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Mexico City Neighborhoods: Where to Stay

As an expat, one of the first things to figure out on a move to a new city is where you’ll base yourself. In smaller towns, like Merida, this is a breeze. However, the task is a little trickier in huge, sprawling metropolises like Mexico City or Guadalajara.

You’ll find that most expats and digital nomads stick to ten of the most centrally located Mexico City neighborhoods. So, in this post, I’ll give you the rundown on the good, the bad, and the quirky of each of those options for you to choose between if you find yourself living in Mexico City, too.

Ciudad de Mexico (or CDMX, as it’s often known), comprises over 300 unique and interesting neighborhoods. Each has its own appeal, and where you choose to stay will depend on your interests, lifestyle, and budget.

Is Mexico City a Good Choice for Expats and Digital Nomads?

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Mexico City is one of my favorite places in the entire world and is a great city to live and work. The weather is pretty similar all year round so really any time is the best time to visit (or move to) Mexico.

Whether you want to spend your days cycling around the city’s many green spaces, explore ancient ruins, see world-class museum and gallery exhibitions, or party the night away, you can do it here. A reliable and easy-to-use public transport system makes navigating Mexico City a breeze, and the affordable EcoBici bicycle share program is a convenient way to zip around.

It should go without saying that the food is some of the best in the world, but many first-time visitors are surprised to find out that Mexican cuisine is so much more than tacos and quesadillas. In Mexico City, you’ll find endless traditional dishes to dine on, as well as some top-class international cuisine. Mezcalerias, craft beer joints, and cocktail bars are also plentiful, and the nightlife is fantastic.

For nomads and expats, there are dozens of superb co-working spaces to choose from, and the internet connection is strong and reliable. There are also countless cafes where you can rock up with your laptop and get work done while enjoying great coffee and even greater people-watching.

Without further ado, these are my ten best neighborhoods in Mexico City.

Condesa

Condesa is one of the most desirable places to live in the Mexican capital and one of my favorite spots. The tree-lined streets are what first captivated me, and the many bars, restaurants, and coffee shops that spill out onto the sidewalks give the area a distinctly European feel that I, as a European, loved. Two fantastic parks — Parque Espana and Parque México — are also within easy walking distance which provides an oasis from the chaos of the city.

Roma

Roma is divided into Norte and Sur (north and south). I spent a lot of my time here while living in Mexico City and I’d say it’s the coolest neighborhood in CDMX. So, I would highly recommend it as an option for foodies and fans of hipster culture.

Roma Norte is where you’ll find a lot of the city’s popular bars and restaurants, and there are plenty of cafes to work from if you’re there as a digital nomad. Roma Sur has a largely residential vibe while still being close to a lot of the best spots in Roma, making it a great place to live.

Roma has surged in popularity over the past few years, so deals on rent are increasingly difficult to come by. However, this centrally located neighborhood is still cheaper than Condesa, so it’s a superb central option for slightly smaller budgets.

If you’re looking for cheap accommodation and street food, this probably isn’t the spot for you. Dining options are mostly upmarket, and apartments come with a hefty price tag. But if you want to live in the heart of the city while enjoying unbeatable peace and quiet, Condesa may be for you.

Centro Histórico

Centro Histórico is otherwise known as downtown Mexico City and is a convenient city center neighborhood for exploring the best tourist spots including Zocalo Square. This is also one of the best neighborhoods in Mexico City for amenities — Centro feels like the heart of the city in a lot of ways and as such, there are plenty of stores, restaurants, and public transport links.

Most people visiting Central Mexico spend their time in Centro Histórico and while it is a great area for sightseeing, as you’ll quickly see, there’s much more to CDMX than just this barrio.

If you’re planning on living in Centro Histórico, do your research first and make sure you’re choosing an area that feels secure. Downtown isn’t known to be one of Mexico City’s safest neighborhoods but as long as you choose your spot wisely, you’ll be fine. Rent is also cheaper here, and there isn’t as much competition, so you’re likely to get more for your money.

San Miguel Chapultepec

Just south of the huge Bosque de Chapultepec (aka the sprawling ‘Central Park of Mexico’) is where you’ll find San Miguel. This middle-class neighborhood is a peaceful corner of Mexico City and the eclectic mix of architecture and cobblestone streets gives the neighborhood an old-world feel.

This is a relaxed place and there’s not a lot going on in terms of drinking and dining, so bear that in mind when deciding where to live. Its location next to Chapultepec Park is, for me, its major selling point, so I’d recommend this barrio to anyone who appreciates its proximity to nature. Condesa is a short bicycle ride away if you need a break from the tranquility of San Miguel.

Polanco

Polanco is a polished, upmarket neighborhood known for sophisticated cocktail bars and world-class restaurants. It’s also one of the best places to explore art galleries as it’s home to some of the best in Mexico City (don’t miss Museo Soumaya).

You’ll find that rents match the high-end vibe of Polanco, but if you’ve got the budget, this neighborhood is a great option. It’s known to be one of the safest neighborhoods in Mexico City and as such, is the best neighborhood for families planning to relocate to this sprawling metropolis.

Zona Rosa

Zona Rosa is officially part of the Juarez neighborhood and is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Mexico City. Located to the west of the historic center and close to Paseo de la Reforma, it’s perfectly located to enjoy the best of Mexico City. I spent several weeks living here on my last trip to Mexico City and wish I’d discovered it sooner as I absolutely fell in love with it during my short stay.

Shopping and nightlife are, in my opinion, second to none in Zona Rosa, making it a great choice if you like to splurge and/or party. Many folks also say that Zona Rosa is at the center of Mexico City’s LGBTQI+ community, so it’s a safe and welcoming spot for expats and nomads who identify in that way.

Coyoacan

Coyoacan is Mexico City’s oldest neighborhood and is a beautifully bohemian place to call home. Known best for the blue house which was once Frida Kahlo’s home, most tourists only spend a couple of hours here, but it shouldn’t be overlooked as an option for expats and nomads.

Here in Coyoacan, you’ll find artisan markets filled with folk art alongside stalls to buy fresh produce, and quiet sidewalks lined with cute cafes and restaurants. This is a great neighborhood to choose if you’re looking for a peaceful spot that’s rich in Mexican culture.

San Rafael

San Rafael wasn’t always popular with expats and digital nomads, but rising rents in Roma and Condesa have put it on the map as a solid alternative option. Despite being a little off the beaten path, it’s quickly becoming one of the cool neighborhoods of Mexico City and is also known to be a safe spot.

One of the best things about San Rafael is its food and drink scene. From taco stands and craft beer joints to delicious restaurants serving traditional food and well-stocked markets, you can find it all here. Fans of architecture will appreciate the still-standing mansions from decades gone by that give a glimpse into Mexico City’s grand past.

San Angel

San Angel is home to the Diego Rivera House museum so is on most tourists’ to-do list, but the neighborhood is often overlooked as a potential home base for expats. True, San Angel is a little further south than the other neighborhoods on this list, but what it lacks in centrality it more than makes up for in affordability and livability.

The cobblestone streets and traditional Mexico City architecture make the area incredibly picturesque, and there’s also plenty of modern shopping and dining to provide some balance. This is the right neighborhood for you if you don’t have the Condesa or Roma budget and also want to experience a more traditional Mexico City neighborhood without the constant stream of tourists.

Known simply as ‘Navarte’, this is another up-and-coming Mexico City neighborhood that’s worth checking out. This is a popular neighborhood with young people and entrepreneurs that are moving out of Condesa and as such, you might want to consider it as your base if you align with either of these groups.

The street food is phenomenal here, and you’ll find a mouth-watering taco stand on pretty much every street. There’s also a good amount of green space in Navarte, and Las Americas Park is the best spot in the barrio to hang out with a coffee on a lazy Sunday morning.

The Best Neighborhoods in Mexico City

With so many options on offer, picking a spot to call home in the vast metropolis that is Mexico City can be tough. However, spending just a few days strolling around and getting a sense of the city will soon give you a better idea of which area is best for you.

Mexico City’s neighborhoods are wonderfully diverse so whatever you’re looking for in a new home, you’re likely to find it in one of the barrios on this list. Suerte!

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