16 reasons to love La Condesa / Roma, Mexico City

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Things to do in Condesa / Roma, Mexico City

Our time in Mexico was cut short, but certainly wasn’t wasted. We spent two beautiful weeks in Mexico City, a place that stole our hearts and made us realise our love for Mexico goes beyond the village of San Pancho. The laid-back pace of Mexico suits us and despite being one of the world’s largest cities, we found Mexico City both manageable and charming. This was largely due to where we stayed in the the bohemian district of La Condesa, a fashionable area with tree-lined streets and a bounty of cute restaurants, cafes and boutiques. It neighbours Roma, a similarly arty enclave, but with more of a hipster edge, and we fell in love with both. Here are the reasons why, and some ideas for things to do in Condesa and Roma next time you visit. I’ve also written a guide to the best hip boutique hotels in Condesa and Roma.

16 Reasons to love La Condesa / Roma in Mexico City. Things to do, and places to eat, drink and go out.

Things to do in La Condesa and Roma

Dog school

Things to do in Condesa - Dog school

Number one on this list is one of my favourite things in the world. On our first day in Condesa, Steve and I were walking around Parque Mexico when we came across a large group of dogs of all shapes and sizes sitting placidly side by side with no leashes, just chilling. “What is up with those dogs?” we said. You would never see such a thing in England. There were other dogs running past, there were even cats, and still this group of dogs didn’t move. We soon learned that this was dog school, a place where people leave their dogs to be taught obedience by a group of what must be dog whisperers. Steve and I are massive dog lovers; not having a dog is one of the sacrifices of travelling so much, so we grew to love walking past the dog school every day and seeing what pupils were in attendance. From huskies to a little spitz, we saw so many and always so well behaved – apart from the odd one who had to be tied up away from the crowd, presumably having been naughty. Don’t miss the dog school!

Parque Mexico

Things to do in Condesa - Parque mexico

Aside from the obvious joy of dog school, Parque Mexico is also a beautiful park to wander around, filled with lush trees and promenades perfect for strolling. It’s always a hive of activity, especially at the weekends when you can catch live music and dancers practising their moves. We walked through the park every day and couldn’t make it from one end to the other without saying again: “I love this place so much”.

El Pendulo book cafe

Things to do in Condesa - El Pendulo bookshop

The most famous El Pendulo store is in Polanco and regularly features on lists of the best bookshops in the world. It’s well deserved and we loved visiting that one, but we also grew to love our local El Pendulo store in Condesa. It’s smaller than the Polanco shop but has the same cosy charm and is the ideal place for whiling away hours trying to work while getting distracted by all the people and books. There’s also a Pendulo in Roma, which is equally beautiful – I think it may be my favourite chain of bookshops in the world.

Tacos Gus – NOW CLOSED

Tacos Gus in Condesa

As a vegetarian, lots of Mexico City’s meat-heavy taco stalls are off limits, but Tacos Gus is an exception. It’s a shop rather than a stall but has comparable prices to street food and a huge menu of over 20 vegetarian options. Delicious!

The tree-lined streets

Things_to_do_in_Condesa-2

One of the appeals of Condesa is simply the beauty of it’s streets. It’s made up of lots of charming, wide avenues, with trees that form a canopy above. When you’re in one of the biggest cities in the world, these touches of nature are greatly appreciated.

The architecture

Condesa architecture

The streets are gorgeous and the buildings that line them are even better. I’m a big fan of colourful homes and Condesa and Roma are filled with brightly coloured facades spanning the entire rainbow. The architecture is varied with a lot of beautifully restored Art Deco buildings. We walked round for hours filling up our Instagram with pictures of pretty buildings.

Mercado Roma

Things to do in Condesa - Roma market

Mercado Roma is hipster central; a covered market filled with little food counters from some of Mexico City’s most popular restaurants and cafes. The tamale de quest con rajas tacos from Azul Antojo are some of the best tacos we’ve ever tasted, and we were always finding excuses to treat ourselves to some churros from El Moro. The Ozio ice cream stall is also amazing.

Casa Quimera

Casa Quimera - Roma - Mexico City

We stumbled upon Casa Quimera and couldn’t believe our luck – it’s an almost entirely vegan food market with a collection of stalls selling veggie versions of Mexican dishes. Next door are some more meaty options, and there’s also a great coffee stand. As you can imagine, it’s another hangout popular with hipsters.

Avenida Ámsterdam

Things to do in Condesa - Avenida Amsterdam

Avenida Ámsterdam encircles central Condesa with Parque Mexico in the middle. In the centre of the road there’s a pedestrianised tree-lined walkway, which is a wonderful place to walk around, away from the cars and bustle of the streets – it’s a slice of jungle in the city. Condesa is filled with these delightful pockets of nature.

El Ocho Cafe Recreativo

Things to do in Condesa - games cafe

Steve and I are games geeks and were delighted to find El Ocho, a cafe entirely devoted to play where you get a menu of games along with the food. From Scrabble to Uno to some Mexican games we’d never heard of, there were loads to choose from.

The light

Golden hour in Condesa Roma, Mexico City

Everywhere has a golden hour, that beautiful time of day when the light starts to fade and paints everything in a golden glow, but Mexico City seems to have one that is even more magical than most. Make sure you don’t miss it.

Enigma Rooms

Enigma Rooms mexico City

This discovery took our game geekdom to a new level. We’d heard about the concept before, but tried our first escape room while in Mexico City at Condesa’s Enigma Rooms. We were locked in a Sherlock Holmes themed room and given an hour to follow the clues and find our way out. We like it so much, we want back a few days later to try the Jigsaw room. So much fun!

SO many restaurants

Origenes vegetarian food Condesa

There are tons of restaurants and cafes to choose from in Condesa and Roma. We’ve singled a few out, but others to mention that serve good vegetarian food include Ojo de Aqua (great juices), Pizzas Nosferatu (great veggie options, but beware of the grasshoppers!), Yamasan Ramen House (great veggie ramen), Milo’s (mediterranean food in a beautiful setting), Por Siempre (a vegan taqueria), Chiquitito Cafe (tiny place that takes its coffee seriously), and Orígenes (organic food and shop). The breakfast in El Pendulo is also great. And, of course your options are multiplied for non-veggies – Mexicans really loved their meat! FourSquare has a protective community in the city so it’s a good place to find recommendations.

Cute boutiques

Boutiques in Roma Mexico City

Roma and Condesa are magnets for hipsters and as such there are plenty of little boutiques filled with a full spectrum of hipster needs, from vintage clothes to independent designers and shops selling glasses made out of wood. There are some particularly good ones in Roma along Colima street, including 180 Grados.

Romita Comedor – NOW CLOSED

Romita Comedor

There are a lot of bars to choose from in Condesa and Roma, but for something special we loved Romita Comedor. It’s a little fancy but worth putting up with the slightly haughty service for the amazing architecture. It gets really busy at night, but is a good place to grab an afternoon coffee or pre-dinner cocktail.

Close to El Centro

Things to do in Condesa - Meal at Origenes

A great benefit of Condesa is that it’s close to the centre of the city so it’s easy to get to most of the main sights. You can hop on the metro or grab an Uber if it’s too late. An Uber all the way to the airport (half an hour) only costs around £7. Definitely make sure you go explore Frida and Diego’s Mexico City, visiting the Blue House and the homes of Diego’s murals. 

Where to stay in Condesa, Mexico City

I’ve written a full guide to the most hip boutique hotels in Condesa and Roma. But here are a few recommendations to get you started.

AirBnB

AirBnB has plenty of stylish, hip options in La Condesa and La Roma. We stayed in an apartment that’s no longer available, but there are some gorgeous options on offer. I recommend taking a look at the AirBnB Plus selection for some of the most beautifully designed places in the city. If you sign up to AirBnB with this link, you’ll get $25 off your first booking.

Condesa DF

Probably the most trendy hotel in the neighbourhood, the slick Condesa DF has a beautiful open courtyard and offers a stylish mix of art deco style with modern touches.

Search prices and book now

La Valise

La Valise is number one on my list of places I’d like to stay in Mexico City. There are just three rooms and all have been impeccably styled by owner Emmanuel. It looks stunning.

Search prices and book

AR 218

The stylish AR 218 has beautiful sweeping staircases  and a simple, modern design with Mexican touches.

Search prices and book

Don’t forget your travel insurance!

Don’t forget your travel insurance! We recommend World Nomads or True Traveller who both offer reliable, comprehensive cover, including medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. You can buy both True Traveller and World Nomads insurance even when you’ve left home, which is unusual for travel insurance companies.

Save time and money on your next trip

See our travel resources page for all our best travel tips, including how to save money with the best cards, what insurance to choose, and all our favourite tools and tricks.

And here are some extra dog photos, just for joy.

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Things to do in Condesa-10

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The dogs of Condesa

45 thoughts on “16 reasons to love La Condesa / Roma, Mexico City”

  1. Pingback: Polaroid of the week: Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in Coyoacan, Mexico | Reisepreis-24.de
  2. Oh noo– I had just convinced myself that I could wait to see Mexico City until next year…but look at that food! This whole area looks so open and green and vibrant. I always imagined cramped streets and food stalls when I thought of Mexico City (not half bad either, of course!) but woof, this is callin’ to me in a whole new way. Beautiful photos, by the way. Are these film shots?

    • Yep, it’s definitely worth visiting! Coyoacan is another beautiful area of of the city. And no, these are all either taken on a iPhone or a Canon 5D Markii. The secret is using VSCO Cam in Lightroom. It magically makes it look like they were taken on film 🙂

    • We are in Mexico City now and staying at a hotel in La Condesa. I would love to see the dog school. Where can I see this? What street? I enjoyed your dog pictures!

      • It’s in the Parque Mexico in Condesa. Afraid I can’t remember the exact location, but the park isn’t that big, so you’ll find it!

  3. Nice photos of Mexico City! I’ve never been to Mexico and most if my friends only stay within resort area. The city looks stunning through the photos. I wonder if it’s safe/easy to navigate through the city?

    • Yep, it’s super easy to navigate. There’s a good metro and bus system, and if you want something more convenient, Uber is a good option. There are certainly areas to avoid, but Condesa and Roma felt very safe to us.

  4. Seems like I have to go back to DF and dedicate all of my time there to this neighborhood. So much I haven’t seen. I’ve been to another book store/cafe. I really love those places, I actually thought about opening a business like this (not seriously just talking about a friend “oh that would be perfect for us”).
    When I spent time there last summer I didn’t go to Roma Market as I was already tired from the day. Now seeing it in your post, I’m really annoyed I didn’t go. But well, I live in Mexico right now, so I will definitely go back there at some point. And when I’m going, I will spend most of my time in Roma/ Condesa

  5. Hey there! Beautiful blog! And post!! Your pictures are gorgeous, and are making me pretty pumped for a Mexico trip that I’m planning, hopefully this fall. Thanks for the inspiration – looking forward to reading more of your blog 🙂

  6. Thank you for your detailed description! We did everything in your list and we loved it! Would have missed a lot if not for this!! Thank you!my wife s a vegetarian and this helped us share great food without one of us compromising!

        • Dear Victoria,
          How were you able to enjoy all the vegetarian and vegan food and bypass Montezuma’s revenge? We want to be able to eat all that great food described, and forgo getting sick, if possible.
          Thanks, GW

  7. Thank you so much for this! I am moving there for two months for work. Was skeptical but this is making me incredibly excited. I am also a vegetarian so this was very helpful.

  8. Hi loved stumbling upon this post in my mexican planning search, great instagram as well! Do you reccomend having pesos in cash or just carrying US$?
    Shandra from Curaçao

  9. Just got back from CDMX and stayed in Condesa. No exagerations here, it’s exactly as described with a lot more. Walk to Bosque de Chapultapec and you can spend all day, or two days just wandering around in a verdant paradise almost alone (weekdays). Be sure to take a few hours to go to El Castillo-it’s unbelievable. And if you’re there on a Sunday, check out the ciclovia when they close down Reforma for cyclists and pedestrians.
    Oh, and make sure to find a place to get a “special” order of guac with chapulines….close your eyes and enjoy the salty, spicy crunch.

  10. Sadly, Romita Comedor is no longer in the building you listed. We went last night and the restaurant that took its place has rude service and not great food. They’ve also added “club lights” above the bar. Thanks for the recommendation though. It did look like a great place from your pics. Glad you were able to enjoy it. Wish we hadn’t missed it! I love your article. We read it prior to coming and while we were here. We stayed in Condesa.

  11. We will be staying in Roma. I really enjoyed your piece and look forward to being in CDMX in a weeks time.
    Warm Regards
    Sunita.

  12. Great blog! Look forward to visiting Mexico City in November. Love your images also – out of curiosity what camera do you use?

  13. Whoop! Thanks for all these great recommendations! We are also vegetarians and we also lived in San Pancho (2009-2010). We are headed to CDMX this November for my 40th birthday. We’ll definitely be following in your footsteps! — Hillary

  14. Wow, this was such lovely, thoughtful and very detailed description of this beautiful old town (colonia) in Mexico City (DF)

    I had the pleasure of growing up in these streets, went to school in the area, and overall my whole pre-teen, teen era was spent playing and hanging out with friends in Parque Mexico and Espana, I’d like to add that my first kiss was on a bench surrounded by trees in Parque Mexico, near the fountain…. Never forget that moment….!!

    I now live in West Palm Beach Forida and these pictures and stories just bring me back!! I need to go visit my old stomp grounds to feel the new vibe and to remember who I was a long, long time ago…!!

    Thank you for bringing all these memories back again, much love….

  15. Great article! We leave for our first trip to Mexico City in just two days and recently switched our hotel from one in Polanco to one in Condesa, and now I’m so happy we did!

  16. We have been in CDMX for one week with 12 more to go. We had to abort Sevilla for the winter due to Schengen Area rules and inability go get a Spanish visa. CDMX was on the winter list so came here on very short notice against the wishes of some family and friends. The first week has been so amazing. I am sure that we will like this much better than Sevilla. Stumbled across your blog which is quite informative and useful. We are staying in Condesa and enjoying it. Sorry that two of hour places are closed permanently but we will explore the rest.
    Jim & Sandy

  17. Loved your post Victoria! Informative, personal and visual.

    I’m from MX City but I’m volunteering abroad. As a freelancer I’m creating a web page for a temporary campaign that will highlight some of the particularities of this charming inviting neighborhood for a commercial purpose. Would you allow me to use a couple of your photos with a link to this blog post and photocredits?

    Thanks,
    Creaphik

  18. Great post! Other things near Parque Mexico:

    Please add Tepoznieves frozen dessert! It’s like an icy with fruits, nuts, or flowers, mixed with icecream! Unbelievable!

    And also Ecobicis, rentable scooters, motos, etc!

    The restaurant of a cooking school

    Hoola hoop classes on weekends, 5 years strong now!

    Famous Maque panque de elote souffle muffin (50% more $$$ than 2 years ago)

    Japanese food everywhere (2X1 specials)

    Near red line of Metrobus which goes to Centro Historico, Zona Rosa, Roma Norte, Condesa,, Roma Sur, WTC, etc

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