Christmas Day in Mexico City
For the past 26 years of my life, I have spent Christmas Day in San Diego, California with my family. Don’t get me wrong; I am very blessed to have a big family that loves to celebrate the holidays together. In 2016, Andrew and I got married! We decided that we wanted to spend our first Christmas as a married couple doing what we do best; traveling together. I immediately thought of Mexico City. It wasn’t too far away and it is inexpensive. I also didn’t want to go somewhere that was freezing! I found that is was cheaper to fly out of Tijuana airport than LAX so we did that! The Tijuana airport has a brand new border crossing bridge.
You pay $16 per way to walk over a covered bridge and enter the Tijuana airport. On Christmas morning, my parents in-law dropped us off at the border crossing bridge and we were off! We landed in Mexico City on Christmas Day! We took a quick taxi ride from the airport to our first hotel. Our first hotel was NH Mexico City Centro Historico.
I highly recommend this hotel. It was located a few blocks from the Zocalo. We were able to walk everywhere around the Downtown area from our hotel. There are lots of Mexican restaurants nearby too. We quickly put our bags down, called our families to say “Merry Christmas” and immediately headed to the Zocalo. It was decorated for Christmas! I have never stood in a square so big in my entire life. It is the main square in Mexico City. In fact, it is one of the largest squares in the world. It contains the Cathedral, National Palace, Federal buildings, Metro station and Templo Mayor. I had seen countless photos of the Cathedral while researching Mexico City but I was immediately overcome with emotion upon seeing it in person. It is MASSIVE. We went inside and we were greeted with nativity scenes and organ music.
The Templo Mayor sight was closed on Christmas Day so we were only able to walk by but it was still really interesting. It was one of the main temples of the Aztecs! Although we hadn’t slept much, we were compelled to keep walking. Although I knew Mexico City was one of the biggest cities in the world, it really feels like it when you are there! It is so vast and it looks like it goes on forever. We ended up walking 9.5 miles on the first day. We stayed in Mexico City for a week and we walked a total of 52 miles! That goes to show you what a big city is. There is so much to explore that we didn’t want to waste any time. We walked and walked our first day, passing by lots of sights and empty streets (thank you Christmas!) We stopped at Palacio De Bellas Artes, Benito Juarez Monument and Central Alameda Park. The city is stunning.
We even walked a bit further past the park and landed in a traffic circle just as the sun was setting. It was one of my favorite moments of the entire trip. We found another church with a beautiful courtyard. After dinner, we decided it was time to walk back to the hotel. We had been out all day on very little sleep.
The city was busy but not as crazy as expected. Until nighttime. We were walking back to our hotel and the streets started to become very packed. It was as if people were preparing for something to happen. We kept walking through the crowds and all of a sudden, a loud speaker started counting down in Spanish. Think about being in a foreign country among strangers as a foreign language begins to countdown towards an unknown. All of a sudden, fake snow started to spray out from the buildings! Kids started climbing light posts and everyone stopped. Music was blaring and I am not exaggerating when I say it was one of the most memorable moments of my life.
Before heading to our hotel, we had to stop at the Zocalo now that it was dark. I was so excited to see the square lit up for Christmas. As the massive Christmas tree came into view, I felt like a little kid again; I was so happy! It is the biggest Christmas tree I have ever seen. Cars aren’t allowed around the Zocalo at nighttime so it was exciting to be able to walk in the streets.
9.5 miles and this was only Day 1.