Mexico City is one of the most vibrant and delicious urban centers in the Americas. A megalopolis with an old-world heart and an unstoppable creative force, the city reinvents itself again and again while maintaining its spectacular art, culture, and food. For remote workers, it offers all the modern amenities with enough chaos to keep things interesting and delightfully perplexing.
The distinct Mexican-ness of the country’s capital is impossible to miss—women patting out tortillas on the street, mariachi trios playing to outdoor diners, and divey mezcal bars filled with young chilangos—what citizens of Mexico City call themselves—and that is combined with world-class restaurants, the internationalization of the city’s creative class, and the renowned artists and innovators from across the globe that have chosen to settle and work here.
The city benefits from its close proximity to major financial centers in the U.S. and Canada, as well as a time zone that makes work with those places easier. The year-round 70-degree temperatures don’t hurt either. While it’s extremely advisable to learn Spanish, it’s also easy to get by in the city with a basic understanding of the language, and the general culture is welcoming towards foreigners.
Roma is a collection of delightful outdoor cafes, tree-lined plazas, wide streets, and charming architecture. Built in the early 1900s, the neighborhood was one of Mexico City’s first “country suburbs.” It’s hard to imagine today in this hyper-urban enclave, but that early planning has resulted in an extremely walkable neighborhood, with a vibrant sidewalk life, towering trees, and well-loved public spaces like the Plaza Luis Cabrera and Plaza Rio de Janeiro.
The peak of construction in this neighborhood was between the 1920s and 1950s so you can expect to find fine examples of Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture, including the Gaudí-inspired building on the corner of Guanajuato and Merida streets. The neighborhood was also one of the first landing places of Mexico City's Jewish community when they moved from the Centro Historico in the 1920s and you can find some of the city’s oldest and most beautiful synagogues here.
Roma Sur (the area of the neighborhood south of Coahuila street) is definitely less expensive and more residential than the Roma Norte which bubbles over with visitors every day of the week. Several good coworking spaces draw digital nomads to Roma including Privat.mx and Cubic Idea, but you may find it hard to think of paying for a workspace when there are endless options for good working cafes, such as Boicot, Cardinal, Tierra Garat, Constela, and others. Public transportation sits at either end of Roma, but if you plan to live and work in the neighborhood, you’ll find that walking or riding a bike is the most efficient and pleasant way to get around.
Dining options here are endless and growing each day as the neighborhood becomes known for its foodie culture and innovative eateries. Roma was the birthplace of great restaurants like the chef-driven Maximo Bistro, the Italian-Mexican phenom Rosetta, and new culinary superstar Mi Compa Chava. Unlike the more gentrified Condesa and Polanco, Roma still retains much of its street food culture and mom and pop restaurants like 60-year strong Doña Emi’s tamales and Tacos Los Parados on Monterrey Avenue which used to be a late-night taxi driver hangout. Be sure to stop for a pescadilla (a fish quesadilla) on Puebla street and wander the aisles of the Mercado Medellin for fresh-squeezed juice and Cuban ice cream.
The bohemian-chic Condesa has a reputation for its upscale boutiques, captivating Art Deco architecture, and the dog-filled Parque Mexico, a green oasis in the midst of a concrete jungle. Cyclists, buskers, and dog walkers walk the Amsterdam circle in the afternoons—an oval-shaped street that follows the footprint of the former racetrack the neighborhood was built on top of. On weekends, the neighborhood’s dozens of great eateries are packed with locals and visitors dining al fresco and enjoying a relaxing afternoon in one of Mexico City’s most trendy barrios.
This neighborhood was also built at the beginning of the 1900s and it takes its name from the Countess of Miravalle, who owned most of the land here. Iconic artwork and buildings abound: homes by Mexican architects Buenrostro and Serrano, the theater cum bookstore Fondo de Cultural Economico, the Armenian Art Deco clock in Parque Mexico, and José María Fernández’s fountain of indigenous model Luz Jiménez.
While remote workers may find Condesa living costs land in a slightly higher bracket than Narvarte, Juarez, or Roma, there is no better place for a mellow living experience in Mexico City. Spend a morning drinking cold brew at Blend Station, followed by gourmet ice cream in Glace Bistro, and a late-afternoon beer in the Amantoli taproom. A special bonus is the city’s singular English-language bookstore Under the Volcano Books, which is housed in the 1950s American Legion on Celaya street. Tuesdays you will find locals gathered at the neighborhood’s outdoor food market and in the evenings at El Moro on the park for a churro and hot chocolate. Don’t miss Oaxacan delights at Pasillo de Humo or a Yucatan-inspired classic at Azul Condesa.
Swanky and stylish, Polanco is the home to moneyed chilangos who prefer their neighborhood with cafes and galleries instead of security fences and chauffeured Subarus. This is where the bulk of the city’s embassies are located and as well as many of its most luxurious hotels. Lining its streets are some of the best upscale shopping for furniture, clothing, and art. A long-term stay here will cost more than other places, but the neighborhood is renowned for its safety and being close to downtown while still a world apart.
Polanco has some of the city’s best haute cuisine, Pujol and Quintonil are both located here, but don’t skip the down-home Klein’s deli or Turix for tacos de cochinita pibil. Excellent museums like the Jumex, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Tamayo, are within walking distance from most anywhere in Polanco and if you want to rub shoulders with the city’s fashionistas just spend a few lunches in the neighborhood’s upscale cafes.
While technically the sprawling Chapultepec Park (three times the size of New York’s Central Park) is in a neighborhood of its own, its location just steps from Polanco, makes this the best neighborhood to stay in if you want to take full advantage of the large sprawling green space. Museums abound in the park, as well the city’s zoo and the new contemporary art space LAGO, run by the world-renowned OMR gallery.
There is a lovely collection of blocks in the heart of Polanco that butt up against Lincoln Park, a wonderful area that houses a tiny but colorful aviary and a small manmade pond where kids race battery-operated boats on the weekend. Lincoln Park hosts Polanco’s farmer’s market on Sundays and is a nice respite from the bustling traffic of Reforma Avenue. If you get a chance be sure to catch a jazz performance at the park’s Angela Peralta amphitheater or a concert at the gorgeous Conservatorio Nacional de Musica further west on President Masaryk.
The Pool is the neighborhood’s best coworking space, boasting a cool, open-floor layout, pinball machines, and bike parking in the reception, but there are many more options in the neighborhood depending on your needs. If you’re not ready to commit to a coworking space, try working at the Porrua coffeeshop in Chapultepec Park or underneath the canopy of the indoor tree at Pendulo, a bookstore cafe. The Polanco Metro stop is right in the heart of the oldest part of the neighborhood for easy access in and out which can’t always be said about taking an Uber or taxi since the weeknight traffic can get bad in this area.
Colonia Narvarte is a residential and quiet neighborhood that hasn’t quite reached the radar of tourists yet, so you’re still in time to find an extremely affordable place to live in a lovely, middle-class Mexican neighborhood. Not to mention, it’s only minutes from Roma, Condesa, and the Centro Historico.
This former farmland became a neighborhood in the 1940s and 50s, and lots of California Colonial, Functionalist, and late Art Deco architecture line its diagonal boulevards. Less of a planned community than Roma and Condesa, there are some big avenues that cut up the neighborhood into smaller little enclaves, but of those major thoroughfares, you will find quiet streets, incredible street food, and the budding businesses of many young Mexican entrepreneurs.
Stop for an espresso at the minuscule Alma Negra, try out some of the wild inventions of Tizne Tacomotor, or while away an afternoon sipping craft beer at the cozy Beer Bros. The coworking options here are a bit dismal, so it’s better to explore Narvarte’s cafes until you find the one that suits you. Try Costra for amazing baked goods and good internet, Cultumkali where you will immediately feel at home, or the Buendia Cafe that has an awesome back patio for working in the fresh air.
Some of the best streets for ambling are Uxmal, Petén, Xochicalco, Zempoala, La Quemada, Tajín, Palenque, and Mitla, as well as around the Las Americas Park with its mini-amphitheater and jogging trails that pass under the cool shade of the trees. While technically outside of Narvarte, it’s imperative to stop by Fonda Margarita a few blocks away, one of the best breakfast spots in the city, and to gaze upon the massive Christ statue atop the Corazon de Maria church that was used in the 1990s movie version of Romeo and Juliet.
There are few high-end restaurants in Narvarte, but lots of great street food stalls, especially along Cumbres de Maltrata street and around the Etiopía metro stop. Don’t miss Vilsito for some of the best tacos al pastor in the city and its next-door neighbor Tacos Tony for tacos de suadero. Narvarte is also the home of HOP2, one of the city’s biggest beer gardens, and has a fantastic local market for shopping and eating.
Built with Industrialists’ money in the era of President Porfirio Diaz and Mexico City’s 19th-century economic boom, this triangle-shaped neighborhood has had a lot of reincarnations, including being the center of the gay community in the 1970s and abandoned by many of its residents after the 1985 earthquake. Renewed interest in its neoclassical architecture and tiny, tree-lined traffic circles has suddenly made Colonia Juarez in vogue again for young professionals and the cocktail crowd.
Snuggled between the main drag of Reforma Avenue to the north, the Centro Historico to the east, and Colonia Roma to the south, Juarez is possibly the most centrally located hood for a long-term stay in Mexico City. The International WeWork coworking brand has a massive space on Varsovia good for digital nomads and Homework on Liverpool street is also great. If you want something with a little more charm for working, stop in at the Distrito Fijo Club e Ciclismo bike store and cafe or wander the delightfully musty aisles of the Libería Jorge Cuesta bookstore.
This neighborhood is now home to many excellent restaurants and cafes started by young enterprising Mexican chefs and bakers. Be sure to stop in at the newest location of Forte for a coffee or housemade yogurt, slip through the back door of the Hanky Panky speakeasy for an old-fashioned, grab a fried chicken sandwich and glass of natural wine at Cicatriz, or try one of the original flavors at Joe Gelato.
Despite its size, Juarez even has a few quirky museums, such as the Chocolate Museum MUCHO, and a smattering of local art galleries that are more gritty and down-to-earth than you will find in Polanco or Roma. This is also a great neighborhood for finding local treasures to decorate your temporary home. When the shopping bug hits, you can check out Bazar Fusion, a collective space for local businesses, Loose Blues, the quirky clothing/ interior design store on Washington square, and the Saturday Antique Market in the Plaza St Angel. If you need some transportation while you’re here, head to Básica Studio and invest in a bike built to last or to repair the one you’ve got.
Even though you can find LGBTQ-friendly spaces across the city, the Zona Rosa at the west end of the neighborhood still has the greatest concentration of gay clubs in Mexico City. During the day this area will be bustling with office workers, but at night it comes to life with many people coming out for a drink and maybe some karaoke.