Mexico City – There’s No Place Like Home

Moving to Mexico City, or even visiting Mexico City, can be quite intimidating as one of the largest foreign lands in the world, but it shouldn’t be. There are more familiarities from home than you think, making you feel like you never left Kansas.

My new home in Mexico's Metropolis. Photo via www.imagenesaereademexico.com

One of the world’s largest cities, Mexico City, is not as intimidating and foreign as you may think. Recently, I’ve been coming across some articles with titles such as ”Misconceptions about Mexico City” and as I read through them, I won’t lie, I too once had some of the same ideas. Dirty, dangerous, poor and crowded is what often came to mind when I told my family I was moving to Mexico’s capital, Distrito Federal (D.F.). Before moving to D.F. I was a little apprehensive as to how I would assimilate because even though I visited many times, I still had my own misconceptions. For vacations, I always would wander the “touristy” areas; Coyoacan, Xochimilco, Basilica de Guadalupe, the  Zócalo, etc. and I thought my living environment would have that same authentic Mexican vibe. As I am settling in though, I am realizing there are far more familiarities from home in the USA than I could have EVER imagined!

Walmart, Home Depot, GNC Vitamins, Best Buy & Papa John's Pizza!

Prior to living in D.F., I was living in the coastal city of Puerto Vallarta. They had the basic “familiarities” that most of the other populated Mexican cities have: Home Depot, Walmart, Burger King, McDonalds, Sam’s Club, and Costco ….this gave me the impression that D.F. would be the same. However, as each day passes and I learn new routes around the metropolis, I am discovering it goes far beyond those recognizable stores and that this city is truly “the best of both worlds” for me.  It has the Mexican culture where I want it, and has the comfort of home when I need it.

Take food for example, I love tacos al pastor and Oaxaca cheese, but sometimes I crave a nice ‘American’ meal. There are not too many options dispersed throughout Mexico, you’ve got your BK, Pizza Hut, and KFC but nothing compared to the familiarities you can find here in the city center of D.F.  So far I have discovered that there is IHOP, Hooters, The Melting Pot,  Wendys, Chili’s, Applebee’s, Bennigan’s, TGI Friday, California Pizza Kitchen, P.F Chang’s, Krispy Kreme, Sbarros, Papa John.. and those are just some of my favs! Sometimes I forget I am even in Mexico. Knowing I can satisfy my nostalgic cravings or that I’ll be able to find exactly what I’m looking for and need at stores like The Body Shop, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Office Max, or Office Depot is comforting. As if building a teddy last week at Build-A-Bear wasn’t comforting enough!

Now on the days I’m feeling ‘off’ , I enjoy nothing other than some retail therapy and Mexico City shopping always has the cure. Besides the famous Mexican markets like Tepito and La Merced, there are also amazing world-class malls. I live a short 5 minutes away from one of the largest malls in Latin America, Centro Comerical Santa Fe.. This 3 level, 300+ store mall can keep you busy all day and if that’s not enough there are plenty others to visit in any direction, like Perisur or MagnoCentro for a luxurious shopping adventure. So far the most impressive I have seen is Antara in Polanco, it’s like being straight at home in the USA: Forever 21, Guess, Sephora, Aldo, Coach, Bebe, Steve Madden, Payless Shoes, and the list goes on. Before moving to Mexico, I threw away all my “loyalty shopping cards” thinking I would never have the opportunity to use them again but that was clearly a mistake!

It’s funny how walking into these places, with the exact smell, layout, and products can give you a sense of belonging and cure homesickness when you are feeling a bit lost in a new environment. Moving away from the tourist beach in Puerto Vallarta, I was scared that my family (who loves their comfort zone) would never want to visit me. Now, realizing it’s more similar to home then they could  imagine, I think I can persuade them to take the trip down. Showing them not only the tourist landmarks that give Mexico City it’s cultural heart and character but also it’s modern, cosmopolitan flavor, I bet I can get them to fall in love with Mexico the same way I did.  I can’t wait until I change their misconceptions about Mexico City.

Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Contributor for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own.

 

**Updates**

7/31   The first Express Fashions, Forever 21 and Olive Garden are opening in Paseo Interlomas. Buca de Beppo, Auntie Anne’s Preztels, Dairy Queen, Crate & Barrel are opening in Santa Fe.
10/31 Forever 21 opened in Paseo Interlomas (everything is marked up 5$ from US prices) along with the first Gap store. The first H&M Mexico also opened in Santa Fe.

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Comments

  1. Seba1ji says:

    very fun this is some great stuff! im thinking about moving to mexico but my family isn’t too excited about “me moving to a 3rd world country” so i will show them this!

  2. Ryane9876 says:

    very fun this is some great stuff! im thinking about moving to mexico but my family isn’t too excited about “me moving to a 3rd world country” so i will show them this!

  3. Isaac says:

    Here more:

    Saks Fifth Avenue
    Costco
    Walmart
    Sam’s Club
    Wendy’s
    McDonald’s
    Carl’s Jr
    Burger King
    Best Buy
    California Pizza Kitchen
    Bed Bath and Beyond (Home & More)
    Cold Stone
    Starbucks
    Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
    PF Chang’s
    1 Pier Import
    Home Depot
    KFC
    Pizza Hut
    Papa John’s
    Domino’s Pizza
    Dairy Queen
    Yogurtland
    Krispy Creme
    Subway
    Sbarro
    Tony Roma’s
    Ihop
    Applebee’s
    Ruby Tuesday
    Haagen-Dazs
    Saks Fifth Avenue
    Cinemark
    Johnny Rockets
    Dunkin’ Donuts
    Baskin-Robins
    Dave & Buster’s
    Rainforest Cafe
    GNC
    RadioShack
    Chilis
    kiehl’s
    aldo
    Office depot
    Office max
    TGI Friday’s
    The Melting Pot
    Bennigan’s

    • Awesome Thanks! The only one’s I havent seen are Pier One & Cold Stone.. where are they? Oh, and Dave and Busters.. where is a D&B!?

      Also add Panda Express & Brooks Brothers to the list!

      • Isaac says:

        Cold Stone (the one i’ve seen)
        Masaryk Ave between Schiller St and Petrarca St (among California Pizza Kitchen, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Teavana)

        Pier 1 Imports
        Inside Plaza Carso in Polanco district

        Dave & Busters
        Homero St, between Petrarca St and Taine St (i just googled it, and i don’t know if it’s still in operation)

        Where’s a Panda Express? I love that restaurant.

  4. Isaac says:

    Updated list:

    Aldo
    Applebee’s
    Banana Republic (inside Liverpool dpt stores)
    Baskin-Robins
    Bed Bath and Beyond (Home & More)
    Ben & Jerry’s
    Bennigan’s
    Best Buy
    Brooks Brothers
    Build-A-Bear Workshop
    Burger King
    California Pizza Kitchen
    Calvin Klein
    Carl’s Jr
    Chili’s
    Cinemark
    Coach
    Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
    Cold Stone
    Costco
    Crabtree & Evelyn
    Dairy Queen
    Domino’s Pizza
    Dunkin’ Donuts
    Gap (inside Liverpool dpt stores)
    GNC
    Haagen-Dazs
    Home Depot
    Hooters
    Ihop
    Johnny Rockets
    KFC
    Kiehl’s
    Krispy Creme
    McDonald’s
    Michael Kors
    Nautica (inside Liverpool dpt stores)
    Office Depot
    Office Max
    Panda Express
    Papa John’s
    PF Chang’s
    Pizza Hut
    RadioShack
    Rainforest Cafe
    Ralph Lauren
    Ruby Tuesday
    Saks Fifth Avenue
    Sam’s Club
    Sbarro
    Sears
    Starbucks
    Subway
    Teavana
    TGI Friday’s
    The Melting Pot
    Tony Roma’s
    Walmart Stores
    Wendy’s
    Yogurtland
    + the ones I don’t remember…

    Unsuccessful businesses in Mexico:
    Dave & Buster’s
    Kmart

  5. ecuadordean says:

    Could you ‘disclose’ how much one would need to earn a month to live in the same fashion as you do in the D.F. and enjoy all these things?

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