Centro Historico: Glamorous And Historical
Heyjust because theres history in its name doesnt mean that Centro Historico is boring. Locals tell us that some of the best things to do in Mexico City can be found in the Centro Historico. But since Centro Historico can lean touristy, take advantage of local suggestions to avoid getting ensnared in a tourist trap.
Among the best things to see in this neighborhood are Palacio Nacional, where the president works, Zocalo Square, where all big national events or holidays are celebrated, Catedral Metropolitana, the citys enormous historic cathedral, and the just-adjacent ruins of the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan.
Centro Historico is pretty safe, especially during the day. At night, locals say to use caution if you wander to some of Centro Historico’s adjacent neighborhoods.
San Rafael A Largely Residential Neighborhood In Mexico City
Colonia San Rafael within Cuauhtémoc Borough is just to the west of El Centro. It was built in the late 19th Century to house the Citys rich who built large mansions. The style was French and many of those mansions still survive today.
Almost 400 of its buildings are regarded as being of historic significance. The mix of styles, as the further building was done during the 20th Century is one of the features of San Rafael.
Theater and movies were the entertainment locally and 10 theaters still remain from the many that existed during the last century. San Rafael holds a Sunday art market that attracts visitors.
In some ways, this is a declining neighborhood with the affluent long gone. However, there is the hope of regeneration in the form of young artists and the galleries that have sprung up because it is less expensive than some other parts of the Capital.
Stay in San Rafael if you enjoy historical buildings, you want to visit art galleries, you prefer being close to the center of Mexico City, you are looking for an inexpensive district in the Capital.
Best Hotels in Mexico City San Rafael
Santa Fe One Of Mexico Citys Newest Neighborhoods
This highly commercial area is one of Mexico Citys newest neighborhoods. Its filled with gleaming skyscrapers, but it doesnt lend itself particularly well to being a place to stay in Mexico City.
Everything looks fabulous and modern. However, there is a definite shortage of accommodations here.
If you were blindfolded and dropped in Santa Fe, you could be forgiven for believing that you had been left in an American city. This is where youll find the local offices for many multinational corporations and high-tech businesses.
Young professionals with plenty of money settle here in droves in high-rise condominiums and apartments. Accordingly, a restaurant and nightlife scene has sprung up here to cater to them. Santa Fe also boasts a sprawling shopping center filled with upscale shops.
The area is well-served by buses, so its not much of a problem to make the 12-mile journey from the citys center. Mass transit to the neighborhood is an absolute necessity because so many workers must commute here. Predictably, morning and evening rush hours produce a traffic jam of epic proportions.
Santa Fe sprang up quickly in the 1980s and 1990s. While great attention was paid to gleaming skyscrapers, there seems to have been little overall planning. Accordingly, youll find few parks, greens spaces or even pathways for pedestrians. This is not one of the most visitor-friendly areas in Mexico City.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN MEXICO CITY IN SANTA FE
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La Condesa / Roma Norte: The Absolute Best Area To Stay In Mexico City
When we went to Mexico City in 2018, we stayed in an Airbnb in Roma Norte.
In 2019, when we made it back for a return trip, we spent part of our 9 days in Roma Norte.
In my head, I lump together Roma Norte and La Condesa because of the similar vibe and close proximity. Technically, though, they are different neighborhoods.
It is young, energetic, and hip, which places it among the best places to stay in Mexico City. The sheer density of amazing restaurants, cute cafes, and boutiques is staggering. Theres so much to do and see. And, more importantly, eat and drink.
Tree-lined streets make it an extremely walkable neighborhood. Youll find coffee shops lining the streets in the morning and lively bars at night.
The center of La Condesa is the Parque Mexico, which is a public park where youll find dog walkers , young couples with kids, and people wandering all through the day.
Trendy and walkable, La Condesa and Roma Norte top the list of my favorite areas in Mexico City. My top recommendation would be to find an Airbnb in the area to use as a home base for exploring the rest of CDMX. This one caught my eye, but it wasnt available for either of our trips.
The Best Places to Stay in Roma Norte / La Condesa
Tree-lined streets, some of the best food in the city, and a vibrant nightlife scene make the area around Roma Norte and La Condesa a pretty special place.
Here are some of my top picks in the area.
3 Great Airbnb Options in La Condesa / Roma Norte
Bonus : Best Apartments In Mexico City
Hotels are great, but if youre the type of person who prefers staying in an apartment because its cozier and closer to home no worries, I completely understand and I have some recommendations for you as well!
Here are 3 hand-picked Mexico City apartments for a perfect stay:
- The Wild Oscar Heres a truly gorgeous 5-star aparthotel in Polanco! Its the perfect choice if you want a residential style-accommodation where youll feel like a queen .
- Casa Moctezuma Heres an awesome apartment in the south of Coyoacan which I definitely recommend for middle-priced stay. Its very close to Frida Kahlo Museum and it even has daily breakfast available!
- This lovely 3-star apartment is my recommendation for budget travelers. It even has a very cute terrace where you can relax and enjoy!
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Dangerous Neighborhoods Mexico City + Best Neighborhoods To Stay Cdmx
In preparation for a business trip or road trip in Mexico, you need to know what are the dangerous neighborhoods in Mexico City.
Indeed, it is essential to avoid certain neighborhoods if you are looking for where to stay in Mexico City safely. And it’s a fact: The crime rate is very high in Mexico and especially in Mexico City.
Therefore, I made my own investigation to locate the neighborhoods to avoid and choose my hotel in the best neighborhoods to stayin Mexico City.
Here is a Mexico City neighborhood guide which is a synthesis of information from specialized sources: local press, statistics, economic media, studies and other rankings.
You will also find a Google Map of the districts of Mexico City. This map is useful and practical for locating dangerous neighborhoodsfrom Mexico City but also best neighborhoods to stay.
Attractions In The Zona Rosa
- The fantastic bars and clubs it has the best LGBTQI+ nightlife in the city, but anyone is welcome!
- Shopping at the many boutiques in the area
- Little Korea, the Korean neighbourhood of the city where you can get really authentic Kimchi in Mexico!
- The annual Pride festival, the epicentre of which is in this area
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Best For: Luxury Seekers Outdoor Space And Museums
The most affluent neighbourhood in Mexico City and home to Mexicos international embassies. Polancos prestige and respectability smacks you in the face as soon as you enter the neighbourhood.
But we didnt feel like it had as much character as the other neighbourhoods and there definitely wasnt as much going on. Theres plenty of exclusive designer shops and fine dining options around here if thats your thing.
Where To Stay In Mexico City: Best Neighborhoods & Hotels
One of the largest cities in the world, Mexico City is the sprawling capital of Mexico. This incredible metropolis is jammed full of history, scintillating culture, mouthwatering food, and amazing art.
Originally an Aztec settlement as evidenced by the ruins of the 13th century Templo Mayor there are plenty of buildings that point back to its Spanish colonial past as the capital of New Spain. Baroque churches and ornate palaces lie among cobblestoned old lanes in former villages, now part of the city itself.
Founded as Ciudad de Mexico by Spanish conquistadors in 1521, this is the largest city and oldest capital city in North America. Its also the worlds largest Spanish-speaking city. Its location, 2,250 meters above sea level, makes it one of the worlds highest capital cities, too. The city has a long relationship with art and has been the home to famous intellectuals and artists throughout the years, including Mexican icons Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
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Best Travel Insurance For Mexico
As with any trip abroad, make sure you have a good quality travel insurance in place. Our go to travel insurance provider is World Nomads. They have a no bullshit approach when it comes to policy wording and are perfect for adventurous travellers like us. Get a no obligation quote here:
If you found this information and neighbourhood guide to Mexico City useful, please let us know in a comment. Or if you need any more help in planning your trip, hit us below and well do our best to help. We love Mexico City and hope you do too!
This post was updated in October 2018 to include the most up to date and accurate information.
Where To Stay In Condesa & Roma
- Stanza Hotel Located in a multi-story high-rise, the 4-star Stanza Hotel has all the ingredients for a relaxing stay. Take your pick of the 130 comfortably furnished rooms and suites that sleep one to four people. Chill out with a cocktail in the lounge bar, dine on Mexican and Mediterranean fusion cuisine at the on-site restaurant, or work up a sweat at the fitness center. Other perks include free Wi-Fi and free parking.
- Hotel Roosevelt Inside its red and white exterior, the modest 3-star Hotel Roosevelt offers a comfortable nights sleep in the center of town. Each simply furnished room comes with amenities such as cable TV, free Wi-Fi, and a private bathroom. For those traveling with kids, there are four-sleeper family rooms available. Guests love staying here because of the hotels laidback atmosphere and its convenient on-site restaurant with a good mix of traditional Mexican appetizers as well as international staples.
Founded in the 1920s as one of the citys answers to a housing shortage, Lomas de Chapultepec is set further west of Polanco and is known for its decisive air of exclusivity. With mansions and gated communities, its where many of the citys most wealthy choose to live including business owners and politicians. Even Googles Mexican headquarters can be found here.
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Juarez / Zona Rosa: For Incredible Nightlife
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 nightlifeas 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 youre 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 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 its all about being smart . Be aware of your surroundings at night, call an Uber when its time to go home and get some insider safety recommendations from a Mexico City local before you visit.
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.
The Hyatt Regency Mexico City
At a more reasonable $130 $270 a night , the Hyatt Regency in Polanco fuses Eastern and Western influences throughout the hotel. The rooms are clean and spacious, the design is contemporary and luxurious, and each room comes with its own minibar, marble bathrooms, satellite TV, and impressive views of the city and park. The hotel also has a full fitness center, complete with a sauna, tennis courts, and a swimming pool.
The Hyatt Regency also offers three on-site restaurants the Japanese Yoshimi, the Amado, and a pastry shop. If you want to venture outside of the hotel for a bite to eat, the hotel is at the heart of Polanco, one of Mexico Citys top gastronomic districts. The hotel is located on Campos Elíseos 204, Polanco.
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For Bleisure Travelers: Santa Fe
Santa Fe is one of the newest neighborhoods in Mexico City, famed for its big-box headquarters and shiny new apartment buildings. The hip district is visited mostly by business travelers, though theres plenty to discover among its skyscrapers and highways. Here, you can find the largest shopping mall in Mexico, Centro Santa Fe, with over 500 stores, two food courts, a luxury wing, and an ice rink within its more than six million square feet. Foodies will also find this neighborhood appealing with top restaurants like Toro Latin Kitchen & Bar, Nobu, and Central Central, to name a few.
The most luxurious and sophisticated brand of the Mexican hotelier group Grupo Posadas, Live Aqua sits 10 minutes away from the traffic and the buzz of Santa Fe, offering guests a relaxed stay. Upon entering, a tranquil environment embraces visitors. The untraditional hotel eschews a front desk in the lobby for fountains, vegetation, and walls covered with books. The elegant guest rooms 135 all together come with aromatherapy options, a pillow menu, and customizable lighting.
Paseo de Los Tamarindos 98, Bosques de las Lomas, 01 9177 8400, liveaqua.com
Polanco: Sleek And Posh
Any answer to the question of where to eat in Mexico City, will inevitably lead to Polancoso it’s a great place to stay for foodies. Two of the worlds best restaurants are here! Plus, as a central, upscale part of town, Polanco is safe. It’s where to stay in Mexico City if youre down for centrality and incredible food.
And thats not all, folks! Polanco also hosts the Museo Soumaya, which you absolutely cant missbecause of its unreal architecture, and because it hosts a truly incredible art collection featuring artists like and Diego Rivera.
Speaking of great restaurants, read up on how to tip in Mexico City before your trip.
Mercado De Coyoacn Ignacio Allende
Seriously you have to go here for the best tostados you will likely eat in your entire life they are just that good. They have every filling you could imagine and and they pile them on. The market is huge so you might be wandering around for a while until you find the bright yellow tostadas restaurants section but once you do youll know. And youll be back, again and again.
Centro Histrico Where To Stay In Mexico City On A Budget
This is where the city was first founded. Once the epicenter of the Meso-American hub Tenochtitlán, the area is now home to several historic buildings and a veritable shit ton of museums. In fact, Mexico City has the most museums in the world check out the top 20 here!
The buildings were built by the Spanish conquistadores on top of the Aztec temples and pyramids. Many of them date back to the 16th century. In 1987 the historic center was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to its importance.
The area is centered around the massive Zocalo plaza and visitors to the area can enjoy exploring the pedestrian-only streets stretching out from there. Whether its art, cuisine, or history you seek, youll find it all in the centro histórico.
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Pros And Cons Of Staying In Reforma
Reforma has a lot of high-end hotels, and is the best place to stay in Mexico City for business travellers. It is also close to both the Centro Historico and neighbourhoods like Polanco, Condesa and Roma. However, there isnt too much happening right in the neighbourhood, and because it is the business district, the area lacks character, as well as many budget hotels.
Best Airbnb In Juarez/cuauhtemoc: Best Location Stylish New Apartment
With a nice, quiet vibe, this new and stylish apartment in Cuauhtemoc is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Mexico City. The location is perfect with Roma, Chapultepec, and Reforma all within easy reach.
There is a terrace with a nice view of the neighborhood and a full kitchen in case you want to cook during your stay. There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms, so its perfect for a family of four.
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