Mexico City is not only the largest city of Mexico, but also the largest of the American continent. The city center is full of historical buildings and palaces. Mexico City also has the largest number of museums in the world (yes, even more than New York or London).
It's estimated that about nine million people live in the city itself. In the whole metropolitan area of the Mexican capital live even more than 21 million people.
The city is located on an altitude of 2,200 meters and is surrounded on all sides by volcanoes, among which the famous Popocatépetl. Mexico City is built on swampy subsoil. For this reason the city drops a few centimeters every year.
Although some industries have been banned to other parts of Mexico to fight the air pollution in the capital, Mexico City remains the beating economic heart of the country. Among others textile, chemicals, furniture and electronic and pharmaceutical products are produced. There's also a steel industry. Tourism is an important pillar of local economy. Mexico City is visited by millions of tourists every year.
In addition, there's an extensive informal economy, best visible by the thousands of salesmen offering their goods in the streets.
The airport is situated east of Mexico City. Benito Juárez International Airport can be reached by rental car via the beltway (Viaducto and Periferico) around the city center. Keep in mind that traffic in Mexico City is extremely busy. Make sure to allow sufficient time to get to the airport from the city center.
The metro is one of the best ways to travel around in Mexico City. There are eleven lines with a combined length of more than 170 kilometers. There is also a good public bus system. There are two different types of busses. The official city busses (Metrobús) run reasonably efficient, because for the most part they drive on free bus lanes. The other form of bus transportation consists of smaller private busses, the so-called 'Peseros'. In addition there are 15 trolley bus lines.
Traffic in Mexico City is chaotic and extremely busy. Add to this the fact that the city center consists of a crisscross of streets and it'll be clear that driving in Mexico City is not meant for everyone. The main (high)ways are often in good condition, but this isn't the case for city streets. Beware of cracks and holes in the road!
Finding a parking space is also difficult in the congested City. In the districts Zona Rosa, Chapultepec, Colonia Roma and Colonia Condesa official parking meters are placed. And don't think you can park for free in streets without parking meters. As soon as you park here you'll be approached by a so-called 'franelero', a non-official parking lot attendant who will ask you for a 'contribution' to look after your car.
There's a huge supply of accommodation in Mexico City. In the tourist district Zona Rosa you'll find mostly midrange hotels, while the more luxurious hotels are concentrated in the district of Polanco. The Centro Histórico houses many budget accommodations. There are also many hotels and guesthouses along the Paseo de la Reforma. Mexico City is visited all year round by many tourists and business people. We therefore recommend booking your hotel room well in advance.
For more information about Mexico City we recommend Google and the following sources: