Visiting La Condesa and Roma in Mexico City
March 21 2017
Mexico City, the most densely populated city in the world, is so huge that it’s hard to consider all at once. What’s more, much of the city is residential and offers little of interest to visitors, but there are two neighbourhoods that stand out for having a lot of cool places to eat, shop and wander around and are easily accessible on foot: La Condesa and Roma Norte in the west-central part of the city. Here’s a short guide to some of the most worthwhile places to visit there.
There are so many awesome places to eat in La Condesa and Roma Norte that it can be hard to choose. The fully organic restaurant and shop, Orígenes Orgánicos, with branches around the city, makes for a great breakfast spot with traditional Mexican morning foods such as huevos rancheros as well as other comfort foods, all made from organic ingredients. The location in Condesa is right opposite the peaceful Popocatépetl square, which makes for a nice spot to sit outside on a sunny morning.
In Roma Norte, Casa Quimera, a boutique food court in and around an old colonial home and opposite a pleasant park, has multiple eateries with something for everyone as well as communal seating. Choose from a variety of vegan options, including Japanese food and Asian-Mexican fusion, along with burgers and wraps or seafood, traditional Italian, and other omnivore options.
Of course, street tacos are a must anywhere in Mexico for a cheap and filling meal, and for something a bit different, check out the always busy Por Siempre, which offers full vegan tacos, tortas, and gringas, with all the typical Mexican toppings made sans cruelty. For many more vegan options, check out my vegan food guide to Mexico City.
Mexicans take their coffee very seriously: the country has one of the highest consumptions per capita for a country that also produces it, so it’s no surprise that there are countless excellent cafés in Mexico City. Dosis in Roma Norte is about as hipster a coffee shop as you can get, with huge tables made of reclaimed wood, perfectly served drinks adorned with latte art, and lots of natural light.
Another option on a quiet street corner is Cardinal Casa de Café, which not only serves high quality coffee (and tea!), but is also a good place to work as a digital nomad in Mexico City. On any given day, there will likely be almost as many Apple laptops here as people, so you won’t be alone.
As the name suggests, Chiquitito in Condesa is a tiny place with a beautiful aesthetic, whose only downside is that it’s right on a main road so gets a bit noisy. That’s made up for by the otherwise very cosy setting, friendly staff, and of course, outstanding coffee.
Mexico City has some of the most beautiful and well-stocked bookshops in the world. A great place to get lost is the Librería Rosario Castellanos, in Condesa. Mainly aimed at students from the nearby university, this expansive bookshop has everything from travel guides, philosophy and art books, to history, teenage fiction, and everything in between.
Often described as one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world, the city-wide chain Cafebrería El Péndulo has a branch in Condesa that is not to be missed. Equal parts café and bookshop, you’ll find not only an extensive collection of books, but some unusual gift items too. The perfect spot to browse, work, or just relax, surrounded by books!
If you’re specifically after books in English, while the others do have some, Under the Volcano, also in Condesa, may be a better bet. The city’s only secondhand English bookshop, this hidden place above a hotel bar is cosy and intimate, and run by helpful staff who’ll happily help you find what you’re looking for.
In general, street art is well respected in Mexico and you’ll find hardly any graffiti anywhere. By far, the highest concentration of street art in the city is in Roma Norte. Just wander around any of the streets, heading south and east from Insurgentes metro station, especially down Orizaba between Parque Rio de Janeiro and Plaza Luis Cabrera, and you’ll stumble across multiple pieces. If you’re interested, you can also read more about the street artists of Mexico City.
Have you ever been to these neighborhoods in Mexico City? If so, what’d you think? Any suggestions for things to see and do? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!