Day of the Dead Mexico City in the Historic Center where Spectre Opening Scene Filmed

I walked and saw the Day of the Dead decorations in the Mexico City Historic Center. Then when I watched the movie, Spectre. I recognized the places where the opening scene was filmed.

Read my post and see if you can recognize places from the movie.

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For this post, I traveled at my own expense.

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Day of the Dead Mexico City,

in Spanish it's Dia de los Muertos en la Ciudad de México

 

Have you seen a Day of the Dead parade? And have you visited Mexico City for the Day of the Dead?

 

The movie, Spectre, has the Day of the Dead portrayed in it. And it's opening scene is filmed in Mexico City. Have you seen it?

Experiences in the Historic Center of Mexico City

Immerse yourself in a three-hour walking tour of the Historic Center of Mexico City where you can see historic sites. Like the Cathedral Metropolitan, the Aztec Ruins of Templo Mayor, the Zocalo, and the Post Office. Get Details of Walking Tour Historic Center Mexico City

Historic Center of Mexico City

Have you visited a place? Then later on, a movie is released. And, it has scenes of the places you visited.

Well, about twelve months after I visited Mexico City. Spectre was released.   In the opening scenes of Spectre, James Bond is played by Daniel Craig. He walks through the Historic Center of Mexico dressed as a skeleton.

Spectre Day of the Dead Mexico City Parade

In the middle of a Day of the Dead parade, he struts. People have their faces painted and dressed up in costumes, like skeletons and Catrina.

Since the movie, there's been a parade for the Day of the Dead in Mexico City.

However, when we were there, it did not exist.

Spectre James Bond Opening Scene Mexico City

Was Spectre filmed in Mexico City?

Yes, Spectre, the James Bond movie opening scene was filmed in Mexico City, in the Historic Center. And, you can watch a Day of the Dead parade.

What hotel was Spectre in Mexico?

I recognized the Gran Hotel in the Historic Center in Mexico City as the hotel that James Bond and the woman he was with entered.

Which James Bond Movie was filmed in Mexico City?

After I visited Mexico City in 2014. I saw Spectre at the cinema, I recognized that the opening scene in the film had been filmed in Mexico City. It was in 2015, that the James Bond movie was filmed in Mexico City in the beginning scene of Spectre. Licence To Kill released in 1989 also had scenes filmed in Mexico City.

Which city was Spectre filmed in?

One of the cities that Spectre was filmed in was Mexico City. In Mexico City, the opening scene was filmed there.

What are the opening scenes in Spectre?

The opening scene in Spectre is the James Bond movie Day of the Dead parade. James Bond is dressed in a skeleton costume and mask and walks with a woman through the parade in the streets of Mexico City Historic Center.

They enter the Gran Hotel and into the elevator. Then, they leave the elevator and enter a room. James Bond climbs out the window in a suit and walks along the edge of the building.

The scene ends with the helicopter flight sequence in the Zócalo. Then, the helicopter flies down Paseo de la Reforma.

We stayed at a hotel in Paseo de la Reforma.

Day of the Dead Parade in Mexico City

It appears that the movie, Spectre inspired the Day of the Dead parade held in Mexico City. The best time to visit Mexico City is the Day of the Dead. That is what inspired me to travel to Mexico City when I did. And, we had good weather for the week we visited.

You'll want to go around the last week of October and the first week of November to experience the Day of the Dead and be there for the parades. It depends on the day of the week for how long to stay before.

So, in 2023, the main parade is likely to be sometime on the weekend of 27 to 29 October 2023. If you want to do more of the activities, then look into staying earlier and after the 2nd of November. If you plan on going, confirm because events can be held from 21 October to 2 November.

In my post you can read about my experience with the traditions of the Day of the Dead in Mexico City on a 2nd November tour I did visiting towns, churches, and cemeteries. I visited three different towns on the tour.

Walking Tour of Historic Centre Mexico City

I had organized a private walking tour for the two of us in Mexico. And, my daughter and I were picked up from our hotel. From there, she and I walked to the train station and caught the train to the Historic Center of Mexico City. The trains are very full when they stop at the station and they don't empty, so I needed to find a way onto the full train carriage.

I requested to see the Day of the Dead decorations. And, I'm glad I wanted some postage stamps because I visited the post office.

On the walking tour, the things I did, the palaces and buildings I saw in the Historic Center of Mexico City included:

  • Entered the Gran Hotel Mexico City
  • Ate lunch of a quesadilla at a street vendor near the Tolsa Square
  • Walked across the Zócalo
  • Saw the doors and the building of the National Palace
  • Saw Templo Mayor
  • Found the intersection where the stone was found
  • Walked down the Madero Ave
  • Stood in awe of the gold altar at the Cathedral Metropolitan
  • Admired the Post Office
  • Saw the Bellas Artes and went inside the building to see the style
  • Went to a chocolate shop and my daughter ate chocolate
  • Saw many Day of the Dead decorated altars
  • Caught the underground train

Historic Central Hotel Mexico City

Gran Hotel Mexico City

Day of the Dead Altar at the Gran Hotel in the Historic Center Mexico City

Ofrenda at Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de México

Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de México, Gran Hotel Mexico City

James Bond enters a historic hotel in a skeleton costume and mask with a woman in the opening scene of Spectre. I identify this hotel as the Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de México, the Gran Hotel of Mexico City.

I noticed the stained glass and the elevator when I entered the hotel. And, because I was there during the Day of the Dead, the altar with the offerings. You can see this in the pictures above.

I saw the Tiffany-stained glass. and Art Nouveau-style architecture with its history dating back to 1526.

You can visit this hotel, too. I saw an altar setup in the foyer decorated with offerings for the Day of the Dead.

And, you can stay. I was going to stay at this hotel, however, there were no vacancies for my planned dates.

Get Details, Read Reviews on the Grand Hotel Mexico City

 

Ceiling of the Gran Hotel Historic Center Mexico City

Ceiling at Gran Hotel

La Catrina, Gran Hotel Day of the Dead, Historic Center Mexico City

Ka Catrina at Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de México

Tolsa Square

Plaza Manuel Tolsá

In the movie, you see the Day of the Dead procession go through Tolsa Square past the bronze sculpture of King Charles IV. In the below picture, you can see that the sculpture by Manuel Tolsá is covered, which meant I could not see it.

You can see the statue near the National Museum of Art, Museo Nacional de Arte. And you'll find Mexican artwork from the XVI century and 1954. And, the building design is early 1900s Mexican architecture.

You can visit the Museum from Tuesdays to Sundays 10 am to 6 pm. And, the last entry is at 5.30 pm, and it is closed on 1 January and 25 December.

The address is 8 Tacuba, Centro Historico, Mexico City

You need to pay for entry. It is extra to take photos and videos. And, there are exclusions for some types of photography and videos.

In Tolsa Square, I had lunch from a street vendor near one of the buildings. I had a quesadilla made with corn flour without cheese! And, I had a mango-flavoured drink and my daughter picked guava.

Mexico City Historic Center

Tolsa Square ~ Plaza Manuel Tolsá, Calle de Tacuba Bronze sculpture of King Charles IV (Estatua Eucestre de Carlos IV)

What is the Central Square of Mexico City Called?

El Zócalo

The Zócalo is the Plaza de la Constitucion. And, it's a square in the Historic Center of Mexico City (Centro Histórico). When I was there giant marquees were being set up for an event.

You'll notice that the Zócalo is the scene with the helicopter in the film.

At the end, the helicopter flies down Paseo de la Reforma. It's the same street as the one in Romeo + Juliet. And, that's where I stayed when I was in Mexico City.

So, I found myself wondering in which building in that chess series, The Queen's Gambit, where I caught a glimpse of the Zocalo. And, I searched and the building scene was filmed in Germany.

El Zócalo and Cathedral Metropolitan in the Historic Center Mexico City

El Zócalo

National Palace

You can visit the palace. And, see huge murals by the Mexican painter Diego Rivera.

On the news later that day, I found out the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall had visited the palace. And, they had photos with murals in the background.

National Palace, Zocalo in the Historic Center Mexico City

National Palace, Zocalo in the Historic Center Mexico City

Templo Mayor

Museo Templo Mayor, Main Temple, lies in ruins near the Cathedral, It was destroyed during the Spanish conquest.

And, it stood in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, the capital. In it were the ceremonies and rituals of the Aztec people.

When my daughter and I were at the train station, there was a big model of Tenochtitlan. It gave me a sense that the land I was entering no longer existed.

Templo Mayor in the Historic Center of Mexico City

Templo Mayor in the Historic Center of Mexico City

Cathedral Metropolitan of Mexico City

I visited the Cathedral Metropolitan of Mexican City, Catedral Metropolitana de la Ciudad de México. The size of the altar and the gold with the pictures embedded in it drew me in.  And, I saw many altars along the sides decorated for the Day of the Dead.

In the middle, I was surprised to see a weight hanging. And, I found out it is because the cathedral has been sinking for a long time. It was built over 440 years ago and took 250 years. On top of the cathedral, I can see the bell towers.

I didn't realize until I went on the guided tour that the Historic Center of Mexico City is built on top of the ruins of the former Aztec empire. I can see this because it is situated next to the ruins of Templo Mayor. Behind the cathedral around the corner, I saw the intersection where the big stone was found. Later on another tour, I saw the stone at the National Museum of Anthropology.

I walked through an arcade with shops. Some shops had big gold crosses, cups, candlestick holders, and other instruments for adorning altars and churches.

Cathedral Metropolitan of Mexico City

Cathedral Metropolitan of Mexico City

Ofrenda Outside and Inside the Cathedral Metropolitan of Mexico City

Outside the Cathedral, you can see offerings.

You can see the decorated altars inside the Cathedral.

Ofrenda, Day of the Dead in the Historic Center Mexico City
Ofrenda, Altar, Day of the Dead in the Historic Center Mexico City

Walking Tours Historic Center Mexico City

Historic Downtown Walking Tour Mexico City

Immerse yourself in a three-hour morning tour of the Historic Center of Mexico City with a certified and local guide.

  • You'll find the meeting point at the Metropolitan Cathedral, any you'll visit it. Further instructions are on the link.
  • You can walk across the Zocalo
  • See the National Palace from the Zocalo
  • Near the cathedral, you can see the Aztec ruins of Templo Mayor.
  • Choose to taste sweet bread at a traditional Mexican bakery.
  • Look up and you can see a stain-glass ceiling in a department store
  • Visit the Post Office and the Palace of Fine Arts.
  • This tour includes an English / Spanish-speaking live guide, make sure to check your language for the tour.
  • Exclusions are tips because they are optional, such as transportation to and from the meeting point, and food and drink.
  • Cons: not suitable for wheelchair users, and baby strollers aren't allowed. You would need to find out about other mobility aids. This tour operates rain or shine.

Get Details Historic Downtown Walking Tour Mexico City

 

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History, Architecture, & Muralism Mexico City Walking Tour in the Historic Center

Get Details History, Architecture & Muralism Mexico City Tour

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Ofrendas and Catrinas during Day of the Dead Mexico City

Ofrendas

Walk around the Historic Center. You will see Ofrendas.

Ofrendas are altars decorated with offerings for the departed.

Ofrenda, Day of the Dead in the Historic Center Mexico City
Day of the Dead decorations in the Historic Center Mexico City

Catrinas

You will see people walking around dressed as Catrina.

In shops, you can see the decorations of Catrina.

Catrinas, Day of the Dead, Historic Center in Mexico City
Day of the Dead decorations in the Historic Center Mexico City
Day of the Dead decorations in the Historic Center Mexico City
Day of the Dead decorations in the Historic Center Mexico City

Find Tours To Do

Tips for Visiting Mexico City

  1. Learn Spanish for travel. For instance, we needed to be able to speak Spanish to buy tickets at the train station. We are grateful to find a lady who bought our tickets and directed us to the correct platform.
  2. Catch official taxis at taxi ranks only. We are grateful to have found taxi drivers who spoke English at the official taxi ranks.
  3. Ask the taxi driver how much the fare will cost upfront. So that, you make sure you have the cash in Mexican Pesos to pay for the ride. I had to show the taxi driver that we had enough cash so that they would take us to our destination.
  4. Plan and Book tours with English-speaking guides especially if you are not fluent in Spanish. Check that you have an English-speaking guide because we booked an English-speaking tour and were on a tour with a Spanish-speaking guide. So, it caused some confusion.
  5. Don't say you are lost.
  6. If you are unsure what someone has said. Say you do not understand, and say it in English.
  7. You'll see W.C signs for toilets. Carry coins for these toilets. And, we used toilets at hotels and shopping centres.
  8. Carry toilet paper and disinfectant wipes.
  9. Hydrate with bottled water.

Where Is Zócalo in Mexico City?

 The Zócalo is located in the Historic Center in Mexico City, Mexico.

You'll find the Zócalo location on the map.

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Day of the Dead

Have you been to Mexico for the Day of the Dead? Or, have you seen a Day of the Dead parade?

Have you seen Spectre? Are you curious? Leave a Comment!