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Ultimate Polanco Guide: The Safest Area To Stay In Mexico City

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4 months ago

Polanco is often considered the safest area to stay in Mexico City. With Mexico City’s best restaurants, upscale residences and embassies, security is taken seriously in Polanco.

Polanco's Museo Soumaya
Museo Soumaya in Polanco.

There are real pros to staying in Polanco. Beyond being the safest area to stay in Mexico City, Polanco offers a very different Mexico City experience.

I often describe Polanco as the Beverly Hills or Upper East Side of Mexico City: high-end restaurants, boutique art galleries and an insight into Mexico’s rich and famous. The fact that the clean avenues of Polanco exist only 20 minutes from the chaos of Mexico’s historic centre is just one of the many layers of complexity that make Mexico City such a captivating destination.

a pet spa in polanco, clearly show how this is the safest area to stay in mexico city
A pet spa in Polanco. Yes, you read that correctly.

Even if you aren’t staying in Polanco, I would definitely recommend coming over for an afternoon.

Top places to see in Polanco, Mexico City

I am a big believer that what makes the best cities in the world is a diversity of neighborhoods to explore. Polanco may not have any of Mexico City’s big ticket attractions, but it does offer a totally different experience to Mexico City’s other neighborhoods.

Angel of Reforma golden statue mexico city
Polanco is only a 15-minute taxi or short metro ride from Reforma, the main street of Mexico City

Museo Soumaya

The Museo Soumaya is probably the star attraction in Polanco. Built by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, the Museum is probably most famous for its iconic architecture.

interior of museo soumaya with rodin statue - in polanco the safest area to stay in mexico city

Honestly, the actual art collection really leaves a lot to be desired. For lovers of Mexican muralism, you will be excited to know that the Soumaya includes a handful of Siqueiros paintings.

siqueiros painting at museo soumaya in polanco
One of Siquieros’s early works at the Museo Soumaya. If you like Siquieros’s work, don’t miss his more famous murals around Mexico City

Beyond the Siquieros works, the Museo Soumaya is also home to a large collection of Rodin sculptures and some early Salvador Dali works.

rodin's the thinker at museo soumaya  in polanco the safest area to stay in mexico city
Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ at Museo Soumaya in Polanco

The Museo Soumaya offers free entry and is certainly one of the best free things to do in Mexico City. In short, don’t fret whether it’s worth your pesos or not!

Museo Jumex

Right next door to the Museo Soumaya is the far-better collection of the Museo Jumex.

Local tip: The terrace at Museo Jumex (Level 1) offers the best views over the Museo Soumaya.

Today, the Museo Jumex is home to one of Latin America’s leading contemporary art collections. There are free guided tours in English or in Spanish throughout the day (you should reserve ahead).

Presidente Masaryk Avenue

Presidente Masaryk Avenue is the Champs d’Elysees or Fifth Avenue of Mexico City. Home to the most expensive real estate in Mexico, this is the main place to see and be seen in Polanco. Whether you are looking for luxury designer goods, or simply keen to go people (or dog!) watching – it’s worth spending some time on Presidente Masaryk Avenue.

As you are exploring Presidente Masaryk Avenue, don’t miss out on the various parks and plazas scatted along the way!

fountain in plaza uruguay in polanco, the safest area to stay in mexico city
A contemporary sculpture and fountain at Plaza Uruguay, a short side street back from Presidente Masaryk Avenue

Boutique art galleries

Polanco is famous for its boutique art galleries and wondering the streets here it isn’t hard to stumble across them.

contemporary design at proyectos monclova gallery, polanco - the safest area to stay in mexico city

My personal favorite is the Proyectos Monclova. This photogenic blue building often houses artwork by emerging artists from minority groups, including Afro-Mexicans or diaspora Mexicans.

art installation at a boutique art gallery in polanco
An installation of Afro-Brazilian art at Proyectos Monclova

If you are visiting Mexico City on a budget, you will be pleased to know entry is free.

Bosque de Chapultepec Park

While not exactly in Polanco, Bosque de Chapultepec Park sits just below Polanco and is likely to be in walking distance to your Polanco Hotel.

Chapultepec Park is the green lungs of Mexico City and you can easily fill a day here. I love getting on a bike or picking up some street food and having a lazy day here. If you prefer something a little more structured, I also really enjoyed this Chapultepec Park guided bike tour.

red and yellow corn on grill bbq in mexico

If you are visiting Mexico City with kids will want to check out the zoo and lake, where you can rent a boat and join other Mexican families.

mayan calendar relic at anthropology museum in polanco
The Mayan calendar at the National Anthropology Museum

Within Chapultepec Park, I highly recommend everyone visit the National Anthropology Museum. Even if anthropology isn’t your thing, this world-class museum goes beyond normal exhibits and takes you on a journey deep into the world of Aztec, Mayan and other pre-Hispanic cultures.

If you only visit one museum in Mexico City, make it this one. Unquestionably, the National Anthropology Museum is one of best things to see in Mexico City.

book with mayan artwork at anthropology museum

The Anthropology Museum can get very busy and I always recommend pre-booking a ticket.

Another extremely popular site in Chapultepec park is the Chapultepec Castle. For those interested in Mexican history, at the Castle you can learn all about the quirky period when Mexico had a European Emperor and Empress!

Chapultepec Castle tends to be a favorite with the CDMX Instagram crowd. You can beat the lines by pre-booking your Chapultepec Castle tickets.

Best places to eat in Polanco

Polanco is home to two of Mexico City’s most celebrated restaurants: Pujol and Quintonil. With price tags in the hundreds of dollars, I dare say Pujol and Quinotonil are well out of reach for most of us!

For those of us on a more reasonable budget, here are some of my favorite eats in Polanco.

Eno

With strong filtered coffee and a fusion Western-Mexican menu, Eno is one of the best places for breakfast in Polanco. There are currently two Eno locations in Polanco (including one of the Museo Jumex!).

My personal recommendation is anything with sheep cheese and dehydrated tomao. After dark, eno’s menu changes with a strong dinner dining menu.

breakfast at eno cafe in polanco
My go-to breakfast in Polanco: Eno

You will often see young folks working with laptops outdoors at Eno – another testament to Polanco being the safest area to stay in Mexico City.

Bikina Masaryk

One of the newer restaurants taking Polanco by storm, Bikina Masaryk offers a fusion between Mexican and contemporary European cuisine. My personal favorite is the market salmon with esquitas, which are topped off with a rich morita mayonnaise, fresh corn and the perfect combination of cheese and chilli.

Bikina Masaryk also offers an excellent selection of mezcal, with the uber-lovely staff readily available to recommend cocktails and spirits to complement your dish.

Quesadillas Ascencio

Seasoned Polanco hands may be shocked to see Quesadillas Ascencio on this list. But in my opinion, this little shop is one of the hidden gems of Polanco.

Many are surprised to know there are still budget eats in Polanco. This small empanada shop at the back of a Polanco car park has some of the cheesiest empanadas in town. The staff are very accommodating and can mix and match fillings (cheese, mushrooms and peppers).

empanadas in polanco, the safest area to stay in mexico city

This restaurant is also one of Mexico City’s most famous Kosher restaurants, offering visitors a unique insight into the Jewish community of Polanco.

Churreria El Moro

The world needs more churrerias and El Moro is certainly among Mexico City’s standout options.

With fresh churros coming out every minute, the only choice you have to make is between sugar or cinnamon. If you’re feeling slightly indulgent, I can also recommend the hot chocolates at El Moro!

Local tip: Do yourself a favor and order a side of condensed milk for dipping. Life is all about dipping.

Santa Clara Masaryk

If you have been following me for a while, you will know that I am an ice cream expert.

Santa Clara Masaryk may be a Mexico City chain. But in Polanco, it is an ice cream institution. This time I’ll let you choose your favorite flavor – but, trust me, you will want to get a waffle cone.

Best places to stay in Polanco

As both the fanciest and safest area to stay in Mexico City, it is no surprise that Polanco has a wide array of hotels. I generally recommend staying as close to Polanco metro station as possible.

boutique shops
Polanco is full of designer clothes shops

Major international brands

I totally understand how some travelers prefer to stay loyal to their international brand names. After a chaotic day exploring Mexico City, there is something extremely comforting about returning to a room you are familiar with.

If this sounds like you, I recommend you take a look at the Intercontinental Presidente Mexico City and the W Mexico City. Each of these three hotels are within about 5 minutes’ walk of each other and sit at the bottom of Polanco and within close walking distance to Chapultepec Park.

Aparthotels

If you are traveling to Mexico City with children, I always recommend the Grand Polanco Residencial. I have stayed at this aparthotel a few times and consider it excellent value for money. I also really appreciate the high level security of the apartment complex (24/7 guards, secure entrance).

Budget hotels

Polanco doesn’t really have hostels, but there are a number of smaller guesthouses and smaller hotels which cater to those who aren’t exactly on a 5 star budget.

FlowSuites Polanco, Suites Arquimedes 33 and Hotel Polanco are all excellent value for a Polanco location and offer great experiences.


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