Where to Stay in Mexico City
Mexico City is an incredible, historical, beautiful, cultural titan of a city and the world is starting to notice. With a reputation of fear waning and one of curiosity growing, more and more travelers are starting to flock here to see what the fuss is about. With a sprawling city this size [around 21 million people!] it’s important to know where to stay in Mexico City to the make the most of your time.
Condesa - Roma
Hands down the best place to stay in Mexico City is Condesa – Roma. This area is just west of the city centre and is comprised of two neighbouring barrios, Condesa and Roma, named for the countess who once owned this land. Arguably the centre of the city’s culinary scene with incredible restaurants, bars and cafes on every corner, it is also the trendier part of the city with plenty of galleries, green spaces and shops to explore. The gorgeous tree-lined avenues make it so beautiful and relaxing to walk. Along with the Art Deco and Porfirian [a mix of French, Roman, Gothic and Moorish] architecture, it feels like you’ve stepped through a portal to Europe.
Condesa – Roma is a more gentrified part of the city which appeals to a multi-cultural blend of locals and imports alike. It is definitely the safest area of the city making it walkable for solo travellers and females and is well connected with easy access to public transport, Uber and of course, walking. Condesa – Roma has lots of stylish accommodation options to choose from with a wide variety of boutique hotels and AirBnbs. It does cost a little more to stay here but it’s worth it to be so well situated and safe.
Cuauhtémoc – Centro Historico
Cuauhtémoc [pronounced kwaw-TE-mok] is named for the former Aztec leader of the same name. It is the tourist, financial and historical centre, home to major government buildings, museums, and the Zona Rosa [gay neighbourhood]. Any visit to Mexico City will include a visit to this area. Centred around the Zócalo, the second largest public square in the world, this area has a number of astonishing historical sites such as the Teatro de Bellas Artes, Aztec ruins of the Templo Mayor, and the National Palace of Mexico, to name a few.
Being the centre of the city means it attracts all sorts of people. This is the part of the city where you may be stopped while walking to be sold things, convinced to choose a certain bar or restaurant, or targeted for the occasional hustle. A lot of political demonstrations tend to happen here so it is not uncommon to see temporary walls and an active police presence [for the record, I have never had any issues with the Mexican police]. There is also an active bar scene here with clubs in the Zona Rosa running into the wee hours of the morning and rooftop patios overlooking the beautiful buildings below.
There are many affordable and modernized AirBnbs to choose from here but I would make sure to research the specific area in detail and take a look at the Google Street View before booking. Avoid off-the-beaten-path areas and dark laneways when looking at locations. Hostels and hotels range from the low side to the luxury side. The higher end and safer accommodations tend be situated closer to the Paseo de Reforma, a large avenue that runs diagonally across the city connecting Chapultepec Castle to the city centre. With a little research Cuauhtémoc can be a great affordable option for the savvy traveller and is well connected to the rest of the city by public transport and Uber.
Coyoacán is one of the oldest areas of Mexico City and actually remained independent until it was eventually absorbed into the city in 1928. It is the artistic hub of Mexico City, popular with bohemians and creatives, and was the home of renowned Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera whose house can still be visited as a museum today. Local artists gather in the square to sell their works and the mercados are bursting with colourful wares. This is the best part of the city to explore street food, especially elotes [Mexican street corn] and do some shopping for local artisan creations. The central garden is a popular spot for first dates and street performers. Everything from beatboxers to magicians to break dancers, there’s always something happening.
Coyoacán is located quite a ways south of the city centre, taking anywhere from 15 – 60 minutes to drive depending on traffic, and up to an hour on public transport. It also receives a huge influx of visitors from other barrios on the weekends, often up to 70,000 people. Coyoacán was ranked one of the best places in the country to live making it an excellent option for longer stays but it can come with a higher price tag than other parts of the city. The distance from other attractions and areas of interest mean it wouldn’t be ideal for travellers visiting for a few days or even a week, but should definitely be on the hit list for things to do in Mexico City.
Wherever you decide to stay in Mexico City, you’re in for a treat. This city has something for everyone and is sure to become a favourite and somewhere you’ll want to return to time and time again. A city of this scale deserves some forward thinking so take a look at my list of What to Do in Mexico City and get planning!
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