Discover Your Own Mexico City - United Hub
employee travel blog

Discover your own Mexico City

By The Hub team, June 23, 2017

Each week we profile one of our employee's adventures across the globe, featuring a new location. Follow along every week to learn more about their travel experiences.

By Portland, Maine Customer Service Representative Fiona Lawless

As one of the most populous cities in the world, Mexico City can be a daunting place to spend a little time. Personally, the most daunting thing for me is trying to narrow down the eclectic range of attractions Mexico City has to offer. Although well known for its obvious landmarks and tourist draws, I have decided to highlight the daily facets enjoyed by the locals and on offer to all.

I am lucky to have spent six weeks in Mexico City, spread over three separate trips with my boyfriend, Jerry. Having time on our side has enabled us to enjoy the tourist traps and these more hidden gems. Even if time is of the essence, I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and seek out even one adventure, something as simple as rising early and getting a pre-dawn cup of coffee.

The best time of day to experience the streets is just as the majority of its residents are waking up. One of our favorite things to do is to grab a coffee and ramble aimlessly around the streets of the Zocalo at this magical time. This is also the perfect time to take photographs; not only can you capture the sunrise over the grand, colonial architecture, you can also take those snaps with ease, as you'll have the footpaths pretty much all to yourself.

Pan de Muerto

While you're out there on your early morning foray, keep an eye out for any of the multitude of amazing local bakeries you are bound to pass. Two such recommendations are Pasteleria Ideal and La Vasconia. The challenge is self-control within these fortresses of indulgence and abandoned willpower.

Perhaps an early morning stroll is in order to bring you down off your sugar rush: Head out to Viveros de Coyoacan. Take the Metro to Viveros, where you can ramble through this shady oasis, which serves as the primary nursery for Mexico City's parks and gardens and is a favorite for local joggers, dog walkers, school kids and general walkers.

Do not be afraid of the Metro; it is your friend. For about 30 cents, you could ride the rails all day if you wanted, as long as you stay within the border of the Metro turnstiles. Beyond that, it is one of the cheapest public transport systems in the world, and planners even had the foresight to connect it to the airport, something many cities have not done. As you ride the Metro, take note of the murals, art installations, archaeological displays and all manner of transient entertainment to be had, both in the stations and on the train as you are whisked from stop to stop.

Frida Kahlo mural on a garage door.

No matter where you are, make sure you are aware of your surroundings at all times. You will find street art/urban art everywhere in the city. It is up to you to look up and around to be rewarded with vertical gardens, impromptu open-air galleries and urban creations.

Vertical garden in Mexico City

Saturday mornings in the city, visit the weekly pop-up markets that cater to all tastes. Located near the unique library, Bibliotecha Vasconcelos, with its surreal shelves that seem to float in mid-air, you will find Tianguis Cultural del Chopo. Here, punks, goths and all manner of those with social angst check out the latest shade of black. If tattoos, mohawks, music and piercings aren't your thing, head to the tree-lined Roma neighborhood. Here on Saturday and Sunday mornings you can peruse antiques, retro bric-a-brac and shabby chic.

Tianguis Cultural del Chopo

Feeling a tad peckish and perhaps in some need of re-hydration? In our humble opinion, Mexico City presented us with the best examples of botanas yet. Botanas are a free snack served to a patron of a bar. They can be as simple as a dish of peanuts or as hearty as soup, rice, chicken, fish or steak. Typically gaining access to the "stick to the ribs" fare involves buying a couple of beers, whereby your botanas are now your reward for imbibing.

If you need to quench your thirst and you would like a different but very traditional Mexican drink, try pulque. This predecessor of mezcal, tequila and cerveza is the original drink of the gods. If you are new to pulque opt for a curado (cured), to take the tang out of the original state. Curados come in many different flavors — strawberry, lime, coffee, coconut, celery, etc.

Round out your day watching oily men in spandex and masks wrestle each other in a ring. Taking in a Lucha Libre match while you are in Mexico City is an experience not to be missed. The acrobatics, dramatics, flair and audience participation make for a memorable night out.

If you are in town on a Sunday, become an honorary resident, and join the throngs of locals who stroll and cycle on the grand boulevard Paseo de la Reforma, which is closed to traffic for a few hours on Sundays only. Alternatively, take a boat ride or enjoy the welcome shade of Chapultepec Park with a picnic.

Cohinita Pibil at Coox Hanal

Finally, forget the tacos and enchiladas; make sure you try some birria. This mildly spicy stew hails from Jalisco and is traditionally made with goat or mutton but is also made with beef. The best birria is found at Taqueria El Paso, a street food cart by San Antonio Metro station. You can also satisfy your carnivore cravings with a large plate of succulent Yucatecan cochinita pibil at Coox Hanal, a sit-down restaurant with mouth-watering Yucatecan staples.

To say that we are in love with Mexico City is an understatement, and don't even get me started on how smitten we are with the rest of Mexico.

If you would like more information about Mexico City, Mexico or Central America, check out our travel blog, A Couple of Drifters.

Making our app more accessible for people with disabilities

By The Hub team, October 28, 2020

We're proud to launch a redesigned version of our United app to make it easier for customers with visual disabilities to manage all aspects of day-of travel, including check-in, viewing reservation details and flight status, bag tracking and more.

This latest version of our app is now available to both Android and iOS users, and it offers increased color contrast and more space between graphics. Furthermore, we have reorganized how information is displayed and announced to better integrate with screen reader technologies like VoiceOver and TalkBack, which are built into most handheld devices. By restructuring the way the information is organized on the app, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the app.

United Zoom backgrounds for AvGeeks

By The Hub team, October 27, 2020

Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Take your next video call from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude with United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Newly added to our collection is a background encouraging our employees and customers to vote. Our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. No matter which party you support, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and vote.

So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started.

Looking back at a landmark year with Special Olympics

By Ryan Wilks, October 19, 2020

Earlier this summer, we shone a light on our flagship partnership with Special Olympics and our commitment to the Inclusion Revolution. In that same story, we introduced you to our four Special Olympics Service Ambassadors, Daniel, Kyle, Lauren and Zinyra (Z), who, this month, celebrate one year working at Chicago O'Hare International Airport as part of the United family.

This groundbreaking, inclusive employment program took off as a part of our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics, a community relationship that employees across the company hold close to heart. The original 'UA4' (as they call themselves) have become an integral part of the United team serving customers at O'Hare Airport. Even from behind their masks, their wide smiles and effervescent spirit exude and bring life to the service culture of excellence we strive towards every day.

"The UA4 are more than just customer service ambassadors. They are shining examples of how inclusion, accessibility and equity can have monumental impacts on the culture and service of a business and community," said Customer Service Managing Director Jonna McGrath. "They have forever changed who we are as a company. While they often talk about how United and this opportunity has changed their lives, they have changed ours in more ways than we can count."

In the two years of partnership with Special Olympics, United employees have volunteered over 10,500 hours of service at events around the world and donated over $1.2 million worth of travel to the organization.

"This inclusive employment program is what community partnerships, like ours with Special Olympics, are all about: collaborating to identify areas where the needs of the community intersect with the cultural and business opportunity, then creating the infrastructure and programming to bring the two together," said Global Community Engagement Managing Director Suzi Cabo. "Through this program, our goal is to show other companies that when you put a committed effort and focus towards inclusion and breaking down barriers, you transform lives. I challenge other business around the world to follow our lead in joining the Inclusion Revolution."

Check out the video below to hear from our Special Olympics Service Ambassadors firsthand.

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