When researching Mexico City, the two most common concerns voiced by travelers are usually quite consistent. People want to know if CDMX is a safe place for them to visit and how to go about navigating the second-largest city in the world?
The short and sweet is this: Mexico City is very safe as long as you’re in the right places and navigating is not too bad if you start from the right areas. In this post, I’ll share with you two of my favorite Mexico City neighborhoods, both providing a safe home-base and a convenient starting point for easily moving about to see the sights.
Note: Some stays, tours, passes, and meals were provided at no cost to the author. As always, all opinions remain my own. I hope this article is useful for you.
Colonia La Condesa, Mexico City
La Condesa is definitely one of the top up-and-coming neighborhoods in Mexico City, particularly amongst young professionals and the hipster set. Located just to the southeast of Chapultepec Park and an easy Uber to Districto Centro, the Condesa is an ideal home-base for exploring the greater city.
The area surrounding Parque Espana and Parque Mexico in La Condesa is the hub of activity for those looking for music and dancing. However, in the daytime you’ll find residents of this colonia walking their dogs, jogging, and hanging out in the many cafes that stud the edges of this area’s many green spaces.
During my recent stay in Condesa, I rented one of the most flawlessly decorated apartments I have ever stepped foot in on Airbnb. My host, Karla, used her design-school background to renovate a two-bedroom apartment and filled it with lots of thoughtful touches that made me feel right at home.
The apartment is a few blocks from the tree-lined streets by Parque Mexico, making it relaxing, but also conveniently just a short walk from anything you’d want. For rates starting at $106 per night, this place is a no-brainer if staying in Colonia Condesa.
If you’d like to book Karla’s apartment, you can find it here. She is super-responsive and really helped me figure out what to do in the area, too!
La Condesa Recommendations:
Parque Mexico – Dog-lovers and park-goers will love this place for its greenery and extensive dog park. While most dog-owners end up playing fetch with Fido in the plaza, there is also an obstacle course made especially for dog-training that I enjoyed observing for a few minutes from one of the many park benches. Parque Mexico is also a great place to get some exercise in a natural setting that’s right in the middle of the city.
Avenida Mazatlan – This street runs the length of Condesa’s west side, with Chapultepec Park close-by. I found this street coming back from the park, as I had decided to do a bit of extra exploring on foot. The north and south-bound traffic lanes are split by a tree-lined pedestrian thoroughfare that’s perfect for walkers, joggers, and cyclists. There are plenty of restaurants, convenience stores, and other businesses flanking both sides. You’ll also find Lardo, one of the city’s most treasured restaurants, sitting near Avenida Mazatlan’s northern terminus.
El Jamil – This middle eastern restaurant was just around the corner from my Airbnb rental and I was so happy to have discovered it on one of my afternoon walks. El Jamil (and it’s cross-street neighbor Milo’s, which I missed the opportunity to visit) has charming, side-walk seating of the variety you’d find in a quiet European residential neighborhood. I tried the hummus with chopped meats and onions, which was super-tasty and they also have hookah available.
Xampaneria – I had the good fortune to visit this classy champagne and cocktail establishment shortly after midnight on New Year’s Eve. It was packed with attractive, well-dressed people and the bar had really made efforts to make the occasion festive. I very much enjoyed the Mezcal-based cocktail I ordered, but the environment and people-watching in Xampaneria is definitely the highlight.
Panaderia La Boheme – Stroll a few blocks from Parque Mexico into Colonia Roma to find this little French bakery. While there you can also check out Mercado Roma, a high-end food court that is very trendy at the moment.
Colonia Juarez, Mexico City
A tiny sliver of a neighborhood wedged between Paseo de la Reforma and Roma Norte, Juarez is perhaps my favorite location to set up residence in order to have convenient access to all the areas that interest me.
Paseo de la Reforma is the largest boulevard in CDMX and Juarez is the best place to access its many sites of significance. La Angel de Independencia and the museums and castle of Parque Chapultepec await you to the west and the old city-center is a short Uber ride to the east. In fact, during my time staying in my Airbnb in Juarez, I walked to all of these places.
Speaking of my Airbnb, I struck gold again in Mexico City when I rented Rosa’s three-bedroom, vaulted ceiling apartment all for myself. Starting at $134 per night, this place is very affordable for a small group to rent and has so many excellent features besides its Juarez location.
Rosa has an artistic flair that is present in every room of the apartment. There is a full kitchen that opens to a spacious living area, a terrace patio, and an open rooftop with 360-degree views that make the several flights of stairs up to the apartment totally worth the journey.
If you’d like to book Rosa’s apartment on Airbnb, you can find it here. Rosa also has a home in the countryside that she told me would be available soon, too!
Panaderia Rosetta – Conveniently located just a few blocks from my Airbnb, I discovered this charming bakery and coffee shop. My friends in CDMX tell me the other one is so popular that it’s always packed, but the Juarez location was perfect at 9 am. I liked the food and ambiance of Panaderia Rosetta so much that I revisited it several times during my stay. Hot tip: don’t leave without trying the sugared rosemary bread!
Trattoria Isabella – In my time visiting a number of cities in Mexico, I’ve noticed that Italian food can be quite good here. Mexico City is no different, with Trattoria Isabella offering lots of traditional Italian dishes. What you wouldn’t read about elsewhere online or know from looking at the unassuming entrance to Isabella is that there is a speakeasy in the back room (Shhh! This one is just for TravelingNineToFiver readers!).
El Angel de la Independencia – The central figure of the wide boulevard of Paseo de la Reforma, the Angel of Independence is a sight to behold. See it in the daytime with cars looping around the large roundabout or lit up at night for a totally different experience. On Sunday mornings, the Angel is usually featured as part of Ciclovia, a weekly event that opens many of Mexico City’s thoroughfares to bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
In previous years, the roundabout has been closed for several days to allow construction of a large stage that features NYE performances, making it the perfect spot for your countdown-and-kiss in Mexico City!
Calle Genova – Within Juarez is an area called Zona Rosa, which in every major latin city coincides with a party atmosphere. Ground zero is a pedestrian walkway called Calle Genova. You’ll find numerous bars and cafes blaring all kinds of music from reggaeton to rock and there’s always plenty of people-watching to do in this area.
Chapultepec Park – While not technically part of Juarez, Chapultepec park is extremely easy to reach by simply walking or taking an Uber down Paseo de la Reforma (it is also adjacent to La Condesa). Castillo Chapultepec (the castle) is a major draw as are the green spaces, but I found two other gems in my visits to the park.
The National Anthropological Museum was absolutely top-notch and it’s easy to spend several hours there. Way off the beaten path, Dolores Carcamo Museum features a little-known Diego Rivera mural that tells the story of life through the waters that once dominated the scenery in the area now known as Mexico City. When I visited, I was the only patron and the docent was very excited to share his knowledge in both Spanish and English!