5 Surprising Things About New Year’s Eve in Mexico City

Approximately a 4 minute read

Flashback to January 2017. I was walking off of a plane and checking back into reality after 4 days in Mexico. Along with my husband and two of our friends, I celebrated the end of 2016 in a new country, culminating with spending New Year’s Eve in Mexico City.

I’ve already covered some of the best parts of this trip like climbing the world’s third-largest pyramid and spending a day like a local on the gondolas of Xochimilco. I held off on writing about NYE until a little more appropriate season, and now the time has come!

My Curated list of Hot Hotels in Mexico City

Don’t worry, that A+ photobomber is our friend Megan.

New Year’s Eve in Mexico City surprised me in many ways. Here are some things that still stand out, a year later.

Dinner reservations

Our first surprising realization was… all restaurants are reservation-only on the 31st, so we ended up at a fast food chain for the night. The food was still good, but it was not the sit-down experience I expected. If you plan on being in the city for New Year’s Eve and not cooking at home (Airbnb), make sure to select and reserve a restaurant several days in advance.

Police presence

As early as the 30th, our neighborhood was populated by barricades and police trucks. It took some getting used to, seeing multiple policemen and women (with guns!) on each corner. Overall they were friendly but focused on the job at hand. It’s a sad commentary that I can’t remember which major world city had just suffered a terrorism attack in winter 2016, but I do remember feeling reassured by the large police force and crowd control.

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Family friendly

I’m used to seeing all adults on TV at freezing Times Square New Year’s Eve in New York, so I was happily surprised to see people of all ages out at El Angel de la Independencia in Mexico City. Old and young were ready to welcome the new year. The area we were in, a few blocks away from El Angel, was not packed and the little ones could run a bit. They had inflatable toys, shaped like giant pencils, that they’d throw up in the air and catch as they came back down.

Find affordable lodging in Mexico City.

Fireworks in downtown

Take another peek at the photo above. Not sure if you can tell how close that HSBC building is to the the Angel, but it is quite close. Some of the fireworks actually hit the glass of the building! I assume the glass used to construct skyscrapers is strong enough to withstand firework debris, but I was still surprised!

Karaoke night

After midnight, some classic Mexican bands took the stage to play traditional songs that weren’t familiar to us Americanos. So we stumbled upon songs that were familiar to us: specifically, a karaoke bar one block from Ave Reforma that played both Spanish and English music. My husband Doug surprised himself by taking the stage and crushing Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love.

Compared to many of my New Year’s Eves, I must say that spending it in a new city gave me extra energy that I don’t normally have (at home, heavy eyes around 11:15pm). I would love to make a tradition of visiting a new city each NYE!

Your first trip to Mexico City: What you MUST see! 

Have you traveled to a new city for New Year’s? Was it similar or different from your hometown? Let me know in the comments! 

Photos by Staci and Doug Jackson for The Voyageer.


Staci blogs about travel at TheVoyageer.com.


9 Responses

  1. Glad you enjoyed NYE in Mexico. The fireworks look great. Our tradition for New Years Eve is to stay home and cook a nice meal just the two of us. Then we watch the fireworks (on TV) in London and go to bed. I think the prices for travel around NYE is what puts me off. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

  2. Mexico City must have been quite a joyful place for New Year’s Eve. I am not surprised you can’t get into any restaurant without dinner reservations on the 31st of December. The Mexicans are party people. We like to stay home for New Year’s Eve and watch TV. Doesn’t sound too exciting, right? #TheWeeklyPostcard

  3. Many years ago I lived and worked in NYC for my then-career. So I’ve done the Times Square ball-drop NYE in person, got that out of my system! It would be interesting to spend that holiday in another major city somewhere else in the world such as you experienced in Mexico City. Glad to hear this one was family-friendly and safe. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  4. Mexico City sounds like it was definitely fun for NYE! I would rather see police there with or without terrorism attacks just to keep the peace because you just never know! We were in Salzburg this year and even they had police with guns blockading certain areas! Happy 2018! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  5. NYE in Mexico City looks like a really colourful and fun affair. Somehow I have never managed to travel anywhere happening for year-end. I usually end up with friends or at a quiet retreat by myself. Maybe I could do with a change of pace next year 🙂

  6. I love finding out about New Year’s eve around the world! This year (or last year?!) we spent it in Cusco, Peru. We had an equally terrifying experience with fireworks!

    We are off to Mexico in a couple of months, so I will definitely be checking out your other blogs 🙂

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