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The vibrant national capital of Mexico City is not only the political centre but also the cultural hub of the country, whose name dates back to the old Aztecs who called themselves “Mexica”. The city holds sights dating back to the beginnings of the high civilisation of the 14th century, and is home to one of the oldest Universities on the continent, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, established in 1553. With 8.8 million inhabitants, Mexico City is among the largest cities in the world by population. It is divided into several boroughs, each one holding a wide range of restaurants and sights for visitors. Located 2,200 meters above sea level and framed by high mountains and volcanoes such as the Ajusco, the Popocatepetl and the Ixtaccihuatl, the city is a place for adventure-seekers, city breakers and party-people alike. Apart from an impressive amount of typical Mexican cantinas (where one can try traditional local drinks and food), there are many different ethnic groups that have added their cuisines and shops to the urban landscape. With Cuban, American, Japanese, Chilean, Korean or Lebanese communities, Mexico City has got one truly multicultural identity.
With its 16 delegaciones (boroughs) divided into several hundred colonies (neighbourhoods), there is always something new to explore in Mexico City. While the historic centre of the city with the National Palace, the Mexico City Cathedral and the Palace of Fine Arts is a magnet for tourists, opportunities to have a good time abound both here and beyond. Climb the Teotihuacán Pyramid of the Sun, one of the largest of its kind, browse through amazing creations at craft markets or relax in the Viveros de Coyoacán public park.
Mexico's cuisine is without a doubt one of the country's biggest draws. Its typical flavors are beloved around the world, but there is much to try beyond the staples we all know. Keep an eye out for chilaquiles for breakfast or enchiladas for lunch, and enjoy the rich flavors of the incredibly varied local cuisine. Beans, corn and meat are staples, and get ready to put your taste buds to the test with some authentic Mexican hot sauce.
Mexico City's numerous coffee houses are popular social hangouts for the young and old. Here you'll meet creative self-employed creatives discussing business over laptops and espressos as well as seniors engaging in the usual coffee chit-chat. While sightseeing and museums might give you an impression of Mexico City, this is where you can truly experience local culture.
It's fair to say that Mexico City is a place that never sleeps. Bars, clubs and music pubs can be found on every corner, and jazz lovers can experience live gigs every day of the week. Adapt to the relaxed Mexican lifestyle, grab a drink and enjoy a musical evening.
While big department stores and shopping centres have settled in Mexico City, there is also a large number of small craft shops, art galleries, curious markets and beautiful souvenir shops to be found in the city centre. Along the big streets you can find many lovely places ideal for a spontaneous shopping spree.
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