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The Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Mexico City

Updated January 31, 2020

Mexico City is full of incredible places to visit, but where should you stay? We asked our local trip planners in Mexico City for advice. They helped create this guide of Mexico City's top neighborhoods to stay—as well as a few to avoid. 

Benefit from local and personalized advice. Our local trip planners can help narrow down where to stay in Mexico City—and create a guidebook full of stuff to do once you get there. Learn more.

Centro Historico: Beautiful and full of history

Palacio de Bellas Artes in Centro Historico | johnybegoog/Pixabay

If wandering through a museum is your idea of a perfect morning/afternoon/evening/entire day then locals say you’ll be happiest staying in Centro Historico. Centro Historico is foremost on our list of where to stay in Mexico City because of El Zocalo, one of Mexico City’s most iconic landmarks and the heart of the city. Plus, El Zocalo is surrounded by amazing museums and tons of fascinating sights (like the Grand Hotel de la Ciudad de Mexico, which dates back to 1526—swoon).

Our local trip planners tell us that Centro Historico is pretty safe (so many people! So much to do!) but it can get sketchy at night. Enjoy insider tips—our trip planners in Mexico City suggest checking out these attractions in Centro Historico: 

Templo Mayor: This incredible museum/archeological site is a fascinating attraction in Mexico City. Archeologists constantly unearth new discoveries here. And the Aztec ruins of the Templo Mayor museum offer a powerful look at Mexico’s complicated history (especially since it’s literally in the shadow of the Catedral Metropolitana next door).  

Palacio Nacional: The Palacio Nacional, where the president has offices, is not exactly a museum (although the building itself is historic, once occupied by Hernan Cortez). Still—locals say it offers a fantastic way to learn about Mexico’s story. The colorful and detailed Diego Rivera murals, which portray Mexico’s history, make the Palacio Nacional one of our favorite places to go in Mexico City.

Roma: A vibrant hipster haven

Roma | Alejandro/Flickr

South of Centro Historico, locals rave that Roma has everything—the Mercado Roma food hall offers culinary choices that span from churros to craft beer, El Parnita offers some of the best lunch options in the entire city (tacos! tortas!), and the colorful kaleidoscope of Roma’s Art Deco architecture and stunning street art make every stroll an adventure for the eyes. Roma is popular among tourists, so get some local advice to avoid tourist traps. 

Local Tip:

Checking out the street art in Roma is by far one of the best (free) non-touristy activities in Mexico City. (And a good way to walk off those extra tacos).

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Condesa: Chill, beautiful, and easy to love

Condesa | Alejandro/Flickr

Two words: tacos and dogs.

Do we have your attention? Good! That’s what you’ll find in Condesa, Roma's sister neighborhood. Our local trip planners tell us that the gorgeous Parque Mexico is a favorite spot for frolicking puppies (and people will enjoy its wide trails and sweeping green spaces too).

Dogs aren’t the only thing that makes Condesa one of the top places to visit in Mexico City. It’s also known for having some of the best tacos around. Benefit from insider recommendations: our trip planners suggest checking out the food stalls next to the Chilpancingo Metro shop in Condesa.

Roma and Condesa are well-traveled and considered safe.

Coyoacan: Filled with color and culture

Coyoacan | Luis Santiago/Flickr

Locals tell us that beautiful Coyoacan moves at a slower pace than other neighborhoods in Mexico City (it’s about 40 minutes via metro from the center of town), which makes it a perfect place for anyone looking for a chill area to call home. So what is there to do in Coyoacan? Get some local tips. Our trip planners recommend:

  • Museo Frida Kahlo: the Museo Frida Kahlo is one of the most popular attractions in Mexico City. Kahlo’s beautiful “blue house” is where the artist lived for many years. Visitors can learn about her life, admire her art, and take in the aura of the place where this Mexican legend called home. Our trip planners tell us that this is a very popular attraction—so reserve your spot early!
  • Mercado Coyoacán: There are tons of great restaurants in Coyoacan, which makes this neighborhood an ideal place to stay. But locals tell us that one of Coyoacan’s biggest draws is its Mercado Coyoacan. Not only will visitors find some out-of-this-world tostadas in this huge marketplace but it’s a great place to shop for authentic souvenirs as well.
  • Viveros de Coyoacán: One thing that makes Coyoacan so special (you know, aside from amazing food and incredible museums) is the wonderful park in the middle of the neighborhood. The Viveros de Coyoacan is a gorgeous green space full of trails, a variety of trees and flowers, and tame squirrels. It’s a great place to run, stroll, or simply relax in the fresh air. 

The drawback to Coyoacan? It’s a bit isolated which means it takes some advance planning to get to other neighborhoods. Our trip planners can design a guidebook with detailed transit instructions to make things easy!

Since Coyoacan is on the quiet side, it’s considered a safe place to visit or stay.

Local Tip:

Coyoacan is an indigenous word meaning "place of the coyotes". You'll see coyote motifs throughout town, including Coyoacan's iconic central fountain. 

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Juarez / Zona Rosa: For incredible nightlife

Juarez has amazing nightlife | Free-Photos/Pixabay

If you spend your days waiting for the sun to go down, then Juarez is the neighborhood for you. Its Zona Rosa section is the place in Mexico City for nightlife—as well as the LGBT core of the city.

Juarez and Zona Rosa have some of the best clubs in town, but there's lots to enjoy no matter how you like to party. Get personalized advice from locals: our trip planners tell us that if you’re looking for something on the quiet side, try to find the Hanky Panky speakeasy for an inventive cocktail. Locals also note that Juarez is a great place to see some of the nearby monuments (like El Angel)—at their most glorious, all lit up at night. Just between San Rafael to the north and Condesa to the south, Juarez is also a pretty central neighborhood.

Mexico City is safe after dark, but it’s all about being smart (like in any big city). Be aware of your surroundings at night, call an Uber when it’s time to go home and get some insider safety recommendations from a Mexico City local before you visit.

Local Tip:

You'll also find spectacular late-night street food in this are. Be sure to try pambazos, sandwiches that are dipped in salsa and then grilled.

San Rafael: Artsy and up-and-coming

San Rafael | Carl Campbell/Flickr

As Roma and Condesa have grown in popularity, a lot of the artists and writers living in those neighborhoods have been priced out. So where do they go? San Rafael! Just west of Centro Historico, San Rafael is still pretty central, which makes coming to and going from the neighborhood a breeze. If you're looking to get off the beaten path, our local trip planners tell us that San Rafael is a good choice. 

While San Rafael has seen better days, it’s still pretty safe, and getting safer. The neighborhood had some incredible glory days, which means it's full of cool, old mansions.

Local Tip:

For an unusual site, go see the abandoned Cine Opera.

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Polanco: Sleek and posh

Pujol | City Foodsters/Flickr

Any answer to the question of “where to eat in Mexico City”, will inevitably lead to Polanco—so it's a great place to stay for foodies. Two of the world’s best restaurants are here! Plus, as a central, upscale part of town, Polanco is safe. It's where to stay in Mexico City if you’re down for centrality and incredible food. 

And that’s not all, folks! Polanco also hosts the Museo Soumaya, which you absolutely can’t miss—because of its unreal architecture, and because it hosts a truly incredible art collection featuring artists like Auguste Rodin and Diego Rivera.

Local Tip:

Speaking of great restaurants, read up on how to tip in Mexico City before your trip.

San Angel: Beautiful and off-the-beaten-path

San Angel | Carl Campbell/Flickr

The charming neighborhood of San Angel offers an even quieter vibe than Coyoacan, to the north—perfect for someone who wants to go to Mexico City to finish their novel, spend their afternoons strolling cobblestone streets or shop at the Bazar Sabado market with the locals.

That said, like Coyoacan, San Angel is outside of central Mexico City. It’s about an hour via metro to get to San Angel from Centro Historico. 

Bonus: Avoid staying in these neighborhoods

Mexico City at night | Tinou Bao/Flickr

Mexico City is full of charming, colorful places to stay—but there are a couple of neighborhoods visitors should cross off their lists. Use insider knowledge to stay safe. Locals tell us that, generally, travelers should avoid these areas:

  • Doctores: Although Doctores is the home of Mexican wrestling, and although it borders the much-safer Roma neighborhood, this area should be avoided at night. It’s not a good place to stay. If you must venture to this part of town (in daylight), get local suggestions to know where to go and where to avoid. Our local trip planners can help with this. 
  • Tepito: nicknamed Barrio Bravo (because one would have to be brave to visit) Tepito is best left off the itinerary.
  • Iztapalapa: This is a neighborhood used by drug traffickers. Avoid.
  • Ciudad Neza: the most densely populated place in Mexico, Ciudad Neza may have a bright future. But for now, it’s best to steer clear of this part of town.

There’s so much to do in Mexico City’s other neighborhoods that there’s no need to visit any with sketchy reputations. Avoid these areas. Have a craft beer in Condesa instead!

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