History buffs have long adored Mexico City for its connection to government, the array of available museums, and stunning landmarks.
Mexico City is not only one of the largest cities globally (there are a LOT of people) but also doubles as the capital of Mexico. While you will not find beaches and resorts like other popular tourist Mexico destinations, that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the area! There’s a ton of food, culture, and attractions to keep you busy for weeks!
One of the best parts about Mexico City is the diverse neighborhoods you’ll inevitably encounter during your exploration. Turn one corner, and you’ve hit the late-night, hip area. Within walking distance, a few blocks away, you’ll end up in a neighborhood filled with upscale shops.
There’s a lot to see and do in all these neighborhoods, meaning there are a lot of great contenders when it comes to deciding where to stay in Mexico City.
If you’re wondering exactly where to stay in Mexico City, I’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find a list of the top neighborhoods to check out, along with my top hotel recommendations in each area. In this post, you’ll also find a few recs on places to check out and food joints to try.
There are options for every type of traveler in Mexico City. Whether you’re looking to soak up as much history as possible or want to enjoy some great bars and live music, CDMX has got something just for you.
So without further ado, here are our recommendations on where to stay in Mexico City – the neighborhood edition!
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Table of Contents
MEXICO CITY IN A NUTSHELL
Here’s a quick overview of all the useful info you need to plan an awesome trip!
When To Go: During the dry season, which runs from December to April.
Nearest Airport: Mexico City International Airport (MEX)
How to Get Around:
- Uber: Uber is probably the safest way to get around the city. However, you’ll want to keep your doors locked and your windows rolled up to prevent thieves on motorcycles from rolling by and snatching things from you! (I’ve witnessed this with my own eyes in CDMX — it happened to our Uber driver!)
- Taxi: You should only use authorized taxis or taxi apps, such as Easy Taxi or Cabify.
- Metro – The Mexico City Metro is an affordable way to get around the city. It is one of the largest metro systems in the world and has 12 lines that serve different parts of the city. The metro has women/children-only train cars for safety. Having said that, riding the Metro is not the safest way to travel throughout the city. There have been horror stories about people getting pickpocketed or robbed at knifepoint.
Must-Do’s: Go to the Frida Kahlo Museum (at her actual house!), explore the colorful district of Coyoacán (one of Mexico City’s oldest districts), take a free walking tour of Centro Historico, take a day trip to Teotihuacan — the City of the Gods!
Before You Go: Make sure you can get into the country.
- Check that you have a valid passport and that it won’t expire within 6 months of your trip!
- Mexico requires travelers to fill out an Official Entry Immigration Form (or Tourist Card) before passing through customs at the airport. The Tourist Card is NO LONGER provided by commercial airlines. You’ll want to fill out the entry immigration form online, which is free to do.
‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You’ in Spanish: “Hello” = “Hola” and “Thank you” = “Gracias”.
Currency: the Mexican peso (MXN) – click for current conversion rates
Looking for a done-for-you travel itinerary for CDMX? We have a jam-packed 4-day Mexico City itinerary waiting for you. Go check it out!
1. La Condesa
Good for: Travelers looking for a trendy, yet relaxed neighborhood; good shopping and nightlife
Head to the La Condesa neighborhood if you’re a fan of independent boutiques and nightlife!
This neighborhood is undeniably hip and up-and-coming, with new businesses and boutiques popping up constantly. You can expect to find many vintage shops, specialty shoe shops, jewelers, and accessory shops lining the avenues in La Condesa.
Here, you’ll find great nightlife options available too, from live music to bumping beats played from a DJ stand. While La Condesa is known for its nightlife, it has other draws as the incredible food scene found here.
You’ll find food from all different influences starting with authentic tacos and ending in open-concept restaurants that are bright and airy. Head to Lardo, an Instagram-worthy restaurant with plants lining the exterior and exceptional food served inside. For tacos, El Kalimán boasts the best authentic tacos in the neighborhood.
La Condesa can be best defined as trendy, yet relaxed. If you’re seeking a neighborhood that provides funky vibes and stunning art deco buildings, head here during your vacation! This area works well as a day trip from Centro Historico or as its own vacation spot for a few days.
Don’t miss out on the famous Parque Espana, a relaxing park with ample benches for people-watching and sunset watching. Enjoy the art deco buildings as you stroll through the wide streets of La Condesa filled with adorable coffee shops and stunning hotels with modern twists.
All in all, this is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Mexico City. If you’re hoping to spend your days strolling through tree-lined boulevards, shopping in hip boutiques, and being in close proximity to many of Mexico City’s most famous landmarks, this is the neighborhood for you.
Where To Stay In Condesa, Mexico City:
Good for: Travelers who want a luxe atmosphere, high-end shopping, museums, amazing dining scene
Polanco, on the other hand, is a neighborhood in Mexico City that offers a more high-end or luxurious atmosphere. In fact, this neighborhood is famed for its luxury shopping along Presidente Masaryk Avenue, the most expensive street in Mexico!
If you enjoy shopping at designer stores, sipping premium cocktails, and staying at some of the best luxury hotels, Polanco is the best area in Mexico City to stay in. Not only will you find a luxe vibe here, but there are important landmarks to be seen like the Museo Nacional de Antropologia (National Museum of Anthropology), Museo Soumaya, and Chapultepec Park.
Aside from all the cool attractions, Polanco is an area known for its variety of good food. Try Chapulín if you’re an adventurous foodie or Au Pied de Cochon for a higher-end French-inspired eatery.
If you’re looking to wander around local street markets (one of our favorite things to do when abroad), head to the Saturday street market in Lincoln Park to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, tacos and other Mexican snacks!
All in all, this neighborhood is one of the safest to stay in Mexico City. Having said that, you’ll still need to take standard precautions like staying in groups, not wandering around alone at night, and keeping an eye on personal belongings.
Where To Stay In Polanco, Mexico City:
Good for: Travelers looking to be close to historic landmarks, nightlife scene, hipster vibes
Mentioning Juárez as a good neighborhood to stay in in previous years may have yielded some concerned looks. However, this neighborhood is going through a hipster renaissance and becoming a popular neighborhood in Mexico City due to an uptick in trendy restaurants and shops that have recently popped up.
Juárez offers the perfect balance between relaxed vibes during the day and fun party spots with live music at night!
You’ll even find cool speakeasies to explore, along with shops offering both modern fashion items and traditional garb. For shopping, check out the minimalist store Utilitario Mexicano as well as the adorable boutique called Loose Blues.
Juárez is the perfect neighborhood for enjoying fun evenings with relaxed explorations earlier in the day. This neighborhood is also surrounded by landmarks like Palacio de Bellas Artes and Castillo de Chapultepec, so if you want a spot that is central to historic locations, this is one of the best places to stay in Mexico City.
Where To Stay In Juarez, Mexico City:
Good for: Art lovers, solo travelers, and couples who enjoy a cozier, romantic atmosphere
Coyoácan is most known as being home to Frida Kahlo’s famous blue house and museum. You’ll also find the Mercado de Coyoácan here, featuring everything from local foods to brightly colored handmade artisan items. Based on these two famous spots, you may have guessed, this is a neighborhood catering to art fiends!
The charm of this neighborhood is helped by the cobblestone streets that line the area. You’ll really get that old, traditional charm while strolling through the streets of Coyoácan!
Beyond an area filled with history and culture, you’ll be welcomed by cozy coffee shops and affordable hotels. This neighborhood is loved by solo travelers, art lovers, families with teenagers, and couples who enjoy romantic, homey stays at a lower price tag.
Where To Stay In Coyoácan, Mexico City:
5. Zona Rosa
Good for: Nightlife scene, travelers looking to party, LGBTQ community
Zona Rosa is a small section of the Juarez neighborhood that is known for its gay-friendly atmosphere. Aside from that, I have one word for Zona Rosa–nightlife! This is a neighborhood perfect for party animals.
Similar to La Condesa, the party life calms down during the day, allowing you to enjoy the area and its historic buildings. Stroll through the neighborhood during the day to check out fun, eclectic stores ranging from new and trendy ones to those selling vintage wares and authentic Mexican items.
But once night falls, you can bet you’ll find some of the liveliest bars and restaurants here (specifically on Calle Genova). Create an unforgettable night by going out to dance in a nightclub, singing at a karaoke bar, watching a cabaret show, enjoying a cocktail drink with friends at a hip bar, or listening to live music at a restaurant bar!
El Angel (Monumento de la Independencia) is a world-famous monument that deserves attention here as it signifies a celebration of Mexico’s independence in Spain. You can explore inside of this giant angel statue that stands over Paseo de La Reforma.
You’ll want to stay in Zona Rosa if you seek more of a fun, lighthearted vacation sprinkled with culture, history, and good eats!
Where To Stay In Zona Rosa, Mexico City:
6. San Angel
Good for: Travelers who want a quaint, quiet experience, families, travelers looking for authentic local experiences
San Angel is an excellent neighborhood to visit or even spend a few days in when you want to get away from touristy areas of Mexico City. It’s a lesser-known spot that offers tranquility along with a heavy dose of culture.
Walk along the cobblestones in this colonial-style historic neighborhood filled with monasteries and art galleries. It’s a quieter area that has multiple protections in place, allowing the residents to keep their original houses without fear of the area becoming modernized.
San Angel is best known for its weekly market at Plaza de San Jacinto, filled with artisan products. If markets don’t intrigue you, plenty of shops and restaurants fill the street in this neighborhood.
Overall, San Angel is a family-friendly neighborhood that allows you to take a peek into day-to-day life in Mexico. It’s one of the best places to stay in Mexico City if you’re looking to experience what it feels like to live among the locals!
Pro Tip: For a more relaxed visit, head here during the week. On the weekends, especially Saturdays, the number of tourists increases, and the area becomes a lot busier.
Where To Stay In San Angel, Mexico City:
Good for: Architecture lovers, artists, twentysomethings, and travelers looking for a hip/trendy neighborhood
Welcome to the coolest neighborhood in Mexico City, Colonia Roma.
The Colonia Roma neighborhood, or simply ‘Roma’, is typically mentioned alongside Condesa as this neighborhood is located nearby. It’s split into two sections Roma North (Norte) and Roma South (Sur).
Roma is a budget-friendly neighborhood that is well-known for its hipster appeal. Upon entering the neighborhood, what you’ll notice is that it’s got a combination of many things–art deco mansions, colorful street art, and, of course, the ever-growing hipster vibe.
Roma is famous for its food offerings, specifically its food markets like Mercado Medillin and Mercado Roma. After exploring the rows and rows of street food and snacks available at these locations, head to one of the quirky museums like Museo del Objeto del Objeto (MODO) or art galleries like Galeria OMR.
For classic Mexican fare, look no further than El Parnita. For third-wave coffee, head to none other than Quentin Cafe!
At night, enjoy the various dance clubs that Roma offers. Don’t worry if you’re not an experienced salsa dancer; it’s common to get swept up by more seasoned dancers on the dance floor. And it’s a ton of fun so don’t shy away from it!
For those of you concerned with safety, Roma is considered one of the safest neighborhoods in town.
Where To Stay In Roma, Mexico City:
- Hotel Marbella ($)
- ULIV Apartments – Roma Norte ($$)
- Casa Goliana ($$$)
- Brick Hotel Mexico City ($$$)
8. Centro Historico (Historic City Center)
Good for: Travelers who want to be in the middle of all the action, history buffs
Of course, we couldn’t make a list of where to stay in Mexico City without mentioning the ever-popular city center! Centro Historico is undoubtedly one of the best places to stay in and explore while visiting Mexico City.
The name translates to ‘historic city center’ and, no surprise–offers plenty of stunning architecture along with ancient buildings.
My recommendation is to take in as much history as possible while staying in Centro Historico. Do this by visiting as many museums and landmarks as you can. Start with the Templo Mayor, which the Aztecs built as a holy site. After that, explore the Palacio Nacional, the president of Mexico’s home, and office rolled into one.
Wander your way into a few of the historic buildings, including Palacio Postal, one of the most beautiful and magnificent post offices I have ever laid eyes on! Don’t forget your camera for this one.
And you definitely cannot miss checking out the stunning murals created by Diego Rivera here. Make sure to head to the center of the center – El Zocalo (largest community meeting place in Latin America) before leaving the area; you may even catch a special event or festival occurring while you visit!
When we last visited, Mexico City was holding a huge multi-day festival called CDMX Festival of Indigenous Cultures in the Zocalo. It was a ton of fun learning about all the different indigenous cultures and we were so happy to have stumbled upon such a cool event. Be sure to check the events calendar before arriving!
Pro Tip: Centro Historico is considered the center of the Mexico City neighborhoods; it’s the ideal spot to stay if you want to be in the middle of everything and plan to day trip out to surrounding neighborhoods.
Where To Stay In Centro Historico, Mexico City:
If you can, try to fit visits into as many of the above neighborhoods as possible. It will allow you to see how Mexico has evolved from the original buildings to newer businesses and trendy restaurants.
Of course, if you can’t see all of Mexico City’s neighborhoods – pick the choices from the above list that align with the type of trip you’re seeking. You can never go wrong with sightseeing in Mexico City!