Posted: 11/28/2022 | November 28th, 2022
Mexico City used to be off the radar for many travelers because it was perceived as being dangerous. But things have changed in CDMX (short for Ciudad de México) and today it’s one of the most popular places to visit in the country.
I loved my time in Mexico City. It’s an incredible foodie destination, has a fun nightlife, lots of history, green space, and boasts lots of galleries and museums to explore. (The art and literature scene here is one of the best in the world.)
It’s also a huge, sprawling metropolis, so choosing the right neighborhood to stay in — one that aligns with your interests and travel style — is important. Traffic can be slow, so you don’t want to waste your visit stuck in transit — or risk your safety by staying in the wrong neighborhood.
To help you decide where to stay in Mexico City, here is my breakdown of the best neighborhoods for visitors (as well as suggested accommodations in each).
But, before I get to that, here are some frequent questions I get asked about staying in Mexico City:
What’s the best neighborhood for foodies?
Though the entire city is a foodie paradise, Condesa and Roma Norte are two adjacent districts that have excellent food markets, street food, and restaurants.
What’s the best neighborhood for families?
Coyoacán is pretty far from the center, but that’s what makes it perfect for families: there’s a subway connection and the area is tranquil and safe.
What’s the best neighborhood for partying?
You can find a party anywhere you go but Condesa and Roma Norte are still two of the best for tourists. Zona Rosa and Juárez also have a lot of bars and a bustling nightlife.
What’s the best neighborhood for history lovers?
Mexico City’s Centro Histórico is crammed with interesting historical sites and is pretty much unavoidable anyway, since it’s the most centrally located neighborhood.
What’s the best neighborhood for shopping?
Upscale and sophisticated, Polanco is bursting with high-end boutiques and outposts of famous fashion designers. If you want to shop ’til you drop (and perhaps max out your credit card), this is the place to do it.
What’s the best neighborhood overall?
For me, Roma Norte is the best neighborhood to stay in. It’s beautiful, has lots of green space, safe, centrally located, and has a lot of the top restaurants in the city. It’s the hip place to be.
With those questions answered, here is my detailed breakdown of each neighborhood!
Mexico City Neighborhood Overview
Where to Stay in Mexico City Overall: Roma Norte or Condesa
Roma Norte and Condesa sit next to each other and are referred to as “sister neighborhoods.” They’re both super leafy and safe, the streets are lined with world-class restaurants, awesome taco stalls, hip coffee shops, craft cocktail bars, and big food markets. This is the hip, artisty area of the city and it’s one of my absolute favorites. (It’s also the most “foreign” as most visitors and expats stay here so you’ll see more Gringos here than anywhere else in the city.)
Best Places to Stay in Condesa and Roma
- BUDGET: Hostel Home — Located in Roma, Mexico City’s first hostel offers fast and free Wi-Fi, comfortable beds, and complimentary bottled water. The homey interior is filled with potted plants and comfy furniture. If you like an “old-school” hostel vibe, this is the place for you.
- MIDRANGE: Hotel Villa Condesa — Fifteen spacious and comfortable suites make up this boutique property in Condesa. Housed in an erstwhile 19th-century mansion, the hotel is stylish, and the staff go out of their way to be welcoming and friendly. Some rooms have balconies, and there’s also a lovely terrace to chill out on.
- LUXURY: Condesa DF — This boutique hotel is one of the coolest and most stylish in Condesa. The interior is retro-chic, and rooms are equipped with LCD Bluetooth speakers, rain showers, and Malin+Goetz bath products. The property also has a fleet of bicycles that guests can use to further explore the neighborhood.
Where to Stay in Mexico City for Families: Coyoacán
Coyoacán, located about 35 minutes by the metro from the Zócalo (main square), in the southern part of the city, is one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Mexico City. The cobblestone streets and colonial-era houses give the district a charming vibe. It’s quiet and safe here as well. And the central park in the neighborhood, Jardín Centenario, is a great place to hang out and people-watch. Coyoacán is also home to the Frida Kahlo Museum and a bunch of incredible food and clothing markets. It’s a really good place to stay if you want to be away from big crowds.
Best Places to Stay in Coyoácan
- BUDGET: Hostel Cuija Coyoacán — Located within walking distance of all the attractions of the neighborhood, Hostel Cuija offers free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and free parking. While the bunks are basic, the bathrooms are clean and the staff goes out of their way to help you make the most of your visit.
- MIDRANGE: Ágata Hotel — This super stylish Coyoácan boutique property includes plush robes, in-room coffeemakers, and plus-sized TVs. Mexican breakfast is complimentary (and delicious).
- LUXURY: H21 — A true boutique hotel, H21 has just five rooms. Each is decorated with unique design and color schemes and they all have private patios, art by local artists and craftmakers, in-room coffee machines, and high-end bath products.
Where to Stay in Mexico City for History Buffs: Centro Histórico
The Centro Histórico is home to all the must see historical sites like the Zócalo, the Metropolitan Cathedral, National Palace (and the Diego Rivera murals inside it), Palacio de Bellas Artes cultural center, and the Torre Latinoamericana skyscraper. If you plan to do a lot of sightseeing, staying here for at least part of your visit is worth considering.
Best Places to Stay in Centro Histórico
- BUDGET: Selina — Hands-down the best hostel in Mexico City, this hostel is spacious, clean, and has a fun vibe. There’s lots of common space to hang out and the staff are always organizing events so it’s easy to meet people.
- MIDRANGE: Zócalo Central Mexico City — Housed in a late-19th-century building, the centrally located property has free bicycles for guests, a fitness center, and a steam room. Guest rooms have hardwood floors, plus-sized TVs, AC, and coffee machines.
- LUXURY: Gran Hotel Ciudad de México — The stately and historic Art Nouveau hotel offers rooms that overlook the Zócalo, the famed central square. The interior lobby, with its wrought-iron elevators and balustrades, is easy on the eyes. The huge rooms have marble bathrooms, large TVs, desks, and AC.
Where to Stay in Mexico City for Luxury & Shopping: Polanco
This posh district is known as the “Beverly Hills of Mexico” and is home to Pujol, perhaps the best restaurant in the country, as well as the upscale restaurants Mr. Chow, Morimoto, Nobu, and the Basque/molecular eatery Biko. It’s also where you’ll find the densest collection of luxury shopping in the country (the Antara fashion Hall, a high-end shopping center, is located here). Come here to max out your card on clothes, or just stroll the streets to window-shop.
Best Places to Stay in Polanco
- BUDGET: Golden Buda — One of the few budget options in Polanco, Golden Buda is a no-frills hostel with decent showers, free breakfast, and yoga and meditation classes. The bunks aren’t amazing, but you can’t beat the price.
- MIDRANGE: Green Park Hotel — Housed in a gorgeous Art Deco building, the Green Park is a large dose of comfort in the middle of Polanco. Its suites are loaded with amenities and have views of either the adjacent park or the courtyard. The rooftop bar is a fun place to hang out too.
- LUXURY: Pug Seal — This 20-room boutique hotel on Calle Edgar Allan Poe is a quirky but luxurious place to stay in the neighborhood. Each room is unique, designed by a different Mexican artist. Breakfast is included, as is a fleet of bicycles guests can ride to further explore the area.
Mexico City is such a gargantuan, bustling metropolis that you need to take the time to plan out where you’re going to stay. By researching the best neighborhoods in the city, you’ll be able to stay safe, save money, and make the most of your time in this incredible and underrated destination.
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- SafetyWing (best for everyone)
- Insure My Trip (for those 70 and over)
- Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Want to Travel for Free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.
Need Help Finding Activities for Your Trip?
Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace where you can find cool walking tours, fun excursions, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more.
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.