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Mexico City

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mexico cityMexico City has a thrilling combination of European nostalgia, indigenous culture and a modern urban energy which makes it intoxicating. The sheer size of the city also has to impress; Mexico City has a population of over 22 million people, and is still growing. Set in a high, flat valley, the city is formed of 350 crowded neighbourhoods. El Zocalo is considered the heart of the city, and a multitude of green spaces and museums in the surrounding areas form the historical centre. The Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico is an old colonial building with excellent facilities and great service standards, and the reasonable prices make this a solid base for exploration of the city. The National Museum of Anthropology is one of the most extensive of its kind. The sheer number of significant historical artefacts could be overwhelming, except for the fantastic way it is presented. Many people consider this to be one of the best museums in the world, and a definite must on a trip to Mexico City. Anyone with a particular interest in history should plan to spend an entire day here. English audio guides are available and recommended as not all of the signage has full English explanations. Museum entry on a Sunday is free, however that makes it more crowded than usual. While in Mexico City, you should also go and see the murals in Rivera, Orozco and Siqueiros. They are colourful and spirited and capture the history and psyche of not only the city, but the nation. If you go in the front door of 28 Argentina, you will find yourself in a beautiful courtyard with 3 stories of artful masterpieces dating back to the 1920s. This hidden treasure has no entry fee, although tours are available if you would like more information about these incredible murals. For foodies, Mexico City has some exciting options. Aside from the thousands of taco stands that all serve up their own pieces of deliciousness, you can expect to find many restaurants filled to bursting with character and good food. One such place is Guapachosa, which is a hip and trendy joint with hand painted tables, pottery plates and other eclectic, colourful fittings. They serve up a daily variation of margarita which constantly proves popular. For a little bit more of a local shin-dig, head to Las Dualistas, which is a traditional working class cantina (bar). Mexico City also has a vibrant night life, with contemporary sounds and freedom of expression through dance. Many parties are known to end long after the sun has come up. You will find a selection of 24hr cafes on 5 de Mayo. This cosmopolitan city is safer than ever, increasingly stylish and culturally switched on. Although deep-held family values such as family and religion still endure, there are also distinct shifts in social attitudes, for example around gender equality. Endless traffic, noise, dirt and chaos may not seem like fun to you, but don't be fooled; Mexico City is a diamond in the rough.

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