34 Fun Facts About Mexico City (2022 Edition)

facts about mexico city

COVID-19: The information in this post is updated as much as possible in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. Please check the status of flights, activities etc. before you depart, as entry requirements and restrictions are constantly changing at a fast pace.

Over the past 700 years, Mexico City has evolved from an Aztec city on a lake, into one of the largest, wealthiest, most populated and most important metropolises on the planet.

Due to its complex, colourful past, wealth of culture and its historical importance as the capital of the Aztec, Spanish and Mexican Empires, the city is full of incredible secrets and is packed with beauty both natural and man-made, providing visitors with thousands of attractions, its streets lined with vibrant culture, music and delicious food.

Despite the country’s issues, Mexico City has grown into one of the richest and greenest capitals on the planet, and continues to expand through progressive policies that strives to make the city a better society.

Here’s 34 interesting, crazy, cool and fun facts about Mexico City that you probably didn’t know:

Table of Contents

*Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, if you click through to make a purchase, I earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you.*

#1: The Largest Park in Latin America

 
Chapultepec_Park
 

The Chapultepec Forest is the largest urban park in Latin America, and is twice the size of New York’s Central Park.

 

 

#2: One of the World’s Richest Cities

 

Mexico City is one of the wealthiest cities in the world, its economic growth among the highest, seeing its economy double by the start of 2020. The city contributes more than 20% of Mexico’s GDP, making it the 7th richest city in the world, after Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Paris and London. Therefore, it is one of the most important financial centres of not only the Americas, but the world.

 

 

#3: Mexico City has more than 150 museums

 

museum_of_fine_art_mexico_city

The city has the largest number of museums in the Americas and the second largest number in the world, after London. It has 186 officially recognised museums (and over 200 that lack official recognition), there are more museums here than in Madrid, Paris, and New York.

Did you know: it’s illegal to shave while driving in Mexico! For more crazy and unknown facts about Mexico, head over to my post: 30 Interesting Facts About Mexico

#4: A Booming Tourism Industry

 

The city has enjoyed a boost in tourism in recent years. In 2019, Mexico City registered approximately 25 million air passenger arrivals, of which 8.87 million were international tourists.

 

 

#5: A Sprawling Public Transport System

 

Mexico City’s citizens mostly get around the metropolis by bus, subway, car, and bike. More than 25% of the population – 7 million people, use the subway every day, it is the largest system in Latin America and the cheapest in the world – with 12 lines along 140 miles, connecting 195 stations. The bicycle is another popular mode of commute. There is a public bike service available in 42 suburbs across three boroughs out of the 16 that make up the capital.

 

 

#6: The only Royal Castle in the Americas

 
Chapultepec_Castle
 

Chapultepec Castle is the only royal castle on the American continents, and was the home of Maximilian I of Mexico, the only monarch of the so-called Second Mexican Empire. Chapultepec Castle is also the only true castle in the Americas, it was also the home of Spanish Viceroys and the Austrian Emperor, Maximilian of Hapsburg.

 

 

#7: A City in the Mountains

 

Mexico City is located in the mountains, 2.2 kilometres above sea level, and with a mild rather than a warm climate. Some visitors who aren’t used to high altitudes may experience difficulty breathing when landing in the city, though this symptom usually disappears after a couple of hours.

#8: Largest Number of Palaces in the Americas

 

As the former capital of colonial New Spain and the Mexican Empires, Mexico City has the largest number of Palaces on the American continents.

 

 

#9: The Main Square is Huge

 
mexico_city_main_square
 

At 46,800 square meters long, the city’s central square is the second-largest on the planet, and the first among Spanish-speaking countries. Known as the Zocalo (plinth), after Mexican president Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna organised a contest in 1843 to make a memorial honouring Mexican Independence. The winner planned the construction of a large column in the centre of the square. However, the project was left uncompleted, and the column’s socket (the ‘zocalo’) was all that remained, for several years.

 

 

#10: The First City to Host the World Cup Twice

 

Mexico City was the first city to host the Football World Cup twice; first in 1970, and then again in 1986.

#11: The Most Populated City in the Americas

 

Mexico City was once the second-most populous city in the world, after Tokyo, with more than 20 million inhabitants. As of 2020, Mexico City is currently the fourth largest city, with a population of 22 million (Tokyo, Delhi, and Shanghai make the top 3).

Source: Wikipedia

 

 

#12: The World’s Largest University

 
UNAM_central_campus
 

Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM) is the largest university in the world, and Mexico’s most important cultural project. Home to a whopping 300,000+ students and almost 40,000 academics, it features cinemas, theatres, three orchestras, a soccer team, more than 30 museums in Mexico, and has campuses in Spain, France, the US, Canada, and China. Around its 170 hectares you can find Siqueiros murals, two fire stations and a TV channel!

Source: Brittanica

 

 

#13: Mexico City is bigger than New York City

 

In terms of scale and population, Mexico City surpasses New York City.

#14: A City with 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

 
Luis_Barragán_House
 

UNESCO declared four places in Mexico City as World Heritage Sites: The Historic Centre, Xochimilco, the UNAM, and the Luis Barragán House.

 

 

#15: A Sustainable and Eco-Friendly City

 

In 2013, Mexico City won a Climate Leadership Award for public policies aimed at improving air quality, and it was included in a list of 10 global cities with the best sustainable development.

Historical Facts about Mexico City

 

#16: The Oldest City in the Americas

 

Mexico City is the oldest city on the American continents. Founded in 1325 by the Aztecs, it was originally called Mexico-Tenochtitlan, after their founder, and served as the capital of the Aztec Empire, with a population of roughly 300,000 people, which was more than any European city at the time.

 

 

#17: The City was Established by the Spanish

 

Two centuries after the Aztecs founded the city, Spanish conquerors arrived in the 1500s and razed it to the ground, before building the city again in their own vision. The Spanish Crown preserved the original name in the local indigenous language (Mexico-Tenochtitlan), but shortly after, the residents referred to it as just Mexico, as it was easier to pronounce.

Since then, the centre of Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City in Spanish) has been the capital of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, the two Mexican Empires, the Mexican Independent Republic, and present day Mexico (officially called the United Mexican States).

#18: One of the World’s Oldest Universities

 

Many people would be forgiven for thinking Harvard is the oldest university in the Americas. The National Autonomous University in Mexico City (UNAM) is the oldest in the Western Hemisphere, opened in 1551 as the Royal and Pontifical University of New Spain. It was closed in 1867 during the dictatorship, and then reopened again during the Mexican Revolution.

 

 

#19: Aztec Ruins lie beneath the City

 

Builders in Mexico City accidentally unearthed some pre-Columbian ruins when doing an excavation for a segment of the city’s subway. Among the discovery was a ceremonial Mexica centre, located right at the Pino Suárez station.

 

 

#20: The Oldest Street in the Americas

 
Mexico_Tacuba
 

A street in Mexico City is the oldest on the American continents. Built around 1377-1389 by an Aztec emperor, today the street is known by five different names: Tacuba, Hidalgo Avenue, Puente de Alvarado, Ribera de San Cosme, and Mexico-Tacuba.

 

 

#21: Important Archaeological Zones all over the City

 

There are at least eight important  archaeological zones in Mexico City and the surrounding area, including: Cuicuilco, Santa Cruz Acalpixca (in Xochimilco), Templo Mayor (in Zocalo), Tlatelolco, Santa Cecilia, Tenayuca, Teotihuacan, and Acozac.

Weird Facts about Mexico City

 

#22: Mexico City sits on Top of a Lake

 

The city was founded by the Aztecs when they built it in the middle of a lake. It was then raided to the ground by the Spanish, and rebuilt again, in the vision of the Colonial Spanish style.

Source: 30 Interesting Facts About Mexico

 

 

#23: Mexico City has the World’s Highest Taxi Population

CDMX_taxis
 

There are more than 140,000 taxicabs all over Mexico City, making it the largest taxi fleet in the world.

 

 

#24: Mexico was named after Mexico City

 

The country of Mexico was named after its capital, Mexico City.

 

 

#25: Mexico City is Shrinking

 

The city is slowly sinking at a rate of about 10 inches per year! This is because the city was built on a lake, and the city pumps draw water from this lake. In fact, Mexico City has sunk so much that it lost its title as the 7th highest city in the world to Yemen and now sits at number 8.

#26: You can find Crawling Cuisine

 

Stroll through any market in Mexico City and you’ll find spiders, grasshoppers, snakes, and even scorpions, all up for sale to eat! Some find this horrifying, but adventurous foodies can discover all sorts of excellent grub in Mexican markets and street food stands.

Facts that make Mexico City a Popular Tourist Destination

 

#27: Popular with Food Lovers

 
mexican_food
 

One of the best things about Mexico City is its famous cuisine thats loved by all who visit here. There is one place in the city especially, that local foodies swear by – Pujol in the Polanco district. The eatery is widely considered the best spot for food in Mexico City, so much so it was even voted 12th best restaurant in the world in a recent poll.

 

 

#28: Voted the World’s #1 City to Visit

 

The New York Times named Mexico City as the “number one place to go” in 2016.

 

 

#29: World’s Second Most Visited Catholic Church

 

The Guadalupe Basilica is the second-most visited Catholic Sanctuary in the world, right after the Vatican. More than 14 million people visit the sanctuary each year.

 

 

#30: You can Climb Nearby Volcanoes

 
Iztaccíhuatl_volcano
 

There’s a dormant volcano located on the Mexico-Puebla state line in central Mexico, just 40 miles southeast of Mexico City, that offers some of the best hiking in Mexico. Iztaccíhuatl (meaning “white woman” in Nahuatl), has three snow-covered summits that resemble the head, breast and feet of a reclining woman.

#31: World’s Largest Ice Rink

 

In December 2019 a 43,000 square feet ice rink was installed on Mexico City’s Zocalo (the city’s central square) and is the largest in the world. Known as the “Eco-Rink”, it eliminates the negative environmental impact of conventional ice rinks, with a reduction of 95 tons of CO2 emissions and saving 49,000 gallons of water.

 

 

#32: See the Monarch Butterflies Migration

 
monarch_butterflies
 

The Monarch butterfly migrates to Mexico every year by the millions – from the US and Canada, they settle in the country during the winter and you can witness these stunning creatures in their natural habitat at Butterfly Sanctuaries close to Mexico City, like Rosario and Valle de Bravo.

 

 

#33: There are Many Historical Districts

 

There are numerous historical and famous neighbourhoods around the city such as San Angel and Coyoacan, where artists like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo made their homes. You’ll find cobblestone streets lined with beautiful, colourful buildings and quaint cafes. These iconic spots are just a short subway ride away from the centre, and really make you feel like stepping back in time.

 

 

#34: And Plenty of Music Festivals

 

Mexico City is well-known for its numerous events and festivals around town. One of the most unique and special events in the Mexican calendar takes place on 22nd November each year, where a special gathering takes place in the famous Mariachi Square to pay homage to St. Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. Local and regional artists and musicians descend on Plaza Garibaldi for a tribute concert and an open-air party that infuses dance, drink, and song.

So there you have it – 34 of the most interesting, weird, and fun facts about Mexico City.

I hope you find this post an interesting read, and that it inspires you to visit Mexico one day!

 

For more information on travelling in Mexico, finding hidden gems, budget travel tips and itineraries to suit your perfect trip, check out the following links:

mexico_city1

Want more city facts? Here’s 57 Incredible Facts About Liverpool

General Mexico City Facts and Information:

 

More information and Mexico City facts and statistics, updated as of 2022:

  • Founded: 13 March 1325 (originally known as Tenochtitlan), then founded on 13 August 1521 as Mexico City (Ciudad de Mexico)
  • Country: Mexico (capital and largest city)
  • Mayor: Claudia Sheinbaum
  • Land area: 1,485km2 (573 sq miles)
  • Population: 21,782,000 people.
  • Currency: Mexican Peso (MXN)
  • Official Language: None. Spanish is the de facto and most spoken language. There are 68 recognised languages.
  • National Holiday: 16th September
  • Highest Mountain: Mount Ajusco (volcano), 3,930 meters high
  • Largest Lake: Lake Batur, 18 square kilometers
  • National Dish: Tacos
  • National Flower: Frangipani
  • Official Website: www.cdmx.gob.mx
  • Time zone: UTC-06:00 (Summer: UTC-05:00)
  • Driving side: right
  • Country Number/Prefix: +52
  • Country Code: MX

Commonly asked Questions:

 

What are interesting facts about Mexico City?

 

Here’s 10 interesting and fun facts about Mexico City:

  1. It’s the most populated city in the Western Hemisphere
  2. Mexico was named after Mexico City
  3. There are over 180 museums – the second-highest number in the world (after London)
  4. It’s the oldest capital in the Americas
  5. It has a sprawling public transport system
  6. Mexico City is sinking by 10 inches each year
  7. It’s one of the wealthiest cities in the world
  8. You can climb nearby volcanoes
  9. The city’s Chapultepec Park is the largest park in Latin America
  10. The Monarch butterfly migration occurs locally

 

 

What are 5 facts about Mexico?

 

Here are five fun and interesting facts about Mexico:

  1. Mexico is the 10th most populated country on the planet, with over 130 million citizens, and the most populous Spanish-speaking nation on earth
  2. The official name for Mexico is Estados Unidades Mexico (United Mexican States)
  3. Mexico is the world’s 13th largest country by land area.
  4. It is home to the world’s smallest volcano: the Cuexcomate volcano, near Puebla.
  5. Children in Mexico don’t receive gifts on Christmas Day

 

 

What is Mexico City known for?

 

Mexico City is the economic, financial and cultural hub of Mexico, and one of the wealthiest capitals in the world. The city has a wealth of history: it is the oldest capital in the Americas, and is home to numerous Aztec archaeological sites. There are over 150 well-known and respected museums in the city, such as the Museo Nacional de Historia and the Museo Casa Frida Kahlo.

 

 

What are 3 major tourist attractions in Mexico City?

 

Here’s a list of the top 10 tourist attractions in Mexico City:

  1. Zócalo – the central square and birthplace of the Constitution.
  2. Temple Mayor and the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan
  3. The Palace of Fine Arts
  4. Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral
  5. Chapultepec Park and Chapultepec Castle
  6. Museo Casa Frida Kahlo
  7. The National Museum of Anthropology
  8. Paseo de la Reforma
  9. The Angel of Independence
  10. Luis Barragan House

Books About Mexico

 

Movies About Mexico

 

Thank you for reading: 34 Fun Facts About Mexico City (2022 Edition)

Do you know any other interesting facts about Mexico City? What’s your favourite? Let me know in the comments!


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Billy

Billy

Lover of epic adventures, slow travel, and great coffee. When not travelling, Billy teaches dance, and creates performances on commissioned projects.

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Hey there! I’m Billy, the guy behind BRB | Gone Somewhere Epic. I’ve been travelling around the world for nine years, having an absolute blast going on epic adventures, without breaking the bank. Click here to read more about the art of budget travel.

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