Mexico City, Mexico – City Guide for Nomads and Expats

Updated in 2022. 

More commonly known in Mexico as “D.F” (Distrito Federal) or “CDMX”, Mexico City is the capital of Mexico and one of the world’s largest cities. The financial capital of the country.

The city is simply too vast to comprehend if you grew up in a second-tier city or lower.

The only way to make any sense of it is to think of it in terms of districts and only mess with one or two of them if your stay is short. For this reason, I will deal only with a few neighborhoods. The city boasts incredible food, world-class cultural institutions, and a reasonably low cost of living.

POPULATION: 9,000,000 (proper). 21,000,000 (greater).

 


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EXPAT COMMUNITY IN MEXICO CITY

There are expats in Mexico City from all over the world. Mexico City is the headquarters of every international company operating in Mexico. The first wave of expats to Mexico City is this group of managers and employees of large international companies. There are lots of gringos, but also Europeans and people from all over Latin America. There are many people from Argentina, Peru, and Brasil living in CDMX. Mexico City is the financial capital of Mexico. Monterrey is the second biggest financial center in Mexico. In Mexico City, most expats live in Condesa or Polanco neighborhoods.

 

DIGITAL NOMAD COMMUNITY IN MEXICO CITY

Mexico City has grown quickly as a digital nomad hub. A lot of tech workers see it as a cheaper, more cultured alternative to American “tier A” cities like New York, Miami, and Dallas. Mexico City is ranked on Nomadlist. You are likely to meet loads of digital nomads if you spend enough time in the cafes of Condesa or Roma.

 

RENT AN APARTMENT IN MEXICO CITY

Entirely depends on your barrio. All types of options for all types of prices all over the city. Obviously, you’ll want to be in a decent area with an assortment of bars and clubs, so to keep it simple, I’d recommend an apartment in Condesa or Roma through Airbnb. For a longterm stay, you may be able to swing something basic for around $500/month. Prices have risen in recent years with the influx of American remote worker types. Check Facebook groups for the best deals.

 

WHERE TO STAY IN MEXICO CITY

The best area of Mexico City is in La Condesa near Parque Mexico and Parque España. The second best area is Polanco, which is more upscale but almost too upscale. The third best area to stay is in Roma or Roma Norte. Roma is located beside la Condesa. Roma is considerably cheaper than Condesa. Roma is also a little bit rougher, but gentrifying fast. 

 

BEST BARS & NIGHTLIFE IN MEXICO CITY

8/10

Condesa, Polanco and Roma alone will satisfy your every desire for nightlife. The girls here in the D.F are pretty, friendly and, most importantly, liberal. In that sense it’s more fun to party in CDMX than Guadalajara. I have nothing negative to say about this bar except for the fact that it is now overrun with gringos. Word is out.

For more info on nightlife in CDMX, check out our in-depth nightlife guide here.

Bars that My Latin Life recommends:

Pata Negra. The one near Parque España. It’s an embarrassingly obvious choice for anyone familiar with Mexico City, but it’s tough to go wrong with this place. 

Map of Pata Negra, CDMX
Map of Pata Negra, CDMX

 

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BEST CAFES IN MEXICO CITY FOR DIGITAL NOMADS

Mexico City has a great cafe scene. There are good coffee shops with wifi in every neighborhood. You may very well find that the best cafe in Mexico City is the one down the street from your Airbnb!

Cafes that My Latin Life recommends:

Blend Station: Cafe in la Condesa with the wifi code shared on the wall.

La Balance: Well located, french-themed cafe in Condesa.

Chiquitito Café: Small, bumping cafe on the other wise of Condesa.

Paradigma Café: Cool, small place with free wifi and high quality coffee in Roma.

Dosis Café: Modern cafe in Roma Norte.

Almanegra Café: Cool spot for specialty coffee in Roma Norte.

Cardinal Casa de Café: Classic coffee shop in Roma Norte. Wifi is fast so this is a good place to work.

 

COST OF LIVING IN MEXICO CITY

The following data is from Expatistan, a crowdsourced database of prices and cost of living around the world. In our experience, the data tends to underestimate cost of living, so take the following as the minimum you might need to live here.

*Figures are listed in USD

You will need a minimum of $1416 USD/month to live in Mexico City

 

IS MEXICO CITY SAFE?

You can’t generalize in Mexico City. Some areas in Condesa, Roma, Coyoacan and Polanco are entirely safe at all hours. But walk into Tepito or Guerrero alone at 2 am with an expensive watch and a designer shirt and you might not walk out. Most people just take Uber at night and don’t really walk around. Although it’s a pretty safe city, you’ll find that many people refuse to walk or bike around much at all. Ride-sharing apps are very cheap and abundant. 

 

BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT MEXICO CITY

Mexico City is actually a pretty good destination all year round. Due to the high elevation, it never gets too hot or too cold. The weather is quite moderate. This makes Mexico City a great city to visit in the summer, when the rest of Mexico is too hot. The best season to visit Mexico City is in the spring or early summer. Anything from March until early June is a great time to be in the capital. If CDMX had a high season, it would be March to May. September is the rainiest month of the year, but it doesn’t rain all that much.

 

THINGS TO DO IN MEXICO CITY

The must do activity in Mexico City is visiting the Zócalo, the city’s main plaza and beating heart. Soak in the history and visit the Templo Mayor, an extremely important Mayan ruin in eyesight of the Zócalo.

Visit Puebla, another large city a 2 hour drive away.

Visit the world-class museums of Mexico City. The Museo Soumaya is home to one of the largest collections of Mexican artifacts in the world. The Museo Nacional de Antropología is also excellent. The Museo Nacional de las Culturas is another large and wildly popular museum. 

Mexico City also has a great collection of smaller museums, such as Estanquillo Museum and the Jose Luis Cuevas Museum.

Take a photo in front of the Monument to the Revolution.

Visit the Chapultepec castle. There are amazing views of the Mexico City skyline.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Mexico City is a fascinating place. But as a first time visitor, you must only focus on one district (max two) or else you will think it’s nothing more than a bafflingly chaotic mess. Find a decent apartment, visit the bars in your area to see what fits your personality best. If you enjoy living in cities, you’ll quickly adapt to Mexico City. It’ll be the time of your life.

Overall Rating: 9/10

 

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