Dance, Theater, and Music

Ballet Folklórico de México

“Fun, and you get to see Bellas Artes from the inside too.”—Shooka Shemirani, editor, Travelers Guide to Mexico. World renowned synopsis of Mexico’s regional dances every Wednesday and Sunday. This outstanding venue has been thrilling visitors for more than 30 years. Tickets from about $33. Ave. Juarez & Eje. Central 1, Col. Centro; tel. 52 55 5529 9320.

Palacio de Bellas Artes

This artistic monument and the most important performing arts venue in the capital is lots of original art, the National Opera and the National Symphonic Orchestra Ave. Juarez & Eje. Central 1, Col. Centro; tel. 52 55 5512 1410. www.bellasartes.gob.mx

Jorongo Bar

A safe place to get serenaded in style for those shy of the rough-and-tumble street mariachi scene. Nightly mariachi music from 7:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. at the Hotel Sheraton María Isabel. Cover is about $11. Paseo de la Reforma 325, Col. Cuauhtémoc; tel. 52 55 5242 5555. www.starwoodhotel.com

La Bodega 

Dark and cozy venue for live tropical music and cabaret in the hip Condesa neighborhood. Look out for unparalleled comedienne Astrid Haddad whose skits, wise cracks, and satirical songs provoke helpless tears of laughter. (1 p.m. to 1 a.m.). Tickets from about $9. Popocatépetl 25, Col. Condesa; tel. 52 55 5511 7390. www.labodega.com.mx

UNAM Philharmonic Orchestra (OFUNAM)

Led by Alun Francis, one of the country’s best orchestras is based in the superb concert hall Sala Nezahualcóyotl in the south of the city. Tickets from 90 pesos. Centro Cultural Universitario, Ave. Insurgentes Sur 3000; tel. 52 55 5622 7133 (Sala Nezahualcóyotl) or tel. 52 55 5622 7113. www.musica.unam.mx

Salon 21

Stylish concert venue with good acoustics for all genres, from Enrique Iglesias, Robbie Williams, and Sex Mob to internationally acclaimed salsa bands. Mostly touring artists. Book a table with obligatory bottle for best views. Tickets from about $30. Lago Andrómaco 17, Col. Irrigación; tel. 52 55 5255 5322. www.ticketmaster.com.mx/

Auditorio Nacional

The city’s mega-venue for major events from rock concerts to ballet, near Polanco’s hotel district. Tickets from about $28. Paseo de la Reforma 50; tel. 52 55 5280 9250. www.auditorio.com.mx

Nightlife

Zinco

“A basement bar with exposed brick painted black and red velvet curtains; as cool as any jazz club in New York.”—David Lida, food writer who covers Mexico City. Musicians from all over and the occasional star grace the capital’s best jazz venue. Age isn’t an issue. Full dinner menu. Motolinia 20, Centro; tel. 52 55 5512 3369. www.zincojazz.com

AREA Bar in Hotel Habita

Designer drinking in sleek surroundings. Trendy and somewhat self-conscious but when you tire of people-watching, you can turn your back on the media and fashion crowd and gaze as a grape-color sunset descends on the Polanco skyscrapers. Presidente Masaryk Ave. 201, Col. Polanco; tel. 52 55 5282 3100.

Mama Rumba

The tiny salsa joint that grew and grew but never stopped being packed. Friendly dance club with a hot Cuban band, cold mojitos, and inexpensive food. Wednesday-Saturday, 9 p.m.-3:30 a.m. Querétaro 230, Col. Roma; tel. 52 55 5564 6920.

Bellini

“Monday night for a date. Saturday night a madhouse.”—David Lida. Piano bar and unparalleled views from the 45th floor of Mexico City’s World Trade Center. Avenida de las Naciones 1, Piso 45, Col. Nápoles; tel. 52 55 5628 8305.

San Angel Inn

Dark mahogany furniture and elegant opulence make this former monastery a favorite for its renowned martinis. Glimpse into the city’s gender games on the informal singles night every Thursday. Calle Diego Rivera 50, Col. San Angel; tel. 52 55 5616 2222. www.sanangelinn.com

La Pata Negra

Condesa classic for drinking a beer and downing tasty tapas. The major haunt of the hippest neighborhood is like the metro at rush hour, so arrive around 7 p.m. if you want a table. Daily 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Tamaulipas 30, Col. Condesa; tel. 52 55 5211 5563.

La Covadonga

Huge, classic cantina that used to be a haven for elderly chaps playing dominoes but recently has become hip, especially on Thursday, with journalists and the art gallery crowd. Ask for the tortas, a house specialty that is not on the Spanish menu. Mondays-Friday only, 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Puebla 121, Col. Roma; tel. 52 55 5533 2922.

Festivals

Independencia

September 15-16. This celebration of Mexican independence includes flag-waving, traditional costumes, rousing music, folk dancing, and fireworks. On the 15th, go to the Zócalo or the main square of Coyoacán at 11 p.m. to see the President of Mexico City reenact the 1910 church bell call for the people to rise up against their Spanish rulers. The 16th, Independence Day, is a national holiday. Most businesses are closed but there is a major parade in the center city.

Festival del Centro Histórico

Early spring. “Look out for the events that are free and open in the Zócalo.”—Jim Young, freelance arts correspondent, The News. The heart of the old city explodes with street theater, gastronomy, big name singers and concerts, dance, and spectacular art exhibitions. www.festival.org.mx

Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Festival of the Virgin)

December 11-12. Pilgrims come from all over the world to pay homage to the Virgin of Guadalupe, Patron Saint of Mexico, at her Basílica in the north of the city. Conchero and indigenous dancing fills the square from the morning of the 11th and continues all through the night until the next evening.

Día de Muertos

November 1-2. City Hall pulls out all the stops for this ancient ritual in remembrance of the dead, so head to the Zócalo for events and exquisite decoration during the first two days of November. The Panteón de Dolores in the northwest of the city is one of the best graveyards for the adornment of tombs on the night of November 1st and the morning of the 2nd.

Share

About Mexico City and Mexico

  • Photo: Trajineras

    Mexico City

    Get travel tips, see photos, take a quiz and more with National Geographic's Ultimate Guide to Mexico City.

  • Photo: San Cristobal Cathedral in Chiapas

    Mexico

    Explore Mexico through facts and photos, related features, a country map, and more.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Join Nat Geo Travel's Communities




2014 Traveler Photo Contest

  • Picture of people on the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

    Enter Today to Win!

    Submit your best shots for a chance to be featured in our weekly galleries and to win a grand prize trip for two to Alaska.