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