Salt & Wind Travel

Polanco vs Condesa And 6 Of The Best Mexico City Neighborhoods

When I mention I lived in Mexico City for 5 years, I get questions. From “Is Mexico City safe?” to “Do you eat tacos every day?“ the questions keep coming. But two I repeatedly hear, whether talking to friends or travel clients, are “What are the best neighborhoods in Mexico City?” and “Tell me about Polanco vs Condesa.”

They’re understandable questions, seeing as Mexico City is one of the biggest cities on the planet. In short, the city can be overwhelming, even if it isn’t your first time visiting. So, to help determine the best neighborhood for you, we have outlined below all the reasons our guests love them.  

Polanco vs. Condesa And Other Best Mexico City Neighborhoods
Table of Contents

Polanco Vs Condesa Neighborhoods

Many a travel client comes to us dreaming of traveling to Mexico City. Often, they’ve had a friend visit and are debating whether Polanco vs Condesa is best for them. Well, it depends on your vibe, your priorities, and where you plan to explore in Mexico City. Here are things to consider: 


For a more hipster vibe, Condesa wins, but Polanco is the call if you’re after upscale boutiques and higher-end shopping. Condesa attracts more creatives type, while the fresa (Mexican slang to describe upper-class preppy types) crowd likes to see and be seen in Polanco.


If the best area for dining is a priority, that’s a tie because both neighborhoods have renowned restaurants. Polanco is a bit more formal, including some of the best restaurants in Mexico City for fine dining, like Pujol and Quintonil. Meanwhile, Condesa has a mix of street food, natural wine bars, cocktail spots, and innovative food, as there’s always a new restaurant opening. 

​Historic Spots

If you’re a first-time visitor wanting to see historic sights, like Templo Mayor or a traditional local market in the Centro Historico, we’d recommend staying in Condesa. If you’re less concerned about historic spots or it’s your second (or beyond) visit, Polanco could be a great choice. 


When it comes to traffic, if you’re planning to explore various neighborhoods throughout your trip, Condesa wins. While Mexico City always seems to have some traffic, it’s especially the case in Polanco as many locals commute to the area’s many office buildings. 

More Local

If you want to hear more Spanish, Polanco wins. Condesa is home to both a mix of locals and expats, and many travelers base themselves here too – for the vibe and also some of the best boutique hotels that are locally owned like Ignacia Guest House and, of course, location, as we already mentioned, so you’ll likely hear a lot more English being spoken. Polanco is closer to many bigger art museums, whereas Condesa has more independent art galleries. 

Business Travel

Business travelers will likely enjoy a Polanco stay if you’re looking for just one neighborhood and don’t have too much time to get outside and explore but want access to great restaurants close to where you’ll likely be doing business either there or in Santa Fe in the south of the city. 


Regarding Art Deco architecture in historic buildings, Condesa is our favorite neighborhood as each street is completely unique from the next, while Polanco has more modern architecture.

Solo Travelers

For solo travelers or longer stays, Condesa is a great option as there are more travelers and also more going on if you’re really looking to dip into the local creative and arts scene. It’s also a short walk from other hip neighborhoods like Roma and Juarez and also easy to day trip to the south of the city. Both neighborhoods are generally safe areas and have modern amenities. 


When it comes to parks, Polano is adjacent to Chapultepec, the largest park in the city, and also Lincoln Park, a tiny and well-visited park an excellent place to people watch, and Condesa is home to smaller parks like Parque Mexico and Parque España. But let’s zoom out and look at six of the most popular neighborhoods for visitors traveling to Mexico City. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Both Polanco and Condesa are considered among the safest neighborhoods in Mexico City. They are popular with tourists and generally well-patrolled. However, as with any urban area, it's always wise to stay aware of your surroundings and take standard safety precautions.

Both neighborhoods offer fantastic culinary experiences. Polanco is renowned for its fine dining and upscale restaurants, many of which are run by internationally acclaimed chefs. Condesa is known for its eclectic and trendy eateries, offering a range of cuisines in more casual settings.

In Polanco, you'll find more luxury hotels and high-end accommodations catering to a more affluent clientele. Condesa offers a mix of boutique hotels, trendy hostels, and Airbnb options, suitable for a range of budgets and preferences.

Mexico City Polanco Neighborhood

Mexico City Layout

Look, Mexico City is enormous — the metro area has a population close to 22 million — so you could spend a lifetime exploring. The easiest way to get to know Mexico City’s neighborhoods and different areas is to understand the city’s layout. Mexico City is formally known as the Distrito Federal and has 16 delegaciones (like boroughs), which are made up of roughly 1,800 colonias (aka neighborhoods). Much like New York City, each colonia in modern-day Mexico City has its own identity.

Six Mexico City Neighborhoods To Stay

From posh neighborhoods to trendy spots and the classic parts of town, there are Mexico City neighborhoods for almost every traveler. Here are the Mexico City neighborhoods to visit to get a feel for the city. We’re comparing these six neighborhoods to New York City so yo have a point of reference:


Located just north of the sprawling Chapultepec Park (like Mexico City’s Central Park except that it has a castle!), the affluent neighborhood of Polanco is similar to Manhattan’s Upper East Side with some added office buildings as it’s home to some well-known businesses too. You’ll find luxury brand stores like Gucci and Tiffany, modern design, fine dining restaurants like the famed Pujol, and local boutiques and high-end shopping. The bar and restaurants in Polanco are as much about the scene as they are about the food. 

Where To Stay: Chef Enrique Olvera’s Casa Teo or Four Seasons (Book this property through Salt & Wind and get Perks)

Parque Mexico Condesa Mexico City

La Condesa

Similar to New York’s Soho, the neighborhood of Condesa — translating to ‘countess’ because it’s named after one — is comprised of three areas (Colonia Condesa, Colonia Hipódromo, and Colonia Hipódromo Condesa) and channels bohemian chic vibes. The tree-lined streets and slower pace mean Condesa is a quieter part of the city thanks to more foot traffic and less car traffic. On the weekends you’ll spot local joggers running the Avenida Amsterdam loop with their four-legged friends, couples strolling the streets with coffee in hand shopping local, and friend groups enjoying long lunches at trendy restaurants like Lardo.

Where To Stay: Hotel Condesa DF (Book this property through Salt & Wind to get perks!)

Mexico City Roma Neighborhood


With its tree-lined streets, architecturally stunning buildings, and numerous small businesses, Colonia Roma (aka La Roma or just Roma) is the neighborhood in Mexico City that feels the most like New York’s West Village. To be clear, Roma is actually now divided into two small neighborhoods: Roma Norte to the north and Roma Sur to the south. Many people debate where to stay between Roma Norte vs Roma Sur. Of the two, Roma Norte is our fave thanks to Art Nouveau and Neoclassical buildings housing hip record shops, quirky bookstores, indie barbers, and a buzzing bar scene.

Where To Stay: Casa Mera 234 or this AirBnB designed by a local designer

Downtown Mexico City

Centro Histórico

Similar to midtown Manhattan, you can get a sense of Mexico City by heading downtown to the historic center or Centro histórico; a walk through downtown will help you wrap your head around how many people actually live in Mexico City. The Centro histórico is essentially an outdoor museum with more than 1,500 buildings classified as historic or artistic monuments, many of which are listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage site.

From the renowned Palacio de Bellas Artes to the historic Casa de Los Azulejos and the gilded golden Palacio Postal, you get a glimpse of the past in every building you pass as you walk from the Alameda Central to El Zócalo. The architecture is grand, the history is obvious, and it’s a must, no matter if you’re visiting Mexico City for the first or fourteenth time.

Where To Stay: A design-forward hotel like Circulo Mexicano (Book this property through Salt & Wind to get perks!)

Mexico City streets


Much like Williamsburg once was, Juárez is one of the up-and-coming areas of Mexico City and the newest neighborhood that just keeps evolving. Nestled between downtown Mexico City and La Roma just off of Paseo de La Reforma boulevard, this is where artists, intellectuals, and creatives have moved in recent years. Because of this, there are numerous restaurants, niche boutiques, and cafes to work from, all of which channel a casual-cool vibe worth mentioning. It’s within walking distance from the historic city center and our guests’ favorite areas like the Bosque de Chapultepec Park, the Natural History Museum, and some of the best places to eat and stop. 

Where To Stay: Stara Hamburgo Hotel


Like the Bushwick or Park Slope, Coyocán is a colorful neighborhood filled with street art. It’s a bit further from the city’s center, but well worth a visit. Fittingly for a cultural center, there are many noteworthy museums in the neighborhood, including the Frida Kahlo Museum, known as the Museo Casa Azul, the Museo Anahuacalli, which has Diego Rivera’s Pre-Hispanic artifacts, and the folk art-centric National Museum of Popular Culture. The main plaza is home to the Jardín Centenario Park and the country’s biggest stadium, the Estadio Azteca. Oh, and if you’re a movie buff, you can catch flicks at the local theatre, Cineteca Nacional, which screens a hit list of indie films.

Where To Stay: Airbnbs Are Your Best Option! 

Have Us Plan Your Mexico Trip

Did you know we’re also a boutique travel agency specializing in Mexico travel planning? If you’re looking to plan one of the best trips to Mexico, our Mexico trip planner services are here to help you plan your perfect itinerary.

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