Day of the Dead Mexico City in the Historic Center where Spectre Opening Scene Filmed
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For this post, I traveled at my own expense.
I walked around and saw the Day of the Dead decorations in the Mexico City Historic Centre. Then when I watched the movie, Spectre. I could recognize the places where the opening scene was filmed.
Read my post and see if you can recognize places from the movie, too.
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 Prices & Details Click Here
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 midst of a Day of the Dead parade, he struts. People have their faces painted and are 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 the Historic Centre of Mexico City. 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. Then 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 which was 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 during 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 so you can 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 are planning on going, please confirm because it looks like there are events from 21 October to 2 November. Read my post about a 2nd November tour I did visiting towns, churches, and cemeteries on the Day of the Dead.
Walking Tour of Historic Centre Mexico City
I had organised a private walking tour for the two of us in Mexico and we were picked up from our hotel. From there, we 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 you need 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 we visited the post office.
On the walking tour, the things we did, the palaces and buildings we 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
- Saw many Day of the Dead decorated altars
- Caught the underground train
Historic Central Hotel Mexico City
Gran Hotel 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.
When I walked into the hotel, I noticed the stained glass and the elevator. And, because we were there during the Day of the Dead, the altar with the offerings. You can see this in the pictures above.
We saw the Tiffany-stained glass. and Art Nouveau-style architecture and a history dating back to 1526.
You can visit this hotel, too. We saw an altar set up 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 our planned dates.
Catrina at Gran Hotel de la Ciudad de México
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.
The statue stands in front of the National Museum of Art, Museo Nacional de Arte, where 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, with the last entry 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 and 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.
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?
The Zócalo is the Plaza de la Constitucion. And, it's a square in the Historic Center of Mexico City (Centro Histórico). Whilst I was there, they were setting up giant marquees for an event.
You'll notice that the Zócalo is the scene with the helicopter in the film.
Afterward, it ends with the helicopter flying 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.
You can visit the palace. And, see huge murals by the Mexican painter Diego Rivera.
On the news later that day, we found out the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall had visited the palace. And, they had photos with murals in the background.
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 which was the capital. In it were held the ceremonies and rituals of the Aztec people.
By the way, when we were at the train station, there was a big model of Tenochtitlan. It gave me a sense of the land that I was entering no longer existed.
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. Plus, on top of the cathedral, you can see the bell towers.
I didn't realize until I went on the guided tour that the Historic Centre of Mexico City is built on top of the ruins of the former Aztec empire. You can see this because it is situated next to the ruins of Templo Mayor. Behind the cathedral around the corner, we saw the intersection where the big stone was found. We saw the stone at the National Museum of Anthropology.
We 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
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.
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 which you will be visiting on this tour. 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 English / Spanish-speaking live guide, make sure to check your language for the tour.
- Exclusions are tips which are optional, 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.
Discover the City Sights Group Tour Mexico City
Go on a five-hour discovery tour of the Historic Center of Mexico City with a guide who has knowledge of Mexican history.
- See the Zocalo
- You'll visit the Metropolitan Cathedral
- See murals of Diego Rivera at the National Palace
- Near the cathedral, you can see the Aztec ruins of Templo Mayor.
- Visit a craft shop where you can buy souvenirs.
- Go for a drive down Paseo de la Reforma (the avenue where the helicopters in Spectre and Romeo + Juliet flew over)
- Includes entrance to the Anthropology Museum, although not mentioned in the full description
- This tour includes English / Spanish-speaking guide, make sure to check your language for the tour
- Includes hotel pickup and drop-off
- Exclusions are tips/gratuities, food, and drinks
Ofrendas and Catrinas during Day of the Dead Mexico City
Walk around the Historic Center. You will see Ofrendas.
Ofrendas are altars decorated with offerings for the departed.
You will see people walking around dressed as Catrina.
In shops, you can see the decorations of Catrina.
Tips for Visiting Mexico City
- 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.
- Catch official taxis at taxi ranks only. We are grateful to have found taxi drivers who spoke English at the official taxi ranks.
- 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.
- 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.
- Don't say you are lost.
- If you are unsure what someone has said. Say you do not understand, and say it in English.
- You'll see W.C signs for toilets. Carry coins for these toilets. And, we used toilets at hotels and shopping centres.
- Carry toilet paper and disinfectant wipes.
- Hydrate with bottled water.
Watch Four Day of the Dead Movies
1 Coco ~ 2017
Coco is a Disney Pixar animated movie about the Day of the Dead. In Spanish, it's known as Dia de Los Muertos.
You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to seize your moment. ~ De la Cruz to Coco
On the Disney Plus channel see 'How Coco Honors Dia de Los Muertos Disney+ which shows the background culture. The video shows the correlation between Coco and the Day of the Dead.
You can learn about its culture and tradition.
Symbols of the Day of the Dead like food of Pan de Muertos and sugar skulls, music, marigolds, face painting, altars of offerings, paper punched with holes, and celebrations in cemeteries.
Have you seen Coco? Watch a trailer for Coco.
2 Spectre ~ 2015
In Spectre, James Bond is played by Daniel Craig. The opening scene starts with the Day of the Dead.
Filming locations are seen in the Historic Center of Mexico City.
The trailer for SPECTRE shows some of the opening scenes for the Day of the Dead celebrations.
A second trailer for Spectre shows some more.
On YouTube, you can see the opening scene, the making of the Day of the Dead opening scene of Spectre. And, another vlog about the features of the Day of the Dead.
Have you seen Spectre? Are you curious?
And you'll see at the end of the opening scene, the helicopter flies down the Paseo de la Reforma.
3 Book of Life ~ 2014
I saw Book of Life at City Walk in Universal Studios Hollywood in the year it was released.
Write Your Own Story ~ the Candle Maker
Whilst on a walk around Mexico City. I saw the poster for El Libro de la Vida (Book of Life).
Have you seen Book of Life?
4 Once Upon a Time in Mexico ~ 2003
You'll find that during Once Upon a Time in Mexico, there is a Day of the Dead parade.
The movie stars Antonio Banderas, Johnny Depp, and Salma Hayek.
Desperado is the preceding movie before Once Upon a Time in Mexico.
Have you seen Once Upon a Time in Mexico or Desperado?
If you are in my country, Both movies are rated R.
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Find Things to Do in Mexico City
You can find other things to do on the Day of the Dead and in Mexico City by reading my posts:
- Day of the Dead Traditions
- Day of the Dead Cemetery Experience
- Day of the Dead at Night
- Mexico City Top 5 Things to Do
- Chapultepec Castle Mexico City
- Teotihuacán Day Trip from Mexico City
Day of the Dead
Watch this space as I update you with more about the walking tour in the historic centre of Mexico City.
Have you been to Mexico for the Day of the Dead?
Make sure you read my Day of the Dead experiences in Mexico City.
What movies have you watched that are about the Day of the Dead? Or, have you seen a Day of the Dead parade? Leave a Comment!