The Roma Norte neighborhood is one of Mexico City‘s trendiest and most vibrant areas, filled with a mix of old-world charm and modern flair. The neighborhood is home to many beautiful parks, museums, shops, bars, and restaurants that are worth exploring.
Recently the area has fallen under somewhat of a controversy as locals have been complaining about the increased prices and gentrification of the area. Whatever your thoughts are about this, it is still one of the nicest areas to stay in Mexico City, and one of the safest. Here’s our list of the best things to do in Roma Norte.
History of Roma Norte
You may have also heard the area referred to as just “Roma” which used to be true when Roma Norte and Roma Sur were previously classified as one neighborhood. Presently, Roma Norte is recognized as the area that lies north of Coahuila street and bordering Avenida Cuauhtémoc to the east.
The neighborhood of Roma Sur, which is prominently showcased in the critically acclaimed movie Roma directed by Alfonso Cuarón, is also the place where the director spent his childhood. The address of his family home in Roma Sur is 21 Tepeji.
In 1902, a group of investors consisting of British and American investors, including Mexican politician Pedro Lascuráin envisioned an affluent Porfirian-style community in the area. The idea was to build an upscale housing development with wide, tree-lined streets reminiscent of Paris, catering to affluent Mexicans and foreigners seeking a quieter, more serene environment away from the bustling city center.
Following World War II, the neighborhood of La Roma experienced a period of decline. In the 1950s, famous Beat Generation writers such as William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg resided in this area.
In the aftermath of the devastating 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, Roma Norte was reconstructed and revitalized. Despite undergoing gentrification, this district has managed to preserve its cutting-edge character, reflecting an irresistible and hip ethos that endures to this day.
Stroll Through Plaza Río de Janeiro
One of the best things to do in Roma Norte is to take a leisurely stroll through Plaza Río de Janeiro. This beautiful park is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike and is perfect for a morning or evening walk.
You’ll find lush greenery, beautiful fountains, and plenty of benches to sit and people-watch. Make sure to stop by the statue of Michelangelo David, which is located in the center of the park.
Visit the Mercado Roma
If you’re a foodie, then you’ll love the Mercado Roma. This gourmet food market is home to some of the best food vendors in the city. You’ll find everything from tacos to ceviche to Indian cusine to craft beer.
There are also plenty of seating areas outside and inside where you can enjoy your meal while soaking up the lively atmosphere. On the third floor, there’s a rooftop terrace serving up cold German beers called Biergarten/
Explore the street art
Roma Norte is known for its vibrant street art scene. Take a walking tour of the neighborhood to discover some of the best murals and graffiti art. You’ll find colorful and imaginative artwork on almost every street corner. Some of the best places to check out include the Plaza Luis Cabrera and the streets surrounding the Mercado Roma.
Visit the Casa Lamm Cultural Center
The Casa Lamm Cultural Center is a must-visit destination for art lovers. This beautiful colonial mansion has been converted into an art gallery and cultural center. You’ll find a wide range of exhibits, from contemporary art to ancient artifacts. Make sure to stop by the bookstore and café, which are located inside the center.
Experience the Nightlife
Mexico City is known for its amazingly vibrant nightlife scene, and Roma Norte is where all of the action takes place. There are plenty of bars, clubs, and restaurants where you can enjoy a night out, all within walking distance.
Some of the best places to check out include the Licorería Limantour, one of the most famous cocktail bars in the city, Patrick Miller, a massive warehouse turned nightclub, and of course Departamento, a very popular nightclub/lounge that becomes full of expats and locals looking to mingle on the weekends.
Cibeles, in the middle of Roma Norte, is a picturesque plaza featuring a circular fountain (Fuente de Cibeles) and several restaurants and cafes with attractive outdoor patios. The area is surrounded by greenery and cozy string lights, providing a pleasant dining and drinking atmosphere.
During the spring season, Cibeles is particularly worth visiting for the breathtaking jacaranda trees with their vibrant purple flowers. Some places to check out are Cancino Cibeles if you’re looking for delicious pizza, Cotorritos for some incredibly cheap alcohol and fun atmosphere and The Ventanita Cafe for an amazing breakfast experience.
Relax at a Cafe
Roma Norte is home to some of the best specialty coffee shops in Mexico City. Whether you prefer a pour-over, a latte, or an espresso, or just somewhere to work from, you’ll find a coffee shop that meets your needs. Some of the best places to check out include Blend Station for a great working atmosphere, 1900 café, and Buna.
Take the Turibus
A ride on a double-decker tour bus is a very popular tourist activity, and it is one of the most effective way to see many parts of a city quickly. These buses have specific routes that cover areas such as the Historic Center, Polanco neighborhood, and the southern part of the city such as Coyoacan.
The Cibeles Plaza is a central point where the various routes intersect, making it a convenient starting point for your tour if you are nearby. You can see the different routes the bus takes on the official website here. The cost is 210 MXN pesos for adults and 130 MXN for children and the buses run vvery day from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m, with one coming every 30 minutes.
Visit the Casa Universitaria del Libro
Bookworms will love the Casa Universitaria del Libro, which is a bookstore that specializes in academic and scholarly books. This charming bookstore is housed in a beautiful colonial building and is filled with books on a wide range of subjects, from history to philosophy to literature.
Enjoy the View From a Rooftop Bar
Mexico City is full of amazing rooftop bars, and in Roma Norte you’ll find some of the best ones! Most are a mix of restaurants/bars such as Alelí Rooftop and Balmori Rooftop.
If you want more of a nightlife vibe and place you can mingle, head to Toledo Rooftop, which is right on the border of Roma Norte and the Juarez neighborhood. One of the nicest views of the city can be found in Supra rooftop, located on the popular Álvaro Obregón street.
Take a cooking class
If you’re a foodie, then why not take a cooking class while you’re in Roma Norte? There are plenty of cooking schools in the neighborhood that offer classes on traditional Mexican cuisine. You’ll learn how to make everything from tacos to mole to churros.
Museo del Objeto (MODO)
MODO is a unique museum at the National Autonomous University of Mexico that draws inspiration from the National Museum of Anthropology, but focuses on contemporary society and culture. It is known for its collection of peculiar objects and its approach to showcasing the significance of everyday items.
Established in 2010, the museum aims to showcase narratives using ordinary items gathered over two centuries. It contains over 140,000 artifacts, covering cultural, aesthetic, and social movements, as well as technological advancements and modern trends. The exhibits reflect the evolution of thought and communication with the world outside.
The museum showcases an array of Mexican artifacts from the early 1800s, offering a unique historical perspective on the society and culture of Mexico. Admission costs around 50 MXN pesos, and the museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm.
Bike Around the Neighborhood
One of the best ways to explore Roma Norte is on a bike tour. There are several tour companies that offer bike tours of the neighborhood, taking you through the winding streets, past beautiful parks, and along the tree-lined boulevards.
You can also rent a bike with the Dezba app or the government’s own Ecobici. It’s a fun and eco-friendly way to explore the neighborhood and see all the sights.
Things to do in Roma Norte Summary
Overall, Roma Norte is a dazzling gem that masterfully combines old-world charm with a modern twist. As you wander through this trendy neighborhood, you’ll be captivated by the enchanting parks, intriguing museums, chic boutiques, buzzing bars, and mouth-watering restaurants just waiting to be discovered.
However, it’s worth noting that Roma Norte has recently become the center of a heated debate on gentrification and rising prices. Despite these concerns, the area retains its allure as one of Mexico City’s safest and most appealing neighborhoods for visitors to explore.
So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, don’t miss the chance to uncover the vibrant treasures of Roma Norte during your Mexico City adventure. You’ll be sure to create unforgettable memories as you delve into the best that this charming district has to offer.