You can't fully experience Mexico without attending at least one game at the iconic Estadio Azteca, which was first opened in 1966, and is currently the home field for the Mexican national fútbol team, and both Club América and Cruz Azul; two CDMX fútbol teams in Liga MX. Thanks to the generosity of my brother and sister-in-law, we recently caught an exciting match between Club América and the Tigres from Monterrey. However, before you make the trip, here are a few things you should know.
If you live, or are staying in a more central part of CDMX, getting to Estadio Azteca is a bit like traveling from the Bronx to the Lower East Side in NYC; basically no matter how you choose to get there leave plenty of time. Taking public transportation is probably the easiest, but it will take you between 1-2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or Uber, but remember that the traffic in Mexico City is terrible.
If you plan on taking public transit, like we did, you will need to:
1. Make your way to Linea 2 (blue) on the metro, and ride it all the way to it's southern most stop, Tasqueña.
2. When you arrive at Tasqueńa, follow the crowds to the connecting Tren Ligero, which will take you the rest of the way.
3. You will need a separate PAPER ticket for the tren, which only costs 3 pesos.
4. Patiently wait in the line/crowd to board the tren, and be prepared to feel like a sardine for the 8 stop ride.
Once you exit at the Estadio Azteca stop, you are exactly where you need to be. While there are many people taking metro/tren to the stadium, we found that it was still a relatively calm and well-organized option.
This was one of the more chaotic pieces of the experience. You can buy tickets online ahead of time through Ticketmaster, but as I've explained in this post, unless you have a specific credit card this is not an option. You can also buy tickets ahead of time through one of the Ticketmaster stores, but I have yet to figure out where those are. So most people are left buying tickets same day, which is almost always possible since Estadio Azteca holds over 85,000 people.
We arrived about 45 minutes prior to the start of the game, and the line for the ticket office was easily 1 hour long, so we actually ended up scalping tickets from one of the many people selling. We were up-charged 100 pesos for both tickets, which I considered a reasonable price in order to avoid waiting in line. No matter how you buy tickets, you should know that:
1. Different sections of the stadium are physically separated from one another with large fencing. We assume this is to prevent crowds from getting too rowdy, but it also means many seats have an obstructed view. Make sure to ask about this!
2. If your seat happens to have one of these obstructed views, don't worry, you can easily move around within your section to an open seat. No one is really checking.
If you arrive to the game already hungry there are easily 40-50 food stands set up outside the stadium with traditional Mexican street food, as well as stalls selling team gear. The tailgating culture is serious here, so feel free to arrive even earlier to experience it in full. Once you enter the stadium, there are also plenty of snack options, most of which are bought at your seat from food vendors walking around. Food options you can expect to find inside are:
Other Things to Know
We had an amazing time at the game, which was definitely helped by the fact that Club América won 3-0, but we picked up on a few other difference between this game, and similar sporting events in the US.
1. Be prepared to be patted down by police 2-4 times before getting to your seat. I did not have a problem bringing in my small purse, but I wouldn't recommend trying to bring in anything larger.
2. The seats are super dirty, so just don't wear anything you really care about.
3. Unlike some of the rowdy crowd stories we had been told, we both found the fans to be well behaved within the context of being very passionate about the game. We never felt unsafe.
4. Smoking is still allowed inside the stadium. I really could not believe this, and in fact we moved seats at half-time because we were sitting behind a few guys chain smoking.
5. Getting home wasn't as terrible as I expected. Enough people don't get back on the tren right away that we only had to wait a few minutes to get on one ourselves, and our tren went straight to the metro station without making additional stops.
Walking enthusiast, and kitchen experimenter currently living out my dream in Mexico City, Mexico.
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