Mexico City is hands down one of the coolest cities in the world.
Rich in history, culture, world-class cuisine, and street art, you could spend months exploring this metropolis and still find something new to do every day.
However, figuring out where to stay in Mexico City can be an extremely daunting task. With a population greater than London and New York City, there are so many neighborhoods to choose from.
That’s why we’ve created this Mexico City guide – to put those wondering where to stay in Mexico City at ease.
I’ve traveled to this cosmopolitan city on three different occasions for a total of three weeks and I’m excited to share with you the best ‘hoods broken down by your interests!
Whether you’re traveling solo, with your partner, or your family and you’re on the hunt for a hostel, hotel, or Airbnb, this ultimate guide will help you choose the best neighborhood for your stay.
Free up more time to plan the parts of your trip that matter most, like where to find the best mouth-watering tacos (and other fun activities!)
Sit back, relax, and let us show you where to stay in Mexico City!
Table of Contents
- Quick Tips – Where to stay in Mexico City
- Where to stay in Mexico City – Our Top Picks
- Mexico City Neighborhood Guide
- Mexico City’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay In
- 1. Roma Neighborhood – Where to stay in Mexico City for the first time
- 2. Centro Histórico – Where to stay in Mexico City on a budget
- 3. La Condesa Neighborhood – Where to stay in Mexico City for nightlife
- 4. Juarez/Cuauhtemoc – Where to stay in Mexico City for families
Quick Tips – Where to stay in Mexico City
- Where to stay in Mexico City for the first time – Roma
- Where to stay in Mexico City on a budget – Centro Historico
- Where to stay in Mexico City for nightlife – La Condesa
- Best neighborhood in Mexico City for families – Juarez/Cuauhtemoc
In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:
- Admire the street art found all around the neighborhood
- Try alcoholic-beverage flavored ice cream at Helado Obscuro
- Chill out in Plaza Rio de Janeiro – Roma’s most tranquil open space
Where to stay in Mexico City – Our Top Picks
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Mexico City.
Best Hostel in Mexico City: Hostel Home
With a great location, staff, and overall welcoming and friendly vibe, it’s no wonder Hostel Home is the best hostel in Mexico City.
I mean, what more could you want from a hostel? It has a great atmosphere for socializing and making new friends and you’re still able to get a good night’s sleep thanks to the noise rules the hostel has in place.
You truly feel like you’re staying in someone’s home as Hostel Home was once an old house. It’s also located in Zona Roma, our pick for the coolest neighborhood to stay in Mexico City.
Best Hotel in Mexico City: Hotel Catedral
This is the best hotel in Mexico City thanks to its location just behind the cathedral in the historic center. Hotel Catedral has everything Mexico City visitors could want from a buffet style breakfast to gorgeous window views.
It’s where to stay in Mexico City if you only have a few days to see the sights.
Best Airbnb in Mexico City: Best Location, Stylish, New Apartment
Enjoy the heart of Mexico City in this stylish, new apartment located in Cuauhtemoc. It’s our top pick for where to stay in Mexico City if you’re traveling with a family or group.
There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms as well as a terrace with nice views of the quiet neighborhood.
Airbnb is great to use throughout Mexico, so follow this link for $35 free credit!
Mexico City Neighborhood Guide
Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Mexico City
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With a population of 9 million people in the city proper, Mexico City is the largest city in North America. The city is broken down into 16 boroughs, which are further broken down into smaller neighborhoods of which there are over 1700! Holy crap that is a lot of neighborhoods to sort through!
There is a metro connecting almost all of Mexico City’s neighborhoods. Plenty of buses serve the downtown area as well as more far-flung destinations. It’s easy to find taxis, and Uber is there, too.
However, not all neighborhoods have something for gringos and although it’s perfectly safe to visit Mexico City, there are still some neighborhoods you should steer clear of. For these reasons, we’ve laid out the best, safest neighborhoods with more than enough activities to keep you busy for a few days or weeks. For information about security in Mexico, check our in-depth safety guide here.
From spectacular architecture to a booming gastronomical scene, there is something for every travel taste.
The historic center is a great place to start your visit. It is focused around the Zocalo and extends in all directions for several blocks from there. The Plaza de la Constitucion is the largest square in Latin America and the third biggest in the world behind the Red Square in Moscow and Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
Visitors will find many of the historical landmarks here, such as the Aztec Templo Mayor, Metropolitan Cathedral, Palacio de Bellas Artes, and the National Palace. The European architecture and cobblestone streets give this neighborhood a quaint, colonial vibe and set it apart from the rest of the city. It’s full of shops, restaurants, hotels, and street vendors.
Chapultepec is one of the biggest urban parks in the world and acts as the city’s green lung. You could spend an entire weekend in the park as it houses the Zoo, the Anthropology Museum, a castle, an amusement park, and countless lakes where you can rent a paddle boat and chill. Polanco and Lomas are the nearest neighborhoods and they’re some of the wealthiest in the city.
Heading southeast from Chapultepec, you’ll come the trendy hipster enclave of La Condesa. This area was an extremely fashionable part of the city when many of the movie stars lived there in the 1940s and 50s.
However, it began to fall into decay after the 1985 earthquake. It was revived in the 90s by artists, musicians, and other creatives, who were drawn to the Art Deco architecture and laidback vibe.
Just opposite the Avenida Insurgentes is colonia Roma, La Condesa’s more urbanized sister ‘hood. As it’s the trendiest neighborhood in Mexico City right now, there are new bars, restaurants, and shops popping up almost daily. It’s an exciting time to visit and witness the transformation. That’s why we picked Roma for where to stay in Mexico City for the first time.
To the west of the historic center is colonia Cuahtemoc. It’s mostly a residential area but it’s an up and coming neighborhood with convenience stores, shops, and restaurants. It’s bordered by Paseo de la Reforma which is where you’ll find the Angel de la Independencia (Angel of Independence).
The neighboring ‘hood Juarez is quite commercialized and houses Zona Rosa – the party district.
Still have no idea where to stay in Mexico City? Read on, we’ve got you.
Mexico City’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay In
Transportation is quite convenient and cheap in Mexico City. The metro extends all the way into the outlying boroughs of the city and you can take a bus anywhere.
There are plenty of taxis and Uber is prevalent and safe, but traffic can be insane and the crowds on the metro make you feel like a real-life sardine.
However, the different colonias in Mexico City offer so much that it’s important which one you choose, especially if you’re short on time.
Do you want to admire the European and Art Deco architecture? Are you a foodie and itching to try out the best restaurants? Or do you want to learn about the city’s history and how it has grown over the years?
All of these things are possible, but they’re easier if you’re in the right neighborhood.
Here are our top recommendations for where to stay in Mexico City.
Related: Make sure to check out our Backpacking Mexico Travel Guide, too!
Roma is home to Mexico City’s quirky subculture. It was the original home of many wealthy Europeans who flocked to Mexico at the turn of the 20th century, and French-style mansions can still be found dotting the avenues and lanes.
The area fell into disrepair when many of those Europeans moved into newer neighborhoods. It was further ruined in the 1985 earthquake, but has been going through a renaissance as it has been rediscovered by the younger generation.
The neighborhood plays host to many art installations, and visitors could spend several hours admiring the murals throughout the neighborhood.
In addition, there’s a hipster-run shop or bar on almost every corner with plenty of restaurants for all tastes making this the coolest place to stay in Mexico City.
Top Things to do in Roma
– Admire the street art found all around the neighborhood
– Take in the collection at Galeria OMR – an established contemporary art gallery
– Tantilize your taste buds with fusion food from one of the many stands in Mercado Roma
– Get your weekly dose of fresh fruits, meats, and street foods from all over Latin America at Mercado Medellin
– Gawk at the beautiful Neo-Romanesque architecture of Roma’s first church – Parroquia Sagrada Familia
– Curl up with a good book and cappuccino and escape the streets for a bit at Cafebrería El Péndulo
– Put on your dancing shoes and head to Mama Rumba – the best salsa bar in the city
– Try alcoholic-beverage flavored ice cream at Helado Obscuro
– Chill out in Plaza Rio de Janeiro – Roma’s most tranquil open space
– Check out Roma’s best known landmark Casa Lamm – a house built in the early 20th century that houses a cultural center, bookstore, and restaurant
Best Hostel in Roma: Hostel Home
Hostel Home consistently gets rave reviews from the travellers that pass through. Located in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Mexico City, there are plenty of awesome bars and restaurants around the corner.
This was the first backpacker hostel in Mexico City! It’s a great place for solo travellers as you can easily meet new people.
Best Hotel in Roma: Hotel MX Roma
This boutique style hotel is perfectly located in the heart of Roma. The rooms have a sleek and swanky design and the hotel is very clean.
Some of the rooms don’t have windows, but they do offer free breakfast in addition to the deli on site. There’s even a rooftop terrace where guests can play squash! It’s our pick for where to stay in Roma!
Best Airbnb in Mexico City: Great Place to be in Roma Area!
Located in the heart of Roma, this cozy and well-lit apartment is perfect for a couple or group of four. There are two bedrooms and bathrooms. The owners are superhosts and keep the kitchen stocked with fruit, eggs, bread, and coffee.
They are even there waiting for you to help take your luggage up to the 4th floor (there’s no elevator). It’s the best choice for where to stay in Mexico City, so you can get your trip started on the right foot!
This is where the city was first founded. Once the epicenter of the Meso-American hub Tenochtitlán, the area is now home to several historic buildings and a veritable shit ton of museums. In fact, Mexico City has the most museums in the world – check out the top 20 here!
The buildings were built by the Spanish conquistadores on top of the Aztec temples and pyramids. Many of them date back to the 16th century. In 1987 the historic center was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to its importance.
The area is centered around the massive Zocalo plaza and visitors to the area can enjoy exploring the pedestrian-only streets stretching out from there. Whether it’s art, cuisine, or history you seek, you’ll find it all in the centro histórico.
Top Things to do in Centro Histórico
– Realize how small you are by standing in the middle of the Zocalo – the largest square in Latin America
– Take a tour of the Templo Mayor – an archaeological site that was the central temple the Aztecs dubbed “The center of the universe.”
– Marvel at the Metropolitan Cathedral – the largest cathedral in all of the Americas
– Stop by the National Palace to see the murals of Mexico’s most famous artist – Diego Rivera
– Visit the Palacio de Bellas Artes and stand in awe of the city’s most important cultural center and breathtaking architecture
– Head to Plaza Garibaldi and hire one of the many Mariachi bands milling around the square
– Take in panoramic views of Mexico City from the top of the Latinoamericana Tower
– Appreciate the grandeur and facades of Templo de San Francisco
– Enjoy a fantastic meal at Cafe de Tacuba
– Check out the Palacio de la Inquisición, Santo Domingo convent, and the old Customs House in Plaza de Santo Domingo
– Take in the collection of Mexican paintings at the Museo Nacional de Arte
Best Hostel in Centro Historico: Massiosare El Hostel
Massiosarse El Hostel has so many perks. The dorm beds start at a very cheap price and there’s not one, but two kitchens! One of the kitchens is vegetarian only. Even better! Cooking definitely helps you save some dough.
This is why Massiosarse is the best affordable hostel in Mexico City, and our top recommendation for where to stay in Centro Historico. Be aware that it’s located on the 4th floor with no elevator. However, there is an awesome rooftop with amazing views.
Best Hotel in Centro Historico: Hotel Catedral
Hotel Catedral Mexico City is great value for your money. It’s located right in the middle of Mexico City behind the Cathedral. They offer a buffet style breakfast, spacious rooms, friendly staff, and business centre.
It’s close everything you want to do during the day, but it’s very quiet at night allowing guests to get a good night’s rest.
Best Airbnb in Centro Historico: Historical Duplex with Private Terrace and Panoramic Views
This bright and recently renovated apartment has stunning views of Mexico City. It’s a two-level apartment with two bedrooms, one bathroom, a full kitchen, dining room, and living room.
The best part about this apartment is the private terrace with its panoramic views of the Mexican capital. It’s located in a historical Art Deco building that was built in 1930.
La Condesa is actually comprised of three official but smaller barrios (neighborhoods) – Condesa, Condesa-Hipodrómo and Hipódromo. However, they’re all simply referred to as Condesa.
It’s one of the most fashionable neighborhoods in the Mexican capital full of swanky bars & clubs, designer boutiques, and beautiful parks, which makes it our top recommendation for where to stay in Mexico City for the best nightlife. And Mexico City is arguably one of the best places to party in Latin America.
The laid-back, bohemian vibe attracts students, artists, writers, and other creative types who rediscovered the area in the 90s after being heavily damaged in the 1985 earthquake.
You can find them hanging out in one of the many unique cafes, shops, or restaurants. Known for its Art Deco architecture, it’s also home to one of the city’s most picturesque parks.
Top Things to do in La Condesa
– Put your party pants on and stay out til the sun comes up! From karaoke bars to pubs and lounges, there’s something for everone.
– Sip on a cocktail while taking in the views of the capital from the rooftop bar Hotel Condesa DF
– Go for a stroll in Parque Mexico
– Rock out with one of the many international acts gracing the stage of El Plaza
– Enjoy a delectable meal paired with a “vino espumoso” while taking in live music at La Xampa
– Shop til you drop at one of many boutique shops with the most creative threads
– Indulge in one of 20 options for vegetarian tacos at Tacos Gus
– Fill your Instagram with photos of multicolored, Art Deco facades and buildings #architectureporn
– Escape to the jungle with a walk down Avenida Amsterdam
– Put on your thinking cap and try your skills at escaping one of the rooms at Enigma Rooms
– Get in touch with your inner game geek at El Ocho where a game menu comes alongside your food menu
– Caffeinate and salivate at Ojo de Agua – a cafe with the best coffee and breakfast
– Grab some fresh fruits and veggies or even a cooked meal every Tuesday and Friday at the Condesa Tianguis (weekly market)
– Jump over to Chapultepec and check out the zoo, the castle, and the anthropology museum
Best Hostel in La Condesa: Gael Condesa
Gael Condesa is the best hostel in La Condesa. The dorm beds have curtains creating more privacy for a better night’s sleep, and the outdoor terrace is a great place to chat with other guests.
There’s also a small kitchen and some of the private rooms even have a balcony! Lots of creative types come to work here, thanks to the fast wifi and big table in the common area so it’s easy to meet people. This hostel is our top choice for where to stay in La Condesa.
Best Hotel in La Condesa: Hotel Villa Condesa
Located in the most bohemian neighborhood of La Condesa, Hotel Villa Condesa is surrounded by stylish bars, restaurants, and beautiful parks.
The rooms are spacious and very well decorated. Although it’s a bit on the pricier side, the included breakfast and the very attnetive staff more than make up for it. It’s a great option for where to stay in Mexico City.
Best Airbnb in La Condesa: Great Apartment, Private Terrace, Roma-Condesa
Beautifully built with high ceilings and traditional Oaxaca floors, this apartment is a great choice for where to stay in Mexico City.
Located in trendy La Condesa, you’ll be within walking distance of Chapultepec Park as well as amazing restaurants, bars, and some of the best clubs in the city. It has a private terrace for relaxing and the bedroom is bright and cozy.
These two colonias – Juarez and Cuauhtemoc – are just north and northeast of Chapultepec and west of the historic center.
Juarez has quite a long history and has continually morphed into something new. In its early days, it was home to the city’s wealthy who built massive French-style mansions. Once they moved on and demolished their mansions in favor of office buildings, the area was taken over by intellectuals.
Just like Condesa, the area was left in bad shape after the 1985 earthquake. Juarez has been revitalized and is now the city’s financial and business center.
Another popular spot is Zona Rosa – a tourist and gay-friendly area lively with shops, tourist agencies, and restaurants. Paseo de la Reforma separates Juarez from Cuauhtemoc, which is mostly residential but has a nice selection of cafes dotting the tree-lined streets.
Both neighborhoods have quick and easy access to the entertainment options in Chapultepec. That’s why it’s our top choice for where to stay in Mexico City with a family.
Top Things to do in Juarez/Cuauhtemoc
– Spend a few hours in Milan 44 where you can take a yoga class, grab a coffee, or get your beard trimmed
– Admire the collection at one of three of the most exciting contemporary art galleries in the city – Jose Garcia, Marso, and Karen Huber
– Enjoy a coffee at Cafe La Habana where Fidel Castro and Che Guevara (allegedly) planned the Cuban revolution
– Take photos of the Angel de la Independencia on Paseo de la Reforma
– Grab a bicycle, skateboard, or rollerblades and enjoy a cruise down Paseo de le Reforma sans cars every Sunday morning
– Eat some kimchi in the barrio coreano (Korean neighborhood)
– Head to Londres Street for antiquing and art shopping direct from the artists
– Indulge your sweet tooth at the Chocolate Museum
– Show your appreciation for the perfomring arts and catch a show at Teatro Milan or El 77
– Satify your curry cravings at Tandor de Ali
– Put on your flapper dress and head to one of the speakeasies – Hanky Panky comes highly recommended
– Taste the creations from the mixologists at Bar Milan
Best Hostel in Juarez/Cuauhtemoc: CDMX Hostel Art Gallery
Centrally located in Cuauhtemoc, CDMX Hostel Art Gallery is a great hostel in Mexico City. The staff is really what makes this place great. They get rave reviews and the bartender is said to make the best mojitos in town!
The building itself is quite interesting and full of history with an awesome rooftop terrace to top it off. This hostel is our top pick for where to stay in Cuauhtemoc.
Best Hotel in Juarez/Cuauhtemoc: Suites Rio Elba
Suites Rio Elba is an aparthotel that is ideal for family travel. The rooms have a kitchenette perfect for cooking small meals.
Each room also has a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with free toiletries. The best part about this hotel is its location. Just a short walk to Chapultepec Park, you can visit a zoo, the Chapultepec Castle, and the Anthropology Museum, which is why this is our recommendation for where to stay in Cuauhtemoc.
Best Airbnb in Juarez/Cuauhtemoc: Best Location, Stylish, New Apartment
With a nice, quiet vibe, this new and stylish apartment in Cuauhtemoc is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of Mexico City. The location is perfect with Roma, Chapultepec, and Reforma all within easy reach.
There is a terrace with a nice view of the neighborhood and a full kitchen in case you want to cook during your stay. There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms, so it’s perfect for a family of four.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Mexico City
It’s no wonder Mexico City has become a cultural hub, where people from all around the world come to enjoy the rich history and culture. From mouth-watering cuisine to historical landmarks and cute boutique shops, the biggest city in Latin America truly has it all.
Just to recap; Roma is our top choice for where to stay in Mexico City for the first time and it’s the coolest ‘hood with a huge foodie and art scene. Our pick for the best hotel in Roma is Hotel MX Roma.
We think Hostel Home is the best hostel in Mexico City because of it’s location and lively atmosphere! It was the first backpacker hostel in Mexico City and it’s a great place for solo travellers as you can easily meet new people.
Let us know if we missed anything in the comments below! Cheers!
Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
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Need More Inspiration?
- Backpacking Mexico Travel Guide
- Mexico City (CDMX) Travel Guide
- 20 Best Hostels in Mexico City
- 15 Best Hostels in Playa del Carmen
- 10 Best Hostels in Tulum
- Is Mexico Safe?
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