Mexico City NightlifeA night on the town in Mexico City often means hitting a nightclub or spending the evening at a lobby bar in one of the big hotels. A nightclub tour is an easy and safe way to visit some of the city's hot spots, since transportation and reservations are arranged for you. These tours usually last several hours and include dinner at a nice restaurant and perhaps a floor show or a stop at famed Plaza Garibaldi. Check with your hotel's concierge service for tour recommendations or ask your AAA travel agent for help with planning fun things to do with friends or things for couples to do.
Rooftop bars not only provide a retreat high above the crowded streets but offer breathtaking views of the capital. You can start the night off with a drink or make an evening of it and have dinner as well. Most are open late, especially on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Miralto , on the 41st floor of the Latin-American Tower, serves a variety of cocktails and martinis and has a dinner menu heavy on Italian, French and Spanish influences. Bellini , on the 45th floor of the World Trade Center building (Torre WTC) at Avenida Insurgentes Sur and Calle Montecito, bills itself as the world's biggest revolving restaurant. The panoramic city views are usually complemented by live entertainment in the form of a pianist or a jazz band.
Area Bar , on the top floor of the Habita Hotel, Av. Presidente Masaryk #201 in Polanco, morphs from a pool lounge area by day to an upscale bar after the sun goes down, with comfortable seating and an outdoor fireplace for chilly evenings. Balmori Roofbar , Calle Zacatecas #139 in the Roma neighborhood, is architecturally innovative, with minimalist décor, greenery and a paneled roof that opens up when the weather's warm. Cool DJ music attracts a well-dressed crowd of twenty-somethings, and the line to get in can be long.
Cantinas, small, dimly lit places usually filled with hard-drinking patrons, should be avoided in this destination. One exception, however, is the La Opera Bar, Av. 5 de Mayo #10 at Calle Providencia. During the day this is a crowded lunch spot, with jacketed waiters and formal service. In the evening dinner is served, but the gilded ceiling, mirrored walls, dark paneled booths and clubby feel also make La Opera a popular spot for an early evening cocktail. Your waiter is likely to show you the bullet hole Pancho Villa supposedly once fired into the ceiling.
Colonia Condesa provides a more laid-back neighborhood setting for evening socializing than the Historic Center. Salón Malafama , Calle Michoacán #78, is a casual hangout with pool tables downstairs and tables upstairs where you can play chess or dominoes. Fever , Av. Nuevo León #67 (near Parque España), is a club with a retro '70s disco vibe that attracts dolled-up crowds who come to dance to DJ-spun house, funk and soul music.
El Hijo del Cuervo , Calle Jardín Centenario #17 in Coyoacán, is frequented by hip students and a mix of locals and foreigners. This bar/restaurant has an outdoor terrace and is located right on Jardín Centenario, Coyoacán's plaza, which makes it a perfect spot to chill with sangria or a beer and people-watch while on vacation. Sip a traditional margarita and listen to a mariachi band at Bar Jorongo , in the Sheraton Mexico City Maria Isabel Hotel at Paseo de la Reforma #325. There is a cover charge. The hotel also has a relaxed lobby bar that occasionally features live music.
For those seeking a true Mexican nightlife experience, Plaza Garibaldi offers it. Between calles República de Peru and República de Honduras, about 5 blocks north of the Palace of Fine Arts (M: Garibaldi, line 8), this square is ruled by mariachi bands who serenade paying customers every night of the week. The typical outfit includes violin, trumpet, guitar and a heart-tugging vocalist, and the songs almost always address the travails of love, usually at the hands of an unfaithful woman—a nod to Mexican machismo.
Decked out in tight-fitting, silver-spangled costumes and wide-brimmed sombreros, the musicians unabashedly solicit business from the throngs of people crowding the plaza (about $5 U.S. for a song). Sunday night is the best time to hear music in the square itself. Mariachis also perform in the surrounding cantinas and clubs, which stay open into the wee hours. If you're wondering where to eat nearby, the restaurant/nightclub Salón Tenampa, on the north side of the plaza, puts on first-rate mariachi shows. At other establishments you can sit and listen to the mariachis while nibbling botanas (snacks).
Plaza Garibaldi is at its most lively late at night and is a traditional last stop for an evening on the town, but the surrounding neighborhood has long been a sketchy one, filled with cheap hotels and gaudy burlesque theaters. In recent years an overhaul spruced up both the plaza and the surrounding blocks. Even so, guard closely against pickpockets, and arrange for round-trip taxi transportation with your hotel. Some places will try to gouge money from tourists by raising quoted prices for food and/or drinks, so stick to the larger, well-known establishments.
Note: Always be careful when venturing out after dark anywhere in Mexico City, even in tourist-frequented areas like the Zona Rosa and Polanco. Metro is not recommended as a way of getting around at night, and never hail a taxi on the street. The safest way to travel is to make drop-off and pickup arrangements with your hotel taxi service. Thieves also frequent the popular nightlife districts, so carry a minimum of cash and guard your personal belongings carefully.
Mexico City, DF
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2,240 meters (7,347 feet)
Secretaría de Turismo (SECTUR) headquarters, Presidente Masaryk #172; phone (55) 3002-6300 (English spoken). Persons needing legal assistance should contact this department at the Ministry of Tourism.
Dial 060 and ask to be connected to an English-speaking operator if you need immediate assistance.
In general, the police in Mexico City should be contacted only as a last resort. If your car is stolen, however, you must report it to the police, as you will be liable for any subsequent crimes in which the vehicle is involved.
Paseo de la Reforma #305 (M: Sevilla or Insurgentes, line 1); phone (55) 5080-2000. The embassy is open for general business Mon.-Fri. 8:30-4:30; closed U.S. and Mexican holidays. There is a protection officer on 24-hour duty to advise you in the event of robbery, assault, major loss, accident, illness or death; Mexican law takes precedence in such instances. Information regarding attorneys and translators also can be obtained.
Calle Schiller #529, just north of the National Museum of Anthropology (M: Auditorio, line 7); phone (55) 5724-7900. Open Mon.-Fri. 8:30-5; closed Canadian and Mexican holidays.
Phone (55) 5658-1111. This government-operated agency can help coordinate a search for missing persons or lost, stolen or towed vehicles; the hotline is answered daily 24 hours. The LOCATEL office is in the southern suburb of Churubusco at Calle Heroes del 47 #113, 3 blocks south of the National Museum of Interventions; phone (55) 5484-0400.
Consumer Protection Offic
Contact the Consumer Protection Office (Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor, or PROFECO) if you feel that you've been cheated or ripped off regarding a service or purchase; phone (55) 5625-6700 or 01 (800) 468-8722 (toll-free long distance within Mexico).
The ABC Medical Center (Centro Médico ABC) is several blocks south of Chapultepec Park at Calle Sur #116, at Avenida Observatorio (M: Observatorio, line 1); phone (55) 5230-8000. All major credit cards are accepted. The Mexican Red Cross (Cruz Roja) is located at Calle Luis Vives #200, between Avenida Ejército Nacional and Avenida Homero (north of Chapultepec Park in the Polanco neighborhood). It is open 24 hours; phone (55) 1084-4505.
Local Phone Calls
All calls made from landlines are charged as local calls. Prior to Jan. 1, 2015, there was a separate price structure for long-distance calls (designated by the acronym LADA, or larga distancia). There also are no long-distance cellphone charges; dialing either a local cell number or a long-distance cell number from a landline is charged as a local call. Calls made to a cell number must include the prefix 044.
The News is an English-language newspaper published Monday through Friday in Mexico City. Major U.S. newspapers are available at many newsstands the day after they are printed.
Av. Presidente Masaryk #172 Mexico City, DF . Phone:(55)3002-6300
The rates charged by banks and casas de cambio (currency exchange houses) don't differ that much, so currency exchange is a matter of convenience. Most banks exchange currency Mon.-Fri. 9-noon, but you may have to wait in line; exchange houses often are open weekdays until 5 and may be open Saturdays as well. Exchange houses and ATMs are concentrated along Paseo de Reforma, in the Centro Histórico and in the Zona Rosa. The Sanborns chain of restaurants also provides ATMs.
Street crime—from relatively benign offenses like pickpocketing and purse snatching to dangerous armed robbery—is an ever-present risk. No part of the city is immune, even the upscale Polanco neighborhood and other areas frequented by tourists. One way to avoid being mugged or robbed is not to wear expensive jewelry or watches.