Mexico lifestyle, culture and nightlife
Nearly half of all Mexicans today live in large cities, among them sprawling Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puebla-Tlaxcala and Monterey.
In places like Mexico City, evidence of the country’s pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial past, as well as modern Mexican art, culture and cuisine, coexist with a range of international influences. Strong religious, cultural and patriotic traditions survive, but they do so in the context of a bustling economy, global franchises and some of the world’s worst traffic congestion.
In more rural areas, lifestyles are more traditional. For example, you’ll encounter region-specific foods, crafts, styles of dress, architecture and ways of life in small towns throughout the Chiapas, as well as in towns like Oaxaca, Guerrero, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Yucatán, Michoacán and others.
89% of Mexico’s population is Roman Catholic. The country includes many magnificent churches and cathedrals, and Catholic holidays punctuate the year’s calendar.
Mexican cuisine blends indigenous Mexican and European influences. Key ingredients include corn, beans, rice, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, seafood and meat, squash, avocado and nuts, with flavourings that include chilli, garlic, cumin, coriander, epazote, cinnamon and cocoa. Chipotle, which is a smoked-dried jalapeño pepper, is also widely used in Mexican cuisine.
Popular Mexican dishes include tacos, enchiladas, tamales, mole sauce, atole and pozole – a stew made with hominy, meat, chilli and other ingredients.
Mexico is, of course, famous for its tequila. It also produces good beer and includes a number of award-winning wineries. Popular non-alcoholic beverages include fruit juices and frothed hot chocolate, often flavoured with cinnamon.
Mexico: Eating out
Especially in the large cities, there’s no type of cuisine – from Japanese to Italian – that you won’t find somewhere. However, it’s worth seeking out some of the best spots for traditional Mexican food.
Just a few of the most popular restaurants in the country are:
- - The informal and colourful La Guapachosa in Mexico City, for delicious Oaxacan food and good prices in an open-air setting.
- - Also in Mexico City, El Cardenal, for excellent Mexican food and good service.
- - Peter’s Restaurante in Cancún, a small restaurant known for its great international and Mexican food – try the key lime pie with tequila sorbet.
- - In Guadalajara, the wonderful La Tequila, for high-quality traditional Mexican dishes and a huge range of tequilas.
Mexico has produced a number of unique musical genres, ranging from the world-famous mariachi to banda, norteño (featuring redoba and accordion), ranchera and corridos (folk songs that tell stories). Mariachi bands still perform in town plazas and at festivals throughout the country.
Mexico also has a thriving pop music scene, with well-known artists such as Luis Miguel and Alejandro Fernández.
If you’re in Mexico City or a tourist hotspot such as Cancún, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to nightlife.
In Mexico City, popular watering holes include the comedy theatre Jules Basement, Bar Jorongo in the Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel for its live music and mariachi shows, the lively El Hijo del Cuervo bar for loud music and good food and beer, and the popular upscale nightclub, Mezzanotte.
Popular Cancún nightclubs to try include Senor Frogs, Christine, Cat’s, La Boom, Coco Bongo, Carlos’n Charlie’s, Dady'O and Fat Tuesday.