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Mexico City, DF

Mexico City SightseeingMexico City's enormous size makes it difficult to plan a sightseeing itinerary. Although many museums and other fun places to go are concentrated in certain areas—the Historic Center, Chapultepec Park, the southern suburbs of San Angel and Coyoacán—getting to them can take time and effort.

The best day to sightsee is Sunday, when many attractions and things to do are free. Another good reason to plan your sightseeing for Sunday is that Paseo de Reforma's traffic lanes are closed to motor vehicles for 6 hours (from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.). The pedestrian-only stretch extends from Chapultepec Park to the Zócalo , a distance of about 3 miles.

People navigate the boulevard in every type of non-motorized wheeled conveyance imaginable. Vendors sell “jicamasicles”; the native Mexican vine's edible, tuberous root is cut into thick slices that are squirted with fresh lime juice and sprinkled with cayenne pepper for a snack that is simultaneously cool, spicy and refreshing. Numerous kiosks provide free bike rentals (with your driver's license left as a deposit). This is an ideal opportunity to view Reforma's gleaming skyscrapers and landmarks like the Revolution Monument without the distraction of ceaseless traffic congestion and honking horns.

If the prospect of hitting the streets and facing travel on your own still seems too stressful, consider taking a guided tour. Check with the concierge at your hotel, which may either have its own travel agency or be able to recommend a reliable one. An alternative is to visit one of the city's tourist information modules (Módulo de Información y Orientación Turística) operated by SECTUR. You'll find them in the Historic Center and the Zona Rosa, along Paseo de la Reforma and in the vicinity of Alameda and Chapultepec parks.

Turibus is a convenient way to see the city sights on vacation while someone else does the driving. Each red, double-decker bus holds up to 70 passengers, and tours include a simultaneous translation in several languages.

There are two routes. One takes in the Historic Center, Paseo de la Reforma, Chapultepec Park and the Condesa and Roma neighborhoods—an area filled with museums, monuments, art galleries, parks and restaurants. One ticket allows you to use the service all day, disembarking and reboarding at 19 stops. The Southside Tour includes 18 stops and covers points of interest on the National University of Mexico campus, several shopping malls, Coyoacán's historic main plaza and the Frida Kahlo Museum.

Turibuses run daily 9-9 and pass each stop approximately every half hour. For either tour, tickets Mon.-Fri. cost 140 pesos; ages 4-11, 70 pesos. Tickets Sat.-Sun. cost 165 pesos; ages 4-11, 85 pesos. For more information check with your hotel or at a tourist information module.

Another easy way to sightsee is to have your hotel arrange for a private car and a guide, either by the hour or by the day. Although you'll pay for the convenience, this option allows greater flexibility and more personal service. The larger hotels should be able to arrange such an excursion; check with the concierge.

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Mexico City, DF

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Travel Information

City Population

8,851,080

Elevation

2,240 meters (7,347 feet)

Tourist Protection

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.

Police (emergency)

Dial 060 and ask to be connected to an English-speaking operator if you need immediate assistance.

Police (non-emergency)

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.

U.S. Embassy

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.

Canadian Embassy

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.

LOCATEL

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).

Hospitals

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.

Publications

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.

Visitor Information

Av. Presidente Masaryk #172 Mexico City, DF . Phone:(55)3002-6300

Currency Exchange

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.

Staying Safe

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.

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