Yes its true that Mexico city isn't known for mariachi, but if you're not traveling to any other locations head to Garibaldi (metro stop). 5 blocks from the station there is a square where mariachi is abound.
You could hang out in the square and watch numerous bands or you head to one of the many restaurants in the area.
El Tenampa is a pretty cool place. Its very opened, they speak english and have an english menu.
While watching mariachi, drink some tequila, which the garibaldi area is also famous for.
Plaza Garibaldi is the home of Mariachi music since the 1920s. Musicians can be seen here waiting to be hired (like those pictured below) to play a song or three or more depending on how much you are willing to spend. A mariachi band may be hired per song or per hour and rates vary according to number of musicians and experience
At Plaza Garibaldi, it was really heart-warming being able to see people starting to dance impromptu to the music being played live amidst the company of new found friends. What could be better that having a bottle of Negro Modello or Corona in hand, sitting on the pavement, listening to the sounds of Mexico many knew so well.
Although its official name is Plaza Santa Cecilia (the patron saint of musicians) it is popularly known as Garibaldi Square in honor of the Italian patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi, who never lived in Mexico but was a great admirer of Juarez. A classic venue for parties and sprees, some of its cantinas and bars, such as El Tenampa, have appeared in movies representing “Mexicanness”, accompanied by the music of mariachis. These typical bands congregate here, together with grupos nortenos, jarochos (from the North of Mexico and Veracruz) and marimbas, as a permanent, living example of vernacular music.
Go there and enjoy, but: take good care of your belongings and health if you go there. The taxi home costs 80 pesos, and Rafael's not always awake ;-)
This is a big square with lots of mariachibands. You can get them to sing some songs for you - in exchange for some of your cash, of course. Everyone told us to come here, and every guidebook say this is a place to visit...
But what a horrible place!!! Argh... The bands attacks you like hungry wolfs, tequilasellers stick their bottles in your face and other people try to sell you all kinds of souvenirs. You can run - but you can not hide! They will follow you around, and they don't take no for a no.
You should also take care with your bags and pockets. All kinds of hands try to sneak inside there all the time, so don't bring too much valueables here. The neighbourhood around is also not so safe, so I wouldn't recommend you to walk so much around in the dark.
The only reason I post this under must-see is that everyone say you have to go here. Maybe we were just unlucky and that it's normally not that bad there? I don't know, but anyway it was quite an experience.
Is the traditional last stop for nocturnal Mexicans.
In Mexican movies as in more personal moments of celebration, city dwellers always refer to the Plaza de Garibaldi as the best place in town where music, carousing, typical Mexican food and drinks, prostitutes and drug dealers can be heartily enjoyed until the late, late hours.
Every evening the Plaza Garibaldi, surrounded by raucous bars and restaurants, fills with competing mariachi bands, all in their tight, silver-spangled charro finery and vast sombreros, to play for anyone who'll pay them among the crowds wandering the square and spilling out of the surrounding bars - the bands will even serenade beneath your loved one's window.
There are roving mariachis, as well as 'norteño' (country-style) music or white-clad 'jarocho' bands (Veracruz-style) and the softer sounds of 'marimba' musicians peddling songs in the outdoor plaza, where you can also buy beer and shots of tequila.
A typical group consists of four violins, a brass section of two trumpeters standing some way back so as not to drown out the others, three or four men on guitars of varying kinds and sizes, and a though vocalist.
The truly macho serenader will rent the band and do the singing himself.
Well-to-do Mexicans park themselves inside one of the cantinas or clubs surrounding the plaza and belt out their favorite songs with the hired musicians.
Mexicans typically buy songs by the dozen, so the bar is rarely without the wailing mariachis for more than 10 minutes.
(continue next block)
These places stay open Sunday through Thursday until 4 AM, and even later on Friday and Saturday.
But simply wander round the square and you'll get your fill. Should you want to be individually serenaded? pick out a likely looking group and negotiate your price.
At the back of the square is a huge market hall in which a whole series of stalls serve simple food and vie furiously for custom.
Alternatively, there are a number of fairly pricey restaurant-bars around the square.
You could walk through a thoroughly sleazy area of cheap bars and cafes, streetwalkers, grimy hotels and various brightly lit theatres offering burlesque and strip shows.
Entertainment in Plaza Garibaldi is not for those of nervous disposition.
As the night wears on and the drinking continues, it can get pretty rowdy around the square and pickpockets are always a threat: despite a high-profile police presence, you'd be better off not coming laden down with expensive camera equipment or an obviously bulging wallet.
Leaving Plaza Garibaldi can be dangerous,arrange for transportation ahead of time.
The last 'metro' leaves at midnight, and you'd be advised to be on it...
Besides how my tite started. There a was a dead body across the street that disturbed me but no one else, the Garibaldi is a place in Mexico city where a whole bunch of Mariachis play for you for a small fee...some make up songs with your name in it...Its fun to drink and dance in the square.
At night Mariachi bands gather in this plaza. From here they can be hired for parties or will for 10 pesos play a song for passerbys. The plaza also contains restaurants and nightclubs.
Rent a band for a song or for an hour, dance if you dare, or simply walk around and watch.. It's a thrill