Mexico City: Much More than Meets the Eye

As the world’s third largest urban area, Mexico City is a dusty metropolis with an ancient appeal.  Built on the ruins of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, travelers who …

As the world’s third largest urban area, Mexico City is a dusty metropolis with an ancient appeal.  Built on the ruins of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, travelers who visit Mexico City unearth the country’s archaic beginnings in discovering its rustic restaurants, cosmopolitan clubs and towering sights. And as the capital of Mexico, the city represents an entryway into the North American market with a slew of opportunities for business travelers.

Where to Stay

Paseo de la Reforma is Mexico City’s focal point for business, commercial and international trade.  Business travelers who wish to be a part of it, without the crowded and noisy streets, opt for the Four Seasons Hotel, an oasis of tranquility that provides the perfect hideaway after a long day.

The Sheraton Centro Historico is the latest addition to Mexico City’s business oriented hotels, and surely the most convenient for politicians and the like.  Located in El Centro Historico, where most of Mexico City’s government offices and public administration buildings are located, the hotel offers spacious suites with private kitchenettes for the business traveler on a budget.

The JW Marriot Hotel Mexico City is a hotspot for business travelers and it’s no secret why.  For starters, it is home to the most important private business meeting center in the City, El Club de Industriales. It accommodates an entire executive floor with 54 rooms and 12 junior suites, on top of an impressive presidential suite, which gives travelers a breathtaking view of the city and nearby Chapultepec Park. All the rooms are equipped with wireless and broadband connections, plus two telephone lines for maximum productivity, making the JW Marriot Hotel the premier locale for seasoned business travelers.

Where to Eat

Regarded as the best meal in town, El Cardenal serves traditional favorites with a modern twist. Try a national classic such as chilaquiles (fried tortillas in a chili and tomato sauce) or the restaurant’s exclusive and highly coveted “Mexican caviar.”  Located in El Centro Historico, reservations are a must for this busy and delectable restaurant, especially at lunch time.

To see and be seen, head to El Malayo, a trendy spot in a chic neighborhood that boasts a powerful business clientele.  El Malayo’s menu changes every month, offering exquisite dishes inspired by the flavors of Southeast Asia. The restaurant enjoys undisturbed views of Plaza Rio de Janiero‘s fountain and public art display, and is the perfect spot for an important business lunch.

For the ultimate in exclusivity, Bakéa will impress even the haughtiest of clients.  With only 15 tables, an internationally inspired menu of Basque, French and Mexican tradition, and a hard-to-find location, Bakéa is arguably the best restaurant in the city and it’s no secret to those in-the-know.

Off the Clock

Restaurante Bar Alfonso is the perfect locale to experience the city’s high class Cantina culture.  Known more for its tasteful menu than its exclusivity, Spanish wines fill the select wine list and food favorites include the traditional paella and gambas al ajo. Alfonso’s colonial atmosphere and live music could make this hidden gem your nightly watering hole.

Mexico City’s lush Chapultepec Park is the heart of the city and has much to offer the business traveler on his day off.  A former royal palace and seat of the Mexican empire, the park now houses the National Museum of History, as well as the Museum of Anthropology and the Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art. Whether you choose to browse the museums, visit the park’s zoo or take a ride on the oldest roller coaster in the city, Chapultepec Park is a sight you must see!

For the true Mexican experience, visit Terraza de San Angel Inn, which has preserved the flavor of a tiny provincial village: complete with cobblestone streets and mariachi music streaming through its roads.  On Saturdays, the weekly Bazar del Sabado market keeps the area bustling with vendors and shoppers alike, and the restaurant at San Angel Inn resembles an old fashioned hacienda, complete with live music and yummy local cuisine.

Getting Around

Your best bet for getting around in this busy city is by taxi.  Be careful to choose an official white or yellow cab, and be ready to pay for the transportation up-front.  The more adventurous and spendthrift executive can elect to use Mexico City’s highly efficient bus and subway system, but be prepared for crowds.  The major airport in the city is Benito Juarez International Airport, and a thirty dollar cab ride can get you most anywhere in the city from the airport.

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Culture Shock

El Museo Dolores Olmedo is an old hacienda that houses the majority of Diego Rivera‘s works, a beloved Mexican maestro.  Dolores herself, who once lived in the house, was a huge collecter and promoter of Rivera’s works, and rumored as his former lover.  The museum also houses several works by the legendary Frida Kahlo.

The Zocalo, or the historic center of Mexico City, is a sight you must see.  It houses the National Palace, which was built on the grounds of Montezuma’s former home, as well as the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Templo Mayor, the ruins of an Aztec city that were accidentally discovered in the late 1970s.

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