Discover the festive charm of Christmas in Mexico City! The Capital comes alive with vibrant lights in Zocalo, bustling markets offering iconic Christmas piñatas, and Reforma Avenue adorned with flowers. Roll on the open-air skating rinks, savor traditional dishes, and join the spirited celebrations at the Basilica of Guadalupe. Embrace the warmth of the season with sunny days and chilly evenings, immersing yourself in the traditions and cultural delights that make Christmas in Mexico City an unforgettable experience.
THINGS TO DO IN CHIRISMAS SEASON
1. Enjoy the lights in the Zocalo
The Zocalo or Downtown Area is one of the best places to see Christmas lights. The lights stay up for most of December and early January and they are really brilliant. Also, You can see tons of street performers. There are people dressed up as the Grinch and other Christmas characters for children to take photos with.
2. Go Skating in the Zocalo
If you’re heading down to the Zocalo to see the Christmas lights, you might as well stay to go skating. Usually, the city sets up a large outdoor ice skating rink for people to enjoy. Some years however, the city chooses to set up the rink for roller skating instead of skating on ice. This is because it can be really hard to keep the ice rink cold enough for the ice not to melt during the heat of the day. The temperature in Mexico City only really drops in the mornings and evenings during the winter months. During the day it is often still quite hot.
3. Admire Christmas Piñatas and Shop at Local Markets
Mexico City has a ton of wonderful markets that switch to selling Christmas decorations, gifts and more during the holiday season. One of the things you will find in these markets are the famous Christmas Piñatas. They actually started out as a Christmas tradition and it wasn’t until a bit later that the tradition of smashing a piñata became something to do at birthday parties as well. Christmas Piñatas symbolize seven-pointed stars, representing the seven deadly sins. Breaking a piñata is believed to symbolically shed one's sins from the past year.
Some markets you should visit during the Christmas season to buy souvenirs and see piñatas are Mercado de Jamaica, renowned for its floral abundance including “Noche Buenas”, and others like Mercado Artesanal de Coyoacán and Mercado de la Merced offer glimpses into this festive tradition.
4. Marvel Nativity Scenes and Noche Buenas along Reforma Avenue
During December people set up tons of living nativity scenes all along Reforma Avenue. This is a famous street in Mexico City where the Angel of Independence is located. The middle of the street is also transformed into a sea of bright red poinsettia flowers or “Noche Buenas” for visitors to enjoy.
5. Visit the Basilica of Guadalupe
The festive spirit kicks off in Mexico City on December 12th, honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe. Pilgrims come from various villages across the country to pay homage at the Basilica, resulting in massive crowds—around 3 million visitors on that single day alone. If you’re around Mexico City for December 12th, you’ll see parades, churches will be packed and fireworks all night long.
Traditional Christmas Food in México
Did you know that turkeys are native to Mexico? If you were to step into a Mexican household on Christmas Eve, you'd likely find a turkey on the table, accompanied by a variety of other delightful side dishes. Traditional Mexican Christmas dishes range from Bacalao (salted cod) to Romeritos (leafy greens in mole sauce) and Noche Buena salad (apple and different fruit salad with cream). You can find Tamales, these are popular for either breakfast on Christmas morning or simply as an additional side dish on Christmas Eve.
Depending on where families come from, you may find pozole or menudo on the table. Both are types of soup made with Mexican corn. Pair these dishes with ponche Navideño, a sweet Christmas punch, available in local markets and cafes during the holiday months.
*Fun Fact: In Mexico, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th, known as 'Nochebuena,' with a family dinner. The morning of the 25th is for children to open their gifts, followed by gathering again with family to enjoy the “recalentado”, which is reheating and eating the leftovers from the previous night's dinner.
Weather in Mexico City at Christmas Time
The days are crisp and sunny and there is almost never any rain. You can expect the days to be around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit (18-21 C) during the day and drop a bit at night. The sun is warm during the day, you can easily wear jeans and a t-shirt, but always be sure to have a jacket with you. As soon as the sun sets, it can drop to about 55 degrees (12 C), which feels even colder.
In conclusion, Christmas in Mexico City is a vibrant celebration that captivates the spirit of the season. Join a Bikes and Munchies tour to live this festive journey, discovering traditions, savoring delicious food, exploring lively markets, and embracing the joy that lights up the city during this magical time...