41 Fun and Interesting Facts About Mexico City

by Stephanie Walsh · 54 comments

in Mexico, North America, Travels

Me in traditional Mexican hat!
Mexico City Flag

Mexico City Flag

Mexico City is like an autonomous world in itself. It has everything you could possibly ever need or want, as well as everything you would never ever need or want.

We have been here for 2 months now, staying with our friend Carlos and working on our online projects as part of The Experiment. It’s such a vast and diverse city, that I couldn’t think of what exactly to write about, without ending up with an extremely broad post. However, the thing that has fascinated me the most about Mexico City, is it’s enormous size. There is nothing quite as eye-opening as flying into Mexico City at night, witnessing the never-ending sea of twinkling lights that have come to represent one of the biggest cities in the world. I don’t think I have ever been left with my mouth open in shock before but the sight and scale of this city really left me stunned and in awe. It is something that needs to be seen to be believed and understood.

So as we spent more time here, I found out numerous other fun and interesting facts about Mexico City that left me amazed, shocked and entertained. So I have put together a list of fun and interesting facts about Mexico City that I have learned and researched over the last few weeks here. Perhaps it will help to shed some light of the importance and size of this city on a global scale.

 

Fun and Interesting Facts About Mexico City:

For easier reading, I have broken the categories down into general, population, transportation, cultural, economy, pollution and crime facts. Enjoy!

General Facts about Mexico City

  • Mexico City is built on a lake called Texcoco.
  • The city is constantly sinking and has sunk more than nine meters in some areas over the last 100 years.
  • Mexico City has had many nicknames in the past including “City of the Palaces”, “City of Hope” and “Capital in Movement”.
Angel of Independence, Mexico City

Angel of Independence, Mexico City

Population Facts about Mexico City

  • More than 20 million people live in Mexico City.
  • The population of Mexico City has grown by more than 20 million people in just over 110 years, from 500,000 in 1900 to 21.2 million people in 2012.
  • Mexico City is the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere and the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world.
  • Over 600,000 U.S. Americans live in Mexico City; the largest concentration of Americans living outside of the USA.
Mexico City by Pablo Lopez Luz

Mexico City by Pablo Lopez Luz

Transportation Facts about Mexico City

  • Mexico City’s Metro is the largest in Latin America and the cheapest in the world at only 3 pesos per journey ($0.23 USD/ Euro 0.18)!
  • More than 4-5 million people use the metro everyday.
  • The city is so big and the traffic so bad that the super rich have taken to using helicopters to get from one place to another. You can often see them landing on the tops of buildings.
  • Taxi’s in Mexico City are as distinct as those found in New York, painted red and gold.
  • Green ‘hippie’ vans are used as local buses throughout the city.
  • Avenida de los Insurgentes is one of the longest avenues in the world.
  • Mexico City International Airport is Latin America’s largest and busiest airport.

Cultural Facts about Mexico City

  • Mexico City has the most museums in the world, with more than 160, almost all of which are free on Sundays!
  • The city also has over 100 art galleries, and 30 concert halls.
  • Mexico City has the fourth highest number of theatres in the world after New York, London and Toronto.
  • The Museo Soumaya, was donated to the city by the worlds richest man; Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim.
  • The 10,000-seat National Auditorium in Mexico City was named the Best Venue in the World.
  • Mexico City is also home to the largest amusement park in Latin America, Six Flags Mexico. It also has La Feria Chapultepec Mágico amusement park in the city center, it’s rollercoasters visible from various points around the city.
  • The city’s famous Zócalo (large square in the city center) turns into one of the worlds biggest ice skating rinks every winter.
  • Mexico City has the most IMAX theatres in the world.
  • Mexico City has two of the S.Pellegrino ‘World’s 50 Best Restaurants in the World’ list compiled by British magazine ‘Restaurant’.
  • Mexico City has been the only city in Latin America to host the Olympic Games, with the Summer Olympics in 1968. (Brazil will take this title away from Mexico as it hosts the 2016 Olympic Games).
  • Mexico City is home to the oldest university in the Americas; the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The University is the largest university in all of North, Central and South America. The majority of Mexico’s former presidents have attended this university.
  • UNAM is also the highest ranked Spanish-speaking University in the world.
  • Mexico City is the capital of the media industry in Latin America.
  • There are over 60 radio stations in Mexico City, as well as a huge amount of local transmissions.
Museo Soumaya, Mexico City

Museo Soumaya, Mexico City

Economy Facts about Mexico City

  • Mexico City is the eight richest city in the world.
  • It is the richest city in Latin America.
  • Mexico City is home to the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim.

Pollution Facts about Mexico City

  • Just over 10 years ago, thousands of children and adults were dying and suffering diseases because of the extreme air pollution of the city.
  • In 1991, the air quality was announced as a public risk for 355 days out of the year.
  • Since then the government has taken a number of steps to reduce the air pollution, which has resulted in a huge improvement to the situation. Lead levels have fallen 95% since 1990. Sulfur dioxide levels have fallen 86%. Carbon monoxide has dropped 74%, while ozone levels have been reduced by 57% since 1991.

Crime Facts about Mexico City

  • In the years 2000 to 2004 an average of 478 crimes were reported each day the city. The actual crime rate was thought to be much higher, due to the fact that a lot of people do not report crimes in the city.
  • Mexico City has one of the highest police to resident ratios in the world. There is said to be one police officer for every 100 residents.
  • Mexico City has seen a huge decrease in crime rates in recent years. It is said to now be safer than cities such as Moscow or Washington DC.

 

Steph’s Random ‘Facts’ about Mexico City

  • When there’s heavy traffic in Mexico City it can take 3 hours to drive what would normally take 15-30 minutes! Trust me!
  • Although Mexico in general has some of the best food in the world, the street food stalls can smell disgusting.
  • If you don’t like the cold and rain, don’t visit from June to October, the rainy season. It.never.stops.raining!

 

Me with traditional Mexican Hat

Sorry, I couldn't resist!

If you want to escape the buzz of the capital, a Xochimilco day trip is definitely a good idea!
 
For more posts and info on Mexico, check out our Mexico travel section here.