Edited by Holly Stark
While most areas of Mexico City are pretty cool, with tree-lined streets, picturesque parks, sleek skyscrapers, historical colonial buildings, and busy markets, some areas of the city are even more desirable (and certainly safer) than others. But no matter where you head in Mexico City, its colonias will both surprise and excite you. From neighborhoods with a cultural and historical appeal, like Centro Historico to areas with a vibrant bohemian vibe, the capital of Mexico is full of hidden gems and secret corners to delve into. Wondering where to stay in Mexico? Check my insider’s Mexico City neighborhood guide, which covers some of the best areas to stay in Mexico City, some essential tips, cool spots for tacos, unique areas for families with kids, and the best areas for art and history lovers.
As the historic center of Mexico City where you’ll find the majority of historical, cultural and local sights, the Centro Historico is the original location of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Undoubtedly a must-see Mexico City neighborhood, explore the ruins at Templo Mayor, see the Diego Rivera murals at the National Palace, and check out the evidence that the city is sinking as you walk through the Metropolitan Cathedral. Home to ancient historic landmarks, Centro Historico is Mexico City's beating heart. Centered around the massive Zócalo plaza, the area draws visitors to museums and iconic buildings like the Palace of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Art, the Museum of Popular Art, and the Franz Mayer Museum. Street vendors and basic taquerías line the streets in harmony with more high-end restaurants and stores selling everything you could possibly imagine. Check out Taquería Los Paisas near to Zócalo: the taco stand with a likely line up of people waiting their turn to sample delicious, local tacos.
A walk down Roma’s main street, Alvaro Obregon, and you’ll be quick to realize you’re in the land of the artists, writers, and creatives. Head into the arty enclave of a neighborhood that has a hipster edge, and fall in love with the perfect combination of colorful colonial buildings, Art Nouveau architecture, quirky bookshops, and veggie food spots. Following an earthquake in 1985, Roma, now one of the best neighborhoods in Mexico City, became the bohemian center of the city where artists and writers flocked thanks to low rent prices. Check out the Mercado Roma; a covered market filled with food counters from some of Mexico City’s most popular restaurants and cafes. The tamale de quest con rajas tacos from Azul Antojo are worth trying, and you can finish it off with some delicious churros from El Moro.
Condesa was named after its original inhabitant, the Countess of Miravalle. Now brimming with sidewalk cafes and international restaurants, it is one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city and is great if you’re wondering where to stay in Mexico City first time. Check out the leafy green Parque Mexico for an afternoon in the sunshine. Grab a snack from an all-day street vendor; try fresh coconut juice, juicy pineapples, or sticky sweet potatoes covered in cream. Soak up the vibe and see families walking their dogs and playing. Alternatively, head to Chapultepec Park, which runs between Polanco and Condesa. One of the best places to stay in Mexico City with family, Condesa is home to Comunal; a three-story restaurant with the third floor dedicated to kids in the city. Children can play with no shoes in a natural environment and snack on organic food like sweet potato chips and ice cream while playing with wooden toys and plants.
Perhaps known best as the birthplace of Frida Kahlo, Coyoacan has long been home to some of Mexico’s most influential people. During Aztec times, Coyoacan was a historic center and school location for the children of Aztec nobles. One of the best areas to stay in Mexico City, Coyoacan is a cultural hub with the bright-blue Frida Kahlo Museum, showcasing her life and work, the National Museum of Popular Culture, which displays folk art like jewelry and ceramics and the Museo Anahuacalli, home to Diego Rivera’s collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts. Check out the beautiful area away from the busy Mexico City streets and soak up the vibe of a peaceful district with science museums, theaters, green space, and cafes.
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