Mexico City Guide: A megalopolis much more open-minded than you’d expect

Mexico City, with more than eight million inhabitants, is a huge city where you can find all the things that you love and hate. Although it’s in the heart of México, the second country with more catholic people in the world, the city isn’t very conservative. That’s makes the city a good place for the LGBTI community of the region.
In fact, México D.F. has a big gay scene that is distributed in a few areas. Back in 2006, it was the first city in Latin America to accept same-sex civil unions, becoming an example to follow for other cities and countries of the region. In November, the city also was declared LGBTI friendly in a ceremony led by its mayor.
Mexico City, with its tons of people, pollution and traffics jams, can drive you crazy. That’s for sure. But it’s also magic, diverse and modern. Full of history, human stories and syncretism. It also has a large number of shops, restaurants and clubs and all kinds of services. For all tastes and pockets.
At weekends, or in a sunny day, it’s magnificent.

Tips for travellers

Mexico City is not as insecure as people think. Actually, some districts are pretty safe and you can walk at night without any problem in certain areas. Don’t be afraid, just be careful. If you’re lost, ask to locals or use a map to avoid getting into dangerous zones.
Use public transport or taxi to move around the city. If you are sightseeing, try to avoid the rush hours. They are horrible and can leave you stuck in an station for hours!
During the day, the weather is usually warm, from 18º to 25º. At nights the temperatures usually decrease to 10 º. If you go out at night, take a coat.
From May until October, it rains almost every afternoon. Sometimes it pours. So an umbrella and a raincoat are mandatory accessories.
The best months to visit the city are from February until May.
As you’ll see, in certain areas it is completely normal to see gay people holding hands or kissing each other. You’ll be probably surprised to see how many gay and lesbian couples have dates in the tube station.
But in many other areas, it is still strange to see public expressions of gay love, though they are usually tolerated.
México Distrito Federal has a wide range of hotels and hostels to sleep. There are a few backpacker’s hostels in the zócalo (the historic centre) where you can sleep for about 10 bucks a night. Mexican guys are usually very friendly and welcoming. So, why not trying Cocksurfing?

Top Gay places

Zona Rosa

Next to the iconic Reforma Avenue, this neighborhood is known for its gay nightlife and its shopping. With streets named after European capitals and some European style mansions remaining, since the 90s the district became the main gay area of the city. There are about 200 gay business, most of them are pubs and bars.
You’ll find a lot of clubs and music pubs. Cabaretito, Papi Fun Bar, Candy Bar, Kinky, Lollipop, Nicho Bear and Bar, are just a few of them. Some of the have rooftop terraces and, thematic nights and even karaoke!
Since most of them are in Amberes street and its surroundings, the best thing you can do is go walking and choose the one you like the most. The area gets pretty crowded at weekends.
If you’re looking for something more exquisite (and expensive) you can move to the exclusive Polanco district, where you’ll find clubs like Envy, Guilt or Saint.
Polanco is an exclusive area in the city about 15 minutes in taxi from Reforma Avenue. So it is pretty easy to go there if you want to give a twist to the night.

Cuba Street (and surroundings)

There’s another gay area close to the famous Plaza Garibaldi, in the historic centre. Most of the bars are in the República de Cuba Street and its surroundings. Maybe a little less elegant than the ones in Zona Rosa or Polanco, these clubs are pretty famous among the gay community and full of people from Thursday to Saturday.
Marrakech and La Purísima are probably the most famous and offer pop and electronic music. But there are also pubs for bears, or for those men who want to dance Latin music. An excellent choice is La Perla. This cabaret, that opened in the 1940s it is one of the first of its kind in the city and it has an excellent drag queen show.
This area is close to Guerrero neighborhood. This area can be a bit dangerous at night and the streets aren’t well lightened at night, so it’s recommendable to use a taxi to get in and get out of the zone.

Casa Gomorra

Completely out of the gay scene. Casa Gomorra, in the Obrera district, was born two years ago as the home for the queer movement and other forms of expression in the city.
In this self-managed space for the LGBTI community, they offer from cultural events -poetry, performances- to dancing nights and parties where anything can happen.

Unmissable events

The Gay Pride Parade in Mexico City is a total must. Not only because it reunites about 15.000 thousand people, but also because it’s a way to express, in this gigantic city where everybody seems to go on its own, that there’s a big community open and willing to be fully accepted.
It starts in the Reforma Avenue and ends in the Zócalo, in the heart of the city. They usually offer concerts from midday until midnight.

Hidden spots

Torre Latinoamericana Rooftop Bar: Built in the 1950s, this skyscraper is more than 200 meters tall. In the last floor there’s a restaurant and a bar where you can get a panoramic view of the city. It’s vertiginous to contemplate the monstrosity of the city. A beer is about 45 pesos (2,5 euros).

La Merced and Sonora Markets: La Merced is considered one of the biggest markets in Latinoamerica. You can buy vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, clothes, shoes, electronic devices… anything. The building became too small, and even the streets that surround the market are full of shops.

Next to the market, crossing an avenue, there’s the Sonora Market. It is famous for its esoteric area, where a fortuneteller can read your future in the cards and you can buy all the ingredients necessary to make the strongest love spell.

Metro’s Rear Car: For decades, gay men have used the rear car of the subway as a cruising place. Usually men do eye contact in the platform and, once inside, especially in the rush hour, they do what they want in the rear car and surrounded by other men, who can join or not. This type of cruising has its own code and, late at night, some hustlers even work in the train stations.

Photos and Text by Mtí Q. 


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