Things to do in Mexico

Day of the dead in Mexico
Updated 2022-05-25 13:08

Mexico has activities for everyone: from exciting adventure to peaceful relaxation, high culture to rowdy street parties, national football matches to pickup games in neighbourhood parks. Whatever you enjoyed doing at home, you can surely do in Mexico. Living in Mexico is also a great opportunity to try something new, and make some friends in the process.

Holidays and ferias in Mexico

The Mexican population is highly active, with various traditional and cultural activities throughout the year. During major Mexican holidays, such as Independence Day on September 16th, cities organize street parties with live music and colourful decorations. On the Day of the Dead, on November 1st, you can see displays of traditional shrines with food and flowers, decorated graves in cemeteries, and parades of catrinas, women dressed in skeleton makeup and fancy dresses.

In every town and city in Mexico, there is a fair on the days before and after the patron saint's birthday. During these ferias, the streets are filled with food stands, mechanical rides and games, and lots of people. Wait until it starts to get dark for live concerts to begin followed by bright and noisy firework displays.

Music in Mexico

The most representative music of Mexico is probably mariachi music. The musicians wear a broad sombrero and a stylish suit covered with interlocking patterns, and play guitars, violins, and trumpets. Most cities have a plaza where groups of mariachis hang out, waiting to be hired to play a song or two or are quite commonly hired to play for hours at a private party. In Mexico City, for instance, look for mariachis in Garibaldi Square in the historic centre.

Another popular style in Mexico is banda, which you'll surely hear on buses, in bars, and during feria concerts. Banda is played by large groups of horns, woodwinds, and drums, and it is especially popular for drinking and dancing along. A similar style that you've probably heard before is norteño, which features guitars and accordions.

Besides these native Mexican styles, you can hear many other types of music in Mexico, from rock and hip-hop to genres popular throughout Latin America, like salsa, cumbia, and bachata. At first, they all may sound the same, but after some time you'll learn to tell the difference, and perhaps even learn the particular dances that go with each.

Art in Mexico

Mexico has a rich artistic history that begins with native populations and continues through post-modernism. Indeed there is something for everyone! You can find traditional Mexican handicrafts for sale in markets and on the street. Look for the Candelaria Market in Mexico City to explore a huge selection.

Mexico City has some of the finest art museums in the world. The Museum of Modern Art, located in Chapultepec Park, has paintings from masters of Mexican art like Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and José Clemente Orozco. Also in Mexico City, the Soumaya Museum houses the private collection of Carlos Slim, one of the richest men in the world. It has art from all over the world and is particularly famous for its large display of Rodin sculptures.

Sports in Mexico

For spectator sports, much like in Europe, football reigns supreme. Mexican football has two seasons, in the fall and spring, and every major city has a team of their own. Two of the most popular are the Chivas in Guadalajara, which is famous for contracting only Mexican-born players, and America in Mexico City, whose home is the gigantic Azteca Stadium.

Mexicans don't only love watching football but also playing it. Teams with varying degrees of organization play on weekends throughout the country. If you love to play, joining a game shouldn't be difficult. Also, look for futbol rapido (fast football) being played in public parks on courts the size of a basketball court.

Although football is by far the most popular spectator sport, you can find nearly every sport practised in Mexico, even hockey! Check out sports clubs for tennis, racquetball, swimming, and martial arts classes. There are also opportunities for organized cycling, hiking, skydiving, and other types of adventurous activities, which can usually be found on specific Facebook groups.

Activities in Cancun

Cancun is located on the Mayan Riviera, a 130-km coast of the sapphire Caribbean Sea. Naturally, you can practice a variety of water activities, such as swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing, and kitesurfing. Beyond the beach, you can find a deep jungle full of cenotes, which are limestone sinkholes full of clear water. The region is also known for ancient Mayan ruins, with two of the most famous being Tulum and Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Activities in San Miguel de Allende

The feria in San Miguel de Allende lasts two weeks and takes place at the end of September and beginning of October. There are concerts, cultural events, and even lucha libre'Mexican style wrestling shows. But any time is a good time to visit the scenic colonial city to explore its cobblestone streets, leafy plazas, and art galleries owned by both expats and Mexicans.

Activities in Jalisco

Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco, has plenty of sightseeing opportunities, especially in the historic centre and the massive public market nearby. A popular day trip from Guadalajara is to take the train to a tequila distillery near the town of Tequila. Two trains make the trip: the Tequila Express and the Jose Cuervo Express.

Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast has pretty beaches but is also a peaceful Spanish-colonial town full of good restaurants and fashionable nightclubs. It's also the main access point for the lovely Nayarit coast to the north, which has great surfing and numerous opportunities for adventure.

Activities in Mexico City

Mexico City is the political and cultural centre of the country, with countless places to see and activities for everyone. Along with hundreds of museums, it also has world-class Mexican and foreign restaurants, a mix of modern and colonial architecture, and ancient ruins, including the enormous pyramids at Teotihuacan. Other unique activities include riding in boats through the garden-lined canals of Xochimilco, visiting the castle at the massive urban park Chapultepec, and exploring the maze of interconnected markets at La Merced.

Useful links:

The Day of the Dead
Mexico City Museum of Modern Art
Soumaya Museum
Professional Football in Mexico
Mayan Riviera
Chichen Itza
San Miguel de Allende
Tequila Express
Jose Cuervo Express
Riviera Nayarit

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.