About Art and Design in Mexico City
Mexicans love (and hate) their big, beautiful mess of a country, but Chilangos — Mexico City residents — are also internationally minded creatures. Hence you have giant events like the annual Vive Latino music festival, models who flaunt the latest trends during Fashion Week Mexico, and cutting-edge contemporary art in places like the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil.
Then there's Mexico City's wacky side. Ever wonder what it's like to see more than 10,000 people attempt to break the record for the world's largest zombie walk? Stay awhile, and you just might find out.
Men who know each other well say hello with a hug or back pat. Women greet both men and women with a single kiss on the right cheek. The biggest meal of the day is between 2 and 4 p.m. Because of this, some restaurants close at 6 p.m. Unless going to a party, women rarely wear skirts. It's wise to avoid the subway during rush hour. Also during rush hour, some subway cars are reserved for women. City residents know to keep a jacket handy — temperatures drop into the 50s at night.
Established by the Aztecs in 1325, Mexico City was the center of a vast empire by the time Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortés overthrew it in 1521. Mexico gained its independence 300 years later, but proceeded to lose more than half its territory in the Mexican-American war. After the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century, a single political party "democratically" ruled the country for 71 years until 2000, presiding over a period of huge economic growth and migration into the city from the countryside.
Politics & Economy
Every six years Mexico democratically elects a new president, who is limited to a single term. Over the past decade, two of the hottest-button issues have been Mexico's free trade agreement with the United States and the fight against drug traffickers, who have overseen a reign of terror in some parts of the country.
Economically, Mexico City is the eighth richest city in the world and the richest in Latin America. The heart of the country's economy, it pumped out $390 billion in gross domestic product in 2009.
Carlos Fuentes, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Leon Trotsky, Octavio Paz, Luis Barragán, Diego Luna, Thalia, Paulina Rubio, Laura Esquivel, Cantinflas
Centro Historico Festival: Late February/early March
Fashion Week Mexico: Fall/Winter: April; Spring/Summer: November
Dia del Niño: April 30, family activities in and around the Centro Historico
Vive Latino: Annual rock en español music festival usually in April or May
Alternative Dance Festival: Early May
International Museum Day: Mid-May
Gay Pride: June 2
Jazz Festival: Mid-June
Folk Dance Festival: June
San Pedro Fair: Late June, sporting events, live music and fireworks
Corona Capital Music Festival: Mid-October
Annual Clown Olympics: Late November
Palacio de Bellas Artes, Palacio Nacional, La Casa Azula (Frida Kahlo's house), Museo de San Carlos, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Museo Soumaya, Galería OMR (art gallery)
Holidays & Festivals
January 6: Three Kings Day
March 21: Benito Juarez' Birthday
La Feria de la Ciudad de Mexico: A festival that takes place during Holy Week and Easter
September 16: Mexican Independence Day
November 1 and 2: Dia de los Muertos
November 20: Day of the Revolution
December 12: Our Lady of Guadelupe Day
Christmas: Celebrated for nine days through December 25
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