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I’ve never been much of a big city person, but there’s something about Mexico City. Also known as CDMX or “Ciudad de Mexico” among the locals, it is the oldest capital city in North America, and it is HUGE. In fact, it is one of the most populated cities in the world.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Mexico City when you visit. It’s charming, full of excitement, tons of Mexican culture and plenty of opportunities for sightseeing. Not to mention, the number of green spaces, buzzing nightlife, museums, diverse street food and a huge variety of taco stands leave plenty to come back for year after year.
But in a city full of countless districts, colonias, and zones, choosing the best neighborhood for your trip to Mexico City can be overwhelming, to say the least. We’ve made it easy for you by rounding up the best of where to stay in Mexico City during your getaway:
SheBuysTravel Tip: With a super high altitude of 7,350 feet (higher than Denver!), Mexico City can be hard on the body if you are used to living at sea level. To avoid altitude sickness, it is best to take it slow the first couple of days of your visit, take your time when walking, and stay hydrated!
La Condesa lands at the top of our list of where to stay in Mexico City. Perhaps one of the best areas to stay for first-time visitors, it is centrally located, family-friendly, stylish, and modern. It is also where you will find some of the cutest and hip art deco apartment rentals and boutique hotels if the big chains aren’t your thing (see below for our recommendations)!
Travelers with children will love that Parque Mexico is within walking distance, with large, shaded playgrounds to keep them busy. My son, who was 6 years old during our visit to Mexico City, spent hours playing at the park with other kids. There is also plenty of space and paved paths for walking, running, and bike riding. Nearby you will find the popular Bosque de Chapultepec and popular areas of Roma and Zona Rosa.
Condesa is also known to be one of the best areas to stay for foodies, with numerous trendy bistros, cafes, and taquerias. And if you’re looking for nightlife, you’ll find plenty of bars and clubs to choose from once the sun sets.
Best hotels to stay in La Condesa:
- Hotel Condesa DF – A boutique, luxury hotel known to be one of the coolest and stylish hotels in Condesa. Has a rooftop bar and movie theater.
- Casa Luciana – Another beautiful, 5-star boutique luxury hotel situated less than a mile from Chapultepec Castle.
- Hotel Parque México Suites at Condesa – An adults-only hotel in the heart of Condesa, just minutes away from the Museo de Arte Moderno and Bosque de Chapultepec park.
Known as the “Beverly Hills of Mexico,” Polanco is the place to be if budget is not a factor. Home to top-rated fine dining restaurants, prestigious nightclubs, and high-end shopping, it is considered to be the most upscale and prestigious areas of Mexico City.
Upon arriving in Polanco, you’ll be met with the sight of modern architecture and Spanish Colonial Revival mansions. You won’t want to miss a visit to Museo Soumaya, a futuristic museum that houses one of Latin America’s largest aquariums.
If you’re ready to splurge on world-class designer brands, head over to Avenida Presidente Masaryk where you’ll find plenty of opportunities to shop and dine like a queen. In addition to the largest collection of luxury shopping in Mexico, Polanco is also home to the top fine dining restaurants, including Pujol, considered by many to be the best restaurant in the country.
Best hotels to stay in Polanco:
- Hyatt Regency Mexico City – A sophisticated hotel right next to the Bosque de Chapultepec city park and minutes from the Antara Fashion Hall shopping mall.
- Intercontinental Mexico City, an IHG Hotel – An award-winning, high-rise luxury hotel overlooking Chapultepec Park and minutes from the best coffee shops, restaurants, and museums.
- Casa Polanco Hotel Boutique – A high-end, homestyle boutique hotel within steps of the area’s best restaurants and minutes of the area’s most popular museums.
Named one of the Barro Magicos (“magical neighborhoods”) of Mexico City, Roma is where to stay in Mexico City if you are into the hipster culture. Roma Norte is where you will find many young professionals, with 20th-century neoclassical and artistic buildings lining the streets.
The central avenue, Avenida Álvaro Obregón, is where you will find many international eateries, sidewalk bars, and coffee shops. You will also find many refurbished mansions, such as the Casa Lamm Cultural Center. Roma Norte is extremely walkable with plenty of green spaces, so don’t be afraid to take a stroll and check out its many plazas, museums and mercados (“markets”).
Best hotels to stay in Roma Norte:
- Hostel Home – Great for budget travelers staying in Roma, this is Mexico City’s first hostel and offers fast and free wifi and comfy beds.
- Apart Hotel Querétaro – This conveniently located, apartment-style hotel has a fully-equipped kitchenette and is an excellent choice whether traveling for business or pleasure.
- Hotel MX roma – This colorful, modern hotel puts you close to all of the trendiest bars, cafés and delicious restaurants. They even provide you with free bikes to explore the city!
Translated as the “Historic Center”, Centro Historico is the center of the capital and where to stay in Mexico City if you want a central location that serves as a good base for exploring. It is also the best place to be if you want to be near buses where you can take day trips to other cities and sites.
In Centro Historico, you will find historic landmarks dating back to the Aztec area, and the famous Zócalo, a massive main square with museums and iconic buildings. As the original site of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, it is known for its Templo Mayor and the baroque Catedral Metropolitana de México of the Spanish conquistadors, and its famous Diego Rivera murals. Other must-visit places in the center include the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Metropolitan Cathedral.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite from all of the exploring, you’ll have plenty of choices to choose from, from delicious taquerias and street stands to high-end restaurants along the pedestrian-only street, Calle Madero.
Best hotels to stay in Centro Historico:
- Hotel MX Centro – This centrally located hotel puts you within walking distance of the Zocalo and Palacio de Bellas Artes. There’s also free breakfast to get the day started off right!
- Casa de la Luz Hotel Boutique – A family-friendly hotel set in a 16th-century building with beautiful views of the city.
- Kali Centro Mexico City – A comfy and relaxed hotel just steps away from the city’s popular Mercado San Juan gourmet market.
Reforma isn’t exactly a neighborhood, but a popular area mostly known for Paseo de la Reforma, one of the most well-known avenues in the city. It is also one of my personal favorites, packed with hotels, delicious restaurants, public transportation, sightseeing buses, and even Uber bikes! It’s no wonder it is sometimes referred to as the “Times Square of Mexico City.”
When it comes to the Reforma area, the question isn’t so much of what is there to do, but what is there NOT to do. Reforma is home to the well-known Chapultepec Castle, Angel of Independence statue, and the city’s biggest park, Chapultepec Park. It is a wonderful area for both families and single explorers, boasting green spaces, a zoo, and nine museums, including the ever so popular Papalote Museo del Niño (a must-visit for children and their parents)!
Best hotels to stay in Reforma:
- Hilton Mexico City Reforma – A contemporary, high-rise hotel right in the heart of the city and all of its best attractions.
- Sheraton Mexico City Maria Isabel Hotel – A comfy hotel right off of Paseo de la Reforma and two minutes from the Angel of Independence. Also a personal favorite of my son because of the free hot chocolate machines throughout the hotel!
- Hotel Royal Reforma – This modern and conveniently located hotel is just one block from Chapultepec Avenue and walking distance from Paseo de la Reforma.
Coyocan may be far from the main part of the city, but certainly worth a look when considering where to stay in Mexico City. It is a great choice for families and visitors who want to stay in a more tranquil part of town but still have access to the more bustling parts of the city.
Coyocan is home to the famous Frida Kahlo Museum, adding a pop of bright-blue color to the area. Along its beautiful tree-lined streets you’ll also find many other art galleries, markets, cafes, and ice cream parlors to cool down on a warm day. At Coyoacan’s center sits Jardin Centenario and is where you’ll find beautiful colonial architecture and classic cobblestone streets. And when you’re ready to explore other parts of town, there’s a subway station nearby to get you where you need to be in no time.
Best hotels to stay in Coyoacan:
- Finca Coyoacán – A family-friendly guesthouse within walking distance to Frida Kahlo Museum. It also has a sun terrace and free Wi-Fi!
- Meztli: Casa Boutique & Spa – A warm and colorful guest house minutes from the Frida Kahlo Museum and Coyoacan Market.
- Fiesta Inn Periferico Sur – A stylish hotel next to the region’s popular Perisur shopping center and just an 8-minute drive from Azteca Stadium and Six Flags theme park.
Located in downtown Mexico City, Colonia Juarez is a popular area among young professionals and hipsters. As one of the oldest residential areas originally built of 19th-century mansions, it doesn’t have as many sightseeing opportunities as its neighboring colonias Condesa and Roma, but it is definitely worth a look when considering where to stay in Mexico City.
Along its busy streets you will find several street food vendors, sidewalk cafes, bars and nightclubs. Juarez is also home to the popular Zona Rosa, known to be the gay-friendly district of the area as well as where you will find a thriving Korean community with authentic shops and eateries.
Best hotels to stay in Juarez:
- Hotel Geneve CD de Mexico – Located in Zona Rosa, this 5-star hotel is just steps away from the best restaurants, shops, and attractions.
- Hotel PF – A practical, modern hotel with a convenient location near many cultural and historic attractions.
- MC Suites Mexico City – A 5-star hotel with large, spacious rooms and an unbeatable location. There’s even a hot tub!
If modern, city life is what you are looking for, Santa Fe is where you want to be. Marked by its tall, modern skyscrapers, it is home to chain hotels, college campuses, upscale restaurants, and one of the largest shopping malls in Latin America. For travelers on business and wondering where to stay in Mexico City, Santa Fe is where you will find many of the major businesses and companies.
Outside of working hours, Santa Fe is pretty quiet, but there’s still plenty to do and see. Families traveling with children will want to check out KidZania, an interactive city where they will learn through fun and role-playing. If taking advantage of shopping deals is on your list of things to do during your vacation, you’ll want to head to the 500-store Centro Santa Fe. And for a more relaxing day, head to Parque La Mexicana, where you will find trails, sculptures and restaurants.
Best hotels to stay in Santa Fe:
- Hilton Garden Inn Mexico City Santa Fe – Located across the street from the Expo Santa Fe Convention Center, this casual hotel is an excellent choice for business travelers.
- Novotel Mexico City Santa Fe – Located in a residential and business area, this relaxed hotel is ideal for business travelers, leisure travelers and families.
- AC Hotel by Marriott Santa Fe – This contemporary hotel is surrounded by the area’s best shops and restaurants. They also offer free bicycles to make getting around easy!
Areas to Avoid:
With so much to see and do in Mexico City, it isn’t hard to wander and steer off path into unknown territory. And while many areas are safe and popular amongst tourists, there are a few areas that locals recommend avoiding during your visit:
- Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl (Ciudad Neza) – Although a very populated area of the city, it is said to be very high in crime and gang violence and best to avoid.
- Doctores – Home to Mexican wrestling, this area borders the safer Colonia Roma. However, it is not safe to visit at night and not the place to stay when in Mexico City.
- Iztapalapa – As one of the neighborhoods with high reports of drug trafficking and crime against women, it is best to stay away.
- Tepito – Nicknamed “Barrio Bravo”, Tepito is known for its black market, as well as its pickpockets and crime. As one of the places that even locals keep off your list, you should keep it off yours as well.