would like some feedback from those who have been or who live there.

What are the must-sees? The best clubs? What are some books -- history or fiction -- that you might recommend?

by Anonymousreply 3812/29/2012


by Anonymousreply 112/17/2012

¡Estás en peligro, chica!

by Anonymousreply 212/17/2012

If you can get steroids back you can pay for your entire trip after visiting a gym.

by Anonymousreply 312/17/2012

The museums at the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) are stellar.

by Anonymousreply 412/17/2012

Protect yourself from pick pockets. Never leave valuables in your hotel, I don't care where you are staying. Excursions by car with a guide can be arranged most anywhere. You might be in a car with other travelers which expands your information and contacts.

by Anonymousreply 512/17/2012

Don't miss the National Museum of Anthropology.

If you've never been to DF, you can't really imagine what the air is like there. Super thin owing to the altitude, plus stupendously poluted (though not nearly now as much as in previous eras).

Also, don't take taxis, and don't get kidnapped.

by Anonymousreply 612/17/2012

We took a private Gray Line tour to the pyramids at Teotihuacan. Don't forget to tip the driver.

by Anonymousreply 712/17/2012

Love Mexico City. On my first trip to Mexico City, I read Carlos Fuentes's The Years with Laura Diaz which I found to be a wonderful introduction to the city. I would also recommend Hugh Thomas's The Conquest of Mexico.

The city is fascinating and of course has many great museums. The Anthropology Museum and Templo Mayor are first rate, the murals at Bellas Artes and the Castillo de Chapultepec are well worth seeing. I have not been to the Franz Mayer and Ruffino Tamayo but I want very much to go on my next visit. Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo's house and Trotsky's house in Coyoacan are wonderful as is just exploring Coyoacan and San Angel.

I find Mexico City safer than many believe it to be, the subway is surprisingly good. Just be very careful about only getting into authorized taxis, and I believe one color - not sure which - is recommended as the safest, but don't recall which so definitely get that information. Roma and Condesa are wonderful neighborhoods for shopping, galleries and much more relaxed than Zona Rosa, which I'm not a huge fan of. I believe there is a gay bar in Roma than people enjoy but don't recall the name of it.

I love the atmosphere in Condesa around the hippodromo, Parques Espana and Mexico, the shops and restaurants (Matisse is a favorite) in that area. Not sure if you have a place to stay or what your budget is but the Condesa D.F. hotel is very nice though not cheap.

The worst thing is the sometimes eye-burning pollution.

by Anonymousreply 812/17/2012

OH, and, of course, Teotihuacan is sensational. If you want to spend a few days outside of town, there are many very relaxing wonderful places to go in the district.

by Anonymousreply 912/17/2012

Is it recommended that asthmatics don't go there?

by Anonymousreply 1012/17/2012

The Zoo on a Sunday is a wonderful place to spend the day. Mostly local families, not so many tourists, very colorful. Chapultepec {naitve for grasshopper} park where Maximillian and Carlotta lived. Floating gardens of Xochimilco

by Anonymousreply 1112/17/2012

Mexico City has the best architecture of any city in the world.

by Anonymousreply 1212/17/2012

Thank you! I appreciate all these suggestions! I'm really looking forward to it.

by Anonymousreply 1312/17/2012

I really want to go but my partner has no interest. Boo. Sometime I will go without him.

by Anonymousreply 1412/17/2012

I had a great time in Mexico City! Do everything that R8 says. They have some of the best art museums anywhere. I was so surprised at some of the modern art shows and how they view their own government through art.

However, it's not quite ready for primetime, so brush up on your Spanish. In all of the beautiful museums and sites, barely any English translation available. You may want to hire a guide for some sites. English is not widely spoken here and even in many restaurants the staff could not find anyone who could speak English. (Oddly enough, when I needed directions, I could always find a good English speaker in a Starbucks).

The subway is amazing and is the second largest in North America (NYC is the biggest) It's dirt cheap and takes you all over.

The only time I used cabs was to go out at night to the bars that weren't within walking distance. I always asked the bartender or doorman to get me a cab, they usually have 1 waiting that they know and trust.

Gay night life in Mexico was amazing too! I went to gay Mexican cowboy bars, bear bars, appletini bars, strip bars (with live sex shows!) and Toms is the big fun "leather" bar with the dark room, but it's really fun. Lotza Pinga!

Walked all over the place day and night and never felt unsafe. But just stay in the areas that a normal tourist would go to and you'll be fine.

I stayed just outside of the Zona Rosa at a Holiday Inn (Hotels, like everything else in Mexico are Cheap!_ Got a great deal on a suite. My friends always do priceline and get the Sheraton for like 70 bucks just across from the zona rosa which is perfect for site seeing and for nightlife.

by Anonymousreply 1512/17/2012

I love Mexico City and those are great responses from R8 and R15. If you can, get a copy of "Style Map Mexico City". I think it's free from the link below. A friend of mine and expat living in Mexico City wrote it.

There's a lot of new gay bars and restaurants opening near the Zocolo centered around Republica de Cuba. Nearby is one of my favorite old bars, Bar L'Opera with the bullet holes from Pancho Villa still in the ceiling. Also, don't miss the Sanborns near the Zocolo, the best in Mexico City.

I too love Tom's Leather bar, which really isn't about leather but is one of the best gay bars in the world.

Try to see a show at the Belles Artes just to see the Tiffany stained glass stage curtain.

I also love Xochimilco where you float down ancient canals on colorful little boats while all kinds of vendors, also in boats, pull up with food, music, jewelery, you name it.

If you are a modern architecture fan, visit Luis Barragan's house.

The only negative I have is cabs. They don't work on meter and you have to negotiate the price before you get in or you'll get ripped off.

by Anonymousreply 1612/17/2012

Oops, here's the link to getting the guidebook.

by Anonymousreply 1712/17/2012

r16/r17, your link takes me right back to Datalounge....

by Anonymousreply 1812/17/2012

My partner and I spent a great weekend in Mexico City a couple of years ago. As people have already mentioned, the National Archeological Museum is a must, as is Templo Mayor. A friend who lives there arranged for us to hire a driver for a day who took us to Teotihuacan, got us tickets for Mexican wrestling (which was quite a hoot), and took us to Fundacion Jumex, which is one of the world's best private collections of modern art and which would be impossible to find on your own. It is on the premises of the national juice company (Jumex) since the collection belongs to teh family who owns the company. It is in a working class suburb which a tourist would never be able to find.

Zona Rosa is fun, as is Condesa, with a lot of great restaurants and little shops. We stayed in Polanco, which is a relatively upscale neighborhood. As people have mentioned already, the colonial architecture is amazing.

by Anonymousreply 1912/17/2012

A great, sprawling, graphic, and picturesque novel about the area at the time of the Spanish conquest is "Aztec" by Gary Jennings.

by Anonymousreply 2012/18/2012

Go to the Dolores Olmedo Patino Museum. Amazing estate owned by a woman scion of an important tycoon family. Crammed with great art and truly wild kitsch, along with vanity photos and portraits of the lady in the Elizabeth Taylor era. Has lovely gardens too.

by Anonymousreply 2112/18/2012

Is Xochimilco really worth it, or too much of a hassle for what it is?

by Anonymousreply 2212/18/2012

You will enjoy it. Food is very good but take precautions.

by Anonymousreply 2312/18/2012

[quote]. It is in a working class suburb which a tourist would never be able to find.

It's in Ecatepec (as astonishing hillside slum that grew after the 1985 earthquake) on Insurgentes Norte on the way to Teotihuacán. It's not difficult to find at all, but it's not somewhere you want to go if you're not from there or with someone who knows it well.

Speaking of Teotihuacán, here's an astounding report in today's Times about Walmart's corrupt expansion in Mexico.

by Anonymousreply 2412/18/2012

I was posted there for several years. Lived in Polanco. Loved it. Just beware of pick pockets in the gay bars.

by Anonymousreply 2512/18/2012

Gay life in Mexico City

by Anonymousreply 2612/19/2012

Pack a toothbrush, swim suit, sunglasses, and an AK - 47, for when they try and kidnap you, cut your head off, and display it on the overpass on the way to the airport. Have fun !!!

by Anonymousreply 2712/19/2012

R27, I felt safer in Mexico City than I did in some of America's own neighborhoods. The U.S. right now is the last entity that should be pointing fingers at other country's violence or batshit craziness.

OP, unless you are openly involving yourself in drug business, you should be fine if you take the normal precautions you'd take in any major city.

by Anonymousreply 2812/19/2012

Just returned from a week there. Stayed in Roma Norte, kind of an artsy, college-aged neighborhood. Highly recommended. Great museums, churches, galleries, and restaurants.

After 6 pm the taxis don't use their meters so barter with the cabbie before you get in. Use Sitio Taxis (located everywhere) if you feel iffy about using a street cab.

by Anonymousreply 2912/19/2012

The open-top sightseeing bus tour is a great way to see the much of the city. It also takes you to the door of the new contemporary art museum Museo Soumaya.

Huge fucking city. 600 square miles of traffic.

by Anonymousreply 3012/19/2012

Be sure to get all your shots before you go.

by Anonymousreply 3112/19/2012

R32, fewer and fewer are immigrating to the U.S., what with a rapidly increasing middle-class. In less than a few years, Mexico will also probably federally pass gay marriage.

Once Mexico does pass gay marriage, it'll be a toss-up as to whether to move north to Canada or south to Mexico, while the U.S. stews in its ass-backwards, NRA-gun-toting KKKristian fundamentalism. How shameful that the U.S. is the most socially conservative, backwards NAFTA country.

by Anonymousreply 3312/19/2012

on another thread someone mentioned that Mexico City has several stripper bars. Can anyone provide any names or details?

by Anonymousreply 3412/29/2012

r33 = PEW Foundation

by Anonymousreply 3512/29/2012

I used to live in Mexico.. You do need to take some precautions to be safe and enjoy yourself. As a few up thread comments mentioned, the air is terrible and the altitude isn't cardiac friendly. If this could be a problem, either don't go or get medical evacuation insurance.

My father had to be airlifted from a hospital there; he was dying from the 12 different infections (including e-coli and septic bed sores) he acquired post-op. You had to bring your own soap, none was provided.

Get a driver from the hotel. It won't cost much. Taxis are often a robbery set-up, particularly for tourists. If there is a passenger in the front seat that's a bad sign. (I know taxis are usually shared on the Reforma).

Don't use ATMs at night or anywhere that's deserted. Muggers do stake them out.

Don't ask for any help from the police. Most of them are the bad guys.

Police love to stop people, especially tourists who are assumed rich, and fine/ticket them for whatever they can think of. Jaywalking, littering, going through an imaginary stop sign .... Grit your teeth and pay up. You will not win this. The D.F. police view extortion as a perk. They will put you in a jail cell if they feel like it.

Don't get passing out drunk in the Zona Rosa. Americans are infamous for that and waking up in their underwear. (Friend of the family owned a now defunct gay bar).

by Anonymousreply 3712/29/2012

been there...shouldnt have bothered, could have just gone to santee alley.

Most friends said why the hell are you going to Mexico. I should have listened.

by Anonymousreply 3812/29/2012
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