Mexico City: Day 2 – Torre Latinoamericana, Museo Nacional de Anthropologia, and Lucha Libre

On our second day in Mexico City, we decided to try some activities that might have better appeal to our teenage boys. The previous day was mostly just walking through the historic center, which can be great for adults, but a little boring for teens. To make up for it we took them to the top of the Torre Latinoamericana building to get some great views of the city; visited the Museo Nacional de Anthropologia, arguably the best museum in the city; got lunch in the Bosque de Chapultepec park; took a walk through the Polanco neighborhood; then took them to a Lucha Libre wrestling performance. They agreed that this was a much better day!

Torre Latinoamericana

Our family always enjoys going to the highest observation decks in a city, and for Mexico City, that would be the Torre Latinoamericana building. We had thought about having dinner in this building the night before, but it was a little cloudy and the restaurant reviews were mediocre. Instead, we decided to go up first thing in the morning when lines were short and the deck uncrowded. Great choice!

Other observation decks around the world that we have enjoyed include the Empire State Building in New York City, the TV Tower in Berlin, the Tokyo Tower in Japan, and the Space Needle in Seattle.

Museo Nacional de Anthropologia

From here, we caught an Uber to the Museo Nacional de Anthropologia. We ended up largely taking Uber for transit, since the costs for that are fairly modest there – in some cases, a 45 minute taxi ride across town might be $10, and save significant time vs. taking bus connections.

The Museo Nacional de Anthropologia is one of the best museums that I have ever visited! If you ever have the opportunity to travel to Mexico City, don’t skip this amazing museum.

We visited on a Sunday, which is free to Mexican citizens on this day of the week, but even with the extra people, we did not find it to be too crowded.

While there is one section dedicated to general anthropology from around the world, most of the museum is focused on various people groups from Mexico.

There are also several delightful outdoor areas.

Both the artifacts and the descriptions are fascinating! Most of the signs were just in Spanish, but they did translate enough to the most important signs also into English, for an English speaker be able to follow things. We noticed that some unflattering descriptions (e.g. details of how the cultures did human sacrifices) were strategically left Spanish-only.

Bosque de Chapultepec

The museum is located on the edge of the Bosque de Chapultepec park, so that was a natural next stop. The path is lined with market stalls, so of course the boys decided they wanted some cotton candy.

As we continue towards the lake, we saw some paddle boats for rent.

We continued to the Chapultepec Castle – which houses the Natural History Museum – and considered going in, but the line was long and the boys were a little museum-ed out, so we skipped. We considered coming back later in the week for this, but ran out of time.

Starting to feel a little hungry, we decided to go to one of the outdoor restaurants by the lake. Having seen signs for tortas all over the city, I decided to order a beef, ham, and cheese torta. As it turns out, torta is the word for Mexican sandwich. Delicious! This time John was the odd man out. He had ordered a beef burrito, but the filling did not have beef in it. He tried to enjoy it, but really did not like whatever was inside. Sometimes ordering food works well, and other times miscommunications abound. When traveling with kids, sometimes you need to make a backup plan when food is involved.

The boat rentals were now open, but the lines were really long, so again, we decided to skip this activity.

Polanco Neighborhood

From here, we decided to go wander the adjacent upscale Polanco Neighborhood. This neighborhood is quite wealthy and while there was a really nice tree-lined boulevard and the restaurants looked quite nice, we found the neighborhood to be a little bland and didn’t stay long. Definitely a nice place to live or seek out expensive food, but it didn’t have a particularly Mexican feel.

Well, other than the churreria! Who knew that a churreria was a thing? Of course we had to stop for coffee and fresh churros! Yum!

Lucha Libre

We were starting to feel tired, so went back to the hotel to rest a bit before going to a Lucha Libre wrestling performance. While there, Jeremy double checked our reservations and realized that they were not at the Arena Coliseo, but were instead at the Arena Mexico, which was a little further from our hotel and in the opposite direction. Oops! At least we realized our mistake in time.

Anyone who knows Jeremy and me, probably know that WWE style wrestling is not really our thing. Lucha Libre is the Mexican version of this. After the kids were not super happy with parental activity choices the day before, we gave them the choice of going to a ballet at the Palacio de Bellas Artes Mexico or to see what all the Lucha Libre fuss was. One kid was ambivalent and the other was super excited about Lucha Libre, so off we went!

On arrival, there was no way for us to figure out our seat assignments, so we had to ask one of the attendants and pay a “tip.” At least the frequency of tipping requirements in Mexico are nowhere close to the tipping requirements in either Egypt or India!

Going into the show, we knew that the fighting/wrestling was mostly pretend, but the first act really highlighted this element. The show started with 4 women in cool costumes, but unless someone made a mistake, the kicks, punches, and hair pulling were clearly being softened. The slaps were probably slightly real, but were designed to make more noise than pain.

When the men came out, again with cool costumes and masks, there were more body slamming, and there was clearly an accident where someone was supposed to land on top of another players back, but instead got his neck.

The really horrifying parts were when a little kid joined the match and one of the wrestlers tossed him onto another wrester. Then in the next act a midget came out.

Jeremy and I made it though three sets of fights before asking the boys if they had seen enough. James was definitely done, and John decided that he had seen enough of pattern to realize that the rest of the show was going to start feeling very repetitive, although if everyone else was having more fun he probably would have wanted to stay. Perhaps a few beers were really necessary to get into it.

Our conclusion is that an hour is enough to get an idea of what Lucha Libre is. People who enjoy WWE wrestling will have a great time, most people will probably find it at least mildly amusing, and people who strongly dislike WWE are likely to strongly dislike Lucha Libre. For us, checkbox achieved, crossed out, and no need to go again!

Our Evening

To get back to our hotel, we thought about taking the subway, but the only ticket line had a sign saying that you could not buy tickets, only refill your card. It was crowded and we didn’t feel like figuring it out, so we decided to just walk the back towards our hotel.

Along the way, we decided to stop at a french bakery and get some treats. Then we came to the park with a small market next to it that we had seen the previous day. James remembered that this was where he had seen his “blue tortillas” and we decided to stop and get him one. He got to choose one filling, then the woman topped it with a bunch of tasty taco garnishes. He was delighted. John eventually decided to try a bite of this strange looking taco and decided he loved it and got one too. We picked up a couple of other small things and had a delightful dinner!

We walked back by the Torre Latinoamericana building and back through the historic center to our hotel.

What a great day!

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