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Best Area To Stay In Mexico City For Tourists In Spring 2024

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4 months ago

After visiting every country, people are shocked that I still get ‘travel overwhelmed’. Every time I’m planning a trip to Mexico City, I question: What is the best area to stay in Mexico City for tourists?

Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world, with over 20+ million inhabitants! It also happens to be one of my favorite cities in the world. Year after year, I am continually drawn back to Mexico’s fascinating layer of cultures, museums and those mouth-watering tacos.  

birds eye view over mexico city palacio de bellas artes
Mexico City’s iconic Palacio de Bellas Artes – home to some of my favorite murals in the city.

Unlike smaller towns in Mexico like San Miguel de Allende, where you stay in Mexico City really matters! In this article, I will share with you the best areas to stay in Mexico City for tourists, with pros and cons for each – and the safest area to stay in Mexico City.

If you stick around until the end, I will tell you where I always stay and why.  

How to decide what area to stay in Mexico City

Choosing where to stay in Mexico City really depends on a few questions:

  1. Is it your first time in Mexico City?
  2. What are your interests? Mexico City’s Historic Attractions? Food & Dining?  
  3. Are you traveling alone or with a group?

As you read through the different area guides, keep these questions in the back of your mind!

museo soumaya in polanco architecture modern silver
The iconic tower of the Museo Soumaya in Polanco

1. Historical Centre  

The Historical Centre is the heart of ancient Mexico City. Much of the colonial town is built literally on top of the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, and you can even see the ruins of the Templo Mayor here. 

murals in mexico national parliament

Pros of staying in the Historical Centre

  • Close to all the major historical sites and main attractions of Mexico City: the Zocalo, the murals of the Palacio Nacional, and the Templo Mayor. If you are on a tight 3 day itinerary of Mexico City, it makes sense to stay central!  
  • Vibrant street life, including performers in Aztec-era costumes and lots of cheap street food.
  • Even amid the chaos, many smaller hotels here offer a safe place to stay in Mexico City.
two figures in diego rivera's mural at the palacio nacional in mexico city
A close-up of one of the iconic panels of Diego Rivera’s murals at the Palacio Nacional

Cons of staying in the Historical Centre

  • Particularly crowded and noisy (even for Mexico City) – which means during the day you need to keep a close watch on your pockets
  • After dark, this area gets very quiet and I would not recommend walking around alone here, particularly for solo female travelers to Mexico City.  
lucha libre colorful masks
Lucha libre masks for sale in the historic centre

If it’s your first time in Mexico City, I would always recommend a walking tour to get started. There is so much history at every corner here and you don’t want to miss out!

Where to stay in the Historical Centre

I would recommend as close to the Zocalo (main square) as possible. I recommend Zocalo Central, Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico, and the Hampton Inn to stay walking distance to the Zocalo.

2. Colonia Juarez 

Once the home to Mexico City’s elite, Colonia Juarez is known for its grand and elegant 19th century architecture and for its proximity to Reforma – the Champs d’Elysees of Mexico City.  

the angel of reforma, mexico city
The symbol of Mexico City: The Angel of Reforma

Pros of staying in Colonia Juarez

  • Juarez has a historic charm, with tree-lined streets and beautiful buildings.
  • Some of the best bars in Mexico City, including Handshake Speakeasy and Xaman Bar.
  • As a super central location, this will likely be the starting point for any Mexico City tours or Teotihuacan day trips from Mexico City – an important consideration if you are visiting Mexico City for the first time!  

Cons of staying in Colonia Juarez

  • Much like the historic center, after dark this area can become a little spooky.
  • I find Juarez lacks the historic atmosphere of the Historic Centre and the cool, chic vibes of Roma or Condesa.  
fish tacos with sauce

Where to stay in Colonia Juarez

I’ll only recommend hotels that are within walking distance to Reforma – where you want to be! The best hotels in Colonia Juarez are Nima Local House Hotel, Hotel Geneve, Marquis Reforma Hotel Spa and Hotel MX Reforma.

3. Roma and Roma Norte 

These adjoining neighbourhoods are the beating Bohemian heart of Mexico City. If you are looking for a younger, artsy and more hip side to CDMX (as the locals call it), Roma is for you.  

Pros of staying in Roma

  • Trendy and hip with a thriving café culture and nightlife (including another of my favourite bars, the poetically named Café de Nadie).
  • Home to some of Mexico City’s best vegetarian restaurants.
  • This really is Mexico City’s art district, and a short wonder down the backstreets will bring you to some of Mexico City’s best galleries and independent bookstores.
  • As an arts district, you can expect to find some of Mexico City’s hip boutique hotels, like La Valise Mexico City.
tuna tostada with avocado at contramar restaurant
The legendary tuna tostadas at Contramar restaurant: a must-eat experience in Roma Norte

Cons of staying in Roma

  • Limited luxury hotel options – you’re not going to find the best hotels in Mexico City with a pool and gym here.
  • Does get noisy on the weekends, especially if you are staying near Avenida Alvaro Obregon.  
boutique clothes store roma norte mexico city
One of the many hip boutiques of Roma Norte

Where to stay in Roma, Mexico City

If you are staying in Roma, I would recommend as close to Avenida Alvaro Obregon as possible, including La Valise Mexico City.

4. La Condesa 

Once the home of European migrants to the Mexican capital, today La Condesa is famous for its Art Deco architecture – a favorite of the Mexico City Instagram community.  

boutique designer in la condesa
La Condesa is a boutique shopper’s dream

Pros of staying in La Condesa

  • Very laidback (especially when compared to Roma).
  • One of the safest neighborhoods in Mexico City – as a solo traveler, this is always my primary concern.
  • Many of Mexico City’s best bars and restaurants (including my favorite bar in Mexico City, the Charles Darwin themed Baltra).
  • Lots of green open spaces, including Parque España and Parque Mexico. As well as the beautiful pedestrian green walkway of Ámsterdam.  
baltra bar menu with pink cocktail
La Condesa is home to Baltra, my favorite cocktail bar in Mexico City

Cons of staying in La Condesa

  • More expensive than other areas to stay in Mexico City. If you are traveling to Mexico City on a budget, the odds are you won’t be dining in La Condesa’s restaurants.  
  • Few big-name hotels (although maybe this is a pro, with Condesa being home to some of the best boutique hotels in Mexico City).
guava roll at lardo cafe, la condesa
My favorite La Condesa breakfast: the guava roll at Lardo Cafe

Where to stay in Condesa, Mexico City

I would recommend staying on Ámsterdam, if possible. The best hotels in the area are Hotel Parque Mexico Boutique, Casa Mannach, Mondrian in Condesa and Casa Decu.

5. Polanco  

Polanco is one of the fanciest neighborhoods in Mexico City. In Polanco, most of the architecture is modern and prices are higher than elsewhere in the city. While some say visiting Polanco feels like you have taken a weekend trip from Mexico City, I am still a fan – this is just another side to one of the most complex cities in the world!

modern art at boutique gallery in polanco
An Afro-Mexican art installation at the boutique Proyectos Monclova gallery in Polanco

Pros of staying in Polanco

  • Safe and clean streets. After dark, you will see people walking on the streets (one of the few areas in Mexico City!)  
  • High-quality shopping, food and dining (including the uber luxe restaurant, Pujol).
  • Walking distance to Parque Cuahutemoc, the green lung of Mexico City.
  • For those who are regular visitors to Mexico City, Polanco is home to some unique museums, such as the Museo Soumaya and smaller boutique galleries.
  • With high security across Polanco, the hotels here could perhaps be the safest hotels in Mexico City.
  • For those traveling with kids, Polanco is a great contender for the best place to stay in Mexico City with family, with many aparthotels and Mexico City family hotels.
rodin's the thinker at the museo soumaya in polanco
Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ in front of the Museo Soumaya in Polanco

Cons of staying in Polanco

  • Higher prices, especially for accommodation and dining.
  • Less of the stereotypical Mexico vibe – the streets are quieter during the day, with less street food stalls and no mariachi bands.
  • Those visiting Mexico City for the first time may be put off by the distance from the main Mexico City attractions (such as the Palacio Nacional).
green omlete
Breakfast at Eno, one of my favorite spots in Polanco

Where to stay in Polanco, Mexico City

I would recommend staying as close to Polanco metro station as possible. Based on location, I recommend Las Alcobas, the W and Casa Newton 46. If you are traveling to Mexico City with children, definitely take a look at the Grand Polanco Residencial – it is an excellent value for money aparthotel.

If you think Polanco sounds like your vibe, don’t miss our dedicated Ultimate Guide to Polanco.

Where Dan stays in Mexico City 

After visiting Mexico City several times, I prefer to stay around…

scrambled eggs mexico city
Access to good food is a top criteria for where Dan stays in Mexico City

La Condesa

I love the little village vibe of La Condesa, with people walking their dogs down Amsterdam, as they go and pick up a coffee before work. As one of the safest neighborhoods in Mexico City, I don’t have to watch my back here.  

But I should add – on my first solo trip to Mexico City I stayed in Juarez. A more central location for visiting the major Mexico City must see attractions.  

pedestrian street and cafe in la condesa
The tree-lined avenues and cafes of La Condesa

Weigh up what is important to you and let me know in the comments what is your favorite neighborhood in Mexico City!  

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