Mexico's capital is both the oldest capital city in the Americas and one of two founded by indigenous people, the other being Quito, Ecuador. The city was originally built on an island of Lake Texcoco by the Aztecs in 1325 as Tenochtitlan, which was almost completely destroyed in the 1521 Siege of Tenochtitlan and subsequently redesigned and rebuilt in accordance with the Spanish urban standards. In 1524, the municipality of Mexico City was established, known as México Tenochtitlán, and as of 1585, it was officially known as Ciudad de México (Mexico City). Mexico City was the political, administrative, and financial center of a major part of the Spanish colonial empire. After independence from Spain was achieved, the federal district was created in 1824.
The city of Mexico-Tenochtitlan was founded by the Mexica people in 1325. The old Mexica city that is now simply referred to as Tenochtitlan was built on an island in the center of the inland lake system of the Valley of Mexico, which it shared with a smaller city-state called Tlatelolco. According to legend, the Mexicas' principal god, Huitzilopochtli, indicated the site where they were to build their home by presenting a golden eagle perched on a prickly pear devouring a rattlesnake.
After landing in Veracruz, Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés advanced upon Tenochtitlan with the aid of many of the other native peoples, arriving there on 8 November 1519. Cortés and his men marched along the causeway leading into the city from Iztapalapa, and the city's ruler, Moctezuma II, greeted the Spaniards; they exchanged gifts, but the camaraderie did not last long. Cortés put Moctezuma under house arrest, hoping to rule through him.
Tensions increased until, on the night of 30 June 1520 – during a struggle known as "La Noche Triste" – the Aztecs rose up against the Spanish intrusion and managed to capture or drive out the Europeans and their Tlaxcalan allies. Cortés regrouped at Tlaxcala. The Aztecs thought the Spaniards were permanently gone, and they elected a new king, Cuitláhuac, but he soon died; the next king was Cuauhtémoc.
Cortés began a siege of Tenochtitlan in May 1521. For three months, the city suffered from the lack of food and water as well as the spread of smallpox brought by the Europeans. Cortés and his allies landed their forces in the south of the island and slowly fought their way through the city. Cuauhtémoc surrendered in August 1521. The Spaniards practically razed Tenochtitlan during the final siege of the conquest.
The rebuilding of the city after the siege of Tenochtitlan was accomplished by the abundant indigenous labor in the surrounding area. Franciscan friar Toribio de Benavente Motolinia, one of the Twelve Apostles of Mexico who arrived in New Spain in 1524, described the rebuilding of the city as one of the afflictions or plagues of the early period:
Spaniards sought to keep Indians separate from Spaniards but since the Zócalo was a center of commerce for Indians, they were a constant presence in the central area, so strict segregation was never enforced. At intervals Zócalo was where major celebrations took place as well as executions. It was also the site of two major riots in the seventeenth century, one in 1624, the other in 1692.
The Grito de Dolores ("Cry of Dolores"), also known as El Grito de la Independencia ("Cry of Independence"), marked the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence. The Battle of Guanajuato, the first major engagement of the insurgency, occurred four days later. After a decade of war, Mexico's independence from Spain was effectively declared in the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire on 27 September 1821. Agustín de Iturbide is proclaimed Emperor of the First Mexican Empire by Congress, crowned in the Cathedral of Mexico. Unrest followed for the next several decades, as different factions fought for control of Mexico.
Historically, and since Pre-Columbian times, the Valley of Anahuac has been one of the most densely populated areas in Mexico. When the Federal District was created in 1824, the urban area of Mexico City extended approximately to the area of today's Cuauhtémoc borough. At the beginning of the 20th century, the elites began migrating to the south and west and soon the small towns of Mixcoac and San Ángel were incorporated by the growing conurbation. According to the 1921 census, 54.78% of the city's population was considered Mestizo (Indigenous mixed with European), 22.79% considered European, and 18.74% considered Indigenous. This was the last Mexican Census which asked people to self-identify with a heritage other than Amerindian. However, the census had the particularity that, unlike racial/ethnic census in other countries, it was focused in the perception of cultural heritage rather than in a racial perception, leading to a good number of white people to identify with "Mixed heritage" due to cultural influence. In 1921, Mexico City had less than one million inhabitants.
The Acta Constitutiva de la Federación of 31 January 1824, and the Federal Constitution of 4 October 1824, fixed the political and administrative organization of the United Mexican States after the Mexican War of Independence. In addition, Section XXVIII of Article 50 gave the new Congress the right to choose where the federal government would be located. This location would then be appropriated as federal land, with the federal government acting as the local authority. The two main candidates to become the capital were Mexico City and Querétaro.
Due in large part to the persuasion of representative Servando Teresa de Mier, Mexico City was chosen because it was the center of the country's population and history, even though Querétaro was closer to the center geographically. The choice was official on 18 November 1824, and Congress delineated a surface area of two leagues square (8,800 acres) centered on the Zocalo. This area was then separated from the State of Mexico, forcing that state's government to move from the Palace of the Inquisition (now Museum of Mexican Medicine) in the city to Texcoco. This area did not include the population centers of the towns of Coyoacán, Xochimilco, Mexicaltzingo and Tlalpan, all of which remained as part of the State of Mexico.
The Battle for Mexico City was the series of engagements from 8 to 15 September 1847, in the general vicinity of Mexico City during the U.S. Mexican War. Included are major actions at the battles of Molino del Rey and Chapultepec, culminating with the fall of Mexico City. The U.S. Army under Winfield Scott scored a major success that ended the war. The American invasion into the Federal District was first resisted during the Battle of Churubusco on 8 August, where the Saint Patrick's Battalion, which was composed primarily of Catholic Irish and German immigrants but also Canadians, English, French, Italians, Poles, Scots, Spaniards, Swiss, and Mexicans, fought for the Mexican cause, repelling the American attacks. After defeating the Saint Patrick's Battalion, the Mexican–American War came to a close after the United States deployed combat units deep into Mexico resulting in the capture of Mexico City and Veracruz by the U.S. Army's 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Divisions. The invasion culminated with the storming of Chapultepec Castle in the city itself.
In 1854 president Antonio López de Santa Anna enlarged the area of Mexico City almost eightfold from the original 220 to 1,700 km (80 to 660 sq mi), annexing the rural and mountainous areas to secure the strategic mountain passes to the south and southwest to protect the city in event of a foreign invasion. (The Mexican–American War had just been fought.) The last changes to the limits of Mexico City were made between 1898 and 1902, reducing the area to the current 1,479 km (571 sq mi) by adjusting the southern border with the state of Morelos. By that time, the total number of municipalities within Mexico City was twenty-two.
The history of the rest of the 20th century to the present focuses on the phenomenal growth of the city and its environmental and political consequences. In 1900, the population of Mexico City was about 500,000. The city began to grow rapidly westward in the early part of the 20th century and then began to grow upwards in the 1950s, with the Torre Latinoamericana becoming the city's first skyscraper.
While Mexico City was ruled by the federal government through an appointed governor, the municipalities within it were autonomous, and this duality of powers created tension between the municipalities and the federal government for more than a century. In 1903, Porfirio Díaz largely reduced the powers of the municipalities within the Federal District. Eventually, in December 1928, the federal government decided to abolish all the municipalities of the Federal District. In place of the municipalities, the Federal District was divided into one "Central Department" and 13 delegaciones (boroughs) administered directly by the government of the Federal District. The Central Department was integrated by the former municipalities of Mexico City, Tacuba, Tacubaya and Mixcoac.
Snow falls in the city very rarely, although somewhat more often in nearby mountain tops. Throughout its history, the Central Valley of Mexico was accustomed to having several snowfalls per decade (including a period between 1878 and 1895 in which every single year—except 1880—recorded snowfalls ) mostly lake-effect snow. The effects of the draining of Lake Texcoco and global warming have greatly reduced snowfalls after the snow flurries of 12 February 1907. Since 1908, snow has only fallen three times, snow on 14 February 1920; snow flurries on 14 March 1940; and on 12 January 1967, when 8 centimetres (3 in) of snow fell on the city, the most on record. The 1967 snowstorm coincided with the operation of Deep Drainage System that resulted in the total draining of what was left of Lake Texcoco. After the disappearance of Lake Texcoco, snow has never fallen again over Mexico City.
The capital escaped the worst of the violence of the ten-year conflict of the Mexican Revolution. The most significant episode of this period for the city was the February 1913 la Decena Trágica ("The Ten Tragic Days"), when forces counter to the elected government of Francisco I. Madero staged a successful coup. The center of the city was subjected to artillery attacks from the army stronghold of the ciudadela or citadel, with significant civilian casualties and the undermining of confidence in the Madero government. Victoriano Huerta, chief general of the Federal Army, saw a chance to take power, forcing Madero and Pino Suarez to sign resignations. The two were murdered later while on their way to Lecumberri prison. Huerta's ouster in July 1914 saw the entry of the armies of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, but the city did not experience violence. Huerta had abandoned the capital and the conquering armies marched in. Venustiano Carranza's Constitutionalist faction ultimately prevailed in the revolutionary civil war and Carranza took up residence in the presidential palace.
Mexico City has three zoos. Chapultepec Zoo, the San Juan de Aragon Zoo and Los Coyotes Zoo. Chapultepec Zoo is located in the first section of Chapultepec Park in the Miguel Hidalgo. It was opened in 1924. Visitors can see about 243 specimens of different species including kangaroos, giant panda, gorillas, caracal, hyena, hippos, jaguar, giraffe, lemur, lion, among others. Zoo San Juan de Aragon is near the San Juan de Aragon Park in the Gustavo A. Madero. In this zoo, opened in 1964, there are species that are in danger of extinction such as the jaguar and the Mexican wolf. Other guests are the golden eagle, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, caracara, zebras, African elephant, macaw, hippo, among others. Zoo Los Coyotes is a 27.68-acre (11.2 ha) zoo located south of Mexico City in the Coyoacan. It was inaugurated on 2 February 1999. It has more than 301 specimens of 51 species of wild native or endemic fauna from the area, featuring eagles, ajolotes, coyotes, macaws, bobcats, Mexican wolves, raccoons, mountain lions, teporingos, foxes, white-tailed deer.
Chapultepec Park houses the Chapultepec Castle, now a museum on a hill that overlooks the park and its numerous museums, monuments and the national zoo and the National Museum of Anthropology (which houses the Aztec Calendar Stone). Another piece of architecture is the Palacio de Bellas Artes, a white marble theatre/museum whose weight is such that it has gradually been sinking into the soft ground below. Its construction began during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz and ended in 1934, after being interrupted by the Mexican Revolution in the 1920s. The Plaza de las Tres Culturas, in this square are located the College of Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco, that is the first and oldest European school of higher learning in the Americas, and the archaeological site of the city-state of Tlatelolco, and the shrine and Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe are also important sites. There is a double-decker bus, known as the "Turibus", that circles most of these sites, and has timed audio describing the sites in multiple languages as they are passed.
In addition, according to the Secretariat of Tourism, the city has about 170 museums—is among the top ten of cities in the world with highest number of museums —over 100 art galleries, and some 30 concert halls, all of which maintain a constant cultural activity during the whole year. It has either the third or fourth-highest number of theatres in the world after New York, London and perhaps Toronto. Many areas (e.g. Palacio Nacional and the National Institute of Cardiology) have murals painted by Diego Rivera. He and his wife Frida Kahlo lived in Coyoacán, where several of their homes, studios, and art collections are open to the public. The house where Leon Trotsky was initially granted asylum and finally murdered in 1940 is also in Coyoacán.
In 1941, the General Anaya borough was merged with the Central Department, which was then renamed "Mexico City" (thus reviving the name but not the autonomous municipality). From 1941 to 1970, the Federal District comprised twelve delegaciones and Mexico City. In 1970, Mexico City was split into four different delegaciones: Cuauhtémoc, Miguel Hidalgo, Venustiano Carranza and Benito Juárez, increasing the number of delegaciones to 16. Since then, the whole Federal District, whose delegaciones had by then almost formed a single urban area, began to be considered de facto a synonym of Mexico City.
The average annual temperature varies from 12 to 16 °C (54 to 61 °F), depending on the altitude of the borough. The temperature is rarely below 3 °C (37 °F) or above 30 °C (86 °F). At the Tacubaya observatory, the lowest temperature ever registered was −4.4 °C (24 °F) on 13 February 1960, and the highest temperature on record was 33.9 °C (93 °F) on 9 May 1998.
Mexico City is the first Latin American city to host the Olympic Games, having held the Summer Olympics in 1968, winning bids against Buenos Aires, Lyon and Detroit. The city hosted the 1955 and 1975 Pan American Games, the last after Santiago and São Paulo withdrew. The ICF Flatwater Racing World Championships were hosted here in 1974 and 1994. Lucha libre is a Mexican style of wrestling, and is one of the more popular sports throughout the country. The main venues in the city are Arena México and Arena Coliseo.
The World Bank has sponsored a project to curb air pollution through public transport improvements and the Mexican government has started shutting down polluting factories. They have phased out diesel buses and mandated new emission controls on new cars; since 1993 all new cars must be fitted with a catalytic converter, which reduces the emissions released. Trucks must use only liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Also construction of an underground rail system was begun in 1968 in order to help curb air pollution problems and alleviate traffic congestion. It has over 201 km (125 mi) of track and carries over 5 million people every day. Fees are kept low to encourage use of the system and during rush hours the crush is so great, that authorities have reserved a special carriage specifically for women. Due to these initiatives and others, the air quality in Mexico City has begun to improve; it is cleaner than it was in 1991, when the air quality was declared to be a public health risk for 355 days of the year.
Mexico City is served by the Sistema de Transporte Colectivo, a 225.9 km (140 mi) metro system, which is the largest in Latin America. The first portions were opened in 1969 and it has expanded to 12 lines with 195 stations. The metro transports 4.4 million people every day. It is the 8th busiest metro system in the world, behind Tokyo (10.0 million), Beijing (9.3 million), Shanghai (7.8 million), Seoul (7.3 million), Moscow (6.7 million), Guangzhou (6.2 million), and New York City (4.9 million). It is heavily subsidized, and has some of the lowest fares in the world, each trip costing 5.00 pesos (roughly US$0.27) from 05:00 am to midnight. Several stations display pre-Columbian artifacts and architecture that were discovered during the metro's construction. However, the metro covers less than half of the total urban area. The Metro stations are also differentiated by the use of icons and glyphs which were created for the illiterate, a unique system that has become iconic characteristic of Mexico City. Each icon was developed based on historical (characters, sites, pre-Hispanic motifs), linguistic, symbolic (glyphs) or geographic references. A complementary system of icons was used for the Metrobús (BRT) stops.
The 1968 Olympic Games brought about the construction of large sporting facilities. In 1969, the Metro system was inaugurated. Explosive growth in the population of the city started in the 1960s, with the population overflowing the boundaries of the Federal District into the neighboring State of Mexico, especially to the north, northwest, and northeast. Between 1960 and 1980 the city's population more than doubled to nearly 9 million.
Association football is the country's most popular and most televised franchised sport. Its important venues in Mexico City include the Azteca Stadium, home to the Mexico national football team and giants América, which can seat 91,653 fans, making it the biggest stadium in Latin America. The Olympic Stadium in Ciudad Universitaria is home to the football club giants Universidad Nacional, with a seating capacity of over 52,000. The Estadio Azul, which seats 33,042 fans, is near the World Trade Center Mexico City in the Nochebuena neighborhood, and is home to the giants Cruz Azul. The three teams are based in Mexico City and play in the First Division; they are also part, with Guadalajara-based giants Club Deportivo Guadalajara, of Mexico's traditional "Big Four" (though recent years have tended to erode the teams' leading status at least in standings). The country hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1970 and 1986, and Azteca Stadium is the first stadium in World Cup history to host the final twice.
Mexico City is home to a number of orchestras offering season programs. These include the Mexico City Philharmonic, which performs at the Sala Ollin Yoliztli; the National Symphony Orchestra, whose home base is the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of the Fine Arts), a masterpiece of art nouveau and art decó styles; the Philharmonic Orchestra of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (OFUNAM), and the Minería Symphony Orchestra, both of which perform at the Sala Nezahualcóyotl, which was the first wrap-around concert hall of the world's western hemisphere when inaugurated in 1976. There are also many smaller ensembles that enrich the city's musical scene, including the Carlos Chávez Youth Symphony, the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the New World Orchestra (Orquesta del Nuevo Mundo), the National Polytechnical Symphony and the Bellas Artes Chamber Orchestra (Orquesta de Cámara de Bellas Artes).
Mexico City is a destination for many foreign tourists. The Historic center of Mexico City (Centro Histórico) and the "floating gardens" of Xochimilco in the southern borough have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Landmarks in the Historic Center include the Plaza de la Constitución (Zócalo), the main central square with its epoch-contrasting Spanish-era Metropolitan Cathedral and National Palace, ancient Aztec temple ruins Templo Mayor ("Major Temple") and modern structures, all within a few steps of one another. (The Templo Mayor was discovered in 1978 while workers were digging to place underground electric cables).
Electric transport other than the metro also exists, in the form of several Mexico City trolleybus routes and the Xochimilco Light Rail line, both of which are operated by Servicio de Transportes Eléctricos. The central area's last streetcar line (tramway, or tranvía) closed in 1979.
In 1980 half of all the industrial jobs in Mexico were located in Mexico City. Under relentless growth, the Mexico City government could barely keep up with services. Villagers from the countryside who continued to pour into the city to escape poverty only compounded the city's problems. With no housing available, they took over lands surrounding the city, creating huge shantytowns that extended for many miles. This caused serious air pollution in Mexico City and water pollution problems, as well as subsidence due to overextraction of groundwater. Air and water pollution has been contained and improved in several areas due to government programs, the renovation of vehicles and the modernization of public transportation.
On Thursday, 19 September 1985, at 7:19 am CST, Mexico City was struck by an earthquake of magnitude 8.1 on the Richter magnitude scale. Although this earthquake was not as deadly or destructive as many similar events in Asia and other parts of Latin America, it proved to be a disaster politically for the one-party government. The government was paralyzed by its own bureaucracy and corruption, forcing ordinary citizens to create and direct their own rescue efforts and to reconstruct much of the housing that was lost as well.
By the 1990s Mexico City had become infamous as one of the world's most polluted cities; however, the city has become a model for drastically lowering pollution levels. By 2014 carbon monoxide pollution had dropped drastically, while sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide were at levels about a third of those in 1992. The levels of signature pollutants in Mexico City are similar to those of Los Angeles. Despite the cleanup, the metropolitan area is still the most ozone-polluted part of the country, with ozone levels 2.5 times beyond WHO-defined safe limits.
The lack of a de jure stipulation left a legal vacuum that led to a number of sterile discussions about whether one concept had engulfed the other or if the latter had ceased to exist altogether. In 1993, the situation was solved by an amendment to the 44th article of the Constitution of Mexico; Mexico City and the Federal District were stated to be the same entity. The amendment was later introduced into the second article of the Statute of Government of the Federal District.
After years of demanding greater political autonomy, residents were finally given the right to elect both a head of government and the representatives of the unicameral Legislative Assembly by election in 1997. Ever since, left-wing parties (first the Party of the Democratic Revolution and later the National Regeneration Movement) have controlled both of them. The city has several progressive policies, such as abortion on demand, a limited form of euthanasia, no-fault divorce, and same-sex marriage.
As a result of the fraudulent election, Cárdenas became a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution. Discontent over the election eventually led Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas to become the first elected mayor of Mexico City in 1997. Cárdenas promised a more democratic government, and his party claimed some victories against crime, pollution, and other major problems. He resigned in 1999 to run for the presidency.
Mexico City is home to the largest population of U.S. Americans living outside the United States. Estimates are as high as 700,000 U.S. Americans living in Mexico City, while in 1999 the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs estimated over 440,000 Americans lived in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area.
The first elected head of government was Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas. He resigned in 1999 to run in the 2000 presidential elections and designated Rosario Robles to succeed him, who became the first woman, elected or otherwise, to govern Mexico City. In 2000, Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected, and he resigned in 2005 to run in the 2006 presidential elections; Alejandro Encinas was designated by the Legislative Assembly to finish the term. In 2006, Marcelo Ebrard was elected to serve until 2012.
After the political reforms on 2016, the city is divided for administrative purposes into 16 boroughs (demarcaciones territoriales, colloquially alcadias), formerly called delegaciones. While they are not fully equivalent to municipalities, the boroughs have gained significant autonomy. Formerly appointed by the Federal District's head of government, local authorities were first elected directly by plurality in 2000. From 2016, each borough is headed by a mayor, expanding their local government powers.
There is an environmental program, called Hoy No Circula ("Today Does Not Run", or "One Day without a Car"), whereby vehicles that have not passed emissions testing are restricted from circulating on certain days according to the ending digit of their license plates; this in an attempt to cut down on pollution and traffic congestion. While in 2003, the program still restricted 40% of vehicles in the metropolitan area, with the adoption of stricter emissions standards in 2001 and 2006, in practice, these days most vehicles are exempt from the circulation restrictions as long as they pass regular emissions tests.
In 2002, Mexico City had a Human Development Index score of 0.915, identical to that of South Korea.
In 2005, Mexico City became the first city to host an NFL regular season game outside of the United States, at the Azteca Stadium. The crowd of 103,467 people attending this game was the largest ever for a regular season game in NFL history until 2009. The city has also hosted several NBA pre-season games and has hosted international basketball's FIBA Americas Championship, along with north-of-the-border Major League Baseball exhibition games at Foro Sol. In 2017, NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressed interest in placing an NBA G League expansion team in Mexico City as early as 2018. This came to fruition on 12 December 2019 when commissioner Silver announced at a press conference in Mexico City Arena that LNBP team, Capitanes de Ciudad de México will be joining the G League in the 2020–21 season on a five-year agreement.
The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is the main venue for motorsport, and hosts the Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix since its return to the sport in 2015, the event being held in the past from 1962 to 1970, and again from 1986 to 1992. From 1980 to 1981 and again from 2002 to 2007, the circuit hosted the Champ Car World Series Gran Premio de México. Beginning in 2005, the NASCAR Nationwide Series ran the Telcel-Motorola México 200. 2005 also marked the first running of the Mexico City 250 by the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Both races were removed from their series' schedules for 2009.
The city's first bus rapid transit line, the Metrobús, began operation in June 2005, along Avenida Insurgentes. More and more lines opened and as of mid-2017 there are 6 routes with a 7th planned along Paseo de la Reforma to connect Santa Fe with the city center and points north. As each line opened, the 'pesero' minibuses were removed from each route, in order to reduce pollution and commute times. As of mid-2017, there were 568 Metrobús buses. In late 2016 they transported an average of 1.1 million passengers daily.
The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), located in Mexico City, is the largest university on the continent, with more than 300,000 students from all backgrounds. Three Nobel laureates, several Mexican entrepreneurs and most of Mexico's modern-day presidents are among its former students. UNAM conducts 50% of Mexico's scientific research and has presence all across the country with satellite campuses, observatories and research centres. UNAM ranked 74th in the Top 200 World University Ranking published by Times Higher Education (then called Times Higher Education Supplement) in 2006, making it the highest ranked Spanish-speaking university in the world. The sprawling main campus of the university, known as Ciudad Universitaria, was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007.
In the Mexico City airport, the government engaged in an extensive restructuring program that includes the addition of a new second terminal, which began operations in 2007, and the enlargement of four other airports (at the nearby cities of Toluca, Querétaro, Puebla and Cuernavaca) that, along with Mexico City's airport, comprise the Grupo Aeroportuario del Valle de México, distributing traffic to different regions in Mexico. The city of Pachuca will also provide additional expansion to central Mexico's airport network.
The Centro Nacional de las Artes (National Center for the Arts has several venues for music, theatre, dance. UNAM's main campus, also in the southern part of the city, is home to the Centro Cultural Universitario (the University Culture Center) (CCU). The CCU also houses the National Library, the interactive Universum, Museo de las Ciencias, the Sala Nezahualcóyotl concert hall, several theatres and cinemas, and the new University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC). A branch of the National University's CCU cultural center was inaugurated in 2007 in the facilities of the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs, known as Tlatelolco, in north-central Mexico City.
The city is also a leading center of popular culture and music. There are a multitude of venues hosting Spanish and foreign-language performers. These include the 10,000-seat National Auditorium that regularly schedules the Spanish and English-language pop and rock artists, as well as many of the world's leading performing arts ensembles, the auditorium also broadcasts grand opera performances from New York's Metropolitan Opera on giant, high definition screens. In 2007 National Auditorium was selected world's best venue by multiple genre media.
The top twelve percent of GDP per capita holders in the city had a mean disposable income of US$98,517 in 2007. The high spending power of Mexico City inhabitants makes the city attractive for companies offering prestige and luxury goods.
The politics pursued by the administrations of heads of government in Mexico City since the second half of the 20th century have usually been more liberal than those of the rest of the country, whether with the support of the federal government, as was the case with the approval of several comprehensive environmental laws in the 1980s, or by laws that were since approved by the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Assembly expanded provisions on abortions, becoming the first federal entity to expand abortion in Mexico beyond cases of rape and economic reasons, to permit it at the choice of the mother before the 12th week of pregnancy. In December 2009, the then Federal District became the first city in Latin America and one of very few in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
The local government continuously strives for a reduction of massive traffic congestion, and has increased incentives for making a bicycle-friendly city. This includes North America's second-largest bicycle sharing system, EcoBici, launched in 2010, in which registered residents can get bicycles for 45 minutes with a pre-paid subscription of 300 pesos a year. There are, as of September 2013, 276 stations with 4,000 bicycles across an area stretching from the Historic center to Polanco. within 300 meters (980 feet) of one another and are fully automatic using a transponder based card. Bicycle-service users have access to several permanent Ciclovías (dedicated bike paths/lanes/streets), including ones along Paseo de la Reforma and Avenida Chapultepec as well as one running 59 kilometers (37 miles) from Polanco to Fierro del Toro, which is located south of Cumbres del Ajusco National Park, near the Morelos state line. The city's initiative is inspired by forward thinking examples, such as Denmark's Copenhagenization.
Greater Mexico City has a GDP of $411 billion in 2011, which makes it one of the most productive urban areas in the world. The city was responsible for generating 15.8% of Mexico's GDP, and the metropolitan area accounted for about 22% of the country's GDP. If it were an independent country in 2013, Mexico City would be the fifth-largest economy in Latin America, five times as large as Costa Rica and about the same size as Peru.
The Museo Soumaya, named after the wife of Mexican magnate Carlos Slim, has the largest private collection of original Rodin sculptures outside Paris. It also has a large collection of Dalí sculptures, and recently began showing pieces in its masters collection including El Greco, Velázquez, Picasso and Canaletto. The museum inaugurated a new futuristic-design facility in 2011 just north of Polanco, while maintaining a smaller facility in Plaza de Loreto in southern Mexico City. The Colección Júmex is a contemporary art museum located on the sprawling grounds of the Jumex juice company in the northern industrial suburb of Ecatepec. It is said to have the largest private contemporary art collection in Latin America and hosts pieces from its permanent collection as well as traveling exhibits by leading contemporary artists. The new Museo Júmex in Nuevo Polanco was slated to open in November 2013. The Museo de San Ildefonso, housed in the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso in Mexico City's historic downtown district is a 17th-century colonnaded palace housing an art museum that regularly hosts world-class exhibits of Mexican and international art. Recent exhibits have included those on David LaChapelle, Antony Gormley and Ron Mueck. The National Museum of Art (Museo Nacional de Arte) is also located in a former palace in the historic center. It houses a large collection of pieces by all major Mexican artists of the last 400 years and also hosts visiting exhibits.
Another major addition to the city's museum scene is the Museum of Remembrance and Tolerance (Museo de la Memoria y Tolerancia), inaugurated in early 2011. The brainchild of two young Mexican women as a Holocaust museum, the idea morphed into a unique museum dedicated to showcasing all major historical events of discrimination and genocide. Permanent exhibits include those on the Holocaust and other large-scale atrocities. It also houses temporary exhibits; one on Tibet was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in September 2011.
Peseros are typically half-length passenger buses (known as microbús) that sit 22 passengers and stand up to 28. As of 2007 , the approximately 28,000 peseros carried up to 60 percent of the city's passengers. In August 2016, Mayor Mancera announced that new pesero vehicle and concessions would be eliminated completely unless they were ecologically friendly vehicles, and in October 2011 the city's Secretary of Mobility Héctor Serrano states that by the end of the current administration (2018) there would no longer by any peseros/microbuses circulating at all, and that new full-sized buses would take over the routes.
In 2012, elections were held for the post of head of government and the representatives of the Legislative Assembly. Heads of government are elected for a six-year period without the possibility of re-election. Traditionally, the position has been considered as the second most important executive office in the country.
In the late 1970s many arterial roads were redesigned as ejes viales; high-volume one-way roads that cross, in theory, Mexico City proper from side to side. The eje vial network is based on a quasi-Cartesian grid, with the ejes themselves being called Eje 1 Poniente, Eje Central, and Eje 1 Oriente, for example, for the north–south roads, and Eje 2 Sur and Eje 3 Norte, for example, for east–west roads. Ring roads are the Circuito Interior (inner ring), Anillo Periférico; the Circuito Exterior Mexiquense ("State of Mexico outer loop") toll road skirting the northeastern and eastern edges of the metropolitan area, the Chamapa-La Venta toll road skirting the northwestern edge, and the Arco Norte completely bypassing the metropolitan area in an arc from northwest (Atlacomulco) to north (Tula, Hidalgo) to east (Puebla). A second level (where tolls are charged) of the Periférico, colloquially called the segundo piso ("second floor"), was officially opened in 2012, with sections still being completed. The Viaducto Miguel Alemán crosses the city east–west from Observatorio to the airport. In 2013 the Supervía Poniente opened, a toll road linking the new Santa Fe business district with southwestern Mexico City.
Other iconic city parks include the Alameda Central historic center, a city park since colonial times and renovated in 2013; Parque México and Parque España in the hip Condesa district; Parque Hundido and Parque de los Venados in Colonia del Valle, and Parque Lincoln in Polanco. There are many smaller parks throughout the city. Most are small "squares" occupying two or three square blocks amid residential or commercial districts.
Street parking in urban neighborhoods is mostly controlled by the franeleros a.k.a. "viene vienes" (lit. "come on, come on"), who ask drivers for a fee to park. Double parking is common (with franeleros moving the cars as required), impeding on the available lanes for traffic to pass. In order to mitigate that and other problems and to raise revenue, 721 parking meters (as of October 2013), have been installed in the west-central neighborhoods Lomas de Chapultepec, Condesa, Roma, Polanco and Anzures, in operation from 8 AM to 8 PM on weekdays and charging a rate of 2 pesos per 15 minutes, with offenders' cars booted, costing about 500 pesos to remove. 30 percent of the monthly 16 million-peso (as of October 2013) income from the parking-meter system (named "ecoParq") is earmarked for neighborhood improvements. The granting of the license for all zones exclusively to a new company without experience in operating parking meters, Operadora de Estacionamientos Bicentenario, has generated controversy.
In 2014, the city launched so-called "Bus Rapid Service", with mid-sized Mercedes-Benz Boxer buses carrying 75–85 passengers painted purple-on-white, replacing 'peseros' on certain groups of routes. Operation is a concession to the private firms (SAUSA, COTOBUSA, TREPSA) instead of to individual vehicle operators.
In 2016, the airport handled almost 42 million passengers, about 3.3 million more than the year before. This traffic exceeds the capacity of the airport, which has historically centralized the majority of air traffic in the country. An alternate option is Lic. Adolfo López Mateos International Airport (IATA Airport Code: TLC) in nearby Toluca, State of Mexico, although due to several airlines' decisions to terminate service to TLC, the airport has seen a passenger drop to just over 700,000 passengers in 2014 from over 2.1 million passengers just four years prior.
City agency Red de Transporte de Pasajeros (RTP), formerly M1, operates various networks of large buses including regular, Ecobús, Circuito Bicentenario, Atenea, Express, school and night routes. In 2016, more bus routes were added to replace pesero routes.
In 2016, the SVBUS express bus service was launched, with limited stops and utilizing the city's toll roads on the second-level of the Periférico ring road and Supervía Poniente and connecting Toreo/Cuatro Caminos with Santa Fe, San Jerónimo Lídice and Tepepan near Xochimilco in the southeast.
In 2016, the incidence of femicides was 3.2 per 100 000 inhabitants, the national average being 4.2. A 2015 city government report found that two of three women over the age of 15 in the capital suffered some form of violence. In addition to street harassment, one of the places where women in Mexico City live in violence is public transport. Annually the Metro of Mexico City receives 300 complaints of sexual harassment.
On 29 January 2016, Mexico City ceased to be the Federal District (Spanish: Distrito Federal or D.F.), and was officially renamed "Ciudad de México" (or "CDMX"). On that date, Mexico City began a transition to become the country's 32nd federal entity, giving it a level of autonomy comparable to that of a state. It will have its own constitution and its legislature, and its delegaciones will now be headed by mayors. Because of a clause in the Mexican Constitution, however, as it is the seat of the powers of the federation, it can never become a state, or the capital of the country has to be relocated elsewhere.
On 29 January 2016, it ceased to be the Federal District (Spanish: Distrito Federal or D.F.) and is now officially known as Ciudad de México (or CDMX), with a greater degree of autonomy. A clause in the Constitution of Mexico, however, prevents it from becoming a state within the Mexican federation, as it is the seat of power in the country, unless the capital of the country were to be relocated elsewhere.
The city has a Statute of Government, and as of its ratification on 31 January 2017, a constitution, similar to the states of the Union. As part of the recent changes in autonomy, the budget is administered locally; it is proposed by the head of government and approved by the Legislative Assembly. Nonetheless, it is the Congress of the Union that sets the ceiling to internal and external public debt issued by the city government.
For the 2019 list of World's 50 Best Restaurants as named by the British magazine Restaurant, Mexico City ranked 12th best with the Mexican avant-garde restaurant Pujol (owned by Mexican chef Enrique Olvera). Also notable is the Basque-Mexican fusion restaurant Biko (run and co-owned by Bruno Oteiza and Mikel Alonso), which placed outside the list at 59th, but in previous years has ranked within the top 50. Other that has been placed on the list in 2019 is the restaurant Sud 777 at 58th place.
Mexico City has numerous museums dedicated to art, including Mexican colonial, modern and contemporary art, and international art. The Museo Tamayo was opened in the mid-1980s to house the collection of international contemporary art donated by famed Mexican (born in the state of Oaxaca) painter Rufino Tamayo. The collection includes pieces by Picasso, Klee, Kandinsky, Warhol and many others, though most of the collection is stored while visiting exhibits are shown. The Museo de Arte Moderno (Museum of Modern Art) is a repository of Mexican artists from the 20th century, including Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros, Kahlo, Gerzso, Carrington, Tamayo, among others, and also regularly hosts temporary exhibits of international modern art. In southern Mexico City, the Museo Carrillo Gil (Carrillo Gil Museum) showcases avant-garde artists, as does the University Museum/Contemporary Art (Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo – or MUAC), designed by famed Mexican architect Teodoro González de León, inaugurated in late 2008.