Mexico City Centro Historico
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Nov 15, 2012 5:41 PM Last Post By: tomwaring
Nov 14, 2012 11:41 AM
Mexico City Centro HistoricoWe're going to Mexico City and both enjoy colonial architecture.
I'd like to stay in the Centro Historico district but my wife says she's read that this area is sketchy at night. Has anyone been there recently? All the posts I can find are several months old.
Many thanks for any current info.
Nov 14, 2012 1:17 PM
1I doubt if the situation has changed in the past few months. I stayed in the centro for seven nights this past August, but I usually returned to my hotel by 10 PM (even so, some streets are empty at this time, check the location of your hotel). The exception was the day I arrived in Mexico City, when I was walking around with my pack looking for accomodation at 1:30 AM, and again the day I left when I was walking with my pack to the subway at 4:30 AM. In both cases I saw very few pedestrians on my route, only a few taxis, and a couple of (24 hr) convenience stores open.
If you like colonial architecture, and you have some street smarts, the centro is a great place to stay.
Nov 14, 2012 2:23 PM
2What #1 says.
Area East and North-East of Zocalo is a bit seedy and perhaps is better avoided at night and when visited daytime on the weekends, one should keep valuebles secured as area turns into a huge street market that blocks traffic, etc. that attracts pickpocketers.
You will, however, most probably stay West of Zocalo. Amongs midrange hotels, I am recently a big fan of Gillow. It may be not as plush as its sister Hotel Catedral but the location is the best one block away from pedestrian Ave Modero and just few straight blocks from both Zocalo and Alameda. I feel safe walking this area all the way into 1 am or so (but as said, I stay here a lot so if this is your first time in the area, use common sense).
Colonial architecture is abundant in Centro, though it is not as nearly well preserved as in some other cities in Mexico. Nevertheless, it´s a fascinating mix of 16th, 17th, and 18th century buildings as well as those from Art Nouveau era and, well, some late 20th centuary ones. Pay also attention how due to the ground sinking some older buiding are totally uneven while other sunk to a considerable degree.
Have a great time!
Nov 14, 2012 2:38 PM
3The zocalo itself isn't sketchy, but some areas immediately to the east are. I've always found the zocalo kind of dead after about 9:00 or 10:00 at night. Walking down Madero or 5 de Mayo westward towards La Alameda Central is OK, but kind of boring at night (except fo the Alameda itself which usually has some kind of counter-culture thing happening).
If night time safety is a concern, why not stay in a secure neighborhood and take the metro or taxi into the centro historico during the day. Colonia Cuahtemoc just off La Reforma is super safe (and quiet) with the American and British Embassies located there. Cuahtemoc also has neighborhoods full of big, handsome, early twentieth century homes to stroll around and see. Or stay in Polanco (Mexico City's Beverly Hills). Colonia Roma or further south in Coyoacan are other pretty safe areas. All have easy access to the metro.
Nov 14, 2012 2:57 PM
4@CascadeBob - yes, I meant East and North-East off Zocalo, not Zocalo itself :))) You are correct.
Stayed west of Zocalo last Sat - nothing but dead at night ;))). But it is different Sun night - Wed night, I guess :)))
Re Coyoacan - while I like the area very much, it is kinda far from Centro and the sleeping option are very limited. If OP is interested, he can search this forum - few month back I listed all lodging options I knew of in Coyoacan (not many).
Nov 14, 2012 3:03 PM
5Yes alterigor. Last time in D.F. we staid at the Hotel Catedral and got up early to watch the flag raising ceremony at the zocalo. It was pretty cool with almost no one else around except the large color guard unfurling the massive flag onto its pole.
You are correct that Coyoacan is pretty far from the zocalo, but the metro gets you there.
Nov 14, 2012 4:16 PM
6Stay in Centro, you will love it. The streets between Zócalo and Alameda central are beautifully restored and the area is as safe as any other in Mexico City; once you're there you will calm down. Gillow is a great choice, if you get a room facing 5 de mayo, you will have the same view as Ana Serradilla and Ana Layevska in Tired of Kissing Frogs (Cansada de besar sapos) as they chat balcony-to-balcony (it is the building across the street with Men's Factory on the street level).
Nov 14, 2012 5:32 PM
7Love staying at the Hotel Majestic with a room overlooking the Zocalo. Take a cab to evening dinner or eat on the top floor restaurant & hang in the lounge up there w/ nightly entrainment.
Nov 15, 2012 10:54 AM
Nov 15, 2012 11:51 AM
9I spent a week in the Centro at the Isabel last October and I'm returning in December to satay at Casa de Luna on Bolivar. Never felt in danger in the area south of 5 de mayo and west of the Zocalo and north of Jose Maria Izazaga. I could also include the area due south of the Zocalo.
We did spend time east and north-east of the Zocalo (there's some amazing murals created by students of Rivera in a market in this area) but that was during the day. Definitely an entirely different area. Quite chaotic with vendor's stalls filling nearly every square foot. Again we never felt threatened.
Nov 15, 2012 5:41 PM
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