We found celebrating the Año Nuevo in Mexico City to be a bit different than our prior U.S.-based New Year’s Eve festivities. In the U.S., pressure always feels high among the 20/30-something crowd to have THE MOST AMAZING NIGHT OUT of your life. This usually involves spending 2x what you would normally spend on dinner at a restaurant whose food will be 1/2 as good as normal, and then spending the subsequent hours trying to purchase drinks from a bar packed with dozens of sweaty, overdressed strangers.
Most of the folks we knew in DF took the opposite approach: they spent New Year’s Eve at home with their families, where food & drink are plentiful, cheap, and readily-accessible! But this begs the question, if NYE is not the crazed event that it is in the US, what is there to do in Mexico City for the non-chilango crowd? Here are a few options to consider…
- You can still go out for an overly-expensive, fancy New Year’s Eve dinner!
Lucky for you, there are still plenty of folks who will be out celebrating. As per Ruth’s post, Jaso & Piazza Navona will both be open on Dec 31. Open Table may also serve as a useful starting point to determine which restaurants are serving dinner, as does this article on Chilango.com highlighting places that are doing fancy fixed-price options.
- Learn & take part in traditional Mexican New Year’s traditions!
Cristina has a great summary of some favorite traditions within Mexico. I found the “eating of the 12 grapes at midnight” the easiest to emulate. Make a wish for each grape you pop into your mouth!
But I also quite enjoyed the lucky underwear– go to any Mexican mercado during the month of December, and you’ll find reams of red & yelow undies for sale. Wearing red underwear increases your odds of finding the love of your life during the upcoming year, and yellow underwear is said to bring money.
A quick non-NYE-related sidenote: I think when we saw our first red/yellow underwear display in Morelia back in 2008 (our first holiday season in Mexico), we didn’t understand the significance… But you know what we DID understand the significance of? This hilarious display of other novelty underwear next-door to the NYE underwear:
- Go to one of the trendy bars in Mexico City that you can’t get into on a normal weekend!
When we had trendy-club-goers visiting us from the US in Dec 2009, we were worried about telling them that “sitting at home together” was the preferred activity for NYE. So, we decided to go out in Condesa to the strip of bars that is usually too much of a mob scene for us to bother going to on a normal Saturday night.
We started out with a beverage at the King’s Pub, and then spent most of the evening at Pata Negra followed by Zydeco. We were a little too early for much excitement @ King’s Pub, but I did score some sweet glasses there:
The best part about being at Pata Negra for the New Year’s Eve midnight countdown was: NYE is such a non-event that the 4 of us personally started the countdown in English based on the time shown on John’s watch. But they did come through with glasses of grapes shown above! In general, the bars along Tamaulipas (normally quite busy) were pleasantly full but not heaving, which was perfect for us.
What are you folks doing for New Year’s Eve this year?? Will you be incorporating any Mexican traditions in your celebrations?
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating content as a Contributor for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared in my blog are completely my own.