The Safest Places to Stay in Mexico City
What are the safest places to stay in Mexico City? I literally typed that exact phrase into Google before my trip! Mexico City seems to have a bad reputation with foreign tourists: it’s overwhelmingly large, with potentially dangerous neighborhoods lurking around every corner. This was my “perception,” at least ~ but it turns out, Mexico City felt far safer than I’d imagined, with plenty of highly walkable neighborhoods such as Roma, Condesa, Zona Rosa, the Zocalo, & upscale Polanco. In this post, we’ll focus on finding great, safe hotels within each of these parts of town.
Overview of Mexico City Neighborhoods
For first-time & even return visitors to Mexico City, I would concentrate your hotel search on these six parts of town for reasons of both safety, as well as proximity to the city’s most famous sites & great nightlife.
- Centro Historico/Zocalo: This is where most of Mexico City’s finest historic buildings are, including the Zocalo & the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts. If you love history & museums, consider staying here: but just know that the Zocalo really empties out at night & may not feel as safe then.
- Roma: Just south of Centro Historico in a great, central location is Roma; this is probably the hippest part of town currently, with great nightlife, cafes, & pretty parks galore. Roma is a highly walk-able area, & feels safer at night than the Zocalo because it’s usually bustling with people at all hours.
- Condesa: South of Roma lies its sister neighborhood, which is also having a serious “moment” right now. With its graceful, colorful buildings & architecture, Condesa is a great spot for first-time Mexico City travelers to stay. It felt slightly more upscale to me than Roma (& a little less hipster).
- Zona Rosa: This is the LGBTQ, nightlife-loving part of town ~ which means, LOTS of people are walking around here in the day & definitely at night! The downside: Zona Rosa isn’t the quietest part of town, but it has a great location just west of Roma, along the busy Paseo de la Reforma, which leads right into Chapultepec Park.
- Polanco: This is the swankiest part of town, & also borders Chapultepec Park along its western side, making it easy walking distance to the park’s world-famous museums. Polanco is also where you’ll find some of the best bars & restaurants, making it great for foodies who can afford to stay here!
- Coyoacan: Perhaps the most authentic of all these spots is Coyoacan, which is the southern-most district I’m covering here. Because of its southern location, its slightly more difficult to reach the main sights in town ~ but you’ll be close to the Frida Kahlo museum here, as well as the incredible Mercado Coyoacan.
Mexico City International Airport
1) Historic Center/Zocalo
The closest part of Mexico City to the International Airport is the Historic Center of town, also called the Zocalo. Here, you’ll find some of the city’s oldest buildings, beautiful architecture, & the oldest park in the city: lovely Alameda Park, next to the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The streets here teem with people (both locals and tourists) during the day, as many work in this district. But it’s much quieter at night, & can even feel desolate ~ which doesn’t make it my top choice if you’re looking for great restaurants & nightlife.
My top two hotel picks for this area have their own gorgeous (rooftop!) restaurants…so the good news is: you won’t have to walk far for dinner. Check out the historic Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico, with its amazing location overlooking the Zocalo, or the romantic & slightly more modern Hotel Zocalo Central.
2) Roma Norte = Hip & Cool
Roma, particularly Roma Norte, is currently the hippest spot in Mexico City. As such, there’s NO shortage of great corner restaurants, wine bars, & cafes that spill out onto the streets of Roma’s many small parks ~ all which give Roma a very friendly, safe feel. Because this part of town has so much local flavor & charm, I highly recommend staying in a boutique hotel here: not a chain. Then you can really soak in the characteristic Mexican architecture & food, as its being interpreted in modern new ways here.
3) Condesa = Colorful Charm
If you’re looking for a slightly quieter neighborhood than Roma, but with similar architecture & character: try staying in Condesa. This is a lovely area to walk in, & here you’ll find cute day spas, quiet roundabouts flanked by historic homes, & just a generally peaceful vibe with plenty of upscale cafes & restaurants. Similar to Roma, boutique hotels are the name of the game here; some beautiful options include the vibrant Maria Condesa Boutique Hotel ($170+/night) & the tres chic Hotel Condesa DF.
4) Zona Rosa = Nightlife!
Zona Rosa is where I stayed, at the delightfully colorful Room Mate Valentina Hotel ($58+/night). This neighborhood has a more urban, slightly less upscale feel than others mentioned. It’s also home to the gay district (which I didn’t realize when I booked my hotel), & it’s HAPPENING here at night! Rarely will you be alone on the streets in Zona Rosa, & its central location ensures that you can walk to both Chapultepec Park & the Zocalo (if you like longer walks!) along beautiful Paseo de la Reforma. Some of the city’s most high-end hotels are also located here, right next to Chapultepec Park, such as the St. Regis Mexico City ($469+/night) & the Four Seasons ($225+/night).
There are plenty of restaurants (& lots of fast food!) in Zona Rosa: but better restaurants can be found in Polanco & Roma Norte.
5) Polanco = Posh!
The perfect way to describe Polanco is as the “Beverly Hills” of Mexico City. The best meals I had were in Polanco (thanks to the advice of friends who live there!), & along certain streets: you’ll find one upscale, oh-so-trendy restaurant after another. There’s plenty of shopping here, local farmer’s markets, hair salons (I even saw a renowned dermatologist while in Polanco) & of course, plenty of upscale hotels…like the JW Marriott ($429+/night), & a more fun, boutique-y choice: The Wild Oscar ($245+/night).
Bonus: In Polanco, you’re within walking distance of Chapultepec Park, the “Central Park” of Mexico City, with its numerous museums, castles, & famous central lake.
6) Coyoacan = Cultura!
Coyoacan = Culture. Or “cultura,” as they say in Mexico. This is the most authentic district on this list, with its charming cobblestone streets, artisan markets, bohemian flair, & COLORFUL buildings & churches! It’s also home to the hard-to-miss, bright blue Museo de Frida Kahlo, as well as several parks, such as the Jardin Centenario. The only downside to staying in Coyoacan is that you’re quite a bit further from the airport & the Zocalo area, making for longer taxi rides ~ but you’re closer to other amazing Mexico City sights, like the Xochimilco Floating Gardens.
My top hotel pick for Coyoacan is one that reflects its unique, artisan feel: the quaint & cozy Casa Jacinta Guest House.
The Safest Places to Stay in Mexico City
I hope I’ve helped you hone in on some of the safest places to stay in the huge metropolis that is Mexico City! I’ve written other articles on this fascinating place, including one on safety ~ which can be found here, & one on the best parks for travelers. While I was there, we also did an amazing hike about an hour from the city to the hilltop ruins of Tepoztlan ~ which I highly recommend for all outdoor & adventure lovers!