Mexico City is one of the largest population centers in the world. With its 20 million inhabitants, Mexico City is challenging, intense and dynamic place. Once the flourishing city, Tenochtitlan, of the Aztecs, and nowadays the political, financial and cultural heart of the country, Mexico City offers an adventure of discovery, history, grandeur, majesty, refinement and fun.

Mexico City is an extremely large city and with nearly 4 million cars circulating, covering distances within the city can be a time consuming task. In order to offer a manageable and comfortable experience for the assistants of Gray Area Gris, the symposium and most of the associated exhibitions and events will take place within the perimeter of Mexico City Historic Center.

Distances in Mexico are large and traffic in the city is heavy, especially in rush hours. An average travelling time by car is between 20 minutes and 1 hr. Taxis are very affordable and we recommend to take taxis from taxi stations or to have one called by the hotel. Mexico City has an extremely efficient metro system that reaches most areas of the city. It is modern, safe and reliable and a good option to move around the city.

There are three areas where activities related to Gray Area will take place and where we can recommend attendants to stay. In Mexico City you have a great choice of hotels, to suit all preferences and budgets. We present in here a small selection of hotels that we know and, therefore we can recommend to the participants at the Gray Area Symposium.


The Mexico City airport offers direct flights to more than 100 destinations worldwide. It provides non-stop services from Mexico City to most major cities in North America, Central America and Caribbean, South America, Europe and Asia. The airport is served by the Terminal Aérea Metro station, located just outside the national terminal. A Taxi to the Historic Center, Polanco and Condesa Roma Areas cost about $20 USD and will take a 20-60 minutes (depending on the traffic) ride.

Taxis. Most taxis in Mexico are green colored beetles. You can stop them in every street corner. But we recommend you to take taxis from taxi stops (available all through the city) of asking your hotel, restaurant of museum to call a taxi for you. Taxis in Mexico are very cheap: the first two kilometers should cost less that $1 USD and the subsequent kilometers are $.40 USD cents.

Click here to find more information about Mexico City airport and taxis.

Metro. With 163 stations, Mexico City’s metro is the second largest in the Americas. It is a cheap, efficient and safe option to travel to most areas of Mexico City. One Metro ticket cost less that $.50 USD cents and is good for as long as you stay inside the metro. You can travel all over the city with just one metro ticket. The Gray Area Symposium is right off the ZOCALO Metro Station (Line 2 BLUE).

Click here to download and print a map of Mexico City’s metro system.

Currency Mexican Peso is the Mexican currency. € 1 Euro is approximately $19 Mexican Pesos. $1 USD is approximately $ 13 Mexican Pesos. You can exchange for good rates at the airport or in banks. Cash machines that take most international cards are available through the city. May small restaurants and business still take only cash, so it is advisable to keep some cash at all times. Most of large restaurants and shops accept international credit cards.

Safety. Mexico City, like most large and crowded metropolis can seem intimidating. Although crime rates in Mexico City are of some concerns, it is still a safe city for tourists. Obvious safety measures are advice: Do not carry large amounts of cash or several credit or bank cards. Try to keep expensive items like cameras or jewellery concealed. Avoid walking at night in deserted areas. Most Mexicans and tourists do fine with sticking to this basic measures.

New influenza virus H1N1. Despite the alarming news and the wrongly used term of Mexican Flu, the H1N1 virus did not originate in Mexico and its incidence or virulence is not worse than in any other part of the world. Following the basic hygienic measures recommended for other countries in the world (washing your hands often, covering your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing) will work as well in Mexico as anywhere else.

Eating. Mexico is an extremely rich country when it comes to food. Every Mexican state has countless regional dishes. Mexico City has an overwhelming offer of restaurants and eateries suited for all tastes and all pockets. Food in restaurants is most of the times carefully and hygienically prepared. However we recommend you not to eat from street vendors or street stalls, both very common in Mexico. Tap water is not drinkable and we recommend you to always drink bottled water. We will provide you with a restaurant guide in your symposium package.

Click here to find a good selection of restaurants in Mexico City.

Additional information. You will be very busy at the symposium, but we hope that you will take a few extra days to visit Mexico City. The cultural offering is extensive and, be assured that one trip will not be enough. Click here to visit a good, comprehensive website with good advice and information of what to do in Mexico City. Some of you may wish to travel a bit around the country. There are many interesting places to visit at a short distance (in Mexico terms) from Mexico City: the states of Morelos, Guanajuato and Michoacan and Oaxaca are all accessible by car bus in 4 or 5 hours. You can also take a plane to the touristic Mayan regions in Yucatan and Quintana Roo. An alternative is the less touristic and less expensive state of Veracruz, in the Gulf Coast of Mexico. The Traveler’s Guide to Mexico is an excellent online resource that will help you to plan your trip. We hope that this small Mexico City guide has been helpful and we wish you a happy and pleasant trip to Mexico City!


Historic Center Area

A lively, boisterous and contradictory place, guaranteed to stir the senses: the discreet tones of city center architecture are based on an interplay between pink sandstone and red tezontle rock; its rhythm determined by an age-old penchant for commerce, framed beneath wrought-iron balconies; its intensity pulsating to the beat of religious festivities, cultural events and social struggles. Although the constant flow of vehicles which crisscross this downtown area today is slowly but surely leading to its extinction, visitors can still tour the streets in fixed-route streetcars or bicycle taxis, although it is best to simply tour this area on foot. Mexico City Historic Center has been recently renovated, offering pleasant pedestrian-only streets with a great offer of restaurants, bars, cafes and art centers.

The symposium will be held at the heart of Mexico City Historic Center. The hotels we recommend there are 5 to 10 walk from the symposium.

Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de Mexico

Erected in the pre-revolutionary era to house a shopping mall for wealthy Mexicans, the Gran Hotel flaunts the French art nouveau style of the period and is located directly in front of the Zocalo or Mexico City’s main square. Crowned high overhead by an amazing stained-glass canopy crafted by Tiffany in 1908, the vast atrium is a fin-de-siècle fantasy of curved balconies, original wrought-iron elevators and chirping birds in zoo-sized cages. Rooms do not disappoint in comparison to the public areas. Fringed curtains, plush armchairs and canopied king-size beds suggest a belle époque opulence. An elegant top-floor restaurant serves Mexican haute cuisine while the broad rooftop terrace makes an unbeatable setting for brunch (served weekends). Take advantage of its early booking rates!

NH Centro Historico

The NH Centro Histórico is located in the heart of the city of Mexico City historic downtown, only a few steps away from the Zocalo or main square. An extremely well appointed business hotel, with comfortable rooms, modern amenities and impeccable bathrooms. Its restaurant has a good selection of local Mexican cuisine and excellent breakfast options.

Hotel Gillow

Here's outstanding value a few blocks of the Zócalo. The dignified-looking, seven-story Gillow is a modern hotel with six stories of rooms grouped around a long, glass-canopied, rectangular courtyard with a colonial fountain. The well-kept, carpeted rooms have comfortable beds, tub/shower combinations, and excellent lighting. Some units are small, with one double bed and enough room for one person's luggage. Be sure to book an exterior room; they have small terraces with wrought-iron furniture. Rooms are neither large nor luxurious but in excellent shape and immaculately clean. It is located in a busy and noisy area, but still a good value for money.

Hostal Virreyes

A prestige hotel in the past, the Virreyes was revived as the flagship residence for the 'cultural zone' as part of the ambitious makeover of the Historic Center, and has quite naturally morphed into a hostel/artist residence. Dorms and private rooms are spacious, bathrooms are large and well appointed, facilities are clean and user-friendly and the lobby lounge hosts hip events. Located on the southwest edge of the Centro Histórico, near one of the city's busiest intersections, the classic tezontle stone structure is at the core of the working megalopolis. It is an excellent value for money hotel.

Polanco Area

Polanco is located just in front of Chapultepec Forest and it is one of the wealthiest and most dynamic areas in the city. This trendy and sophisticated area commands some of the highest real estate prices, and offers a wide range of upscale boutiques, restaurants and numerous art galleries. Polanco is known for its cultural diversity: it is home to one of the largest Jewish and Lebanese communities in Mexico and there are several synagogues in the area. Polanco is a busy area although is also counts with quiet tree lined streets and attractive parks.

Some of the galleries that host Gray Area exhibitions are located in the Polanco Area. It takes about 20-30 minutes by taxi or metro to reach the Historic Center from Polanco Area.

Hotel Habita

The ultra-modern, small luxury Habita hotel belongs to a new generation of establishments that celebrates contemporary design. Located in Avenida Masarik, one of most expensive shopping streets of Mexico City. Surrounded by trendy restaurants and cafes. Hotel Habita is the very face of urban boutique cool, wrapped in an outer layer of frosted glass, extending the old apartment block’s volume out into space, making corridors of the old balconies, keeping the cool air in and the street noise out. The minimal and elegant interiors are quiet and soothing. AREA, the rooftop bar, is one of Mexico City’s hottest nightspots and a single-lane lap pool and jacuzzi occupy the lower terrace. A very desirable place to stay.

Hotel Camino Real

The Camino Real Hotel is an icon of Mexico Ciy’s hospitality. Built as a hotel-museum by Architect Ricardo Legorreta, the Camino Real Polanco México Hotel opened to the public in 1968, combining modern architectural profiles with obvious pre-Hispanic pyramid reminiscences. The design is complemented by more than 400 works of art by Mexican masters and other highly regarded contemporary artists - a magnificent Rufino Tamayo mural, Man Facing Eternity, greets visitors as they enter the front door. Strategically located in the exclusive financial and commercial zone of Polanco and very close to the Bosque de Chapultepec, the hotel is large and spacious, with beautiful gardens, fountains, pools and patios. The rooms are large, comfortable, beautifully decorated and full of modern amenities. It has several excellent restaurants. Look at Expedia for very good rates!

Condesa Roma Area

The Condesa and Roma district of Mexico City is a residential and restaurant area on both sides of Insurgentes avenue (Condesa on the west side, Roma on the east side) and close to the Historic Center. The area was at one time an extremely fashionable part of Mexico City, particularly during the Golden Age of Mexican cinema in the 1940s and 1950s when it was home to many film stars. With its remarkable examples of Art Deco architecture, Condesa and Roma has tree lined avenues, beautiful parks and green areas. In the last few years this area has experienced a strong rebirth, and has turned into one of the popular sites in Mexico City; with its numerous restaurants, bars, galleries, unique shops and that give the place a bohemian aura, much like New York’s Soho or Paris’ Latin Quarter. This area is quieter that the bustling Historic Center. Some of the galleries that host Gray Area exhibitions are located in the Condesa and Roma Area. It takes about 20-30 minutes by taxi or metro to reach the Historic Center from Condesa and Roma Area.

Hotel Condesa DF

Located in a safe, green, central residential area replete with eateries, galleries, shops and cafes. Artsy, cool, stylish and fun, Condesa DF truly exemplifies its neighborhood, the fashionable and trendy, yet respectful and traditional Condesa. Although this hotel is fun and funky, the bar can become noisy at nights.

Hotel La Casona

Just a few blocks from one of Mexico City´s most outstanding avenues, Paseo de la Reforma, lies La Casona, a stately home with pink facades and period balconies that evoke the architectural urban splendor of the beginning of the 20th century. This grand building has been completely restored and is listed as an artistic monument by the National Institute of Fine Arts. Beautiful can cozy rooms, a nice breakfast and a charming location. The hotel is quiet and relaxed. In a quiet area but still close enough to the symposium’s location. An excellent value for money

Condesa Haus

A very private 5 room house with a relaxing and comfortable ambiance. A traditional Condesa1935 house that has been meticulously restored to its former beauty, combining original tiles, wood floors, ironwork and antiques with modern design furniture and amenities. This amazing B&B is located in a beautiful, green and quiet street and it has a superb breakfast and friendly hosts. Highly recommended.

Hostel 333

Modern, spacious and comfortable hostel with bunk beds and great roof terrace. Located in a quiet and tree lined street close to the Metro station with lots of bars and restaurants’ at walking distance. The rooms are cleaned daily and the atmosphere is quiet and relaxed. A safe, clean, affordable and pleasant option.