iliveinmexico
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Places of interest

Xochimilco and the water canals

Mexico city stands on an ancient lake. Aztec empire Tenochtitlan, was constructed on floating islands over a huge lake that is now known as Texcoco. When Cortéz and the Spaniards conquered it, they kept building over the old pyramids. The original water canals that served as streets slowly disappeared and the last ones can be found only in Xochimilco. You can hire one of the colorful boats called “trajineras”. The “captain” moves his boat thanks to a long stick (like in Venecia). The ride takes about two hours and you get to see other commercial boats offering live music, cold beer and freshly made food. You can also get your own food and drinks before you get on trajinera. It is quite normal to get drunk while on the cruise. Xochimilco is also known for cultivating plants and flowers. You will see many green-houses around and will be able to buy flowers if you want.


How to get here?
From the city center it takes about an hour. Get on the metro blue line all the way to Tasqueňa. There, on the metro platform turn right and change to “tren lijero”. It´s a slow above ground train. The last station is Xochimilco. From here look for signs “embarcadero” (port) or let yourself be dragged by some of the barkers. There are 5 different ports but they are about the same.
How much? One hour cruise costs around 400 pesos. 
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Garibaldi

It is Friday or Saturday night and you don´t have a plan? Go to Garibaldi. A place full of musicians Mariaches, drunks and prostitutes. Why? Get to know all of Mexico. I recommend you:

Come accompanied by a man
You don´t drink tequila right from the little stands on the square. They often mix it with stuff, so you end up on the floor, unconscious and robbed.
Try pulque, (there is only one place that sells pulque, on the corner of Garibaldi)
Let Mariaches sing for you (3 songs 120 pesos)
Let a guy with a little box over his head electricise you. It is a local favorite attraction. You will get a sort of ticklish feeling. Yes, I agree it sounds totally stupid, still I went through it a few times already.


How to get here?
You can either walk from Bellas Artes some ten blocks on Eje Central to the north, or by metro to Garibaldi station.

Zócalo, Catedral Metropolitana and Templo Mayor

Right in the center of Mexico City, over the old ruins of the Aztec empire Tenochtitlán, was built a Spanish cathedral. The huge construction (that was originated in 1573 and took 250 years to finish) stands on the unstable basement, that once used to be a lake, and so parts of it sunk slowly creating uneven floor and some cracks in the walls. The same is true for many buildings in the center of Mexico City. Right from the Catedral Metropolitana ancient ruins of the Templo Mayor, the most important temple of Tenochtitlan can be seen. The main square Zócalo is a place of many shows, concerts or demonstrations.

Tlatelolco, the place of tree cultures

On the Tlatelolco square, structures of tree different cultures meet. The ruins of the ancient Aztec empire Tenochtitlán (here used to be the main market), a church “Templo de Santiago” built by the Spanish after the conquest and “modern” buildings from the fifties of the 20th century. Ironically these modern structures look like they will fall into pieces as first. Apart from this architectonic contrast, the square is known for a peaceful student demonstration (October 2, 1968) that turned to a bloody massacre after the intervention of Mexican army.
How to get here: Ten minutes of walk from the Tlatelolco metro station (line 3). Unlike Templo Mayor in the center of Mexico City, the ruins on Tlatelolco are opened every day and the entrance is free.
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Basílica de Guadalupe

According to a legend, in the year 1531 an indian Juan Diego (converted to the Christian faith) had an apparition of a pretty lady in a blue robe. This happened on a small hill of Tepeyac and as you might suspect, the pretty lady was a Virgin Mary. Anyway, the church first did not believe in this happening until, Virgin Mary revealed again and her vision stayed impressed in the Juan´s vest. That could nowdays bee seen in the new Basílica de Guadalupe that unfortunately resembles rather a sports stadium than a sacred place. The original (and beautiful) “basílica” became unstable after too many visitants wanted to enter. It is still standing there thought, its walls are cracked and its floor uneven.
How to get here: You can either go to the metro station Villa Basílica (line 6) or Deportivo 18 de Marzo (line 6 and 3). In either case you will have to walk another 10 to 15 minutes.
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View tower Torre Latinoamericana

In the very center of Mexico City, on the corner of Eje Central (Lázaro Cardenas) and Madero stands an old „skyscraper“ known as Torre Latinoamericana. Its construction started in the year 1948 and lasted till 56. The tower was built on a place where the ancient Aztec ruler Moctezuma had his private zoo. Lifts will take you to its 42 floor for a 360 degree view of Mexico City. Opens: 365 days from 9 am to 11 pm, afternoon hours are better (less smoggy). The Latinoamerican tower counts with a nice restaurant and a small coffee shop.
Entrance fee: 50 pesos.
How to get here: Metro station Bellas Artes.
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Monumento a la Revolución

Impressive monument dedicated to Mexican revolution (1910) stands on Plaza de la República, behind the park Alameda. The building was meant to be a legislative chamber but its construction got interrupted by revolution. The structure was modified and got a new role. The Monumento a la Revolución was reconstructed in 2010. In its basement you can find a museum or take the modern glass lift in its center to a lookout of the city. The monument contains the tombs of some revolutionary heroes such as Pancho Villa o Francisco Madero.
How to get here: Metro Hidalgo o Revolution. Then walk. You can also use the Metrobus and get off at Revolution.

Salón Los Angeles

They say, If you haven´t seen Salón los Angeles, you haven´t seen Mexico. It is one of the oldest dance saloons in Mexico. Its clients look accordingly. Muy RETRO. Wooden floor, big crystal lights and gentlemen in bright suits, shiny shoes and hats with feathers. There are various live bands every evening that play danzón, salsa or rumba. The bar has very friendly prices and entrance is about 50 pesos.

Opens:
Sundays and Tuesdays 18:00-23:00
Entrance: about 50 pesos
How to get here: metro station Tlatelolco, Laredo Street 206
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Park México 

A park full of tall palm trees, lakes, people walking their dogs and surrounded by nice cafés. You are in Condesa - a middle class quarter. Sometimes there are live concerts here, expositions, people dance tango or practice Capoeira.

How to get here:
Metro, the closest stations are Chilpancingo or Sevilla or by Metrobus, station Sonora is few steps from here.

Franz Mayer a San Idelfonso

Two interesting galleries in the centre. Both often present young, extravagant and interesting artists.

Franz Mayer: Hidalgo 45, Centro Histórico. Closest metro Bellas Artes. Open Tue-Sun 10-17:00. www.franzmayer.org.mx

El Viejo Colegio de San isidioro: Justo Sierra 16, Centro Histórico. Closest metro Zócalo. Open Tue-Sun 10-18:00. Tuesday entrance is free. www.sanidelfonso.org.mx

Antropology museum, Zoo and Chapultepec

You can see all that in just one day. First, the entire history of Mexico, very well presented, in the Anthropology museum. Then, just across the street is the ZOO which is part of the huge Chapultepec park. It is a destination of many families that look to spend weekends together. If you still have time, get on the Chapultepec hill where stands an old Habsburg castle (like from Europe) and where from you get views of all Mexico.

Anthropology Museum:
Tue-Sun 9:00 am - 7:00 pm. Entrance fee is 64 pesos. www.mna.inah.gob.mx

How to get here: Metro stop Auditorio gets you off at the wide avenue Paseo de la Reforma which is within a walking distance. Or get off at metro stop Chapultepec.
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Houses of Frida Cahlo and León Trostky

They are actually two separate and different houses but very near each other. Frida, an excentric Mexican artist that lived with Diego Rivera. Trostky, Russian communist, exiled to Mexico and persecuted by Russians, friend of Frida and Diego. Later murdered. Some say betrayed by Diego. And who says history is boring?

Casa de Frida Kahlo:
Beautiful blue colonial house and studio lay in a garden with fountains. Londres Street 247, Coyoacán. Open Tue-Sun. Entrance 80-100 pesos.
www.museofridakahlo.org.mx
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Casa de León Trostky:
Simple, functional house equipped only with what is necessary and stripped of all luxury. Trosky denied luxury and comfort, even though he could afford it. Vía de Viena 45, Coyoacán.

Both houses stand in Coyoacán. A district full of beautiful colonial houses, cafés and parks. The closest metro is Coyoacán or Víveros.

„Bauhaus“ home and studio of Diego Rivera

This strange Bauhaus styled structure was used by Diego Rivera, the husband of Frida. Frida used the other house that was connected by a small bridge. Diego was a famous muralist with revolutionary themes. You can see some of his work in “Palacio Nacional” on Zócalo. Here, you more likely see how Diego lived.

Casa Estudio Diego Rivera:
Diego Rivera 2, San Ángel. Open Tue-Sun 10:00-18:00.
How to get here? Metro Barranca del Muerto or Víveros.
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Lucha Libre

When the end of the week comes, all oppressed and depressed Mexicans, grandmas, grandpas, kids and babies included, come to this huge hall with a ring in the middle. Lights turn on, sexy chicks start to dance and half naked oily men in funny masks jump into the ring. Then they wrestle and the entire public gets crazy, shouting nasty worlds, screaming. If you ask me, I find it pretty much boring, especially knowing the “good guys” always win. One of the most famous is “Mistique” (A good guy, of-course). The masks, however, are cool and there are plenty of shops outside the arena that sell them. If you buy one it can serve as an entertaining toy while on your vacation.

Where: Arena México,
Dr. Lavista 197, metro Cuahtemoc
When: Every Tuesday and Friday
How much: 40-300 pesos, you can buy tickets online: www.ticketmaster.com.mx
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