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World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > Mexico > Mexico City

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Local time Mexico City

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Shopping in Mexico City

Mexico City has everything from upmarket department stores and trendy boutiques to malls, markets and street hawkers. Fixed prices prevail in the upmarket shops and department stores, but it is commonplace to haggle in the markets.

Key areas

Favourite Mexico City shopping areas include the Centro Histórico, La Zona Rosa and in recent years Polanco.

Markets

There are a number of markets selling Mexican artesanías (handicrafts) in Mexico City. The Bazar Sábado (Saturday Bazaar), Plaza San Jacinto 11, in San Angel, is a showcase for some of Mexico's finest handicrafts, although prices are high. The National Fund for the Development of Arts and Crafts (Fonart), with outlets at Avenida Patriotismo 691, Avenida Paseo de la Reforma 116 and Avenida Juarez 89, is a government initiative to preserve folk art traditions among indigenous peoples. All of the work, from colourful hand-painted crockery to innovative blown glass, is made by regional artisans in poor communities.
Artisans display their crafts every Saturday 1000-1900. Mercado de Curiosidades Mexicanos San Juan (San Juan Market of Mexican Curiosities), at Ayuntamiento and Dolores in the Centro Histórico, is a handicraft venue open Monday to Saturday 0900-1900 and Sunday 0900-1600. Nearby, the Mercado la Ciudadela, on the corner of Balderas and Dondé, is a covered market with a wide variety of artesanía from all over Mexico. Prices are fair but expect to bargain; open daily 1030-1830.

Shopping centres

The largest department stores in Mexico City are Sanborns, Liverpool and Palacio de Hierro. The original stores are in the Centro Histórico but all have branches in suburban shopping malls. Particularly interesting is the Casa de Azulejos (House of Tiles), between Avenida Cinco de Mayo and Avenida Madero, a beautiful building, dating from 1596 and covered in handmade blue and white tiles. On the inside, it sports a mural by Orozco and a Sanborns department store and restaurant.
Centro Santa Fe, Vasco de Quiroga 3800, in the western part of the city, is the largest shopping centre in Latin America and boasts nearly 300 shops, with department stores, boutiques, restaurants, play areas for children and 10 cinemas, although there is no metro nearby. On the southern edge of the city, the upscale Perisur shopping mall on Periférico Sur boasts lots of family attractions and is famous for its elaborate Christmas displays of life-sized polar bears, nativity scenes and light shows.

Opening hours

Shop opening hours are generally 0900/1000-2000/2100. The larger department stores remain open late into the evening. Smaller stores often close between 1400 and 1600, then reopen until 2000.

Tax information

Mexico City adds VAT (Value Added Tax) at 15%, which cannot be claimed back by visitors.

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Featured Hotels

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Hotel Escandón

Hotel Escandón offers quite remarkable value for money. It is situated in the Escandón neighbourhood, just 10 minutes away on foot from the hip Roma-Condesa regions of the city. But if you want to get there faster the free bicycle hire is bound to be an attractive feature; as are their spacious rooms, on-site fitness centre and room service. There is a restaurant in the hotel serving authentic Mexican food and plenty of restaurants and cafes on the same block as the hotel.

Camino Real Polanco México

Stylish, modernistic with bold yellow and pink walls, the Camino Real was designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. Luxurious and original, this Mexico City hotel is renowned for a huge mural in the entrance lobby by artist Rufino Tamayo. Spacious guest rooms offer views over a delightful garden and large pool with terrace. Convention facilities include a business centre and meeting rooms, shops and a gym.

Hotel Majestic

Boasting an enviable location overlooking the fine historic monuments of the Zócalo the 85-room Hotel Majestic has five large suites. A mirrored lobby is adorned with fountains and Mexican tiles. Choose a room overlooking the square for bird's eye views of the daily ceremonial raising of the flag at 0600. Simple décor centres on comfort with a TV mini-bar coffee-making facilities and rustic wood furniture. Popular terrace restaurant Terraza overlooks the Zócalo and serves basic Mexican and international food at reasonable prices.

Gran Hotel Ciudad de México

A shrine to art nouveau styling, this is one of the most elegant and original hotels in Mexico City. The lobby has a cathedral-like quality, with a stunning coloured-glass window canopy overhead, ornate wrought iron balconies and lifts at either end. Located conveniently on the Zócalo in the Centro Histórico and a 15-minute drive from the airport, this Mexico City hotel also has convention facilities, making it popular with the business community and upmarket travellers. The 124 rooms all have art nouveau touches and TVs. There is a restaurant in the lobby and a terrace café over the square.

Hotel Casa Gonzalez

Finding a better choice in terms of a central location, low price and excellent quality all at once is likely to be tough. Yet somehow Casa Gonzalez combines a small, personal guesthouse feel with close proximity to Paseo de la Reforma making it excellent value for money. The property has its own little garden and each room has a private bathroom.

Hotel Gillow

Located in the heart of the Centro Histórico, this elegant mid-range hotel in Mexico City is perfectly placed just a stone's throw from the Zócalo and its fine architecture and museums. An attractive art deco-style facade opens up onto a cheerful, rose-coloured marble lobby hung with leafy plants. Rooms boast a simple pastel colour scheme together with TV and private bathroom with views overlooking the street or a quiet inner courtyard. A reasonably priced restaurant Capilla and bar offers a decent range of international beers and liquors together with Mexican dishes with a global twist.