The 3 Largest Cities of Mexico

January 15th, 2019

Mexico City
Mexico City

If you were to travel across Mexico, visiting its most famous cities, you would find a fascinating array of historical and cultural differences. You'd probably get a tan and eat some pretty good tacos too!

Tulancingo, one of the country's smaller cities, is the site of two early human settlements, Huapalcalco and El Pedregal, and it is home to El Santo, Mexico's most famous luchador.

Near the other end of the size spectrum, Ecatepec is a bustling urban metropolis. It's been an important city for quite a while—during the Aztec empire, Ecatepec was a critical control point for trade routes.

This article selects a few notable Mexican cities and explores some interesting details about each one. It skews toward the larger cities, in fact, we'll cover the three most populous cities in the country, starting with Mexico City.

Mexico City

With over 8.8 million people, Mexico City is not just the most populous city in Mexico, it's the most populous in all of North America! It's one of the most important cultural and financial capitals in the Western Hemisphere.

Mexico City is the oldest capital city in North and South America. Along with Quito, Ecuador, Mexico City is one of only two South American cities founded by Native Americans.

Aztecs built the city on the islands of, now dry, Lake Texcoco. Given the chance to rethink that decision, they would probably select a different location. Sitting on a drained lake bed, Mexico City has sunk 30 feet in certain areas since 1900. The whole lake bed is a giant piece of concrete at this point, so issues with wastewater management and flooding abound.



The second most populous city in Mexico is Ecatepec, with 1,655,015 people. It's a massive suburb of Mexico City, but Ecatepec manages to retain its own identity.

The area was initially settled by the Otomi, an indigenous people that inhabited the central region of the country. Later, like most parts of the Valley of Mexico, it was absorbed into the Aztec empire.

Scientists have identified the remains of early human inhabitation near the city, but humans aren't the only prehistoric mammals that lived in this area. In 1995, the remains of a mammoth were found near Ecatepec. Experts believe the bones to be from around 10,500 years B.C.



At 1,495,182, the population of Guadalajara makes it the third-most populous city in Mexico. It has played a major role in defining Mexico's rich culture and is widely considered to be the birthplace of mariachi music.

This city jumped around a few times before finding its current location. Guadalajara was first settled in 1532 in a spot that lacked sufficient water. More moves followed, with one coming after the city narrowly survived a war with native people who were resisting the cruel treatment and enslavement of Indians by colonial officials.

About ten years after its initial founding, making one last move to a more defensible position, Guadalajara finally found its current site. Guadalajara is now an important cultural center of Mexico, serving as host to several major cultural events.