From the Day of the Dead to street food, here’s some of the best off-track activities at the 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix on October 29-31.
Allowing some extra time to explore Mexico City is an absolute must if at all possible: there is so much to see, do, and taste before you fly home. This city is bursting with cultural must-sees and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Heading for the Centro Historico (or staying nearby) is a good start; you’ll find the iconic Plaza de la Constitucion, the National Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Palace of Fine Arts and Alameda Park. Further afield you can taste the history of ancient Latin America by visiting pyramid cities and archaeological sites. Here are our top off-track picks for Mexico City.
Day of the Dead / Dia de los Muertos
This important national holiday coincides with the 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix. Probably like nothing you have ever seen before. Dia de los Muertos is a colorful, flower-filled celebration of friends and family who have passed on. Home altars will be decorated with sugar skulls, candles, images of the dearly departed, and paper decorations of skeletons. The city hosts all night parties, faces are painted with flowery skulls, and bakeries serve pan de muerto, or a puffed, sugary, orange-flavoured ‘bread of the dead.’
Chapultepec Park (Bosque de Chapultepec) is one of the largest city parks in the western hemisphere, and home to whole forests as well as a castle, a zoo, an amusement park, several lakes and the National Museum of Anthropology. It also sits in the middle of Mexico City’s most affluent neighborhood, which is worth a wander too.
The Teotihuacan pyramids, also known as the ‘City of the Gods,’ can be reached in 1 hour fom Mexico City by air-conditioned bus tours. Most tours are guided by an archaeologist, who navigates you around this staggering UNESCO World Heritage site, towering with Mesoamerican pyramids which predate the Aztecs and the Mayans.
Take a lazy lunchtime cruise on a trajinera (gondola) along the ancient waterways of this verdant village, whose banks and forests are thick with flora and fauna. Expect live music, food vendors, shopping opportunities and a fiesta atmosphere.
Frida Kahlo Museum
This building, painted cobalt blue and found in the Colonia del Carmen area of the city was where the iconic Mexican artist was born. Today it’s an extremely popular exhibition of her life and her work, so a weekday visit is best when crowds are smaller.
Mexico City Street Food
Spending a day wandering the city and eating small meals as and when the mood takes you is a cultural experience all of its own. Learn the word antojitos (‘little cravings’) and don’t miss out on the opportunity to try real Mexican tacos, filled with just about any foodstuff you could imagine, from rice and vegetables to pork, chicken, seafood and cheese. Be sure to add all of the following to your hit list – toquesadillas, pambozos, tortas, carnitas and tamales – and try a Mexican take on the American hot dog!
Aside from street food, you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to Polanco – one of the city’s wealthiest areas – to experience the finest restaurants available. Pujol is regularly voted as one of the best in the world! Polanco is also home to some big-name fashion brands, as well as other high-brow galleries, boutiques and outlets. The neighbourhoods of Roma and Condesa are similarly culturally rich and offer their own quirky bars and restaurants.