Mexico’s sprawling capital has so many places to explore that it can be overwhelming to decide where to stay; choosing the right home base is key. Here are some of the top neighborhoods and hotels to look at when deciding where to stay in Mexico City.
Where to Stay in Mexico City
Mexico City, the sprawling city and Mexico’s magnetic capital, is a place that every traveler must visit on a trip to Mexico. The bustling metropolis has something for everyone, from historical attractions to a vibrant food scene to exciting cultural and nightlife venues.
Modern Mexico City was built on the ruins of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, but you can still find traces of ancient Aztec culture if you know where to look.
For centuries, the Spanish conquistadors used Mexico City as an administrative seat, helping to build the stately city with gorgeous colonial architecture that visitors get to enjoy today.
With independence came the modernization of the city, inspired by Parisian architecture of the 19th century, and spectacular growth. Millions of Mexicans moved from the countryside to the capital, helping to contribute to the vibrant arts, culture, and food scene of the city.
Today, you can explore the traces of famous artists such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, see centuries of architectural wonders without leaving the city, or just eat tacos until you can’t move.
Mexico City offers something for everyone, and you can’t possibly explore every aspect of the city at once. That’s why deciding where to stay can help you set the tone of your trip.
The 5 Parts of Town
The greater Mexico City metro area has over 1,000 square kilometers in surface area, 21 million people, and countless neighborhoods with their own special character.
Here are some of the best neighborhoods for visitors to the city:
- Centro Historico: Best for historic attractions and budget stays
- Roma: Best for design and culture
- Condesa: Best for elegance and nightlife
- Zona Rosa: Best for the LGBT scene
- Coyoacán: Best for families and art lovers
Mexico City’s 5 Best Parts of Town
Before planning a trip to Mexico City, you should know what kind of experience you want. Do you want to check out the art galleries, see all the historic sites, or spend most of your time exploring the street food scene?
Then, choose which part of town you will stay in based on your desired experience.
1. Centro Historico
As you can probably tell from the name, this neighborhood is the historic center of Mexico City. This central location in Mexico City is where all the magic happens. Centuries of history are concentrated in the very walkable city center.
On a visit to the Centro Historico, you have to stop at the Zócalo, the city’s main public square which boasts many historic buildings along its edges, such as the Templo Mayor ruins, the National Palace, and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City.
Centro Historico is also a great place to stay for lovers of art and architecture. The streets around the center are packed with stately buildings showing off the best of colonial architecture (while the Spanish legacy in Mexico is historically contested, their architecture is undeniably nice).
The center also has gorgeous museums such as the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Museo Mural Diego Rivera, an entire museum dedicated to one of Mexico’s most famous native sons.
In most touristy cities across the globe, the historic center is one of the most expensive places to stay. If you’re already bracing yourself for the hit to the wallet that a trip to Centro Historico will deliver, you’re in for a surprise.
This centrally located historic district is actually one of the most budget-friendly areas of town. There are plenty of low-budget hotels and inexpensive eateries.
Unlike many other global cities where the historic center is essentially an open-air museum devoid of life, Centro Historico is still a bustling part of the city proper. Locals still call the center home and beneath the historic facades lies a bustling modern city.
Eat some traditional food at one of the many local eateries, or visit the Mercado de San Juan and Mercado Artesanías, both local favorites. Centro Historico is brimming with local life—but the downside of this is that life sometimes gets a bit chaotic.
Guides have described the center as “organized chaos.” Things get busy, particularly during one of the (frequent) political demonstrations in the Zócalo. If you’re looking for a quiet place to stay, this is not the best neighborhood.
Things to Do
- Stroll through the Zócalo, the center of Mexico’s public life and the largest square in Latin America
- Check out the murals at Museo Mural Diego Rivera (and squeeze in a visit to the Palacio de Bellas Artes for more art)
- Visit the Templo Mayor Museum and ruins to learn about Mexico City’s Aztec past
- Buy crafts from local artisans at Mercado Artesanias
Where to Eat
- Have some of the best seafood in the city in an intimate atmosphere at Don Vergas Mariscos, a stall in Mercado San Juan
- Try traditional cuisine, particularly the chiles en nogada, at Hostería de Santo Domingo, which has been slinging good food for locals and visitors since 1860
- Check out a local favorite for street food staples, including tacos and tortas, at El León Súper Tortas y Tacos
- Have a romantic outdoor dinner at the upscale Azul Historico
Centro Historico Budget Hotels
- Hotel Panuco. This adorable centrally located hotel is centrally located, only 1 kilometer away from Zócalo. Amenities include a tour desk, free Wi-Fi, and cable TV.
- Hotel Marlowe Centro Historico. Like most hotels in Centro Historico, this hotel’s prime draw is the location. However, that doesn’t mean it skimps on the amenities, which include a 24-hour desk, laundry service, and fitness center.
Centro Historico Mid-Range Hotels
- Zocalo Central. This gorgeous hotel is located right on the Zócalo square and has gorgeous views of the historic center. Relax in the refurbished rooms that still kept some of the original 1890s charm.
- Hotel Catedral. This sweet hotel located in the center is a respite from the bustling historic district. The friendly staff provide great service, a complimentary breakfast, and more.
Centro Historico Luxury Hotels
- NH Collection Mexico City. This 4-star hotel has plenty of amenities, including a restaurant, fitness center, bar, and terrace, for a relatively affordable price given the quality.
- Mumedi Design Hotel. This centrally located, artsy hotel is a must-visit for lovers of quality art, design, and luxury. Amenities include a high-end restaurant and a 24-hour front desk.
The Roma neighborhood is a favorite haunt of Mexico City’s cool kids and any visitors that want to rub elbows with this scene. Roma’s main draws include a bustling nightlife scene, contemporary art galleries, and unique restaurants and cafes.
Roma is like any hipster neighborhood around the world but with a unique Mexican spin. In the late 19th century, city authorities built the Roma neighborhood on what was then the edge of the city (Mexico City has sprawled far beyond its previous boundaries by this time).
Originally built for the city’s wealthy families looking for a peaceful place to live, the neighborhood still boasts the original stately Porfirian architecture.
In the 20th century, the neighborhood began a slow decline which worsened when it was damaged by a devastating earthquake.
However, for the past few decades, Mexico City’s art kids rediscovered the gorgeous art nouveau and neo-classical buildings and have been making the neighborhood a “barrio mágico” of their own.
In recent years, modern and industrial buildings cropped up among the stately historic architecture. New residents turned old houses into trendy galleries, bars, and eateries. The once-quiet neighborhood turned into the center of the city’s cultural life.
As with any city, such revitalization comes with a price. Everyone wants to be in Roma, and unfortunately the prices and gentrification have been driving out many old residents and younger artists alike.
The prices are also inhospitable to budget travelers, so try Centro Historico or a less-hyped artsy neighborhood instead.
Things to Do
- Visit the bustling Mercado Roma for a slice of local life, or Mercado Medellin for a collection of treats from all over Latin America
- Go out dancing at one of the many bars and clubs, including Mama Rumba, a hot spot for salsa
- Stroll through Museo del Objeto del Objeto, one of the city’s most offbeat museums, or any other art gallery
- Take a break in one of the trendy cafes such as Cafebrería El Péndulo, a bookstore-café
Where to Eat
- Have a sweet treat at Helado Obscuro, an ice cream parlor famous for its alcoholic flavors
- Eat some of the best barbecue tacos in the whole city at El Hidalguense
- Rub elbows with the neighborhood’s coolest kids at Contramar, a trendy seafood restaurant that’s always packed
- Get your fine dining fix at Fonda Fina, offering an upscale take on traditional Mexican cuisine
Roma Budget Hotels
- HoM Monterey. This gorgeous guest house centrally located in Roma is perfect for travelers on a budget. Enjoy the homey atmosphere and meet like-minded souls in the shared kitchen and common areas.
- Hotel Monarca. This gorgeous hotel in Roma Norte has sweetly decorated rooms with en-suite bathrooms and seating areas. Amenities include free bikes and a common area to hang out.
Roma Mid-Range Hotels
- Porto Novo Hotel and Suites. This hotel provides a touch of luxury with free private parking, an on-site restaurant, and bar, while still staying within a reasonable price range.
- Capital Luxury Apartments. This property combines the best of staying in a private apartment and a hotel. The stylish apartments and suites have everything you need to feel at home, including a TV, toiletries, and kitchenettes in the apartments.
Roma Luxury Hotels
- Brick Hotel. If you’re really looking to splurge while in Roma, then the Brick Hotel is a good choice. This extremely luxurious hotel has modern rooms with private balconies in a historic building. Amenities include complimentary drinks on arrival, bathrobe, and more.
- Casa Goliana La Roma. This hotel has beautifully appointed rooms and services such as free breakfast and luggage storage.
The Condesa neighborhood is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. This upscale neighborhood is where many of Mexico City’s upper classes live. Stroll through the leafy streets, past charming cafes and businesses, and you’ll see why.
La Condesa is primarily a residential neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty to do for visitors. It is one of the greener areas of Mexico City, so take a break from the often-polluted rest of the city in Parque Mexico.
A stroll down Avenida Amsterdam will take you past the lovely Art Deco architecture and local businesses, including galleries, restaurants, and clubs.
Don’t be fooled by the residential façade—La Condesa also has great nightlife! If you want to take in some culture, Bosque de Chapultepec is only a short distance away.
Like Roma, La Condesa is a victim of its own success. The rising prices have driven away many old residents and might be too steep for visitors on a budget. The neighborhood’s bustling nightlife can also get noisy.
Things to Do
- Check out some of the cool yet underground art galleries such as House of Gaga
- Take a break in the leafy confines of Parque Mexico, Avenida Amsterdam, or Parque España
- Wander outside the confines of the neighborhood to nearby Parque Chapultepec, Latin America’s second largest park, and visit Chapultepec Castle
- Check out the nightlife in one of Mexico City’s youngest neighborhoods, ranging from smoky mezcal bars such as La Clandestina to bumping clubs
Where to Eat
- Have brunch followed by a sweet treat at the restaurant-pastry shop Maque
- Have authentic seafood tacos so fresh you’ll think you’re on the coast at El Pescadito
- Get a taste of Mexico City’s sushi revolution at Koku
- Enjoy a gourmet but unpretentious take on Mexican food at Temporal
Condesa Budget Hotels
- Don Jacinto Stay & Sip. This centrally located budget hotel is perfect for travelers looking to make the most out of Condesa’s nightlife. You’ll also enjoy the quirky, colorful rooms.
- Hotel Parque Mexico Petit. This charming, colorful hotel is located right by serene Parque Mexico. Amenities include a TV, 24-hour reception, and breakfast.
Condesa Mid-Range Hotels
- Izta 54. Enjoy comfortable accommodations with a local, cultural touch at Izta 54. Amenities include airport transfers, concierge services, and some rooms with views.
- Hotel Itto Condesa. This cozy hotel features design touches that make Condesa famous as a hotbed of artistic activity, all in a very convenient location.
Condesa Luxury Hotels
- Casa Corp Boutique Suites in Condesa. Feel like a star at this luxurious hotel in Condesa. Amenities include air conditioning, in-room technology, a kitchen, and luxurious décor.
- AR 218 Hotel. This centrally located hotel is still a quiet respite from lively Condesa, with elegant architecture, luxurious apartments, and top-notch service.
4. Zona Rosa
Vibrant Zona Rosa, part of the larger Juárez neighborhood, is an LGBT oasis in a country (and region) that is often socially conservative, although times are changing.
LGBT Mexicans as well as visitors looking for a part of the city where they can be themselves flock to this neighborhood. Zona Rosa, just like the larger Juárez, is mostly residential but with plenty of vibrancy.
The neighborhood has some edge, with plenty of cheeky sex shops and thumping clubs where anything might happen. This is one of the best areas for nightlife in Mexico City.
Don’t be fooled, there’s plenty to do during the day as well. You can wander the streets that are packed with historic buildings, duck into a hip café, or grab a pastry from one of the neighborhood’s famous bakeries. Zona Rosa is also one of the centers of international cuisine in the city.
However, if you’re looking for a quiet, family-friendly place to stay, pick another neighborhood. Visitors and residents alike in Zona Rosa know how to party.
Things to Do
- Party the night away at one of the area’s many clubs or bars, such as Kinky Bar or Cabaretito Fusión
- Time your visit to coincide with the Gay Pride Parade, one of the world’s best
- Check out the Monumento de la Independencia, affectionately known as “The Angel”
- Buy from the artists and antique sellers in Plaza del Angel
Where to Eat
- Get excellent Korean food at Biwon
- Grab breakfast or brunch at Niddo’s outdoor patio
- Relax with coffee and a pastry at Praga 29
- Sit down for a meal at La Casa de Tono, a restaurant dedicated to preserving Mexico’s food culture
Zona Rosa Budget Hotels
- Ibis Styles Mexico Zona Rosa. This outpost of the reliable Ibis chain gets a locally inspired facelift with colorful tapestries and art. Amenities include free Wi-Fi and soundproof rooms (a must in this lively neighborhood).
- Hotel PF. This sleek hotel offers luxury-style amenities, including a fitness center, at an accessible budget.
Zona Rosa Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Geneve CD de Mexico. This gorgeous hotel is located just outside of Zona Rosa in quieter Juarez. Enjoy a glorious old world-style lobby, an on-site spa, and restaurant for a very reasonable price.
- Hotel Cle Reforma Insurgentes. Enjoy a great city view from this hotel’s terrace, and relax in the stately, well-designed rooms.
Zona Rosa Luxury Hotels
- Eurostars Zona Rosa Suites. This luxurious hotel has amenities that include all-suite accommodations, a business center, and more, at jaw-droppingly low prices.
- Galeria Plaza Reforma. This luxurious behemoth boasts a rooftop, pool, fitness center, and more amenities in a great location.
This quiet neighborhood to the south of the center hides a pretty colorful secret—it’s the birthplace of Frida Kahlo. Not only is the neighborhood home to her museum, but you can also trace her influence elsewhere in the colorful houses and sedated, artsy scene.
Coyoacán is close enough to the center that you can check out all the sights but far enough away that you can take a break from often-overwhelming Mexico City.
Walk around the streets with your family or people-watch in the central square. There are also plenty of places to eat, drink, and shop like the locals here.
Whenever you want to go into the center, public transport links are excellent. However, if you’re looking for vibrant nightlife or a very central location, this neighborhood shouldn’t be your first choice.
Things to Do
- Pay tribute to Mexico’s most famous daughter at the Frida Kahlo Museum
- Check out the Mercado de Coyoacán for artisanal goods with local color
- Ride a historic tram, or take one of the tramway’s dedicated tours
- People-watch in the central square, Plaza Hidalgo, and check out the imposing San Juan Bautista Church
Where to Eat
- Get authentic tostadas at Tostadas de Coyoacan
- Stop by El Jarocho, a 70-year-old coffee shop, and soak in the atmosphere
- Grab a sweet treat at Churreria General de la Republica
- Sit down for lunch at hidden gem Corazon de Maguey
Coyoacán Budget Hotels
- Calle Berlin Boutique. This quiet inn has a charming, homey vibe, perfect for families. Amenities include private parking, a garden, and artfully decorated rooms.
- Ayenda Suites Cuija. This is one of the most affordable stays in the neighborhood without compromising on quality. Guests at the bed and breakfast enjoy sunny rooms, a terrace, and a central location.
Coyoacán Mid-Range Hotels
- Fiesta Inn Periferico Sur. This outpost of the classic Fiesta Inn chain has everything you would expect from a mid-range hotel, including a gym and on-site parking. If you have a car, you can use it as a base for nearby Six Flags.
- Mina 32. This homey hotel stands out thanks to its warm décor, including exposed brick walls. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, packed lunches on request, and patio access.
Coyoacán Luxury Hotels
- Chalet del Carmen. This guesthouse offers luxury-style amenities, including a public bath, garden, and sunning area, for affordable prices.
- Casa Jacinta Guest House. Feel like royalty with the welcome at this guest house, which has a gorgeous garden, a patio and kitchenette for some rooms, and excellent service.
Where Should You Stay in Mexico City?
Mexico City’s bustling capital has something for every traveler. Whether you want to check out the historic sites in Centro Historico, rub elbows with the city’s coolest residents in Roma, or dance the night away in Zona Rosa, you’ll have the trip of a lifetime!