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Mexico City — safe neighbourhoods/hotels to stay?

My husband & I are planning a short trip to Mexico City so we can eat all the food. My father has long cautioned/tried to dissuade us from going anywhere in Mexico and i’ve always disagreed and said it would be fine, that we’d be staying in all-inclusive resorts, all the while rolling my eyes (so he couldn’t see).

We’ve just watched Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown episode on Mexico City and now i’m wondering where the heck should we stay?? Is anywhere safe?

We’re planning to go early Feb 2019 and all the recommended places we’ve found online are booked already!

Posted by
2203 posts

Anywhere near the Zocalo - the main plaza in Mexico City - is quite safe. We've stayed at the Hampton Inn a couple of blocks away a few times and can recommend it. It's handy to the metro, which is cheap and efficient, and it's a pleasant stroll to the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Good restaurants abound in the surrounding neighborhoods.
There are other hotels in the vicinity that run the gamut from super economy to more upscale depending upon your preference.

Posted by
5433 posts

Mexico City is perfectly safe, and in fact delightful -- as long as you use common sense - same as New York, LA, Miami, Milwaukee, or Bangkok.

Anyplace near the central Zocalo should be fine. I like the Hotel Catedral, just a block or two away. It's an older, traditional Mexican hotel, with great service, comfy rooms, a perfect location within walking distance to most things. Not 5-star fancy, but perfectly decent accommodations. Plenty of wonderful food everywhere around.

Mexico City is great, and quite safe (the same is true for most of Mexico). I was in Mexico City and the mountains a few hours drive away this past February and look forward to going back (in fact I am going back, to another part of Mexico, in January). Let the people spreading hysteria stay away, fewer crowds for you and me.

Posted by
5221 posts

I've stayed twice in the Hotel Gillow, in the historic center between the Zocalo and the Alameda. It's a safe neighborhood with some great restaurants and a few blocks from several Metro stations. There's a Best Western right on the Zocalo, I've eaten but not stayed there, I'm sure it would be fine. Many other choices also in the center.

I've never spent much time watching Anthony Bourdain, not my cup of tea (with due respect, RIP), so I don't know what his show portrayed. Mexico City is the world's largest, or nearly so, vast and varied, but the areas tourists visit are generally quite safe. Use normal big-city precautions -- keep valuables under your clothing, don't go wandering alone late at night, be careful with traffic and sometimes uneven sidewalks, etc. If you want a taxi, have the hotel or restaurant call one or go to an official taxi stand (sitio), clearly marked and shown on maps.

And don't eat "all the food" -- leave some for others! ;-)

Posted by
291 posts

I stayed in Condesa at the Red Tree House. It was about 10 years ago but I think the place is still there and the neighborhood was great. Not too far from the metro to get to the zocalo, and an interesting walk to Chapultapeque Park, residential and restaurants nearby. When I was there, I was warned about not going to Plaza Garibaldi alone at any time, but went to Chapultepeque, around the zocalo, down to Coyoacan, all alone and without a reason to be concerned. The area around the Basilica of Guadalupe might seem a little unsafe but it was fine during the day. Helps to know Spanish, especially if you're using transit. But it's a fabulous city with amazing culture, museums and food, so don't let others fear scare you away (usual traveler precautions still apply). Check out the Roma neighborhood. It's next to Condesa and central to sites and transit.

Posted by
8978 posts

I've been to Mexico City a few times and enjoy it. But to say it's "perfectly safe" is a bit of a stretch. Compared to a city in western Europe, you need to be on-guard a bit more:
-Only use ATM machines at a bank that is open for business and visible from the lobby. ATMs inside hotel lobbies are another good option.
-The metro system is one of the biggest in the world, and very efficient, but it's very crowded during rush-hour and picket pocket's dream. Bag slashing aboard the metro is also a thing.
-Using taxis is also a good way to get around in a group, but if taking them solo you need to be careful which types you use, as "express kidnapping" is an issue. The guidebooks have all the details on how to avoid this.

One the plus side, the citizenry are some of the friendliest you will find in the world. While english isn't widely spoken, those you can converse with will go out of their way to assist you.

Posted by
2697 posts

I’m going in the spring. I can’t speak from experience but have talked to many friends and coworkers who have spent a lot of time there, including people who lived there for a few months for work. I will be staying in Condesa and was told that this area (near parque espana and parque México) is an upscale residential area, a pleasant and safe area to stay in. I was also recommended an area called Polanco, apparently a very wealthy area with high end restaurants and shops.

Also I was told that Uber is safer than taxis.

Posted by
8978 posts

...also sorry to get a bit of-topic. Roma is a Netflix movie which opens in cinemas this weekend (streaming in December) about an upper middle class family living in Mexico City back in the 1970s. It's made by academy award winning director Alfonso Cuarón. I saw at the Toronto Film Fest back in September, myself, everyone else who has seen it, and all critics are proclaiming it a masterpiece; one of the best films ever made, right up there with Citizen Kane. Ideally it should be seen on the big-screen, but see it anyway you can..especially if you have been to or will be visiting MC.

Posted by
13432 posts

Mexico City is a great adventure. You could spend weeks there and not run out of things to see and do. But is it safe? If you would feel safe in the worst neighborhoods in the US, then Mexico City is a tad better. Still, you only live once; and the odds are very much in your favor. Be careful, trust no one you meet on the street, dont wave down taxis and try and trave in a group of at least 3 if at all possible. Google Mexico City tourist violence and then choose based on your tolarance threshold. Personally I never miss the opportunity to go to DF.

Posted by
2 posts

wow, guys! thanks!! super helpful! we'd already tried to book both Catedral & Red Tree and there's no availability for our dates :( but i'll for sure try the Gillow, or somewhere else near the Zocalo.

and fine, we'll try not to eat ALL the food ;)

Posted by
59 posts

I was in Mexico City in March and would highly recommend a trip there! Stayed at The Red Tree House in Condesa. It's too bad it's already booked. Condesa is a nice neighborhood to stay though. Don't be discouraged, just take normal precautions, and you'll be fine.

Posted by
53 posts

We stayed at Hotel Villa Condesa (https://www.villacondesa.com.mx/en-gb) last January. Pretty property and neighborhood (very residential), and we felt safe. We were a little worried, given the various travel warnings about other parts of Mexico (it's hard to tell what's hype and what's real), but we had a wonderful time and really loved Mexico City. Everyone was warm and welcoming, and the food was amazing! We used Uber for distances we didn't want to walk - easy and so cheap. Enjoy your visit!

Posted by
381 posts

(it's hard to tell what's hype and what's real)

I would tend to believe official homicide rates, wouldn't you?

Also, when the U.S. State Department puts out a rule that its personnel are not allowed to travel on certain roads after dark or to go to certain areas at any time, for safety reasons, I would tend to take that seriously. There's incredible detail on this here:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/mexico-travel-advisory.html

Posted by
5433 posts

There's also plenty of misinformation and downright hysteria about safety in Mexico.

I've traveled all over Mexico and will continue to do so, perfectly safely. If you refrain from engaging in criminal activities, use common sense about neighborhoods and how you behave, the average tourist has little to worry about. That's not to say you can't find trouble if you go looking for it - same as in many places in the USA. Common sense goes a long way there.