Mixing with the Mariachis on Plaza Garibaldi, Mexico City
“Whatever you do, don’t go to Plaza Garibaldi, you’ll be robbed!” is the stock answer you’ll get if you mention a desire to visit the square, the home of mariachi music in the capital. But for us, a night on Plaza Garibaldi is a must and is one of the best things to do in Mexico City.
The cacophony of trumpets, violins, and different forms of guitar and bass of the genre that you’ll hear on the square is the definable sound of Mexico, along with the cowboy-style scream of the grito, the sound that the band and the audience make as part of celebrating this music. Our memories of Plaza Garibaldi from previous trips were of mariachis at the side of the road near the Plaza, in their snug-fitting, silver-studded charro outfits, trying to flag down cars to score gigs at a party.
But on the plaza itself, it’s nearly always a party, particularly on weekend nights which are the best time to visit, when the square is crowded with locals out to have a good time. This time, we headed to the Plaza with our friend Fernando to mix it with the mariachis, eating beef head tacos at their favourite spot, drinking cervezas on the square, and even joining in on a singalong with an especially cheery lot. But is Plaza Garibaldi dangerous? Absolutely not, if you stay on the square. Everybody is so focused on having fun singing, drinking and eating, to bother with you. In fact, you’re far more likely to be robbed by the police, in the form of a bribe, than you are to be pick-pocketed, but that’s another story for another time… For more on the Plaza, the mariachis, and some tips as to how to spend your night here, see the detailed captions to the photos.