The 19 Coolest Neighborhoods in Mexico City

| Bhargava Marripati on Unsplash

Northern England Writer

Mexico City has some of the coolest barrios in the world, including Roma and Condensa and more underrated but equally artsy zones such as San Rafael. Head south and you’ll find Copilco and Tlalpan, which are practically unvisited by the casual tourist. Here are the places you should consider checking out.

1. Condesa

Architectural Landmark

Parque Mexico (Mexico Park) in the Condesa and Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, Mexico

Known for being the classier older brother of neighboring Roma, Condesa plays host to Parque México and a ton of art deco masterpieces. It also has some of the best nightlife in the city, as well as some of the tastiest food, which is why it features heavily in the Mexico City Street Food Tour.

2. Roma

Architectural Landmark

Mercado Roma hip food market in the Roma neighborhood in Mexico City, Mexico.

The hipster little brother to Condesa, Roma is regularly hailed as the coolest neighborhood in Mexico City. Of course, that depends on your definition of cool, but Roma is certainly teeming with nightlife, contemporary art galleries and plenty of quirky cafes. Book a private walking tour to discover the area’s best hidden gems.

3. Coyoacán

Market, Mexican

Casa de Cultura Jesus Reyes Heroles,Typical, architecture, Avenida Francisco Sosa, Coyoacan, Mexico City, Mexico

The most famous southern neighborhood in Mexico City, Coyoacán is legendary for being the birthplace of Frida Kahlo and playing host to her wildly popular museum, where you can see how she used to live and enjoy some of her colorful artworks. Here, you can also enjoy a familial vibe in the central square and taste test some excellent coffee. Combine a tour of the neighborhood and a visit to the museum with a boat ride down Xochimilco.

4. Zona Rosa

Architectural Landmark

Apartment building in Zona Rosa in Mexico City. Image shot 2009. Exact date unknown.

Just above the Roma neighborhood is the equally beautiful (but significantly more underrated) area known as the Zona Rosa, a.k.a. the Pink Zone. A cosmopolitan part of Mexico City, it is principally renowned for the quantity and quality of gay bars that it plays host to, as well as for its eclectic architecture. If you’re looking for somewhere to simply take a stroll, grab a coffee and perhaps enjoy a pastry, then the Zona Rosa is the place for you.

5. Copilco

Architectural Landmark

Copilco, Mexico City, Mexico - 2018: A typical cobblestone street with colonial style houses at the Copilco district.

Coffee lovers ought to head to the quirky neighborhood of Copilco, as it’s overflowing with excellent cafes. The Corredor de Copilco is the ideal spot to grab lunch with a friend and have a chat over some bargain-priced hotdogs or top-notch comida corrida.

6. Narvarte

Architectural Landmark

A quiet neighborhood, Narvarte is very much on the rise and can be expected to have its moment within the next few years. Get there now before it turns into a mini-Roma, and try out some of the local tacos. Experience the many flavors of Mexico on the Narvarte At Night: Tacos, Chelas & Mezcal tour.

7. Juárez

Architectural Landmark

DJ at Xaman in the Juarez neighbourhood Mexico City, Mexico

Bordering the Zona Rosa, Juárez is often overlooked. However, it has some exquisite architecture and a laid-back vibe, as well as some great bars, restaurants and nightlife.

8. San Rafael

Architectural Landmark

Close to the city center, but without as much movement and upheaval, San Rafael is another destination often overlooked by visitors. It’s known as the artsy zone on the rise in the Mexican capital, thanks to more affordable (read: not Roma) prices.

9. San Miguel Chapultepec

Art Gallery

MEXICO-HEALTH-VIRUS
Part of the gorgeous Chapultepec park is located within San Miguel Chapultepec, and it’s sandwiched between two of the principal avenues in the city. An underdog on the cool neighborhood scene, it’s worth giving San Miguel Chapultepec a chance.

10. Tlalpan

Park, Market, Building

Just as beautiful as Coyoacán but far more underrated, Tlalpan is more residential than many of the aforementioned neighborhoods, but it has a reputation for hosting some great food festivals and for having an enticing central square.

11. Villa de Guadalupe

Architectural Landmark

The Villa de Guadalupe is a northern Mexico City neighborhood that is home to the world famous Basílica de Guadalupe. While some may think it’s a bit of a pain to get to given that it’s pretty far removed from the well-trodden routes of the historic center, we think this is one of the Mexican capital’s unmissable neighborhoods. Not only is one of the world’s most revered Catholic destinations located here, it is also the spot where the Mexican-American War peace treaty was signed in 1848. Many tours combine a visit to the Basilica with a trip to the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan.

12. San Pedro Atocpan

Architectural Landmark

Not only is San Pedro Atocpan the site of an annual Feria del Mole, it is also situated in the district of Milpa Alta. While officially a part of Mexico City proper, many consider this to be one of the most culturally distinct areas of the capital. So, if you’re looking for something 100% Mexican that’s also radically different from much of Mexico City’s vibe, we wholeheartedly recommend a visit to San Pedro Atocpan – at least to try some authentic delicious mole!

13. Culhuacán

Architectural Landmark

Culhuacán, in the southern region of Iztapalapa, is a small neighborhood that officially became a barrio mágico in 2011. In pre-Hispanic times, Pueblo Culhuacán was considered an important religious and cultural city, not least for its association with Quetzalcoatl, although nowadays it’s lesser traversed by outsiders. One of the key sites that you really can’t afford to miss is the Exconvento de Culhuacán, situated in the town center, which was constructed in 1560.

14. Santa María La Ribera

Architectural Landmark

If you’re a fan of an artsy Instagram shot, you should definitely make sure to pay a visit to the barrio mágico of Santa María La Ribera. Both architecturally and historically significant in Mexico City, this region is also where you can find the stunning Kiosco Morisco, an unforgettably impressive 19th century edifice. What’s more, aside from the obvious magical neighborhoods like Roma-Condesa and Garibaldi, Santa María La Ribera is also conveniently located in the Cuauhtémoc borough of the city, meaning you have no excuse for not visiting!

15. San Ángel

Architectural Landmark

San Ángel was long a favorite with the upper classes of Mexican society during the colonial period, and nowadays it still offers just as much obvious charm but with a heck of a lot less snobbery. Known principally in traveler circles for hosting the weekly Bazaar Sábado (which is highly recommended), it also has a gorgeous plaza named San Jacinto. This barrio has it all: shopping, architecture, tranquillity and the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, which should please art fans.

16. Santa María Magdalena Atlitic

Architectural Landmark

Santa María Magdalena Atlitic takes the title for the longest reigning barrio mágico, given that it was the first neighborhood to have this title bestowed upon it way back in 2001. It is also one of Mexico City’s pueblos originarios (original villages, e.g. pre-Hispanic). Notable for being situated right across the Río Magdalena – Atlitic actually means ‘stone in the water’ – Santa María Magdalena Atlitic is an enchanting village whose biggest draw is the nearby Los Dinamos National Park.

17. Tacubaya

Architectural Landmark

Moving to the southeast of the city, we have Tacubaya, a pleasant barrio mágico known for being one of Mexico City’s most traditional neighborhoods, which has existed since pre-Hispanic times. While it has lost some of its glean and grandeur since the 19th century, it still remains a worthwhile destination; in fact, one of the stand out landmarks in this neighborhood is the Casa Estudio Luis Barragán, a modernist masterpiece that was once the home to Mexican architect Luis Barragán.

18. Mixquic

Cemetery

San Andrés Mixquic Cemetery
© R. B / Flickr
Mixquic, another pueblo originario, is perhaps most heavily associated with perhaps the most Mexican tradition of all — Día de Muertos. You can find this highly traditional neighborhood in the Tláhuac district of the city, and we highly recommend going there during the Day of the Dead festivities. However, if you can’t make it in early November, you should still pay a visit to soak up the agricultural, traditional and notably distinct atmosphere of the place.

19. Cuajimalpa

Architectural Landmark

Finally, we round off our guide to the must-see barrios mágicos of Mexico City with the historic center of Cuajimalpa. Despite now making up part of Mexico City proper, Cuajimalpa has a very different vibe to the hustle and bustle of the center. Check out the borough’s oldest church, Parroquia de San Pedro, or head to the Foro Pedro Infante for a crash course in Mexican cinematic history. Close to Cuajimalpa you can also find the Desierto de los Leones, if you’re yearning for an excuse to get out of the smog of the city.

Now you know the trendiest barrios in Mexico City, you’ll need somewhere to stay. There are some equally cool boutiques in the Mexican capital or you could go all out and stay in one of the best luxury hotels in the city – whatever you choose, book your stay with Culture Trip. For more options, discover our guide on the best places to stay in Mexico City like a local. They’ll make the perfect base for exploring everything from the must-visit attractions to the stylish rooftop bars and the best restaurants in Condesa.

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