Choosing where to stay in Mexico City is a monumental task. It covers more than 500 square miles and is home to nearly nine million residents. With so many neighborhoods to choose from, choosing the right one can be overwhelming unless you know what you’re looking for. For first-time visitors, this guide to Mexico City neighborhoods will help you pinpoint the right option for you so you can enjoy the rest of your trip!
Where to Stay in Mexico City: An Overview of 4 Main Districts
Like most major metropolitan cities, there are dozens of different neighborhoods in Mexico City, each with their own personality. However, most tourists can automatically narrow their search down to four centrally located Mexico City neighborhoods. Each of these is safe, relatively close to major attractions, walking distance to restaurants, and accessible to the metro for additional touring.
The 4 Best Neighborhoods in Mexico City to Stay:
- Centro Historico
- Zona Rosa
- Condesa – Roma
Out of these, Condesa – Roma is my favorite but it might not be the best choice for everyone so stick with me as we evaluate all your options.
Pro Tip: Don’t stay too far outside the city center, just to save money. You’ll spend all your time commuting instead of enjoying yourself. My midrange Mexico City hotel suggestions are usually $100/night or less (depending on whether you’re there in peak periods), so you don’t have to spend a lot for a great location and excellent hotel.
Most first-time visitors choose Polanco hotels. The area is incredibly safe and has easy access to embassies and international businesses, which means chain hotels popped up to accommodate business travelers. Today, tourists are drawn to the area because they’re drawn to the familiar, recognizable brands (and lots of options).
That doesn’t mean it’s a bad or boring choice! Polanco is a great location if your trip includes high-end shopping at designer boutiques, five-star restaurants, or a little luxury pampering. You probably won’t think twice about safety whether you’re strolling wide sidewalks during the day or even at night.
Staying at Polanco hotels also makes a lot of sense if you expect to spend a full day at the Museum of Anthropology (buy your ticket in advance to skip the line) or gallery hopping.
While You’re There: Make reservations ahead of time at Pujol and Quintonil, two amazing restaurants with tasting menus you won’t want to miss.
Where to Stay in Polanco, Mexico City:
- Budget: Lety’s Place — There aren’t a lot of hotels in Polanco at a budget price, but Lety’s has affordable double rooms. The location is great and you’ll love the shared kitchen facilities to keep your budget in check.
- Midrange: Wyndham Garden Polanco — Although this hotel is a little sterile in personality, it gives you a high-end location at a very reasonable cost. If you use hotels to sleep and shower, this is your best bet.
- Upscale: Las Alcobas — Described as one of her favorite hotels in the world, I trust Dia Adams when she says this is the best place to stay in Mexico City. It has all the amenities you’d expect of a five-star hotel with extraordinary service and personalized attention of a boutique hotel.
At times, Polanco can feel a little bland. That’s okay…jazz your trip up with a night out! This 3-in-1 tour to cantinas, mariachi, and lucha libre wrestling will definitely spice up your Mexico City vacation.
Centro Historico Hotels
The area around Mexico City’s famous Zócalo (Plaza de la Constitución) is known as the Centro Historico, or historical center. The main square itself is impressive: it’s the largest square in Latin America and third largest in the world. It’s also home to the Cathedral, National Palace, Templo Mayor, and more.
This neighborhood is particularly great for museum-lovers. There are plenty to see in the Centro Historico, making it easy to roll out of bed and get an early start. It can also be fun to have dinner at the numerous cantinas, many with live music.
A lot of the Centro Historico leans toward the touristy side, since there are so many visitors here are the numerous attractions. Follow my 100-meter rule to avoid tourist traps and keep your belongings close at hand to avoid being pickpocketed.
>>>>> Related Post: How to Avoid Pickpockets (and What to Do if It Happens)
While You’re There: Don’t miss a Folklore Ballet performance, on Wednesday and Sunday nights at the beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes.
Where to Stay in Mexico City’s Centro Historico:
- Budget: Mexico City Hostel — The location is excellent, just a block and a half from the main square. Back in my hostel days, this is the type of place I’d choose. Social but not a party atmosphere, great breakfasts, and rooms with just four bunk beds so you can actually get some sleep.
- Midrange: El Patio 77 B&B — You’ll love this eco-friendly historic mansion that’s been converted into a bed and breakfast. Officially it’s in the San Rafael side of the Centro, easily accessible and just far enough away to be quiet. Some rooms have shared bathrooms, but even the junior suites with private washrooms are affordable.
- Upscale: Hotel Gran Ciudad de Mexico — You’ll instantly feel transported to a different world, complete with Tiffany stained glass ceilings! The hotel is in the heart of the city, with a rooftop bar and terrace, restaurant, and full service options.
Zona Rosa Hotels (sometimes known as Reforma)
When I went to Mexico City in 2015, this is where I stayed. You’ll either love it or hate it — this is a pulsing, thriving Mexico City neighborhood. Most people consider this the entertainment district, the gay center of town, and the part of the city that never sleeps.
The streets are full of nightclubs, bars, and restaurants, plus shopping on Genova Street. Because of this, it can be very busy with tourists, locals, and touts. As long as you know what you’re getting into, you can have a lot of fun.
While You’re There: Spend some time in Little Korea. The juxtaposition (and at times, fusion) of Mexican and Korean culture is an interesting phenomenon. Shop the markets, try a meal, and sing some karaoke!
Where to Stay in Zona Rosa:
- Budget: Capsule Hostel — Of all the hostels in Zona Rosa (and there are a lot), this is my pick. The capsule set-up gives you a little more privacy, which you’ll appreciate if guests are staying out late at night in this party neighborhood.
- Midrange: Chaya B&B ★sightDOING favorite★ — If you don’t mind taking the stairs (there’s no elevator) then you can get a lot of bang for less than $100. Relax in a hammock or sprawl out in a suite; this is an oasis from the city around it.
- Upscale: Casa Prim Boutique — This contemporary hotel has a beautiful modern design with extras like Bose Bluetooth speakers, rain showers, and a rooftop patio. This is on the far edge of the area, so it’s a little bit more of a walk to nightclubs (which also means it’s a little quieter for sleeping!).
>>>>> Related post: Highlights from my Trip to Mexico City
Where to Stay in Condesa and Roma
For trendy, almost hipster vibe, this is where to stay in Mexico City. These two adjacent neighborhoods feed off each other, altogether offering you the newest, freshest shops, restaurants, bars, galleries, and a few parks thrown in for good measure.
These are, in my opinion, the best neighborhoods in Mexico City to stay if you picture yourself spending a lot of time just walking, wandering, and ducking into interesting places. This is meant for spontaneous travelers who don’t feel the need to see every monument and museum but would rather pretend they live there for a few days.
While You’re There: This is not a stereotypically Mexican part of town. It’s very international, very 2018, and chock full of locals who speak English and might be willing to chat with you over a coffee or a gin and tonic.
Where to Stay in Condesa – Roma:
- Budget: Hostel Home — Choose from dorm beds or double rooms here, and either way you’ll have great communal areas. Travelers here are all drawn to the same bohemian vibe of Condesa – Roma, so it can be a great place to meet fellow travelers.
- Midrange: Casa Decu ★sightDOING favorite★ — Honestly, this may be the best hotel in the area, better even than more expensive properties. It has fabulous design, comfortable rooms, and great service. Best of all, there are beautiful open-air spaces to relax or take your breakfast.
After reading this Mexico City neighborhood guide, which one is for you?
There’s a perfect spot for every visitor and you might want to change it up with every return visit. The most important thing is to stay a few nights, if you can. It’s a big city that takes time to experience it all, regardless of your choice on where to stay in Mexico City.
MORE INFO TO PLAN YOUR TRIP
Don’t have a travel insurance policy yet? My pick is always RoamRight.
Going anywhere else in Mexico? Check out all my articles like what to do in San Cristobal or why I love Cancun.
* * *
This post contains affiliate links. If my recommendations helped you plan your trip to Mexico City, I appreciate it if you make your reservation using my links which helps support this website and the free information it provides.