Mexico City, the Federal District, is the capital and major hub of government, culture and business in Mexico. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, as it used to be inhabited as Tenochtitlan by the mighty Aztec Empire. Today, it is a major global city within Latin America. It is located in the Valley of Mexico, in the high plateaus of central Mexico. About one-fifth of the entire Mexican population works, lives and plays here. Mexico City is referred to as “Mexico” by people living there. It is one of the most populated areas in the world, as over 19 million people live within 750 square kilometers (about 8 million people live in Mexico City proper). Mexico City exists over 2,250 meters (7,400 feet) above sea level, by two big volcanoes. All roads in Mexico lead to Mexico City, so it is easy to get in and out of here by car or bus.
Guadalajara is Mexico’s second largest city, which is 250 miles northwest of the capital. It is located in central Mexico, and is 1,600 meters (5,200 feet) above sea level. It has a population of 5 million. It is often considered the most Mexican of Mexico’s cities, because of all of the traditional culture. Many traditional Mexican customs, concepts and things originated in Guadalajara. One Mexican custom that started in Guadalajara is Mariachi music, where people go around with stringed instruments in black velvet clothes and large hats, and sing traditional Mexican folk songs. Tequila also began in Guadalajara, as well as the sombrero. It is a wonderful city to live in because it offers many cultural aspects and fewer stresses that a capital city would have. It is also way less polluted than Mexico City.
Monterrey is Mexico’s third largest city, and is located in the Sierra Madre mountain range in the northwest. Three million people live here, and it is a very modern and commercial city that hosts many of the major Mexican companies. Many factories are also centered here. It is considered fairly Americanized for a Mexican city. There are many business areas, but also some wonderful museums and churches. Within an hour’s radius outside of Monterrey, there are many beautiful mountains, caves and waterfalls, so it is a good place to live if you do business in the city and then go to nature on the weekends.