Roma Condesa is the place to go if you’re looking for an area in Mexico City with artistic flair and excellent restaurants. The two neighborhoods lay on each side of the Avenida de los Insurgentes (Insurgents’ Avenue)—Roma on the east and Condesa on the west—and since the mid-1990s, they have been home to creative types, artists, and fashionable bars and cafés. Condesa Mexico City is the larger of the two, and during the 1940s and 1950s it was home to a variety of Mexican film stars. The 1985 earthquake was quite devastating to this area, including the historic Centro Cultural Bella Epoca in Condesa, but the resulting high availability of homes made the neighborhood attractive to artists who rejuvenated the neighborhood with restaurants, bars, and cafés.
The high number of musicians and artists who call Roma Condesa home have made it a popular location for shops in Mexico City. Strolling the streets of these neighborhoods, fascinating architecture will accompany your window shopping. Art Deco buildings, large parks, and a generally relaxed atmosphere makes Condesa Mexico City a less hectic neighborhood than the bustling Centro Historico. If you’re looking for a break from the historic attractions and churches of the city center, head for some of the best shops in Mexico City in the Roma Condesa neighborhoods.
Roma is smaller and less developed than neighboring Condesa, and it also wasn’t hit as hard during the 1985 earthquake. With a similar vibe to Condesa, Roma shows its artistic flair but perhaps isn’t as hip as Condesa. That said, in recent years many of the pioneers who revitalized the Condesa neighborhood have moved on to other areas of the city, such as Roma. Luckily for visitors, the shops in Mexico City they created largely remain, making the area still worth a visit for its beauty and retail attractions.
There are two distinct areas of Condesa Mexico City that each have their own atmosphere. If you’re looking for a little more bustle, more development, and generally a more hip vibe, then consider planning an afternoon or evening at the bars and cafés of Avenue Nuevo Leon, further away from the Avenue Insurgentes that separates the two neighborhoods. If residential with parks, open-air, and local restaurants and bars is more your style, stay closer to the Avenue Insurgentes and enjoy the Parque Mexico and small laneways.
Condesa Mexico City isn’t directly linked to the rest of the city by the Metro, but the stops at Sevilla, Chapultepec, and Juanacatlan on Line 1 will bring you to within a short walking distance of the neighborhood. Alternatively, the Metrobus runs right up Avenida Insurgentes, the street that divides the two neighborhoods. This is an extremely convenient way to reach this area of Mexico City, and an easy way to return to your hotel. As Condesa and Roma are sometimes compared to SoHo in New York City, be prepared for tempting shops in this neighborhood. Everything from antiques to books to independent clothing designs are on sale. Return at night for a buzzing restaurant scene, especially on the weekends. There are also a few bed and breakfasts, guesthouses, and hostels in the neighborhood if you want to explore it more thoroughly.
Image: zbjuan (Flickr)