Mexico City's Top Cultural Event

Festival is Latin America's most vibrant arts celebration

By: Lisa Jennings

The 20th annual Festival of Mexico in the Historic Center (“Festival de Mexico en El Centro Historico”) will bring artists and performers from around the world to Mexico City March 13-28 for what is often described as Latin America’s most vibrant celebrations of art and culture.

Created in 1985 as a non-profit organization, the Festival of Mexico this year will include more than 100 events in the historic venues throughout the city center. Performances will include opera, chamber and symphonic music, jazz, folk and pop concerts, theater, dance and gourmet dining.

More than 1 million are expected to attend festival performances, which this year will include such headliners as jazz great Wynton Marsalis, the Lincoln Center Jazz, the St. Petersburg String Quartet and John Zorn. Experts come to give conferences or lectures, authors and poets share their work and classes are available to encourage local talent.

The festival also includes children’s activities, museum tours, arts-and-craft activities and games. And the event showcases the magnificent architecture of the historic center, with its forgotten courtyards, churches, plazas and temples serving as a backdrop for the festivities.

Proceeds from the festival will go to the rescue and restoration of the city’s historic center, which was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1987, as well as supporting a variety of children’s causes, such as UNICEF, and an organization to aid Mexico City’s homeless and underprivileged children.

The festival is sponsored in part by private donors, the government of Mexico City, and the National Council of Arts and Culture.

The five-star Gran Melia Mexico Reforma (, on Mexico City’s Paseo de la Reforma, was chosen to house visiting artists and performers. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, the 489-room Gran Melia offers luxury accommodations near the historic center, as well as convention and spa services.