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Mexico City, DF

Mexico City Sports & RecreationIn addition to the spectator sports mentioned below, Mexico City offers basketball games, boxing matches and a growing collegiate schedule of American-style football that may coincide with your vacation. Your hotel concierge can help you get tickets.

The best bullfighting in the republic can be found at Plaza de Toros México (M: San Antonio, line 7). Accommodating about 50,000 spectators—one of the world's largest bullrings—it is on Calle Augusto Rodín, a few blocks west of Avenida Insurgentes Sur and adjacent to the Estado Azul football stadium. The location is about 6 kilometers (4 miles) south of the traffic circle at Paseo de la Reforma (the Cuauhtémoc Monument).

The season for top matadors runs from early November through March. During other months novice bullfighters (novilleros) take the ring. Bullfights start promptly at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday; buses marked “Plaza México” travel along Insurgentes Sur throughout the afternoon. Plan on arriving early to get a good seat, and hang on to your ticket stub so you can reclaim your seat if you need to leave it.

To avoid long lines at the bullring's ticket windows (taquillas), buy tickets in advance through Ticketmaster (ticketmaster.com.mx), or book a bullfight excursion through your hotel or a travel agency. Ticket prices range from about $8 to $60 (U.S.); they vary according to proximity to the ring and the side on which you sit. Sun (sol) is cheap, shade (sombra) is expensive. Seats in the sun tend to attract the more unruly fans. Note: The bull is traditionally killed during these performances; don't plan on attending if you find the spectacle's inherent cruelty upsetting.

Soccer (fútbol) is played almost every weekend by the big leagues at Azteca Stadium, in the southern part of the city on Calzada de Tlalpan, north of the Periférico Sur. Shuttles are available from the Taxqueña Metro station (line 2). There are winter (August to December) and summer (January to May) seasons. The city's most popular team, América—nicknamed Las Aguilas (the Eagles)—draws huge crowds, especially when they play arch-rival Guadalajara in a match called El Clásico.

The National University of Mexico-sponsored Pumas play soccer at Olympic Stadium (Estadio Olímpica) on the National University of Mexico campus. The oval design somewhat resembles the crater of a volcano. A Diego Rivera mosaic of colored rocks, illustrating human endeavor in sports, covers the stadium's sloping walls. Tickets for all games are normally available right up to game time and range from about $10 to $20 (U.S.).

Almost as popular as soccer is wrestling. Mexico's version of professional wrestling is called lucha libre (literally “freestyle wrestling”), and it's a flamboyant spectacle indeed, with in-the-ring theatrics on par with those served up by the WWE in the states. In addition to spandex tights, luchadores wear colorful masks, and the wrestlers keep them on even when out in public, thereby masking their identities. You'll see lucha libre masks for sale at practically every souvenir stand in the country.

Typical matches pit técnicos (good guys) against rudos (bad guys) in a flurry of flying dropkicks and other spectacular maneuvers. There are also female wrestlers (luchadoras) and short-statured competitors (los minis). And just like north of the border, the personas, feuds and over-the-top stunts are all meticulously choreographed, although the athletic ability on display is quite evident.

The best place to enjoy an evening of lucha libre, especially for those planning group travel, is Arena México, Calle Dr. Lavista #189, Colonia Doctores (M: Cuauhtémoc, line 1), about nine blocks southwest of Alameda Park. The arena is a bit run-down, but that's all part of the fun. Vendors sell beer and wildly enthusiastic fans cheer on their favorites. Ringside seats cost more, but you'll be at the center of the action. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance through Ticketmaster; phone (55) 5325-9000. Matches featuring big names sell out quickly. Note: The neighborhood is on the sketchy side, so don't bring any valuables and don't hang around the arena afterward.

Teams in the Mexican League play baseball from the beginning of April through mid-September. Games are announced in Spanish, but little is lost in the translation as the rules are the same. Some key terms: el lanzador is the pitcher, la entrada is the inning, pegar means hit, un sencillo is a single.

The Diablos Rojos del México (Mexico City Red Devils) play at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú, in the eastern part of the city, adjacent to the Formula One auto racing complex. The season runs from April through mid-August. General admission seats are inexpensive, less than $5 (U.S.). Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster.

Horse races are held at the lovely Hippodrome of the Americas (Hipódromo de las Américas). The track is in the northwestern part of the city between avenidas del Conscripto and Industria Militar, just west of Boulevard Manuel Avila Camacho. Races are held Friday through Sunday throughout the year; first post times are 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

General section admission is 20 pesos; box seats are more expensive. Bets start at six pesos. Amenities include fast-food outlets, a sports book facility and a fashionable restaurant, The Turf Club.

Tennis and golf clubs are typically for members only. If your heart's set on playing tennis, it's best to stay at a hotel that offers courts. The Bella Vista Golf Club (Club de Golf Bellavista) is northwest of the city off Av. de los Arcos. to Av. Valle Verde #52. In addition to an 18-hole course, the club offers rental carts, caddies, a pro shop and a clubhouse. Greens fees range from around $65 on weekdays to $125 on weekends. For additional information or to make a reservation for a tee time, phone (55) 5366-8050.

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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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