A Guide to Mexico City

BY Dimitri Voulg

A Guide to Mexico City
Photo by Will Ried


Mexico City, a megacity of juxtapositions

Loud, frantic, and energetic, Ciudad de México (Mexico City) is a megalopolis of contrasts. Salvador Dalí once said, “There is no way I'm going back (to Mexico). I can't stand to be in a country that is more surrealist than my paintings.” Though a little harsh and referring more to the country rather than the city, the surrealist painter had a point, and the capital of Mexico exemplifies the country’s surreal juxtapositions. Corporate and industrial, hippie and chic, creative and intellectual, humble yet ostentatious, the city seems to be walking a tightrope straddling its many contradictions. Maybe that tightrope is more literal than metaphoric, as the city – developed over a lake– trembles at least once a year with earthquakes, vestiges of which are traceable in many of its neighbourhoods.

This is a megacity of skyscrapers and street vendors, of big parks and sprawling districts, parties and wellness retreats, devotees and gangsters, scarcity and abundance. You either love it, or you hate it. but chances are, you’ll end up falling for it. This is a city of warm, optimistic, and welcoming people. A city where hope is heavier than hurdles. Where nothing works as one would expect, but somehow, perseveres.

Mexico City is located in the south-central part of Mexico. You can easily catch a plane or bus to a coastal getaway or drive a few kilometres to the surrounding mountains and lakes. When to visit? It may not be an eternal summer as some may think, nonetheless, each season has its own appeal. Winters are cool and dry with plenty of sunshine, lasting from December through February. During this time, it rarely gets below 5° C at night. For two weeks, during the holidays, the city feels quiet with many city dwellers going back to their hometowns or vacationing on the southern coast. Spring (February to May) brings the sunniest and hottest weather of the year; terraces are packed and the energy is high. Just when the air is beginning to feel heavy because of its “not-so-good quality” (20 million people!), the arrival of summer brings serenity, cleaning the air with daily afternoon showers. Autumn feels like a continuity of summer with sunny mornings and scattered afternoon showers, but chillier and longer nights, creating an atmosphere for Day of the Dead season.

It’s easy to be independent here with public transportation and apps. Cards are accepted virtually everywhere, but cash comes in handy. There are options for literally any budget. It’s a great city for meeting new people, friends, making connections, and in recent years has become a hotspot for “digital nomads”.